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When installing an aftermarket car audio system, having the correct wire connections is important. The right cables and wires ensure the strongest signal is going to the correct destination, and sufficient power is being sent to the receiving components.
One of the most important connections in a car audio system is the power and ground cable that connect the vehicle’s battery to an aftermarket amplifier. The gauge of these cables will determine how much power can be sent to an amplifier.
A wiring kit is an easy way to have the bits and pieces on hand – even so, you may need to calculate the proper gauge size for your amp. This basic chart was developed for those that are just entering the world of car audio and might be installing their first system.
As a general recommendation, Sonic Electronix follows the guidelines below as a quick reference in determining the appropriate wire gauge. By following these guidelines, you can factor in the distance you are running the cable. This is a more accurate way to determine what gauge of wire you need and can possibly save you money in the long run of your installation.
1. Find the total RMS power of each amplifier
* Monoblock Amplifier: The RMS power of the single channel will be the wattage you will reference. For example, if you have 500 watts RMS on one channel that is your final result.
* Multi-Channel Amplifier: Take the RMS power (in watts) of one channel, and multiply it by the total number of channels that amplifier has. For example, a 4-channel amplifier has 40 watts RMS on each channel, so 40 Watts x 4-Channels = 160 Watts RMS.
2. Find the total RMS power of the audio system. Add the total RMS values for each amplifier in the system to reach a grand total. If you only have one amplifier, then the value you found in step one is all you need.
3. Multiply that grand total by 2
4. Divide that number by 13.8
The final number is the approximate current draw of the car audio system. Find that number in the “Amperes” column on the chart below. After determining the distance from the car battery to the amplifier, you will find the appropriate gauge for your car audio system.