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Headlights dim when the music plays

How to give your car's electrical system a power-up

Headlights can dim when you need more power

Your headlights dim when the stereo pulls too much power out of your car's electrical system. This usually happens only in large, multiple-kilowatt sound systems. But sometimes even modestly powered systems can stress your car's electronics, especially during a sub amp's burst of energy when it produces the sound of the beat. Every part of the electrical system suffers because of the amp's sudden demand on the limited supply of power, even the amplifier itself. Your eyes are just more sensitive to the change than your ears, and you notice your headlights dimming along with the beat.

There are a few actions you can take to solve this problem. There are also some strong and differing opinions about the order in which you should do them, or even their individual usefulness. The following is my contribution to the argument.

T-Spec battery terminal

Sometimes all you need is a new battery terminal.

Check all power and ground connections, and the battery itself

The first thing you should do is make sure all the surfaces used in power and ground connections are scraped down to bare metal, clean, and all the connectors and the battery terminals fastened tightly together. If that doesn't do it, take your car and have its battery load-tested at an auto parts or battery store. They'll often do it for free and can recommend the proper replacement if they find your old battery has problems. Car batteries rarely live to be four years old, so don't think you're being cheated when they tell you your old battery isn't holding its charge. A weak battery can often have enough juice to start your car but not be able to handle the quick jolt of demand when your sub amp hits.

If you do decide you need to replace your battery, consider getting an XS Power battery from Crutchfield. XS Power batteries feature a sealed absorbed glass mat (AGM) design, instead of the standard liquid electrolyte design, so they actually store energy — meaning you don't have to add a capacitor to your system to get a quick burst when you need it. We carry a full assortment of the most popular sizes available.  We even have models which fit many European applications such as VW/Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar.

T-Spec cap

T-Spec 3.0-Farad capacitor


Adding a capacitor to your system does not increase your system's power capacity. But if your lights dim only occasionally, and only on the loud drum beats, then a capacitor may just be the cure. A capacitor smoothes out the power demands by providing a short burst of energy when needed. I recommend 2 farads of capacitor for every 1,000 watts RMS of total amplifier power. That's more than the usual recommended dose, but it should ensure a quicker recovery time for the cap to be ready for the next thump.

XS Power BIG3XS big three wiring upgrade kit

XS Power BIG3XS big 3 wiring upgrade kit

The Big Three wiring upgrade

A good, cost-effective improvement is to perform the "Big Three" electrical upgrade. This will vastly improve your vehicle's electrical system, allowing more current to flow easier to all components. This upgrade replaces or augments three key cables in the electrical system with 1/0 or 4 gauge wires: the battery ground to chassis wire, the chassis to engine block wire, and the alternator plus to battery plus wire. This increases your electrical system's current flow capability, ensuring a more consistent voltage under varying demand conditions.

An unfortunate possible side effect of doing the Big Three is that occasionally it only makes your lights dim even worse. This happens because the amplifier is now able to suck juice better from the system through the bigger straw (the new cables).

High output alternator

The alternator is the ultimate source for all of your vehicle's power when it's running. The battery starts the engine, but the alternator takes over when the motor starts to turn. If your sound system demands more power than your stock alternator can supply, then you will benefit by upgrading to a higher output alternator. Replacing your stock alternator with an "HO alt" may seem like an expensive solution, but if you've invested in a sound system that draws this much power, you shouldn't mind solving this problem of supply and demand by increasing the supply of power.

For example: producing a 1500 watt output requires about 217 amperes of current from your car's system. It's actually about a third of that for music, which doesn't put out full power all the time — but it's still a lot of current.  Most stock alternators are in the 80-120 ampere range and can only supply about 40% to 50% of that for non-automotive uses like amplifiers.

A 250 or 300 ampere aftermarket high output alternator should provide enough power for all your car's systems and your high-powered stereo too. Keeping that in mind, calculating the required output size of a high output alternator is not easy and should only be done while consulting with the new alternator's vendor or installer.

XS Power battery

XS Power car batteries

Adding a second battery

Another method is to add a second battery, often back near the amplifier. This, in effect, provides another source of power available to fill in the gaps when the system needs it. When the power is asked for, it comes from the batteries. Two batteries wired in parallel act like one battery with twice the capacity. Crutchfield carries secondary battery wiring kits that feature all the hardware necessary for adding a second battery to your system.

XS Power secondary battery wiring kit

XS Power AK3500 secondary battery wiring kit

A second battery becomes almost necessary if you play your music a lot with the engine turned off. Some people use isolators between their batteries, so that the one used to start the car won't get drained by the amp's pull. And it's a good idea to only hook up two batteries of equal strength and age. The stress of two different strength batteries constantly cycling charge between themselves to equalize the voltage leads to a shortened life for both batteries.

Note: Working with a car's electrical system can be dangerous. Tools and jewelry can be welded by the inadvertent discharge of a battery or capacitor. Sparks could fly, igniting flammable gases. Batteries have been known to explode when overstressed. (I know it for a fact: I witnessed a friend's battery exploding and setting his Lincoln on fire.) If you're inexperienced or don't feel comfortable working with high-current devices, then hire a professional to do these upgrades and installations.

