What Is Amplifier Protect Mode?
Amplifier protection mode is a shutdown state that car amps may enter in certain situations. The purpose of the shutdown state is to prevent damage to the amp or other system components. So while dealing with an amp in protect mode may be annoying, it might save you from a bigger headache down the road.
Causes of Amplifier Protection Mode
Some common causes of an amp going into protect mode include:
- Improper installation of the amp.
- The amp has overheated for some reason.
- One or more wires have come loose.
- The amp has failed internally.
Troubleshooting Amplifier Protect Mode
Fully troubleshooting a problem like this might be over your head if you’re a novice, so it might be worth getting help from an expert or experienced friend. If that isn’t an option, or you want to get a head start, here are some easy questions you can ask yourself to get on the right track.
- Did the amplifier malfunction when it was turned on the first time? The failure is probably due to an installation problem. If you paid someone to install the amp, check with them before you do any diagnostic work on your own. Start your diagnostic by checking the power and ground cables and making sure that the amp is physically isolated from any bare metal contact with the vehicle.
- Did the amplifier malfunction after a long listening session? Your amplifier might have simply overheated.
- Did the amplifier malfunction while driving on a rough road? The wires may not have been properly secured to the system, causing them to come loose when the vehicle hit a rough road.
If any of the above situations apply, you have a great place to start the troubleshooting process. In the case of a problem that manifested immediately after installing and wiring an amp, start by checking the power and ground wires in addition to the patch cables.
Some amps go into protect mode if they get too hot, which can prevent a permanent failure. The common cause of overheating is a lack of airflow.
If the amp is located underneath the seats, or in another confined space, that may cause it to overheat. One way to test this is to set up a 12v fan so that it blows air over the amp. If the amp no longer goes into protect mode, relocating it to a less confined space, or changing the way it's mounted, may fix the problem.
Driving around with a fan blowing on your amp isn't a long-term solution. Still, if using a fan stops the amp from shutting down and entering protect mode, that's a clue that remounting or relocating the amp will fix the problem. Increasing the air gap between the top, bottom, and sides of the amp can help increase airflow, or you may need to move it to a different location.
In some cases, a loose or shorted wire causes an amp to go into protect mode to prevent a more serious problem from occurring. Diagnosing and fixing this requires checking each individual power and ground wire.
Ground problems can often be fixed by cleaning and tightening the ground connection or relocating it if necessary. Power issues may be related to a loose or burnt wire, but a blown amp fuse is also possible. Amps typically include built-in fuses in addition to in-line fuses, so check both of these.
Internal Amp Problem
If you notice that the contacts your amp fuse clips into have gotten hot, or melted, it's likely that the fuse won't make good electrical contact, and it may overheat and blow again. In this case, there may be an internal problem with the amp.
An overheating amp can also be the result of a mismatch between speaker impedance and the range the amp is designed to work with, or speakers or wires that are shorted out.
Before you dig in any further, check a few easy points of failure like fuses. Although amps usually don't go into protect mode due to a blown onboard fuse, it's easy to check and might save you from a headache down the line.
Break It Down
Troubleshooting an amp in protect mode—beyond asking the questions listed above—starts off by breaking it down to basics. You'll typically disconnect the amp from the head unit and the speakers to see if the problem still exists.
If the amp remains in protect mode at that point, there may be a power or ground problem, or a problem with the installation where the body of the amp makes contact with bare metal. Since metal components of a vehicle's frame, body, and unibody act as a ground, allowing an amplifier to touch bare metal can cause all sorts of problems.
Hook It Up
If your amplifier remains in protect mode with everything disconnected, and you're sure that there aren't any power or ground issues, the amp might be defective. However, the problem lies elsewhere if the amp is no longer in protect mode at that point, and you can look for the issue by connecting the speaker wires and patch cables one by one.
If you connect a component back up, and the amp goes into protect mode, the problem has to do with that component or related wiring or cables. For instance, a speaker with a shorted-out or damaged coil can cause problems.
