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Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-25-2011, 12:04 PM Reply   
I had a new amp installed for my tower and in-boat speakers (4 channel) and one for my sub. The problem is that the tower amp has been consistently shutting off after about 15 to 20 minutes of playing. One day I couldn't even get that amp to come on. The sub amp keeps playing and doesn't shut off. I have two new batteries that I always keep charged and set the Perko to "both" after starting. So I'm pretty sure it is not a battery issue. I take it back to the dealer who installed it (by the way they have done many boat stereo installs). They turn it on and it runs without issue for a least 2.5 hours. We just turn it off at that point and check the batteries and it is still reading 12.7 volts. I take it back home and a few days later take it to the lake. As usual, it ran for about 15 minutes before the tower speaker shut off. I might add that it doesn't appear to be in protect mode but completely off (no light). I turn the stereo off for maybe 45 minutes and then turn it back on. Everything works fine again for maybe 10 minutes. I charge it overnight and run it in my yard the next day. It runs for about 25-30 minutes before the amp shuts off and only one tower speaker is working now.

The dealer said they checked all the wiring and connections and everything was fine. I tried swiching the RCAs on the sub amp to the tower amp, but no dice.

Could this just be a bad amp? The dealer said he would replace the amp for me at no cost. It is an hour drive and don't want to put a new amp just to come home and it shuts off after 20 minutes of playing.

Anyone have suggestions?
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       04-25-2011, 1:04 PM Reply   
is it hot?
Old    Murphy Smith (murphy_smith)      Join Date: Dec 2005       04-25-2011, 1:12 PM Reply   
Probably not the answer you want to hear but I would take it back to the dealer and let them make it right.

Once they put the new amp in - have them turn it on for 20 minutes while you are there.

Last edited by murphy_smith; 04-25-2011 at 1:14 PM.
Old    Marc (skylar18)      Join Date: Aug 2009       04-25-2011, 1:13 PM Reply   
I had the same issue on a brand new install. Drove myself and my stereo installers nuts for about three months. Some days it would work great, other days the amp would shut down after a while, and some days it wouldn't power up from the beginning.

Found out I had a short in one of the in-boat speakers. Depending on how it was rubbing dictated whether the amp would work or not.

Replaced the speaker, all is well now. If you are using old in-boat speakers, maybe look there.
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-25-2011, 1:48 PM Reply   
Murphy, that was my next step depending. And he said he would put a new amp in.

Marc, that is interesting. I know the in boat speakers are at least 4 years old. They were supposed to check all the wiring, but I'll definately check into that again. How did you determine you had a short?
Old    Earmark Marine (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       04-25-2011, 1:55 PM Reply   
If all you have written is accurate and the amplifier simply shuts completely off while the voltage has been confirmed as high and the amplifier is not going into thermal or protect, then you have to let the dealer exchange the amplifier. At this time you have to use a replacement as an essential process of elimination. If the next amplifier does the same you will know that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place and its the remote turn-on lead, ground or primary power supply. You have to question any in-line component on any of those three circuits that is not common to both amplifiers like a circuit breaker or termination or distribution point. I still question the voltage though as some amplifiers have a different turn on/off threshold as others. The only time and place that you need to check the supply voltage and ground continuity is immediately after the amplifier has shut off and on the three terminals on the amplifier. No other time or location is meaningful in your initial diagnosis. Have an inexpensive multimeter handy at all times.

Earmark Marine
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-25-2011, 3:10 PM Reply   
At this point would you suggest I test the battery immediately after the amp shuts off? Also, what three terminals are you referring to testing on the amp and how would I do that? I plan on getting an inexpensive multimeter soon, but I have no idea at this point in how to use it. I'm ignorant when it comes to electrical systems.

The dealer would replace the amp I sure if it was to shut off for him. The problem was when I took it to him it ran for almost three hours and WE shut it off. It never went out and he tested the battery and it read about 12.7 volts. Hardly any drain. I guess I can keep taking it to him until it does shut off. It has been very consistent with me in shutting off after about 20-30 min each time.

Is there anything I can check before taking it to him just to eliminate that piece of the puzzle?

Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-25-2011, 10:17 PM Reply   
Update. I turned on the stereo around lunch with the boat on the trailer at home. It ran for about 25 minutes before the tower amp shut off. Turned everything off. About 5 hours later turned the stereo back on and it ran for 1.5 hours before I decided to shut if off with both amps still working fine. The boat never moved other than me getting in and out of it. I did notice both subs were fairly hot (able to keep your hand on them for about 5 seconds). It has never ran more than 30 minutes on the lake however.

One more thing. Today when I tested it, only one tower speaker was working (both times). Yesterday at the lake, both speakers worked until the tower amp shut off.

I seem to be getting nothing consistent. In the yard it will run 30 min and shut off or maybe run 3 hours without shutting off.

The only thing consistent is that on the lake it has always shut off after 20-30 minutes. I know several things could cause the amp to shut off (short in a speaker, power, ground or remote voltage, loose connections, etc.). But I would think it would be consistent at the lake or home or anywhere for that matter. One day I could not even get it to come on.

Any other ideas before I drive an hour to the dealer and have it set there and run perfect for 3 hours or so?

Old    Earmark Marine (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       04-26-2011, 6:50 AM Reply   
Please clarify again. As I understand it:
The amplifier completely powers down with all status indicator lights off rather than going into protect or just losing audio?
Never mind about the other issues for now.

Earmark Marine
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-26-2011, 8:10 AM Reply   
That is correct. The dealer said the green light would turn red when in protect, but it just goes completely out when this occurs.
Old    Marc (skylar18)      Join Date: Aug 2009       04-26-2011, 1:05 PM Reply   
My amp wouldn't completely power off, just go into protect mode. We basically figured out by replacing everything, all wiring, amp, ws420, batteries, and nothing would resolve it. My installer said the only thing left was the interior speakers which came with the boat and were the non marine speakers.

My installer used a voltmeter I guess on all the speakers and almost every time everything checked out, but maybe out of 10 times, got 2 kinda weird readings on one of the in-boat speakers.

My installer basically replaced my in-boat speakers with the expectation that if this didn't solve the problem, they would put my old speakers back. Didn't even charge me for them until we were sure the problem went away. Problem went away and I got my ws-650's a year earlier than i was planning to.

I can't compalin about my installers, they probably went out to the boat 10 times trying to solve the problem. Nothing is more infuriating to try to fix an intermittent problem. One day they went out on the boat with me for several hours and that was the first time the everything worked perfectly for that long in about a month!

Last edited by skylar18; 04-26-2011 at 1:08 PM.
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       04-26-2011, 4:42 PM Reply   
Marc, that is pretty much where I am at. Unfortunately, I don't know if my installer will go to the extent yours did. They installed/replaced the two amps and put in a sub. Everything else is the same (wiring, in boat and tower speakers, head unit,etc.). He has told me he wants to solve the problem, but it has to shut off with him in order for him to do anything. The problem there is I'm an hour's drive from him. He has already said that if they re-ran all new wiring it would cost a pretty penny. And we certainly don't know if that is the problem.

My in boats are not marine either. So I wander about that also. At this point I have no choice but to keep taking it to them until the problem is solved. I'm not sure how much they should be responsible for, but it hasn't worked for me since they installed them. Except when I took it back to them of course.
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-12-2011, 9:39 PM Reply   

Come to find out my amp was actually going into protect all this time. My son said a red led light came on each time which turns out the be the protect indicator. For some reason, I could not see it (getting old I guess). One of my tower speakers got bad after several, several times of this shutting off problem. My installer said that the speaker must have been bad the whole time and finally blew and that is what caused the amp to go bad. He offered to replace my amp after I order more tower speakers. So I got my new speakers, he installed a new amp (I guess). We didn't hook up the tower speakers to the new amp and took the boat out today and it played maybe 30 minutes before going into protect AGAIN! So frustating. At least I know it has nothing to do with the tower speakers or the wiring from the tower.

Again, the amp has not shut off with them none of the times I taken it there (maybe 3 times). So they have been unable to test the ground, power or remote lead. I assume the amp would need to shut off in order to test these.

Any ideas at this point?
Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       05-13-2011, 8:12 AM Reply   
One thing that has not been brought up is operating volume. Is there any way to verify that you are playing the system at the same level as the dealership?

