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How Does A High Output Alternator Work?

A vehicle comes with a stock alternator from the factory to meet the basic electrical needs of a vehicle. A high output alternator or high amp alternator is a perfect way to upgrade modern vehicles. A modern vehicle is different from traditional vehicle since it can require higher electrical supply for, power windows, modern seats with heating and cooling systems, power gates, ignition systems, compressors, navigation systems and more. A high output alternator provides higher amperage output to a vehicle, improving their performance. This article discusses the different types of high output alternators, their functions, how they work and how to prevent them from going bad. To find out more about high output alternators please read below:

A high output alternator is generally used to increase the amperage within the electrical system. When an alternator is not turning quickly, the output could be reduced hence not keeping up with the demands of a charging system. In such a case battery has to make up for providing the amps, that’s why reserve of the battery is considered like a deposit account that saves power. The amps stored in a battery’s reserve capacity then provide the amps when electrical load exceeds the charging system output. However, this could affect the power of the battery negatively and put pressure on the battery. Therefore, a high output alternator is recommended to save the battery’s power and provide the required electrical output and amps to a vehicle. When a high output alternator is used, amps are supplied back to the battery when the vehicle is used, and with a high output alternator charging systems are able to generate more amps and supply vehicle with the amps required to keep the vehicle running.

A high output alternator functions by providing the required amps. A high output alternator is can be used in case of alternator failure. Alternators run on the basis of load on the charging system, so higher the amps required, more the pressure on the charging system and higher the operating temperature of an alternator would be. A high output alternator is recommended in case additional accessories are added to a vehicle because the stock alternator might not be able to handle the demand of higher amp and voltage that are required to run additional accessories.

In order to find out more about the types of high output alternators please read below:

A basic alternator that is traditionally installed in the vehicles provides power for basic functions such as ignition, starting the engine, audio, and lights etc. However, traditional alternators can only run for a few minutes under extreme load and can be damaged due to overheating. In order to avoid alternator damage due to overheating, high output alternators are designed. There are different types of high output alternators depending on the type of car, power requirements and the functions of the car. The three basic types of high output alternators are high output alternator required for audio and high output alternator required for running applications, and the high output alternators for all functions.

Specialty designed alternators are designed to provide power to all applications and systems of a car without being overheated. Companies such as Leece-Neville and Neihoff design high output alternators that can supply amps for all functions of a car without exceeding the temperature limit and being damaged. Choosing a specialty designed alternator depends on the type of car you have and the functions you want to perform. Therefore, different companies design different types of specialty designed alternators according to exact amps required by a car.

High Output Alternator Required for Audio

Based on our needs of sound systems the requirement for output changes therefore special high output alternators are designed to run different audio systems in a car. As a cars sound system is upgraded and audio output increases the requirement for energy to run the sound output also increases. For example typically 16 amps are required to run around 100 watts of audio, so if a vehicle has a 100 watt amplifier the traditional alternator can produce the electrical energy of 16 amps, but if a vehicle has an amplifier of more than 1000 watts then a high output alternator will be required to run the function.

High Output Alternator Required for Applications

Some vehicles are upgraded to run more applications e.g. vehicles that don’t come with electric doors and windows would require a high output alternator if the windows are upgraded to electric from manual. If lights of a car are upgraded and additional lights are added i.e. emergency lights for police cars then a high output alternator would be required.

Thus, high output alternators designed to run applications are designed to run any applications that require more amperage than the stock alternator can provide. Dynamo generators and OEM alternators are two examples of alternators designed to provide the additional electric power required by a vehicle.

High output alternators are designed to achieve high output functions, therefore, they are designed with heavy-duty diodes in order to produce and handle large currents and heat. The different part of a high output alternator would be its diodes, wires for producing electric current and heat resistant parts in order to increase their durability. In addition, some high output alternators also contain chrome-plated compartments in order to increase their resistance to harsh conditions.

An alternator needs to have a wiring harness to handle the alternator output and different amp alternators to generate high electric output.

