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Big Power Problems, Can You Help?


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I have a 1994 LS400, Now I have had my sound system in there for a month or so now, and I am starting to get some power problems.

The problem starts with the system, it's a juice drinker. 2 x 15" Kicker Solo Baric Square Subs. Powered by a single Audio System Twister 1000watt RMS amp, Now I listen to a lot of R n B & Hip Hop, Also Drum & Bass so I get those big bass drops that draw a lot of power.

Right I have owned my current system for a while now and no probs in my Vauxhall Cav V6, My Volvo T5 or my Mondeo V6. So now I have a proper car I am wondering why I am getting the Problems. When I first installed it the only dimming of lights I came across was on the Alpine Head Unit and slight dimming of the headlights when the Big Bass drops occurred.

But just today I have noticed the Climate control and all the warning lights flash when the bass goes mental, it really is drawing a lot of power. I have never used a power cap, but it is something I am looking to purchase however this problem has only just occurred today and hasn't happned before even though the system has been in the car for a over 1 and a 1/2 months. The Battery has been tested and I have been told is ok so what could this big loss of power be down to? And is the Power cap the only answer? p.s I use 4 gage Power and earth cables.

Bison :zee:

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Yes, use a power cap. The higher the better.

Although your Battery and alternator test out ok, these will most definately be taxed. What is more difficult to test is the discharge rate.

The power within the Battery will be getting marginally less over time as the alternator will not be putting enough back in.

The first thing I would do is take the Battery out and give it a full manual charge, and hook up your cap to cope with the increased load on the bass tones.

It could still mean your Battery is on it's way out, but I would definately use the cap for the increased demand, especially now we are in the winter months and you take more from the Battery.

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Cheers Geoffers,

Do you think I should just get a new Battery anyway as I do not know when or If the current one was replaced.

Also I know bugger all about power caps, can you reccomend one that will not break the bank?

Cheers for the Input

Bison :zee:

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I wouldn't rush out and buy a new Battery just yet - see how it goes. It may purely be current drain that has been to much for it. If poss though, put it on a charger overnight as it sounds like it's had a bit of a hammering, especially as your alternator hasn't been able to keep up.

Capacitors are a rip off in this country. Get a minimum of 1 Farad, but the higher the better.

You can get them on eBay quite cheaply, but be weary - they start to leak (current. not fluid - wax maybe) and lose their effect so second hand isn't the ideal solution.

Audioleads have one on eBay HERE

When buying one, make sure you get one at least roughly twice the operating voltage (roughly 30v) and prefereably a t-network type as it will have a better overall smoothing effect and filter.

Expect to pay around £80 for a decent one, but the audio guys will probably be along soon and able to tell you good suppliers.

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i have a Helix Powercap which i can drop off at the MK meet ion the 23rd....

Helix are a very well respected Make in Germany, its part of the Dietz company

the one i can let you have has the mounting brackets, and has the LCD digital display

£60

HelixCapsGroup.jpg

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Yes, use a power cap. The higher the better.

Although your battery and alternator test out ok, these will most definately be taxed.  What is more difficult to test is the discharge rate.

The power within the battery will be getting marginally less over time as the alternator will not be putting enough back in.

The first thing I would do is take the battery out and give it a full manual charge, and hook up your cap to cope with the increased load on the bass tones.

It could still mean your battery is on it's way out, but I would definately use the cap for the increased demand, especially now we are in the winter months and you take more from the battery.

I deal with this stuff EVERYDAY.

Cap is the worst and BIGGEST waste of money when it comes to powering a system.

You need firstly to make sure your electrical system has bigger ground cable than stock, make your ground cables from chassis to Battery 4AWG or bigger. Make your chassis to Alternator 4AWG or bigger. Make your POWER output cable 4AWG or bigger from Alternator to Battery. This is commonly known in the Car audio industry as TB3 :)

Secondly.. Find out what kind of current you are drawing, rough guide find out the Amp rating on your amps.. If they are class d (more efficeint typically 70%+) or class a/b (typically 50% efficeint)

Once we know the demands of the AMPs, we can work out what is required in terms of a/h rating and cold cranking ampres. You WILL require a deep cycle Battery. Why? the discharge is big, low ESR is a MUST for big bass systems. Or Low internal resistance.

