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Need some help with boat sound not working


gahvey

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Hi everyone - i have been chasing a problem with my sound system not working pretty much all summer without any luck and wondering if anyone can help me out. I will try my best to describe the problem and my troubleshooting steps, but let me know if you have any other questions.

  1. Tower speaker amp (Kicker 400.2) goes into protect mode. This happens pretty much right when power is given to the amp. The problem that I have is that sometimes it stays in protect mode and other times it comes out - when it comes out it usually is without me touching anything.
    a.) Things I have tried
    1.) checked the wiring to make sure that there are no dead lines
    2.) Unplugged all inputs and outputs (except power and ground), so all RCA's and all speaker wires are unplugged
    3.) Checked the grounds at the battery to make sure they are clean and secured
    4.) According to the manual the amp can go into protect mode because it is hot but it will do this first thing in the morning when it is 65 degrees out and just turned on for first time
  2. Cabin speaker and sub amp (Kicker 700.5) goes into protect mode sometimes. This doesn't happen a ton it is more that the sub goes on and off but not sure why. I also have a loud squeal that comes out of this amp and gets sent to the speakers from the time the stereo is turned on.
    a.) Things I have tried
    1.) Pretty much all of the items above have also been done here....My knowledge of audio used to be good but I haven't used it in a long time and am now pretty much an idiot.

Anyone have any thoughts on what I can check? I think the amps are about 10 years old so it is possible that they are just failing but I would like to try to get it figured out before I have to put it in storage for the winter so I can come up with a game plan to fix it in the spring. Hoping some of you audio phobes out there can point me in the right troubleshooting direction

Thanks

Jeff

Edited by gahvey
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Thermal protect mode is one of the things, but not the only. Thermal mode will usually return to normal operation once the amp cools down. Lets start with what speakers are these amp driving. How many and how they are wired, including the sub. Need to know specifically, if its a single or dual voice coil and what impedance.

Whats the voltage at the amp on the power lugs and the turn-on terminal? Over voltage will send an amp into protect mode. Low voltage may result in a protect light or the amp may just s*** down.

1.a.1) what exactly did you check?

1.a.2) and the amp still went into protect mode upon power up?

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Hi MLA - not sure I can provide all the information you are looking for as I am not the original owner, but I will try to fill in what I can.

Speakers. Cabin Speakers are Infinity 6.5" speakers. Tower speakers are MB QUartz. 4 of each type plus a small tweater on the tower speakers.

The sub is a JL audio but I don't know the model or anything else about it. The sub needs to be replaced anyway as the outside ring is ripped.

I don't know voltage...don't have a multimeter which.I guess I need to get that information?

For 1a1 I verified that each line independently works. For 1a2, yes that is correct

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GA - Here's a few pointers that should steer you in the right direction. It's easy to assume everything is bad and needs to be replaced...but I'd advise you to dig a bit deeper for pulling out your wallet for new amps. My comments are inserted into your post as follows:

  1. Tower speaker amp (Kicker 400.2) goes into protect mode. This happens pretty much right when power is given to the amp. The problem that I have is that sometimes it stays in protect mode and other times it comes out - when it comes out it usually is without me touching anything.
  2. a.) Things I have tried
    1.) checked the wiring to make sure that there are no dead lines
    2.) Unplugged all inputs and outputs (except power and ground), so all RCA's and all speaker wires are unplugged
    3.) Checked the grounds at the battery to make sure they are clean and secured
    4.) According to the manual the amp can go into protect mode because it is hot but it will do this first thing in the morning when it is 65 degrees out and just turned on for first time

****** All this stuff is fine, but what your really trying to do when you trouble shoot is isolate the problem. It doesn't sound like the things you tried have given you that isolation. I'd suggest you go out and buy yourself a cable that goes from 3.5mm (headphone style) to RCA ends. Unplug your amp inputs on the tower input and drive the towers with your iPhone or droid as the case may be. What your doing is in effect bypassing the entire upstream signal. If the problem goes away, then we know that the problem is from the amp downward.

****** additionally, you are going to want to go to harbor freight and purchase a 5 dollar multimeter. Flip it on DC and measure what the voltage is at the amplifier. If your voltage is dropping below 11V, then we have a battery supply problem and what your seeing is the amps trying to save their own lives before getting taken out.

