Hypothesis confirmed

I think I should start a whole extra category for my car. Hmm.

Anyway, given that we actually had relatively nice weather today, I got out and fiddled with my car for a bit. I fixed the clock & interior light; they’re both on the same fuse, which had blown. I guess frequently connecting & disconnecting the battery is going to do that… good thing I picked up a handful of fuses a few weeks back.

Then, I went on to the stereo & amp, the presumed cause of my battery woes. I also verified that my multimeter is indeed incapable of measuring current now; presumably the fuse is blown. Ah well. Time for another one, perhaps… but they cost all of $5… ;)

Still, they’re the ones the RACV uses… hmm… which probably says more about the multimeters than the RACV. Maybe I’ll get a proper one this time around.

Anyway, so, my suspicion was correct – the stereo is wired up wrong. Well, I’m pretty sure it is, at least; it’s wired up for the so-called “LOGIC” mode, which essentially means the stereo itself is responsible for turning itself off, rather than just being controlled by the ignition. It’s been done this way on purpose, judging by the style and the scribbles in the manual, and figures… whoever had this installed years ago wanted to sit in McDonalds car parks late at night and annoy the neighbourhood. And I’m supposedly the P-plater. Pfft.

Beyond that though, they appear to have hardwired the amp as always on. It’s certainly on now, with the car & stereo off. Oddly enough they’ve connected something to the active crossover port (while leaving the power control – normally connected to the ignition – floating)… I don’t really know that much about speaker systems, but experimentally the result seems to be that it’s always on. Brilliant.

Why they’ve connected to the crossover port when it’s the only amp in the car, I don’t know… the stereo has a built-in amp, sure, but it’s not connected to anything.

Anyway, I guess I’ll have to go hassle an auto-electrician.

The trick now is just to prove that it’s the amp that’s sucking up all the juice. If it is, I think I can manage a master power switch on it…. I do have that shiny red one somewhere – you know the type, the impressive military ones with the plastic cover that you flip up to access the toggle. I bought it ’cause it’s cool… now I might actually have a use for it. :D

The real problem is that, no matter what conclusion I come to with the setup, I can’t actually do much about it. I had to take all sorts of bits and pieces apart – half the dashboard, just about – just to see what the connections were, let alone make them accessible enough to modify. I can’t figure out how they installed it originally… my only guess is that they actually pulled the whole centre panel out.

Who knows. Anyway. The whole exercise wasn’t a total loss, in any case – I realise that the amp has four lovely RCA line-level inputs (which can be cross-linked for a stereo input), the other end of which is nicely exposed just below the dashboard on the passenger side. Superb. So I just need to make up a convenient little cable, and I can plug my iPod straight in. No more putting up with the radio. Ahhhh… *dreams wistfully*

Maybe I’ll get fancy and put in a switch on the dashboard to toggle between them… nah.

‘course, I’ll have to be careful about volume… maybe I’ll have to be a bit more elaborate with the connection. I’m pretty sure the amp is stronger than the speakers… I’d not like to find out at what level they blow out. :/

But, at least now I can have some decent music for my driving tomorrow.

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