A capacitor will not improve the sound of bass which is commonly said, its total and utter BOLLOX!! it will NOT stop dimming, BOLLOX again.

So... largest physical Battery you can fit, must go for deep cycle.. Yellow top, Exide Maxima, Stinger SPs, Redflash, Hawker or Odessys..

Anymore info check these links,

http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?t=20973

http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?t=17906

moto is... SAY NO TO CAPACITORS!!!

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When  buying one, make sure you get one at least roughly twice the operating voltage (roughly 30v) and prefereably a t-network type as it will have a better overall smoothing effect and filter.

Eh?

I would invest in one of these - http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?t=91493

Capacitors are soo wrongly misunderstood... and waste of money.

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i wouldnt say they were a waste of Money.............

I got nothing but possitive results when i had my capacitors fitted!

and they were in a system running 2 x 1000w DLS Monoblock amps

What results?

I ran 6x 2000wrms amps in my SPL van - no Caps, just a bloody good electrical system! No dimming, drawing in excess of 1000A+!!

Sorry if i sound like i'm shouting, just annoys me people thing caps are the answer, when a better suited Battery is most of the time the ultimate solution.

Batcap however is a far far far!!! better product,

The cap will cycle almost indefinately, the batcap won't.

The batcap will aid in keeping the volts up, the cap can't.

The batcap will charge slower putting less strain on the alt between bass hits. But it also stores more energy (500x more) so will discharge less.

I really cannot see why they make those caps, pointless compared to the batcaps.

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and how long have the batcaps been on the market?, how much are they, dont get me wrong im not blind to advancements in technology..........

but i dont dismiss products as being pointless when for years they have been proven to work.

i think a point were missing here aswell is, an SPL van does not compare to a daily driven automobile,

how much does Bison want to spend?

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and how long have the batcaps been on the market?

About 10 years.

Batcap have pulled over 50 World Records in dB Drag, MECA, IASCA, SLAP sound offs all over the world. They have HUGE following in the Sound Quality scene.

This link shows you REAL results - http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread....93&page=1&pp=25

Argue with anyone on that forum, you'll get linched ;) inc me :winky:

http://www.batcap.net/

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Exactly - very misunderstood and NOT wired correctly with the additional diodes., etc.

You seem to wonder why a cap should be close to twice it's working voltage or is it the T-Network bit? That doesn't inspire confidence.

This is one of the reason's people see no benefit. 'Experts' so often don't know or understand the concepts of electronics. To be fair, manufacturers don't help much and just push out these products with all the the overhype, then fitters come along having tried them and become disappointed and then wonder why others rave about them.

I agree, you are aren't going to solve a large current drain problem without higher capacity alternator/ Battery configuration but a large amount can be alleviated if things are added to spec.

When  buying one, make sure you get one at least roughly twice the operating voltage (roughly 30v) and prefereably a t-network type as it will have a better overall smoothing effect and filter.

Eh?

I would invest in one of these - http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?t=91493

Capacitors are soo wrongly misunderstood... and waste of money.

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well there you go.........

i bult my system exactly 10 years ago.using the capacitors and DLS products, the end components were all DYNAUDIO ...........there was no problems with my set up, but i wasnt building Pro series ...

i think Mr Bison is looking for a simple solution to a simple problem.

we young man can discuss this at MK meet, as im pretty intrested, for a possible future idea i have

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Yup.. Caps are overhyped.. 1F, 2F... hell... China Sourecd VOODOO rack mount 5F capacitors are even big hit with the kevs of this world... and they don't even understand what it does in the 500w system :blink:

Dimming lights is result of voltage dropping... prevent this with a deep cycle Battery or a batcap and your problems solved.

