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Old 05-22-2014, 12:13 PM
D. Newland D. Newland is offline
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Boat: Mastercraft, X30, 2003, MCX 350
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Chasing noise

I have an Aquatic head unit, 3 Kicker amps and a JL amp, and the system does well while playing a docked Ipod (that goes inside the HU) and radio. However, I'm having noise issues with a Simple Ipod plug in that is wired to power/ground and connected to the Inputs on the HU.

The noise is a steady and fast tapping, with a multi-ranged tone as well. If I disconnect the power to the Simple devise, the noise goes away. The Ipod plays, it just doesn't charge.

It doesn't matter if the power to this Simple device is tapped to an acc switch (how I found it), connected directly to the +/- terminals under the dash or hard-wired to a battery, the noise is there.

My plan is to get rid of the Simple device and install an AirEnabler, which I did, but I'm getting the same exact noise with the AE.

If I power the Air Enabler to a completely separate battery that has nothing else connected to it, there's no noise. And, all of this is happening while the engine isn't running.

Any ideas or thoughts on where to start troubleshooting this? The boat is an X30 which, I think, has had 2 stereo upgrades. Lots going on under the dash that I have been familiarizing myself with during the past 8 months I've owned the boat. At some point, it's all coming out and getting re-done, but not until after this season.

Thanks, guys. Other than this issue, which isn't the fault of the AirEnabler, I like the AirEnabler.
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  #2  
Old 05-23-2014, 09:37 AM
bsloop bsloop is offline
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Sounds like a ground loop issue.
With as much going on as you describe, I would probably not waste too much more time chasing the source.
If Acc is not the HU switch, you might try the same connection points as the HU (both ground and power).

If that does not work, I would just use an external USB power pack. They are cheap ($20-40). You will probably be able to charge the pack while plugged in with no problem.
Bonus I have found is, charge packs will charge almost any phone while 12v/wall chargers can be hit or miss.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:53 PM
D. Newland D. Newland is offline
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Thanks, B. I'm working through this and making some headway.

I'm now focused on the AirEnabler as that's where I'm getting the noise. I did wire +/- right to the factory buss, as is the HU.

As it ships, I have to use a USB to headphone jack, then a headphone jack to RCA female, then an RCA cord to get the signal to the HU. I've ordered a USB to RCA mail to eliminate a few pieces, so I'm hoping that will clean up the noise a bit.

I'm trying to get up to speed on ground loop, but I get lost fast. I do have a question.

My 4 amp set up has a very thick pos/neg cable coming right from the battery 1-2 switch. At the end of the cables, near the amps, is a large fuse block and a ground distribution block that then feeds +/- wires to the amps.

The HU is powered by the factory +/- buss junctions under the dash, and the relay that remotely turns on the amp is getting it's constant 12v from the Acc Switch. I found out that it was probably done this way because the HU 12v remote on wires (there are 2 of them) actually have to be turned on each time the HU is turned on. So, the previous installer just used the power antenna wire to fire the relay.

On the surface, is there anything glaring with this wiring setup that I should address?
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:45 PM
qnology qnology is offline
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Hi D. Newland,

Have you seen the Car Installation Tips page for the AirEnabler?
http://airenabler.qnology.com/car-installation-tips

I would highly recommend picking up a USB Isolator for your noise issue. They are fairly cheap (~$35) and plugs in-between the USB DAC and the AirEnabler, providing a totally clean noise free connection.

Qnology
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:47 PM
D. Newland D. Newland is offline
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thank you for that. I was working more on it last night and this morning and literally brought the AirEnabler business card to work today to check their site for more info/email them!
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Old 05-28-2014, 03:58 PM
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06MCX15 06MCX15 is offline
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Ground your AUX output RCA cables to the cage of the HU. You do this by using a very thin gauge wire. put a ring terminal on one end and strip the other. Put the ring terminal to the ground on the HU cage. Then jam the other end in between the two mating plugs on the negative black connection of the AUX output RCA's. I then ran a ground cable from the HU cage to my amp farm ground distribution block. In fact, I actually did this to all my black RCA connections coming out of the HU.

Because you are feeding the Simple cable with power / ground, it is causing what i would consider a "ground loop" problem. With amplified radios on a boat, you should always try to pull your ground from the exact same location. This is why I also cut my stock factory HU ground and ran it down to the main amp farm ground distribution block. My amps are all fed from this single point to try and avoid the unwanted noise.

Believe me, when I bought my 06 X15, the radio was a ticking disaster. I even had bad engine whining when it was running. Since I grounded everything as described above, I have not had a single problem.

I hope this was helpful. Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:22 PM
D. Newland D. Newland is offline
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06-Thanks for the tip and it's easy for me to try, so let me make sure I understand correctly...

Do you mean the Aux INPUT cables? Mine are white and red, so I'll assume the white one. Also, what exactly is the ground wire supposed to touch? The outer connection of the RCA plug?
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:36 PM
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06MCX15 06MCX15 is offline
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Yes, the AUX input cables. You are right, they are red / white, so put it on the white one. You just slip the bare wire between the outside diameter of the female plug and the outside diameter of the male plug. This is the "shield" part of the RCA cable. So, in essence, this is what you refer to as the "outer connection of the RCA plug". Furthermore, I would do this to all the RCA inputs being used on the HU.

I really hope this works for you. I cannot give you a guarantee, but I have good suspicion that the Simple plug with the charging power and ground is sending noise on the RCA's.

If this does not work, then take your HU ground to one of the main amps, along with the negative ground you are going to make from the HU cage. If you do not have an amp farm common ground distribution, then take both the HU ground and HU cage ground to the amp which has the largest diameter ground back to the battery. If it were me, i would make an amp farm common ground if you dont have one.

Again, good luck and feel free to ask any other questions you may have along the way.

Last edited by 06MCX15; 05-28-2014 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:56 PM
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06MCX15 06MCX15 is offline
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Come to think of it, one much quicker test would be to run the ground from the Simple device back to the amp with the largest diameter wire back to the battery. You could just lay the wire right in the boat as a test to see if it eliminates your ticking. I also have this Simple device to charge my Iphone, but I dont have the noise issue. It could very well be because I have the RCA shields grounded and this is eliminating any noise.
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:35 PM
D. Newland D. Newland is offline
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Thanks for the clarification. I ditched the Simple plug and am just using the AirEnabler now, but the noise is/was similar with both devices.

I also like the idea of grounding the RCA Aux Input cable, as I tested the AirEnabler with just a set of Beats amp'd headphones (AE remained hard-wired in the boat) and I couldn't hear any noise at all. Once I unplugged the headphones and connected the AE to the Aux Input, the fast thumping noise started back up.
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