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    headlights dimming..need advice

    I just installed my system and when i hit big notes my headlights dim... I don't have the $ for a new alt. so i was thinking maybe an optima or a stinger... would it be better to replace the one under the hood.. or just add a second?



    Install pics...
    http://www.soundhertz.com/4images/c...es.php?cat_id=7

    01' Dodge Neon ES
    Alpine CDA-7894 w/ iPod hooked up
    Ampman Adire Audio Revo 1500
    2 ED 12A's
    50 sq ft. of Second Skin Damplifier
    Trying to hook up an 8-bit NES *in-dash* ....having issues..IM me at Paul3230Kent if you can help!!!! PLEASE!




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    *smack*
    You have a stock battery from 4 years ago...

    Get a redtop under the hood and seriously consider a new alternator.



    I used to spend a lot of my free time here. It was fun I suppose. Still rocking the 9515 and Better Audio amp haha.

    How's incriminator stuff these days?

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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Annex
    I just installed my system and when i hit big notes my headlights dim... I don't have the $ for a new alt. so i was thinking maybe an optima or a stinger... would it be better to replace the one under the hood.. or just add a second?
    it would be easier to replace what's under the hood, but better to add a second.
    It gives you advantages:
    1) you can ensure the battery in the back is a "fast" responding battery... deep-cycle batteries are slow to release current, so you don't want to add that in the back... but
    2) you have the opportunity then to run a deep-cycle up front, and a standard "fast" battery in the back, without penalizing amp performance (since amps need current to make power )
    3) the battery in the back can be close-coupled to the amplifier, with short distances of power wire.. you can wire the battery simply by running the + post to your distribution block, and grounding the - post wherever your amps are grounded. This makes for a very small amount of resistance in the power wire between battery and amp, where a battery up front has a long length of wire between it and your amps.
    4) you then have two batteries connected to your electrical system simultaniously (as long as you aren't using an isolator, that is), which means you have twice the reserves on tap, less likelyhood of draining a battery (which can be damaging) if you do leave something like your headlights on, or are listening with the car off, etc.

    For competition though, most sanctioning bodies (and even car shows, and race organizations) require that the battery in your trunk be vented to the outside of your car, and obviously you want it to be secure... so there may be some install considerations there, despite the easy wiring.




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    well i dont have the money for and alt...there was one guy who had one used for a month but he sold it...so if i can only affor one battery should i just get the yellow top for up front?....cause it seems li9ke you said if i get a redtop i would need another in the back



    Install pics...
    http://www.soundhertz.com/4images/c...es.php?cat_id=7

    01' Dodge Neon ES
    Alpine CDA-7894 w/ iPod hooked up
    Ampman Adire Audio Revo 1500
    2 ED 12A's
    50 sq ft. of Second Skin Damplifier
    Trying to hook up an 8-bit NES *in-dash* ....having issues..IM me at Paul3230Kent if you can help!!!! PLEASE!

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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Ok explain something to me geo.

    I understood that if you were to not use an isolator one battery would take a small charge from the other ... back and forth...till eventually they would die. I always had a hard time believing that one but...then again I wouldnt know.

    IF he puts a yellow up front would he want a red in the back since they discharge and charge quicker?



    I used to spend a lot of my free time here. It was fun I suppose. Still rocking the 9515 and Better Audio amp haha.

    How's incriminator stuff these days?

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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Annex
    well i dont have the money for and alt...there was one guy who had one used for a month but he sold it...so if i can only affor one battery should i just get the yellow top for up front?....cause it seems li9ke you said if i get a redtop i would need another in the back
    no, the yellow top is the deep-cycle battery, correct?
    While it's not the end of the world, a deep-cycle = sloooow.. both from a current-discharge, and a charge perspective.
    That means it's slow to respond, when a demand for current comes along.
    The red top is the better bet in that case.

    I'm just suggesting that it's a nice-to-have, a second battery in the back.
    There's no need.. need is something you'll discover on your own, if one actually exists. Doesn't matter what type of battery up front though... although you might discover that "need" has a lower threshhold if you have the more durable, but slower deep-cycle battery up front.




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by B&R Innovation2
    Ok explain something to me geo.

    I understood that if you were to not use an isolator one battery would take a small charge from the other ... back and forth...till eventually they would die. I always had a hard time believing that one but...then again I wouldnt know.

    IF he puts a yellow up front would he want a red in the back since they discharge and charge quicker?
    Nope... battery charge is burned up through some resistive load, through some circuit. Law of conservation, right? Energy is neither created nor destroyed? Your power isn't just going to go nowhere... if it went to the other battery, it would be there, available, and vice versa.
    But realistically, this won't happen either.. it's self-balancing.