An alternator goes bad when it’s used in extreme conditions and needs to produce higher amperage than it can handle. In order to prevent an alternator failure, it is important to know the output capacity of an alternator and upgrade the alternator when the amps requirement of vehicle increase due to up-gradation. The picture in the above section shows the different parts of alternators, the cooling fan, finger poles rotors, slip rings, and bearings. An alternator goes bad if one of the parts stop working.

The most common instance of an alternator going bad is bearing failure because of accumulation of dirt in the alternator which halts the function of an alternator and causes damage because of overheating.

A high output alternator should be used if you want to upgrade your vehicle and the upgrade requires higher electrical output from the vehicle. The type of alternator you should purchase depends on the type of upgrade and the function an alternator is required to perform. It is important to check an alternator regularly in order to assess whether it’s functioning properly or if it needs to be changed. Generally, loud noises from a vehicle, dim lights, or sound system not functioning properly can be linked to an alternator failure, because these things happen when an alternator stops functioning properly. Therefore, check regularly if the alternator is performing its duties properly and change the alternator if it’s not functioning properly. OP AutoPartsGuru Your #1 Source for High Output Alternators.
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Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep PCM High Output Alternator Charging Explained

The Chrysler charging system is slightly different from the other systems. Chrysler has used three different charging system designs over the past few years: local interconnect network (LIN), analog controls (used only with 1.4L engines), and their most popular system, which is PCM controlled.

Most Chrysler alternators don’t typically contain a regulator, the exception being the analog-controlled application. Chrysler controls the alternator externally. A PCM controls the field current. The voltage regulator electronics are housed within the PCM.

The PCM will typically receive a battery voltage input on two circuits: one from the alternator B+ sense circuit (Kelvin sense) and one from the totally integrated power module (TIPM).

Chrysler may control one or both sides of the field (power and ground). The field current flow will vary based on electrical demand, battery state of charge, and engine RPM.

Unlike some other manufacturers, unplugging a Chrysler alternator will result in zero output. Two types of field control are available with a Chrysler system: A circuit controls and B circuit controls.

A Circuit Control — controls the power to the field. It may accomplish this through the shutdown relay or it may be a direct input from the PCM to the alternator field. The PCM controls the second field terminal, which controls the field ground.

B Circuit Control — introduced in 2008. One field pin grounds internally within the alternator, while the PCM controls the other pin. Because this type of system grounds through the alternator case, mounting to the engine is critical for proper operation.

The PCM senses the battery voltage via terminal B, also referred to as Kelvin sense. The PCM controls a PWM signal to the field (F terminal) to control the field strength and alternator output. Your #1 Source for High Output Alternators.
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Honda ELD Dual Mode High Output Alternator Charging System Explained

Honda uses a dual-mode charging system on most 1990-2012 applications (figure 3). This system decreases drag on the engine while cranking and reduces charging system output (engine load) for improved fuel economy. Similar to other systems, the PCM controls the alternator. The PCM receives the system voltage and amperage demand from the electronic load detector in the fusebox.

Cranking (Low Output Mode) — during cranking, the PCM will set the output target between 12.4-12.9 volts. This mode will be active when the system meets a given set of criteria, leading the PCM to command the alternator to reduce the charging system output. Don’t misinterpret low output mode as a bad alternator.

Normal Mode — with the engine running and a specific set of criteria met, the PCM will command a target output voltage between 13.5 and 14.9 volts. With the ignition switch on, the alternator should receive a signal on the IG circuit greater than 12 volts, which it uses to activate the alternator.

PIN C — the PCM looks at the alternator PIN C to determine voltage output. With the circuit grounded, the alternator will be in low output mode.

PIN FR — The PCM supplies a 5-volt signal to PIN FR. The alternator regulator toggles the circuit to ground the varying duty cycle based on alternator load.

PIN IG — Ignition

PIN C — Computer; when output is demand is low, the PCM will ground PIN C, forcing the regulator into low output mode.

Starting in 2013, Honda introduced an updated design that uses a single control wire. Your #1 Source for High Output Alternators.
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Ford Smart Charge High Output Alternators Explained

Ford Smart Charge was introduced on the 1999 Windstar. Like the GM system, the regulator is mounted in the alternator. The PCM then controls the regulator to control system output. It’s similar to the operation of the GM system, with two main control connections to the alternator: generator monitor (GEN MON) and generator command (GEN COM). GEN MON and GEN COM are similar to terminals F and L on a GM system (figure 2).

