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My headlights flicker a little when playing bass-heavy songs. I have a Kicker 43CXA6001 amp (link to Crutchfield) and was wondering if a cap or second battery would strain the alternator more. The gain isn't quite turned up a quarter of the way.

I drive a 2016 Civic Sedan and getting a new alternator is out of the question because it's a newer car and high output alts aren't even available anywhere.

The amp's wired directly to the factory radio and I'm running two 12" Kicker 43CWR122's (link to Crutchfield) that are now in a sealed box.

Before installing I downgraded the amp from a 1500 RMS AudioPipe because I was worried about the alternator. So which would strain it the least... A new battery or cap?
 

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I'd try not to use either. Try a big 3 upgrade with at least some good 4ga wire first. The factory wiring on my 15 accord is pathetic. I'm still using a cap until I turn this lease in then I'll just run a good battery up front with upgraded factory wiring. I'm sure a second battery would tax the alternator more though.

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My headlights flicker a little when playing bass-heavy songs.
...

The amp's wired directly to the factory radio .....

Before installing I downgraded the amp from a 1500 RMS AudioPipe because I was worried about the alternator. So which would strain it the least... A new battery or cap?
The Kicker amp is a 600 watt class D amp that should not be much of a problem to a factory system if installed correctly. Kicker recommends a 4 gauge power wire from the battery to the amp with a 80 amp fuse on the power wire, under the hood and near where the 4 gauge wire connects to the battery. Did you power wire for the amp to the factory radio wiring? If so, there is your main problem.
 

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...Did you power wire for the amp to the factory radio wiring? If so, there is your main problem.
Lol. No. I used 4 gauge OFC wire and ran it from the battery with a 80A Fuse. I was talking about the RCA's... I ran them directly from rear speaker wires. Power wasn't taken from the stereo. Originally I planned to use a LC2i but both Kicker and a local car audio shop told me that running it this way was a lot less complicated, cleaner, and caused a lot less problems with troubleshooting.

And the amp's 600 @ 2 ohms but I didn't think that'd be too much either. The two 12" are wired at 2 ohms, but like I said, the gain's set about a quarter of the way up.
 

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Or you can just simply upgrade the ground wires going from battery to chassis and from engine block/gearbox to chassis. You can use little bit thinner atleast the same size as oem for smaller connectors if it is easier since these are short runs and can be added next to original ground wires. It is a good idea to check if ground wire from battery to chassis has paint under the connector, my toyota did.
 

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I don't think the "big 3" battery, or cap is going to help. Isn't Honda doing some strange manipulation of the electrical systems in their new cars? I don't have a Honda, but I feel like I've read several threads about trying to overcome Honda's voltage regulation in the newer cars.
 

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I read into the eld as well. Alternator charges around 12.5v normally until AC and/or headlights are turned on. I didn't feel like trying to bypass it on my lease so I just turn on headlights on if I need all 14.4 volts.

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I read into the eld as well. Alternator charges around 12.5v normally until AC and/or headlights are turned on. I didn't feel like trying to bypass it on my lease so I just turn on headlights on if I need all 14.4 volts.

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Except headlights take alot of power.n

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True. Better than 12.5 volts I guess. How much it helps, I couldn't say, but 14 volts sounds better lol

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All he needs is beefier ground wires to battery as usually most won't bother to run another wire for ground all the way to battery from amp. Japanese manufacturers won't put any extra thickness to wires..
 

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You need to bypass the eld, upgrade the battery ground to chasses wire, and install an agm battery. Don't let anyone try to tell you upgrading the wiring from alt to batt is going to help you. IT'S NOT. The stock wiring on the stock alternator is plenty sufficient no matter how much you're pulling from the battery. A good agm battery will keep your alternator from getting fried by keeping the amp from trying to pull excess power from it. Upgrading grounds is always a good idea. Doing a full big 3 on a stock alternator is just plain idiotic and that myth got busted years ago. Again, upgrade grounds and get a GOOD agm battery and you'll be fine. And bypass that stupid Honda eld crap.
 

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I've got a 2000 Civic, and ran a MUCH larger, less efficient amplifier setup without bypassing the ELD system. That little amp isn't doing any kind of work what so ever. Get a better than stock battery, and upgrade the ground, and I'm sure you'll be fine.
 

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Depending on what the stock battery actually is the replacement could be worse or not. :)

Wires first, if it fixes the problem leave as is.
 
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