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Capacitor Voltages
Capacitor Voltages
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Old 13th December 2001, 12:04 AM   #11
hakalugi is offline hakalugi
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: DC
Default get the ESL/ESR rating and decide.

there's an archived forum thread from http://www.carsound.com that was some 10 pages long that discussed how caps with poor ESL/ESR ratings did not help (but actually hurt) the voltage level in the car system they were trying to 'stiffen' all along.

the following image (which i did have the link for) is of a true A/B/C/D test:

Click the image to open in full size.

the test (and post) were conducted by Richard Clark, the resident sage. (don't hold it against him that he believes all amps sound the same).

the colors are as follows (from memory, so forgive me if i'm wrong)

YELLOW: car is on, cap is disconnected
RED: car is on, cap is connected
GREEN: car is off, cap is disconnected
LT.BLUE: car is off, cap is connected

the same audio system, same car, and same musical track was played each time (and the car's engine/alt were allowed to operate at the same temp for 'car on' portions)

his discourse, and the test, showed that caps with ESLs and ESRs of even mild levels, when called upon to deliver the very high current demands of some musical peaks, developed some instantaneously high internal resistance and inductance levels in the cap PREVENTING it from doling out it's juice even when the voltage OUTSIDE the cap was LOWER than the voltage inside the cap.

The latter parts of the graph show how the cap becomes an additional burden to the charging system.

so as a tool to STABILIZE the voltage levels and lessen spikes, they should work, but as a "voltage stiffener" -buyer beware. If you need more power, you need a bigger alternator.

PS- a digital readout will only increase your ESL/ESR levels.

PPS- try your system without a cap first. I had a Zapco Studio 500 (1000 /real/ watts into 4 ohms mono) in my cherokee and i needed no cap (119 amp alternator). i had no dimming and no electrical problems pushing my two A/D/S 12" subs to their max
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