GEN COM — Generator command controls the system output. The PCM sends a 128 HZ PWM signal to the alternator GEN COM terminal. The duty cycle varies from 3% to 95% with the high duty cycle corresponding to higher alternator output.

If the battery voltage is correct, there won’t be a signal on the GEN COM circuit. If an open circuit occurs, the output voltage default will be 13.5- 13.7 volts after engine speed exceeds 2500 RPM the first time.

GEN MON — Generator monitor sends a signal to the PCM based on the alternator load and output. The PCM sends a signal to the alternator GEN MON circuit. The regulator then grounds or ungrounds the circuit at a fixed frequency (generally 128Hz), but varies the duty cycle from 5-95% based on the alternator load. The GEN MON circuit will have a signal present anytime the engine is operating.

SENSE — the alternator receives the current battery voltage from the sense circuit. Your #1 Source for High Output Alternators.
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GM RVC 2pin High Output Alternators Explained

GM RVC Regulators Explained:
The GM regulated voltage control system can vary from 11.5 –15.5 volts. As with other systems in use today, the GM system has a fuel economy mode, which is designed to lower the charging system voltage by reducing the alternator field strength.
Technicians often diagnose this mode as a faulty charging system, only to find out that the vehicle operates the same even with new parts installed. Simply applying maximum load to the vehicle’s electrical system will cause the PCM/ECM to respond, raising charging system voltage.
GM also designed this system to identify battery sulfation. In response, the PCM/ECM will command the charging system’s voltages to increase to as high as 15.5 volts, even when there’s no electrical load. Sulfation mode will typically last less than five minutes at a time, so, as the timer expires, the system will return to normal charging operation.
The BCM is the brains of the operation, but the PCM is the module that actually controls charging system operation. The PCM controls the signal to terminal L of the alternator to control system output.
Terminal L — Terminal L is designed to control the charging system. Terminal L feeds the signal to a regulator inside the alternator. The PCM/ECM sends five volts to alternator terminal L. When the system requires an increase in output, the PCM/ECM will change the circuit duty cycle, which will cause the regulator to change the voltage set point.

The duty cycle can range from 10% to as high as 90%, with the higher duty cycle creating a higher voltage charging rate. If an open circuit occurs, the system will default to a charging voltage of 13.2–13.8V.

Terminal F — Terminal F is a duty cycle signal that the PCM/TCM monitors. The duty cycle percentage represents the operation of the alternator field. The PCM/ECM monitors the duty cycle to determine the load the alternator is placing on the engine. They then use this input for idle speed control and the alternator voltage set point. Your #1 Source for High Output Alternators.
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How to Choose an Alternator: Can High Output Alternators Cause Damage?

JS Alternators High Output Alternator

When you upgrade your car audio, it’s important to consider the extra power requirements that come along with a beefed-up sound system. Your factory alternator may be enough, or it might not cut it. The question usually isn’t if you need a stronger alternator, but how much bigger it needs to be, and how much is too much.

How Much Alternator Is Too Much?
The good news is that replacing a factory alternator with a high output alternator, in and of itself, isn’t going to damage the rest of the electronics in your car, even if the new alternator is much, much bigger than the old one.

As an example that trends closer to the ridiculous than the likely, let’s say that you determine that your new sound system, plus the preexisting power requirements of your car, add up to well over 200A. For a safety net, you decide on a 300A alternator.

Even if you manage to find a high amp alternator that’s capable of putting out a massive 300A while still somehow fitting in your engine compartment, that extra amperage will only be tapped if and when your equipment actually needs it. You can rest easy that the only downside to an alternator that’s too big is that it’s a waste of money, and it won’t damage your electrical system.

The main caveat is that if your sound system really does require that much amperage, there are a few modifications that you need to make before installing a high amp alternator that’s really that big, but they’re more to prevent power and ground cables from burning up than to protect the sort of delicate electronics that keep your car going.

High Amp Alternator Supply and Demand
If you’re worried about a high amp alternator providing too much power to your ECU, or any other component in your electrical system, you don’t need to.

