How to Turn on Amp Without Remote Wire: 5 Common Methods

The remote turn-on wire plays a crucial role in activating and deactivating your amplifier. But what happens when you don’t have access to a remote wire? How do you control your amplifier’s power state?

Typically, the simplest method of powering your car amplifier without a remote wire is by using a high-low adapter coupled with a trigger. Alternatively, a wire can be run from the ignition switch to the amplifier, or even plugged into the cigarette lighter.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of triggering your amplifier without the need for a remote wire. Let’s get started!

Understanding The Amps and Remote Wires

The amplifier, often referred to as the amp, is the heart of your car’s audio system. It’s the device that takes a weak audio signal and boosts it, allowing your car’s speakers to produce those crisp, powerful sounds we all love.

The remote wire, on the other hand, might seem small, but it plays a crucial role. It tells your amp when to wake up and when to sleep, ensuring it only operates when your car stereo is on.

Moreover, the remote wire acts as a power management system for your amp. When your car stereo turns on, it sends a signal down the remote wire that tells your amp to power up. Conversely, when your stereo is off, your amp should be too, preventing battery drain.

 The amplifier helps the car's speakers to produce those crisp

Can You Turn on an Amp Without a Remote Wire?

The answer is yes! There are several ways to accomplish this. If you find yourself without a remote wire, don’t panic. The following section will guide you through the steps to get your amp up and running.

How To Turn on Amp Without Remote Wire: 5 Common Methods

Method 1: Take a turn-on signal from the fuse box

Turning on an amplifier without a remote wire might sound challenging but with a bit of patience and care. It’s a task that can be finished. In this method, we’ll be sourcing the turn-on signal directly from your vehicle’s fuse box. Let’s break it down into easy-to-follow steps:

Step 1: Gather your tools

Before you begin, ensure you have the necessary tools and materials. You’ll need:

  • A multimeter or test light
  • A wire stripper
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire connectors
  • A fuse tap
  • A length of wire

Step 2: Locate the fuse box

In most cars, the fuse box is located under the dashboard on the driver’s side. In others, it could be in the glove compartment or under the hood. If you’re unsure, you should consult your car’s manual.

Step 3: Identify a suitable fuse

In this step, you use your multimeter or test light to identify a fuse to ensure it receives the signal when the ignition is turned on. Normally, the radio fuse is often a good choice. This will be the source of your amp’s turn-on signal.

Step 4: Attach the fuse tap

In this step, you can attach the fuse tap to the fuse you’ve identified. Because a fuse tap allows you to draw power from a fuse slot without interfering with its original use.

Step 5: Prepare and connect the wire to the fuse tap

Next, you will connect the fuse tap to the amp. In detail, you will use your wire stripper to strip the ends of the wire you’ll be using. One end should be stripped to connect to the fuse tap, and the other to connect to the amp.

When you connect to the fuse tap, it’s important to ensure the connection is secure and well-insulated with electrical tape.

Besides, during the step route the wire to the amp. It’s important to avoid areas that get hot (like the exhaust) or have moving parts (like the steering column). Because these could damage and cause electrical issues.

Step 6: Test your setup

With everything connected, it’s time to test your setup. Turn on your car’s ignition. If everything has been done correctly, your amp should power up.

Remember, while this method can be a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch, it’s always best to use a proper remote wire where possible. This fix is just temporary. Be sure to replace a missing or damaged remote wire as soon as possible to ensure your amp functions as it should.

Locate the fuse box

Method 2: Using remote turn-on module/trigger

Step 1: Purchase a remote turn-on module/trigger

Your first task is to buy a suitable remote turn-on module or trigger. You can find them easily in various auto parts suppliers and online retailers.

Step 2: Understand the operation of the module/trigger

Before you start the installation, familiarize yourself with the module or trigger’s operation. Some modules might turn on with sound waves, while others may respond to a DC offset signal from your speaker wires.

Step 3: Locate your vehicle’s battery and speaker wires

Next, identify the location of your vehicle’s battery and speaker wires, as the module will need to connect to both. Normally, the battery usually resides under the hood. Besides, speaker wires can typically be found running through the car’s door sills or behind the dashboard.

Step 4: Connect the module to the battery

You continue to connect the module’s power wire to the positive terminal of your vehicle’s battery. In detail, you attach a ring terminal to the wire and secure it under the battery terminal’s nut or bolt. In this step, remember to disconnect the battery before doing this to prevent any electrical accidents.

Step 5: Connect the module to your speaker wires

Next, connect the module to your speaker wires. This step may vary depending on the type of module you have. Some modules might require you to splice into the speaker wires, while others may provide a more convenient plug-and-play solution.

Step 6: Route the output wire to the amp

Finally, connect the module’s output wire to the remote input on your amplifier. This wire will carry the turn-on signal from the module to the amp. You should route this wire carefully, avoiding any hot or moving parts that might damage it.

This is a simplified guide, and the exact steps may vary depending on your specific vehicle and the type of remote turn-on module/trigger you’re using. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when installing any new equipment in your vehicle.

Read More: How to Test Amplifier Without Speakers: 4 Easy Steps

Method 3: Use a high/low adapter in connection with a trigger

Step 1: Get a high/low adapter and a trigger

The first step is also to buy a high/low adapter and a trigger. These can be found in car audio stores or online.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with both devices

Before starting the installation, ensure you understand how both the high/low adapter and trigger operate. You should read through the instruction manual or consult with an expert if needed.