    If you had a battery in the front and the back, and let's say for arguments sake that the back battery discharged a few tenths of a volt more than the front battery... either because the front battery was a slower type, or because of the extra resistance [in the power wire] between them...
    At the time you shut your car down, let's say the battery up front was at 12.2v and the battery in the back was at 11.8v.
    All that will happen is that the battery that is at the lower potential will charge up from the battery that is at the higher potential.. until they both reach 12v, where neither battery is stronger. They'll just settle there, the exact middle-point.
    They really can't discharge any further... there's nowhere for the current to go.

    Now, if you leave your headlights on, in this scenario, both batteries will discharge equally... both down to 11.8v... down to 11.5v... down to 11.2v.. etc. But don't blame your batteries for that.

    And realistically, when you shut your car off, unless you've really been slamming hard on your sustem for a while, your batteries probably will both be at full charge anyway.




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    sorry i know nothing about batteries... are there different sizes depending on the car?(I have an 01 neon).. also where's the best place to get one from?.. local Auto Zone?



    Install pics...
    http://www.soundhertz.com/4images/c...es.php?cat_id=7

    01' Dodge Neon ES
    Alpine CDA-7894 w/ iPod hooked up
    Ampman Adire Audio Revo 1500
    2 ED 12A's
    50 sq ft. of Second Skin Damplifier
    Trying to hook up an 8-bit NES *in-dash* ....having issues..IM me at Paul3230Kent if you can help!!!! PLEASE!

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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Geo, I have to disagree with your 2 battery theory.

    99% of stock alternators are designed to power the car's electrical needs, while keeping a single battery charged at the same time.
    Whenever the car is running the biggest strain on the alternator is charging the battery. Adding a second battery will ONLY add to the load on the alternator. Even with a brand new fully charged battery the voltage will only be about 12.8V which means the alt - at 14.4V - will ALWAYS be trying to charge it. If the alt couldn't keep ONE battery charged why do you think it would be a good thing to add another?




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by n2audio
    Geo, I have to disagree with your 2 battery theory.

    99% of stock alternators are designed to power the car's electrical needs, while keeping a single battery charged at the same time.
    Whenever the car is running the biggest strain on the alternator is charging the battery. Adding a second battery will ONLY add to the load on the alternator. Even with a brand new fully charged battery the voltage will only be about 12.8V which means the alt - at 14.4V - will ALWAYS be trying to charge it. If the alt couldn't keep ONE battery charged why do you think it would be a good thing to add another?
    For one.. it's not my theory (but thanks!) :thumbs_up
    Now, by "designed" you mean it's current-supply capabilities, right?
    There's no alternator in a car that was spec'd based on an anticipation that car audio enthusiasts would put enough amplification in a vehicle to exceed the current draw of everything else in the car combined, for sure.

    But then, **a stereo system isn't a solid, constant, current draw, either **
    You'd have to average out the current draw over time, using music that's representative of what's being played, and output levels that are representative.
    And I'd bet you'd be shocked at how much lower the average current draw is, compared to the peak current draws.

    As far as the "Battery is a load on the alternator" thing goes:
    Sure, there's some truth that when the vehicle is running, the batteries are a load on the electrical system to a small degree... and more so when they are partially discharged.
    But think of why they are a load on the electrical system... they are a load when they are partically discharged, when current has been drawn from them.
    That's a very important fact-

    The "load" on your alternator is defined simply, in terms of resistance...
    On a fully charged battery, the resistance to charging current is high, and the resistance to discharge current is low. On a weak, or discharged, battery, the opposite situation exists -- the resistance to charging current is low, and the resistance to discharge current is high.


    I won't argue that even fully charged batteries place some load on the electrical system, but that "idle" current isn't great, as the charged battery's resistance is high.
    In an idealistic, theoretical model that would be "infinitely" high resistance even, and in that state would not be a load at all.

    During normal use [that would draw current from, and discharge batteries], if your system has one battery attached, or two, the devices causing the discharge will not draw any more total current from the circuit because there's an extra battery connected... the current demand is a constant, if you will.
    Instead of getting all the current from one battery, it'll just split the current draw across the two batteries.

    Instead of discharging one battery by 6% (for example), it might discharge each battery by 3%. (maybe it wouldn't be exactly split evenly, if one battery were more ideally located near the load - ie. less resistance).

    The total load on the alternator to recharge two batteries that are each discharged by 3% would be comparable to the load on an alternator to recharge one battery that is discharged by 6%.