The amperage rating on an alternator is basically just the amount of current that the unit is capable of putting out, not the amount it always puts out. So if all of the electronics in your car, put together, only draw 60A, then your beastly 300A alternator will only produce 60A.

The way that current works is that any given electrical component will only draw as much amperage as it needs to operate. So while a powerful amplifier might suck up 150A, you don’t need to worry about that same 150A surging into your fancy LED headlights and blowing them out.

Since amperage is a function of wattage divided by volts, it essentially works based on supply and demand — the alternator only supplies as much amperage as each component demands. The alternator generates enough amperage to meet the needs of the combined electrical system at any given time, and then each component draws its share.

In order to determine how much amperage a component is going to draw, you can divide its wattage by the voltage of the system. So basic 50-watt headlamps are only going to pull maybe 4A (50W / 13.5V), even if your big amp is drawing many times more than that.

Do You Really Need a High Amp Alternator?
Every electrical component in your car needs to draw some amount of amperage to function. If you don’t make any modifications or add any additional electronics, then you’ll typically be just fine with the stock alternator.

The issue is that factory alternators typically run right up against the ragged edge in terms of factory component requirements, so installing any power-hungry aftermarket equipment can lead to a lack of enough power to go around. That can manifest as flickering or dim headlights, or your engine may even die.

In some circumstances, overloading an already anemic factory alternator can even lead to early failure. And if you just replace the broken down alternator with another one that has the same specifications, the same thing will probably just happen again.

How Much Alternator Amperage Do You Need?
Most basic audio components don’t draw too much amperage. For instance, a standard head unit with a built-in amp might draw less than 10A. In comparison, typical headlights are also about a 10A draw, a defroster can pull up to 15A, and air conditioning typically draws more than 20A.

In a lot of cases, you can upgrade to an aftermarket radio without worrying too much about installing a high output alternator. However, there are cases where you’ll clearly end up piling on more than the factory alternator can handle.

When you start installing a bunch of aftermarket audio equipment, especially powerful amps, things can quickly get out of hand. For instance, installing a power amp that draws 70 or more amps in a car that shipped from the factory with a basic stereo, could cause huge problems if the alternator is only capable of putting out 60A to begin with.

Factory electrical systems have differing tolerances, but if you’re planning on upping the requirements by more than 10 or 15 percent, then a high output alternator may be a good idea.

If you just need a little extra juice, a car audio capacitor may be a better choice.

Necessary High Amp Alternator Electrical System Modifications
Although the individual electronic components in your car won’t be damaged by a big alternator, there are two things that might be: the alternator power lead and the ground strap or straps.

Since a high amp alternator will be putting out a lot more juice than the factory unit, and your power and ground cables were chosen with the OEM unit in mind, these cables might not be big enough.

When you install a high amp alternator, or when you have someone else install it, you should consider replacing both the ground straps and the power cable that runs from the alternator to the battery with heavier gauge cables.

Although it is possible to calculate roughly the right size based on the maximum amperage you’ll be dealing with, a good rule of thumb is to just go with the thickest gauge that will work in the application.

You can’t really go too big in this case, and the thicker the cables, the better off you’ll be — especially if you do go with that monster of a 390A alternator.
written by Jeremy Laukkonen

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Should I Upgrade My Alternator?

2009 - 2010 Ford Mustang High Amp Output Alternator

What Does the Alternator Do?
Alternator Basics:

Alternators keep your vehicle running after the starter kicks over the engine
Alternators are rated in amps, so the more accessories you add with a higher draw (like an aftermarket sound system) the more powerful alternator you’ll need
Although underdrive pulleys help out supercharged Mustangs, the pulleys hinder your Mustang’s alternator. If you’re thinking about a new set of pulleys, don’t neglect your alternator
A weak alternator can put your electronics on the fritz, throw engine codes, make your lights flicker, and cause your Mustang to shut off while cruising down the road
Surplus energy isn’t a bad thing, so getting more amps than you need isn’t a bad idea
Your Mustang’s electrical system relies on the alternator to keep it running. Once the battery starts the car, the alternator takes over. It recharges the battery and keeps all the electrical components of the car juiced up and working properly. If your alternator is not working properly or is undersized for your needs, the car’s systems will not be working at their peak performance. This can lead to a poorly running vehicle and dimming or weakened accessories. On some Mustangs, a weak or faulty alternator can cause many electrical gremlins that result in incorrect trouble codes and diagnoses.