In the event that everything has power, nothing is shorted out, and the amp isn't overheating, then the amp may have some type of internal fault. That typically means professional repairs or replacing the amp.
To get the best sound from your car amplifier, adjust your gain component setting so that it's under the maximum level that meets distortion. Other suggestions include changing the frequency to your unit's specified frequency numbers, tuning your car's amplifier by ear, or using tuning equipment to test each component's sound quality.
To choose the right amp for your car or truck, find your car speakers' RMS (root mean square) value and select an amp that puts out 75 to 150 percent of that number. If you're adding a subwoofer to the system, you can get a single-channel amp; otherwise, you'll need one channel for each speaker.
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Why does my protection come on when I plug in the RCA's
Posted oni have a boss riot 1400 watt mono block amp on a kicker L5 12...even with out the speaker hooked up the protection comes on when if the RCA's are plugged in. if they are not plugged up the power is on and it is ready to go....but as soon as i hook them up the protect comes back on....can anyone help me?????
Posted onget a new head unit. the one you have might not provide a good signal to the amp via the rca plugs.
Posted onI have the exact same amp(the read and black on right with the plexiglass?) pushing 2 10'mtx 6000's. That happened to me before. You may want to if you already haven't check your ground wire, your power wire, and your fuses. Something may be wrong in one of those areas. When my light came on it was because I had run a bad ground.
Posted oni can run a smaller amp on the same ground and power lines...(a boss rip-495)and it will run good...the power and ground are 10 ga.
this amp goes to protect as soon as the rca's touch it...but it is powered up when the rca's are not on it...
what could be wrong....?????
Posted ondo you really wanna know the REAL problem you have a BOSS amp what u should do is throw that crap away or sell it (and rip someone else off) because even if u do get it workin its not gonna be as loud as it could be with a real amp especially powering a good sub which u got. if u had a boss or legacxy or pyle sub itd be differernt but u got a nice sub and shi*ty amp so my suggestion is get an audiobahn amp (intake series- loud and affordable) or if moneys no biggy go with a rockford or kicker amp
Posted onyep that sounds like a plan boss is really shitty
Posted onMake sure everything is hooked up right... Sounds like the ground at your amp and the ground at your HU are different, and when the RCA's try to equal out the voltage it throws it into protect, because the amp sees a huge voltage on the input. Just a thought.
Posted oni have a 1400 watt Lanzar amp (VIBE 255). Protection light's on, but everything else lights up. When i hook it up to my subs (10" Type E alpine) there's a constant thump that comes out of the left channel. I took it apart to find a burnt resistor or anything, but i can't see everything, the fuses are fine, my ground's fine (i'd know if it wasn't cause i've got a capacitor), and it's getting the juice...any suggestions??
Posted onI have a boss rev1000 1600 watt amp. heres my problem when i turn on my system it hits once then shuts off the power light comes on but then it hits and the power light goes off and the protection light comes on here is some other stuff that you might need to know to help me awnser my question i have 2 gauge power wire 4 gauge ground. I am running off my factory cd player i have two rca converter boxes to run my rca's im saving for a dvd player/screen combo thats why im running off my factory cd player. Is the cd player the problem. Thanks for helping me.
Posted onI have a 1400 watt Pyle amp with 2 sony xplods when i get to a certian volume my amp goes on protection can u help me out i would apreciat it.
Posted onmake sure the amp is stable to the speaker impedence. you can't run an amp at 2 ohms if it is only 4 ohm stable.
