Originally Posted by CdnoilRAM
I know Jared wants to flame me for this... but you can add a 1 farad capacitor and you'll be good, he's not a fan of caps, and neither am I, but to round out all the possibilities, I put it out there.
Originally Posted by RamTech
I thought about mentioning them but held back for the same reason...
I'm not that bad.......am I?
WHAT IS A CAPACITOR?
Basically, capacitors are an energy storage device. Large, 1 Farad or more
capacitors store energy (electrons) between their plates. Capacitors differ
from batteries because batteries store energy in the form of chemical
energy--and rely on acid and lead plates, as the place of storage. For a more detailed
description of a capacitor, go here:
Then on the right hand side, scroll down to CAPACITOR. Keep in mind the use
of capacitors in an audio system.
WHY DO PEOPLE BUY CAPACITORS?
The number 1 reason would have to be because their lights dim when their
system is playing HARD. In car audio, we are told that a capacitor is
designed to prevent the voltage drop associated with your lights dimming.
The number2 reason is that it is rumored to 'improve' sound quality or
'stiffen' the power supply/source.
WHY DO MY LIGHTS DIM?
Headlights brightness is in direct proportion to the source voltage. For
instance, if your car is running, system voltage is ~12.5 -14.4 VOLTS. Your
lights will be much brighter than when your car is turned off--where battery
voltage is ~12V. Most car alternators put out between 75 to 120 amps of
current. When this current draw threshold of the charging system is
exceeded, system voltage will drop as power demands are now shared by the
alternator and the storage devices (battery & cap). We are using battery
reserves beyond this point until the demand lessens
When playing your system really hard. Your lights dim because your
alternator can't keep up it's charging voltage (around 13.5V) and therefore,
demand exceeds output. When this happens, your electronic devices are
dipping into the power storage of the battery. Since the battery stores
power at ~ 12-12.5V, there is a 1.3 to 1.8V drop in voltage available. This
in turn is why your lights dim down.
HOW MUCH POWER DOES A CAPACITOR STORE?
1 Farad = 100 joules or 100W/second
850cca battery = ~2,200,000 farads
For storage purposes, you'd need ~2,200 1 Farad capacitors to equal the energy of your battery.
Due to its impedence (ESR & ESL), a cap's energy is only 50% available. What's worse, is that in order for a 1 Farad cap to discharge, first the alternator output must have maxed out, and the voltage must have dropped around 1.5 volts. But I thought a cap was supposed to prevent that (voltage drop)!!!!!????? Yep, you got the point.
IF A BATTERY = 2,200 CAPS, THEN WHY BUY A (PUNY) CAP?
My question exactly. Marketing is the reason why people buy caps. In many cases, upgrading wiring will help your system get the maximum transfer of current. Once that has been reached, adding a capacitor may have a minor effect on your system. 50W over the course of a second is not a lot of power considering an amplifier may draw 2000W to put out 1400 watts. Let's look at the situation from a resources standpoint.
Alternator 80 amps
Car accessories (minus stereo) 40 amps
A large Car Audio system (DRAWS ) ~200 amps AT FULL OUTPUT
In this case, you have 240 amps of draw, but only 80 amps of current from the alternator. In your case, you need 160 amps x 12 volts or or let's say 1920 watts of energy. Since a cap stores 50W, how much of a difference do you think it's going to make? A cap is basically a peashooter. We need a Howitzer cannon here, to do the job well.
Also, Once a cap is discharged, where does it get it's power from? The alternator, which is already overloaded. Once a cap is discharged, it's worthless.
SO, WHAT IS A CAPACITOR GOOD FOR?
1. Audio Jewelry- impress chicks with large cylindrical shiny thingy
2. Extra weight in winter time
3. A very POOR... BUT expensive distribution block
4. A projectile in the event of a crash
5. Rolling pin--for cooking purposes
6. A neat thing to tell your friend, "..Hey man, lick the top of this..
Please do not try # 6. New hairstyles are always refreshing, but if you are wearing railroad tracks across your teeth, you might have one big filling after it's over.
HOW CAN CAPACITORS IMPROVE SOUND QUALITY?
They can't. Sound quality is not dependant upon the presence of large bulky 1 Farad capacitors. How many 1 Farad Capacitors do you think the Jay Z, Aerosmith, or Snoop dog use in the recording studio?
IN A NUTSHELL.......
When Richard Clark, our fearless inventor of the car audio capacitor, became World renown for winning every competition under the sun, people began copying what he did. Soon, every 'serious' competitor had a 'stiffening' capacitor--not to be confused with the 'loosening' capacitor.
In the late 80s, people began sticking out their tongue when dunking the basketball because Michael Jordan did. Did sticking out your tongue improve your dunking ability? Same here with adding a capacitor to your electrical system.