And please, don't let anyone talk you into doing any of these procedures unless you are experiencing bothersome headlight dimming.

  • Dino from City

    Posted on 2/22/2020

    Hi i have 3000w rms amp if i get a 250 amp alternator can i run the stock 45amp battery or just one battery up front in my gen 8 civic. If so what amp battery?

  • James from Las Vegas

    Posted on 2/5/2020

    Hey how r u i have been a fan of crutchfield sense it opened and i have two 500 watt rms Alpine going to two 2300 watt Type R duel 4 0hm subs wired to two ohm and i changed the wire and the Altanator to two gauge wire and 230 A Altanator and my Alt Gauge drops at idel to like 8-6 Amps and i have the 2 g coming straight from Alt to Batt and i have the Starter wired and two other wires all connected to pos in on Batt all wires but the wire for the amps are stock i think 1 of them are the alt gauge wire and it starts stays charged when i have it setting with alarm set for 3-4 days straight what do i need to do to stop and get an acerit charging reading thanks ahead of time

  • Gilbert rodegeb from San Francisco

    Posted on 1/31/2020

    Hello I have a 2005 toyota camry Le I just got a new 100 amp alternator about 2 months ago, and a interstate battery in the front a while ago. I have a skar audio Zvx 15' wired 1ohm to a skar audio skv2 1500 amp and the headlights dim. Would a stronger battery (xs power, or stinger rated for the power) in the front fix the problem? I don't want to get a secondary battery.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 1/31/2020
    Gilbert, I don't think a single battery upgrade will fix your issue. A new high-output alternator, about twice as powerful as the one you just got, might work better.
  • Devin Ancrum from Newnan

    Posted on 1/13/2020

    I have 2 8" IB kicker subs in my rear deck. 6x9 component set in the front , lc2i with a 2000 watt amp,this setup ran fine for 7 months when I had a 6.5 component set, now I swapped to 6x9 and I'm getting low voltage to my amp. I'm replacing my in-line fuse tomorrow , because I couldn't get an instant 13.5 volts on each side of the fuse. my electrical system ran this system fine yesterday no problem no dimming etc. If the fuse doesn't change anything do I really need to upgrade? because my amp won't ever turn on unless I jump the remote wire over.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 1/14/2020
    Devon, It does sound like your fuse may have an intermittent break. If you bought your gear at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.
  • Dustin Cousins from Toddville, Iowa

    Posted on 12/21/2019

    Very informative article Mr. Buck Sir so first thank you for sharing. So I'm in a 2007 Toyota Yaris with stock 80amp alternator slamming 2 Kicker L7 Q series 15's in front of an Orion kx series 5000 watt rms amplifier. From the upgraded batteries terminals to the ground all connections are sound, the big 3 have been done, AGM battery installed, and stock alternator just replaced with a fresh OEM alternator yet I'm only able to experience about 25% of what this system can produce before it starves and turns off my head unit and nearly the entire vehicle. Dimming in the headlights is significant, extreme really. Do you think I should just jump and upgrade the alternator instead of wasting time with anything else? If so would you have any idea ballpark where a HO alternators output should be for my application? I'm in the rural Midwest and help does not exist near me on this topic so I am truly grateful for any advice you can offer.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 12/23/2019
    Dustin, Rocking 5000 watts RMS puts this system into competition level, where two or three HO alternators are necessary as well as two or three batteries. Go to your favorite local auto repair shop and ask if they'll help you to order and install the extra electrical gear.
  • Rigoberto

    Posted on 12/21/2019

    So doing the big 3 wiring upgrade will occasionally make my headlight dimming worse ? That tradeoff is not worth it!

  • Santiago from Oklahoma

    Posted on 12/20/2019

    I have 2014 GMC Sierra had aired and grab rca with input up output converter to get signal to amp it mmats 1000watts and 2 10 mmats they dim my lights and while driving they hit my stock stereo off and than turns back on is it pulling to much power and what can I do

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 12/20/2019
    Santiago, It sounds like the power and ground wiring may be loose Or, the amp is too powerful for the electrical system. If you bought your amp from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.
  • Kevin McCubbi from Louisville

    Posted on 12/12/2019

    Hey, I have a sa 12 v2 on 1000 Watts rms and a 1200 watt rms dc audio mono block amp. I haven't had the system installed yet because everything is stock as of right now, and the amp alt is 100 amps. What size amp alternator do I need to run this system efficiently?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 12/13/2019
    Kevin, If your audio system overloads the vehicle's electrical system - lights dim when the bass hits - then getting a high-output (200A and higher) alternator may become necessary.
  • Juan from Houston

