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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all - new DIYMA user here. I recently installed a Rockford Fosgate DSR1 and an Alpine XD600/6v2 amp in my 2018 Dodge Challenger. Everything works as expected and I've done some basic "by ear" tuning, but I want to explore some of the more "technical" and "proper" ways to tune.

Since the DSR1 is controlled from a mobile device, I'm trying to stick with the "mobie device" tools in order to get a baseline tune and then adjust for preference from there.

I have the Dayton Audio IMM-6 mic (and calibrated using the calibration file for it's serial number) and purchased the Android AudioTool app. I have my crossovers set (properly or not is up for debate!).

I have a 6-speaker system (do NOT want subs in the trunk, but have an under-the-seat sub on the way to help a little with lower bass):

- (2) 3.5" Infinity Reference speakers in the dash (2-way speakers)
- (2) 6"x9" Infinity Reference speakers in the doors (2-way speakers, but using them for bass only at this point)
- (2) 6.5" Infinity Reference speakers in the rear-deck (2-way speakers)

Currently, I have the crossovers for the door speakers set to a LP of 450hz and the dash speakers set to a HP of 450hz (24db Linkwitz Riley). I've been experimenting with the crossovers for the rear-deck speakers and a bandpass of 60hz->500hz seems to sound the best - but honestly, I'm not sure if I should technically have them play mid/highs as well or not. I've tried 60-5000, 60-7000, etc - but it seems to 'spoil" the front-stange sound when I use it for the higher frequencies. But honestly, I'm not worried about the rear-deck speakers for now - so I don't want to waste too much time on those here. Right now, getting the front stage setup properly is what I want to work on.

I'm trying to unstand the following a little better:

1. How to best set the levels bwtween the door 6"x9" and the dash 3.5" speakers. Not quite sure how to determine the proper level for the the 3.5" speakers. Do I play pink noise on each separately and just match the DB level? Does it matter if I use db, dBa or dBc for this? Obviously, the 3.5" speakers are way too "in your face" at full level. Right now I think I have them at like -8db - but I want to understand how to set that level properly to match the 6x9 level in the doors.

2. How to get the speaker response "flat" before adjusting for preference. Since I'm not using REW or or sort of "target curve", I just want to adjust the EQ so they are truly "flat" - and then adjust for prefernce from there. I know that I would use AudioTool to do this, but not quite sure if I should be using Flat, A-weighted or C-weighted in AudioTool when reviewing the frequency response of each speaker. Do I just play pink noise from each speaker and adjust EQ until it's "flat"? Do I use A- or C- weighted when doing this?


I guess let's just leave it at that for now. The DSR'1 sets time alignment based on distance measurements, so I can get "in the ballpark" with that. I'm just not sure how to accomplish #1 and #2 above. I know that there is a lot more to this - but I want to understand those two items a little better before I go much further.

I know I have a lot to learn - but trying to take it a step at a time. :)

Thank you in advance.
 

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Working with the equipment that you have, you are starting already crippled. You would have been 500% better had you installed 6.5" midbass speakers in 6x9 adapters in your doors and 1" tweeters in 3.5" adapters in your dash.

1. Use pink noise and a db meter or REW.

2. Use REW.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the input, but the whole point of this excercise is to learn to tune using a basic RTA - and not needing to use a Windows laptop and something like REW. :) I kind of want to learn things using basic tools and methods first. I mean there are LOTS of installers out there that tune this way, so I don't think that is "out of line" at all. I may eventually explore REW, but I feel that I would learn a lot more by learning how to properly use a basic RTA first.

At this point, the equipment I have (speakers, amps, processors, etc) is NOT going to change. I *just* purchased and installed all of this grear. :) I am NOT looking for a "SQ competition"-level system - just a great sounding system for the average person - using the equipment that I already have.

I've already "tuned by ear" and the system generally sounds great - but I'm sure it could get even better if I tuned it properly.

Thanks.
 

