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Old 01-18-2011   #51
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Caps work depending on what you want to fix. You can't use a screwdriver to use a nail, and you can't use a hammer to put in a screw. Different tools for different jobs.

The problem with a cap is not only that its fairly lossy, it also will charge and discharge more. Think of it this way, say you have no cap and your amp pulls enough power to drop you down to 12V from 14.4V, Your lights will dim but after the bass hit its over. If you have a cap, you may only drop to 12.2V or something, but then after the hit the electrical system must recharge the cap up to 14.4V, causing extra strain. Now imagine you're doing this on a weakened alternator that is already too small to power your system. The extra strain of having to charge and recharge the cap, as well as power everything will cause your alternator to die a premature death.

Capacitors can be made in different ways, many of the "super caps" are constructed in a different way than your normal caps. The normal caps you see are basically scaled up versions of the ones you would find inside your amps, they're considered to be better for signal transmission, and easier and cheaper to make. Things like the BatCap and the Soundsstream and other big caps are constructed in a different way that allows them to hold more energy.
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Old 01-18-2011   #52
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Excellent job all! This explanation of a highly debated subject is perfect for this section. It is also why this forum is so valuable to all.

Thanks everyone who contributed.

Rich

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Old 01-18-2011   #53
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

I love the information you guys put out. Its been very helpful
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Old 01-18-2011   #54
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Think of it this way, say you have no cap and your amp pulls enough power to drop you down to 12V from 14.4V, Your lights will dim but after the bass hit its over. If you have a cap, you may only drop to 12.2V or something, but then after the hit the electrical system must recharge the cap up to 14.4V, causing extra strain.
See, this is what I've always had a problem with. Strain?!?!

A cap's purpose, since it's inception for car stereo use in the '90's was that it was to be used to cover the bass hit that draws power in "peaks". A cap was NEVER for the purpose of replacing a battery. In Autosound 2000 tech briefs, it was explained that the real, and ONLY purpose was to cover for the bass notes that were a larger demand than the alt/batt could cover(for a brief micro-second). Thus improving dynamics. Now, the REALLLLY important part. A cap will not help you IF you have a 200 amp draw, on a 110 amp alt. It just won't. AND, it was NEVER meant to! A cap's purpose (introduced, for CA use, by David Navone), was that it was to cover the bass hits on a system that might draw 120 amps on the bass hit, but draw 90 amps throughout the rest of the musical passage (given the same 110 amp alt)!!!!!!!

So, if I have a 230 amp HO alt, and 250 amp draw on a bass hit, but draw 200 amps the rest of the time. IT CAN HELP (if the cap is of sufficient size for the task)!!! If I have a consistent 280 amp draw on the same charging system, with peaks of 300 a cap WILL NOT HELP!!!!! For a cap to work, it has to have time to recharge for the next bass hit. If the load is forever more than the alt can deliver, it will not charge the cap....nor a battery, for that matter!!!!!!!!!!! Hence, you will only draw the voltage available from the battery....until it's dead. Let's drive this point home!!!! If the recommendation by some is to add more batteries, you STILL NEED TIME to charge them, as well!!!!! Can someone tell me HOW you can charge a battery, for God's sake, with the same charging system, that is insufficient to charge a cap?!?!?!!? Gee, let me guess, you can charge the dead batteries on your drive home with the system turned off?!? Or, put them on the charger, overnight, after you've completely drained them?? Because that's what WILL happen when you play ANY, I repeat, ANY system that draws more power than the alt povides, for an extended period of time!

Steve Mead Designs, uses multiple alternator systems, as a common practice. If your system needs 400 amps of current at peak demand, you SHOULD supply it with the alternator(s) sufficient to carry the load. Running multiple amps demanding 400 amps of current with a 175 amp alt (even accounting for Big 3, multiple batts, whatever...) is STILL not the answer!!! Caps, or not!!

