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Old 03-13-2011   #76
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by starboy869 View Post
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.

Conservation of energy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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.
I was not trying to get THAT technical with it and go down to the molecular level with this...all I was stating is that a battery does more than just "store energy". Wasn't trying to be funny or anything with the clip either, just trying to prove a point. BTW, that Youtube clip originally came from here: The Science channel

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Old 03-13-2011   #77
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Except here's the thing. You were wrong both in the literal meaning of it creating energy (which defies the laws of physics) and it adding energy to a system without charging it (which also requires that it defies the laws of physics) A rechargeable battery converts chemical energy to electricity and also converts electricity into chemical energy. When it charges it draws off the capacitor. You don't rely on those electrons to add to your system like a AA battery.
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Old 03-13-2011   #78
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Except here's the thing. You were wrong both in the literal meaning of it creating energy (which defies the laws of physics) and it adding energy to a system without charging it (which also requires that it defies the laws of physics) A rechargeable battery converts chemical energy to electricity and also converts electricity into chemical energy. When it charges it draws off the capacitor. You don't rely on those electrons to add to your system like a AA battery.
I did not say that it didn't need to be charged ANYWHERE in my previous posts. In fact I said the opposite. I realize that there is a chemical reaction that causes this and stated so in my previous posting. But since you are more concerned with winning the argument on a technical level rather than looking at the bigger picture...YOU ARE RIGHT, I AM WRONG. Happy now?

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Old 03-14-2011   #79
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Sorry, just trying to avoid giving someone who comes in here and reads this the idea that you can just add battery after battery and the batteries will provide energy without a proper charging system. Something that many, many people go ahead and try. Ever see someone with half a dozen batteries twenty caps, a stock alternator, and wonder why they have problems?
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Old 03-14-2011   #80
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by narvarr View Post
I was not trying to get THAT technical with it and go down to the molecular level with this...all I was stating is that a battery does more than just "store energy". Wasn't trying to be funny or anything with the clip either, just trying to prove a point. BTW, that Youtube clip originally came from here: The Science channel
Dang...I thought he found an infinitely self charging battery.

I get what he's saying...
A battery is "creating" the energy that has already been "given" to it, but when it runs out of this "given" energy it can't "create" anymore.

hmmm, sounds like storing energy to me. My question is what more does a battery do than store energy? Do you know what physically happens to a battery as it charges/discharges?
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Old 03-15-2011   #81
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

It boils battery acid, leaks out hydrogen gas, etc.

Hmm, before dry cell batteries, weren't capacitors used in part due to the fact they can be mounted upside down and sideways and inside cars and everything you can't do with a battery?
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Old 03-15-2011   #82
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

I don't think so...mainly cause of the capacity (lol pun) is higher for a battery.
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Old 03-16-2011   #83
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by Candisa View Post
Caps are indeed great for that. That's exactly why they are used in power supplies: smoothing the power signal.
A capacitor reacts a lot faster than a battery and especially older amps can't handle a seriously soiled power signal on their own, so adding a cap right in front of the amp(s) is the best way to clean the power signal up before it enters the amp.

The only reason why a cap also helps light-dimming issues is because it keeps the voltage as stable as possible, not only when the power coming from the battery/alternator is soiled, but also when an amp pulls the voltage down by asking more current than the load-system can handle.
The problem is a capacitor is actually too fast to do this. It will catch up the peak in the current demand, but it will recharge to 99.999% (a capacitor is never 100% full) as fast as it can, causing probably an even higher current-demand on the load-system and eventually drain itself and the battery, and kill the alternator when you play dynamic music at high volume level for a long time.
A bigger capacitor will only stretch this process.

An extra battery will also try to keep the voltage stable and catch up peaks in the current demand, but will recharge slower, causing less drain on the load-system.
Yes, this will eventually drain the load-system and maybe even kill it too if the extra battery has to catch up every single peak all the time, but that's why you have to start with a strong enough alternator and power wiring!


So:
- A capacitor is great for reducing distortion on the power signal, but NOT for dimming lights, whatever the size of it (smaller capacitors are even better in doing what they're designed for!!!), and now even the most critical people know and understand why!
- The only solution for dimming lights is upgrading power wires, alternator and battery-bank. It isn't called the BIG 3 for nothing!

