GlassWolf - Your Assistance Please


New member
Username: Rjparker1

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-06
I am writing this post for help, I am also looking for GlassWolf, because I have been following numerous posts, and he has the most concise, accurate info I think I have ever seen.

I am no idiot when it comes to electronics, but my forte is in computers, not car audio.

I have a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GT2. I want to do things right. I am going to keep this car for a while, and I want to make sure I get the right stuff.

I hear tales about performance mods, air intakes, blah blah..

I just want to know what impact, these mods will have on my electrical system in my car.

I am going to get AMPS/SUBS/Speakers installed and a Car Alarm. I want know, what impact installing a Car alarm will have, then wait a few weeks, come back install wiring for sub/amps, wait a few weeks, then come back and have other things done to the car.

Is it better to just do everything at once, as much as possible, or does too many hands doing many things at different times increase the likelyhood that one installer may break something another installer has done?

I have a Kenwood Excelon 789 head unit. I already know the speakers I want, but I am still trying to get this whole HO Alt/Capacitor straightened out.

I am not going to start up that discussion again with the not to or to CAP thing, I already have a 1.0 farad cap from my previous car, but I am convinced I need an HO Alternator.

I find it very interested, in Marietta GA, there is a guy who runs a high profile car install shop (the do the major celebs in town cars) and he said EXACTLY what you said about the CAP. It has little to none purpose.

Anyway, his shop does competitions, and they don't have that 5 grand for proof that CAPS work, but they do PROVE with their vehicles NONE need a CAP, so just like others say it regulates rail voltage buy having a cap, this guy proves NO CAP, doesn't make a different in ANY of his vehicles. Not 1.

So I find it interesting that everyone disagrees with GlassWolf, but there is another installer in Atlanta that 100% sides with GlassWolf, even before I knew there was a GlassWolf, so I KNOW this guy knows his Sh^t.

So, GlassWolf a moment of your time, please give me some advice as how to get my car setup PROPERLY with installs, and any suggestions for AMS and Subs, would be most welcome. Thank you.

Gold Member
Username: Carguy

Post Number: 5332
Registered: Nov-04
CAP has it's usefulness when used correctly. Anyone that either, makes it out to be a miracle product, or the worst product ever made for car audio, both seriously need to be open minded.
Cap is like any other electronic component, it can be abused.
To say it's 100% garbage is pure ignorance.

New member
Username: Rjparker1

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-06
I am not disputing its usefulness one way or the other, I am merely conveying info from PROFESSIONAL installers and competitors that DO NOT use CAPS. I personal, think they are useful, but then I don't push subs like other people, therefore I don't think I will need them.

1 thing is for certain. Like GlassWolf was saying previously, they do not CREATE energy. So, where does the energy come from?

Simple scenario, whether you think they are useful or not, its electronics. When a CAP discharges, where is the energy going to be recharged from? The Alternator. The ALT is already busy, keeping system components running, charging the battery, and running the Stereo.. NOW it has to charge the CAP on top of that. If your AMP can't support the system as it stands now, the CAP isn't going to do much good, now is it?

That's where the dispute comes in. A CAP stores energy, but when it needs to be replenished, it will rely on the ALT to provide the energy. A CAP ONLY suffices when there is ample watts/current to do so, otherwise it IS useless.

Platinum Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 11201
Registered: Dec-03
well let's see here...
in egards to the charging system in your car, you'll want a larger alternator to handle the current draw of the audio system you add, and wiring to accomodate that. If you plan to run the system for long periods at high volumes with the engine off, you'll alo want to add batteries to suport that function, but to answer your question about capacitors, here's the deal:

a capacitor does not replace the need for a larger alternator. That's my main goal to show people. They aren't really "useless" per se in that capacitors serve two functions, but not ones most people consider.
The first thing they do do is act as a filter for AC ripple from the alternator in much the same way the car battery acts to help stabilize voltages when it's in a charge state. This just means cleaner DC voltage to the electronics.
Secondly, a capacitor helps to rduce the delay in response time for increased current demands from the alternator, since it takes a second for the voltage regulator to increase the rotor field strength to compensate for sudden spikes in demand. This only helps though if your alternator is large enough already to handle the power demands of the audio system.
This delay I mentioned is why evenwith sufficient alternator current you can still see brief light dimming when bass hits, or you turn on the A/C etc. This is normal and expected, but can be reduced or eliminated by using the capacitor, and even using a regulated power supply circuit for the headlights so they sit at a constant 12VDC despite the system voltage.

