Speaker Polarity Test

Oftentimes when installing new speakers in a vehicle it’s not clear which wire is positive and which is negative. It is important to figure this out before connecting your new speakers to the vehicle.

To determine which wire is positive and which is negative we will use a method commonly referred to as a “Pop Test”. The “Pop Test” uses one of your speakers and a 1.3V battery. This can be from “AAA” to “D” cell.

Before disconnecting the factory speaker from your vehicle; you should mark one of the speakers wires and the corresponding speaker wire terminal on the speaker with a permanent marker.

Now that the speaker wire and corresponding wire terminal are clearly marked, it’s safe to disconnect the speaker from the vehicle and sit it on the work bench. The speaker should be sitting on it’s magnet end with the front of the speaker facing upward.

For the next step you’ll need a steady hand and a sharp eye. Make sure there is noting that will interfere with the speaker cone moving up or down.

Touch the positive(+) terminal of the battery to the speakers wire terminal with your mark on it and the negative(-) terminal of the battery to the speaker wire terminal with no mark on it. This will make the speaker cone move either up or down.

If the speaker cone is drawn down toward the work bench the polarity is correct. Meaning your positive(+) speaker terminal is the one with your mark. However; if the speaker cone is pushed up this tells us that the polarity is reversed and that the terminal with your mark is the negative(-) speaker terminal.

Now that we have clearly identified which terminal on the speaker is positive(+) and which is negative(-) we can use the speaker itself to determine which of the vehicles speaker wires is positive(+) and which is negative(-).

Even if all of the speaker harness clips are identical, this process should be repeated for each of the speakers in the vehicle. Take nothing for granted, manufacturers do strange things from time to time.

You may need to “extend” the 1.3V batteries positive(+) terminal. Using electrical tape; attach a 3″-6″ piece of wire to the 1.3V batteries positive(+) terminal. The wire housing will need stripped at both ends so that it can make contact with the battery.