Posted oni have a sony explode 1'000 watt amp pushin 2 rockfrod fosgates 12's my amp keep's going in and out. i detach my face and put it back on and the beat goes back on. this amp hold's tow fuse's could this be because i need to replace one of the two fuse's hit me back up someone
I need help
Posted onRecently I bought two 12" alpine type r subs. And I just bought a Stretch daddy 2000 watt amp with a wiring kit. I got everything hooked up and the power on the amp turned on then I touched the ground wire from the cd player to the negative on the battery, and the fuse blew. so I bought some new fuses and put them in the cd player and now nothing will turn on. I checked the fuse on the outside of the amp and it was fine. Is there a fuse on the inside of the amp? If you could tell me why its not turning on that would be great.
before you go pulling the amp apart and just hoping to find someting obvious..... get out your(or buy) miltimeter and verify voltage at the power and ground and make it happenreally does sound like a grounding issue, and you can isolate the amp by using a 3.5mm jack to rca cable and play it from a portable device headphone..... wait, did i just read that right???^^^^ bigger fuse and wire will cook the amp?????? come on, wtf? rubbish. you could run 4/0 to a 100watt amp with a 500a fuse, and the worst case result is too much bulky wire in your way. now, you run a 2k on 8awg, and a fuse big enough that it won't pop(will anyways because the wire will melt it) and you have serious issues....... big key here with amps, is voltage drop...... 95% electrical related amp failures can be traced right back to voltage drop. bad ground=voltage drop=overloaded rca circuits. too low impeedance drops the rail voltage way too low and also drops the current cpabilities of the outputs. not enough alternator and/or battery/wire= voltage drop and lotsa heat and clipping in the amp..... clipping=overrun the ac voltage cycle= less voltage, less speaker movement(=less resistance, usually)=see "low impeedance", etc, etc, etc...... really, go buy yourself a multimeter audiobaun, and do a lot of research on how electricity works.... you need it...
anyways, back to the matter at hand.... also make sure the rcas are not loose in the amp... rockfords are known for it, more specifically because i have only seen rockfords actually throw a protect from bad rca jacks, but that's just what i've seen.... usually you only get noise (or lack there of) on other amps
amp goes into protection mode when connect rca cables - Audio & Electronics Forum
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i have a 2 channel audiobahn amp that goes off to protection everytime i try to connect rca jacks... with power/ground/remote the protection light is off but then goes on again when i connect my RCAs... anybody know why that is so?
My car may run 18s, but I can do your taxes in 10 seconds flat.
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grounding should be ok on amp and HU , i am not sure what you mean by grounding RCAs... what else could be the problem? anyone?
try disconnecting your remote wire, connecting your rcas and then connecting your remote wire
"I did it because I wanted to see what it would look like. You should be greatful that I even told you that it would look good. If your to dumb to use photoshop and change the color of your own car then you don't need to see it changed. I'm not going to give my work away. I'll sell the pic to you though for $15."-Adam Kalin
^^JBO is about not being that guy
ok so i did what chris said and now the light goes off when i connect the remote wire and RCAs are fine. so what does it mean?
ok i tried another amp and it won't power up as well, so there's gotta be something wrong with my wiring... amp is grounded no doubt, i don't know what else to think of?!
i tripled checked all the wiring... i even measured current with volt meter, everything IS hooked up right, but none of the amps work... this just can't be...
Another possibility is to disconnect the subs, they might be wired at too low an impedance.
Also lower the gain.
wiring is done right 100 %... i have current flowing as normal and is grounded, and i get a signal from a deck, as well as RCAs are hooked propertly. the deck is not a problem i am sure of, but amps i am not too sure about, it could be that they're both broken, but i just have difficulty believing that....
1 amp and sub is working! thanks guys for your inputs! system sounds much better now with a sub... tomorrow i am going to try to amp 1 pair of speakers (hoping that the other amp works too)
grounding... i had to sand off paint from a bolt i was gonna ground to... turns out that paint is an insulator for current flow... i also burn a fuse ... but now both amps are running and overall sound is much better, except that the sub is not really astounding and 1 amp overheats (i think). now i need to start sound deading the whole car cause it viobrates like a mofo.
My amp does this too but its not my wires cuz I hooked up my over amp and it worked lol so what can that b
joshua tisdale wrote:
My amp does this too but its not my wires cuz I hooked up my over amp and it worked lol so what can that b
probably something wrong with the amp its self. if the second one does work and the first one doesn't then there's a problem with it.