How Does an Alternator Work?
An alternator consists of a few main parts that allow it to do its job. The belt driven pulley on the alternator is attached to an electromagnet that rotates inside a tight coil of wires. As the electromagnet spins in the coil, it generates a large amount of AC (alternating current) voltage. Since vehicle electrical systems run on DC voltage, the AC current is passed through a rectifier which converts it into DC voltage. The voltage regulator on the alternator is controlled by the PCM, which watches the voltage output through the GENMON circuit. As the voltage requirements of the system change, the PCM commands more or less voltage through the GENCOM circuit. Faulty wiring in the GENCOM and GENMON circuits can lead to poor alternator performance, but repairing these circuits if they fail can remedy the charging issue.

Alternators are usually different for manual and automatic cars. The differences are usually in the pulley. Most manual cars have a one-way clutched pulley on them, while automatic cars have a fixed pulley. The clutched pulley on the alternator helps to decouple the alternator from the engine during rapid changes in RPM, like when shifting. The clutched pulley allows the alternator to freewheel and decelerate on its own, instead of trying to slow the alternator down with engine RPM. These clutched pulleys extend alternator life, as well as the life of other belt driven accessories by reducing the amount of load on the accessory drive system.

Alternator Ratings
Alternators are rated based on the amount of power that they put out, measured in amps. More powerful alternators are able to put out more power while the engine is running, meaning they can power more electricity-hungry accessories. Stock alternators are usually rated around 100 to 150 amps, and will work great for a lightly modified car. If there is too much draw on the system and the alternator can’t keep up, you may notice reduced performance from your Mustang until the load on the system drops. Almost every sensor on your Mustang requires a voltage reference from the PCM, so lower voltage than necessary can cause incorrect readings or operation. It is very important to have an alternator that can keep up! When you start increasing the electrical draw on your Mustang, you should consider upgrading your alternator.

When Should I Upgrade My Alternator?
When adding large sound systems, a lot of gauges, a more powerful ignition system or larger fuel, it may be difficult for your stock alternator to keep up with the increased demand. By upgrading to a stronger alternator, you will be able to support the increased electrical load. While a couple of aftermarket electrical accessories will not be too much for your stock alternator, you may need to consider a larger alternator if you are running underdrive pulleys. Underdrive pulleys will hinder your alternators ability to keep up, so it will be more sensitive to higher electrical load. If your car is supercharged, it may also be a good idea to upgrade to a more powerful alternator in order to handle the increased load of the intercooler pump, upgraded fuel pump, and heat exchanger fans.

How Can I Tell If I Need a Stronger Alternator?
If you notice that your interior or exterior lights are dimming significantly when your sound system is turned up or other accessories are switched on, it may be time to either replace a failing stock alternator, or upgrade your stock alternator. When you have to replace a failing alternator, you should consider putting a stronger one in if you are planning on adding more power hungry parts, or already have installed items which pull more electrical current. When it comes time to upgrade, the bigger the alternator the better! You will want to make sure that you have a surplus of electrical energy available for your car, so choosing a higher output alternator is always a good idea. If you have a mild set up, the largest available alternator is not required and you can go with one of the lower output upgrades if it better fits your budget. It would also be wise to choose a wiring upgrade for your car if one is available, so that you can recharge your battery quicker and supply the larger current more effectively to your system.

What Goes Wrong With Alternators and How To Test Them
As alternators age, they wear out like anything else. Common failures include diodes in the rectifiers and voltage regulators. Without proper current flow from the regulator or proper signals from the voltage regulator, the charging system will be ineffective. If the PCM is unable to control the alternator output, then overcharging or undercharging may occur. The battery in your Mustang will absorb some of the excess charge put out by the alternator, but over time this will cause the battery to fail. The battery is also able to supplement a weak alternator for a short time period, but without having its charge replenished, will also fail.

