Staff writers at Sonic Electronix are experts in their field. In addition to a complete in-house training program, these experts typically have many years of hands-on experience in their specialty. Some come from car audio installer backgrounds, while others come with extensive retail experience.
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Remote Car Starters

Remote Start

Remote start systems allow you to warm up your engine from a distance. Don’t be alarmed, even though you’re starting your engine, it does not mean someone can open your door and drive away with your vehicle. Even though the engine starts from a remote command, you still need to put the key into the ignition to actually drive away. If someone does try to hop in while you have the engine running, as soon as they touch the parking brake, the engine will shut off (until you decide to start the car again). Besides, you also control the automatic power locks through your remote, so you can always just lock your vehicle in the first place.

On a hot day, you can cool down your car from the comfort of your home. Besides the convenience of climate control, these devices warm up your vehicle before you start driving, which some mechanics believe will help prolong the life of your engine. Many of our remote car starters also include a car alarm to help protect your vehicle and its contents from theft. Besides discouraging the theft of your vehicle and its contents, you will be notified of a break-in via the 2-way paging system.

A remote engine starter can be programmed to automatically start you car periodically in10-60 minute intervals. This is a great technique for preventing your vehicle’s gas, oil and engine fluids from freezing. To control the temperature inside of the cab, just make sure you have the heater or air conditioning running before you turn off the car. The next time you use the remote start it will automatically heat or cool your vehicle based on your previous climate settings. Remote starters also allow you to lock and unlock your car doors with the press of a button. Certain 2-way remote car starters will even enable you to roll down the windows, open the sunroof, pop open the trunk or the hood, turn on the dome lights, beep the horn, and even start the defroster.

Our remote ignition starters feature two-way communication. For example, when you start the car, an image of the car on the LCD remote screen will show smoke exiting the tailpipe, indicating that the car has been started. This way, when you use your remote to start your car, you can be sure that the signal was transmitted to the vehicle even when from a distance. Two-way pager remotes will also indicate whether you successfully locked or unlocked your doors.

Your vehicle must have an electronic fuel injected motor only. Remote car starters are not recommended for manual transmissions. If your vehicle has an immobilizer you must purchase a bypass module, transponder, or data interface in order to bypass the immobilizer so that the engine starts when you use your remote car starter. Only certain makes of vehicles manufactured from 1993 and on require these bypass modules for remote start, keyless entry, and window controls.

Remember, remote car starters can offer both climate control and vehicle security at the touch of a button. Be sure to get an experienced professional to perform you install.

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Glossary: Vehicle security

Vehicle Security is Very Important

Actuator – Standard door lock motors for adding power door locks to most vehicles (requires relays unless purchasing 4 door kit which already has relays, see tech for application)

Add-ons Motion Sensor (dei-500t) – Detects vertical motion from jacking or towing attempts. Water resistant design utilizes offset silver-plated contacts for a wide range of adjustment. Recommended as a cheap alternative to the tilt sensor.

Air resonance sensor (ultrasonic sensor) – The sensor detects movement inside the vehicle by sensing air disturbance. The sensor will trigger the alarm if a thief tries to gain access to the interior of your vehicle. This sensor will only work properly if all entrackes are closed (doors, windows, sunroof, etc).

Audio sensor (glass break sensor) – Provides pre-entry protection by detecting tampering and breaking of vehicle’s glass. Reliable CMOS design with remote microphone analyzes frequency, intensity and timing of intrusion sounds to eliminate false alarms.

Back-up battery - Sealed 0.7 amp/hour lead/acid battery powers and triggers the alarm when vehicle’s battery is disconnected. A must for any high-security installation.

Closed Loop Sensor (dei-502t) - Perfect for monitoring auxiliary lights, car covers, trailers or anything that you might want to trigger the alarm when you disconnect it. Extremely low current consumption, and compact transistorized design provides both positive and negative output triggers when input trigger is disconnected.

Diodes - allows current (+/-) to travel in one direction. Generally used for door lock wires on certain cars.

Dual zone shock sensor (stinger double guard shock sensor) – The most effective protection against shock/impact. Uses electromagnetic technology to eliminate mechanical parts . Two outputs are provided. The first offers a Warn Away® response on light impact and the second instantly triggers the alarm on hard impact.

Dual Zone - is a feature of proximity and shock sensors only. Zone 1 ( light impact on shock sensor and short motions(adjustable) on proximity sensor) will trigger warn away chirp to warn intruder that car has an alarm without setting off the full alarm. Zone 2 (heavy impact on shock sensor and extended motions(adjustable) on proximity sensor) will trigger the alarm to “go off”.

Knock sensor -  this sensor is designed for AUTOPAGE ALARMS ONLY. It will allow someone to alert you by tapping on the exact spot where the sensor is located to alert the person who has the paging remote. It will show on the remote but will not trigger the alarm.

Magnetic switch - this sensor is designed to trigger an alarm when the circuit it is connected to is “broken” or opened. Good for tool boxes, tunnel covers, and sliding windows on trucks.

