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Questions about amplifiers not powering up are asked often by DIYers and most may not have access to a meter, so here is a simplified step-by-step process I have written that should bring you to a quick resolution. Please let me know if I need to clarify anything. Thx!
A few things can cause a no power issue at the amplifier:
But first you will need something to test with like a 12 Volt lamp, this can be borrowed from the vehicle under test. Glove box, dome, under dash, license plate and trunk lights are among the easiest to access, just make sure they are in good working order and don’t forget to put them back when you are done.
Safety Note: Touching the ground and power terminals of a standard 12 Volt battery will not electrocute or shock you, as the resistance of the human body is too high to enable significant current flow. However, the acid in a car battery can burn skin, eyes, clothing etc. Flush your eyes with saline solution (or water) for at least 15 min and see a doctor. Have baking soda and water nearby in case you should spill, the baking soda will neutralize battery acid and the water will dilute it. The acid in car batteries is also flammable and explosive. Avoid smoking and or making sparks at or near a battery. When testing, always make the battery connection first, they connect the test light to the body ground that is where the spark will be. When disconnecting your test light, disconnect the ground or the connection that is farthest away from the battery first. These precautions will keep you safe and that will make both of us happy!
Step 1: Connect one wire to each end the light bulb and test it at the battery to ensure your connections are good and you can make it light up. One end of your test light will connect to the battery “+” positive connection and the other to bare metal, like the motor or frame. See above safety note.
Step 2 12 Volt Batt wire test: Connect one end of your test light to the battery ground or bare car body and the other end of your test light to the bare metal of the power wire fuse running to the amp.
Note there will be two bare metal ends of the fuse and you will want to at least test the bare wire connection which is the closest to the amp. (It doesn’t matter which wires you use on your test light, they are interchangeable.)
If the test light works, the fuse is good move on the step 3. If you the light only works on one side of the fuse, the fuse is likely bad, replace it and test again. If the test light does not work at the fuse, test the connector at the battery. If it still doesn’t work test your light again as in step 1.
Step 3 Amplifier Batt and Gnd Test: Disconnect the “remote on” wire from the amplifier to ensure we don’t get a false reading. At the amplifier terminals, connect one end of your test light to the battery +12 Volt and connect the other end of the test light to the amplifier ground terminal. If the test lamp lights up, check and replace the fuse/s in the amplifier and proceed to step 4.
If the lamp does not light, move the test light off of the amplifier ground terminal and place it on a known good ground, such as bare metal or a seat belt bolt. (It may be necessary to have a long piece of wire so that you can connect directly to the battery for ground and/or power substitution.) If the test lamp lights with the new ground, repair/replace the amplifier ground. If the lamp still does not light, recheck your test light at the battery and repeat step 2.
Step 4 Remote On Test: At the amplifier terminals with all connections made, place one side of your test light on the amplifier ground and connect the other end of your test light to the remote on wire. If your test lamp comes on and you have completed the above tests, your amplifier will likely need repair, substitute it to be sure. If the test lamp does not come on, go to the deck and test the remote on wire with your test light by connecting to a ground (like the radio chassis) and your remote on wire. Note: Test the remote wire coming out of the radio by itself, it should not be connected to the amp.
Note the remote on wire should have power only when the radio is on. For aftermarket radios the remote on wire is blue with a white stripe. (If you amp only works when the radio is on and turns off when you play CDs, you have connected to the blue wire and not the blue/white wire.)
If your test light does not work at the deck, you have a bad remote output in the deck. You can/should have your deck repaired, or you can connect your remote wire from your amplifier to the accessory power (red on aftermarket radios) and/or use a toggle switch to apply power to the amplifier’s remote on. Check the remote on wire from the deck to the amp for any place it may have gotten pinched by screw, seat bolts, etc., before applying power on the remote on wire.
Nice write-up - but - please just get a DMM, or at least a standard 12 V test light rather than a light bulb and two bare wires. It's under $5, and you WILL find many uses for it if you have one.
JOEPRO2:Safety Note: Touching the ground and power terminals of a standard 12 Volt battery will not electrocute or shock you, as the resistance of the human body is too high to enable significant current flow. However, the acid in a car battery can burn skin, eyes, clothing etc.
True and true - but there is a greater threat here. The resistance of the body is fine, but drop a wrench or let the two wires touch without the resistance of that light-bulb in-between and you've got a pretty good arc-welder and can easily burn yourself pretty seriously.
Much better to play it safe and buy the proper tools for this.
Hope This Helps!!!
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