    Posted on 12/12/2019

    Hello my 2013 scion tc has a 100 amp alt and I have 2 Pioneer GM-D8604. 1 is running 100 watts x 4 @ 4 ohms and another running bridged 300 watts x 2 @ 4 ohms. My subs are running off the bridged amp. I run a pioneer deh-80prs usually around 37 to 42 on the volume. I wanted to know if it would be possible to upgrade the sub amp to something closer to 1500 watts @ either 2 ohm or at 1 ohm. I have no issues with light dimming at the moment. Can I possibly do this without a HO alternator?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 12/13/2019
    Juan, Bumping your system's total output power from 700 to 1900 watts RMS may challenge your vehicle's electrical system, but the only way to find out if that's the case is to do it.
  • Mario from San Antonio

    Posted on 12/2/2019

    Buck, always interesting articles, I just bought a high output alternator (370 amp ) but I have had always connected the main battery to it, I have a secondary battery, that I have always used for my sound system, and also I have a battery isolator in the middle of both batteries, tell me if I can run another wire from the alternator to my secondary battery to have the same voltage (14.5 Volts) on both batteries and still have the isolator in between them? My two batteries are Kinetik 2400, but I bought the XS 3100 to replace my secondary battery. Thanks for your time and your opinion as well. Mario.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 12/4/2019
    Mario, If you run a wire from the secondary battery to the alternator, where the primary battery also connects, the two batteries won't be isolated anymore.
  • Jeffrey from Charleroi

    Posted on 11/25/2019

    Hello I have a 93 Geo Storm with a factory 75 amp alternater. I'm currently running a 600watt(max) system and the dome light dims slightly at Max volume when the bass kicks in. I'm about to move to a 3100watt(max) system as far as amplifier but it's only 1650watt(max) as far as speakers. I already made sure that it will all work together,but I know I'm gonna need more power than I currently have. So I'm wondering what size alternator I would need/if I need dual alternators I'm also not completely sure of what grade wiring I would need for it all

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 11/25/2019 Jeffrey, Never use max ratings, when planning a system, always use RMS ratings. If your lights dim a little now, they'll do it a lot after the upgrade. If you're really going to increase your amplifier power by five or six times, you'll need to get the largest HO alternator your car can support.
  • Geoffrey Koelzer from Sunnyvale,ca

    Posted on 11/23/2019

    Hi there everyone! I am a huge Crutchfield fan, anywho: I have a high output alternator I am installing it with the big three on a difficult Ford Escape. My initial impression was to fuse the positive wire leading to the battery with the alt with the same size fuse(300ampsANL). Does this work or should I have the next highest recommendation fuse at 325 amp to protect alt from battery?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 11/25/2019 Geoffrey, The fuse size depends on what size wire you're using. If 4-gauge, then I'd recommend an 85-100A fuse. If 1/0-gauge wire, use a 200-250A fuse.
  • Matthew from NORWALK

    Posted on 10/28/2019

    Hello, I have a 2013 Subaru Legacy with a stock alternator which is 110amps (I think , cant find much on internet) I have an Alpine MRV-500 pushing a 450w rms Hifonics sub and want to put in a 600X4w amp for my front components drawing 75per channel at 4ohms. I am doing the big 3 now but wanted to know if i will need batteries or a bigger alternator. Thanks

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 10/29/2019 Matthew, The only way to find out if you'll need upgrades is to go ahead and install the system and see if your lights dim on big bass hits.
  • Tony from Hoffman estates

    Posted on 10/17/2019

    Hi i have a 2003 cadillac deville i want to put in 2 1200 watt subwoofers. What size amp should i install. Also would a 300 amp alternator work with this set up?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 10/18/2019 Tony, Without knowing precisely what sub you're referring to, we can't help you with advice. If you want a question answered about a system, you must identify the gear by brand names and model numbers so we can get the right information to you.
  • omar barron from fort worth

    Posted on 10/13/2019

    hello good sir.. i have a 15 f150 has a 200 amp stock alternator and factory battery im looking to add 1 12 sub and a 1500 amp wired at 1 ohm 900 rms total will i be safe without having to do any other upgrades to the stock eletrical system ? thanks in advance

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 10/15/2019 Omar, Your vehicle's electrical system will most likely handle that amp safely.
  • Dan from San Diego

    Posted on 10/9/2019

    Hi Buck, I am a long time reader of yours and appreciate the advice. I have a build I am starting on my 2017 mustang; the main parts will be two AudioControl ACM - 4.300 amps to power the Focal components and Focal 2 ways in the back. The Focal sub will be powered by one AudioControl ACM - 2.300 with a 4 ohm bridge for 300 watts. All 8 channels and the sub will be 700 RMS total. I will control everything with a AudioControl DM-810. As for wiring, I am running 1/0 gauge OFC that splits to 4 gauge to feed the amps in the trunk. I planned on doing the big 3 upgrade with 0 gauge prior to the install but after reading your advice I have questions if it will really be necessary. I have 4 questions I would like to ask. 1: As stated, I will be running 3 AudioControl amps (class D) for a total of 700 watts RMS. The car has a stock 175 amp alternator and I am going for sound quality and not thumping volume (I am in my 50's). Do you think the Big 3 is necessary? 2: If I do the Big 3, I want to fuse it; should I fuse close to the battery or the alternator? The alternator is on the opposite side of the engine from the battery so I would have to run about 8 feet of cable. 3: The 0 gauge I bought is rated up to 300 amps and I purchased a 250 amp JL Audio ANL fuse; would this be sufficient for the big 3? 4: I also plan to fuse the 0 gauge amp feed to the trunk at 150 amps at the battery (the 3 AudioControl amps have built in 30 amp fuses). Would this be OK? Thanks Buc