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Next year 155 DB
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Protect rca mode when amp goes into
I get so many questions about amplifiers going into protection (or blowing fuses after remote turn-on voltage is applied) that I've decided to provide a page to help determine if the amplifier is faulty or if a fault in the system is causing a problem.
- Many amplifiers will illuminate their protect LED during the mute delay (when you initially power up the amplifier). After a short delay (2-10 seconds), the protect LED will go off. For those amplifiers this is normal. Other amplifiers ONLY illuminate the protect LED when there is a problem. If you know how your amplifier behaves when the amp is in good working order, it will make troubleshooting much easier. If you are unsure about this, you can email me or ask someone on a forum where they're familiar with the amplifier you have. For the most part, this page is for amplifiers that go into protect mode and remain in protect mode or go into protect mode when the amplifier is driven hard.
- Many times, the protection indicator will blink to indicate the reason the amp is in protect mode. The owner's manual is the best source to help you decode the blink sequence. This is common on older Alpine amplifiers.
- Not all amps have a protection mode indicator. Some simply shut down and the power light will not illuminate when in protect mode. If the power light blinks then goes off, the amp is either going into protect mode or there is a bad connection in the power supply wiring.
- Generally, the power light is green or blue and the protect light is red but on some amps, the protect light is green and the power light is red. Look at the silkscreen on the amplifier to confirm the function of the LEDs
- Some amplifiers have multiple protect lights. For example, some of the Sony amplifiers have lights for power, overcurrent and thermal protection. The lights are always lit when the amp powers up but are normally green. When there is a fault, the LED changes from green to amber.
- Many amplifiers show protect when initially powered up (mute delay) and then switch to green. Sometimes it's a single LED that changes color (PPI). Sometimes it switches the red LED off and switches the green on (Planet Audio, Power Acoustik and similar amps). Some (like the old Autoteks) light the green LED and red LED initially then the red LED switches off.
- In MANY amplifiers, the power LED will be lit but the amplifier will be completely dead internally. This is especially true when the power supply has failed.
- There are a few amps (some JL Audio) that will go into protect and none of the indicators change. This happens when the voltage drops too low when the amp is being driven hard with an insufficient power supply. Sometimes, a VERY brief drop in voltage (too short to be seen on a standard multimeter) will cause the amp to shut down for a short while.
Again... It's helpful to know how the amplifier behaves when working properly. If your amp is working properly, pay attention the way the indicators light up when powering the amp up. If you don't know how they're supposed to behave, ask around.
The first thing you need to check is the on-board fuses plugged into the amplifier (if it has them). Not many amplifiers will illuminate the protection light when the fuses are blown but a few will so you need to check this. If the fuse holders are melted, you need to have the amp checked by a technician to determine why they melted and to determine if the fuse holders are usable. Generally, when the fuse holder melts, the contacts become badly oxidized and the clips lose their tempering. This means that they can no longer function properly and will continue to overheat.
For those who don't know what a blown fuse looks like, the one on the left below is blown. The one on the right is OK.
B+ and Remote Voltage:
Not all amps have low voltage protection but some do (MTX, Rockford and most of the Japanese brands). This means that you must confirm that you have sufficient voltage reaching the amplifier for it to operate properly.
With your multimeter set to DC volts, the black meter probe on the ground terminal of the amp (not on the point where the ground wire connected to the vehicle) and the head unit on (so the amp will have remote voltage applied), touch the red probe alternately to the B+ (battery +) and remote terminals of the amp. If the voltage is below ~11 volts, you need to check the wiring feeding whichever line is too low. Normally, both will be above 12v. It's important that you leave your head unit on during testing so that the remote line will have voltage on it, the amplifier will be on, and the amplifier will be drawing current. Sometimes the voltage will only drop when current is being drawn from the power source.
