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Reload Thread: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

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    Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    It’s been discussed and searched for many times. Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place. All your answers on it get answered now. If you still have a question after the tutorial, please feel to ask it! Someone will jump in to help out.

    We’ll start out by explaining exactly why you’re doing this upgrade. As you should know, the bigger the power wire in your sound, video or lighting system, the better it will perform and you should experience less dimming and/or voltage drops. The Big 3 is..

    1) Alternator Positive to Battery Positive (optional fuse)


    2) Battery Negative to Chassis


    3) Chassis to Engine Block


    Replacing/adding larger wire to these three critical spots can reduce or rid your electrical system of dimming and voltage drops. Overall, giving your charging system a larger surface area to travel over, will stabilize power and relieve strain on the alternator and battery.

    If you have little cash to spend on a High Output (HO) alternator at the moment.. and the thought of even buying a new/better battery is daunting to you, this is a cheap and quick solution for your voltage issues.

    Each wire serves its own special purpose, so you need to upgrade/replace all three for maximum potential of this mod. The Alternator Positive to Battery Positive wire is pretty small on a stock electrical system, so quite obviously upgrading that particular wire will increase power flow from the alternator to the battery. In DC power systems, power flows negative to positive. So upgrading the main grounds is just as important as the main power wire is. And lastly, since the alternator is grounded to the engine block, you need a way to transfer that energy back into the system.

    Items You Need


    You’ll need a varying assortment of tools and supplies to successfully complete this job. Depending on how large your engine compartment is you’ll need between 5-10ft of wire. I recommend you use the absolute largest you can afford. 1/0awg is a very popular choice for completing this upgrade, although others have been known to use 4awg. Remember that anything over stock is still better, but while you’re under there... you might as well go big[gest].

    You’ll also need several crimps sized for whatever wire you use. A normal amount would be 6. If you upgrade your stock battery terminal to something with set screws, you’ll need one less crimp.


    To get the crimps on the wire you can use several different methods. I prefer to use either a giant crimping tool

    or a table vice

    Either one will work fine, and there are various other methods available as well. As long as the connection is secure and not moving about. Don’t fret it. Also make sure that the whole thing is taped or covered with a rubber sleeve.

    To cut large wire, most wire cutters should be up to the task. If you don’t have a set, you can use a common hacksaw, a set of tin snips or a set of bolt cutters



    Again, however you cut it… just make sure that the wire has a clean edge.
    If you decide to fuse the Alternator Positive to Battery Positive wire, you’ll need a fuse and fuse holder. Try to fuse for the maximum amperage of your wire.

    Lastly, you’ll need an adjustable wrench, a good socket set or a few open-end wrenches to loosen any bolts or nuts that come your way.





    (continued in next post)




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  3. #2
    johnecon2001's Avatar
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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    --------------------------------------------


    Beginning the Project

    1) Start out by disconnecting your Battery Negative. This will interrupt power through the whole system allowing you to safely work on the vehicle without danger to you or the cars more fragile electronic devices.

    2) Sand down the potential grounding point for the new Chassis to Battery Negative point. This should be shiny metal when you’re done. You want as clean of a connection as possible. If you use the existing ground point you may not have to drill a new hole for a screw. Sand around it to ensure a good connection, you may also want to smear some anti-oxidation grease on the uncoated metal to prevent rust. This connection must be tight and secure when you’re done.


    4) Screw the new ground wire in place but DO NOT reconnect it to the Battery Negative yet. Lay it down on a piece of cloth or paper and wait to connect it till after you finish the other elements of the project.


    5) It’s time to add onto the existing Alternator Positive wire. This can be a bit tricky due to a small plastic collar around the positive lead coming off of the alt. It really only allows you to use one ring terminal terminated wire on the alt. That is perfectly fine though. Break off a little of the plastic if the extra wire refuses to fit. There should be a rubber gasket over the existing wire that will protect it.


    Again, make sure that the wire is hooked snug on the terminal and not exposed to the elements.

    6) Take the other end of the Alternator Positive wire and if you so choose, run it through the fuse holder. If you’ve decided to not get a fuse holder, then run it straight to the battery positive.


    7) Attach the wire along the way to something that won’t get too hot and that won’t vibrate too terribly. Go ahead and connect the wire to the positive battery terminal.


    8) The last step is the Chassis to Engine Block wire. Remember to sand both points well, just like the when you did the Battery Negative to Chassis. All you need to do for this step is to find a non-essential bolt on the engine block to attach the wire to. Non-essentials are those that don’t hold a liquid in. For example… using the Oil Drain plug as an attachment point probably isn’t the smartest place.

    9) Take the other end leading off of the engine block and sand a smooth place on the chassis. If you want to do more than one lead off of the block that would be fine as well. The more the merrier.


