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Okay, I finally got the amp put in, and it works, and works WELL. Real sound at last! And I never had to pull the dash! All the wires I needed were accessed from the amplifier end of the wire harness, except for the hot lead to the battery and the amp ground.

Stage 2, you ask? Where's Stage 1? Easy- REPLACE THOSE AWFUL SPEAKERS! There are enough posts here and everywhere else on that subject, so I'm not going into it. Get the best sounding speakers you can afford, and don't look back. That alone is the single biggest improvement you can make to the bose system. Choosing an amp is just as subjective. I got the Aura Sound 4200 as was suggested by DaveRulez, which is a good amp on the cheap. Again, there are plenty of threads on what amp to get, so that's entirely up to you. Get something that will complement your speakers well.

WARNING SECTION:

You will be working at times with a live 12V feed for your amp power! This can KILL you if you're not careful! You will have to run a few tests before the process is done, but remember to ALWAYS remove the inline fuse from the amp power line when done!

The Remore Turn-on wire is HOT when you have the Accessory on or car running, whether the radio is on or not! It can KILL you too!

The bose harness has a +12V lead that is ALWAYS hot! It can KILL you if you are not respectful of it! Mark it and know where it is at all times!

Once you snip the first factory wire, you're on your own! Mazda MAY still warranty your head unit, but I seriously doubt they will warranty anything downstream of it (amp, subs, speakers). Once you start, there's no going back!

If any of the above worries you in the least, DON'T do this! I'm responsible for MY car, not yours!


That said, let's begin.

Here's the diagram of the amp end of the factory wiring harness, taken from a commonly-avalable PDF file floating around this site and others. You'll need a copy of this in the car to know what wires to cut. I have a 2006, and the wire colors and locations are all the same. Note that this is looking from the REAR end of the plug, the end the wires go into.



Here is the enemy: The Blose amp. I've already removed the cover plate, as well as gotten about 2 feet of slack onthe wiring harness. That will take about an hour of your time, and will involve a little bit of yanking stuff around under the seat and flooring. Sorry I can't be more specific, but you'll see. The end result is having the wiring harness able to come out from beneath the front of the seat, because that's where you'll be working. When you're done, you can tuck it back under the seat.



This is the wiring setup I used to interface with my new amp. My pieces are short because I'm mounting my amp on the floor behind the driver's seat (it's only me, myself, and I, so I'll rarely if ever have 5 people in that car). You'll need to decide where to place your amp, and measure your cables accordingly. Not shown is the cable I used to run to the sub. It's basically a stereo RCA to mono bare wires cable. The AuraSound amp has a L/R line out, so I got to run that to the bose sub amp and still have my mighty 5" bass driver working in the back. Better than nothing, I guess. At this point, I had already had the +12V lead run from the battery, had the amplifier ground in place, and had a remote lead set aside. Again, before you cut wires, measure them to make sure they'll reach from the harness to your amp's final resting place.



Next step: Test the remote turn-on. This is where I held my breath the most. All I wanted was to see the amp come on, and I knew I'd be fine from there. So I snipped the remote wire (remember- point of no return!!!), tied it in to the amp, hooked up the power lead, put in the fuse at the battery, and turned the car on. Success! Seeing the green light made my day. Then I disconnected everything, pulled the fuse from the 12V lead, and on to the next phase. Oh, note that this lead also turns on the subwoofer amp, it's tied to that elsewhere. So the sub is going to come on with the car regardless of if you use it or not.



This I call the OFC test. The hell, you say? Well, OFC= Oxygen Free Copper, which is used in some of the more glamorous RCA cables these days (personally I was just using some Walmart specials I found in the closet, but you still have to check). In order to prevent the wires from oxidizing, OFC cables are coated with something (I forget what, it's been too long) that is actually non-conductive. So in an OFC cable, the exposed wires are still insulated. If your RCA cables DO have this treatment, generally a few seconds above a cigarette lighter will burn the stuff off and make them conductive again. But in order to find out, you need to get one Line-in and one speaker set up, to make sure there's sound. So, snip off the + and - from your Left Front in, tie them to an RCA cable, snip the Left front speaker out, wire them to a section of speaker wire (observe proper polarity), hook those up, reconnect the power leads and remote, re-insert the fuse, and start the car. Turn on the radio, and you should have sound from your front left speaker. If you don't, and you're positive all the cabling is correct, then your RCA cables probably have OFC coating. It just takes a few seconds over an open flame to burn it off, so do that and try again. This is an important step because you'd hate to have all this done and thennot have any sound becuae of something so trivial. If you do have OFC cables, get them all tested and fixed before going further.