Here is my reasoning. Per several gain setting tutorials, we all should know that the head unit is good for about 75% of MAX indicated volume before it starts clipping, (with typical program material). Similarly, we know that we want to try to set our amps up where they go to max CLEAN volume at about the same time we get the head unit to its maqx CLEAN volume, usually again at about 75%.

Here is the tough part. Don't get offended, just follow me...

The stereo shop may have a good understanding and a good ear for max clean output from the system, but you might be pushing the system beyond that clean output level. You may just be turning it up more than it can play cleanly. Don't take this wrong, but many people don't hear the difference between clean and distorted sound...

I have been noticing it for about 20 years now... I hear kids drive by in dad's car, (or their own beater) with speakers just belching distortion, crunchy and all ragged sounding, with the factory radio just about to die. I go to party cove and can hear several systems that are just horribly distorted, either by using a headphone output of an MP3 player turned way too high, or amps trying to play louder than they can, and even systems that sound like they are about to blow up due to low batteries...

Too many people don't know the difference between a system that is playing clean and a system that is heavily distorted because they have been listening to distortion their whole lives thinking it was normal.

Try something. Go to your stereo and play it at the level you normally do; the level you have been testing with whwere the thing shuts off. Make a note of the radio's volume control setting AND your bass and treble settings, as well as any other loudness or bass boost settings. TIme it to thermal and note that.

Now, go back to your head unit, set BASS, TREBLE, LOUDNESS etc to the middle settings, Most radios have minus settings and plus settings with the center position being zero. Set all tome controls, (bass treble, etc) to ZERO. Now, quickly turn the radio all the way up, (very quickly) and note the max number for the volume control. If it is 50, try running your stereo with the volume control set no higher than about 35. If youre radio goes to 35, (some do and it is a weird number) try it no higher than about 27. What I am doing is giving you some recommendations of where the stereo probably is for max volume. If you are turing your radio all the way up, you are usually sending distortion to your amps, (a clipped signal from your radio sounds bad, but is not as damaging as having an amplifer clipping while driving speakers, but that is another topic) AND you are probably driving your amplieir(s) into heavily clipped square-wave output.

So, with the radio running at only 75% volume, and with all your tone controls set flat, see how long the stereo runs before it shuts down. If things are set properly, it should run MUCH longer now for ya.

Give it a try and let us know what happens!


Last edited by philwsailz; 05-13-2011 at 8:18 AM.
Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       05-13-2011, 8:25 AM Reply   
One other thing to ask:

How many speakers are you running off of the in-boat half of the amp and how are they wired? What speakers are you using? To me you it seems you might be operating at a load lower than the amp can handle...

Something to look into...

Old    Earmark Marine (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       05-13-2011, 8:43 AM Reply   
Going along with what Phil is saying. You really have to determine in a static setting what numeric level constitues full volume without distortion standing on the swim deck with fresh ears and before you are tramatized and begin to mask. Then you have to always reference that numeric level when out on the water and running. With all the wind noise, engine noise and being off-axis from the speakers. as the driver, you really are not in a position to hear hard clipping even if you have no tolerance for distortion. Under most conditions the number is the only true reference. However, that number is no longer valid the minute you change a tone setting. A 9 dB tone boost is doubling your volume three times over. That's a 1 to 8 ratio in increased power demands. It may not sound like it to you and me because its over a narrow bandwidth but believe me your amplifier feels it.
Now that we know the amplifier is going into protect rather than completely shutting down, the diagnostics logic is entiely different. You have to start looking at program material, gains, crossover points, equalization and actual listening levels.

Earmark Marine
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-13-2011, 9:14 AM Reply   
Phil and David,

Thanks so much for your insight. See if this makes sense. I have tried to keep my tone settings flat for the tower amp and roughly +3 for the sub which is on a separate amp. I can say that at the dealership this last time they had the sub flat. When I got to the lake yesterday I bumped the sub up to +3.

As far as volume goes, I can't find any correlation to that and the shut down point. At the lake we run it at about 30-31 while towing and then 15-20 when cruising, picking up rider, etc. So it's never at a high volume more that about 20-25 min. At the dealership, they tested it and ran it at 30-32 for a good 2 - 2.5 hours without any shut off. I'm not sure of the settings, but that is not something I play with much. As I've said, I try to keep it flat except for the sub. The HU has three outputs (front, rear and sub). The front is the inboat, the rear is the tower and of course the sub goes to the separate sub amp. As far as volume goes, I've had it shut off within 5 minutes of operation and had it not even come on one time. There is absolutely no consistency in the shutdown of this and now the new amp. It will shut off at high volume, low volume and no volume. At least I know the amp, tower speakers and tower speaker wiring is not the problem as the last test was without the tower speakers hooked up.

