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Old 11-29-2011, 07:00 PM   #1
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Where to tap power for an amplifier?

I did some searching but just ended up getting confused on this subject. I am installing an amplifier and a subwoofer in my van. Question is, where should I tap into power for the amp?I assume the house battery would be the best option. I was planning on mounting it near the rear seat area. (under the forward portion of the closet).
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:44 AM   #2
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

I tapped into the SMB DC fuse panel. Load circuit fuses should be appropriately rated to protect the AWG wire gauge of the load circuit wire used. The negative wire can be connected to the ground terminal bus.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:15 AM   #3
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

You may want to put a switch in line with the signal wire that goes to the head unit so that you have the option to turn it off when parked, depending on what the power draw is.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

I'll x2 that. Add a switch. First, most amps pull a heavy load and second, when I use mine for a surround sound on my DVD player, there is too much bass with the (sub woofer) amp on and adjusting the stereo is a PITA. Mine are hooked to the starting system because at night while watching a DVD it's (switched) off and pulls no load unless the engine is running. If you're the kind who blast Rage Against The Machine until midnight with the doors wide open , you might want to consider hooking to the house system.
But even though I've been known to do that, I've had no problems...with the battery drain that is
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:08 PM   #6
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

So you're saying I should power the amp off of the starting batteries with a switch, not the house battery?
I agree with you on the DVD watching, the regular speakers are more than enough and it would be nice to be able to switch the amp off.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:10 PM   #7
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

Saline you might be gettin me to lyin but here is what they told me... My low bass amp is wired in with the radio relay switch but has a dash mount switch just before the amp (the switch is on the kick panel). Without the radio switch on, the amp shuts down when the key is off. There is no ghost draw while the van sits and I don't have to remember to turn off the amp before getting out or turn it on when I jump in and go. All automatic. When I do turn on the DVD, I have to reach up front and turn the bass amp off at the kick panel. I think the SMB radio switch moves all the power draw to the house battery system when activated.

The other amp had to be wired to the ignition but it's a small drawing mid-high frequency amplifier. Randy had to wire it that way for ease of use. I don't care about that one because it's behind my seat with easy access and it has a defeat switch if I wish to bypass it and shut it down. It pulls so little it causes no problems and I never mess with it.

Hope that helps

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Old 11-30-2011, 11:47 PM   #8
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

I wouldn't fret over hooking up to the house or starter batteries. They are connected while driving anyway, right? I would tap into whatever is most convenient, taking into consideration the power requirements of the amp and making sure to size your wire properly, and if wiring into the SMB fuse panel that it isn't overloaded with a combined load (it shouldn't be, but I don't know what size wire they run or how many amps the panel is rated for).

I would put the switch on the signal wire for the amp. This will connect to the back of your stereo, typically to a blue wire, that supplies 12v when the stereo is on. If you have a house power switch for your stereo, it would be a perfect spot to put in the new switch for the power signal - you would switch off the amp at the same time you switch the house power on. Clever wiring would do this automatically with a relay so that you would have the amp off by default when powered by the house batteries, but then you could turn the amp back on with an override switch.

To be clear, you are switching the signal wire only. The main power to the amp should be going straight to the power source.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:13 AM   #9
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

How big of an amp are you wanting?

If not too big, there is a factory modified-power plug in the driver's B-pillar trim. It's a 10-ga wire fused for 40-amps, and is switched with the key. Next to the modified power connector is the rear radio control connector. Ford stopped offering rear radio controls in '95 I think, but the connector is still there, and you should be able to find the radio signal wire in there which you can use to trigger the amp.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:28 AM   #10
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Re: Where to tap power for an amplifier?

I love my big amp and sweet sound system. In fact the music sounds the best of any vehicle I have owned which says a lot since it is a big van with a lot of space inside. SMB installed it. You won't regret putting one in. I can run it using the house battery switch so I am not sure how it is wired.
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