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No, really turn off the rear deck speakers. They are just causing cancellation and location assessment issues. If the sub is on the way, fine. If it's not going to be installed for a while you are better off running the 6.5's in the door 90hz and up and the 6x9's in the rear deck 45-50ish-90. You might be surprised how much low end can come fro a 6x9. However I have know idea the true capability of your speakers.

Right now you have 6 tweeters. Unacceptable at any level of hobbyist. I would de-solder or clip and tape the tweets on the 6.5 and 6x9's (both ways are reversible). No one can help you get a flat signal with all that same frequency intermingling.

Suggesting you use REW is not skipping the basics. It's called starting without a handicap. REW can be as simple or as advanced as you make it.

I have used the imm-6 and audio tool to get an initial idea of where I'm at. It works. Match your initial speaker levels by ear via amp gain. As you move on take several measurements around your head in the same places each time and average it. Then match it. Different frequency loundness is perceived differently so use your ears. Make sure you set your time alignment. There is a couple tuning tutorials on here that are very good. The one by Skizer for rew can be applied to any dsp.
 

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Have a read of the ‘audiofrog tuning guide for a one seat car’ , that will reveal a hell of a lot, easy to follow and very explainable 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No, really turn off the rear deck speakers. They are just causing cancellation and location assessment issues. If the sub is on the way, fine. If it's not going to be installed for a while you are better off running the 6.5's in the door 90hz and up and the 6x9's in the rear deck 45-50ish-90. You might be surprised how much low end can come fro a 6x9. However I have know idea the true capability of your speakers.

Right now you have 6 tweeters. Unacceptable at any level of hobbyist. I would de-solder or clip and tape the tweets on the 6.5 and 6x9's (both ways are reversible). No one can help you get a flat signal with all that same frequency intermingling.

Suggesting you use REW is not skipping the basics. It's called starting without a handicap. REW can be as simple or as advanced as you make it.

I have used the imm-6 and audio tool to get an initial idea of where I'm at. It works. Match your initial speaker levels by ear via amp gain. As you move on take several measurements around your head in the same places each time and average it. Then match it. Different frequency loundness is perceived differently so use your ears. Make sure you set your time alignment. There is a couple tuning tutorials on here that are very good. The one by Skizer for rew can be applied to any dsp.

Thank you. Just to clarify a few things - just so we're all on the same page:

1. The 6x9 speakers are in my door and the 6.5" speakers are in the rear-deck (you understood it backwards). Right now, I am basically just using the rear-deck 6.5" speakers to provide some additional bass (based on my crossover settings). But I have no problem completely turning them off for now in order to get the front stage setup properly.

2. While all of the speakers are 2-way speakers and physically have tweeters, the only tweeters actually being used are those on the 3.5" dash speakers - all of the others are disabled by the crossover settings in the DSR-1 DSP.

3. Yes, I have been pretty impressed with the bass response from the 6x9 speakers in the doors - much better bass response than the 6.5" speakers (but a lot of that is most likely based on the location where they are installed).

4. At least at this point, I really don't want to use REW. First, I don't have any Windows laptops - at least nothing current that has even been powered on in the last few years. :) Second, I have a lot to learn just with the "basics" here - I don't want to add even more to that learning curve by needing to learn REW as well - again, at least not yet. I want to tune using an RTA. I appreciate everyone saying to use REW - but that really is not my goal at this point. If that means that I'm starting with a handicap, then so be it. I like doing things the hard way (I've found that I tend to learn better than way!). :)

5. Regarding setting the speaker levels by ear via amp gain - keep in mind that I currently have all gains set the same on all amp channels on the amp itself - using the JL Audio recommended procedure to set gains using a multimeter - I know it's not "perfect", but that's as good as I can get with the tools I have. I'm controlling the levels of each speaker via the DSR1 DSP (lowering if/as needed on the DSP). Is there any advantage to using the gains on the amp itself over adjusting the levels on the DSR1? Obviously, adjusting the levels on the DSR1 is a lot easier since I can adjust them while sitting in the drivers seat listening to tones/music.