Do you think running the sub at +3 on the separate amp would be causing any problem? It would seem if the HU clips at a certain point the separated sub amp whould shut off as well as the tower/inboat amp. That amp has never shut off.

The tower runs off of two separate channels and the four inboats share the other two channels (4 channel amp). The amp is 75W RMS per channel.

One more thing. The dealer has not been able to test the ground, power and remote lead because it has not shut down with them. I am going to buy an inexpensive meter and check that the next time it shuts down and note the voltage. It is a brand new accessary battery and the capicitor reads 12.5V roughly when shutdown occurs.

I will double check the tone settings on the HU. Again, would it matter if the sub level since it is on a separate amp be a concern since it has not shut off?

I really appreciate your input. Does this help or narrow down the trouble shooting process?

Old    Earmark Marine (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       05-13-2011, 9:26 AM Reply   
That really doesn't help unless the crossover on the tower speakers is set way too low. Try raising the highpass filter anyway.
I really don't care for capacitors in a boat. You might try running things for awhile without the cap.

Earmark Marine
Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       05-13-2011, 10:04 AM Reply   
The red protect LED is coming on, so we at least know that there is "some" continuity in the power wiring, that or the capacitor is running the amp's LED. I too don't like caps, they are just bandaids most often. I agree with David, remove the cap from the system. Then, without the cap, note whether or not the red LED is glowing, and ALSO meaure voltage, but measure it at the amp's power terminals, not at the battery. That way you test the battery AND the wiring.

You say the tower speakers are not connected. Does this mean the tower speakers are not connected to the wires, or that the tower speaker wires are not connected to the amp? Let us know this fact and we can help deduce further. Make sure the tower speaker wires are disconnected from the amp and run it. See what happens. If you had tower wires connected to the amp, but no speakers connected to the wires, it might be bad wire in the tower, shorting out or to the tower or something like that. Similarly your in-boat wiring might be compromised. You might try connecting the tower speakers, and disconnecting the inboats... Will it run then? If so what is wrong with the in-boat speakers or wiring...

We want to test things one step at a time, ruling out others, so I won't write more at the moment, but know you can test one thing at a time, checking things one-at-a-time until the problem pops up. When it pops up, you know the ONE thing you did to change the system

David, anything to add?

Last edited by philwsailz; 05-13-2011 at 10:07 AM.
Old    Earmark Marine (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       05-13-2011, 10:15 AM Reply   
Makes sense to me. The process of elimination will absolutely work. It is really simple in logic. Confirm one component in the signal or supply path at a time. One thing at a time and be patient until you get a different outcome. Then its Bingo! If this isn't your daily vocation it does seem complex. Filling out my taxes isn't hard for my CPA but MY eyes are glazed over in the first five minutes. You can keep a detailed log to keep all the procedures and conditions straight from trial to trial especially since this may span a little time.

Earmark Marine
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-13-2011, 10:24 AM Reply   
Phil, I see what you are saying about the tower wiring. And yes the speaker wires were connected to the amp and not to the speakers. By the way the tower speakers are the KMT6 and my inboats are also Kicker, but not marine.

So, I will unhook the tower wires from the amp and run it to see if it shuts down. If it does, I will do the same with the inboats. If it still shuts down, I will remove the cap. Each time it shuts down I will measure the voltage at the amp for the power and remote lead.

Phil, what do you recommend the HP filter be set at for these speakers?

Am I on the right path?

Old    Phil White (philwsailz)      Join Date: Feb 2009       05-13-2011, 10:47 AM Reply   
That is a good path to take, so go for it.

You really don;t need to meaure the turn-on voltage, FYI... jsut measure across the power and ground terminals of the amp. Do it a couple of times.... With the stereo running loud and hard, measure the amp's voltage at the terminals. Let us know kind of what it is averaging... IF you have low voltage when the stereo is runing hard, it will cause the amp to overheat. Measure the voltage running, and then at rest as well, just after it shuts off.

