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My car amp works produces distorded noise . As I plug in the rca cables i noticed that if just the tip of the connector touches i get a good sound but if i insert the whole connector it becomes distorded what might be wrong with my amp?

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You have a grounding issue.

The RCA inputs of the amp are many times NOT tied to chassis ( the chassis of the car ) ground.

Same goes for the RCA outputs of your head unit.

The speaker outputs of your amp SHOULD NOT EVER be tied to chassis ground.

  • make sure that no speaker wire from the amplifier is touching or attached to ground.
  • Make sure that your amplifier ground (GND )( of the 3 power inputs.....GND, +12V, Rem) is securely mounted to a bare metal spot on the frame. Best practice is to have the amp GND, and the head unit GND at the exact same physical point.
  • Make sure that your RCA cable shield ( not the center tip, but the part around it ) is not touching the chassis.
  • Make sure that you have not nicked the wire while installing it and are accidentally getting a connection to the frame of the car.
  • Make sure that the head unit is grounded properly.
  • IF for some reason you have an equalizer between the head unit and the amplifier, make sure it has its own switching power supply INSIDE the EQ.
Bad grounds are a pain to troubleshoot......best of luck....Rob

Posted on Mar 17, 2008

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The number-one cause of subwoofer/speaker hum is the coaxial cable connecting your cable or satellite receiver to your provider (either through an inground run to a cable box or through a satellite dish). Here is how you test for this:
  1. Turn your system on and get it to produce the hum by watching a movie. Pause your DVD or videotape so that the hum is all you hear.
    TIPDon't use a normal cable or satellite program for this; you're about to disconnect the cable that provides the audio and video for your cable/satellite feed.
  2. Find the coaxial cable running from your cable or satellite receiver to your service provider, and while listening to the hum, unscrew the connector and disconnect the cable.
Did the hum stop or reduce by a large amount? If so, the cable you disconnected is the source of the noise. If this is the problem, you have several ways to fix the issue permanently (if not, jump ahead to the next section):
  1. Call your cable or satellite company and ask for a service call. Sometimes you get a smart cable guy, and if you demonstrate the problem he can do something upstream to ground the coaxial cable and remove or reduce the hum.
  2. Buy a power strip that has F connectors as part of its surge protection. Plug the strip into the AC outlet and feed your main coaxial signal through these connectors. This ties the shielding of the coax (the source of the noise) to your AC ground and sometimes can solve the problem.
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Here is why this trick works: the first transformer converts your 75-ohm coax into a 300-ohm antenna connector. The second transformer converts the 300-ohm back to a 75-ohm connector. The humming, which usually is at around 60 Hz, can't pass through these conversions.

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The second cause of hum is called a ground loop, and it almost always shows up right after you bring home a brand-new, self-powered subwoofer, or perhaps an external amplifier.
Take a look at all the plugs on the power cords on your home theater equipment. In most systems, the receiver (or amplifier) has a three-prong power plug, but most of your other devices have only two-prong plugs. This is not by accident; the device with the three-prong power plug is grounded. This means that device "owns" the ground. As long as no other power device has a three-prong plug, everything works well.
When you bring home a self-powered subwoofer and plug it in, though, you might notice it has a three-prong plug; this is for safety reasons. However, when you connect an RCA cable from your receiver to your subwoofer and turn everything on, you suddenly notice a loud hum.
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The proper, safest way to solve this problem is to buy a special subwoofer cable with little arrows on the wire to show the signal direction (see ).
[img src="http://oreilly.com/images/hacks/htheaterhks/figs/htheaterhks_0601.jpg">
Figure 1. Subwoofer cable with directional arrowUnfortunately, many people have been ridiculed when asking about these sorts of cables at their local electronics store: "But cables don't really have a direction. My expert friend at work laughed at me when I asked about this!" Yes, your friend is right. Cables don't have a direction, but these little arrows indicate that this cable will prevent or solve your ground loop problem.
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Hi,
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