So, more batteries, instead of a cap, is no answer either....IF, IF your answer is that more batteries (instead of cap) is the answer to insufficiant alernator output.
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Old 01-18-2011   #55
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by HCCA View Post
See, this is what I've always had a problem with. Strain?!?!
I agree with the rest of the stuff for the most part, though I would say your numbers might be a bit optimistic. I don't think a normal sized cap will give you the equivalence of 30A larger alternator. It'd have to be one of those "supercaps" of over 10F.

I guess strain isn't the best word though. Modern alternators have the voltage regulator and try to adjust for the current load placed on it. When you place a large load on it for a brief instant, it might not be able to ramp up. But when you are trying to recharge your capacitor in addition to that large load spike, you will overwork your alternator. If the alternator is already on its last legs, it will speed up the process of destruction.

Battery systems without an upgraded alternator are meant to be isolated from the rest of the electrical system and be recharged by alternate means IMO.
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Old 01-18-2011   #56
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

That's the only reason I see caps being used...

To fill in the delay when alternator realizes it needs to up the output.

The amps power supply has caps that serve the same purpose: To supply power for demanding transients for short periods of time(milliseconds). When you add an external cap, you're really just extending the supply capacitance, right? Either way they both have to be filled so does that mean your amp's caps is straining your electrical too? Or here's a better question, How does an amp's power supply handle transients??

As far as the multiple batteries...I was thinking about that a bit. If the batteries "rest" at 12V give or take some volts, how can adding more 12V batteries stop dimming if your alt can't supply the current? It would be the same as replacing your starting battery with a super extra large battery. Both ways will sag if the alt sags... A cap, however, will rest at charging voltage, 14.4V plus or minus of course and how long it can maintain that voltage depends on the capacitance.
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Old 01-18-2011   #57
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonikaccord View Post
That's the only reason I see caps being used...

To fill in the delay when alternator realizes it needs to up the output.

The amps power supply has caps that serve the same purpose: To supply power for demanding transients for short periods of time(milliseconds). When you add an external cap, you're really just extending the supply capacitance, right? Either way they both have to be filled so does that mean your amp's caps is straining your electrical too? Or here's a better question, How does an amp's power supply handle transients??

As far as the multiple batteries...I was thinking about that a bit. If the batteries "rest" at 12V give or take some volts, how can adding more 12V batteries stop dimming if your alt can't supply the current? It would be the same as replacing your starting battery with a super extra large battery. Both ways will sag if the alt sags... A cap, however, will rest at charging voltage, 14.4V plus or minus of course and how long it can maintain that voltage depends on the capacitance.
The caps will be charged to 14.4V, but will likely drop down to 12V pretty quickly. They have an internal voltage loss anyways, plus there's a little bit of electricity used by your car even when its off (in newer cars it might not be that little too). So it will attempt to keep the voltage at 14.4V and discharge down to your battery's resting voltage fairly quickly.

Charging a battery is pretty heavy duty work. Charging a bank of them is a royal pain in the ass. Especially when the alternator is also expected to provide you power to run your system normally.
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Old 01-19-2011   #58
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

I know this is sort of O/T but just wanted to point it out... LEDs are not the "future of lighting," that is just hype. They will play a useful part in lighting schemes, but by no means will they replace all other lighting - it's not possible nor is it desirable.

I work in the lighting industry.

I haven't heard the perfect stereo yet so I'll keep searching!
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Old 01-19-2011   #59
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonikaccord View Post
That's the only reason I see caps being used...

To fill in the delay when alternator realizes it needs to up the output.

The amps power supply has caps that serve the same purpose: To supply power for demanding transients for short periods of time(milliseconds). When you add an external cap, you're really just extending the supply capacitance, right? Either way they both have to be filled so does that mean your amp's caps is straining your electrical too? Or here's a better question, How does an amp's power supply handle transients??