    The advantage to having a second battery isn't too hard to grasp...
    With a battery located in a close-coupled manner to your amps (wired right to the distribution block), it'll present less discharge resistance, meaning speedier response, and potentially favor drawing more current from that battery than the front battery.
    Not to mention, having two batteries in the system does double the time that it would take to discharge the battery supply... so even if you are pushing things to where your weekend cruisings are causing the voltage to drop over the course of the evening, you are at least increasing the supply that is being tapped.
    You can also supply a faster battery in the back if you desired.




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    thanks for all the advice/info....btw geo what's up with better audio..they've seem dead for awhile



    Install pics...
    http://www.soundhertz.com/4images/c...es.php?cat_id=7

    01' Dodge Neon ES
    Alpine CDA-7894 w/ iPod hooked up
    Ampman Adire Audio Revo 1500
    2 ED 12A's
    50 sq ft. of Second Skin Damplifier
    Trying to hook up an 8-bit NES *in-dash* ....having issues..IM me at Paul3230Kent if you can help!!!! PLEASE!

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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Geo is the man hehehe
    I'm with annex...whats up with better audio.

    BTW man you run an Revo now...I took yours.
    I really want a set of Better Audio subs to match my duo of amps...comeon Geo



    I used to spend a lot of my free time here. It was fun I suppose. Still rocking the 9515 and Better Audio amp haha.

    How's incriminator stuff these days?

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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Annex
    thanks for all the advice/info....btw geo what's up with better audio..they've seem dead for awhile
    Not dead, quiet..

    It's really only Bart and myself still, and we're slowly working out some of the details we need to launch.... financials, mostly.. detailing out the business plan, to lure investors, that sort of thing.
    Unfortunately, the last popular preorders that happened seemed to take forever to complete... and I don't think it's just my imagination that people probably have a bad taste in their mouth for a "preorder" these days... which would make that take even longer.
    So, we want to launch without needing to do a preorder. Thought it would be nice to take orders on launch day that would actually show up at people's houses a week later.
    We're trying to make that happen... all off the radar screen... just, quiet. Shh!




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by geolemon
    For one.. it's not my theory (but thanks!) :thumbs_up
    Now, by "designed" you mean it's current-supply capabilities, right?
    There's no alternator in a car that was spec'd based on an anticipation that car audio enthusiasts would put enough amplification in a vehicle to exceed the current draw of everything else in the car combined, for sure.
    Of course not, but VERY few systems are that powerful. The a/c system is probably as big or bigger a constant demand than even a 1000 watt system is. When you factor in an electric cooling fan that most cars have that runs whenever the a/c is running.

    But then, **a stereo system isn't a solid, constant, current draw, either **
    You'd have to average out the current draw over time, using music that's representative of what's being played, and output levels that are representative.
    And I'd bet you'd be shocked at how much lower the average current draw is, compared to the peak current draws.

    No, I wouldn't. I believe tests generally show that typical music demands around 20% of the amp's max capabilities on an rms basis.


    As far as the "Battery is a load on the alternator" thing goes:
    Sure, there's some truth that when the vehicle is running, the batteries are a load on the electrical system to a small degree... and more so when they are partially discharged.
    But think of why they are a load on the electrical system... they are a load when they are partically discharged, when current has been drawn from them.
    That's a very important fact-
    The "load" on your alternator is defined simply, in terms of resistance...
    On a fully charged battery, the resistance to charging current is high, and the resistance to discharge current is low. On a weak, or discharged, battery, the opposite situation exists -- the resistance to charging current is low, and the resistance to discharge current is high.

    I won't argue that even fully charged batteries place some load on the electrical system, but that "idle" current isn't great, as the charged battery's resistance is high.
    In an idealistic, theoretical model that would be "infinitely" high resistance even, and in that state would not be a load at all.

    During normal use that would draw current from, and discharge batteries, if your system has one battery attached, or two, the devices causing the discharge will not draw any more total current from the circuit because there's an extra battery connected... the current demand is a constant, if you will.
    Instead of getting all the current from one battery, it'll just split the current draw across the two batteries.

    Instead of discharging one battery by 6% (for example), it might discharge each battery by 3%. (maybe it wouldn't be exactly split evenly, if one battery were more ideally located near the load - ie. less resistance).

    The total load on the alternator to recharge two batteries that are each discharged by 3% would be comparable to the load on an alternator to recharge one battery that is discharged by 6%.


    That's all fine and good - I'm not disagreeing with any of that.

    The advantage to having a second battery isn't too hard to grasp...
    With a battery located in a close-coupled manner to your amps (wired right to the distribution block), it'll present less discharge resistance, meaning speedier response, and potentially favor drawing more current from that battery than the front battery.
    Not to mention, having two batteries in the system does double the time that it would take to discharge the battery supply... so even if you are pushing things to where your weekend cruisings are causing the voltage to drop over the course of the evening, you are at least increasing the supply that is being tapped.
    You can also supply a faster battery in the back if you desired.