Some basic tests can be performed at home, but they may not give you the complete picture. You can test alternator output voltage by measuring the battery voltage with your Mustang off and with it running. With the car off, you should see voltage in the 12.0-12.8 range. With your Mustang running, the voltage should be roughly between 13.8-14.9. If the voltage is low with the vehicle running, it’s likely you have a bad alternator. If battery voltage is low without the car running, you may also have an alternator that is failing to charge the battery. Alternatively, you may also have a dying battery. The best way to test an alternator is to remove it and have it load tested. This can often be done by local parts stores. You can also have them test your starter and battery while you’re at it.
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Why are my Headlights Dimming?

Are your headlights dimming after installing your first car amplifier?
Use this guide to pinpoint the problem of your headlight dimming.
You’ve installed your first amplifier and are enjoying music at reasonably loud volumes in your car.
Utilizing the VM-1 to monitor your voltage will heklp you prevent headflight dimming

One evening, you notice the headlights dimming to the beat of your music.

If you have a stock electrical charging system, there may be a voltage issue.
Turn your stereo and air conditioner on full blast while idling at night. You may notice the headlights dim slightly.

Next, roll the windows down and pay close attention to your headlights as the windows retreat into the doors- They will probably be dimming a little bit more now.

If you’ve noticed the issue starting or becoming worse after installing your first amplifier and subwoofer, the charging system may be to blame.

Headlight dimming is typically limited to large systems in the thousand watt and up range but it can also happen with smaller builds when playing music.

Your charging system may not be capable of producing the power that your amplifier needs.

It is a matter of power. When the bass hits, the amplifier is drawing more power than your vehicle’s electrical charging system can create.

This is happening because of the voltage and current that your amplifier is drawing.

The entirety of your electrical system may be suffering. Since your eyes are more sensitive to changes in light than your ears are to changes in sound, you will notice the dimming first. Ultimately, halogen bulbs will vary in their brightness, regardless of what is in your vehicle. But it’s good to err on the side of caution.

Let’s make sure there’s not an issue with the install before taking expensive measures that may not be necessary.
Ensure that power and ground wires are connected to the clean bare metal of the car. It is essential to have good power and ground connections.
Check the battery connections and make sure that the battery terminals are crimped and fastened tight. Use a Digital Multimeter to confirm that your connections are solid using the method described here.
Have your battery load-tested at your local auto parts store. This is something they will normally do for free and will help suggest a replacement if your battery is the root issue.
Car batteries, particularly lead acid batteries, do not have a long shelf life. They rarely last for more than four years. An old battery may have enough charge to start your vehicle but may not have enough juice to safely power your amplifier when it’s pulling high voltage.

If replacing your battery does not correct the headlight dimming, there are still a few things to consider.
Examine your headlight wiring. Make sure that the connections are solid.
Inspect the fuse panel. Blown fuses can sometimes complete the circuit and vibration from driving and deep bass can break that circuit enough for the lights to dim.
Check the headlight relay. If the relay is beginning to fail, it will switch on and off, causing a headlight flicker.
Go over the electrical charging system.
Examine the alternator belt. If it is fraying or loose, tighten or replace it.
Test the alternators voltage and amperage with a Clamp Meter.
If you found the issue in your electrical system and corrected it, utilize the VM-1 Voltage Meter to monitor your voltage in the future.

If all of the above checks out and the problem persists, verify that your battery and alternator can supply the necessary power for your amplifier.

As a general rule, for every thousand watts of amplification power, you will need about 100 charging amp hours from your battery and alternator.

Stock bateries and alternators may not be powerful enough to provide reliable and clean power for large, 1,000+ car stereo systems.
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Do i need a Second Battery for Car Audio?

Who needs a second battery?
Whether you need a second battery for car audio is determined by your application and by how much power your amplifiers are using.

Is this a daily driver for work commutes, grocery runs, and nights out on the town?

Is this a nasty, ground-pounding, Sound Pressure Level record-shattering beast?

Last week, we covered High Output Alternators, following the Big Three Wiring Upgrade.

If you’re following along, you’ve done the Big Three Wiring Upgrade and added a High Output Alternator.

Are your headlights still dimming?
If headlight dimming still happens when the system plays heavy bass notes, your amplifiers are drawing more power than your charging system can create.