/thread

Now can somebody make a permanent sticky of this that won't get lost when somebody messes with the forums again?

Isabelle
last time i check to the avg person a big three cost $$.

What I've seen a few time that's is funny. 0GA big three upgrade. Stock alt, battery, cheapest of the cheap 8GA wire (or less) going back to a jensen amp. One poor kid paid like $50+ in wire from a shop for the wire also (they saw him coming). I told him for his setup the most you want to see under the hood in his setup is 4GA tops. Also get a low ESR battery like a stinger. I said for $150 I can hook him up with something for his setup. He decided no cause $150 wasn't in his budget, cause he just blew over $50 on a big three upgrade that didn't really help out.

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Last edited by starboy869; 03-16-2011 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 03-19-2011   #84
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

CCA is junk wire to begin with.

0/1 wire with the preformace of 2ga (or less) Then why not just get 2GA copper instead?

Best upgrade you can do is engine block to ground and neg. battery terminal to ground.
Also if you have junk factory battery terminals ie. honda then it's worth the upgrade.
After I did this upgrade the noticed my lights didn't dim as much, and the pw when up/down a quicker/smoother. I just used 4GA for my 2000 Civic Si/SiR.





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Old 03-19-2011   #85
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by sonikaccord View Post
go 12 in series / parrallel and half your esr # hehe, but that would be very $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Old 03-20-2011   #86
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

But power cable with over size insulation also are junk.
I buy cables based on the specs, not the brand.....
Already using Knu's CCA for 2 years and have no problem with it....

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Old 03-20-2011   #87
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by bd5034 View Post
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 have a problem seeing when using LED, whenever the target or objective is black vs using an incandescent light source.
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Old 03-20-2011   #88
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
A capacitor is NOT a substitute for an inadequate electrical system. It takes power (current) to make power (watts) and most of the smaller capacitors will drain faster than one can blink their eyes.

The larger capacitors, 40 farads or more, have been alleged to help in some situations. Unfortunately, at that pricing point, one would be better off purchasing a second "new technology" fast discharge battery.
And thats that

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Old 03-21-2011   #89
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

I love this discussion.. The myth and operation of stiffening caps has been going on for years, and the missinformation is stunning.

Last year, the company I was working for started distributing a line of installation accessories, like Streetwires, Stinger or Audison Conncetion. It's great stuff... I can attest to that, since I helped design it.

As part of the line, they offer a 2-Farad cap with an integrated distribution block and voltmeter. I was tasked with developing a Cap Demonstration for the product launch tour.

So I did.. We had a system with a power supply, a pair of large amplifiers, speakers and a subwoofer. I set the cap up so that I could turn it on or off via a 500 Amp PAC solenoid - I simply switched the ground wire.

When you really go on the system, and the voltage to the amps was causing the illumination on the amp to dim and the voltmeter I installed to dip dramatically, turning the cap on dramatically reduced the effect.

The question became - could I hear it. Yep - clearly. The bass tightened and the mids and highs became clearer and less distorted. Of course, only when I was really pounding on it, pushing the current delivery limits / speed of the power supply. At regular listening levels, no discernable effect.

Guys, you are all smart.. if you have a theory about something, just try it - that's how I have learned what I have. Develop a hypothesis, set up a test and have that produce the results. No theory, guessing or anything required.
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Old 03-21-2011   #90
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

So much to read up on on this stuff. To a non-technical expert it sure sounds like it makes sense on WHY caps work but maybe that's just advertising at work...
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Old 03-21-2011   #91
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

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Originally Posted by Dave_MacKinnon View Post
When you really go on the system, and the voltage to the amps was causing the illumination on the amp to dim and the voltmeter I installed to dip dramatically, turning the cap on dramatically reduced the effect.

The question became - could I hear it. Yep - clearly. The bass tightened and the mids and highs became clearer and less distorted. Of course, only when I was really pounding on it, pushing the current delivery limits / speed of the power supply. At regular listening levels, no discernable effect.

