Practically every aftermarket head unit has a remote turn-on wire. But there are cases where a car’s stock radio is missing one, so most individuals need to find alternative ways to turn on the aftermarket amplifier without using the remote wire.
The issue of whether a stereo has a remote wire or not is one that many car owners face when setting up an amp in their car. But if the factory radio doesn’t have a remote turn-on wire, how can you switch the amplifier on or off?
In this article, we’ll teach you how to turn on an amp without a remote wire, so you don’t have to worry about it.
What is the Remote Wire
The remote wire or remote turn-on wire is the cable that connects your car amplifier to the stereo. It can be identified as a blue wire with a white stripe found behind the head unit.
The remote wire automatically turns your audio system on and off with the ignition or stereo. An aftermarket stereo has many additional wires that are plugged into it, making it possible for you to plug your amplifier into the stereo.
When your radio is switched on, the remote wire notifies the amplifier and tells it to turn on. If there is a remote turn-on wire in your car, the amplifier will also be turned on or off whenever the stereo is turned on or off.
Compared to the old stereos that used a power antenna wire to turn on the amp, the new factory stereo uses the remote turn-on wire.
How Does a Remote Wire Work
When the radio is switched on, the remote turn-on wire receives a signal of +12 volts DC from the battery, which will allow the radio’s remote turn-on wire to signal the amplifier to also switch on. When the radio goes off or is turned off, the power is cut off and the remote wire can no longer send signals to the amplifier – so the amplifier also turns off.
Your car’s amp won’t turn on if the remote turn-on wire isn’t connected properly. So no matter how good the head unit’s power supply or ground connection is, the amplifier won’t come on. This would lead to a gradual drain of the car’s battery.
6 Ways to Turn on an Amplifier Without a Remote Wire
Turning on an amp without the remote wire is one of the issues car owners face. Maybe you have a faulty remote wire or your factory head unit didn’t come with a remote unit.
Generally, you could plug your remote wire into a cigarette lighter. If the cigarette lighter can be turned on and off by the ignition switch, you could also use a remote turn-on trigger or module.
Get the Turn-on Signal from the Car’s Fuse Box
An effective way of switching an amplifier on without the help of a remote turn-on wire is to get the turn-on signal from the car’s fuse box.
The low current remote turn-on wire permits you to connect to any fuse output terminal you find, like that of a radio. This is permissible if it powers up when the car is switched on.
Before making this connection, confirm that the fuse giving the signal only receives energy when the car is turned on. You can use a multimeter to test this. Using an Add A fuse connector in conjunction with a 2A fuse or 10A fuse makes the connection faster and easier.
Use a Remote Turn-on Trigger or Module
The remote turn-on trigger or module is a tiny device that transmits a signal of +12 Volt to the amplifier once the trigger is on. You can use a low-level trigger lead or speaker wire to activate the turn-on module.
Once the turn-on module has been installed, it delivers a +12 voltage signal to the remote wire, which is triggered by the voltage on the speaker wires. The remote wire then signals the amplifier.
Connect the Remote Turn-on Wire to a Switch
You can connect a switch to a ground wire and continuous power wire, then connect the remote wire to the switch’s output. You can then control when the amplifier is turned on or off manually once you flip the switch.
Utilize a Line Output Converter with a Trigger
This is another way you can turn on an amplifier without using a remote wire. The line output converter(LOC) picks up when the factory head unit turns on and delivers a remote output that triggers the amplifier to come on, too.
Likewise, when you remove the key or turn off the radio, the LOC stops receiving a signal from the speaker level wires in the head unit, which will kill the trigger and turn off the amplifier. The LOC converts the high-level signals obtained from the factory head unit into low-level signals acceptable for the aftermarket amplifier.
Running the Amplifier’s Remote Terminal off a Switched Accessory Wire
This is one of the easiest ways to turn on your amp. Running the amp’s remote terminal off a switched accessory wire will generate a new remote turn-on wire with default settings.
When using the new remote wire, ensure that it is only activated when the ignition is on. Once you turn on your car, the head unit and amp come on. Once you turn off your car, they both go off.
Make Use of a Source That You Can Control with the Ignition Key
Since most stock radios don’t have remote wires like aftermarket radios, the voltage of the turn-on signal has to come from somewhere else – the car’s electrical system.
You need to find a voltage source that is part of the automobile’s electrical system and will only come on when the ignition key is in position. Tap into this source, connect it to the remote turn-on wire, and your amplifier will also turn on with your ignition.
Do Car Amplifiers Need Remote Wires
Yes, they do. This is because every time you put on your stereo, you also need the amplifier to come on. Without a remote wire, you would have to turn on the amplifier manually.
This process is annoying, time-consuming, and impossible to do in some cases. Most cars have their amplifiers behind the seat, trunk, or panel. This means that unless you want to dismantle your car every time you need to turn on and off the amplifier, you’re going to need a remote wire.
Final Take Home
To understand how to turn on an amp without a remote wire, you have to know what purpose the remote wire serves. It allows your amp to turn on simultaneously with your car’s electrical power.
The remote wire is essential to the functionality of the amp. It’s practically impossible for you to turn on your amplifier manually, so you need a remote wire or a way to replicate having one.
Many of the amplifiers manufactured today have a remote turn-on wire connection point, and for them to work properly, the remote wire has to be connected to them properly.
In cases where your stereo doesn’t have a remote wire, we’ve listed several other ways for you to connect and turn on your car amplifier.