Mini Piezzo siren (dei-513t) - Special-application siren often used as a pain generator inside the vehicle.

Pin switch – this switch is designed to trigger an alarm when the circuit is grounded (pin depressed). Good for car doors, hoods, trunks, tool boxes, and gas tank doors.

Power window kit - this is an aftermarket kit for cars with manual windows only and turns a pair of windows into power windows.

Proximity sensor (field disturbance sensor) – The most effective vehicle-intrusion sensor. This dual zone radar sensor detects moving high-density objects using RF field-disturbance technology. Ideal for convertibles or any application where zone-intrusion protection is desired.

Pulse timer relay - Adjustable (1 to 90 seconds) timer-controlled 30A relay. Activates with a (+) or (-) trigger input. For temporary circuit connect/disconnect applications. For example if your alarms do not have a built in turbo timer you can use this relay to create one. Can be used for remote start systems on diesel engines which do not have a wait to start wire.

Relay – an electronic switch which can be used for multiple applications (ie. Reverse polarity, adding door lock actuator, trunk release solenoids, adding starter kill to a vehicle, and remote turn-on when adding multiple amplifiers to a system)

Shock sensor – this sensor is designed to trigger an alarm on light or heavy impacts and vibrations (standard sensor included with most alarms)

Tilt sensor (digital tilt sensor) - this sensor is designed to trigger an alarm when the vehicle is lifted by a jack or tow truck when the alarm is armed. Recommend to someone is worried about there rims. Sensor will remember the angle of the vehicle before it is armed and will only trigger if angle is changed.

Trunk release solenoid - Interfaces with existing latch or release cable to provide power trunk/hatch release by switch or remote control. Comes with mounting bracket, hardware and momentary switch. Requires relay.

2 window up and down (au93) - window automation system controls the operation of two windows in both directions. Can automatically roll up two power windows when a security system is armed, and will provide “one touch” up and down operation for both factory power window switches. Accepts (-) switch inputs to make interfacing with European style, rest at ignition window systems simple; and the adjustable sensitivity makes it compatible with most factory power windows systems. Windows can also be vented or rolled down completely by remote control, using an auxiliary validity channel of a security system.

2 windows up/down (au934) - Allows operation of two windows in one direction or one motor in two directions. Interfaces with most modular alarms. Great for sunroofs or rear windows

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Marine Speaker Install Options and Functionality

Marine Speakers

Marine speakers are designed with water-resistant and UV-resistant materials for use in boats, motorcycles, spas, and other outdoor applications. Many of our Marine speakers feature plastic cones and rubber surrounds for optimal durability. These speakers can withstand light rain, moisture and damaging sun rays. It’s the little things that set marine speakers apart. Unlike ordinary car speakers, their tinsel leads and voice coils are protected from moisture to help prevent corrosion.

If you already have speakers in your boat, you can simply measure the hole space to figure out what size you will need for the replacements. If you do not have speakers in your boat or you want to add bigger speakers, you will have to modify your boat’s panels. Another option is to add Wakeboard tower speakers, a hugely popular marine speaker design. Wakeboard speakers are encased in individual tower enclosures, ready for mounting on wakeboard tower bars.

As I mentioned in the Selecting a Set of Car Speakers article, the sensitivity rating is the most important aspect to consider when gauging a speaker’s quality. This rating tells you how effectively a speaker converts power into sound. The higher the sensitivity rating, the more efficient the speaker and the louder it will play given a set amount of input power. This is especially important if you are placing marine speakers in a boat, because you will need these speakers to be loud enough to sound clear in an open air outdoor environment. Therefore, you should look for a pair of speakers with a high sensitivity rating, among other notable features such as RMS power ratings.

To be sure, marine speakers are not completely infallible. Water resistant means the marine speakers are protected against moisture. Though they will survive sporadic rainfall and water splashes, marine speakers are not completely waterproof. To illustrate, you cannot completely submerge your marine speakers and expect them to continue to function.

When installing your marine speakers, be sure to use waterproof marine speaker wire to safeguard your speakers from corrosion and water damage. Be sure to connect the terminals in phase and make sure that the connections are secure.

These tips should help you establish a nice sound for your boat or outdoor application. If you need more bass, you should consider adding marine subwoofers and marine amplifiers to your system.

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Marine Amplifier Install Options and Functionality

Marine Amplifier

Marine amplifiers will amp up the volume in your boat, motorcycle, spa, or for any of your outdoor applications. In the outdoor environment, it is important that you have enough power to drown out background noises. A marine amp will provide plenty of power for your marine speakers and marine subwoofers. They are built to last in outdoor environments, as marine amplifiers can withstand light rain, moisture and damaging sun rays.

Marine amplifiers protect your audio system’s power from moisture and humidity with gasket-sealed covers for the top-mounted controls and endcaps. The marine amps feature rubber caps to cover the RCA inputs, silicone boots to shield the fuses, and their circuit boards have corrosion-deterring conformal coating.

