View Full Version : Stereo related (again) - Big 3 under hood

04-03-2003, 05:07 AM
k i realize what htey are or what i'm told they are:
1) Battery to alternator wire
2) Battery to chassis ground
3) Engine block to frame ground

obviously these wires all already exist. So that'll make upgrading them a lil easier. Second question is how long should it generally take to do this. I don't really like playing around with wires in my engine (go figure) and i'm debating whether i should make an attempt at it? or just wait till i go home in june (for a meet)and hopefully get your guys' help at the meet thingamajig or the brothers help (lotsa tools and he's mechanically smart).

as it stands now, rolling the windows up or down dims the lights on the dash. the bass when the car is sitting at a red light dims the lights. so i can't imagine adding a second sub and running the current amp at 1ohm grabbing twice the power it currently is is gonna make this any better.

i run 4guage from the battery to the trunk to a distro block and then a short 8guage to each amp. I really really really have no desire to redo that power wire with 0guage as that'd be a hella lotta work as if 8 guage, then 4 guage wasn't hard enough. plus that'd involve buyin a new distro block...and as much as i like collecting useless car audio crap (worthless box's and crappy subs) i'd rather not. So i'm hoping upgrading those wires under the hood will fix my issues.

Wasn't really hoping to sink a lotta money into this all...ya never think about all this small stuff. But i guess it's probably not good for some stuff the way it is. btw what exactly does get hurt by all this dimming?

as it stands now i know my amplifiers do get about 13.9v-14.0v each when the car is running and idling and the last amp i think displayed 8amps of current (digital display).

anywho...what kinda advice can y'all offer me on this one?

current setup:
concept cc-d800a powering an alpine type-r w/[email protected]
concept cc-504 powering up to [email protected]
4guage from battery to distro block in trunk
8guage to each amp

adding a second sub in about a month:
concept cc-d800a will run [email protected]
concept cc-504 will stay the same

04-03-2003, 12:02 PM
Hey Scott, well your problem stems from a multitude of things. I would suggest that you first start by looking at the shape of your alternator...is it still charging well? If so, look at your batt. Is it ok, or is it starting to have some problems...expanding, terms starting to look coroded etc. If so, time to change it. The batt may still charge ok but it's internal resistance (as well as all of your power contacts on the batt and on the car) will start to change. Making it harder for the alternator to charge. Next, check and clean all of your power points, grounds included. I would also add a better ground strap to the fender and to the block. The factory wiring is designed to work very well in it's stock load form...it's also designed to accept more drain than normal...aftermarket addons. But, if the aftermarket addons are greater than what the factory intended...you will have a problem.

Your problem isn't that bad. I would imagine that if you just cleaned all of your main power contacts and added some better grounds, the majority of your problems would disapear (providing your alt and batt are ok first).

Though, if you do find your batt is kind of in the need for a change, do all the above mentioned things as well. Your there already anyways.

Hope this works, if you still have a problem...contact me and I'll give you some more tips.


04-03-2003, 01:00 PM
stick a capacitor on your power line somewhere...i guarantee that'll help greater, if not solve your problem. i have what is CLAIMED to be a 2 farad cap, but it's not labeled, so i'm not sure....it may be 1.5 or just 1. but i'd say i have at least 500 watts rms on my stereo...plus i can roll down the windows, open the sunroof, turn on high beams, foglights...blah blah blah - at the same time with no dimming, or power loss whatsoever. capacitor is a great upgrade for any bumped-up car stereo, if you ask me! (necessary eventually) it's similiar to adding an additional battery, but much much more simple. make sure if you do it, that you know what you're doing though!! charged capacitors can be dangerous. anyways, i was having those problems before i bought one and stuck it in, but they're solved now. anyways, good luck! hope i helped a little! :p

Derrktor feesh

04-03-2003, 01:06 PM
well the battery is new as of...few months back...btu i can give a go at cleaning any grounds i can find


04-03-2003, 05:32 PM
I agree... start by looking for the main grounds on those wires you mentioned & remove any corrosion or buildup you find. If you are going to use a chemical for this, like bakingsoda and water, disconnect your battery. Also clean your battery contacts & cables. Applying dielectric grease to these locations should also help.

If these things don't seem to make any difference, then I would say your alternator is simply not producing enough power. I forget what our alternators put out now, 125 amps? How many watts are your current amplifiers? Be sure to read RMS power, not peak. All in all, if it turns out to be a lack on the alternators car it really won't hurt anything. Eventually you might lose your alternator, but at that time you can just spend 150$s on a new and bigger one from somewhere like Autozone.

Voltage spikes could technically hurt some of your accessories, and this is where a capacitor comes in. Although a cap will not help a low power situation, because it can't increase what isn't already there, it will smooth out valleys & peaks in electricity flow. Doing this prevents surges from affecting accessories & other sensitive components, such as gauges. It could also reduce your dimming headlights.

Try this site for some good audio info:

04-03-2003, 06:34 PM
at the moment there's about 6-700w rms total in the system, and in a month or so it'll be about 1000rms

actualy connectors at the battery are basically brand new as well as posts are freshly cleaned, but i can check the other grounds if i can find them heh

but overall this won't hurt anything cept maybe the alternator over time and cause for an early rewinding or what not?

04-04-2003, 11:21 AM
Whooaaaa....1000 RMS....dude, are you sure? Or is that peek power? Not to knock ya, but man that is a LOT of power! If this is the case...you need a better charging system (class D power supplies or not) 1000 watts RMS is way more than your average aftermarket intended load.

