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how to get the perfect long lasting power

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Member - Posts: 2
Member spacespace
Joined: May 07, 2008
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: May 07, 2008 at 3:59 AM / IP Logged  

Hello everyone. I'm a new member but I've been researching and reading in the 12 volt for a very long time. I'm very stuck at a few issues with my system and maintaining power. Here's my story....

My truck is a F-150, 2000 model, extended cab, bought used with about 66,000 miles. I put an audio system in it shortly after buying the truck (cheap 1 Power Acoustic 1600watt amplifier, 2 Volfenhag 1200watt 12" subs, Rockford Fosgate .5 Farad capacitor, and ran 4 gauge power and ground). I used the system on a daily basis, and at a loud volume. With the original system, I didn't upgrade the battery or alternator, but did run that capacitor. For a few years, I never experienced amplifier or capacitor problems, but I have replaced the alternator 2 or 3 (I think 3) times. And 2 batteries replaced with normal cheap ones, and then 1 replaced with the current Optima Yellow top battery.
Everything was running fine until I upgraded the sound to a Memphis 1100.1 amplifier and 2 JL W6 12" woofers. For the first 3 days, it was hard to even drive the truck because of the magnitude of vibration from the subs (btw, this is all inside a massive 4.997 ft. custom box with a 12" square by 13 or 14" deep port). Then they started to lose power and I'd have to increase the radio volume to get results. Then after a total of about 8 days, everything stopped working. I checked voltage to the amplifier and it was gone. Also voltage to the capacitor was gone. My inline fuse is good so I eliminated all problems to the capacitor. I hope the amp didn't get hurt at least. Or especially the subs.
Now, I'm hearing various different opinions on what to do next. I plan to add double the setup in amplifiers and subwoofers that are there now. So far I've been told to bring my alternator to some shop that'll upgrade it with a bigger propeller to get more power. A sound shop said to buy their battery, a KINTEK for audio while also running my Optima for vehicle power but never mentioned anything about how to balance the two different batteries out. And then I still read that systems need capacitors for quick disposal of power for demanding bass notes. Oh and I've read here about upgrading 3 cables, one from 12v(-) to chassis, one from alternator(+) to battery(+), and one from engine (-) to chassis, which sounds like something I should have done from the get-go.
I'm completely lost on what to do!!! I want everything to work correctly and not burn my electrical system, or any of the amps, batteries, speakers, and other expensive various components that'll be ran (I have a few HID kits, different electronic equipment, and other crap that I don't need but decide to run). Should I spend like 4,000 and do everything that I was told so far or are some steps more effiecient? Can you give me any tips? I know one tip will be to buy an alternator, so can you tell me which would be best for my application?
Thanks in advance to any replies that will help end my mystery!
Alpine Guy 
Platinum - Posts: 2,478
Platinum spaceThis member has made a donation to Click here for more info.spacespace
Joined: October 18, 2003
Location: Canada
Posted: May 07, 2008 at 9:23 AM / IP Logged  
Im willing to bet you have a glass AGU fuse on your main power wire. Replace it, you should get your voltage back.
Now, you for sure need to do the big 3 wire upgrade, and after going through 2 alternators, wouldn't it dawn on you that your over working them? You need a higher output alternator, not a capacitor, alternators make power, capacitors store power.
Something like this will help http:////220amp-Iraggi-Alternator-93-02-Ford-Truck-SUV-Van_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713Q2em153Q2el1262QQcategoryZ33573QQihZ018QQitemZ7959187186
2003 Chevy Avalanche,Eclipse CD7000,Morel Elate 5,Adire Extremis,Alpine PDX-4.150, 15" TC-3000, 2 Alpine PDX-1.1000, 470Amp HO Alt.
Copper - Posts: 255
Copper spacespace
Joined: December 29, 2003
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: May 07, 2008 at 9:55 AM / IP Logged  
agree with AlpineGuy...if you have the glass fuses change to the wafer type. The glass ones can go and not even look as if they have. Just from heating up and cooling back down they can break.
The big three upgrade is where i would start and go from there. I just did the big three with my 01 f150 harley and it made a HUGE difference. Run the largest gauge you can find.
From there i would say a secondary battery. That should solve all power problems right there. Be sure to use a Battery Isolator (ex. PAC200) with a fuse in front of it and after it. Make sure to use the largest grounding wire you can get a hold of and ground it to the frame.
Worst case scenario lastly you would get a HO Alt. You changing the alt 3 times (a total of 4 alts) is insane! I ran two batteries 5 amps screens etc for over a year before changing the stock one from 01 out for one with the same specs. I believe it is a 130amp. Havent had a problem since.
Good Luck
2007 Acura TSX
SQ setup in the works
Member - Posts: 2
Member spacespace
Joined: May 07, 2008
Location: Florida, United States
Posted: May 07, 2008 at 6:30 PM / IP Logged  
Alpine Guy:
I do in fact have a 80amp glass large fuse from the original install. It is fine but I'm open to suggestions of replacing it.
The original alternator went out shortly after installing the original cheap system so I didn't think much of it. Of course it dawned on me that something was wrong when the second one went out. But I also think I could have messed the regulator up when I bottomed out on a railroad track, hard. I brought the truck to Auto Zone and it gave a reading of 180amps, when it was only supposed to be 130amps. So I just replaced it and upgraded to an Optima yellow top and now the alternator is fine. The problem is I also had to replace the Optima after about 16 months of use. So, something still needs to be done and I thank you for the link to the 220amp alternator. As for the capacitor, I know exactly what it does. That's why I always had one. But now I'm being told to just have another battery, not a capacitor. Which confuses me because batteries aren't meant to be used to deliver power as quickly as a capacitor drops power.
What do you mean by 'wafer type' fuse? Are you talking about a circuit breaker type? I just searched 'wafer fuse' and the picture is of like a regular radio fuse. I won't use that. My glass fuse has a stronger and thicker connecting plate and has never blown out for over 4 years of extreme use.
I understand that the big 3 is important so I will do that. My only question is how big is too big of a gauge? I have what I think is referred to as 2OT wire. I assume everything should be balanced is size?
I have to research isolators more because 2 sound shops just told me not to use that. Before I knew they existed, I thought something should be regulating power if you were using 2 batteries so I think the isolator answers my concern.
Silver - Posts: 359
Silver spacespace
Joined: October 18, 2007
Location: Tennessee, United States
Posted: May 07, 2008 at 6:55 PM / IP Logged  

upgrade the big three, upgrade to the biggest alternator you can find and only run ONE battery,  and you should be find.oh yeah switch to an ANL fuse,ANL fuses has its connections bolted in place - ideal for high current , as opposed to agu friction fit contact points.

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