I sell 63 volt 0.5F caps.. though these go straight to the voltage rails on the amps... Tube amps that is ;) But this increases the internal capacitance... there is a diff :winky:

Exactly - very misunderstood and NOT wired correctly with the additional diodes., etc.

You seem to wonder why a cap should be close to twice it's working voltage or is it the T-Network bit? That doesn't inspire confidence.

This is one of the reason's people see no benefit. 'Experts' so often don't know or understand the concepts of electronics. To be fair, manufacturers don't help much and just push out these products with all the the overhype, then fitters come along having tried them and become disappointed and then wonder why others rave about them.

I agree, you are aren't going to solve a large current drain problem without higher capacity alternator/ battery configuration but a large amount can be alleviated if things are added to spec.

When  buying one, make sure you get one at least roughly twice the operating voltage (roughly 30v) and prefereably a t-network type as it will have a better overall smoothing effect and filter.

Eh?

I would invest in one of these - http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?t=91493

Capacitors are soo wrongly misunderstood... and waste of money.

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i think Mr Bison is looking for a simple solution to a simple problem.

You are spot on mate! Now i'm all confused? what do I go for? The cap or the Batcap thingy?

I do not want to spend much at all, my system sounds fine the only reason I want it sorted is cos the dimming is annoying.

So what should I go for?

Bison :zee:

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Bison,

What Battery have you got?

What size power cable have you got?

Batcap will stop dimming (stop voltage dropping so much)

You can buy them from Car Audio Direct. - http://www.caraudiodirect.co.uk/default.ph...d45f24945cc1aaf

The 300 or the 400 will be fine, 300 is on sale too!

They are a reputable company, I actually supply to them myself...

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Yup. As i said,

The cap will cycle almost indefinately, the batcap won't.

The batcap will aid in keeping the volts up, the cap can't.

The batcap will charge slower putting less strain on the alt between bass hits. But it also stores more energy (500x more) so will discharge less.

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how can the capacitor not keep the volts up, thats what a capcitor does, as long as the drain isnt greater than the capacity , it will be able to keep up, as the cap is fed as needed from the Battery, whereas with no cap, the Battery takes the hit direct,

the whole point of the cap, and the batcap, is to act as a buffer between the amp, and the Battery.........and they bothe do that, only difference i see, from reading the batcap specs is that the batcap, is a BIGGER capacitor

and for the record, i do agree that his Battery should be changed to a deep cycle, and earthing points should be upgraded.

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how can the capacitor not keep the volts up, thats what a capcitor does, as long as the drain isnt greater than the capacity , it will be able to keep up, as the cap is fed as needed from the battery, whereas with no cap, the battery takes the hit direct,

the whole point of the cap, and the batcap, is to act as a buffer between the amp, and the battery.........and they bothe do that, only difference i see, from reading the batcap specs is that the batcap, is a BIGGER capacitor

All a capacitor does is store a small amount of energy, which is then released when required, the rest of the time it is charging.

The first line of defence is the capacitor bank inside the amplifier, which smoothes a fair amount of the draw.

The demand then passes outside of the amp to the power supply section, consisting of alternator, Battery, and possibly a cap.

The response time for a Battery is about 5-10 ms, which is the time until full output is acheived. But the Battery will only be required to produce output if the voltage dips too low, it's not always acting as a power source.

The primary power source is the alternator, I don't know the response time for an alternator, probably similar but very slightly higher than a Battery.

With a capacitor the response time is near zero, and is instead impedance limited to the amount of output it can generate. The impedance is the product of ESR and ESL at a frequency of several hundred Hz (think about the time between when the draw starts and the primary electrical system takes over). The lower the ESR and ESL the better. If these are high enough the capacitor effectively becomes just a useless trinket. Look for capacitors with an ESR less than 2 mOhms, but a lot of them don't specify.

The Batcap is not a bigger capacitor... it isn't 1F, 2F, 10F, 50F 5000F so it isn;t bigger.. You should read the real world results.. you will know what the Batcap is.