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 10/10/2019 Dan, I assume you plan to bridge those amps, right? Bridge one 4-channel amp to drive two sets of front components (150 watts RMS each, 300 together); bridge another one for the two rear speakers (150 watts RMS each, 300 together); and bridge the 2-channel amp for the sub (300 watts RMS) and the grand total will be 900 watts RMS. Using 75% as the amps' efficiency and 13.8 volts as the running voltage, they will draw 86A when they're all going full blast at the same time. That doesn't happen with music. 4-gauge power wiring with a 100-amp fuse will be more than adequate for your setup. But using 1/0-gauge won't hurt. I doubt a Big Three update will be of any benefit to a system this size, but probably wouldn't hurt it either. JL Audio recommends mounting the fuse near the alternator, but I'm not sure I agree. The fuse sizes you mention are reasonable.
  • Brad from Warsaw, IN

    Posted on 9/26/2019

    Hi Buck, love your advice and have been getting a good laugh reading your Q&A! Do you have any coal fired power plants that will fit in the trunk of a car to power some of these systems people are trying to run? ??

  • Franz J. from Springfield, MO

    Posted on 9/13/2019

    Hi Buck, I really appreciate how helpful you are about answering questions for Crutchfield... I will try to keep this simple... I have a 3000 watt amp powering 2x 15" 1500 watt subs set at a 2ohm load... I'm concerned about protecting my electrical system... I have a Chevy Avalanche with a 145 amp alternator... what enhancements would you recommend to keep everything running smooth..?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 9/16/2019 Franz, If your vehicle's lights dim when the bass hits, you could do like the article suggests and put in a second battery or high-output alternator.
  • Kenny from Phoenix

    Posted on 8/26/2019

    Hello I have a 2015 Malibu and I was wondering if it would be ok to run a single Kicker L7 12" with a Kicker KXA800.1 amp? will this draw too much power from my car?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 8/27/2019 Kenny, Most vehicle electrical systems can handle an amp that large.
  • Gerald Hunter from Jacksonville

    Posted on 8/12/2019

    I have a 2018 impala LT 150amp alternator currently all big 3 are 4AWG. I'm running JL audio c2650 ,c2650x , 12W3v3 and HD900/5 with 4AWG jl premium kit. I'm wondering ahould I have any issues? At the moment I get dimming lights at higher volume for the sub and the light on the HD900/5 goes red after being played on high volumes for a while.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 8/12/2019 Gerald, Your issue may be loose power and/or ground wiring, a weak battery, or the sub channel's gain is set too high.
  • Chris from Houston

    Posted on 7/18/2019

    Hey! Chris wtih a 06 navigator. I have 2 nsv4 wired at half a ohm and a 4500.1 (4500 watts rms) wolfram amp pushing it. i have a stock alternator, big 3 upgrade with 2/0 gauge ofc wielding wires, 300 a fuse, and i use the 2/0 wleding wires for my whole set up along with 8 gauge speaker wires for the subs. i have a yellow top up front and a limitless lithuim battery thats 25AH 4500w at 12v with 150a of available charging. Is this a good set up? or am i killing my alternator? Also i recently added a 4 channel kappa amp thats 1200 watts .

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 7/22/2019 Chris, That amplifier is not stable pushing a one-half ohm load, and can draw as much as 450A from your electrical system. I think you'll need more than just a second battery to use this amplifier in your vehicle.
  • Mikhail Jackson from Cincinnati

    Posted on 7/16/2019

    I have a 2018 Hyundai Elantra SEL with a stock 150A Alternator and an OEM 60A battery. Will a Infinity K4 (x100RMS 4-Channel at 4-Ohm amp) and an infinity K600 (x600RMS at 2-Ohm amp(I plan on using a 4-Ohm sub that's rated at 300 watts RMS)) work perfectly without any issues in my car?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 7/16/2019 Mikhail, If those two amplifier were both playing at their loudest, most powerful output, they'd be drawing about 68 amperes. An alternator usually has one-half of its total output available for aftermarket gear. So, in your case, one-half of 150 is 75, which is more than the 68-ampere demand. You'll be okay with the gear you have.
  • Daniel from Beaver Dam