Darn that car must be loud!


04-04-2003, 01:51 PM
lol it's not that much....well maybe for the stock electrical system in our particular cars....but basically 800rms to the subs and i'll say 200rms for the speakers.

there's lotsa people with more stuff going on than me lol. I hmm always kinda worked off my brothers car, similar setup, just he uses two smaller amps insteada one big amp for the subs...and he does fine, but i guess he does have a v8 in a newer style car and that might have something to do with it (95 firebird)

But i'll post on here again on sunday night (if it's nice out) and i'll let ya guys know how cleaning those grounds went.

Any other suggestions for how to clean that stuff? i've never actually done that so i dunno whats bad/good or smart or not smart to do etc. what works well? and answer me this someone sent me an email....my moms actually with a buncha good uses for coca cola and one of them was getting rid of corrosion. is that true?

thank ya!!!

Top Shelf SC
04-04-2003, 01:59 PM
You need a Capacitor, with your system, I would suggest a 1.5 or 2.0 farad cap, that will help you with you subs and save power up front. Good luck.

04-04-2003, 02:23 PM
some one who agrees!!!:D :D :D :D :D

i hope that cleaning your grounds and stuff works, but i'm tellin ya...a cap would still help if not solve! :) i've got 4 gauge back to the capacitor to the distribution block, then 8 to the amps - the gauge of wire is mostly a safety thing i believe, (since the gauging is based on the current ratings!) add up your fuses on the amps, and go with the appropriate gauge wire, and that's taken care of! when it comes to the alternator/battery thing...i look at it this way....the alternator charges the battery (duh)....the amps drain the battery (duh) ....so you stick a capacitor in there (which holds a CHARGE) so that it can "sip" power from the battery, store it and give the amps what they need when they need it. (the capacitor will charge MUCH MUCH MUCH more rapidly than the battery, and will discharge quicker as well) it evens out the CURRENT spikes (slight voltage spikes as well) that the loud bass requires. ....now i KNOW i'm right ;) but if i'm not *hehe* anyone feel free to correct me. i'm just a student in electrical engineering, not an expert. so if i'm wrong, someone please correct me! anyways, i hope you get it fixed (and i hope the weather is nice!!!!) good luck with it whatever you do...it's all about having fun :) seeya!

Derrktor FEesh

04-05-2003, 04:14 AM
hmm that student in electrical engineering is starting to persuade me lol. But hmm i thought i've always heard bad things about caps :confused: meh we'll see how much caps are worth i guess...that'll decide whether i'm getting one lol

04-05-2003, 10:18 AM
they're good things!! :) trust me! umm....i bought mine for like $70 (used, slighty OVER used looking) condition, but it works excellent. it's not a fancy one or anything, just looks like abrush aluminum tube with gold ends :p it's actually kinda ugly...hehe...but it does the job! capacitors are really simply designed too...it's kinda neat :D all it is: two terminals connected to two long plates (rolled up with a very thin film or material seperating them) it's been awhile since i've went over HOW they work, but the basic thing is, a "positive" charge forms on one plate, and when it's needed, it jumps through the material separating the to thin plates, and travels on up through the terminal, towards your amplifiers....or whatever is next in line :) that's a ROUGH idea of how they work... i'm sure the internet has better explainations if you're interested. but all a capacitor is, is an oversized electrical component! the most complicated caps i've seen for car audio....have a voltmeter to read the voltage across the plates....but i haven't seen much i guess. anyways, points is....is that a cap is a very very simple component, that will help ya out i'm sure. umm...look at a hostess king don...or little debbie swiss roll...that's kinda what the design is like on the inside of a cap (except there's many many more twirls!!) the key for large capacitance is : larger surface area of the plates, and the closer the plates are, the higher the capacitance (in Farads of course) 1 Farad is huge amount of charge btw :D 2 Farads...is of course a whooooole bunch more. most capacitors are like 5 uf (microfarads) you know, like stuff in your vcr, or computer. geez...i feel like i'm giving a book report!! :eek: hehe....anyways, don't take my word for it....jsut research it for awhile! i like knowing how things work, and a cap is a pretty cool thing ;) hope i don't sound like a professor or something :confused: :D ;) :rolleyes:

oh yes! i might know why people talk bad about caps...it MIGHT be because of the way they have to be charged...you can't just hook one up to the battery (an explosion may occur in your trunk!) they have to be charged thru a resistance....i use a cheap little circuit test light! ;) touch one end to the + batery terminal, and clip the other to the wire going back to the cap...whenever it's finished the light in the tester will be off because there will be no voltage difference between the +terminal, and the cap!!! okay!! now i'm done for now!!!! have a good weekend everyone! seeya!

derrktor feesh

04-05-2003, 06:10 PM
Capacitors are certainly not bad when used correctly.. just ensure that you don't use a massive cap in a low powered system, it won't help. You should benefit to some extent from a capacitor, it will protect the electrical accessories in your car & if your system is just barely over the electrical system's limits, which is where it seems, a capacitor can help smooth out the spikes & cause your lights to stop dimming. If you upgrade your system significantly, however, you will need a new alternator to produce necessary current. If the amps can't get enough current, its kindof a waste as they won't play as loud.

more cap info - http://www.eatel.net/~amptech/elecdisc/capacitr.htm

more general audio info -

Some nice subs, amps, ect 4 a good price (lol) -

04-05-2003, 07:43 PM
indeed! :p :)