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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Andy, Chad and some of the other very well versed Pros in here, this ones for you, (or anyone with an expert level of knowledge that is willing to chime in.. )

Now this seems a lot more complicated than it is. Partly because I have trouble simplifying things when I type. Please bear with.

I just saw another thread on the big 3, some agree that it is moot point on newer cars, but my situation is unique. Goes way beyond the usual. I needed to revamp a faulty electrical system. I replaced and doubled up a bunch of badly deteriorated wires in my 98 Acura CL.

Before my repairs, I was getting a reading of 14.78 at the positive out of the alt, but everywhere else was varied by as much as 1 volt.

I now get a steady 14.58 taken directly from the alt as well as anywhere from the car. Thats a small drop in voltage directly at the alt.

Since the repair, yes I get a small drop in voltage, but it is now consistent throughout the vehicle with maybe a .2 volt deviation.. if that.

I'm no electrical genius, but I know that my faulty electrical system was causing the fluctuations in readings everywhere. I'm also guessing that making solid connections put the correct load on the alt, therefore lowering it's output reading slightly, but making it consistent everywhere. I'm guessing I fixed it.. Or did I **** something up??

What I did..

A) I swapped out a few of the 8 Gage underhood grounds with 4 Gage, as short as possible.
B) I left a few of the 8 Gage grounds, but doubled them up with additional 8 Gage grounds.
C) I doubled up the factory 8 Gage positive wires going to the main fuse box from both the (+) out main battery and (+) out at the Alt. (ran additional 8 Gage wire along with the factory 8 Gage wire)
D) I ran a 4 Gage from the (+) alt out to the (+) terminal on the main battery.. Did I introduce resistance by adding/doubling up all these wires?

Next (this is where it sounds confusing but it's real simple, just read carefully)

A) I ran dual 4 Gage (+) from the engine battery to the trunk battery,
B) I ran dual 4 Gage (-) from the trunk floor to the trunk battery,
C) I ran dual 4 Gage out from trunk battery to cap/distribution block, essentially an all in one unit (Dual 4 Gage for both positive and negative terminals from battery to cap)

Reasons for this,
A) my distribution block/capacitor has

2) 0 Gage connections. 1 (+) 1 (-)
8) 4 Gage connections 4 (+) 4 (-)
(That' a single 0 Gage plus 4) 4 Gage for positive, same for negative.. The design of the cap/distribution block is such that the cap is supposed to have input to it 0 Gage on both (+) and (-) then, it will feed 4) amps total (amps that call for 4 Gage wire)

B) Sub amp calls for 0 Gage
C) 2- 4 channel amps call for 4 Gage.

So I am essentially inputting the cap with doubled up 4 Gage on both the (+) and (-) sides, then it goes out to the sub amp with 0 Gage and out to my 2) 4 channel amps with 4 Gage. This make sense?

Now.

The way it is configured,
A) ground wires running from the trunk floor to the trunk battery which are about 3 feet long.
B) ground wires out from the trunk battery to the cap/distribution block which are about 3 feet long.
C) grounds wires from cap/distribution block out to all amps that are about 2 feet long. (0 Gage is shorter, about 1 foot)

Question: Should I be running all grounds from the chassis, as short as possible instead of the long daisy chain type setup I currently have employed?

EG: Should I cut all the ground wires and jump them all from their nearest corresponding surfaces, effectively cutting down the lengths of all grounds?

Rather, should I..

A) Keep the ground on the trunk battery to the trunk floor,
B) remove ground from battery to cap and ground cap from nearest surface?
C) remove ground from cap to amp then ground amps to nearest surface?

Or should I leave them all hardwired together the way they are?

It seems like a lot to chew on, but it's very simple. Basically, in the trunk, all my grounds are wired the same way my positives are wired, long lengths of wire making the connections between the trunk floor to battery to cap to amps.

Summary.
A) Is my electrical system getting undue resistance because of all the extra wire I added, is that why there is a drop in voltage at the alternator?
B) Should I remove the daisychain grounding system between battery and amps and ground off the surfaces closest to each component?

