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How To Eliminate Engine Noise

September 6th, 2008 · No Comments

All strange noises you hear in your speakers are caused by 1 of 2 problems: Ground Loops and EMI (ElectroMagnetic Interference). Commonly referred to as “engine noises”, these 2 problems are responsible for ALL “engine noise” problems. These problems are very common after an amplifier has been added to a stereo system. “Engine Noises” are many times hard to diagnose, especially as more equipment is added to a stereo system. But, there are some very basic rules of thumb to keep in mind when installing an amp that may prevent “engine noises” in your stereo system. If you already have engine noise, these tips may help you reduce or eliminate noises already in your system. Just remember, “engine noises” are usually the result of installations where the installer did not prepare the system to avoid “engine noises”. The best way to prevent “engine noises” is to think ahead by following these tips.

Ground Loops: Electronic circuits are simply a power source connected to device or load (electronic equipment). In order for the circuit to operate, voltage from the power source (in mobile electronics that source is the vehicles battery) is sent through wires to the electronic device or equipment. The device will still not work unless a return wire is connected from the devices “ground” connection to the power sources “ground” connection or terminal which will complete the circuit path allowing the equipment or device to work.

In automotive applications, the vehicles battery has a thick or heavy gauge battery cable connected to the (+) positive terminal or battery post that supplies the vehicles electrical system with power. What most people do not see is a similar heavy gauge power wire connected to the batteries (-) negative terminal or battery post. This cable usually connects to the vehicles alternator (-) negative terminal or contact then it is bolted to the metal frame of the vehicle itself. In doing this, the metal frame of the vehicle is now the electric “ground” of the vehicle. A “ground” is simply another word for the (-) negative return path back to the power supplies (vehicles battery) (-) negative terminal or battery post. Auto makers do this because it effectively reduces the wire run through the electrical system in half. The auto maker generally only has to run (+) positive voltage wires to components while the (-) negative ground wires can simply be screwed directly to a nearby metal part of the vehicles body frame. This way the (-) negative ground return to the battery is carried by the vehicles metal frame, to the heavy gauge battery cable bolted to the frame which will return the (-) negative ground back to the battery – completing the circuit necessary to make the equipment run.

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