I certainly agree with you about the bad installs - most of the dimming problems that I have encountered were usually just the case of a poor ground.Originally posted by ej20fan
True, we use powersupplies to drive and charge these systems, though many of the vehicles we compete in are still daily drivers. Regardless, the alternator is tested with a multi-meter. Very easy.
The alternator upgrade is really not that necessary. I'm running a pretty big system, RF 5002 and RF4004, with Kove Opulent Components in the front and matching 4" rear, with a T3 sub in a custom box. I have had no problems.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to soundsystems is proper installation. Bad install's make up for more than 90% of the problems we fix at my shop.
Really when it comes down to it - extra batteries are good for two things.
1.) Extended play-time when the car is off
2.) Providing the extra current necessary for shorter periods of time, much like the reasoning for adding a capacitor.
So... if you're only going to be burping your system, or if your system doesn't draw more current than your alternator - car draw, you're all set.
However, if you are consistently running enough electronics that you are drawing, say, 50A worth of accessories from a 75A alternator... there's no way to get around an upgrade.
It's certainly not somethign to jump into though - it's a big step. Ultimately, however, it is the proper solution to the power problem, instead of just a band-aid type solution like a cap (or battery in some cases).
Not trying to start an argument - I think we're both right and making good points. Situations like this really must be evaluated on a case-by-cases basis.
For example, I ran a 1500W+ RMS system (two ARC Audio amplifiers) in my jetta with the stock 90A alternator without any problems whatsoever.