If the amp only shuts down when the amplifier tries to produce high power (when it hits a strong note), you need to measure the voltage at the time when the amp shuts down. The voltage drop should be minimal when the amp is producing/trying to produce significant output. If it's dropping below ~11v, you need to determine why.
If you have confirmed that you have sufficient voltage on the amplifier's B+ and remote terminals and have a good ground, procede to step 3.
Above, I purposely recommend placing the black probe of the meter on the ground terminal of the amp. If you place it on a chassis ground point in the vehicle and there is a bad connection between the amplifier ground terminal and the chassis ground, it will appear that the amplifier has sufficient voltage at the B+ and remote terminals (assuming that the feeds to those are intact).
If the voltage at BOTH the B+ and remote terminals is low and your vehicle's battery is not low (check the voltage at the battery with the multimeter), touch the black lead to a known good ground (a point scraped to the metal on the floor pan of the vehicle) and the red lead to the ground terminal of the amp. If you read more than 0.01v and the amp is at idle, you may have a bad ground. If you read over 0.1v, you definitely have a bad ground.
If you find that the B+ or remote voltage is low at the amplifier, you need to trace the voltage back to the source to determine where the voltage is dropping. At each connection, fuse or other point where the wire is not continuous, check the voltage. You need to check the voltage on BOTH sides of each connector and fuse holder. Since the meter leads are not long enough to reach the grounds at the battery or trunk over the long run of the power wire, you need to scratch the paint/primer/undercoat to bare metal at each point where you need to check the voltage. If you find that the voltage is good on one side of a connector or fuse but not on the other side of the connector/fuse, you need to replace the connector or fuse. In some cases, the connections between the wire and the fuse holder will be a problem. You will also see defective fuse holders.
Clues to a Bad Connection:
Generally, when there is a bad connection and the connection has been bad for an extended period of time, the insulating material around the connector will be melted. The image below shows a terminal block that melted because the set screw wasn't tight enough on the wire (this is very common). In this particular amp, the damage was so bad that the block melted the solder and pulled out of the board.
Fuses - Open But Not 'Blown':
Also, just because a fuse doesn't look blown, that doesn't mean it's intact. If there's a question, pull the fuse from the holder and measure the resistance across it (set meter to ohms). The resistance across fuses rated more than a few amps will be essentially 0 ohms. Most meters will not read to 0 ohms. To know how low your meter reads at 0 ohms, touch the leads together for 5 seconds. This is what you should read when you touch the meter across the fuse (out of the fuse holder).
An important note about the Flash demos/graphics on this site... The powers that be have deemed that the Flash content on web pages is too risky to be used by the general internet user and soon, ALL of the support for it will be eliminated (most Flash access was eliminated 1-1-2021). This means that no modern browser will display any of these demos, by default. The fix for now is to download the Ruffle extension for your browser. Ruffle Web Site. Please email me ([email protected]) to let me know if Ruffle is working well for you and what browser you're using.
An alternative to Ruffle is another browser, Maxthon 220.127.116.110. For more information on the Flash problem and Maxthon (standard and portable), click HERE.
The following demo is from the Installation Primer page of my Basic Car Audio Electronics site. At every point where there is a green indicator, you should check the voltage. Using the demo should help you to better understand where you'd lose voltage when there is a break in the circuit.
If the voltage remains near or above 12v but the amp still goes into protect mode, disconnect all speaker wires from the speaker terminals of the amp and disconnect signal cables from the amp. It's important that you disconnect the speaker wires from the speaker terminals of the amplifier and disconnect all RCA cables from the RCA jacks of the amplifier.
