There are several mistakes to avoid in car audio system if you are a newbie and do not know what you are doing! Installing an aftermarket amplifier, you probably know that you need to connect negative terminal of the amplifier to the ground within your vehicle but you would you know that spot is the best for grounding the amplifier? Don’t just make the connections without properly testing it and hope for the best! If you installed a system within your vehicle and it is not sounding which it suppose to be then you should definitely check your mistakes which can be causing the problem.
The first main mistakes to avoid in car audio is to check that the spot of the ground is located on the chassis of the vehicle to get the best out of any part of the vehicle. Then make sure the grounding spot is completely done by scraping the paint all the way off to the bare metal and then tighten properly with the bolt so that the wire should be fixed on the spot properly and it will conduct the current flow smoothly. Try to avoid seat belt bolts for grounding purpose as it does not have exposed bare metal at all which creates a bad ground for the amplifiers.
Always remember that for a large powered amplifier you will need a large gauge size power wire and the ground wire as well. Both the wires should be same in thickness and the material they are made of so that the current flow should be easily be flowing without getting any strain on the wires. Smaller wire gauge size can result in limiting the performance of the amplifier output and can even cause voltage drops as well. A bad ground will produce hissing noise in the speakers and whistling sound in the tweeters. Bad ground can even make amplifier to go into protection at high volume.
Check the battery voltage that it should be at least 14.4 VOLTS when the vehicle is ON to make sure that the battery is getting proper voltage from the alternator of the car for charging the battery. If your battery terminals show below 14.2 VOLTS you might face issues on your car audio as well as the amplifiers and subwoofers will not be able power themselves as they do not get enough power to play. If your battery is charging at 14.4 VOLTS then you should go to your amplifier location and test the terminals of the amplifier that what voltage is on your amplifier terminals after the run of the wire from the battery to your amplifier and record the values of the battery voltage and minus the voltage you getting on the amplifier and check the result and make sure that you should not be getting a half a voltage drop or not below 13.87 VOLTS on your amplifier after all the run of the power wire within your vehicle. If your voltage is below 13.87 volts what to do next.. Take digital multi meter and test the areas like positive terminal of the battery of the vehicle to the fuse block of the amplifier, Then fuse block to the amplifier terminal and make sure the fuse installed is securely tight enough. There may be chance that your wire may be under size for that much length run in your vehicle and need to upgrade that. If you are using a distribution blocks used verify them that there is also not a voltage drop as well. It is okay to have some amount of voltage drop in the vehicle as the power wires with longer runs and the circuit of the amplifiers with all the connections will have some amount of power loss within the circuit but make sure it should not be very large amount of drop. Use a proper voltage ampere fuse in your fuse block of the power wire of the amplifier which will can create a bottleneck if the less power ampere fuse is used.
Using a CCA wire which is copper clad aluminium wire can have a larger amount of voltage drop in the vehicle as the aluminium has high resistance than the copper wires. The copper wire will have less resistance than aluminium wires and will perform very well as compared to them. Always make sure that all the connections are tighten properly and nothing should be loose at all.
If your headlights dim when the car audio system is playing then you should properly go for a BIG 3 upgrade in your vehicle which is explained in our blog. You can check it out how to do it and why is it necessary to be done in the vehicle. The stock wires for charging the vehicle battery are used for the stock equipments installed by the factory and will work with stock only perfectly.
The alternator wire is probably 8 gauge or may be 10 gauge which is not sufficient for the extra amplifiers or charging the battery efficiently. Big 3 can make voltage very much better than stock factory and will help the battery to perform more efficiently. Headlights of the car will also be stable. It will help in charging of more than 1 battery installed in car as well so always consider to do a big 3 if you are facing such voltage problems in car.
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid in car audio is to not running the RCA wires with the positive wire of the amplifier in a same path as it will create interference within the wires and will disturb the signals of the RCA cable and creates hissing and whistling sounds in the speakers and tweeters. Try to make separate paths for the the power wire, speaker wire and RCA cables. Good quality speaker wires with proper gauge size will give best performance of the subwoofers and speakers. Protect the power wire of the amplifier with braided sleeves so that the unfused wire part should be secured enough so that no hazard will happen.
If you want to read more about mistakes in car audio, you can read Mistakes that Kill Bass. This will help you to avoid the basic mistakes which kills the bass performance of the subwoofer.