Have you ever opened up your car stereo and seen a mysterious wire labeled “REM”? If you’re installing an aftermarket car amplifier, figuring out what the REM wire does is crucial – but what exactly is it for? Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the REM wire so you can hook up your amp like a pro.
A Quick Intro to the REM Wire
The REM wire, also called the remote turn-on wire, is how your amplifier knows when to turn on and off. It connects your amp to your car’s ignition system so that when you turn on your car stereo, it sends a signal to your amp to turn on too.
Without the REM wire, you’d have to reach back and manually turn your amplifier on every time you wanted to listen to music. No thanks! So the REM wire is an essential ingredient in getting flawless amp integration.
Throughout this article, I’ll cover all the ins and outs of the REM wire so you can conquer even the trickiest amp install. Let’s get started!
What Is the REM Wire Exactly?
REM stands for “remote turn-on.” It’s a standard wire that comes with aftermarket amplifiers.
- The REM wire is low-current, usually between 10-20 gauge. It carries a 12V signal to activate the amp.
- It’s colored blue or blue with a white stripe so it’s easy to spot.
- You can find it on the back of the amp near the power and ground terminals. It’s labeled “REM” or “remote.”
- It links the amplifier to an ignition-switched power source, like your head unit or fuse box.
So in a nutshell, the REM wire is the conduit that lets your head unit tell your amp when to power up and start pumping out those sweet beats!
Why Do You Need A REM Wire?
You’re probably wondering why you need this REM wire instead of just wiring the amp directly to constant power.
Good question! There are a few key reasons the REM wire is important:
- Remote turn-on control – The REM wire lets your head unit remotely turn the amp on and off. So you don’t have to manually switch your amp on every time.
- Links amp to stereo – It synchronizes the amp’s power with your stereo’s power. When you turn on your car stereo, the REM wire tells the amp to turn on too.
- Prevents battery drain – Because it wires your amp to switched power, it prevents the amp from draining your battery when the car is off.
- Avoids damage – Turning the amp on/off with your stereo avoids speaker damage from turning the amp on before the head unit.
So in short, the REM wire is your friend! It makes installing an amp much simpler and prevents a lot of potential issues.
Where Can You Find the REM Wire?
In your amp wiring kit, you’ll notice a wire labeled just for REM or remote turn-on. It’s usually colored blue or blue with a white stripe.
On the amplifier itself, you can find where to connect the REM wire on the rear panel. It will be labeled “REM” or “remote” and located near the power and ground terminals.
The best place to hook up the other end of the REM wire is to an ignition-switched power source, like your stereo’s remote turn-on wire or a fuse box connector. This links the amp to turn on and off with your car’s electrical system.
So look for that blue REM wire and get ready to remote start rockin’!
How Do You Connect the REM Wire?
Connecting the REM wire is a crucial step in your amp installation. There are a couple options for hooking it up:
Connect to an Aftermarket Head Unit
If you have an aftermarket stereo installed:
- Find the remote turn-on wire behind the head unit. It’s usually blue.
- Splice or tap your amp’s REM wire into the head unit’s remote turn-on wire.
This links the amp power to your stereo’s power for seamless turning on and off.
Connect to the Fuse Box
If you have a factory head unit:
- Locate an “accessory” or “switched” power source in your fuse box. Use a voltmeter to verify it provides ~12V only when the ignition is turned on.
- Connect the amp’s REM wire to that fuse source. Protect the connection with electrical tape or heat shrink tubing.
This wires the amp to your car’s electrical system to turn on and off with ignition power.
And that’s the basics of hooking up the REM wire! Just match it to a switched power source and you’re set.
How to Test If the REM Wire Is Working
Before finishing your amp installation, it’s important to test that the REM wire is functioning properly.
Here are two ways to verify it:
Use a Multimeter
- Set your multimeter to DC voltage mode.
- Attach the positive (red) probe to the REM wire.
- Attach the negative (black) probe to a ground like the chassis of the amp.
- Turn on your car’s ignition. You should measure approximately 12V on the REM wire.
- Turn the ignition back off. The voltage should drop back to 0V.
If you get 12V only when the ignition is on, you’ve got a working REM wire!
Turn On Your Car Stereo
- Complete all amp connections including the REM wire.
- Turn on your car’s ignition, but don’t turn on the stereo. The amp should stay off.
- Now turn on your head unit. The amp should power up automatically.
If your amp turns on when you fire up your stereo, then you’ve successfully connected the REM wire. Nice job!
Tips for REM Wire Success
Installing car amplifiers can get complicated, but a properly wired REM connection helps avoid many issues.
Here are some tips:
- Use the proper wire gauge for your amp’s power. Don’t skimp on small REM wires.
- Keep the REM wire run as short as possible for optimal performance.
- You can connect multiple amps to a single REM wire from the head unit.
- For multiple amps, use the REM wire to control a relay to avoid overloading the circuit.
- If you have no power at all, troubleshoot the REM wire first before anything else.
And most importantly, be sure to reference a wiring diagram specific to your vehicle! This guarantees compatibility with your car’s particular setup.
Follow these tips and your REM wire will be clean as can be.
Other Options Beyond the REM Wire
While the REM wire is the standard way to link your amp’s power to your head unit, there are some other options too:
- Use a switched ignition power source instead of the stereo’s remote wire.
- Install a switched power module like the Punch Power Active Turn On on the REM wire circuit.
- Use an external amp turn-on device like the Kicker KISL to activate the amp.
- Control the amp through a smartphone app – the Bass Control Box lets you turn your amp on/off remotely.
- Some amp level controllers have built-in remote turn-on, so no separate REM wire is needed.
So don’t sweat it if your setup requires an alternative to the traditional REM wire connection. There are plenty of ways toremotely power up your hot new amp!
Frequently Asked REM Wire Questions
Alright, we’ve covered a lot of ground on the REM wire. Let’s wrap up with some common questions:
What Size REM Wire Do I Need?
12 or 14 gauge is fine for most REM wire runs up to 20 feet. Use 10 gauge for longer distances or multi-amp systems.
Can I Extend the REM Wire?
Yes, just be sure to use the proper gauge when extending the wire to avoid voltage drop. Keep it under 20 feet if possible.
What if My Amp Doesn’t Have REM Wire?
Use a relay or switched power source to remotely turn on the amp. Or install a separate turn-on module to activate the amp without a dedicated REM wire.
Why Does My Amp Turn Off When Bass Hits?
If your amp cuts out during heavy bass, your REM wire may be too small. Upgrade to a thicker gauge wire.
Let’s Hear It for the REM
And there you have it – everything you need to know about the car audio REM wire!
To recap, the REM wire is:
- The remote turn-on wire that controls power to your amp
- Necessary for linking amp operation to your stereo’s power
- Located on your aftermarket amp’s rear panel, near the power terminals
- Used for connecting your amp to an ignition-switched power source
- Essential for clean amp integration without having to manually turn your system on
I hope this rundown demystified what the heck that mysterious REM wire is all about. Trust me, understanding the REM wire will make your next amp install infinitely more straightforward.
So go grab your tools, cue up a killer driving playlist, and start wiring like a boss. Your tuned-up ride is calling!