Smoking Amp - Dead, but why?


WarPigsBravoCo

CarAudio.com Newbie
Mar 6, 2021
9
0
Michigan
Brand new install in a 78 Corvette. Kenwood Excelon KMM-X704, Kicker 47KSC4604 in the front, Pioneer TS-A1680F 6.5" in back, Alpine SWT-12S4 sub, and Soundstream T5.2500DL amp. Ground is attached to passenger seat (tested good with multimeter). System worked well after initial setup. Configured amp / radio with O-scope and set gains with multimeter. Once all was tested and configured, it was time to finish up the cable management. Disconnected negative cable from battery. Routed all wires. Connected negative cable up, had a quick spark as cable contacted battery, at that time the amp sizzled and smoked. The fuse in the amp did not trip. The fuse in the 0 gauge positive wire to the amp did not trip.

Question: Why did the fuses not protect the amp? Do I have a faulty amp? Recommendations?

Thanks.
 

EricTundra

CarAudio.com Newbie
Mar 2, 2021
21
8
Los Angeles
When you said system worked well after initial setup, what exactly do you mean? Did you hook everything up outside the car to test first or what?
 

Buck

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Sometimes it takes a period of time for the fuses to blow. I would imagine it would have to be a pretty strong current draw to immediately blow the fuses. It could've been a part of the amp that blew that the fuses can't protect.

Just asking, but are you sure you didn't hook the amp up backwards? As in, put the positive in the negative, etc?
 

WarPigsBravoCo

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Mar 6, 2021
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  • #5
When you said system worked well after initial setup, what exactly do you mean? Did you hook everything up outside the car to test first or what?
Everything was in the car but the wires (RCA, speedwire, power, and ground) were not put away clean (i.e. under carpet or behind the trim). Once I confirmed the HU, and amp powered on, I tested for clipping with O-scope and set gains with multi-meter. I then connected speakers and sub and confirmed all worked. It was at this point I disconnected the negative battery cable so I could disconnect the power cable from the amp and route it under the trim (did the same for the other wires). I reconnected the amp power wire and then connected the battery negative cable. This is when it sizzled and smoked.
 

WarPigsBravoCo

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Mar 6, 2021
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  • #6
Sometimes it takes a period of time for the fuses to blow. I would imagine it would have to be a pretty strong current draw to immediately blow the fuses. It could've been a part of the amp that blew that the fuses can't protect.

Just asking, but are you sure you didn't hook the amp up backwards? As in, put the positive in the negative, etc?
I've done it before. When you wire an amp backwards, you get a larger than usual spark on the wires when you put them in the terminal, then failure follows.
Amp wasn’t hooked up backwards. Everything was working, tested and configured, disconnected the battery to route wires under trim. The only wire removed from the amp was the positive wire and it was connected back up before connecting the negative cable on the battery.
 

JulesH

Junior Member
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Oct 23, 2004
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VA
Hope it is under warranty and you can return it. Fuses are primarily for protecting the wire from overheating and catching fire from a short, not the amp. It sounds like a component in the amp failed.
 

Buck

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Amp wasn’t hooked up backwards. Everything was working, tested and configured, disconnected the battery to route wires under trim. The only wire removed from the amp was the positive wire and it was connected back up before connecting the negative cable on the battery.
It honestly just sounds like a bad amp. Something faulty in it.
 

Kickstand

CarAudio.com Well Known
Jan 1, 2021
297
78
Maple Ridge
Only thing I can think of is you shorted the power wire somewhere when you were tucking it away.
Did you pull it out and see if there was a break anywhere.
It could be an internal problem.
I had a 4 channel DD amp that one of the solder points on the power rails came loose and the whole rail fell over onto the rail that was next to it. However it blew the fuse before it did any damage to the amp.
My OCD would have never let me leave the power wire attached to the battery while I ran the wire.
I'm not saying its right or wrong it's just me always thing the worst case scenario is going to happen
 

JulesH

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Oct 23, 2004
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I would think if the power wire was shorted, the inline fuse would have blown. Like kickstand, that has also been my experience when I have shorted something. You will know when that happens lol. Sparks and smoke haa I have done it a few times messing around. Once I dropped a wrench across the battery terminals. Wham! That was fun.

