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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an amp and speakers installed a couple of weeks ago. On Saturday, I was driving in a parking lot with the stereo on, when suddenly heavy static started coming out of the front speakers. The static has continued, even with the stereo off.

I assume it's an issue with the amp, which powers only the fronts. Unfortunately, I bought the amp on eBay, not from the installer, and when I called him for an appointment, he said, "Okay, how's the 24th?" Jeez, almost 4 weeks for an emergency repair, which might (or might not) be the installer's doing! That sucks.

Anyone have insights about this type of problem? The amp is installed under the left rear speaker. Could there be a short from water around the wires, which must run under the footboards? I'm in New Hampshire and there's about a foot of snow down, so plenty of opportunities for moisture to get into the floor area.

-Steven-
 

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Is it pure static or distortion coming from the engine? You might want to check the ground to make sure it is secure. You could also turn down the gain temporarily until you can get it to the installer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Originally posted by Tchi@Jan 31 2005, 12:11 PM
Is it pure static or distortion coming from the engine?  You might want to check the ground to make sure it is secure.  You could also turn down the gain temporarily until you can get it to the installer.
I agree, it probably is a ground issue. It is always present when the ignition is on; but worse when the car is accelerating.

I am MUCH more upset about the attitude of the auto sound guy (Auto & Accessory Experts, Manchester, NH). If it turns out that the ground fell off because the install was not done right, I would like recourse, since I'll now take it elsewhere to get it fixed rather than wait a month - the car is virtually unusable with this amount of static. And, after paying almost $400 to get stuff installed at this place, I expect a reasonable response time.

I'm not talking about a "rock through the window" type of response; I'm thinking about ideas like: BBB complaint, protest the credit card charge, letter to the local newspaper.

Any suggestions/insights?
 

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You could call the place tomorrow and tell them that you need them to look at it NOW or you will be disputing the charge. Then, if they don't look at it and fix it in short order, you could dispute the charge.
 

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4 weeks? I would drive my car up there and demand they inspect it immediately. There should not be a waiting period for warranty repairs, even if you bought the equipment somewhere else. Check your receipt to see if it says anything about labor warranty too. They might be trying to sucker you out of their labor warranty so they can charge you again to inspect it.

I've worked at several car audio shops and have never turned down inspecting a vehicle we had just worked on. If they dont fix it ASAP, I'd threaten to call the credit card company and protest the charges.
 

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i agree as well.. sounds like a grounding issue, or worse the internals of the amps are messed up.. what brand of amp is this? have you been able to check the ground?

I would definitely go back and ask them to look at it.. most places will come out if they are busy and check it for you.. even if they are busy they will postpone other appointments (like the next day) to fix it.. If they refuse to look at it, call your credit card company and tell them you're wanting a refund... that's crap..
 

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You should definitly give them a chance to resolve the issue. I think 4 weeks is a bit much, especially since it should be something simple to resolve. Something to keep in mind is that if the amp is bad, it can't be their fault. However, if a wire came loose or something, it'll be a simple fix. Just give them a chance to remedy it before you start taking matters into your own hands. Maybe they didn't understand the severity of the problem when you called and explained whats going on.

Personally, I would drive to the shop and patiently wait for someone to help you. Calmly explain that you need to find out if the noise is 'normal'. Generally, they will say no and try to resolve it for you right away. Disputing charges with a credit card company or putting a hold on a check only causes more work for everyone involved and I would prefer that someone be apologetic rather than upset when working on my car.
 

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I am not sure what kind of amp it is, but your situation is very familiar to me. If you bought this amp from one of these guys sitting around in his boxers selling new product on ebay (Buy It Now, etc) your problem can be the amp. When these guys open up the amps to remove all the serial numbers (so they cannot be traced to the source) they're are not very good at putting them back together. Often, the problem you describe comes right out of the box.
If the system has woked fine for a period of time, it could be the install. The noise you describe can be caused by signal shorted to ground or you have a burned FET device (power or signal). I can't see how it would be caused by any power connection. If it was a power connection, the noise would be there from the get go and it wouldn't be the noise you describe.
Since the amp might have been purchased from the "Gray Market" the signal short is a very likely culprit and the short will be in the amp (thats the part of the amp they usually screw up).

Good Luck.

P.S. I don't know of any retail shops that warranty customer's equipment (not purchased new from them). If they inspect the install and find the amp to be at fault, they will charge you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Originally posted by JLTD@Feb 1 2005, 06:32 AM
If the system has woked fine for a period of time, it could be the install. The noise you describe can be caused by signal shorted to ground or you have a burned FET device (power or signal). I can't see how it would be caused by any power connection. If it was a power connection, the noise would be there from the get go and it wouldn't be the noise you describe.
Since the amp might have been purchased from the "Gray Market" the signal short is a very likely culprit and the short will be in the amp (thats the part of the amp they usually screw up).

Good Luck.

P.S. I don't know of any retail shops that warranty customer's equipment (not purchased new from them). If they inspect the install and find the amp to be at fault, they will charge you.
The system worked fine for about 3 weeks before this problem occurred. The system STILL sounds fine, except for the ever-present static.

If it's the amp, then I sure don't expect them to fix my mistake for free - I'd just buy a new amp from them and be on my way. I'm just cheesed that they seem to be OK with the concept that a paying customer should wait a month to get a problem with a recently installed system checked out.

What makes this even worse is that when my speakers were installed, it was promised by 3 PM, but they had an emergency call to help a customer with a problem with their remote starter, so the car wasn't ready that day until 6:30. So, other people get proper service after the sale, but I can go twist in the wind?

-Steven-
 

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hey steven..
yeah i agree that they drop everything for someone else but you have to wait? crazy.. so did you buy the amp from them? then they should stand behind it. otherwise if you can't get your money back from another place you got it at.. I'd call up crutchfield and get a good name brand amplifier with a good warranty.. alpine comes to mind..

let us know how it goes..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Originally posted by JLTD@Feb 1 2005, 06:32 AM
I am not sure what kind of amp it is, but your situation is very familiar to me. If you bought this amp from one of these guys sitting around in his boxers selling new product on ebay (Buy It Now, etc) your problem can be the amp. When these guys open up the amps to remove all the serial numbers (so they cannot be traced to the source) they're are not very good at putting them back together. Often, the problem you describe comes right out of the box.
The above was the correct diagnosis. The shop had a cancellation and got me in on the 15th. Not super-prompt, but better than the 24th. It turned out to be an amp problem. He replaced it with a Clarion amp of similar power. Not quite as good as the Soundstream, but at least I now have a real warranty situation, and a working stereo. Thanks to all for your advice.

-Steven-
 

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hey steven..
good to know that everything is fixed now.. i had a clarion back in the day.. it wasn't too bad, dad just found it in the basement..wow.. does that take me back.. anyway they were decent units, not bad though, just good.. should be fine.. what kind of wattage did you end up with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Originally posted by sciontc_mich@Feb 20 2005, 05:37 AM
hey steven..
good to know that everything is fixed now.. i had a clarion back in the day.. it wasn't too bad, dad just found it in the basement..wow.. does that take me back.. anyway they were decent units, not bad though, just good.. should be fine..  what kind of wattage did you end up with?
It's a completely average amp. I think it's running 100W x2 @ 4 ohms. I have no real complaints, but think the Soundstream sounded better. I guess the Clarion is worth its low price (online for $89).

Note that the eBay seller from whom I bought the Soundstream is standing behind his product, and will "set up" the warranty so I can make a claim. If I get the Soundstream replaced or fixed, I may swap it with the Clarion.
 
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