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2004 gmc envoy_slt
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I don't disagree with anything you said, though I am confused if you are trying to make a point for or against capacitors.
As you pointed out, the need for "extra" power is most often at low frequencies with heavy bass content of long duration. This drains the reservoir of the capacitor quite rapidly and then calls for more before it can recharge. In Joe average's system, a capacitor can be the bandaid for small gauge wire and inadequate battery if he doesn't mind minor clipping/distortion at times. This is what I meant by it being a bandaid. As you say, competition systems use adequate power sources to begin with. I think that some competition systems put them on as more of a marketing tool than actually benefitting their system. They don't really need them, yet capacitors don't degrade the system by their presence.
I think that we're on the same page.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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:iagree:, capacitors do make the system sound better when used correctly (and that is weighting the system as a whole). Caps are usually required by bigger systems that put out deepe bass, the deeper the bass the bigger the draw in very small time intervals, also, an average, vehicle is about 12 to 18ft long, batteries are in the front, amps opposite corner in the back; This contributes to voltage drops across the power line, placing the capacitor as close as possible to the amp will help correct the problem, some believe placing the capacitor in the midpoint between the battery and amp is the best practice, don't know which one is really more efficient. A capacitor is wired parallel to your battery so even when the vehicle is turned off the capacitor is still charging. as a capacitor gets closer to full charge the rate of charge gets slower.

Furthermore, Misusage of a systems as a whole is sometimes misunderstood for a under charging capacitor.

Ps... If demand is higher than supply well someone, somewhere is going to go hungry.:weird::m2:
 

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2007 chevy trailblazer_lt
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After reading all the debates about caps on here, I've been back and forth over whether or not I should install the RF 1 farad cap I've got.

I know the saying goes, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it", so I guess I'm wondering what is the "appropriate application" that everyone keeps referring to here? If you have a smaller system (aftermarket touch screen, 500w mono amp, a pair of 10" subs) that you're not hammering and you actually have enough power from the factory alternator, is it worth wiring a cap up in line to help my amp for the subs?

I read this whole thread. It's been very helpful. If the cap can be drawn down quickly, as I know they're intended, I can see how it may become an additional item needing power (to recharge) and possibly become an additional burden on your electrical system. This is why I have opted not to install it so far. Alot of the music I listen to will have solid, heavy bass for extended amounts of time. If I understand this right, the cap would be discharged quickly and then would spend the rest of the time trying to re-charge (on top of everything else) while the bass continues to hit.

I guess I'm just wondering in my case if there would be an advantage to using one or if I should sell it? How fast does the cap recharge? Can it keep up?
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_ls
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After reading all the debates about caps on here, I've been back and forth over whether or not I should install the RF 1 farad cap I've got.

I know the saying goes, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it", so I guess I'm wondering what is the "appropriate application" that everyone keeps referring to here? If you have a smaller system (aftermarket touch screen, 500w mono amp, a pair of 10" subs) that you're not hammering and you actually have enough power from the factory alternator, is it worth wiring a cap up in line to help my amp for the subs?

I read this whole thread. It's been very helpful. If the cap can be drawn down quickly, as I know they're intended, I can see how it may become an additional item needing power (to recharge) and possibly become an additional burden on your electrical system. This is why I have opted not to install it so far. Alot of the music I listen to will have solid, heavy bass for extended amounts of time. If I understand this right, the cap would be discharged quickly and then would spend the rest of the time trying to re-charge (on top of everything else) while the bass continues to hit.

I guess I'm just wondering in my case if there would be an advantage to using one or if I should sell it? How fast does the cap recharge? Can it keep up?
My only advice is to try it and see how it works for you. I would never say that it would be a strain on a system, it's only a storage device.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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26 Posts
I am compelled to chime in.

The most important factor when talking electricity in car electronics is having solid connections between your battery and the amplifier, the battery ground and the chassis, and the alternator to the battery. Ideally, you'd ground your amplifier (and the rest of the car's electronics to the battery) but that is impractical especially when I run 0/1 gauge wire. With that said, make sure you use a grounding foot or something equivalent when grounding to the chassis.