6. I guess I was under the impression that the whole point of tuning was to get the system to a "baseline", accurate setup using measurements first - and then make any final adjustments by ear to adjust for "preference", etc. I've already tuned by ear - but I'm sure it can get better, which is why I want to create a new profile and tune with measurements first - and then adjust by ear as needed.


Thanks again for your input - everybody that responds gives me some useful information!! I truly do appreciate any and all input as I try to learn this stuff.



Have a read of the ‘audiofrog tuning guide for a one seat car’ , that will reveal a hell of a lot, easy to follow and very explainable
Thank you - I will make sure to search and find that!
 

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Thank you. Just to clarify a few things - just so we're all on the same page:

1. The 6x9 speakers are in my door and the 6.5" speakers are in the rear-deck (you understood it backwards). Right now, I am basically just using the rear-deck 6.5" speakers to provide some additional bass (based on my crossover settings). But I have no problem completely turning them off for now in order to get the front stage setup properly.

2. While all of the speakers are 2-way speakers and physically have tweeters, the only tweeters actually being used are those on the 3.5" dash speakers - all of the others are disabled by the crossover settings in the DSR-1 DSP.

3. Yes, I have been pretty impressed with the bass response from the 6x9 speakers in the doors - much better bass response than the 6.5" speakers (but a lot of that is most likely based on the location where they are installed).

4. At least at this point, I really don't want to use REW. First, I don't have any Windows laptops - at least nothing current that has even been powered on in the last few years. :) Second, I have a lot to learn just with the "basics" here - I don't want to add even more to that learning curve by needing to learn REW as well - again, at least not yet. I want to tune using an RTA. I appreciate everyone saying to use REW - but that really is not my goal at this point. If that means that I'm starting with a handicap, then so be it. I like doing things the hard way (I've found that I tend to learn better than way!). :)

5. Regarding setting the speaker levels by ear via amp gain - keep in mind that I currently have all gains set the same on all amp channels on the amp itself - using the JL Audio recommended procedure to set gains using a multimeter - I know it's not "perfect", but that's as good as I can get with the tools I have. I'm controlling the levels of each speaker via the DSR1 DSP (lowering if/as needed on the DSP). Is there any advantage to using the gains on the amp itself over adjusting the levels on the DSR1? Obviously, adjusting the levels on the DSR1 is a lot easier since I can adjust them while sitting in the drivers seat listening to tones/music.

6. I guess I was under the impression that the whole point of tuning was to get the system to a "baseline", accurate setup using measurements first - and then make any final adjustments by ear to adjust for "preference", etc. I've already tuned by ear - but I'm sure it can get better, which is why I want to create a new profile and tune with measurements first - and then adjust by ear as needed.


Thanks again for your input - everybody that responds gives me some useful information!! I truly do appreciate any and all input as I try to learn this stuff.





Thank you - I will make sure to search and find that!
The point is valid about rew, it has very good functionality as an rta and once you’ve started to learn the basics it carry’s through when you wish to go more advanced, otherwise you will sort using your phone which can take a while, then have to learn rew and take time doing that... as said rew can be as simple or as complex as you make it, I’d start by using the best tool for the job in a simple manner and work from there being very honest 👍🏼 Definitely don’t worry about a new laptop, rew is relatively simple in resource requirements, a 10year old laptop will run it just fine 👍🏼
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think my questions are regarding pretty basic use of an RTA - regardless of what application you use specifically - so I think they would apply to REW too - meaning I would have the exact same questions even if I were using REW, simply because they are very "basic" question about tuning fundamentals.

That being said, based on the help here and more research in general, I *think* I have the answers to my two simple questions...

1. When reviewing frequency response from my speakers on an RTA (both individually and combined), I should use the "flat" mode of the RTA (not a- or c-weighted) - then adjust for preference from there.
2. To level-match my door and dash speakers, I should just play pink noise on each one separately and use the dB reading from a SPL meter to get them at the same level - then adjust by ear manually from there if needed.