One other very important thing.

My stock alternator is not up the daunting challenge of truly feeding the gargantuan load these amps are putting on my electrical system. I see the voltage drop into the high 11's routinely during hard use. during normal use in the high 12's, low 13's, at idle 14.58..
A) Rockford Fosgate T300001BD on 2) JL 12W7's
B) 2-Mmats SQ4160's for front stage, 3 way active

The Fosgate amp puts out over 3000 watts RMS @ 1.5 ohm, I read somewhere that the amp has been known to draw in excess of 200 amps during burps. I don't burp, but I rock, hard and loud, want to keep it that way, get the most bang for my buck. The Mmats amps are 160 x 4 rms each, was told that they are efficient amps (75% efficiency) which I though meant that they are less demanding. Someone here told me that means they are more demanding. I have noticed that they do draw a lot of current on their own. All moot points as I will be switching to Sundown SAZ3000 for subs and 3- PPI Art series for my front stage 2-A600.2's 1-A404.2 (all the more reason to step up my alternator)

The vehicle is a 98 Acura CL 3.2 V-Tec. Can the stock alternator be modified? If so, anyone know a trusted source? Is there anyone here in South Florida that does it? What needs to be done besides the alternator re-wind?

If not a modded stock alternator, what alternator should I use? Where to get it? Anyone know of any good sources, especially local, especially a trusted source, ESPECIALLY IF I CAN SAVE A BUCK (this hobby is draining me like a vampire with the mentality of a crackhead)

Please help and no heckling or I will find you and kill your favorite pet.. I'm new at this and already my system is sounding incredible... This thanks to you guys.. That and the fact that I am incredibly talented and a quick study.. You should all be so fortunate.. Fidos life is depending on your answers.. :D
 

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Did you go overkill? maybe... but the voltage is stable right? every car is different.. My '02 F150 went from a "Big 3" to a "big 10" before I found no more gains.. go figure.

if you went from 14.78 with a possible 2 VOLT drop to a steady 14.58v everywhere... what's the trouble.... .2 loss in wire resistance is NOTHING compared to a 2v loss between the bat & the alt...

Id rather have all 3 showers in my house be "ok" with water pressure than 1 shower blasting me through the wall & another barely a trickle... consistent voltage is what keeps electrical parts happy... spikes/dips... no bueno...

I will agree the Alt might need looked at... just so you know you have everything at its best....

I'd chalk up a win & move on, unless you have other electrical issues...

Rob
 

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Yeah .2 v drop is nada. If you really want to go over board make a cooper grounding strap on the chassis and ground everything major (bat, starter, EFI, amps) to that. Also try not to stack multiple wire rings on top of each other on a single ground. The rings introduce resistance themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wooohoo!!

Very big help from all of you. Just the things I needed to hear. Clear cut answers and some re-assurance, that's why I love this place.

Thanks so much.

BTW, anyone know of any reputable places in South Fla where I can get my Alternator issues sorted out for a reasonable cost? I'm already stretching my shoestring budget, but it is definitely a move I need to make.. I don't want to just walk into some place where they will hack/butcher and burn me (literally)

Any good references down here would be greatly appreciated..

(Off topic)

Last night I read for the first time some of the "new member reads" in the tutorials (and I've been here almost a year)

Now I know I'm in the very basic beginning stages of my SQL hobby. Since I joined up here, my learning curve has been very steep. I am accomplishing things I never thought possible.. Until last night, I thought I knew a thing or two, started to think I was the man....

Man... After reading some of the things in here, I realize that I know nothing. I truly am Plankton adrift among Whales.. Just thought I'd share..

Thanks again fellas.. Diyma Rocks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wooohoo!!

Very big help from all of you. Just the things I needed to hear. Clear cut answers and some re-assurance, that's why I love this place.

Thanks so much.

BTW, anyone know of any reputable places in South Fla where I can get my Alternator issues sorted out for a reasonable cost? I'm already stretching my shoestring budget, but it is definitely a move I need to make.. I don't want to just walk into some place where they will hack/butcher and burn me (literally)

Any good references down here would be greatly appreciated..

