Car Audio Amplifier Repair Tutorial
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Basic Car Audio Electronics (bcae1.com)
The information provided in this tutorial will help you to avoid making the most common mistakes and will greatly increase your chances of success. As you read through this page, you'll realize that the new amps are much more complex and much more difficult to repair than the old school Rockford and Orion amps that started the car audio revolution. This tutorial makes getting started much easier.
Many people ask for personal instruction to help learn to repair amplifiers. In most all cases it's impractical and would be prohibitively expensive (considering that most experienced techs charge between $60 and $100 an hour as their base labor rate). Compare the equivalent to one hour of a tech looking over your shoulder while you're working on an amp to what you get in the tutorial. In one hour, you'd likely not even be able to finish a single repair. During that repair, the tech would be able to give you a few pointers and possibly a few specifics but unless you were taking accurate notes (which would cut into that hour), you would not remember much of what you were told. For the price of the tutorial, you get graphics, clearly written notes, a few video clips and many real world examples relating to actual repairs. This gives you the ability to go back and review the information to refresh your memory or to read something you may have missed the first time you read through the material.
The basic repair tutorial (free online) is far more than you'd get in an hour of personal instruction and the information there is absolutely insignificant in scope compared to what's in the full tutorial.
The tutorial begins at the most basic level. There are suggestions for the types of amps you should start with and those to avoid until you have a bit more experience... and advice for amps that you should avoid altogether. For amplifiers with common problems, you are told what to look for and how to correct the problem so that the amp is, many times, more reliable than when it rolled off of the assembly line. Of course, the information goes well beyond the basics. For those who are at a more advanced level, information and suggestions are provided for some of the largest amplifiers currently on the market. Although this project began in 2002, the information covers many of the amps from the early 80s as well as some of the newest amps on the market. The information is continually being updated to insure that the information continues to be both useful and relevant.
I help quite a few new techs. There are some that have been struggling for more than a year (sometimes quite a bit longer). It's clear that some things are not obvious and without the knowledge of an experienced tech, the same mistakes are made time after time. From what I see (from those with and without the tutorial), the information in this tutorial can take at least a year off of the learning curve. Without the information in this tutorial many techs, even 2 years on, are making costly mistakes that they would have avoided. It may seem like I'm simply trying to increase sales by using using scare tactics. That's not the case. In fact, if I believe that someone isn't well suited for this type of work, I'll tell them that they should not buy it. As an example, if you 'think' you're interested in doing this type of work but couldn't be bothered to read 100% of the basic repair page online, you are not a good candidate for this type of work. If someone is genuinely interested in learning to do this and they don't want to learn by trial and error (often lots of expensive, frustrating errors), they can do no better than the information in this tutorial. The circuits in many of the new amplifiers are almost impossible to understand without help and there are very few options when you need amp repair information. The Basic Amplifier Repair Tutorial that I have online is a good primer but it contains only a fraction of what's covered in this tutorial.
If you have any questions, please email me.