If the amp powers up after disconnecting the speaker and signal cables from it, try reconnecting the RCA cables. If the amp goes into protect with the RCA cables plugged in, go to step 4. If it doesn't go into protect, reconnect one pair of speaker wires at a time. If you're using a mono amp and have only one pair of speaker wires, you'll need to disconnect all but one speaker from the other end of the speaker wires. If you find that one pair of speaker wires or one speaker causes the amp to go into protect, disconnect all speakers from the other end of the wires and separate the wires so they can't touch. If the amp still goes into protect, you have a bad speaker wire or the wire is shorted to chassis ground. If the amp only goes into protect when one particular speaker is connected to the amp, you have a defective speaker. .
If the amplifier goes into protect with the RCAs plugged in (but all speaker wires disconnected), there could be several problems. You first need to check the RCA shields of the head unit. THIS link takes you to a page where it's explained in detail. If the shield ground of the head unit is OK, the amplifier could have one of several problems. You need to power up the amplifier and measure the voltage on the shields (shiny outer metal ring) of the RCA jacks. Touch the black meter probe to the ground terminal of the amp and the red meter probe to each of the RCA shields. If you read 10v or more, the amplifier may have a shorted transformer. If you read something less than 1v, the transformer is likely OK.
Some amplifiers have a problem with broken connections between the RCA shield and the circuit board. This is sometimes difficult to check unless you know how the input circuitry of the amplifier is designed. In most of the budget amplifiers, the shield will be directly connected to the NON-bridging speaker terminals. If you have that connection, the shield ground connection is intact. Sometimes, the connection is intermittent so you need to move the RCAs while you're checking to insure that the connection is solid.
If the amp goes into protect with no RCA or speaker cables connected to it or if the amplifier blows the fuse AFTER remote voltage is applied, the amplifier likely has shorted output transistors. If that's the case, the amplifier will need to be repaired. If you'd like to repair it yourself, read the Amplifier Repair Primer page. It will help you troubleshoot many amps down to the component level.
Amplifier Protection Mode Troubleshooting
One of the more confusing car stereo problems can be when an amplifier goes into protection mode. One minute it's working and the next minute it's not, usually with the green power LED on the amp turning to red or orange. Here's a brief troubleshooting method that will hopefully help you if your amplifiers ever go into protection.
- Try to determine the cause. Amplifiers can go into protection mode for several reasons. Knowing what happened before it quit working can help determine how to fix it. Did the amp malfunction as soon as it was turned on? Did it happen after blasting for hours (may be thermal overload and it needs to cool)? Did it cut out after you hit a bump (a wire connection may have come loose)?
- Tear it down. Get the amp down to it's most basic state. Remove all of the speaker wiring and RCA wiring and leave only the power, ground and remote leads connected. If you still have a problem in this state then either your amp is defective or you may have an installation problem such as the amplifier touching metal.
- Remember that an amplifier should only be connected to the vehicle through the power and ground terminals. Mounting the amplifier to the metal of the vehicle, including putting the mounting screws into metal, can cause problems for your amplifier. Always mount the amplifier to a non-conductive surface. An easy way to accomplish this is to mount the amplifier to a wood board and then mount the board to the vehicle. Don't let the amp touch the screws used to moun the wood board and don't use screws so long to mount the amp that they go through the board and touch the vehicle.
- If the amp is OK in this torn down state start reconnecting wires until you find what causes the problem. Add the RCA cables first. Then add the speaker wires one at a time. If the speaker wires cause the problem then they are probably touching metal. Check to make sure that a speaker wire isn't being pinched somewhere between the amp and the speaker. Also check that the speaker wire or speaker terminals aren't touching the vehicle metal near the speaker opening. Rear decks and door panels can easily touch unprotected speaker terminals if not properly installed.
- If you believe your amplifier is defective contact the manufacturer first. Many have flat repair rates that are very affordable and cover parts and labor as well as return shipping. However local repair shops may be cheaper if it is just a small repair. Compare the manufacturer's repair rate to that of a local shop. If you don't know the reputation of the local shop it may be better to send it to the manufacturer who will have working knowledge of the amp and parts readily available.
You may also be interested in How to Install Your Own Car Stereo System . It covers many topics including in depth car audio amplifier installation. Click here.
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