The DSR-1 sets time alignment based on simple measurements - so I'm not concerned with time alignment "how-to" - I'm covered there (at least as a good starting point - and can adjust as needed by ear from there). My under-the-seat sub has arrived, so I will be installing that soon as well to help with the bottom end.

So I think I have everything I need for now. Still have a lot to learn and may eventually look into REW. I have what I think is a pretty complete set of tools with the Android AudioTool app for now.

Interestingly, I've been watching a lot of videos from places like Five Star Car Stereo and Car Audio Fabrication and I don't think I've ever once seen them use or even reference REW. They seem to do all of their tuning with tools such as AudioTool - and have even recommended some of the best tools for tuning (mobile device apps) - or even a real hardware RTA device (I've seen a lot of professional tuners using those). For the level of tuning that I'm looking to get into at this point, it just seems that I should be able to do everything I need using these basic tools pretty easily. We'll see about using REW in the future.

Thanks again for all of the input - I really do appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Let me ask you guys something on a different subject... My 2018 Challenger (6 speaker Alpine amplified system) comes from the factory with the dash speakers wired in reverse polarity. I thought that was really strange, but have confirmed 500% that they are - both with a polarity checking tool and by actually checking wiring diagrams and figuring out which terminal is positive and which is negative on the stock speakers with the 9-volt battery trick, since they aren't marked in any way.

Any idea why that would be? And what are your thoughts on keeping them that way when tuning? I'm assuming they do this for a reason, but maybe it's just to compensate for crappy speakers in some way? The stock dash speakers are single-cone 3.5" speakers. In fact, none of the 6 stock speakers have a dedicated tweeter - they are all single-cone "1-way" speakers.

While playing around tuning by ear, I have had them sound good either way, depending on EQ/levels, etc...

But I also see that just about every tuning guide says to make sure polarity is "normal" to start with... Assuming I should set them to normal polarity, but just wanted to get some input.

Thanks again!

By the way, I just went through a pretty quick "tuning session" and even though the EQ's are set in a way that I would never expect, it actually sounds pretty damn good! There just may be something to this measurement stuff! ;-) Now if I could just keep my battery charged up while tuning, I'd be in good shape! :) Guess I need to get a trickle charger or something....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hmm - so how do you conect these to the car? I'm assuming you don't connect directly to the battery? Or do you? I'm guessing that they would be better than the average car battery charger when it comes to noise (or the lack thereof)?

Interested to hear how you would use these. I just checked my battery this morning with a battery tester and while the health is still at 100%, it was down to a 30% charge!! So I definitely need to come up with something. Would rather not keep running it down and recharging it (right now, I have it charging with a regular car battery charger).

Thanks!
 

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Let me ask you guys something on a different subject... My 2018 Challenger (6 speaker Alpine amplified system) comes from the factory with the dash speakers wired in reverse polarity. I thought that was really strange, but have confirmed 500% that they are - both with a polarity checking tool and by actually checking wiring diagrams and figuring out which terminal is positive and which is negative on the stock speakers with the 9-volt battery trick, since they aren't marked in any way.

Any idea why that would be? And what are your thoughts on keeping them that way when tuning? I'm assuming they do this for a reason, but maybe it's just to compensate for crappy speakers in some way? The stock dash speakers are single-cone 3.5" speakers. In fact, none of the 6 stock speakers have a dedicated tweeter - they are all single-cone "1-way" speakers.

While playing around tuning by ear, I have had them sound good either way, depending on EQ/levels, etc...

But I also see that just about every tuning guide says to make sure polarity is "normal" to start with... Assuming I should set them to normal polarity, but just wanted to get some input.

Thanks again!

By the way, I just went through a pretty quick "tuning session" and even though the EQ's are set in a way that I would never expect, it actually sounds pretty damn good! There just may be something to this measurement stuff! ;-) Now if I could just keep my battery charged up while tuning, I'd be in good shape! :) Guess I need to get a trickle charger or something....
I just sold my 2016 Challenger with that same 6-speaker Alpine system, and I can confirm the dash 3.5's were reverse polarity. I never could figure out why, my probably wrong guess was it was a poor mans way to correct phase between the dash and door speakers.

