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View Full Version : Car Stereo Newbie, Please Help!


BlackIce
01-23-2004, 11:31 AM
I am in the process of upgrading my stereo in 2001 330CI. I just ordered Dynaudio Components and Zapco 200 Reference Series. I just received the amp and here is what I am trying to do.

As of right now, I want to replace the factory amp with the Zapco to power the stock speakers (front). Once I received the Dynaudio, I will replace the stock speakers with them. I want to leave the rears speakers as it is right now and still power by the stock amp (is that possible?). I planned to get another Zapco amp to power the rears in the near future, along with the subwoofer.

Last night, I took all the carpeting out of the trunk to see what's behind there. Here is what I have. I have a CD Changer and below it is the Navigation System, below that and standing on the side seems to be the stereo? and then the stock amp behind it? There is factory wiring harness connecting to each unit.

I ordered a 4-gauge stereo installation kit and a VEN4 adapter, should be coming soon.

1. Do I get the power source for the amp from the Battery? DIY Instruction for this?
2. Once I powered the Zapco amp, where do I tap-in for the speaker? From the stereo unit (front) or the amp unit (right behind it)? DIY Instruction for this?
3. There is a Symbilink Connector, looks like a balanced to RCA adapter that Zapco use. Where do I used this connector. According to Zapco manual, they said to connect this cable from the amp to the Head Unit, is that possible?

Sorry for the lots of questions. I have read many posts here and the more I read, the more confusing it gets! If anyone did a similar installation or have DIY for these setup, I would appreciated if you help me out! I also attached the Zapco image for reference.

Thanks in advance for everyone's contribution!

HW
01-23-2004, 11:46 AM
i have not done this and never installed a car amp, nor should you take my word for it but to me it looks like that's the purpose of the symbilink; to go direct from HU to symbilink. you should check out other general car audio sites to confirm this. the wiring is most likely twisted pair preferably solid core (rather than stranded) for best results. if the original factory speaker wires are twisted, that might be just nearly perfect. but then i have never tried it out. most likely you wouldn't need the ven4 w/ the symbilink. any pix of the symbilink cable that the zapco amp provides? :dunno:

BlackIce
01-23-2004, 12:40 PM
One end of Symbilink looks like a S-Video connector (Firewire technology) and the other end is RCA. Does the stock Head Unit have RCA ouput? Here is the picture of the Symbilink.



i have not done this and never installed a car amp, nor should you take my word for it but to me it looks like that's the purpose of the symbilink; to go direct from HU to symbilink. you should check out other general car audio sites to confirm this. the wiring is most likely twisted pair preferably solid core (rather than stranded) for best results. if the original factory speaker wires are twisted, that might be just nearly perfect. but then i have never tried it out. most likely you wouldn't need the ven4 w/ the symbilink. any pix of the symbilink cable that the zapco amp provides? :dunno:

HW
01-23-2004, 12:48 PM
One end of Symbilink looks like a S-Video connector (Firewire technology) and the other end is RCA. Does the stock Head Unit have RCA ouput? Here is the picture of the Symbilink.

i have not seen the back of the stock HU but i don't believe it does. actually, i was expecting a PS/2 S-Video type mini DIN connector on one end and bare wire or tinned wire on the other. then the conclusion is much more obvious. :dunno: i'm curious to know what part of firewire is used in symbilink. :confused:

Dr. Phil
01-23-2004, 01:41 PM
To use the Zapco with OEm head unit, they instruct you to snip one end of the Symbilink wire and splice in the OEM feed. Their amp can balance/handle the signal this way very nicely. You would want to grap this signal in front of the amp.

The amp should be powered from the battery.

For refrence, the Zapco 500 would do a great job for your sub. I am using one to drive a 12" Eclipse aluminum sub :D

BillP
01-23-2004, 02:21 PM
To use the Zapco with OEm head unit, they instruct you to snip one end of the Symbilink wire and splice in the OEM feed.

This will certainly work and has advantages, but I would consider *not* snipping the Symbilink wire and instead get a short RCA extender cable from Radioshack (male on one and and female on the other, like this: http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F007%5F002%5F003%5F010&product%5Fid=42%2D2362 , though I'd look for a shorter version).

Plug one end of the RS wire into the Symbilink and snip the other end.

Yes, this adds a small bit of expense, adds another connector (point of failure) and may not look as clean, but I like to avoid snipping expensive wires/cables.

Just in case you f*** up, getting another $3 cable from RS is easier than finding/purchasing another Symbilink cable.


Cheers,
Bill

HW
01-23-2004, 02:34 PM
This will certainly work and has advantages, but I would consider *not* snipping the Symbilink wire and instead get a short RCA extender cable from Radioshack (male on one and and female on the other, like this: http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F007%5F002%5F003%5F010&product%5Fid=42%2D2362 , though I'd look for a shorter version).

