Go Back   TeamTalk > Maintenance Tips, How-tos and Refurbishing Topics > Audio/Stereo

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-26-2011, 11:47 AM
nuthut
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Help Please

I'm having a problem with my stereo, and was hoping someone could help me with it. I know next to nothing about audio equipment, so any help would be appreciated.

When we turn on our stereo, there is a constant clicking sound coming from the tower speakers. The red power light on one of the amps flickers at the same frequency.

To get by, we just unhooked that amp. We don't have any sound out of tower speakers, but the rest of the speakers in the boat work fine.

I was getting ready to buy a new amp, but wanted to see if anyone on here had any ideas before I spent the money. If I do need to replace the amp, should I replace with a car amp or with a marine amp? Wasn't sure if the marine amp was worth the extra money.

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-26-2011, 01:00 PM
EarmarkMarine's Avatar
EarmarkMarine EarmarkMarine is offline
MC Fanatic
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Boat: TBD
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 518
You do not want to carry an old problem forward and introduce a new product to an existing issue so you really should do some basic diagnostics before making a new amplifier purchase.
The amplifier manual may clarify what the red indicator light is doing. But its probably the amplifier cycling on/off rapidly for one of several reasons. And that event could be caused by an internal or external problem. The amplifier could be protecting itself.
You should have a simple $10 to $20 volt/multimeter. This will not be the last time it will come in handy on your boat.
Check voltage to the amplifier at the amplifier primary terminals. You would like to see at least 12.0 volts there. There could be a problem with the supply for just that amplifier.
Check the impedance/resistance of both the tower speakers/channels at the terminals of the amplifier. The speakers will determine the value and it may be anywhere from 3.5 to 8 ohms depending on the specific speakers. You definitely need to have a consistent reading (+/- 10%) here no matter what it is.
Check the continuity between the speaker negatives at the amplifier terminals and the amplifier supply ground. The resistance value should be infinite or extremely high representing an open circuit or close to it. If you have a short then re-test the amplifier in the same way with the speaker terminals empty. This will isolate a problem to be either internal or external to the amplifier.
If you find a problem with the tower external to the amplifier then remove the tower speakers from their pods and check the speakers independent from the wiring. Again, check for a consistent resistance for both speakers.
If you suspect a wiring problem you can do an isolated continuity check between the pos. and neg. tower wires. You can also run a temporary jumper from the amplifier to a tower speaker thereby circumventing the tower wiring.
If in the end the diagnosis points to the amplifier take it to your local ME dealer for a bench check.
I've tried to keep this as simple as possible. If its too much then enlist the assistance of your local ME dealer. You can always take just the amplifier and speakers to them for testing. If they bench test both and find a problem with one then its fairly safe to assume that there isn't further issues remaining in the boat. But if you overlook and leave a problem intact in the boat then you could be damaging the replacement product.

Marine amplifiers are a 'must have' in a coastal community or brackish area with salt air. Marine amplifiers will not help you if the amplifier gets wet directly while in operation. Most don't use marine in fresh water. Having a little extra insurance should cost 5 to 10 percent more. A marine amplifier is no solution for draining cup holders or placing a boat into storage under cover with water in the bilge.

David
Earmark Marine
__________________
Earmark Marine
www.earmarkmarine.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-26-2011, 04:14 PM
swatguy's Avatar
swatguy swatguy is offline
MC Devotee
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Boat: 2000 X-star
Location: Midwest, Chicago
Posts: 1,697
David is spot on as usual.

What kind of amp n tower speakers, boat, etc. Did the problem just surface after working fine? There is really no easy diagnosis when it comes to stereo stuff, but def don't just slap a new amp in there. The amp is probably going unto some kind of protect mode. Did you just rewire something? Possible one of the power leads to amp came loose. I would start for sure checking the power leads to the amp, from there go to the speakers wires. It may just be a simple wire loose causing the amp to see a bad power source or an ohm issue from speakers. Again don't dump money on new amp. You may fry that by introducing it.
__________________
2000 X-Star, 3000lbs ballast, LTR 330, Acme 1235 14.5X14.25prop.