Other times I messed around with connections and was too lazy to unhook the battery. Fuse blew before I even saw the sparks fly.

I think it is also normal for the battery to spark when you hook it back up. That always happens when I put the wire on the batteey terminal.
 

WarPigsBravoCo

CarAudio.com Newbie
Mar 6, 2021
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Michigan
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  • #11
Only thing I can think of is you shorted the power wire somewhere when you were tucking it away.
Did you pull it out and see if there was a break anywhere.
It could be an internal problem.
I had a 4 channel DD amp that one of the solder points on the power rails came loose and the whole rail fell over onto the rail that was next to it. However it blew the fuse before it did any damage to the amp.
My OCD would have never let me leave the power wire attached to the battery while I ran the wire.
I'm not saying its right or wrong it's just me always thing the worst case scenario is going to happen
Power wire to the amp is about three feet long and it’s clean. With this being in a Corvette, all the wire runs are short.
 

WarPigsBravoCo

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Mar 6, 2021
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Michigan
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  • #12
Hope it is under warranty and you can return it. Fuses are primarily for protecting the wire from overheating and catching fire from a short, not the amp. It sounds like a component in the amp failed.
That’s what I’m leaning towards also. I’ll start the process to get a warranty claim tomorrow. For the short time I had it hooked up, it sounded great.
 

WarPigsBravoCo

CarAudio.com Newbie
Mar 6, 2021
9
0
Michigan
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  • #13
I would think if the power wire was shorted, the inline fuse would have blown. Like kickstand, that has also been my experience when I have shorted something. You will know when that happens lol. Sparks and smoke haa I have done it a few times messing around. Once I dropped a wrench across the battery terminals. Wham! That was fun.

Other times I messed around with connections and was too lazy to unhook the battery. Fuse blew before I even saw the sparks fly.

I think it is also normal for the battery to spark when you hook it back up. That always happens when I put the wire on the batteey terminal.
I would have expected the fuses to pop before the amp melted down. I’m leaning towards something in the amp being bad during manufacturing.
 

billyg

CarAudio.com Newbie
Dec 9, 2020
4
2
New York
I could see the ground that's connected under and to the passenger seat maybe came just loose enough. So when testing yeah everything could work without notice of the loose ground. But when all done and re-connecting the wire to the battery, pop! That's one thing to re-check even though it's up in smoke. Sorry to hear bro.
 

WarPigsBravoCo

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Mar 6, 2021
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Michigan
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  • #16
I could see the ground that's connected under and to the passenger seat maybe came just loose enough. So when testing yeah everything could work without notice of the loose ground. But when all done and re-connecting the wire to the battery, pop! That's one thing to re-check even though it's up in smoke. Sorry to hear bro.
Thanks. Checked ground and it’s tight. My guess is something inside the unit wiggled loose and fell across something conducting electricity. The unit was powered probably less than 15 minutes in total (set up and then with speakers attached). Radio dial goes up to 35 and it was never turned up over 23 during that 15 minutes. I’ll return it and then look at a Pioneer or Kenwood amp.
 

WarPigsBravoCo

CarAudio.com Newbie
Mar 6, 2021
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Michigan
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  • #17
Cheap chinese amp with a high failure rate.

Soundstream amps are pretty much all junk these days.
Unfortunately, I believe that to bet the case. The unit had good reviews and scored well on the RMS rating tests I watched on YouTube. I’ll move on to Pioneer or Kenwood as a replacement.
 

billyg

CarAudio.com Newbie
Dec 9, 2020
4
2
New York
I've had some good installs with some different Kenwood amp's and they always seem to be close to what they say they put out, also not power hungry. Be glad it actually crapped out in time so you can return it and not down the road (still *****).
 

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