(Off topic)

Last night I read for the first time some of the "new member reads" in the tutorials (and I've been here almost a year)

Granted, I know I'm in the very basic beginning stages of my SQL hobby. Since I joined up here, my learning curve has been very steep. I am accomplishing things I never thought possible.. Until last night, I thought I knew a thing or two, started to think I was the man....

Man... After reading some of the things in here, I realize that I know nothing. I truly am Plankton adrift among Whales.. So much info, so little brain..

(Just thought I'd share..)

Thanks again fellas.. Diyma Rocks!!
 

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to be honest there may NOT be any "alt issues"....

Take it to any Autozone, Advance Auto, Kragen, Oreilly... whatever chain auto parts store you have. They all offer free battery/ALt check... have them check it... be sure to have the system playing at a MODERATE level, with the headlights on... just to truly tax the system...

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You need to read the spl fourms and why people have like ten plus runs of 0/1 wire.
I figured that sort of insanity was necessary for the 20KW systems..

I have about 4500 watts rms, just over 3k to my subs, 1200 watts to my front stage.

A lot of that is not being used as I have the gains set almost as low as they can possibly be set..

Still, when listening to very demanding bass heavy tracks at full bore with sub level set to kill mode, I am seeing the voltage drop into the mid 11's..

I'm assuming that it is best in keeping a rock steady supply in the 13 volt range consistently throughout playback, even through the most demanding of sub frequency drops for extended periods. Wouldn't that be ideal?

Doesn't a voltage drop down into the 11's cause distortion and more obviously diminished output?

I could be wrong, that last sentence was actually a question..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
to be honest there may NOT be any "alt issues"....

Take it to any Autozone, Advance Auto, Kragen, Oreilly... whatever chain auto parts store you have. They all offer free battery/ALt check... have them check it... be sure to have the system playing at a MODERATE level, with the headlights on... just to truly tax the system...

Rob
Rob, I'm guessing the alternator is fine for normal use. I have had no electrical issues with the car, even when all the wiring was faulty. (loose connections, deteriorated wires stripped bare of insulation and badly oxidized)
This for normal driving, low power system.

When I put the monster amps in, I saw the voltage reading on the cap drop into the low 11's high 10's. The system would occasionally do something weird like momentarily shut down and on one occasion, it clicked and all I heard was a strange hum coming from my 4 channel, even though I immediately knee jerk turned down the volume. It wasn't till I shut it down that the humming went away.

That was the last straw. I got to working on the electrical. I'm hearing an improvement (or so I think)

Even with a perfectly functioning stock alternator, doesn't a 3700 watt amp that routinely draws over 200 amps call for an alt upgrade?
 

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Ideally the grounds should be as short as possible...just make sure you polish the spot nice, bolt it down tight, then put a gob of vaseline or something on to keep them from tarnishing.

.2V drop is nothing and I think your theory on why is probably close, or could also be just variance having to do with running a second battery? Either way, I doubt it's something you screwed up particularly if your voltage is more constant everywhere else.

Running 3KW on subs just 2 batteries and factory alternator probably won't keep up. I found that particularly with amps with unregulated power supply things start to sound sloppy and lose dynamics if you drop voltage too much at peaks. Adding another battery may cover you depending on your use (Third battery helped me a lot when I went from 1200 to 2400 on subs a couple years back). Now I'm running 4KW of class A/B on subs and pretty much nothing is helping, but it's OK because neither my ears nor the subs can really take full power for much longer than my electrical system can give it to me.

I got my alternator from Maniac Motors (on eBay). They were fast, friendly on the phone, and had a couple different levels of upgrade. Accessive Amperage (SP?) gave me a reasonable quote too. OR you could ask around some local mechanics and maybee there's a local guy who re-builds alternators who would be up to the job.
 

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Excessive Amperage talked with me for a while about building a unit for my truck. Good guys there. They can hook you up with what you need at a decent price...
 
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