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Tips for a Subwoofer Installation Without an Amp

by Jule Pamplin

Installing a subwoofer in your vehicle provides power and balance to any car stereo system. The speakers in the door panels and rear deck can only provide so much in the way of bass, and a subwoofer is designed specifically for bringing out the lowest tones of music. Use a powered subwoofer to eliminate the need to include an aftermarket amplifier to power the larger speaker of a subwoofer.

Battery Safety

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the negative terminal. The negative is the ground for the vehicle's electrical system. Connecting or disconnecting any electrical component with the grounding cable attached to the battery can lead to a short in the vehicle's electrical system.

Remove the fuse from the fuse holder on the amplifier wiring kit's ring terminal. The ring terminal provides the bridge to provide power to the powered subwoofer. Remove the fuse from the fuse holder until the sub is connected to the power supply cable. Replace the fuse as the very last step in the powered subwoofer installation process.

Connecting the Subwoofer to the Stereo

The powered subwoofer connects to the stereo more like an amplifier would versus another category of speaker.

Remove the stereo from the vehicle's stereo mounting dock to gain access to the outlets on the rear panel of the stereo. Some stereos are equipped to receive amplifier (and powered subwoofer, in this case) wiring directly into the stereo itself. Other units cannot receive the wiring without adapters implemented.

Disconnect the stereo wiring from the unit, and reconnect it through a wiring harness adapter. The adapter provides the necessary leads and outlets to connect the signal cable and turn-on lead for the powered sub.

Routing the Subwoofer Wiring

Mount the subwoofer in the rear of the vehicle; either behind a seat, in the trunk or in the rear cargo area of a van, SUV or hatchback. Route the wiring from the stereo and the power supply cable to the location of the sub.

Feed the signal cables and turn-on lead from the stereo through the back of the stereo dock. The rear of the dock provides an avenue to run the cables from the stereo to the floor of the vehicle on the passenger's side of the vehicle. Once the wiring emerges in the foot-well, conceal the wiring beneath the carpeting as you route it to the exact location of the subwoofer.

Route the power supply cable that was fed through the firewall and into the inside of the vehicle on the opposite side of the vehicle to avoid interfering with the signal in the signal cable.

About the Author

Jule Pamplin has been a copywriter for more than seven years. As a financial sales consultant, Pamplin produced sales copy for two of the largest banks in the United States. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University, winning a meritorious scholarship for the Careers in Applied Science and Technology program, and later served in the 1st Tank Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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