A capacitor's only purpose is to provide current during high draw peaks, when the battery is unable to provide the immediate amperage. Because it is typically wired close to an amplifier, it there is less resistance from the wires allowing it to be more efficient. The capacitor then recharges when the system does not require excessive power.

Does a capacitor improve the quality of the sound system? YES. As previously stated, there is no improvement in the actual audio quality per se. However, this supplies the amplifier with additional power that prevents it from being starved, which could in turn degrade the perceived quality.

Will an amplifier help a car with voltage issues? Kinda. The secondary purpose of a cap is to prevent the lights from dimming when the bass hits. It has also helped me when I had voltage issues when my fan clutch and water pump went to ****. It prevented my car from occasionally stalling, and I experienced less of a voltage drop when it was connected.

I've also been compelled to isolate a battery in my truck, but it is not practical. There is no need for an isolated battery on a lightly upgraded sound system, assuming there are no charging/electrical issues. Your money is better spent upgrading the alternator and installing heavier gauge wires. Even an upgraded alternator is unnecessary. This stuff is all common in competition grade vehicles, and if you are unsure on whether or not you need to upgrade - you don't.

Personally, I'm running a 6 farad cap using 0/1 gauge wire to my 2000w monoblock amplifier. Haven't had any problems, and I won't.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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did you read any of this info?

in theory caps are great, but they take too long to recharge.
So for 24ft (a little long) of 0 gauge wire its approximately .002 ohms. For a six farad capacitor charging at a voltage of 14.4, it takes about .06 seconds to charge. Short enough for my liking.

And in a realistic system, 18ft of 12awg at 14.4v assumes a resistance of .029 ohms and a charging time of a 1F capacitor is .01s.

In theory caps are great, in reality they charge fast enough for me.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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After reading all the debates about caps on here, I've been back and forth over whether or not I should install the RF 1 farad cap I've got.

I know the saying goes, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it", so I guess I'm wondering what is the "appropriate application" that everyone keeps referring to here? If you have a smaller system (aftermarket touch screen, 500w mono amp, a pair of 10" subs) that you're not hammering and you actually have enough power from the factory alternator, is it worth wiring a cap up in line to help my amp for the subs?

I read this whole thread. It's been very helpful. If the cap can be drawn down quickly, as I know they're intended, I can see how it may become an additional item needing power (to recharge) and possibly become an additional burden on your electrical system. This is why I have opted not to install it so far. Alot of the music I listen to will have solid, heavy bass for extended amounts of time. If I understand this right, the cap would be discharged quickly and then would spend the rest of the time trying to re-charge (on top of everything else) while the bass continues to hit.

I guess I'm just wondering in my case if there would be an advantage to using one or if I should sell it? How fast does the cap recharge? Can it keep up?
And just to add some more...

While I fundamentally agree with xj2202009, a capacitor reduces strain on your battery and alternator. Are you going to see a difference in your audio system? Doubt it. Our 150A alternators are plenty fine, and with a good condition battery you have everything you need to power your equipment and the truck.

You might be able to extend the life of that battery and alternator though. If you bought it already, might as well slap it on.
 

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2002 gmc envoy_slt
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So for 24ft (a little long) of 0 gauge wire its approximately .002 ohms. For a six farad capacitor charging at a voltage of 14.4, it takes about .06 seconds to charge. Short enough for my liking.

And in a realistic system, 18ft of 12awg at 14.4v assumes a resistance of .029 ohms and a charging time of a 1F capacitor is .01s.

In theory caps are great, in reality they charge fast enough for me.
where are you getting your info from, it would be a good read.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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where are you getting your info from, it would be a good read.
to check the resistance of the wire, you can go here:
http://www.cirris.com/testing/resistance/wire.html

an accurate and realistic means to determine this is to connect an ohmmeter from your from the ends of the main power wires themselves, inline fuse included (most practical means.) the most difficult part is actually being able to determine your actual resistance, considering your inline fuse, terminal connections, etc play some part in this.

here is a link to where you can plug in some numbers for capacitor recharge time (scroll down towards the end):
http://www.bcae1.com/capacitr.htm

he definitely explains it a lot better than i could in the forums. the calculations are also at the end. if you would like me to clarify something, i can dig up some of my electrical engineering books. there is no formal "resistor" that he refers to in a car system. the resistance of the wiring itself is essentially the resistor.
 