    Posted on 7/14/2019

    Hi there I have 2 15 suds both wired parallel to like 1 ohm I think they're only getting to home I have a 4000 watt RMS amp and I'm going to add one or two more amps I'm adding one for sure it'll be less amps for the door speaker if you like a four channel thousand wok I have one more 4000 w RMS that I'm going to bridge eventually and im doing the big 3 upgrade either 1/0 awg or 2 awg but I'm still using my stock alternator I was going to get a 250 amp alternator would that be enough I also have a power cap with 50 farad that I'm installing but would 250 alternator be good enough or can I go smaller?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 7/16/2019 Daniel, One 4000 watts RMS Class D amplifier will have a top electrical draw of about 386 amperes, and would probably overwhelm the kinds of electrical systems you're talking about.
  • William from Los Angeles

    Posted on 6/9/2019

    I have a stock Honda 2014 CRV, I am running a Alpine iLX W650 and bought a Alpine PWE-S8 powered sub. Can I use the existing power line from the stock radio harness to power the sub also?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 6/10/2019 William, That powered sub needs its power lead connected directly to the battery. We recommend using 10-gauge power and ground wires.
  • BAYANI CRUZ from Manila Philipphines

    Posted on 5/10/2019

    Gud day sir..i'm here in the manila phil..i would like to ask ..f i can install big 3 update in my toyota vios 2011 even though i would not install high cap audio set ?ty and more power

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 5/13/2019 Bayani, Installing a Big Three upgrade on your vehicle won't hurt anything, will improve current flow, but won't actually add any power to the electrical system.
  • Ken from St Clair Shores

    Posted on 5/9/2019

    I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn. It has a 160 Amp alternator. My battery is a Bosch 65-850B, 1000 CA's. 850CCA's. I have done the "big 3 upgrade". I have a JBL GTO-751EZ set to 800 watts RMS (it actually puts out much more before clipping) powering two 10" Kicker CompVT's at 2 ohms, an NVX Jad800.4 powering just my front SPR-69's and SPR-10tw's (100W RMS x2, just the front two channels for now). I'm getting headlight dimming at higher volume, and occasionally the GTO-751EZ will turn off/go into protect. I have 0 gauge wire coming from the battery to a splitter under my rear seat where 4 gauge goes to the sub amp, and 4 gauge also goes to the 4 channel amp. At times when the bass notes hit, I can see the voltage drop from 14.4V down to 12.5V. I suspect my alternator can't keep up with the demands, but the battery is 4 years old. I'm debating on replacing either the alternator or the battery, and I would love to hear your opinion.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 5/10/2019 Ken, It sounds like your subwoofers are wired together such that the amp is seeing a 1-ohm load, and it doesn't like that and goes to protection. It also sounds like a power or ground connection is loose. Check the wiring and then the battery. That strong alternator should have no problem powering your amplifiers.
  • Dominic from Norfolk, UK

    Posted on 4/23/2019

    Hi Buck, I'm upgrading from my existing system (Head unit running 4 door speakers and a 150w RMS powered subwoofer) and I'll like some amplifer advice. I've ordered the Pioneer GM-D1004 (4x45w RMS for the 4 door speakers HPF at 80hz) and I don't know whether to get a 300w RMS or 500w RMS at 4ohm amplifier for my new 12" JBL GT5-12 subwoofer. I'm deciding between the GM-D8701 and the GM-D9701 monoblocks both Class-D. My car is a 2003 Ford Focus and it has an 80A alternator. Will I be straining the alternator with the 500w amp? Or would 300w be enough to provide a heavy low end against the 4 speaker setup I mentioned? Thanks

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 4/25/2019 Dominic, The 500 watt amp will provide a better level of bass to match the power of the other amp. Your vehicle's electrical system should handle all of this setup okay.
  • Paul hendrickson from Forney

    Posted on 3/30/2019

    I have a 2016 jeep patriot with 2 scar audio 2k amps, 2 sundown x10 rev1 subs, 270amp mechman alternator, 2 optima red caps in the rear and one under the hood. I just upgraded my whole wiring setup from a single run of 1/0 to a double run of 2/0 (meaning double run from alt to batt, batt to two 300amp fuses, fuses to another set of 300amp fuses, fuses to batteries in the rear, and a double run of 1/0 connecting the rear batts in parallel, and a single run of 1/0 from the batteries to the amps.) Originally with the single run of 1/0, i have a solid 14.2v at the front batt, but it dropped to 13.2 in the rear, so i upgraded all of the wiring to dual 2/0, now i have 12.6v in the rear. And im not sure why i lost so much power flow to the rear, any thoughts??

  • Paul Moore from San Antonio

    Posted on 3/12/2019

    Hi Buck I have a 2008 Chevy Tahoe I am looking for the best option for my setup I have been through three alternators in the last two weeks since system was put in running a 1,000 watts rms on a 160amp alternator and the alternator keeps going out what can I do to avoid this one from going out? No headlight diming when bumping no issues I see but just goes out

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 3/13/2019 Paul, A 1000-watt amplifier shouldn't take down a 160-amp alternator unless there were some other wiring issues like loose connectors. But if everything's right about the wiring, you may need to go to your local car shop and have them install a high-output alternator to run your vehicle and sound system.
  • Matthew from Phoeinx

    Posted on 1/18/2019

    Hello! I am going to be installing 2 MTX 5500 12's, an MTX XThunder 1200W mono for them, a 500w 4-chan MTX for the high end. So, we are looking at 1500-1800w. This is in my tacoma 2001 3.6L. I WILL upgrade the alternator to a high output 190amp alternator. I am also going to get a good battery (maybe one of Crutchfield's) and a solid 4farad cap. I do NOT want any dimming of lights. I usually don't crank it up, but when i want to blast it, i want a solid bank of constant electricity. Is this good???