Step 3: Identify and connect your speaker wires

In this step, locate your speaker wires. These will be used to connect to the high/low adapter.

After you know where is speaker wires, you continue to connect the high/low adapter to the speaker wires. In detail, you strip some of the wire insulation to make a good connection. Ensure the positive (often red) and negative (often black) connections match with the speaker wires and adapter.

Step 5: Link the trigger to the high/low adapter

Now, connect the trigger to the high/low adapter. The high/low adapter works by converting high-level audio signals (from the speaker wires) into low-level signals. These low-level signals are then fed into the trigger. The trigger will detect these audio signals and, in response, generate a turn-on signal for your amplifier.

Step 6: Connect the trigger to the amp

Finally, connect the output wire from the trigger to your amp’s remote input. This wire will transmit the turn-on signal from the trigger to the amplifier.

Remember, the actual process can vary based on the type of high/low adapter, trigger, and vehicle. Therefore, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Method 4: Use a source that can be turned on and off with the ignition key

Step 1: Finding the power source

First, you need to determine the power source in your vehicle that can power your amp. This could be a cigarette lighter outlet or any other auxiliary outlet in your car.

Step 2: Gather the necessary equipment

Next, you’ll need a wire, and a suitable connector for your chosen power source (like a cigarette lighter plug). Additionally, buy a fuse tap (optional, but recommended for safety).

Step 3: Preparing the wire

In this step, you need to prepare the wire stripper to strip insulation from both ends. The exposed ends will be used to connect the power source to the amp.

Step 4: Connecting the wire to the power source

Depending on your selected power source, this step might require you to attach a plug (similar to a car phone charger plug) to one end of the wire. If you’re using a fuse box as your power source, you should use a ‘fuse tap’ to create a secure connection.

Once your wire is properly connected to the power source. You continue to route it from there to your amplifier. It’s essential to avoid any areas where the wire could potentially get damaged.

Finally, connect the free end of the wire to the remote turn-on terminal of the amp. Ensure the connection is secure.

Step 5: Test the setup

In the last step, turn the ignition key to the accessory position. You check whether the amp is on or not. If not, check your connections and make sure the power source turns on with the ignition.

Remember, safety is important when working with electrical systems. If you are not confident performing these steps yourself. Thus, should consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

   Choose a power source that is a cigarette lighter plug

Method 5: Use the switch to the amplifier remote turn-on

Step 1: Locate the remote turn-on wire

First, locate the remote turn-on wire of your amp. This wire is typically blue and is responsible for sending the signal to your amp to power on.

Step 2: Prepare the switch and wire

Prepare your switch and a sufficient length of wire. Use a wire stripper to expose the ends of the wire.

Step 3: Connect the wire to the switch

Take one end of your wire and connect it to one terminal of the switch. Secure the connection and insulate it properly.

Step 4: Connect the switch to the amp’s remote turn-on wire

Now connect the other terminal of the switch to the amp’s remote turn-on wire. Make sure the connection is secure and well-insulated.

Step 5: Connect the other end of your wire to a 12V power source

Take the free end of your wire and connect it to a 12V power source. This could be the battery of your vehicle or an accessory circuit in the fuse box that turns on and off with the ignition.

Step 6: Test your setup

After all, connections are made, turn the switch on and off to test if the amp powers up and down accordingly. This method allows you to manually control the power state of your amp.

How To Wire Remote Turn On For Amp

Before starting any work, it’s crucial to disconnect the car battery as a safety measure. After ensuring your safety, locate the remote turn-on lead situated behind your car stereo. It is usually a blue and white wire. Simultaneously, identify the remote turn-on lead on your amplifier.

Once the leads are located, measure and cut a length of wire that will connect the two. Use a wire stripper to expose the ends of this new wire as well as the ends of the leads.

After that, connect one end of the freshly cut wire to the car stereo’s remote lead. The other end should be attached to the amp’s lead. To secure the connections, utilize wire connectors, ensuring that the connection points are tightly secured.

After completing the wiring, it’s time to reconnect your car battery and test the system. By turning on the car stereo, you can verify whether the amplifier is functioning correctly. If the system works as expected, congratulations. So, you’ve successfully turned on your amp without a remote wire!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Amp not powering up

If your amp is not powering up, you need to check the fuse and wiring. A blown fuse or poor wiring can prevent the amp from receiving power.

No sound or distorted sound

Check your speaker wires and RCA connections for any loose or damaged wires. A poor connection can result in no sound or distorted sound from your speakers.


Knowing the ways to turn on an amp without a remote wire is a valuable skill, especially when you’re in a pinch. While these methods can provide a temporary solution, it’s best to replace a missing or damaged remote wire as soon as possible.

This ensures your amp functions properly and prevents potential damage to your car’s electrical system.


Can I use any wire as a remote wire?

Any wire that can handle a 12V signal could be used as a remote wire. However, for safety and optimal performance. So, it’s recommended to utilize a wire specifically designed for this purpose.

Is it possible to connect the remote wire to a 12V power source?

Indeed, the remote wire is designed to supply a +12V signal when activated. This allows it to be connected to any device or system that requires a 12V trigger signal for operation. For instance, some car stereo systems have a secondary output designed for a power antenna, which would only be powered when the radio function is selected.

Is it possible to power on an amplifier even if no speakers are attached?

Sure, as long as the amplifier has a solid-state output stage, it should be able to operate without a speaker load attached. However, it’s always a good idea to refer to your user manual for specific instructions, or simply lower the master volume if it doesn’t affect the headphone output.

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