Plug one end of the RS wire into the Symbilink and snip the other end.

Yes, this adds a small bit of expense, adds another connector (point of failure) and may not look as clean, but I like to avoid snipping expensive wires/cables.

Just in case you f*** up, getting another $3 cable from RS is easier than finding/purchasing another Symbilink cable.


Cheers,
Bill

RCA's use coax no? not sure what type of wire is used in the zapco cable but definitely shielded coax and balanced diff signals don't mix. i would guess that the zapco wires uses twisted pair. do a search on making your own using a mini DIN and CAT5 UTP. that might be the ticket. perhaps if the run is not long and using the factory twisted pair speaker wires, just get some hookupwire, twist them together and connect it to the mini DIN. CAT5 may complicate things, maybe not. not sure. :dunno:

edit: a bit of background info. the point of the balanced diff signal is that you want both wires to experience the exact same degradation due to noise.

srx_p(t) = stx_p(t) + n(t) at the receiver side positive lead
srx_n(t) = stx_n(t) + n(t) at the receiver side negative lead

the balanced differential receiver at the amp would then do the operation

srx_p(t) - srx_n(t) = ( stx_p(t) + n(t) ) - ( stx_n(t) +n(t) )

simplifying this give you

srx_p(t) - srx_n(t) = stx_p(t) - stx_n(t) -Now the noise n(t) is gone! stx_p(t) and stx_n(t) is what the HU sends out and assumed to not have any degradation.

if you use coax, the positive line and the negative line will NOT experience the same noise degradation and so this won't work and defeats the purpose of the differential signals. the result would be

srx_p(t) - srx_n(t) = stx_p(t) - stx_n(t) + n_p(t) - n_n(t) -The last two terms cannot cancel out and so you are stuck with line noise!

BlackIce
01-23-2004, 03:30 PM
Dr. Phil,

"You would want to grap this signal in front of the amp", I am assuming to splice into the speaker cables at the factory wiring harness before it connect into the amp? Or do I have to splice the RCA end of the Symbilink to the OEM feed (Source/Head Unit?) the "firewire" end into the amp? Then splice the factory speaker wires and feed them to the speaker terminals of the Zapco?

I am a better learner when someone show me a picture than words, so I am attaching an image, which I am assuming how the factory system is wired, with my very limited knowledge. Please feel free to edit them and post the correct wiring diagram if you can. I really appreciate everyone help and suggestions.


To use the Zapco with OEm head unit, they instruct you to snip one end of the Symbilink wire and splice in the OEM feed. Their amp can balance/handle the signal this way very nicely. You would want to grap this signal in front of the amp.

The amp should be powered from the battery.

For refrence, the Zapco 500 would do a great job for your sub. I am using one to drive a 12" Eclipse aluminum sub :D

BillP
01-23-2004, 08:37 PM
RCA's use coax no? not sure what type of wire is used in the zapco cable but definitely shielded coax and balanced diff signals don't mix.

A foot of coax isn't going to change the signal much. You are correct, though, it is preferable to keep the diff balanced signal clean all the way through.


Cheers,
Bill

Dr. Phil
01-23-2004, 09:18 PM
Dr. Phil,

"You would want to grap this signal in front of the amp", I am assuming to splice into the speaker cables at the factory wiring harness before it connect into the amp? Or do I have to splice the RCA end of the Symbilink to the OEM feed (Source/Head Unit?) the "firewire" end into the amp? Then splice the factory speaker wires and feed them to the speaker terminals of the Zapco?

I am a better learner when someone show me a picture than words, so I am attaching an image, which I am assuming how the factory system is wired, with my very limited knowledge. Please feel free to edit them and post the correct wiring diagram if you can. I really appreciate everyone help and suggestions.
Your chart is on target. My guy grab signal in front of amp, connected to twisted pairs buried with in the Symbilink and plugged the Symbilink into the Zapco. But be careful....I just picked my car up tonight to drive for the w/e and there is a noticeable altenator whine. I was *****ing about the prolonged install so I took it for a few days. He is going to recheck taps and tune the amps a bit more next week.

As for hooking up the speakers, the easiest way would be to use the factory runs. And yes, hook them directly into the amp.

BlackIce
01-23-2004, 10:49 PM
Dr. Phil,

I found exactly what I am looking for. This is a great DIY and exactly how I wanted to setup my system. Someone should put this is the DIY/FAQ Section for future reference.

http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e46m3/forum.php?postid=2786337&page=1


Your chart is on target. My guy grab signal in front of amp, connected to twisted pairs buried with in the Symbilink and plugged the Symbilink into the Zapco. But be careful....I just picked my car up tonight to drive for the w/e and there is a noticeable altenator whine. I was *****ing about the prolonged install so I took it for a few days. He is going to recheck taps and tune the amps a bit more next week.

As for hooking up the speakers, the easiest way would be to use the factory runs. And yes, hook them directly into the amp.