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 1/21/2019 Matthew, That sounds like a good plan, to me.
  • C from Philly

    Posted on 1/1/2019

    Always use biggest wire possible. Dont use 8 gauge w a 1500 watt amp dont run threw door jambs dont be that guy!!

  • Shane Fine from Charleroi

    Posted on 12/6/2018

    My 2014 volkswagen jetta with fender system has a 140 amp alternator. Will that be able to run a 2 ohms 500W x 1 amp and a 4 ohms 125w x 4 channel amp.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 12/6/2018 Shane, That amount of power is just on the good side of the cusp of needing some electrical updating in order for the system to work properly. The figuring goes: you want 1000 watts RMS total, so 80% efficient Class D amps will try to pull 1250 watts RMS from the electrical system. At 14 volts, the draw is 89 amperes. But full-range loud rock music has a duty cycle of 30%, which means the continuous current demand will be more like 27 amperes. The rule of thumb for alternators is that one-half of their current capacity is available for aftermarket goodies like amps - 70 amperes in your case. You should be fine playing that system in your car.
  • Tim from Belleville

    Posted on 11/29/2018

    Hi I have a 2012 impala ltz and 2 12 inch rockford to punches 1400 rms a piece running off of the 1200.1 prime amp turned almost all the way down it dims every light in my car besides the headlights because they're after market leds but it pulls so much power it'll lose power and my car will say service stabilatrak and it'll briefly shut my car off while I'm driving in trying to see what kind of ho alt I should go with

  • Charvis from Gordon ga,

    Posted on 10/20/2018

    Hey how you doing my name charvis & im sort of in a pickle like I have 2 12 bd3 Audiopipes 1800 watts each rms 900 each running off a alpine 1200 watts competition amplifier & my lights do dim I have my system in a 91 Chevy caprice classic v8 305 5.0 I still have my stock alternator I was wondering if I could somehow move the 120 amps alternator up to 220 amp would i still need a second battery or the big 3 or would cause damage to just get the alternator boost to 220 amps

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 10/23/2018 Charvis, An upgraded alternator shouldn't put any extra stress on your vehicle's system, but should provide a larger capacity for current to flow. You should try one electrical upgrade, before thinking about doing two or three.
  • Nathan Sumner from Asheville, NC

    Posted on 9/12/2018

    Buck, I have a 2007 Tahoe with a stock 160 AMP alternator, and brand new battery. I have bought the (2) Kicker L7S at 750 Watts each. I haven't bought a amp yet and want to know if I went with the Kicker CXA1200.1 would I need to upgrade any electronics. I want the Kicker CXA1800.1 but I am afraid I will have to put a ton of money in electrical upgrades. Side note: I'm not looking to blow my doors off so I am ok with the 1200 Watt amp

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 9/14/2018 Nathan, That amp trying to put out 1200 watts RMS, or 85.7A, may very well tax your vehicle's electrical system. If so, you may need to put in a second battery or a high-output alternator to combat light-dimming.
  • Harry from Florida

    Posted on 9/6/2018

    Hi buck. I am a complete newbie when it comes to audio upgrades. I'm trying to make a simple audio upgrade and would love your thoughts on this. I have a 2004 Jeep grand Cherokee limited 4.7 litre V8. I am planning on upgrading the four door speakers (2 front, 2 rear) to speakers that have power output of 100rms and 4 ohm of impedance each. I thought of adding a four channel 800 watt A/B class amplifier that has a RMS of 100 watt per channel at 4 ohms. I have a 130 amp alternator, would I have to get a ho alternator or a second battery? And would you recommend anything to be done differently. Thanks :)

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 9/8/2018 Harry, That gear should work fine in your vehicle with no need for a high-output alternator or a second battery.
  • Jesse from Morgantown

    Posted on 8/5/2018

    Hello, i have a 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL with a 240 amp alternator and a 700 amp battery. Is there any idea on how much wattage I could run without facing any issues?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 8/6/2018 Jesse, In general, one-half of an alternator's output is available for your aftermarket equipment. A 240-Amp alternator can support amplifiers that can draw a total of up to 120 Amps. This translates to about 1344 watts RMS for Class D amplifiers, and 840 watts RMS for AB amplifiers.
  • Brandon from Beaufort

    Posted on 7/21/2018

    So I'm running 3k total doing the big 3 with 250 hours alt and extra battery. Is this to much? Just unloaded for a nice setup not trying to skimp out now want the best I can get out of the system

  • Jason from Mckinleyville

    Posted on 7/19/2018

    One more question about my civic with 1500 watt system. Would you suggest a second battery like the xp 750 or 950, or a deep cell starter battery like the D5100r, again this to fix headlight dimming and allow for longer play when car is not running. Thanks.