The next step is just to complete the wiring. Just one side at a time, get your FR, RL, RR inputs wired to RCA cables, then do the same for your speakers. You should never have more than 2 wires from the harness cut at any given time, to keep you from losing your place. If you have a way to send a signal to the sub amp, then tap into those with the stereo RCA to mono bare wires setup I mentioned earlier (the two yellow RCA plugs in the picture). If not, then for the time being terminate the wires individually with wire nuts (orange work fine) and electrical tape, so they can't touch anything.

Now all that should be left on the harness are the 12V constant and the ground leads. The 12V lead is live, so CAREFULLY snip the +12V lead and IMMEDIATELY terminate it with a wire nut and some electrical tape. Then do the same for the ground. Boom! you're done!



Now tidy up your wires, run them to the amp, connect everything, put the fuse inline for the amp for the last time, and fire her up! Setting the Gain and high-pass crossover frequencies will be a matter of personal taste and speker capability, but personally I have mine set so an average level CD will max out at volume 20, so I'll have room to adjust for lower and higher level recordings, and have the high-pass for the door speakers at 60Hz.

I think total time spent on this was about 3 hours once I cut the first wire, but I was talking on the phone part of the time I was working. It's not hard, and it's well worth it. I'm quite tired and may have left out a few minor details, but this is the gist of it. If I remember something, I'll add it later. I left enough wire on the plug end of the harness where I could hook it back up if I absolutely had to, but I don't see that happening for any reason (I'm keeping my car). So if you've got replacement speakers in there already and you want to put some real power to them, here's your painless do-it-yerself guide. Enjoy.

-K
 

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good work there, bro!!! and nice write-up, too!!!

that's pretty much exactly what i did, but i'd like to throw something out there that might make people worry less about tackling this project....

instead of cutting off the entire harness for the bose amp, i just used snap connectors. you can find them at any auto parts store or radio shack. it makes wiring so much easier, in that there's no cutting, no splicing, no soldering. it really saved me a bunch of time too.



it was definitely a tight fit getting ALL of those connectors in, but well worth it. this will make going back to stock pretty painless too.
 

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If you can die from touching a remote turn on wire you must have the worst heart in all of america. Get on an organ donors list.

And why would you be doing electrical work with the battery connected? Death isn't a concern but blowing fuses is.
 

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If you can die from touching a remote turn on wire you must have the worst heart in all of america. Get on an organ donors list.

And why would you be doing electrical work with the battery connected? Death isn't a concern but blowing fuses is.
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I was going to retort, then I realized it wasn't worth lowering myself to your level.

That's a helluva octopus skeurton, nice job. If / when I get time, I may well redo mine like that. I was just so hell-bent on getting it done and hoping that it worked, that I just used what I had lying around the house.

But there's more to come, still gotta get rid of that muddy bass in the back.
 

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This how the remote lead can kill you.

Connect a ground lead to your battery and stick it in your bum. Solder the remote lead to an eight inch steak knife. Plung the knife into your chest so that the lead makes contact with your heart. This should provide enough of a load to kill you. DUH!!!

good work there, bro!!! and nice write-up, too!!!

that's pretty much exactly what i did, but i'd like to throw something out there that might make people worry less about tackling this project....

instead of cutting off the entire harness for the bose amp, i just used snap connectors. you can find them at any auto parts store or radio shack. it makes wiring so much easier, in that there's no cutting, no splicing, no soldering. it really saved me a bunch of time too.



it was definitely a tight fit getting ALL of those connectors in, but well worth it. this will make going back to stock pretty painless too.
[/b]
I hate those connectors, I would not recommend using them as they are prone to loosing their connection. I just spliced into the wires and solder them in. Going back to stock means simply cutting off the spliced wires. Very clean and secure.
 
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