View Full Version : capacitor question

10-11-2008, 03:05 PM
Ive been looking through forums trying to decide whether or not I need one, im getting ready to put together a custom enclosure ( a project to teach my lil bro some carpentry basics) which is going to open up floor space in the trunk for the coming stroller. Its going to include 3 pioneer subs like the one Im currently using. One on either side next to the wheel wells and one in the rear along with 2 amp racks.

Soo the question is after all this extra crap and around 1500 watts rms Ill be pushing is it time for a cap? alot of people say there worthless but Ive installed them and swear i saw improvements.....so unless this is some kind of placebo effect they do work. What do you guys think?

10-11-2008, 03:20 PM
1) Why do you need 1500w RMS? My 400w RMS kicker already destroys my trunk. Then again, it's not necessarily the power of the amplifier that's important, it's the sensitivity of your subwoofers. What subs do you have, and what's their sensitivity rating?

2) A high-output alternator is the only real solution (along with upgrading all battery-related wiring to 0 gauge...from engine to ground, alternator to battery, and ground to chassis if I recall correctly, this will give a small boost).

Remember, energy isn't free! It doesn't matter if a battery is providing the power, or if a capacitor is storing it. Once that energy is used by the amplifier, the alternator is responsible for recharging it, so it doesn't matter what you have, the alternator will still be under the same load regardless.

Summary: Caps are a waste of money.

10-11-2008, 07:42 PM

Summary: Caps are a waste of money.

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one, if your amplifier is located in the trunk of your vehicle, a capacitor will help greatly with the voltage drop that you have in the power lead to the amp.
In my experience, amplifiers perform much better than they have a stable power supply at a higher voltage. I agree with everything else you said though, the cars electrical system definitely needs to be up to the task!
Another bonus of a capacitor is that it can charge your cars battery if you deplete it playing the radio loud with the car turned off.....that happened to me once!

10-11-2008, 08:03 PM
Everyone will disagree with each other on this.

I have nearly 0 volts lost through my wire to teh amp. It's 4 gauge and ~15 feet long. That's more than enough as far as that goes.

The alt is rated at 105 amps. The stock "big 3" is 8 gauge, I do believe. My kicker is fused for either 30 or 40, so as there's less than 30 amps travelling through it. That's not the issue. The issue is the alternator takes a crap whenever a hard bass note hits, mainly because my big 3 is constricted (will eventually deal with this problem.) Going from 8 gauge to 4 gauge is a pretty big step up when it comes to the amount of power we're demanding.

Just by doing the big 3 you'll probably notice almost no issues. A high output alternator will just make things prettier.

I'm one of those who believe in beefing up the core of the system. I consider a cap to be a bandaid, trying to cover up a problem. For my job (cable service tech), I consider something like an in-house amp to be a bandaid. If you're losing too much signal through the drop, the drop should be replaced, rather than amplifying what signal it is able to carry.

10-11-2008, 09:24 PM
thanks for the imput you guys, im thinking the sad truth is if im going to put in this much power a new alternator is going to be needed regardless.

10-12-2008, 02:10 AM
no no no! a cap will reduce the wear and tare on you alternator and battery and allow you use smaller wire think of your cap like a mini battery

10-12-2008, 02:55 AM
Does anyone know of a high-output alternator with 100+ amps for our A-Bodies? In particular, the 3300 V6?

10-12-2008, 03:02 AM
Does anyone know of a high-output alternator with 100+ amps for our A-Bodies? In particular, the 3300 V6?

Something from a 3800?

10-12-2008, 03:12 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/CENTURY-CIERA-200-AMP-HIGH-OUTPUT-ALTERNATOR-86-87-88_W0QQitemZ160287226536QQcmdZViewItem?_trksid=p32 86.m20.l1116

I would seriously invest in upgrading wiring before pushing even MORE current through it.