sub amps keeps overheating

Discussion in 'General Car Audio Discussions' started by ANDYK, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    I have this posted in the amplifier section, but maybe more people will see it here:

    I finished installing a system in my 99 mustang this weekend(the GN is staying stock! Radio atleast). I went for a drive to test it out….and was disappointed. My sub amp kept overheating really quick and going into thermal protection. It can probably only play one song with heavy bass at high volume before it shuts down. Then in a few minutes it comes back on….then will keep shutting down sooner(because of the heat already built up). My sub amp is an Orion HCCA 250R. Its pushing a 1ohm load. I thought these oldschool, high current amps were designed for this???? Or, is this normal? The amp is from 1998, US made(not like the junk they make today), mint condition, and rated for 800W RMSx1 at 1ohm. This is the first “cheater” amp that I ever owned, so I don’t really know what to expect. I’m used to 4ohm stable amps that can run all day. Before I re-wire my subs into a 4ohm load(I have two, with dual 4ohm voice coils) and install a different amp(at 4 ohm mono), I thought I’d ask your opinion.

    I have a 200A alternator, 2 gauge from the battery to a cap, 2 guage ground at the cap, extra 2 gauge groung from the battery to the chassis(under the hood), 4 gauge power and ground to my sub amp(800W) and 8 gauge power and ground to my mids and highs amp(300W). I have only these two amplifiers.

    I’m thinking that:

    #1: High current competition amps get hot really fast, and arent really the best amps for non-competition use? Maybe I should stick to a 4 ohm load and a 4 ohm stable amp?


    #2: Maybe I don’t have a good ground? I grounded the capacitor/amps to the rear seat belt stud. I read somewhere not to do this, but I didn’t want to drill holes in my car. It seems like a very solid attachment point. It’s a stud welded to a plate that welded to the floor. Should I ground somewhere else??


    #3: I bought the car used 2 years ago and I don’t know how old the battery is. It starts the car ok, but maybe its too weak for an 1100W system?


    #4: Maybe something is wrong with the amp, even though it looks new(circuit board too).? It does sound really good for that one song though.

    I’d appreciate any insight/advice. It’s really frustrating to spend a lot of money and time on something and to be disappointed with its performance! Let me know if you need any more info.
  2. cccullen

    cccullen Full Member

    First question i have for you is where do you have the amp installed? Is the amp getting enough airflow?

    1. competition amps are very good amps especially the Orion. They do run very hot though. You may need a number of fans to keep it cool. I'm not sure if they can run at 1ohm daily though. I know that some orions run at 1ohm for burp purposes but not for daily use.

    2. I think your ground is sufficient enough.

    3. seeing that you have a 200amp alternator, i don't think power is an issue here.
  3. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    Its mounted to the back of my sub box. So, its between the rear seats and the box. It should be getting good airflow, because that day I had the back seats down and the windows down. So, there was alot of air circulating around the car. I just might buy a fan for it and see what that does. I think I'm also going to use a diff grounding point(yes, i'm gonna drill a hole). Do you know who sells high-flow fans?
  4. jonnyv713

    jonnyv713 The Young Gun of CAT

    i think electro should come in on this one... he has had experience with his orion and he made a whole rack with like 15 or 20 fans. i think in the end he came to the conclusion that it wasnt made to run at 1 ohm daily.
  5. cccullen

    cccullen Full Member

    yup, orions can take 1ohm loads but not for daily use. you can just use computer fans. I guess any computer store sells fans. They're pretty cheap.
  6. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