    This is what I think you're over simplifying. First of all, if you think the location of the battery relative to the amp is going to make a noticeable difference in current demand I think you're mistaken. When you're comparing 2' of wire vs 10 or 12' you're comparing fractions of fractions of ohms. Second, if the electrical demand is more than the stock alt/batt. can provide power for then adding another battery absolutely will not fix the problem. It may extend a relatively quick death into a relatively long one, but the problem will still be there.

    If it were me, I would first test the condition of the current battery. If it is anything less than good condition that would be my first attempt, and it would be a good idea to get the highest current battery that will fit in the car.
    If the battery shows to be capable of holding a strong charge then the alternator is too weak and needs to be upgraded.




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    Re: headlights dimming..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by n2audio
    This is what I think you're over simplifying. First of all, if you think the location of the battery relative to the amp is going to make a noticeable difference in current demand I think you're mistaken. When you're comparing 2' of wire vs 10 or 12' you're comparing fractions of fractions of ohms.
    That depends on a lot of factors... one being wiring gauge itself.
    Sure, if you've got 2/0 strung through your car, that minimizes resistance.
    In reality, it's not just wire gauge, but the actual current trying to flow through that wire that determines how much of a bottleneck this is.
    Even in an exaggerated "monster wire" scenario though, the shorter run of wire will still provide the path of least resistance, for as little or much benefit as that may provide.
    Second, if the electrical demand is more than the stock alt/batt. can provide power for then adding another battery absolutely will not fix the problem. It may extend a relatively quick death into a relatively long one, but the problem will still be there.
    ...then the alternator is too weak and needs to be upgraded.

    That's either true or not true, depending on how you meant it.
    If you measure peaks that are higher than your alternator or battery can provide - even orders of magnitude higher - that's not necessarily even a bad thing, and it's not a sign that you are exceeding your total electrical supply capacity.

    However, if you were to average your current draw across time, and that average electrical demand were higher than what your alternator can provide, then you have a scenario where your battery will be in a state of discharge - as long as you are operating the system in this manner.I think that's an important disclaimer.. (we'll get back to that. ) How much discharge? That depends on how much you are exceeding it by, on that average basis, and how much reserve capability your battery has.

    But until you reach that point, I'd have a hard time justifying the purchase of an alternator.
    And it's due to more than electrical system reasons (remember that disclaimer? ).

    For one thing, if you've got so many thousands of watts of electricity that you can exceed your alternator's abilities on an averaged basis...
    And you are listening to music at such high output levels so often that you actually are causing that scenario... then I think you've seriously got to take a look at the bigger picture...

    You either are listening to it at absolutely dangerous output levels, at a continuous basis. Weekend cruising, turning it up for burping to impress those on the curb, that's all fine and fun.. but that wouldn't yield this continuous high output that would cause this scenario. Likely you need to evaluate where you are when this is going on, and not only save yourself from serious hearing damage, but probably improve your behavior in where you are blaring, and how people perceive "car audio guys".
    Save your hearing and be an ambassador, how noble! :thumbs_up

    If the output still isn't at dangerous output levels when you have it cranked this far, there are some serious inefficiencies going on in your system.. subs in a 0.25 cu.ft. sealed box or something.
    Is the flaw that your alternator isn't large enough, or is there some installer error at fault here? I see this like the car with the faulty oxygen sensor (whose faulty readings result in worsened gas mileage)... if you fix the oxygen sensor, the car is more efficient. The solution isn't to increase the size of the gas tank to compensate, right?

    So...
    If you aren't driving with the system continuously (looked at from an averaged basis, over time) cranked to the dangerous levels that would cause this scenario all the time...
    If it's just a weekend and here-and-there thing, competitions, and the like...
    Then it's hard to justify such an expensive purchase, when those scenarios don't require the continuous higher current that an alternator would provide.
    The batteries are great for handling here-and-there excessive current demands. They recharge when the tunes are down, no biggie.

    Also, another consideration is the strain they put on an engine.
    Peter Euro on CAF has a 200amp alternator (up from his stock 115), and not only doesn't that appear to have helped his draw issues fully (care to venture why? ), but he describes the additional HP that the larger alternator takes from the engine to turn as "very significant".
    I personally am not happy with the mild degradation in performance when I turn the A/C on in my car.. I'd find scenarios where I'd be downright frightened in traffic if that significant of a percentage of my HP permanently went away, because I installed such a big alternator.

    There's lots to consider, and that includes evaluations of the system, and why it's doing what it's doing, and why you're doing what you're doing.




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