Guys, you are all smart.. if you have a theory about something, just try it - that's how I have learned what I have. Develop a hypothesis, set up a test and have that produce the results. No theory, guessing or anything required.
You have to be able to explain why things do the things that they do.
It goes back to your power supply reacting to the current draw. It's the same as an alternator reacting to large current draws. It's a slight delay in the regulator kicking in. The cap fills in that dip in voltage. That's the only thing they do in this application is filter voltage irregularities.

I have an experiment for you. Play a sine wave through that test setup and see what happens.
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Old 03-21-2011   #92
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

I am surprised nobody has posted a link to the stuff Richard Clark wrote about capacitors.

So here it is.

Why you don't need a capacitor - Realm of Excursion

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Old 03-21-2011   #93
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

so....what is a cap cell?
Power Acoustik - Products - CAPCELL
Combining the properties of a battery and a capacitor aren't going to make up for the alternator not being able to provide the need amount of amps your setup may need?
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Old 03-22-2011   #94
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

That goes back to the conservation of energy thing...The power to the cap has to come from somewhere. If the cap has a large enough capacity to sustain constant voltage then it would work, but the issue is mainly time and capacitance. If you had a long note, and that cap happens to drain then you're back to square one.

Since batteries have tons of capacitance, and they discharge alot of current(it has to start the car), why would you pick a cap over a battery?

Even the site you posted says this:
"The cap has the ability to empty itself almost instantly on transient notes in music material. "
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Old 03-22-2011   #95
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonikaccord View Post
That goes back to the conservation of energy thing...The power to the cap has to come from somewhere. If the cap has a large enough capacity to sustain constant voltage then it would work, but the issue is mainly time and capacitance. If you had a long note, and that cap happens to drain then you're back to square one.

Since batteries have tons of capacitance, and they discharge alot of current(it has to start the car), why would you pick a cap over a battery?

Even the site you posted says this:
"The cap has the ability to empty itself almost instantly on transient
notes in music material. "
Ok i feel you on that. so let's say, we're pulling power need from a second battery for these transient notes in music. Eventually that battery need to be recharged right? Is the alternator working twice as hard having to charge two batteries or is the alternator ok because it will eventually recharge both batteries? OR! if you're short on amps, then you should just suck it up and get an alternator that producing more amps? (man those things are expensive )
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Old 03-22-2011   #96
 
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryomanx View Post
Ok i feel you on that. so let's say, we're pulling power need from a second battery for these transient notes in music. Eventually that battery need to be recharged right? Is the alternator working twice as hard having to charge two batteries or is the alternator ok because it will eventually recharge both batteries? OR! if you're short on amps, then you should just suck it up and get an alternator that producing more amps? (man those things are expensive )
Not for transients. They come and go quickly like in milliseconds. If you played music or tones with constant material that demanded more than the alt can supply then you'll drain your battery. If you continue then you'll drain it completely.

The alt will be working at 100% to attempt to charge the batteries. This increases stress and reduces it's life. More batteries means it takes longer to discharge completely so your voltage stays up longer, but the alt still has to charge the batteries and it will be longer for more batteries. This is just how I see it. I'm kind of using common sense to fit everything together lol.

Your best bet would be to take that one good kick to the nuts and get the HO alt.
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Old 03-23-2011   #97
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

I read that Richard Clark bit.

If I am not mistaken, he is operating on a faulty assumption. Someone stop me if I'm out in left field.

He is basing his argument on the assumption that the output of the alternator is static. It's *NOT*. The alternator's output varies with the RPM. At idle, the alt is producing way less, meaning it's very easy to exceed the output and overdraw. If we're talking about a stock alternator's production at idle, we're more in the neighborhood of 70 amps, not hundreds of amps - so his absurd calculations using 500 amps make zero sense. To me, it appears he devised this thought experiment to generate a specific result that reinforces his stance.

Let's say a stereo required 120amps (perfectly reasonable) for a sudden burst, like the one in Metallica's cover of "Loverman". We're only exceeding the alternator's output by 50amps. Not 100, not 300, but 50. Less amps, same ESR, less voltage drop. That means if we use his ESR number of 0.017, the capacitor can provide those 50 amps with voltage drop of only .85. That gives us 13.15v, still significantly above the battery's resting voltage.

The capacitor may discharge quickly, but it gives that "leading edge" or "attack" that many people attribute to the capacitor. It makes perfect sense to me, but my logic might be wrong. Somebody step in and let me know.