Headlight dimming is a cause for concern. Underpowering your amplifier can lead to overheating, clipping, and the red light of despair known as the protection light.

Your stock electrical charging system was designed and built for the stock features of your car.
The stock battery was made to start the engine.

The stock alternator was designed to charge your batt and power the stock electrical components in your car.

Adding high draw amplifiers to the mix increases the load that your electrical system requires to operate.

Your alternator provides amperage to your system.

When your system is trying to use more power than what is available, your gear will go into protect mode or worse.
Adding a high output alt reduces the strain on your charging system.

If you want to demo and enjoy music at high volumes for extended periods, you’ll need a second battery.

Secondary batteries are necessary when running the car stereo for extended periods of time.

Secondary batteries are also a necessary addition for systems with such a large power draw, and systems where the electrical needs exceed the output of the alternator.

If your concern is listening to music, you can easily calculate the current needs of your stereo.
To estimate the listening life of your battery or determine how much charging power your second battery should have, use the following equation.

10 X (Battery capacity in Amp Hours) / (Load Power in Watts) = Running time in hours.

If your batt has a 75 AH rating, and your amplifier draws 1,000 Watts, that would be calculated as:

10 x 75 / 1000 = .75

With 75 Amp Hours and 1000 Watts of amplifier load power, we would be able to listen to music for about 45 minutes.

If your desire for music listening time is greater than the current your electrical charging system can provide, you’ll need to add additional batteries.

Do you still need a secondary battery even if you don’t plan on giving demos at car shows?
That depends on how much power your amplifier is using. For systems using 1500 watts or more, headlight dimming should be alleviated by adding a secondary battery.

You can figure out the amperage draw of your system using Ohm’s Law to determine how much capacity you’ll need.

I (current) = P (power in wattage) divided by E (power in voltage)

Let’s say you’ve got one 2,000 watt amp like the q1-2200.2 and a 1,000 watt multiple channel amplifier like the Q4-150.

That’s 3,000 watts. Your alternator is rated at 14.4 volts. Now that we know what two of the three values are, we can solve for the third value

3,000 watts divided by 14.4 volts = 208.3 amps.

You’ll still need enough amperage to operate the electrical components in your car or truck like fans, windows, ignition, and power steering.
Most electrical systems need between 60-120 amps to operate, so let’s factor that in too.

3,000 / 14.4= 208 + 120 = 328. For this system, you’d want 328 amp hours of charging power available.

About Batteries
There are two primary chemistries used for batteries: Lead-Acid and Lithium.
Within these categories, there are a multitude of variations, including AGM, sealed lead-acid, LTO, and many more.

These all have specific advantages in their uses.

Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (AKA your grandpa’s batts) are inexpensive.
SLA batteries have low rates of self-discharge and perform well in low and high temperature environments.

Traditional SLA starter batteries are also heavy and have a low weight to energy ratio.

Furthermore, they have a limited cycle life and are very slow to charge.

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries improve over traditional lead-acid designs with a glass mat separator to wick the electrolyte solution between plates.
The glass mat has enough charge for the battery to deliver its full capacity.

AGM’s can be very heavy compared to contemporary options, like lithium.

They improve on SLA batteries in terms of available charge, charging time, and cost.

AGM batteries are maintenance free and reliable, but there is a dropoff in available voltage as they deplete.

Lithium batteries are more expensive than traditional SLA and AGM batteries.
There are a few reasons for this.

Lithium batteries have about 45% of the weight of AGM batteries.

Lithium batteries charge faster than AGM can. Lithium is also capable of delivering 95% of the capacity without a significant change in voltage until the cells are drained.

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Why do i need a shorter belt for High Amp Alternator?

JS Alternator Alternator

Slipping belt – Each of our high output alternators come with smaller overdrive pulley. This pulley is made to increase low RPM charging for maximum output. It is custom for the diameter of the overdrive to be less than your factor pulley, depending on the kind of vehicle you own. If the belt provided does not suffice, you may get the right length from your local parts store. In using the belt and the pulley system, ensure that each part of the pulley system is free of oil or grease, this will help its efficiency.