How To Install a Ground Loop Isolator For Your Car
If you are suffering from a lot of hums, whistles, and whines from your car audio then the biggest probable cause is an issue with the ground loop. These unwelcome sounds are caused when you have more than one component of your car’s audio system grounded in separate places. This in turn causes electrical interference which causes hums and whines. The easiest way to solve this would be to ensure that everything is grounded correctly and in the same place when first installed. Prevention is better than the cure after all, but that’s not always an option. If that option is not possible, then you will need to install a ground loop isolator. We’re here to help.
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What is a Ground Loop Isolator?
A ground loop isolator takes the sound signal out of the electricity equation. Usually consisting of input, transformer, and output, it uses the transformer to stop the input and output from interacting with each other directly. This stops the issue caused by the lack of proper grounding because the electrical signal is not going through both the input and output simultaneously.
Why Use a Ground Loop Isolator?
Good question. The honest answer is because taking the whole audio system apart and redoing it from scratch it not a pleasant job. It can take a long time and can end up making things worse if you don’t have the required skills.
How to Install a Ground Loop Isolator
Installing a ground loop Isolator isn’t a hugely difficult task, but it also isn’t a task for a complete novice. Always remember, safety first!
Before you begin, you’ll need to purchase the actual ground loop isolator. Don’t buy the first one you see or the cheapest; ensure that you check online reviews and find the best one that is within your budget. This will ensure that it does the job as best as possible and lessens the need for you to reground your whole audio system.
First things first, you will need to turn off your sound system and your car. This will ensure that you won’t short out your device while you are working and won’t give yourself a nasty shock either.
Next up, you will need to locate your amplifier. This is usually in the rear of the car, but not always. Once you have located your amplifier you will need to remove the red and white jack leads, also known as RCA cables, from their respective jacks. Once you have removed the jack leads, you will need to plug them into the respective jacks on your ground loop isolator.
Once you have done this you will need to plug the red and white jack leads that are sticking out from the ground loop isolator into the jacks that are now empty on the amplifier. This will ensure that your sound system still gets the signal that it requires without getting the unwanted noises.
You may have a self-grounding ground loop isolator, in which case you can ignore this next step. The easiest way to tell if you have a self-grounding model or not is to see if it has any additional wires, as well as the jack leads, protruding from it. If it does have additional wires, then it is not a self-grounding model, and you will need to ground it yourself. There are two ways to ground the ground loop isolator using these wires.
The first way is to screw them into any clear metal area on your car. This will ground the ground loop isolator and ensure that you no longer have sound issues. The second way to ground it is to screw the wires into the negative terminal on the amplifier. Once grounded properly, you can enjoy your music once more.
If this still does not cure the problem, then you may have your power cables and jack leads too close together. In that case, you will need to move one set of wires to the other side of the car.