I haven't heard the perfect stereo yet so I'll keep searching!

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Old 03-23-2011   #98
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Actually, you can do ourself some simple test to confirm either this cap work or not. What you need is a dual 4ohm 200W sub and an amp that can deliver 300W of power minimum. Then start the test on 2ohm load and measure your voltage on the amp. Follow by 8ohm load and the voltage....
And you will be surprise that running lower ohm load will cause the voltage to drop more while running higher ohm load the voltage won't drop much.... So, the usage of capacitor will be a fact or myth...
But using it as a power conditioner that reject some noise will be good... Like the Pioneer ODR power conditioner is using a 33000uf capacitor and an inductor coil...

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Old 03-23-2011   #99
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

IMO, i wouldnt waste my time or money with a cap. the big 3, is definitly the best bang for your buck, followed by 2nd battery and HO alternator. heres some basic info on capacitors that i posted on another thread on another forum.


Physically, a capacitor is an electical component consisting of two conducting surfaces separated by a non-conductor (dielectric). In electrical terms, a capacitor is an electrical component that stores electrical charge when voltage is applied. The closer the plates, the stronger the electric field produced. The greater the charge stored on the plates, the stonger the field produced.

This field represents the storage of electric energy. This energy comes from a source and can be returned to a circuit when the source is removed.

Once a capacitor is hooked up to a power supply, the electrons do not travel through the non-conductive dielectric material between the capacitor’s plates. This electrons accumulate on that side of the capacitor creating an excess of electrons resulting in a negative charge. The electrons orbit passes in the through the dielectric and are repelled by the negative polarity of the capacitor.

As these electrons build up creating a negative side to the capacitor, the electrons are more and more attracted to the capacitor’s positive side. Once sufficient charging current has passed to cause the capacitor’s voltage to equal the source voltage, no more current can flow. The capacitor is now fully charged.

Voltage doesn’t pass through this dielectric material but it acts that way due to the movement of electrons on either side. Once a capacitor is charged, it will equal the source voltage. If the source voltage increases/decreases, the capacitor will do so likewise.

The unit of capacitance is the farad. Common capacitors for car stereo installations would be around 1 farad. A farad is the amount of capacitance where a charge of 1 coulomb develops a potential difference of 1 volt across the capacitor plates.

C=Q/V Q=CV V=Q/C
V=Voltage
Q=Coulombs
C=Capacitance in Farads

Coulomb’s Law F=(kQ1XQ2)/(d2)




Before your charge your capacitor, you must discharge the capacitor. To do this, just short out the positive and ground leads very carefully and hold it for a few seconds to be sure that all the stored voltage is released. To properly charge a capacitor, use a resistor between your battery and your capacitor. Use roughly a 1kΩ resistor here. Hook up the resistor to the power wire and let the capacitor charge for roughly 5-25 sec.


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Old 03-23-2011   #100
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Default Re: Capacitor Myth

Let me give full disclosure. The reason this topic is dear to my heart is as follows:

I already have my "big three" wires upgraded, and have two group 31 batteries to sustain my stereo. My stock alternator produces sufficient power such that I can play at a moderate volume indefinitely with zero voltage drop. As I increase the volume, I eventually reach a point where the voltage drops to 12.8, where it will remain for a LONG time before I exhaust my battery supply.

At my preferred listening level, I have no sustained voltage drop, but dip below 13v on hard bass notes.

I recently purchased an 8 farad capacitor with the idea that it would help smooth out any minor fluctuation in the power my amplifiers are getting. I also hoped that it would help with the "attack" aka leading edge of forceful notes because of the reportedly superior discharge rate. I have been told that the capacitor can react faster than a battery, faster than an alternator, and thus allows better dynamics. I have yet to confirm this to my satisfaction.

I have the capacitor sitting on my kitchen table right now. I haven't installed it yet because this thread has me unsure. I want to find out if the capacitor actually has a purpose in car audio or should I just turn around and sell the unit I purchased.

Can it actually "condition" or "smooth" the power? Can the fast discharge translate to better dynamics?

I haven't heard the perfect stereo yet so I'll keep searching!
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