High watt audio systems and alternators
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This is a discussion on High watt audio systems and alternators within the Interior Mods forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi, hope someone can provide some advice. I'm upgrading the audio system in my WRX. I understand it comes with ...

  1. #1
    Registered User relic74's Avatar
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    High watt audio systems and alternators

    Hi, hope someone can provide some advice.

    I'm upgrading the audio system in my WRX. I understand it comes with a stock 75A alternator correct? I'm running hifonics amps, one Brutus 1200W and one Zeus 640W amp. it holds up but my lights are dimming.

    should I upgrade the alternator? or would a 3 farad capacitor do the trick? I'm hoping a stiffening cap will work, as I really don't have the funds for a new alternator.

    thanks in advance for any advice.

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    I suggest doing the "big three" and getting a better battery like an Optima yellow top. The 2.5L turbo and non turbo alternators are 90A and there are a couple of places that make 140A alternators as well. I don't think using a capacitor would be my first choice.

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    Registered User MainFrame's Avatar
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    A cap will just be a waste of money. They really are worthless.


    I did the "big 3", installed an Optima battery (Red Top, but now wishing I had gone with Yellow) and installed a 160amp high output alternator from maniac electric..

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    I've heard some good and bad things about caps. I know there is at least one user here that is in favor of them. Personally, I've never had good luck with them.

    I'd first make sure you ran proper wire gauges. That is often the case of dimming lights surprisingly.

    Then go on to the big 3.

    Caps are pricey, and I personally would rather just work from the ground up.
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    Registered User melacon's Avatar
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    You can get non-big-name-brand caps for as little as $30 if you shop around online. I grabbed a Raptor brand with an LED voltmeter on it for that much.
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    Registered User relic74's Avatar
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    caps

    i picked up a 3.5 farad cap. my lights don't dim real bad so i am hoping this will tighten things up. haven't installed it yet but i'll post results when i do.

    also i'll be replacing some door speakers soon. when i do i'll take some good photos to share since i haven't seen any yet. i'll be using spacers and some hifonics ZXi components.

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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    If you have good quality amps and they're just power hungry.. eventually you'll have to do the "big 3" There's just no replacement for POWA!

    hell I want to even without any huge audio installed just because it takes forever to get the rear windows to come up on my 2010.... wtf? lol

    I've used caps, I like caps.. BUT if you're severely down on useable power it is only a bandaid that may or may not get you by.

    I prefer to use them more to improve transient response vs taking up for a system shortcoming. Which is what they are designed for.. to assist the amps built in reserve.. not to make up for constant supply shortcomings.

    bottom line, nothing comes close to a good alt/battery and wiring. A high quality amp with proper supply wont need a cap. Reality and budgets in place though.. most of the equipment the average Joe can afford will benefit. Esp on the sub amp.

    fyi, optima's aren't all they're cracked up to be either... I've run a few and looking back wonder why I wasted the cash to do so. Unless you need to mount a battery on its side or upside down, go with a traditional high quality battery and save yourself some dough.
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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangostick View Post
    bottom line, nothing comes close to a good alt/battery and wiring. A high quality amp with proper supply wont need a cap. Reality and budgets in place though.. most of the equipment the average Joe can afford will benefit. Esp on the sub amp.
    +[some huge number that won't fit in this post]

    People make way too big of a deal over the cap battle. Normally I find this is the case. I've personally never noticed the transient difference from a cap, but the stereos we've used them in have been sub par.

    EDIT: And for what it is worth, it has not solved the issue in any of them. It may have smoothed out the light dimming a bit, but did not solve the problem enough to justify it.
    Last edited by Heide264; 08-14-2010 at 03:11 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264 View Post

    EDIT: And for what it is worth, it has not solved the issue in any of them. It may have smoothed out the light dimming a bit, but did not solve the problem enough to justify it.
    Well, really thats not what a cap is designed to do.. lol.. so yeah that power draw is still going to be there, just not quite so harsh on the amp and a little slower impact to the car electrical system as it draws for power. The car still has to fill the gap.

    Been checkin out ho alternators for our cars.. prices really aren't bad next to some I've worked with. 140 amp should do a scoobie just fine for anything you ever want to add.

    Another thought to keep in mind.. if running a reduced diam crank pulley (underdrive) you're also diminishing alt output at Idle and lower rpms.
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    Registered User MainFrame's Avatar
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    Yeah, when I was looking at HO alternators there were 140 and 160 amp versions. The 160 amp one had a larger housing and was considerably more efficient. It puts out 100 amps at idle, which was just what I was looking for.

    If the 140 amp version had been just as efficient I would have gone with that one.

  12. #11
    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    all new cars should come from the factory with at least 140 amp alternators.

    figure it this way, rainy night with wipers, headlights, defrosters as well as engine management and all the accessories people add.... its a well justified update. Problem is the $$ per unit and how much it would impact production costs.
    OBP 2010 5dr *traded*
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