In short a capacitor can be useful, but it's really never "needed" in the way a high output alternator can be a requirement.

Silver Member
Username: Iufan4lifeul

Post Number: 945
Registered: May-05
I am no electrical expert but I am going to add my single cent (my expertise doesn't qualify for 2 cents). I hadn't started using a capacitor until recently. I didn't expect it to solve any of my light dimming problems and it really didn't. Maybe a tiny, unnoticable bit.
I don't have a huge alternator, 85 amps, with a Duralast Gold battery and a Tsunami 1.2 Farad cap. I am only powering a Kicker KX250.2 running half power and a Kicker KX450.2 running full power. At most I am drawing probably 60 amps. I notice the voltage reading on my cap staying about 13.8~14.4 volts with everything cranked while driving. When I am idleing, I CAN drop down to ~12.6 or 12.7 if everything is running, but I normally turn it down a little when I am idleing.
When I installed the cap I didn't know what to expect, but I figured I would give it a shot. The thing I have truly and honestly noticed is that the subs are more punchy, hit quick bass notes more precisely, and can stand short bursts of full power while idleing better.
I am sure that I would benefit from a H/O but I don't think I need one. I plan on switching from my 450rmsX1 sub amp that is class A/B to a class D 600rmsX1 (750rmsX1 true output). They have roughly the same current draw so that shouldn't be an issue.
In conclusion, for my audio systems from here on out, even if I am running 500rms off of a 300amp alternator, I will use a capacitor because of its benefits. I like to think of it as a cache in a hard drive or processor of computer, allowing the system power that it can quickly access.

Platinum Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 11226
Registered: Dec-03
the problem with that theory is that the capacitor's voltage mirrors that of the circuit, so if the alternator can't supply the current you need, the voltage will drop anyway.

all the capacitor really helps to do is filter any ripple in the voltage caused by the regulator, and reduce the delay in time for the alternator to respond to those peak demands, IF and only if the alternator can handle the demands in the first place.

your peak draw may be 60A but the reality is you're probably really only drawing maybe10-20A at most continuously when you're listening to the stereo even at higher volumes.

I'm not saying the capacitor isn't a good idea to have, I'm just saying don't think it will replace the need for a proper charging system.

New member
Username: Rjparker1

Post Number: 4
Registered: Feb-06
So, how do you determine the TOTAL amp rating the ALTERNATOR is at load? How can I see how much draw my AMP is giving out to my CAR? Is there a way to do this? I have a multimeter.. I am sure I need that, but where do I put the leads to test?

Unregistered guest
Ok I would really appreciate someones assistance. Im new at hooking car audio up and i have a 96 chevy truck and i took out the old cassette player and tried to hook the cd player up i hooked all the wiring up, the cd player was coming on and all that but i couldnt hear anything and i checked and everything was is something wrong with the cd player because the cd player gets really hot so did i burn something up...the reason im thinking this is because a few times i left the battery still connected so did leaving the battery connected and maybe the wires touch mess something up in the cd player or what.....i would really appreciate someones help.

Platinum Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 11241
Registered: Dec-03
if you want to know the stock alternator rating, call Advance or AutoZone and ask the HOT rating for your OEM alternator. The sales guy can look it up based on make and model of car.

Top Deals

Loading, please wait...
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »



Main Forums

Today's Posts

Top Deals

Forum Help

Follow Us