As far as the multiple batteries...I was thinking about that a bit. If the batteries "rest" at 12V give or take some volts, how can adding more 12V batteries stop dimming if your alt can't supply the current? It would be the same as replacing your starting battery with a super extra large battery. Both ways will sag if the alt sags... A cap, however, will rest at charging voltage, 14.4V plus or minus of course and how long it can maintain that voltage depends on the capacitance.
BINGO!! You got it right! The dip in the brightness of the headligts is the voltage dropping from 14.4, to 12.4 (or thereabouts). When you insert the cap into the circuit, the cap floats at the alts voltage potential. When a bass note causes the lights to dim, it is because there is a power demand, exceeding the alts immediate capability. As stated in AS 2000 tech briefs, you should use at least 1 farad of capacitance for each 1000 watts of amplifier power. Hence, the reason sooooo many think that they do nothing. Sure add a 1 farad cap to a 3000 watt system, and you might not see any improvement.

I'm planning to add a Stinger SPC 5050 Hybrid cap, to my system. Carbon caps had as much internal resistance as a battery, so not much help there. Electrolytic caps are best, but they could get expensive, and take a lot of fasteners, wiring, and room to get just a few of them in parallel. But, the Stinger Hybrid uses a carbon cap, for large amounts of storage (@ 14.4V), and a large electrolytic cap, in parallel. One 1/0 wire pos; one 1/0 neg. Still very effective, but keeping the cost down. It's said to be enough capacitance for 10K watts.

On another note, I've heard guys say that caps are voodoo, myth, hype, etc. That they do absolutly nothing. However, they also admit that they will keep your headlights from dimming. So, how is it again, that they do "nothing"? If they stabilize voltage enough that headlights don't dim, they are keeping the system voltage @ 14.4V, right? Don't know abou the rest of you, but my amps owner's manual shows a wide variance in output wattage for 14.4V vs, 12.5V. And, if the 1, 2, 4, 10 farads of capacitance "do nothing" to stabilze system voltage, then those teeny weenie 10K-100k farads of capacitance inside the amp sure can't make a difference! Right??
As David Navone put it, you can never have too much capacitance.

For the commonet that caps have internal resistance? ....and, batteries don't???!?
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Old 01-19-2011   #60
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

good read. lots of debate. i will say this, id rather use a battery(s) and alternator , aswell as wiring that have been upgraded to sustain the electrical draw.
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Old 01-20-2011   #61
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

i own a pair of stinger 25 farad and they accept 1/0awg so i have 50 farad for 3200w
things i noticed from use i originally went from battery bank to cap then to next cap then amp. i personally did no notice any difference at all
rewired to current set up, wired the caps straight to the battery bank and ran a run straight off the buss bars straight to the amp thats where i noticed the nite vs day difference the snap back / kick to the gut bass hugely different in a good way like it had a extra1/3 more push behind it ... this is my opinion but since im swaping out my system this spring i will retest my thoughts and theory with a termlab we just got one to use so i will let you all know the findings i would right now but shes all tor down for the rebuild... vary good read all
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Old 01-21-2011   #62
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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you can't use a hammer to put in a screw..
Yes you can! It's why its called an Irish screwdriver
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Old 01-21-2011   #63
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Mickydoos when were you in Eire ?


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Old 03-13-2011   #64
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Smile Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by FAUEE View Post
Caps work depending on what you want to fix. You can't use a screwdriver to use a nail, and you can't use a hammer to put in a screw. Different tools for different jobs.

The problem with a cap is not only that its fairly lossy, it also will charge and discharge more. Think of it this way, say you have no cap and your amp pulls enough power to drop you down to 12V from 14.4V, Your lights will dim but after the bass hit its over. If you have a cap, you may only drop to 12.2V or something, but then after the hit the electrical system must recharge the cap up to 14.4V, causing extra strain. Now imagine you're doing this on a weakened alternator that is already too small to power your system. The extra strain of having to charge and recharge the cap, as well as power everything will cause your alternator to die a premature death.