Last edited by swatguy; 12-26-2011 at 04:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-27-2011, 06:21 PM
nuthut
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thank you both for the replies. The boat is a 2005 X45 with standard JL Audio system. We just bought the boat at the beginning of last summer and the problem was present when we bought it, so not sure when it started.

My padre did a little testing on it yesterday as David laid out. Speaker resistance was consistent between the speakers.

Dad said there was a blue wire that ran between the amps and then up to the radio. When he unhooked that wire, the power light on the amp quit flashing and stayed consistently on. If this triggers any thoughts, let me know.

Sorry that isn't an overly technical description of what is going on, but that's all I got over the phone. I'll try to post more details if I get them.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-27-2011, 06:38 PM
CantRepeat's Avatar
CantRepeat CantRepeat is online now
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Boat: 06 X30
Location: Roll Tide!!
Posts: 8,083
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthut View Post
Thank you both for the replies. The boat is a 2005 X45 with standard JL Audio system. We just bought the boat at the beginning of last summer and the problem was present when we bought it, so not sure when it started.

My padre did a little testing on it yesterday as David laid out. Speaker resistance was consistent between the speakers.

Dad said there was a blue wire that ran between the amps and then up to the radio. When he unhooked that wire, the power light on the amp quit flashing and stayed consistently on. If this triggers any thoughts, let me know.

Sorry that isn't an overly technical description of what is going on, but that's all I got over the phone. I'll try to post more details if I get them.
The blue wire is more then likely the remote turn on wire for the amp.
__________________
Tim
Gone, surfing.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-27-2011, 07:13 PM
EarmarkMarine's Avatar
EarmarkMarine EarmarkMarine is offline
MC Fanatic
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Boat: TBD
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 518
Yeah, a blue color wire is traditionally used for the amplifier turn-on lead which just triggers the amplifier on and off without having any other workload duties. Its odd that you could disconnect it and the amplifier would still be operational. However, something could have been wrongly terminated at the source unit end.
Just for padre, let him know that there are only three power related wires to an amplifier.
1) Turn-on: (typ. 18-gauge blue) When the source unit is powered up it sends a low current 12 V (+/-) trigger that commands the amplifier to power up, removing the 12 V as the source unit is powered down which in turn powers down the amplifier.
2) Primary power (typ. red or blue 8 to 4-gauge) Comes from the battery or battery switch. This is the main workload supply.
3) Primary ground (typ. silver or black 8 to 4-gauge) Connects to the battery common ground which connects to the engine block and numerous other ground points.
Its a good idea to confirm what each wire is and is not with a volt/multimeter. Always confirm that its not positive power before doing a continuity check to verify ground.
Other than that you have the RCA cables that carry the input signal and the outgoing speaker terminals.
Its just that simple.

David
Earmark Marine
__________________
Earmark Marine
www.earmarkmarine.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-27-2011, 07:25 PM
JimN's Avatar
JimN JimN is offline
MC Master Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 11,449
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthut View Post
Thank you both for the replies. The boat is a 2005 X45 with standard JL Audio system. We just bought the boat at the beginning of last summer and the problem was present when we bought it, so not sure when it started.

My padre did a little testing on it yesterday as David laid out. Speaker resistance was consistent between the speakers.

Dad said there was a blue wire that ran between the amps and then up to the radio. When he unhooked that wire, the power light on the amp quit flashing and stayed consistently on. If this triggers any thoughts, let me know.

Sorry that isn't an overly technical description of what is going on, but that's all I got over the phone. I'll try to post more details if I get them.
Inspect the fuse holder or breaker, terminals and cable clamps for the audio power cables at the battery. Clicking and power LED cycling usually means low voltage at the amp, usually less than 10VDC. As David posted, use a meter- they're cheap and you'll be able to use it for other things later. If you measure the DC voltage at the battery, measure across the two posts, on the post itself. Then, move ONE probe to the terminal and see if the voltage drops. If it does, clean both posts and see if it works. If you see a drop, go directly to the amp and check the voltage on the two main power terminals. If you see anything less than what you see at the battery, clean and/or replace the terminals, especially if they have gotten wet. If you use crimp-on terminals, crimp AND solder them. Better yet, use Heat N Seal terminals- they have low melting point solder and a glue that's heat activated to seal the bare wires (a butane lighter can be used, if you're careful).
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:48 AM.