You should also notice that the dash speakers and door speakers do not get a full signal. The amp had a crossover between both speakers that was around the 200-300hz area. Those two signals need to be summed to get a full signal, but I assume your DSP is doing that automatically. Another funny thing about that Challenger audio system is the dash speakers are amplified and the door speakers are not. When I started with the Challenger I tried the RF 360.3 and it couldn't quite sum those signals with different amplification properly and I would clip between 200-300Hz under moderate power no matter what I tried. The only manual settings that wouldn't clip made the system sound like crap. When I finally just bit the bullet and got a Helix everything came together. Just some food for thought if you start to hear some clipping, check that frequency range.

I ran Hybrid U69's in the door, Scan 3" widebanders in the dash, and Scan tweeters velcro'd on my dash, sub in the trunk. Ditch those rear speakers!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
It was my understanding that all 6 speakers are amplified - in that the stock amp has 4 channels of input (from the head-unit) and creates 6 channels of output from it. As you said, the doors get only bass (~400hz and under), the dash gets mids/high (~400hz and over) and the rear-deck gets a full-signal (but doesn't really play highs due to the lack of a tweeter). I can't see how the door 6x9s could not be amplfied - they produce quite a bit of bass for what they are - probably the majority of the sound in the car - and we all knwo that bass requires more power than mids/highs!

Regardless, I no longer use the stock amp at all (not even connected anymore) - with the DSR1, it generaters 8 full-range channels of output directly from the head-unit that you can do whatever you want with. I'm feeding 6 of them to a 6-channel amp so that I can send whatever I want to any of the channels (but basically, I'm doing the same thing as the stock amp - lows to doors and mids/highs to dash).

Is there any reason not to use the rear-deck speakers for bass only - especially since I don't have a sub hooked up yet? I mean if I run them just for 60hz -> 250hz, for example, that shouldn't mess up my front stage (especially if I lower the levels of them), yet they should still provide some extra bass, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, more stupid questiion time... :)

1. Since my front stage is an active setup with 6.5" speakers in the doors (mid-bass only) and 3.5" speakers in the dash (mids/highs only) - each going to dedicated amplifier channels (not wired in parallel on the same channel) and crossed over at 450hz, do I tune them with pink noise playing from both speakers at the same time (left door and left dash) or do I tune with pink-noise playing from them one speaker at a time (for the frequency range they are playing)? If I do it separately, do I then go back and play them both at the same time when done in order to make sure the crosover area looks correct?

2. When I start playing pink noise and raise the volume to a certain level - let's say an average of 85db in order to work on EQ - I'm not clear on how to determine what db level to use as the "target" for "flat" tuning. I mean one frequency could be 15 db higher than another before I adjust anything. If I am only to cut frequencies and not boost them, then I would have to use the frequency with the lowest db level and do a LOT of very significant cuts, which would really limit the overall output level. Is that the proper way (use the frequency with the lowest level and cut every other frequency down to that level)?

I was REALLY surprised how "un-even" the pink noise frequency response was - especially on my 3.5" dash spekers. The 2khz-3khz range seemed especially low - so low that I would REALLY have to cut other frequenices (up to 15 db) to get them as low as the 2k-3k range response. It was that way on both left and right channels. Makes me really question the accuracy of the microphone (inexpensive Dayton Audio IMM-6 calibrated mic). I guess the device could also be problematic (using an old Nexus 9) too?

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, so after some further testing, I've found that I'm getting drastically-different readings from different Android devices - even though I'm using the same microphone, so I've given up on the Android/IMM-6 combination of doing measurements.

Insteading of wasting my time, I just ordered a miniDSP UMIK-1 and will find a device to run REW on. I was really hoping to just use a simple RTA on an Android device, but i'm since every Android device is reporting drastically different results with the same MIC, it's just not going to work. I'm assuming the audio "internals" of these devices must really wreck havoc with the TRRS mic measurements.