  7. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    Driving a 1ohm mono load is the reason why i always wanted one of these amps. Back in the early to mid 90's I heard excellent reviews on the HCCA amps from the local installers. How you can load them down, how reliable, etc. They did say they ran hot....but nobody ever said they were only good for one song before going into thermal protection!!!! I have the original owner's manual, and it just says 1ohm minimun for mono/bridged operation. Why would they advertise that if it was only for competition(or for only a few minutes). I can be wrong, but I'm thinking its rated at 1 ohm for everyday use. As far as it getting enough current: I have the big 3 already done, a 200A alternator, a cap as my expensive distribution block, and 2 and 4 gauge wire. This weekend I'm going to make a diff ground point and install a fan. I'll see how that works. If I'm still not happy all of my HCCA's are going up for sale on Ebay and I'm gonna rewire the subs for 4ohms and use another amp that I have. If any of you guy's have any more ideas, please chime in. Thanks!
  8. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    Thanks Pedro, that is the manual. My amp is the HCCA 250R(800W at 1 ohm). Maybe some people with oldschool Orion experience will see this and offer some more advice....I'm hoping!
  9. cccullen

    cccullen Full Member

    one of the members here, electro has experience with old school orion amps. maybe he could help you out with this one.
  10. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

    i just read your post again. how long can it play at lower vol's?

    and where is your gain set too?
  11. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    Its ok at lower volumes and with songs without tons of bass. My gain is all the way up. I had it set at 3/4 at first but it didn't sound right. This is the first time I've ever had to max out the gain on an amp....maybe this could be something. I have an Alpine head unit, just bought from crutchfield for around $400(I cant remember the model number). It has 5V outputs. My amp can accept up to thats why I'm thinking the gain has to be all the way up????? I have the sub output on my radio set at 10 out of 15. Should I max the sub output on my radio and lower my amp gain?
  12. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    I just looked up my CD player....It's an Alpine CDA-9887. Just bought it brand new a few months ago. It says it has 4V preamp outputs. Whats the correct procedure for setting the gain? I'm used to the old radios with lower voltage preouts. I've been away from the car audio scene for a long time!
  13. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

    well the gain up all the way is not good.

    your more than likely clipping your signal and causing your problems.
  14. electrolytic

    electrolytic Full Member

    Hey, the gain should never be full on those amps, probably around half way to 3/4 you should set it. Turn your stereo up loud but not distorted, then go to your amp and turn up the gain until you hear distortion then turn it back a bit. Those old orions can't take 1 ohm daily if you ask me. You can only play one song then it goes to protection, that shows you the amp is not liking the 1 ohm load. If you want the amp to last you should run it at 2 ohms and put fans on it. Mine heated up very fast too and i attempted to make a cooling system for it but i ended up frying it before i finished.

    It's nothing to do with your wiring or alternator or battery, that's all enough, it's the amp. the new D Class amplifiers are better i think, they are more efficient than the old style and don't heat as fast.

    I remade this rack it was just a prototype, started to fiberglass it then i fried my amp. Can't find the newer pictures.

    Attached Files:

  15. electrolytic

    electrolytic Full Member


    Attached Files:

  16. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    Thanks Electrolytic. I'm gonna turn the gain down and put a fan on it. I'll see how that works out. If it blows, I have a nice replacement for it. I guess all the raves I heard about the HCCA's back in the early 90's was hype. I always find out the hard(expensive) way!
  17. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

    they are not hype. you had the gain set incorrect.

    now that i remember i knew a guy with a 250hcca and he beat the ever loving crap out of it and it would not die.
  18. ANDYK

    ANDYK Full Member

    Sorry Pedro, just venting some frustration. I think its the new Alpine CD player that screwed me up. I've always set gains aroun 1/2 to 3/4 in the past. With this radio I had to crank the gain all the way up to get decent bass. I have the subwoofer level at 10(out of 15) on the radio. Should I set the radio at 15 and then back the gain down to 3/4?
  19. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

    have you considered a line driver? with enough voltage going to it you should be able to turn the gain down real low.
  20. pedro quiroga

    pedro quiroga Well-Known Member

    well i hate to say this but i have my sub gain all the way up,but i have a remote vol for it and ive never had probs with it yet.amp just gets hot on hot days(no too too hot) and warm on cooler days/nights,but i dont crank every song at full bass vol either. some but not for too

    normally its set at 1/4 vol and my bass on the head set to zero boost and bass boost on the amp set at zero boost also.

    i have so many songs on my ipod that vary in output that that was the only way to do mine and be happy.

    some songs 1/4 vol some i have to go to 3/4.(old rock with no bass).

    i should also mention i added a fan cause in FL it's been getting HOT lately.