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2007 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Battery

Well i upgraded my stock battery to a Optima Yellow top and let me tell you it helped out alot. I am running a Orion Hcca 10 inch dual 4 ohm and a hifonics amp at 2 ohms producing about 1700 w rms and since i replace the battery with the optima my voltage stays over 15 volts the whole time which was way better. If i get another HCCA tho i will have to get a HO ALt.
 

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2002 gmc envoy_slt
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Well i upgraded my stock battery to a Optima Yellow top and let me tell you it helped out alot. I am running a Orion Hcca 10 inch dual 4 ohm and a hifonics amp at 2 ohms producing about 1700 w rms and since i replace the battery with the optima my voltage stays over 15 volts the whole time which was way better. If i get another HCCA tho i will have to get a HO ALt.
are you using a dmm to check your voltage, or just the dash gauge. cause over charging your 12v battery can fry it and also is a sign that your alt is going out.
 

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2007 chevy trailblazer_ls
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I've noticed that chevy vehicles idle voltage is around 15 volts. My friends 07 silverado idles at the same as mine I have used a dmm and I have a cap and it shows same voltage as my dash. The voltage before I replaced my stock battery was 15 volts but when my system was bumping the vOltage would drop as low at 12.5v when I got the yellow top optima it stays at 15v unless I really have a very deep bass song Playing then It ranges from 14.5 to 15. And my lights no longer dim at all. My alt. Is good I had the chevy dealer check it does that make sense?
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls
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138 Posts
A capacitor's only purpose is to provide current during high draw peaks, when the battery is unable to provide the immediate amperage.
Actually this isn't the full truth.
There is a different reason why car audio freaks and I mean the ones that have high quality systems and not high volume systems, build capacitors in there cars.

If build in the right way, they will remove interference from the power line.
Generators produce these things, you cell phone does as well.
HID lights are very bad as well.

Ham Radio operators can tell you stories about it.

So if you put it in the right way, you will have better sound because you won't hear the interference anymore.
 

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2005 gmc envoy_sle
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How worth it is it getting a larger capacity alternator with plans on getting a decent sound system installed in my 2005 Envoy? I went through this post a little to see the differences between the use of a capacitor vs. the use of a deep cell battery and I'm not really entirely sure on what's the best route. I plan on replacing all the door speakers, changing the head unit obviously, getting amps and a sub box but nothing to serious, definitely nothing at competition level. So, is it worth getting an upgraded alternator and or battery or capacitor? And if so how much does a higher output alternator cost vs. a stock one?
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Ghost thread! I like it. Not sure if you are asking me but I will chime in anyways. Bit of a coincidence because I just swapped out my battery 20 minutes ago in this freezing weather!

I guess your real options are to isolate a battery, get one of these deep cell batteries, a capacitor, and/or a high output alternator. If you were going to do it right, I would say get a half way decent battery, a small capacitor, and the upgraded alternator.

My opinion, a decent capacitor with a good battery will be fine (and reasonably cheap) but that really depends on how much you are pushing your electrical system. A high output alternator (like 220+ amps) will run you like $250. I've seen them cheaper but I haven't looked into any of those reviews. Stock alts are maybe like $140 (150 amps I think) which have been fine for my application (2000 watts RMS with the help of a pretty nice capacitor.)

Remember, you can take a battery and cap out of a car and put them in another. Its a little harder to reuse an alternator if you ever get a new vehicle.
 

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2003 gmc trailblazer_ls
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In my 30 years of car audio enthusiast i have learned that capacitors are great for competition systems that use amplifiers with unregulated power supplies they can store the full voltage from an alternator unlike a battery, some even use 16 Volt batteries ( more voltage = more power).
Now for a regulated power supply amp a Cap is pretty much useless, if you want you light to stop dimming use the capacitor on the lights feed not the amp.
 
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