Car head unit Image source Freepik
A car’s head unit makes the diving experience better. However, the sound from the stereo system should not cause any kind of interference that will distract you from the road. Other than interference, you will always desire to hear clearly all the lyrics that are coming from the stereo system. There should be some form of noise cancellation on the stereo system.
This is why you should always consider the power ratings of your car’s head unit. One of the questions that you may ask in relation to the power ratings of your car’s head unit is; How many amps does a car head unit use? Do higher amps translate to a better listening experience?
Keep reading as we strive to answer these and many other questions that you may be having in relation to the power specifications of a car’s head unit.
How many amps does a car head unit use?
The amount of electric current that a car’s head unit draws is measured in amps. This current is not fixed, instead, it varies depending on the technical specifications of the head unit. Usually, the amps range between 5 to 10 amps.
What causes such broad variation of the amps? You may ask. First, different car head units are designed to deliver different levels of performance. One such difference is between the factory head units and the aftermarket head units.
Most factory head units are designed to draw up to 5 amps of current. On the other hand, aftermarket head units can draw up to 10 amps. After all, most buyers go for the aftermarket solutions in when intending to upgrade their systems.
Whether it is an aftermarket or factory solution, the current drawn will also depend on the amplifier that is connected to the head unit as well as the speakers that are used in the car.
Take note that a car’s stereo system is still capable of drawing some current even when the vehicle is in the off mode. However, this should not be a cause of alarm as the amount is usually too low to cause a serious power drain from the battery.
How do I measure the amps that my car head unit uses?
We have just mentioned that a car’s head unit uses between 5 to 10 amps. Is it possible to tell the exact amps that the stereo unit will use?
Yes, you can measure the exact amps. All you need is a multimeter. Here are the steps that you should take when measuring the amps drawn by a car’s head unit:
- Set the multimeter so that it can take the readings in the current
- Connect the red probe to the main power line of the circuit that is powering the stereo system
- Connect the black probe of the multimeter to the power cable of the head unit
- Proceed to switch on the car’s steroid system.
The readings that will be recorded by the multimeter will be the amps that are drawn when the car’s head unit is in operation.
Factors that determine the current consumption of a car head unit
As we have mentioned the amount of current drawn by a head unit is never constant. It keeps varying depending on several factors which include but are not limited to:
The audio settings
Usually, we like changing the audio settings of a car’s head unit. These settings include volume, bass level, power, and equalizer among others. The settings will always depend on the features of your car’s head unit. The settings that you choose will always have an impact on the amount of current that your head unit draws. For example, a deep bass setting is likely to draw more amp since it needs more power.
Upgrades and accessories
What extra features have you added to your car’s head unit? Do they require more power? If the answer is yes, then you should expect the vehicle to draw more current. These accessories may include more speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers. Since they will need more power, it automatically means that they will draw more amp from the head unit.
Take note that the current drawn will also depend on the power specification of the upgrades that you introduce. Some accessories tend to draw more current than others. When working on the head unit, you should carefully consider the upgrades that will be added to the system.
The voltage level of a car’s battery has a direct impact on the amps that a car’s head unit draws. Low battery voltage due to high resistance is likely to force the stereo system to draw more amps. The reverse is true when the voltage level of a battery is high.
Type of wiring used
Like in any other electronic application, wires provide a pathway for the flow of current. By choosing the right size and type of wire, you should expect an average amount of current to be drawn. Wrong wiring size can lead to high amps being drawn by the stereo system.
How to improve power consumption of a car head unit
We have just seen various factors that determine the energy consumption of a car’s head unit. So, is it possible to improve the current consumption and at the same time optimize the performance of the head unit?
Here are some of the tips that you can use to improve the power consumption of a car head unit:
- Choose the right audio settings: Some settings tend to draw higher currents from the battery. The right way of doing things is to balance the settings o that you can get the best results without affecting the power consumption.
- Choose the right speaker: Any stereo system is accompanied by a speaker. You should choose speakers that are highly sensitive to power changes. With such speakers, you will easily get the best output from low current drawn.
- Choose the right accessories: Pay special attention to each accessory that you would want to use along with your audio system. Also, turn off all the car head unit accessories when not in use.
Now that you know the amps that a car head unit uses, you can make the right decisions when buying and installing these units. And when it comes to accessories, ensure that you buy from reputable electronic components suppliers and distributors. Quality components will guarantee the best performance.
If you want to find more Electronic Components Distributors, please check out the following articles: