Where to Connect Remote Wire For Car Amplifier?

Written by: John Wilson
Last Updated on:

Connecting the remote turn-on wire for an amp is super-easy if you have an aftermarket radio. 

You’ll connect its remote wire to the turn-on wire you got with the amplifier (it’s usually a part of the amp wiring kit). Then, you’ll connect the other end of the amp’s turn-on wire to the amp’s remote terminal. And that’s it.

However, the problem becomes slightly complicated if you have a factory head unit. Most of the time, these head units come without any turn-on lead. 

In that case, you’ll have to connect the amp turn-on wire to a source that can supply 12V power when you turn on the car’s ignition, such as a fuse, the accessory wire, the cigarette lighter plug, etc.

What Is The Remote Turn-On Wire?

Where to Connect Remote Wire for Car Amplifier

The remote turn-on wire is the one that sends a low-voltage signal to an aftermarket amplifier (or even a factory amp in some Chevy vehicles) and triggers it to turn on when the ignition key is in the ‘accessory’ or ON position.

Similarly, when the ignition key is in the OFF position, the amp cannot sense this voltage anymore and will turn off.

This wire is crucial for the overall working of your vehicle’s audio system because the amp would not turn on without this trigger signal.

Remote Turn-On vs. Power Antenna Wire

The remote turn-on wire is colored blue/white in almost every aftermarket radio, which causes some people to confuse it with the power antenna wire because of its solid blue color.

As its name suggests, the power antenna wire controls the vehicle’s power antenna and enables it to rise up or go lower for better reception.

While installing a car amplifier, you need to pay close attention to both these wires and ensure not to mix them while making any connections. 

Where to Connect the Remote Wire for an Amp?

Even if you have a factory head unit, or if you don’t want to use the remote turn-on wire of your aftermarket head unit, there are still some power sources to which you can connect the amp remote wire.

1. Use a Cigarette Lighter Socket

Use a Cigarette Lighter Socket

In many vehicles, the cigarette lighter sockets are on the ignition circuit. It means that they work only when the ignition key is on. If that’s the case with your vehicle, you can use that socket to turn on the amplifier.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Access the wiring harness of that cigarette lighter socket.
  •  This harness will have multiple wires, just like the car stereo harness.
  •  From these wires, select the thicker-gauge non-black wire. That’s because the black wire is usually the ground wire.
  •  You’ll have to tap into this wire and connect the amp’s turn-on wire. After which, the amp will turn on/off according to the ignition.

The main downside is that some vehicles have cigarette lighters sockets on the constant circuit, which makes them unsuitable for the remote turn-wire connection.

2. Use A Fuse

Use A Fuse

A fuse is another power source you can use for the amplifier turn-on.

To do that, you’ll need to locate the fuse box. It will be either in the engine compartment or near the steering wheel. You can check the owner’s manual for more information.

Once you get to the fuse box, you’ll have to identify the fuse that powers only when the car is in the ignition (such as the Radio fuse). You can use a multimeter for this purpose. 

Once you’ve identified the fuse, pull it out and wrap the remote wire around its metal pins. Then plug that fuse back in its slot.

3. Use the Accessory Wire

Use the Accessory Wire

The accessory wire powers the radio when the key is in the ignition or ON position. That makes it a decent alternative for a power source.

You’ll have to remove the dash panel and take out the car radio to use this wire. The radio will have different cables at the back. To identify the accessory wire, you’ll have to go through the wiring diagram or manually test every wire with a multimeter.

After identifying the accessory wire, you’ll have to connect it with the amp remote wire using a splice connector or a butt connector. 

4. Use An ON/OFF Switch

Use An ONOFF Switch

Another way to turn the car amp on is the toggle switch. The input side of this switch will have a 12V wire, and the output side will have two wires: one to 12V power and the other to the remote terminal. This switch will allow you to turn on/off an amplifier with a switch.

Its main drawback is that it’s manual, and you’ll have to toggle the switch every time you use the amplifier. Otherwise, the amp would drain the battery.

5. Use A Turn-on Module

Use the Turn on Module

The last thing you can try is using a turn-on module, such as this one from Amazon.

As its name implies, this module is designed to turn on the amplifier. You need to connect its input side to the speaker wire. After that, connect its output side to the amp’s remote wire.

Now, this module will turn on the amp when it senses the voltage in the speaker wire.

Unsuitable Power Sources for Remote Wire

In addition to all the power sources we discussed above, there are two popular but unsuitable power sources that many people use to turn on their car amps remotely.

This first one is a jumper wire from the amp’s 12V output terminal to its remote terminal.

While this method enables the amp to turn on, there’s no way to turn it off again. That’s because now it’s getting a direct 12V voltage from the power wire directly connected to the battery.

If an amp remains turned on all the time, it will drain the battery and overheat itself (which can reduce its lifespan in the long run). 

Another source you shouldn’t use for the remote wire is the power antenna. Older vehicles would turn on the power antenna as soon as the radio is on. So, wiring the remote wire to the power antenna would work fine.

But the newer vehicles only turn on this antenna in AM/FM mode. Therefore, if you connect the remote wire to the power antenna now, the amplifier will only turn on for the AM/FM mode.


So these were some commonly used methods to turn on the amplifier with factory head units.

The reason for listing multiple methods is that each has its pros and cons. Therefore, you should choose the one suitable for your car stereo system.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need To Hook Up The Remote Wire On Your Car Amp?

Yes, unless your amp features signal-sensing technology, you’ll need to connect the remote turn-on wire to its remote terminal to turn it on/off.

How Can I Turn On My Amp Without the Remote Wire?

If your head unit doesn’t have a remote wire, you can turn on the amp through a fuse, a cigarette lighter plug, or the ignition switch.

Is The Remote Wire Blue Or Blue And White?

Mostly, the remote wire is colored blue with white stripes. The solid blue wire is for the power antenna.

What Is The Ideal Gauge For Remote Wires?

The remote wires usually work fine when they have an 18-gauge thickness.

Do New Amplifiers Require A Remote Turn-On Wire?

Many latest amps, such as Audio Control’s D-5.1300, feature a signal-sensing technology that allows them to sense audio signals from the head unit through speaker-level inputs and turn the amp on/off according to them. If your amp has any feature like this, then there’s no need for the remote turn-on wire.

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John is an automotive enthusiast who has been passionate about cars and car audio systems for over 25 years.

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