We carry marine amplifiers in mono, 2-channel, 4-channel and 5-channel models. Choose a marine amplifier based on the number of speakers you plan on connecting to the amp. For example, if you are going to have four marine speakers in your boat, you will want a 4-channel marine amplifier.

There are several different mounting options for your marine amplifier. You can mount your marine amplifier underneath your seats or under the dash for easy access. You could also mount the amplifier on the wakeboard tower by securing it to the tower bars. When considering mounting locations, keep in mind that you want to provide your marine amplifier with adequate ventilation. Be sure to pick a mounting location that will not constantly expose the amplifier to water and heat. Even though marine amplifiers are water-resistant, you want to protect them from water as much as possible.


How to Build a Subwoofer Box

Build Your Own Enclosure

Required Tools:

  • 3/4″ Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
  • Power drill
  • Screws
  • Table saw (or circular saw or hand saw)
  • Jigsaw
  • Putty Knives
  • Wood glue
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Compass
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Razor
  • Caulking gun
  • Goggles
  • Air compressor (optional)

We recommend using Medium Density Fiberboard because the density of the board will keep vibrations at a minimum. Plan ahead to ensure the box will fit in your vehicle. Once you establish how much space is available in your vehicle, calculate the box volume required for playing your subwoofer at its maximum performance level. The box volume depends on the subwoofer size. Check the table below for recommended box volumes or contact the subwoofer manufacturer for more specific recommendations.

Sub Size (inches) Box Volume (ft3)
6″ 0.36 – 0.48
8″ 0.72 – 0.96
10″ 1.2 – 1.8
12″ 2.4 – 3.6
15″ 6.0 – 10.8


Constructing the Subwoofer Box

After measuring your desired box dimensions, use your pencil to draw cutout guide lines. You should use your compass to draw the exact speaker hole and the measuring tape to determine the panel size. To make the box frame, cut the Medium Density Fiberboard with a table saw. Next cut out the speaker hole with a jigsaw. Clean up any roughness from the cuts and blow out the edges with an air compressor. Now that the main panels are cut, make sure the panels match up together by temporarily assembling the box frame.

Apply glue to the joint lines to set up the frame. It takes at least an hour for the glue to dry. After it dries you can start adding screws. Take a power drill to pre-drill your screw holes, and drill in screws to connect the panels. You should have one screw for every 6 inches along the joint line.

Scrape off the dried wood glue with the putty knives. Use glue to seal up the inside of the box to ensure an airtight enclosure. Attach the baffle board last. The baffle board is the panel that is fashioned with the speaker hole. While the box is still open, you can use a caulking gun loaded with silicone sealant to make a seal along each joint line. Once you finish caulking the joints, you can now attach the baffle board. It is imperative that you seal off the enclosure so that it is airtight. If it is not completely airtight, it will result in less power handling for your subwoofer as well as speaker distortion.

Now that your box frame is constructed, take the putty knife and apply putty along along the seams and the screw holes. Let the putty dry, and use a palm sander to first sand over the screw holes and then the flat spots. A sanding block with some sand paper will also do the trick, just use sandpaper with a 120-220 grip.

You can line your box with carpet and felt in order to match your vehicle’s interior. Spray an adhesive to attach the carpet to the box and use a razor to cut away edges and the speaker hole. Use an adhesive to add some poly-fil inside the box to maximize subwoofer performance. Now place the subwoofer in the box and mount the subwoofer box and you’re ready to rock.



Wire Gauge Sizes and the American Wire Gauge (AWG)

Wire Gauge

Although wire is available in many different sizes and colors, the purpose is still the same: To transfer an electrical current from one device to another.  Depending on how much wattage is being transferred through the cable and the distance the cable is being run, different gauge of wire should be used.  Understanding more about what the gauge unit is can help you better determine what gauge wire you need to install your car amplifier, speakers, subwoofers, and other car audio components.


What is Wire Gauge?
The thickness of a cable or wire is defined by its gauge size.  The general rule of thumb is that the smaller the gauge number, the thicker the cable.  The standardized method of measuring the thickness of a cable was established in 1857 in the United States.  Commonly known as the American Wire Gauge (AWG), this form of measuring cable thickness is used for electrically conducting wire.  The important part to consider in determining a cables current-carrying capacity is the cross sectional area of the cable. he diameter of the cable does not include the outer jacket of the wire, but only the copper wire on the inside.  A wire that is “True-to-Gauge” will meet and/or exceed the diameter of the copper for its AWG rating.


Cable/Wire Diameter
Turns of Wire
Copper Resistance
Per Inch

Correct Gauge Terminology
The term “gauge” is used for wire up to 1 AWG.
The term “aught” is used for wire 1/0 AWG and larger. This number of “0” in the size is the number of “Aught”

For example:
8 AWG = Eight Gauge
2 AWG = Two Gauge
1 AWG = One Gauge
1/0 AWG = One Aught
2/0 AWG = Two Aught

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