    10) You’re just about done. Re-check all of the new and old connections you just fiddled with to ensure stability, safe connection and good contact. After you’ve made sure everything is safe, you may re-attach the Battery Negative wire to the negative terminal on the battery.



    Congratulations! You’ve just completed the cheapest and easiest upgrade to your electrical system that there is. If this doesn’t take care of your questions, please post them in this thread and we’ll try to answer them for you.

    **John**



    Just as a reference, below is the original Sound Domain link where much of this information was gleaned from, the original CA.com thread is also located below for reference. All pictures contained in this thread are possession of johnecon2001 and are for informational and educational purpose only.
    http://www.caraudio.com/forum/showthread.php?t=124175
    http://forum.sounddomain.com/forum/u...c;f=5;t=007801




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Hey, I am having a serious problem here. I did all this exactly how I should, but when I had it all wired, and I hooked the negative terminal to the battery, and the **** started sparking and the battery was bubbling and ****, so I quick cut the wires. Now, I cannot understand why it would be doing this, I did everything exactly how I should be, what the hell is goin on?





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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Well, I figured out the problem, it turns out that little plastic piece where you connect the wire to the alternator is for safety. Be absolutely sure when you connect the wires to the alternator that you are NOT grounding out on the casing of the alternator. It was a fairly small spot that was touching when i hooked mine up, and it was enough to boil the acid inside the battery.





    The Rest Of My System:
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    -RE SX 15" Subwoofer
    -MTX Thunder 564 4-way amp
    -OlogyAudio Dayton RS Component Set
    -Sirius Satellite Radio

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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    This looks great!

    I plan to do this upgrade on my 1973 VW bug. I'm thinking it should help the whole system on my 33 year old car!

    1. What do I gain with the upgrade to my stock battery terminal to something with set screws?

    2. How does the fuse holder help? Add what size fuse?

    3. I have a Generator on my old car, not an Alternator. Does that change anything?

    Thanks for your advise!




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottV
    This looks great!

    I plan to do this upgrade on my 1973 VW bug. I'm thinking it should help the whole system on my 33 year old car!

    1. What do I gain with the upgrade to my stock battery terminal to something with set screws?

    2. How does the fuse holder help? Add what size fuse?

    3. I have a Generator on my old car, not an Alternator. Does that change anything?

    Thanks for your advise!
    1) You gain more outputs and better wire manageability with an aftermarket terminal.
    2) The fuse holder helps you.. so you don't light your car on fire in case of a short. You fuse the wire to its maximum amperage.
    3) Nope.




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    should i keep stock wire and add 0gauge wire or I have to remove stock wire




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SQBubble
    should i keep stock wire and add 0gauge wire or I have to remove stock wire
    for a basic big 3 in addition to, if running to an isolator and 2 batteries then replace.




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    I don't suppose anyone carries those power distribution terminals, for the side mounted terminal GM batteries ?




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by vorgath
    I don't suppose anyone carries those power distribution terminals, for the side mounted terminal GM batteries ?
    Probably the best thing for you to do is attach a short piece of 1/0awg wire to the side post and run it to an unfused distro.




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    what happened to the pics and also how do you connect the wires to the battery terminals?




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Man, i had some free time today, and cleaned my room to discover some leftover portions of 2awg JL wiring i used to power my subs and cap (which, despite what ppl say, helps MY car with voltage drops and dimming), and decided to to some of the big three. I kept the factory batt neg to ground, and added another 2awg section to another area in the engine bay, close to the strut tower... my engine bay was too cramped and i was too lazy so thats all i did today. BUT, there is definately some benefits already. I went to crank the car over for the first time, and from the get go i noticed that the starter spun over quicker, it started faster, and before when i would start it, it would start and hit like 1000 rpms then bog down to about 400/500 and sometimes die, but usually it would come right back up to 900/1000 where it should be. But now, i crank it, it starts and jumps to about 1100 rpms and then down to 1000 and idles hella smoother. As far as audio goes, it seems the power is a little better, but i have yet to fully test it. I am almost out of gas and broke as hell.

    I was wondering as i smoked my victory cigarette right after if i could also upgrade the wires leading to the starter? would that help the car start any better, like speed the starter up a bit?

    Anyways, just some testimonial saying that even 1 step in the big three has its advantages.



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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Where do i fuse from the alternator to the battery? How many inches? to what end?




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    within 6 inches from the battery. in case it shorts, it keeps the batt from burning down your car.




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    Re: Official CarAudio.com Big 3 Thread

    Can you use both top-terminals and side-post terminals on the same battery?

    Eg.; have a distrobution terminal on the top of the battery which goes to the car accessories, and also to the amps in the back, while using the positive side-post terminal to connect the big-3 alternator-to-battery cabling?

    Thanks!




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