*** In simplistic trouble shooting, if your amp goes into protect with your speaker outputs and rca inputs unplugged, then the amplifier has got a problem internally. If this is the case, look into the cost of repair and or replacement. It's important to unplug everything before making this assessment.

  1. Cabin speaker and sub amp (Kicker 700.5) goes into protect mode sometimes. This doesn't happen a ton it is more that the sub goes on and off but not sure why. I also have a loud squeal that comes out of this amp and gets sent to the speakers from the time the stereo is turned on.

**** the squeal bothers me. By chance do you have a pre amp EQ in the system? Often times we see a faulty squeal happening because the EQ has gone bad and is sending bad mojo down the RCA cables to the amp inputs.

**** The sub could be turning itself off because of low voltage here as well. measure voltage with that meter.

*** If the amp is getting hot when the sub turns off, this is because the amp cannot keep up with the demands the sub is placing on the amplifier. If this is the case, then look at an amp upgrade and or test the sub impedance with that volt meter to make sure the sub isn't cooked and hurting the amplifier.

  1. a.) Things I have tried
    1.) Pretty much all of the items above have also been done here....My knowledge of audio used to be good but I haven't used it in a long time and am now pretty much an idiot.

***** All of the things I've laid out for you are very straight forward to do. They will yield answers. Try these things and report back. The group can give you guidance based on these results.

-Brian

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Hi MLA - not sure I can provide all the information you are looking for as I am not the original owner, but I will try to fill in what I can.

Speakers. Cabin Speakers are Infinity 6.5" speakers. Tower speakers are MB QUartz. 4 of each type plus a small tweater on the tower speakers.

The sub is a JL audio but I don't know the model or anything else about it. The sub needs to be replaced anyway as the outside ring is ripped.

I don't know voltage...don't have a multimeter which.I guess I need to get that information?

For 1a1 I verified that each line independently works. For 1a2, yes that is correct

Yes, a DVOM (digital volt ohm meter) will be needed. Since you have 2 amps both exhibiting a similar issue, although one is almost constant and the other is random, you are possibly looking at a voltage issue. High voltage will certainly put an amp into protect mode. With all inputs and outputs disconnected on the 400.2 and the amp is still going into protect mode, leaves you with a voltage issue or an internal amp issue.

Is the sub chnl getting its signal from a dedicated sub RCA input or is it passing through from the "Amp-1" rca? The sub dropping out could be the sub itself, like a broken tinsel lead, loose connection at the sub or the amp, or a loose RCA or signal lose from the source

Is the squeal just from in-boat speakers? I know its hard to tell with the tower amp in constant protect mode, but have you ever heard the squeal from the in-boats at a time when the tower speakers were functioning? This squeal could be generated by the amp or by the main source unit.

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Hi Everyone...I bought a multimeter today and went to do some testing, but both amps fired up and were working as expected. I did however test the voltage on the power lines for the amps and both came in at 12.2 V. I also tested for the squeal a little bit more. there is one amp that is squealing (just the one that powers the speakers in the cabin and the sub). I do have an equalizer over by the stereo (three dials that independently control the gains on the sub, cabin and tower speakers. I removed the RCA's from that one amp that is squealing and turned everything on and the squeal was still there, so I think that should safely remove the equalizer and the wiring from the stereo from causing the squeal. Let me know if you have other things to test though.

I also removed the RCA from the tower speakers amp and plugged my phone in using a 3.5mm to RCA adapter and the tower speakers were working there as well as when hooked up to the stereo the standard way. The only thing that I can see as a difference from yesterday to today (both days that I have recently tested) was that yesterday was sunny and slightly warmer (as in 2-3 degrees).

Any thoughts on what to test next?

Thanks everyone for the help so far!

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Have you checked your grounds? not just the amp to battery, but mainly the ground wire that is grounding the battery itself.

What size power and ground wire on the amps? Are they the same size?

Edited by 1HELLUVALIFE
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I'm not sure where the batteries are grounded on that model boat. From previous experience with a kicker amp in a vehicle application the ground came loose and would go into this protect mode. I don't believe that yours is going into thermal protection as it goes into protect mode as soon as the amps come on.

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