  • Jason from Mckinleyville

    Posted on 7/14/2018

    I'm running 1500w on a stock alternator in my 95 civic. I'm experiencing headlight dimming, and would also like to be able to play music longer when car is not running. I'm considering adding an xs750, or xs950 supplemental battery with an isolator. I've read that the extra battery will do nothing to help the headlight dimming while the car is running, what are your thoughts on my battery choice and the matter of dimming. Thanks.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 7/16/2018 Jason, In spite of what you've read elsewhere, adding a second battery will help overcome light-dimming. It may not entirely solve the issue, but it won't hurt either.
  • Brett from oceanside

    Posted on 6/19/2018

    currently have 2 12" audiopipe subwoofers wired to a CT Sounds 1500 watt amp in my '07 Avalanche. Still running a stock battery and alternator but I just did the big 3 upgrade and my lights still dim. I'm not sure what model my Subwoofers are or the ohms because I had very little knowledge on stereo systems when they were installed. but I'm looking to go to an HO alternator, is this the right move?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 6/20/2018 Brett, Upgrading your alternator will definitely help the electrical system, especially while driving. Another strategy you might employ to prevent light-dimming is to add a second battery to the system.
  • Chance from Tampa, FL. (Seffner)

    Posted on 6/12/2018

    I have a 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5L V6 and I'm having a sound system installed. (JL Audio 12W7AE-3 12" 3-Ohm Sub w/ JLAudio JX1000/1D 1000 watt RMS Amp) I am considering an alternator upgrade but I don't know if its needed or even what I have as factory OEM on my Altima to begin with. I welcome your feedback. Thank You.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield on 6/13/2018 Chance, Don't try and solve a problem you don't have. You shouldn't even consider an electrical upgrade until after your amp installation, and your vehicle's lights dim on bass beats.
  • Mike Bennett from Grayslake

    Posted on 6/3/2018

    My headlights dim bad. I have a 2013 Honda Civic LX, and I am running a kicker cxa 1200 and an audiopipe Q-15, both rated at 1200 rms. Is this too much? I have been told this is too much and should consider getting different, less powerful gear. But before I do that I'd like to know if that's true and get a second opinion, or if adding an alternator will solve this problem. I was also told that could cause my electrical system to fail (not the alt, but the setup being too powerful) and would also like to know if this is true and am I putting my car in danger by running sucha powerful set up on a stock electrical system? Help would be appreciated!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/8/2018

    Gregory, I think a second battery should be connected in parallel to the primary battery, not directly to the alternator. The Big Three is an independent upgrade that isn't required, but probably wouldn't hurt.

  • Gregory Horton from Eutaw

    Posted on 5/7/2018

    Can i run my rear battery bank straight off my alternator.. if i do will i still need the big 3..

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/4/2018

    Matt, A system that massive will need more than what you propose - its peak demand will be in the 335- to 536-A range.

  • Matt from Gilbert

    Posted on 5/2/2018

    Planning on buying 2 subs that pull 1500rms each, so a total of 3000. Plus 4 door speakers with 100rms each = 400rms. The amplifiers im looking at are rated 500rms (for the 4 doors) and 3300rms ( for the subs). So I have a total of 3700rms drawing from my 2015 nissan versa alternator providing 110amps. Obviously need a new alternator. Would a 270amp alternator suffice? Or would it be best to buy both a 270amp alt and a 2nd battery?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/26/2018

    Robert, Sundown SA-12 subs come in DVC 2-ohm and DVC 4-ohm models. If yours is the DVC 2-ohm model, the only safe way to wire it to that amp is like this diagram, getting 400 watts RMS to the 750 watts RMS rated sub. If your sub is the DVC 4-ohm model, the best way to wire it would be like this, getting the 750-watt sub 750 watts. Neither setup should tax your vehicle's electrical system.

  • Robert from Ontario

    Posted on 3/23/2018

    Hi Buck, Thanks for all your advice and articles on sound systems. I have a question. I have a 2016 Dodge Charger with a stock 180 amp alternator. I'm going to use an audiocontrol 1200 amp. I'm trying to decide if I should power it at 750 watts rms at 2 ohms or at 1200 watts rms at 1 ohm for one Sundown SA-12 sub. Will either of the two choices tax the electrical or am I in a "safe zone" with one or both wattages?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/22/2018

    Jesus, That should do it and then some.

  • Jesus zuniga from Denver

    Posted on 3/21/2018

    So a 250 amp alternator be enough for my sound system

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/21/2018

    Dale, There's no way to know if you need an electrical upgrade or not until after it's all connected and you experience light-dimming.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/21/2018

    Jesus, At full blast, that amp will try to pull as much as 109A from the electrical system. Beefing up your system to 120A probably won't do much good. A 200A probably would.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/21/2018

    Cletus, You can have an auto parts store check your alternator's voltage regulator for malfunction, but please do not bypass any factory harness of your vehicle's electrical system. That would be dangerous. The fact that your amplifiers will try to draw as much as 235A from a 160A system tells me you probably need a larger or a second alternator.

