Having a good car audio system is a great way of keeping yourself and passengers entertained, especially when driving long distances or during road trips. Also, music can help boost your mood and pass time while driving slowly during rush hour traffic. However, getting the best sound system requires installing an amplifier. Unfortunately, the amplifier may overheat, especially when installed in the trunk. In this article, we will discuss how to keep amp cool in trunk.
Why Is My Amp Overheating?
There are several reasons why your car amplifier may overheat. Most notably, if your amp is bridged to a low ohm load, it might overheat. Also, if the amp is installed in an area with poor ventilation, it is likely to overheat. Moreover, it may tend to overheat when playing music for several hours nonstop or during hot weather.
Regardless of the situation, your amp can go into protect mode severally whenever it overheats. Consequently, you won’t have a smooth car music listening experience. Also, excessive heating can cause the amp to burn out. Rather than wait for your amp to burn out, you can take precautionary measures to keep the amp cool at all times. Here is how to keep amp cool in trunk.
1. Ensure the Amp Is Properly Grounded
An amplifier requires proper installation to keep it cool. One of the issues that can cause it to overheat is lack of grounding or poor grounding. Poor grounding can also lead to short circuit and blown fuses. When installing an amplifier in your car, you must ground it properly for optimal performance and prevent overheating.
To ground your amp, you will need to connect the black wire to a good grounding point. The grounding point should be a bare part of the car chassis for perfect grounding. You should not ground it to a painted section of the chassis as the grounding circuit will be incomplete. You can sand a little section of the painted chassis if there is no existing bare section. Also, any rusted grounding point should be sanded.
Also, you should ensure that the grounding cable is thick enough for the power load it will be handling. A smaller wire gauge means more thickness. Thicker grounding wire allows for more load capacity and reduced resistance.
Essentially, the gauge of the grounding wire will depend on the kind of amplifier you are using. A more powerful amp requires a thicker grounding wire to prevent it from overheating and shutting down. Thus, keep the power of your amp in mind when choosing a grounding wire.
2. Allow the Trunk to Cool
If you have exposed the trunk to high temperatures, you can allow it to cool before turning on your car stereo. For instance, if you have parked your car under the hot sun for several hours, you can open the trunk for some minutes to allow the heat to dissipate before driving off.
Although an amp cools down when turned off, it will heat quickly when turned on after exposure to heat. You can avoid this problem by parking your car in a shaded area, especially during summer. Also, if the rear seats are designed to fold, you can fold them during hot weather to enhance air circulation in the trunk.
3. Add a Cooling Fan
The trunk is typically enclosed, making air circulation poor. Consequently, the amp may overheat due to poor air circulation. You can fix this problem by installing a cooling fan. The fan will help with air circulation to keep the amp cool.
While some amps come with a cooling fan, others do not and require installing an external fan. You can easily install a cooling fan. Most of them require 12 volts of power to run, which is the standard power supply for most small car batteries. A computer fan is a great type of fan to install on top of the amp. Here is how to install a cooling fan:
Step 1- The first step is to mount the fan. Preferably, mount the fan on top of the amplifier. The cool air that the fan will blow into the amp heat sink will allow heat to dissipate, thereby cooling the amp. You do not have to drill any holes in your amp.
Step 2- Next, connect the fan to the power supply. To do this, you will connect the red wire to the positive battery terminal. Preferably, connect the red wire to the remote terminal on the amplifier. Doing so will allow it to be turned on only when the amp is powered on by the ignition. It will turn off when the amp turns off. On the other hand, connect the black wire to the amplifier ground terminal.
4. Add a Heat Sink
Another great solution on how to keep amp cool in trunk is by installing a heat sink. In this case, you will install it on the amplifier board. It will help dissipate excessive heat from the amp by increasing the amp surface area that comes into contact with the surrounding air. However, you will need sufficient space in the amp to add an extra heat sink since most amps already come with a heat sink.
5. Choose a Well-Ventilated Mounting Location
If you must install an amp in the trunk, you will need to choose the mounting location carefully. You can keep it cool by installing it in a well-ventilated area of the trunk. Avoid installing it in tight crevices. H
Also, if the amp has grilles, install it in such a way that the grilles are not covered. You can mount the amp with the help of adapter plates to give the base some room for air circulation.
6. Avoid Overworking the Amp
Another way of keeping the amp cool in the trunk is to avoid turning the gain and volume levels all the way up for prolonged play times. By pushing the amp to its limits for long, it will consume more power, thus overheating. Only push it to its limits for short play times to avoid straining it.
An amplifier does a lot of work to amplify sound signals for more volume. As a result, it is prone to overheating. Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can keep it cool to prevent it from going into protect mode or burning out altogether. Hopefully, you have now learnt how to keep amp cool in trunk.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.