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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Big Three Wiring Upgrade

Do I need the Big Three Wiring Upgrade?
Wondering what the Big Three Wiring Upgrade is and why you’d need it?

In a previous article, we discussed some of the undesirable effects low voltage can cause, like headlight dimming and how to determine that voltage is the culprit.

Your car is made to efficiently utilize its stock electrical charging system. The factory wiring in your car is no different. It will provide sufficient current for the electrical components in the car.

Adding a high-powered amplifier to that electrical load can put a strain on your charging system. Your stock system may not be able to keep up with the amplifier’s power demands.

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Why do you need a High Output Alternator?

JS Alternator Alternator

High Output Alternators provide the current you’ll need for LOUD car audio
To avoid the dreaded red light of despair in the suddenly silent night, you will need to upgrade your electrical charging system. High Output Alternators provide amperage that your stock alternator cannot produce.

If the Big Three Wiring Upgrade failed to alleviate your electrical issues in your car or truck, then upgrading the alternator might be your next step toward a high performing car audio system.

Did increasing the current flow through the system solve problems like headlight dimming or did it make them worse?

This is because your amplifier is trying to draw more amperage than your stock electrical system can create.

Boosting the flow of current in the vehicle will only increase the problem if the charging system can’t keep up.
This means your headlight dimming could worsen after upgrading your electrical charging systems wiring. That is if the alternator cannot supply adequate power for both your cars electrical charging system and stereo.

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Battery Charging and Maintenance

NOCO Genius alternator

Most car batteries do not get enough charge to keep them healthy and operating at peak performance. It might seem like a chore or even an inconvenience, but regularly charging your car battery can go a long way with a noco battery chargers along with your JsAlternators High Output Alternator.

The problem is that we do not drive our vehicles enough to recharge the battery fully. And when you factor the accessory load and its increasing demands on the battery system, it all contributes to the battery not being sufficiently charged.
There are many benefits to today’s lead-acid car battery, but its biggest weakness is its inability not to deteriorate when left undercharged. Batteries consistently kept at a low charge, slowly decline in performance due to a phenomenon called sulfation.

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Getting Grounded

JS Alternators Testimonials

Getting Grounded

Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!!! Why is it that after more than 20 years in this industry we still have to train on this?! 🙂

Why is it that one of the simplest issues remains confusing to so many of us?!

Why can’t we get past basic things and on to cooler, more fun things, like watching paint dry?!

What could possibly be so basic and so misunderstood to elicit such a strong position? You might think it is “how do I find the right speaker wires to tap into?” or “what is the best subwoofer for my car?”. No, sadly, those topics are far more complicated than the one that has me all upset (again).

“There ought to be a law”

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