I REALLY didn't want to spend ~$100 on a MIC, but it is what is.... I should have just listened to those that are more experienced with this stuff from the start. :)
 

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Ok, so after some further testing, I've found that I'm getting drastically-different readings from different Android devices - even though I'm using the same microphone, so I've given up on the Android/IMM-6 combination of doing measurements.

Insteading of wasting my time, I just ordered a miniDSP UMIK-1 and will find a device to run REW on. I was really hoping to just use a simple RTA on an Android device, but i'm since every Android device is reporting drastically different results with the same MIC, it's just not going to work. I'm assuming the audio "internals" of these devices must really wreck havoc with the TRRS mic measurements.

I REALLY didn't want to spend ~$100 on a MIC, but it is what is.... I should have just listened to those that are more experienced with this stuff from the start. :)

REW is lightyears better than the best android analyzers. I measure everything with it lol. Desk speakers, home theater , car. My bass guitar rig.
Its changed my life when it come to audio.
 

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Hmm - so how do you conect these to the car? I'm assuming you don't connect directly to the battery? Or do you? I'm guessing that they would be better than the average car battery charger when it comes to noise (or the lack thereof)

Thanks!
You hook it up directly to the battery. I cut 6 gauge battery jumper cables in half to use as hookups. I bought 4 APS 55 power supplies from gtmike and he is an excellent seller. I use just one to tune for hours and you can leave it hooked up to the battery when in 13.5 volt mode and it won’t over charge the battery because it varies the current down to millivolts. It also puts out cleaner current and more stable voltage compared to a battery charger, which was designed to charge a battery, not run high current 12 volt electronics like a power supply.

You can also gang these together up to 4 for massive current supply which is what I did for my amplifier shootout.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You hook it up directly to the battery. I cut 6 gauge battery jumper cables in half to use as hookups. I bought 4 APS 55 power supplies from gtmike and he is an excellent seller. I use just one to tune for hours and you can leave it hooked up to the battery when in 13.5 volt mode and it won’t over charge the battery because it varies the current down to millivolts. It also puts out cleaner current and more stable voltage compared to a battery charger, which was designed to charge a battery, not run high current 12 volt electronics like a power supply.



You can also gang these together up to 4 for massive current supply which is what I did for my amplifier shootout.
It's tempting, but I think I'm going to try my reqular battery charger first. Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, but I was under the impression that the cars electronics would still be run from the battery and then the battery charger would just recharge the battery as-needed - just so it doesn't dischage to nothing (just like the alternator would do if the car was running). Meaning that the battery would still be the main power source (instead of the charger/power supply itself). I guess the question is if a regular charger would introduce any noise into the system while doing this. With my car, I normally connect the battery charger to "jump points" under the hood - and my actual battery is in the trunk. But I've never tried actually using the car electronics while it was being charged before...

Please correct me if my understanding of how this works is incorrect.

I don't mind spending money for the 'good stuff' when/where needed, but this is not something that I plan on doing on a regular basis. I'm hoping that after a few tuning "sessions", I will no longer need to spend hours at a time tuning. :) My original goal was just to make my stock system a little louder - but it seems that every day, I keep on going a little further down the rabbit hole with equipment and tools (for example - tools needed to crimp battey lugs, under-the-seat sub, better tuning mcrophone, etc). Just trying not to spend $$$ on something that I'll use very little - especially if I already have another way to do it (such as a regular battery charger).

But please - if you feel there is any way that I can "damage" anything by using a regular battery charger, please speak up. I know that someone else with a Dodge Challenger uses a trickle-charger on the under-the-hood jump points while tuning and is seems to work fine for him.

Thank you!
 

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I've had good luck with a regular battery charger. The one I use will trickle or put out 10 or 50 amps. I just set it at 10 and my battery doesn't drop at all. I've also tuned for up to an hour or so without any charger. I have a cigarette lighter display that shows voltage. I try to stay above 12v.
 
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