Amplifier started smoking after major car work?

fsealey1997 Newbie
Jul 8, 2019
Hi there,

I recently had some major car troubles and had to put my car in the shop for a few days. Most of the work was done to the engine and oil system and I also got a new battery which my audio system is connected to. I had to have the car jump started a couple of times to get the car to the shop and it caused the subs to make some pretty ugly sounds. I don't know much about the system as my dad and uncle installed it in the car maybe 10 years ago and it was just passed down to me after my dad died. Theres two 12' subs in the back and three amps I believe (one looks different than the other two so it could be something else) as well as some smaller speakers in the front of the car.

Anyways for about a week after I got the car back from the shop I was having some problems with it. The front speakers would occasionally cut out and only the subs in the back would put out sound (it's always done this, but since i got it back I could only get through one or two songs before the front speakers would cut out). If I just turned off the entire system, waited a moment and then turned it back on it would continue working normally. One day I was driving around, I turned the music down for a moment and when I turned it back up the subs weren't working and only the front speakers were working. I turned everything off, waited a minute, then turned it back on then heard some little pops/crackling coming from the back and some smoke started coming up from one of the amplifiers (smelled like burning wires). It stopped after a few minutes, but i've been too scared to try and turn it back on.

I contacted my uncle who helped install it and he think it may be some wires shorting out in the capacitor unit in the top of the box everything is encased in or some wires coming loose and rubbing together.

Just looking if anyone else has experienced it and if theres any possible explanation for this? I'm planning on taking it to a local shop, but I don't really know how to explain everything to them and would like to go in with a better understanding of my problem. Sorry I can't give more information on the specifics of the entire system, but I hope someone can help.

audiobaun Veteran
Jun 28, 2011
I would take each amp out and bench test them. Then I would start checking the supply wiring / blocks and fuses,and ground wiring in the vehicle.Id pull the subs and Check with an Ohm meter see if any are within limitations on each coil. Then I would do the same for each speaker.This is going to take some time as well as knowing your install and a little experience of what to look for.This is all that can be recommended on here without being present from my end.You are going to have to have some one with some experience to find the issue/issues.Test all equipment is what Id do myself even if it means ripping it all back out and starting from scratch.If so, this would be the time to upgrade some things needed (like the Big3 of which is always good for any vehicle and you can do for less than 100Bucks yourself)to keep the system in normal operation.I myself still make mistakes that cost me.I was in a rush one day testing like 10-12 amps one day in my truck and had same colored wiring used for power and ground and and swapped polarity/power and ground and cooked and old school gem worth $300 bucks.That was my gift so to speak for being in a rush and not paying attention, and being half blind at that for as old as I am.Another thing is that Ive always pulled my main fuse and even fuses at my blocks to keep others from playing my system at any auto shop to clip my goods do death. Even at a simple oil change.

audiobaun Veteran
Jun 28, 2011
Something to add for future reference.. ALWAYS TURN YOUR CAR AUDIO SYSTEM OFF before turning the vehicle OFF

wew lad

wew lad inc
Mar 22, 2015
Great points made by audiobaun^ but I would start with checking your grounds. It's possible they took the ground off to work on the car without 12v active throughout the car and when they reconnected the ground they were subpar. You need to use a DMM and while playing heavy bass songs (anything that requires high current) and see what voltages you're getting at the INPUT TERMINALS of the amp. Compare this with the voltage at the front battery and if there's a big difference, say over .5v, you need to look into the grounding and overall power wiring going to your amps.

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