End of the day, i have never ever used a cap. All the systems i build and sponser, whether it be your typical system, or... your street beating 150dB ground pounder have never had dimming issues when you do the TB3 and deep cylce..

My last system had 2 alternators adjustable reg upto 22v!! although i charged at 16v. and 4 deep cycle cells..

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.

Basically, what Mr Singh is saying isn't wrong at all - you would be getting the better option. If you can afford it. He is showing you the best - you can't get better than that. Problem is, and it happens all too often, it could be overkill. At £119 though, it is a good deal for what you get.

End of the day, i have never ever used a cap.

Well, others notice a difference, and I tend to go by my own experiences too, as a fully trained electronics engineer with years of experience, rather than just be one sided based on what people say or what I read. I never instantly poo-poo things - I come to my own conclusions. In the right application, a cap is just fine as many, many people will confirm.

All this is providing the cap can supply the current for your needs. As everything was fine until your Battery became a bit low, this tells me that on a full Battery, you won't need that much more current.

What we are saying is that is cap is not useless and maybe a cheaper alternative or within your financial means. Caps have provided a solution to many users (noticeably, as with Supracharged comment further up). Too many people have applied them in the wrong application, or not charged them correctly in the first place, not put diodes inline if there's non in the cap so the current leaks back out to the cars electrical system. A cap will also give you benefits by filtering a degree of noise on the line. (If there is any).

A Cap is acting basically as an extension of the internal capacitors.

With a capacitor the response time is near zero, and is instead impedance limited to the amount of output it can generate.

The Batcap's response time is also at (and I quote from your link to the advert) 'at lightning speed' . I think you mean the charge lasts longer. It responds virtually instantly, just like a cap. If it didn't, you would experience the current drain at that time constant and notice your lights dim. It's no good kicking in 10milliseconds after your base burp!

The impedance of the cap is nominal. It is one of those other things that people jump straight onto. The impedance of the alternator itself will be higher! Batteries have an ESR too don't forget!

Ok, lets look at raw voltage figures.

You have, say, 14.4 volts to start with. the impedance of the capacitor, the impedance of the amp and the impedance of the alternator. Lets call them (and I'm being more than generous here) R1@.007 and R2@.12. We can't take into account the alternator as we don't know the figures. We'll assume a base burp of 100A

So, t = (-RC)ln(V/Vo) where V=voltage after time, t, and Vo is initial voltage.

To find the time, t, at which V drops by 10%, then V/Vo becomes a constant - .9.

Since R is .007 in series with .12 (round to .13 ohms) we have:

t = -(1 Farad)(.13 ohms)ln(.9) ~ .013 seconds

So, a 1 Farad capacitor, during our 100A bass burp, will take just over 13 milliseconds to reach the 90% voltage level (12.6 volts), after this, the cap is not helping with current drain as effectively. A 3 Farad capacitor of the same ESR takes about 40 milliseconds to arrive at the 90% level.

As you aren't on full power all the time, say at a quarter of that your car's electrical system presents an unacceptable voltage drop (at 25 amps), then yes the cap may help but you will be masking a larger problem. It could in fact be a Battery or alternator problem that doesn't show up in the tests. A batcap will mask these even further.

Voltage and current are completely different. It still surprises me how many people get confused with voltage and current. Just because a voltage drops, doesn't mean it is below the amp's threshold working voltage.

The voltage can still drop (as with the tests 'prove' on the other website misleadingly) but the current provided will be more than enough for the amp as the internal voltage regulators must allow for transients inline by their very nature.

A batcap will provide more current than a cap and is most definately better IF IT IS NEEDED, and of course if you can afford to put one in.

As with Batcap, a capacitor will provide current. If the current drawn is too high for the capacitor, then there will be little benefit (although there will still be some providing it is correctly wired).

In summary, If you aren't drawing too much current, and I suspect you aren't because all was ok until recently, which we think is just a low Battery, then the cap will work ok and cover this should the Battery get a bit low again (as on cold mornings with everything on, etc.)

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