For us installers, one of the worst nightmares you can have is being asked to diagnose and solve a problem on a car audio system with terrible wiring organization. Head-unit’s particularly are commonly installed with loose wires, poor connections, and even with electrical tape around wire bundles that eventually will melt into a very sticky mess. One of the most important things when putting your sound system together is cable management. When installing a head-unit, you need to be sure you have all the proper connectors, ties and tools for a clean looking installation. This can save you hours of time in the future.
Organization and Planning
From the moment you get frustrated and start throwing your install together to save time, you’re embarking on an un-organized adventure of spaghetti looking wire that no professional installer would want to troubleshoot. It is essential to plan the optimal route of each individual wire to their destinations before making any connections. If you have an abundance of wire going through one space, consider routing some of them in different directions to avoid building up too thick of a bundle. It is very important to break down any large groups of wires into smaller distinct categories to prevent any confusion or mismatched wires.
Connections and Ties
To some, making the connections between two wire harnesses is simply twisting the copper together, adding a piece of tape and moving on to the next wire. In reality if you don’t use the proper butt connectors with zip ties to bunch your wires together, your connections will inevitably fail in a short amount of time. Be extra careful not to tighten your zip ties too much or you could pinch the wires and cause a short. Avoid pushing your wires off to an empty space behind your dash without properly securing them. Be sure to always crimp your connections tightly to prevent them from being tugged or disconnecting from each other. Heat shrink tubing is very handy to permanently protect your connections and maintain organization. Use lots of zip ties to make groups of wire that are similar such as a speaker wire bundle or a bundle of your RCA connections.
All in all, there are many other things to think about when performing your stereo installation, but proper wire management is the key to keeping your electrical system well organized and easily understandable to others. It can be painful and time consuming but expending the effort to create a clean and tidy wiring job will give you peace of mind. You will know that behind the dash your cable and wire connections are securely fastened which will increase the reliability of your system now and for future installations.