As for HP filter settings for the KMT6, I think 100 - 120 will do the job with teh 75 watts you say you are runnig per channel. You can go as high as 150 and not loose too much,but use your ear above 100.

When you disconnect teh tower wires from the amp, take a meter and measure for contimuity between the wires and the tower.... also check for shorts between the positive and negative leads...

One step at a time... We can figure it out.


Last edited by philwsailz; 05-13-2011 at 10:50 AM.
Old    Marc (skylar18)      Join Date: Aug 2009       05-13-2011, 12:54 PM Reply   
Keep at it.....It took over three months for my installers to solve my amp going into the protect mode problem! My wife basically said get this fixed or rip it allout. Now that it is resolved, it works every single time and awesome. Hang in there! It is frustrating.

Good Luck!
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-15-2011, 12:13 AM Reply   
Guys, I really appreciate all the help. It makes it more frustating due to me not know much about what I'm doing.

Phil, how would I measure for continuity between the tower wires and the tower? Also, how would I check for shorts between the positive and negative? See what I mean.
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       05-15-2011, 9:42 AM Reply   
I have nothing to add associated with the topic.... but WOW... phil/kicker and dave/earmark really put in some serious time helping people out on the forum. Kudos to them.
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-18-2011, 6:14 AM Reply   
Quick update.

I was able to take a few reading with the multimeter yesterday:

Turned the HU on and with a low volume and got B+ 12.48V, remote 11.61V
Turned volume up and ran for maybe 10 min and got B+ 12.36V, remote 11.52V
The amp went into protect in about another 5 minutes on high volume and got B+ 12.53, remote 11.63

At that point I unplugged the RCAs going to the amp and still in protect.
Shut off the HU and unplugged both speaker wires from the tower (both channels). I figure if I'm going ot rerun one wire I will do both. Waited a few seconds and turned the HU back on and the amp came back on. Ran the amp hard for a good 45 minutes and got B+ 12.55V, remote 11.68V. I continued to run it another 45 minutes and it never went into protect. I just shut it off at that point.

As I've said before, there has been no consistency in how long the amp will run before going into protect so I'm not overly excited that it may be the tower speaker wires at this point. I am going to run it again on the lake in a couple of days with the speaker wires from the tower still unplugged and see what happens.

All these readings were done at the house.
Old     (moto817)      Join Date: Jan 2011       05-18-2011, 6:39 AM Reply   
If you have some extra speaker wire maybe try and run the amp disconnected again and if it doesn't cut out just run some wire from the amp to the speakers direct. If it still doesn't cut out than you might have a bad wire in your tower. Good luck !
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 7:16 AM Reply   
well the good news is that it sounds like you can eliminate power delivery as the issue. And it seems unlikely to me that the amp would be going into protect because of a signal input issue (i.e. rcas from deck) so that suggests to me that your output side is the most likely issue. A pinched or cut speaker wire could definitely cause an intermittent short. I'd try running new temp speaker wires for sure.
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-18-2011, 12:02 PM Reply   
Thanks guys. I haven't thought about running a temporary wire directly to the speakers. I'll see if I can't find some speaker wire lying around. If not, I'll run it without the speaker wires a few more times and see if it goes into protect. If it does, I'll do the same with the inboats.
Old    wakemania (wakemania)      Join Date: Sep 2008       05-27-2011, 6:55 PM Reply   

I have run the amp withhout the tower speaker wire attached & only the inboats running. Amp goes into protect. Ran new tower speaker wire anyway and removed the inboat speaker wire from the amp. Amp goes into protect! So I guess that rules out the tower speakers, tower wiring, inboat speakers and inboat wiring.

I noticed today at the lake the amp went into protect (tower only running) when the sub hit a hard note. The sub is on a separate amp and has never shut off. So I unplug the RCAs to the sub and just run the tower speakers. The amp goes into protect!! I have tried it with an ipod dock input, aux input and the radio, Shuts off with everything. I thought it may have something to do with clean (good downloads) music.

Question, should I start trying to replace my RCAs? to the tower/inboat amp? Can they cause the amp to go into protect? Also, if the gains and HP crossover are set wrong (too high or low) can this problem or would that just cause distortion?

Anyone, please advise!!!


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