Grounding an amplifier is a vital aspect of an audio amplifier, as they tend to control the voltage levels. The mechanism of amplifier grounding includes finding a ground hole in the metal chassis close to the amplifier and securing ground wires. Want to know more about it?
In today’s publication, we will talk about how to ground an amplifier and secure those ground wires for better performance. We will also share some common mistakes that people make that result in issues with the amplifier.
What Is Amplifier Grounding?
Before diving into the methods of grounding an amplifier, let’s discuss grounding. Grounding is the process in which the ground wires are placed near the amplifier to reduce the electric resistance and control and stabilize the voltage levels in an amplifier.
A ground cable is already a part of an amplifier audio system. Its ground terminal is screwed and placed firmly at an ideal location near the chassis and amp.
How to Ground an Amplifier
There are several methods of grounding an amplifier, but not all of them give promising results. With our sure search and experience, we are here with the best ways to ground a car amplifier without damaging the chassis or brake lines and preventing electrical overload.
Step 1: Look For the Best Ground Connection Location
For a perfect ground wire installation, selecting its placement location is crucial. You cannot place the ground wire wherever you like. Instead, there are some common ground connection locations that you should look for in your car.
Most vehicles come with factory bolts for ground wire connection. You can easily find them near the amplifier’s location.
The second most common ground location is the chassis ground, in which there is a bolt around the car’s chassis or the space to do so. It usually offers a stronger and more formal connection with the power wire.
Ideally, the rule of thumb for proper amplifier grounding is that they shouldn’t be more than 14 to 18 inches away from the amplifiers themselves. The shorter the distance between the ground terminal and the amplifier, the stronger and more sustainable connection.
Step 2: If There Isn’t a Factory Ground, Make One!
A common ground problem is no added bolt or factory location for ground placement. In this scenario, don’t lose hope. Instead, make yourself a new ground location.
Ideally, as mentioned above, a metal chassis is a great place to drill and insert your ground cable. You can do it by:
- If the metal sheet of the chassis is covered in paint, rust, or dust, scrape it with sandpaper and make the metal part visible.
- Then, with the driller’s help, drill the hole complimenting your bolt so that it can easily fit in it.
- Ensure you don’t over drill into the gas tank or the brake lines, especially other audio system wires, because it will damage your car, and you’ll need to repair them.
The metal plate is a vital aspect of the ground amp power settings. Without the metal plate, your amp will not power on. Drill the metal plate after removing the excessive and unwanted coats of paint or rust.
Step 3: Connect the Bolt and Metal Chassis
Whether you have a factory bolt or just made one, it must be connected to the metal chassis (making a chassis ground). If you see any dust or paint on the bolt itself, sand it with a machine to ensure a good metal-to-metal connection.
Step 4: Establish a Ground Connection
The most exciting yet crucial part of this guide is connecting the ground cable with the amp. When your grounding point is ready to go, here’s how to attach the ground terminal safely and effectively.
- For proper grounding, take 1.5-2mm of the insulated ground cable parts off.
- Twist them and loop them around your freshly placed ground bolt.
- Once the ground wire is placed, tighten and fix it in place with the help of a lock washer and, ideally, a star washer.
- Ensure the ground cable doesn’t move and is not loose to the touch.
Keep in mind that both the ground wire and power wire gauge should be similar. Otherwise, it can give rise to many problems.
Step 5: Secure Them
You can secure the ground permanently for safety reasons to elongate its life and prevent wiring issues. You can cover the ground wire with a silicone coating or a caulk to do so. This keeps the terminal wires safe and sound while preventing corrosion and electrocution in the surrounding areas.
After that, you’ve successfully ground the amplifier all by yourself. The process is simpler and more convenient to do by yourself instead of spending cash for such a small setup.
Want a More Secure Connection? Here’s Another Way to Ground Your Amplifier!
In some cases, ground terminals can loosen, resulting in improper amp functioning. But you can also achieve a more secure ground wire connection with this alternative using a very similar method of grounding your amplifier.
Step 1: Find the Ground Location and Prepare It
As mentioned in the first few steps of the methods above, prepare the bolt location. In this method, it’s better to drill a hole for a special bolt (we will discuss later) for good grip and adhesion.
Also, remove the metal plate’s paint coatings and rust. Once your ground location is prepared, it’s time for the next step.
Step 2: Make Your Ground Cable Stronger
Even though the ground wire formed an adhesive earlier, you can strengthen it by following these steps to make a more secure connection.
Things you’ll need:
- Soldering metal
- Heat gun
- A shrink tube
Here’s how to do it:
- You should already see the ground terminal’s ring. Make sure it’s properly crimped with the cable.
- Use a soldering metal wire and heat gun to make it stronger. Solder the area between the terminal ring and slightly above the crimped area.
- Let it cool after proper soldering.
- Use a 2 to 3-inch long shrink tube and place it by the crimped side of the wire point.
- Seal it with a heat gun.
Step 3: Place It in the Ground Connection
This technique is quite similar, but we’ll use a positive ground bolt to make the connection more secure. Here’s how you can do it.
- Find a positive ground bolt with a unique tread design that will offer you an easier install and give more room to adhere to the metal plate.
- Place the ground wire and secure it to the bolt.
- Viola! You have a strong connection that won’t budge.
Common Mistakes That Result in Improper Ground Wiring
Bad grounds aren’t just unfortunate. They are a result of improper techniques and negligence of fine details. So here we are, taking extra time to tell you some details about amplifier ground issues that are pretty common.
Not Exposing the Metal Surface
Whether it’s a metal plate or the ground chassis and bolts themselves, connecting the bolt, wire, and scale is important. Any excessive layer of rust or paint will alter the conductance and result in bad ground formation.
A ground loop is more than one electrical connection between terminals and pieces of equipment. It creates a 60-hertz humming sound, which is irritating. There are several methods to remove the ground loop, including ground pins and a ground lift.
Loose Ground Wire
While establishing a connection, it’s important to make the wire as immobile and tight as possible with help from the bolt. Loose ground wire usually occurs when you don’t use a bolt with enough treads or a bolt that is too small and thin.
We recommend using a bolt with good tread to hold the wire firmly with the metal base.
Sealing the final ground wire product is as important as setting it. Seal the exposed tracks with silicone clay or, even better, some spray paints to match it with your car color. This prevents corrosion and enhances the life of the ground wire terminal.
Most of the time, people don’t realize the depth of their drilling and can injure the gas tank or the car’s wires. Before drilling, make sure no car parts lie beneath the metal plate to avoid unnecessary damage.
Grounding an amplifier is not a tough shell to crack. It requires some techniques and attention to minor details to achieve a successful amplifier grounding.
That is why we shared a guide on how to ground an amplifier and some common mistakes people make during this process. We hope that this article helps you out in many ways. If you’re interested in other DIY activities, learn how to make a homemade amplifier.