Capacitors can be made in different ways, many of the "super caps" are
constructed in a different way than your normal caps. The normal caps you see are basically scaled up versions of the ones you would find inside your amps, they're considered to be better for signal transmission, and easier and cheaper to make. Things like the BatCap and the Soundsstream and other big caps are
constructed in a different way that allows them to hold more energy.
Yep this is the situation when your sound system over the limit of your alternator output can give. Bigger caps only worsen the situation. CMIIW.

Best Regards

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Old 03-13-2011   #65
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

caps should be the last in line for upgrade.\

Upgraded Alt and Battery first and then a low ESR cap. Not a stupid 1fd one either.

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Old 03-13-2011   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HCCA View Post
If the recommendation by some is to add more batteries, you STILL NEED TIME to charge them, as well!!!!! Can someone tell me HOW you can charge a battery, for God's sake, with the same charging system, that is insufficient to charge a cap?!?!?!!? Gee, let me guess, you can charge the dead batteries on your drive home with the system turned off?!? Or, put them on the charger, overnight, after you've completely drained them?? Because that's what WILL happen when you play ANY, I repeat, ANY system that draws more power than the alt povides, for an extended period of time!
While this is true that a battery needs to be recharged, it does not have as big of a draw as a cap due to the fact that it makes it's own energy. Current draw on a system using a cap is going to be higher than a system using multiple batteries. Yes, it is best to upgrade your charging system, but with the price of compact low ESR batteries being where they are, I can't see huge cap being logical.

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Old 03-13-2011   #67
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
While this is true that a battery needs to be recharged, it does not have as big of a draw as a cap due to the fact that it makes it's own energy. Current draw on a system using a cap is going to be higher than a system using multiple batteries. Yes, it is best to upgrade your charging system, but with the price of compact low ESR batteries being where they are, I can't see huge cap being logical.
A battery makes its own energy? Please enlighten me on this one, seeing how that sounds to me like we must have achieved that perpetual motion thingy. Batteries store energy but don't make any.
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Old 03-13-2011   #68
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Last time I checked, the chemical reaction between the lead plates and the acid in the battery is what produces energy.
Check this link "How batteries work"
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Old 03-13-2011   #69
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

if that was the case then there wouldn't be a thing called a battery charger or having an alt in a car.

Batteries only store energy, and doesn't create.

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Old 03-13-2011   #70
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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if that was the case then there wouldn't be a thing called a battery charger or having an alt in a car.

Batteries only store energy, and doesn't create.
Did you click the link? Car batteries do make energy, otherwise it would be called a capacitor. Just like anything else they do have a limit as to how long it lasts. Unlike a cap, they create energy as they are used until all electrons are depleted. Caps store energy only, batteries create energy...but still have limits.

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Old 03-13-2011   #71
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Ok, for all of those who think batteries just store energy and don't create energy...how did they get the charge in a battery before batteries were rechargable?

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Old 03-13-2011   #72
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

^^ A battery does NOT create energy.. It converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Some may view that as it being created, that however is wrong.

Oh good, because that would be strange if you had fantasies about pressing a gun up against your crotch and feeling your heart beat through your balls..
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Old 03-13-2011   #73
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^^ A battery does NOT create energy.. It converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Some may view that as it being created, that however is wrong.
Correct, thank you for the help. That being said, a battery is going to have a less parasitic draw on a system than a capacitor due to that fact.

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Old 03-13-2011   #74
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by bose301s View Post
Sorry, being an electrician does not mean you know all that much about electricity, it means you know how to wire things and not get yourself killed.
So true.

We are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination, and when you step outside the mass hallucination you see it for what its worth. -Terence McKenna.
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Old 03-13-2011   #75
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

The law of conservation of energy is an empirical law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time (is said to be conserved over time). A consequence of this law is that energy can neither be created or destroyed: it can only be transformed from one state to another. The only thing that can happen to energy in a closed system is that it can change form: for instance chemical energy can become kinetic energy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy

I did see the link. youtube... haha I rather read my sicence book.

'Create isn't the word they should've used' more like convert or something.

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Last edited by starboy869; 03-13-2011 at 09:40 PM..
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