  • Dale from Cincinnati

    Posted on 3/18/2018

    I just got 200 high output police alternator for grand marquis with 3000 watt taramp can I run it I have good battery to I got it tested pushing 12.9 volts with 0 gauge but not big 3 would I need extra battery or it should be fine with proper gain I haven't hook up yet

  • Jesus zuniga from Denver

    Posted on 3/18/2018

    Hi I have 2 sundown sa-10 Rev 3 RMS 750 Dual 4 ohm with a class d amp hifonics Brutus 1200.1D wired to 1 ohm. My issue is I can't find a ho alternator for my 2012 civic LX sedan. My question is will rewinding my 90amp alternator to 120 amp help my electrical system or do I just to the big 3 with upgrading my ground cable too. Im just trying to get rid of the light diming of my headlights

  • Cletus Bosephus Rodriguez from HomeoftheRazorbacks

    Posted on 3/17/2018

    Hello Buck, I would like to get your opinion on a headlight flickering problem. I have a 2002 Honda Civic. The stereo I'm running is: 1 - 12" L7 solo baric powered by an Orion XTR1500 2 - MB quart 6.5s, 2 - MB quart 6x9s, powered by an MB quart 4x120 amp. I put an ultima yellow top battery, Rockville RXC50D 50 Farad cap, and a 160 Amp Alternator. I have also replaced the big three wires with 1/0 5250 strand wire. I'm getting dimming on my headlights and interior lights when the bass hits. It's not extreme, but it's noticeable. I'm suspecting the voltage regulator on the alternator because it's wiring runs through the car's wiring harness. Is there a safe way to test this theory and bypass either the car's wiring harness or the voltage regulator without overcharging the battery? Do you have any other ideas on how I can eliminate the dimming?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/9/2018

    William, Performing the Big Three upgrade is never a requirement when beefing up an electrical system, but it probably won't hurt either.

  • William Hall from Canton

    Posted on 3/9/2018

    No matter what I'm adding a extra battery but should I also do the big 3 upgrade when sitting and not moving with the subs on I watch my voltage meter jump and bounce I have a good battery in it

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/6/2018

    Lance, It won't hurt anything to get a high-output alternator in order to support such a large amp, and may be just what you need.

  • Lance Nicholas Welch from INDIANAPOLIS

    Posted on 3/2/2018

    I have a 4.2 trsilblazer. I am adding a sundown X 12v.1 and the amp will be a HIFI BRZ 2400 1.d. all off my buddies are in competition and are telling me i need to get a 270 alt and a solid battery. Can i get away with the big 3 (OFC) of course and a decent set of matching agm battiries? I just downgraded due to soace. I had a toyota 4 runner with a maxive box tuned to 31. So i am sure i will not have quite the sane output. But power wise would it be wise to get the 270 alt??

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/29/2018

    Adam, An amplifier's gain control is there to match the amp's input sensitivity to your receiver's output strength. Wanting that control set at any number is not the way to properly set it. You turn it up until you hear distortion, then turn it down until the distortion goes away. Your amp's wiring setup is straining your car's charging system. First, check the battery and wiring. If they're okay you can then replace your power wire with the correct 4-gauge wiring. And then apply more of the suggestions spelled out in the article.

  • Adam Malik from newnan

    Posted on 1/29/2018

    Hi, i currently have a Rockford fosgate 12 inch enclosure with a 600 watt rms and 1200 watt max rating with a Rockford fosgate mono amplifier with a 750 watt rms installed. I want to be able to fully listen to the sub without causing any damage to my car. When the volume is turned to about less than halfway and a loud bass note hits, all my lights will flicker, interior and exterior. And I only have the gain set to about 4 but it goes up to 11. I want to be able to have it set around 7-8 without my lights flickering. But I installed this with 8 gauge power and ground wire so is this why my lights are flickering? if i were to change the wires to 4 gauge, would this solve my problem? I've done some research and found that 8 gauge only has a max of 600 watts so I'm not sure if i used the wrong wires and if i should swap for the 4 gauge instead.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/15/2018

    Westley, The information I see about that mono amplifier is that it can put out up to 6,500 watts RMS at 1 ohm. Adding a 125 watts RMS per channel 4-channel amp brings the total wattage to 7,000 watts RMS. To produce this massive amount of output "all day" out of, let's say, 80% efficient Class D amplifiers with a 13.8 volt supply will require 634 amperes. Even if you're starting with a 130A factory alternator, adding a 370A might not support the full output you're looking for. You might be able to play loud music with no light-dimming with your planned upgrade - the 1/3 duty-cycle of music means the amp is only asked to produce top wattage 33% of the time - but "demoing all day," probably not without more upgrading.

  • Westley Gaskins from moncks corner

    Posted on 1/15/2018

    I like this thread. None of this is installed yet, but I have a mechman 370 amp hi output alt on a bracket separate from stock alt, 2 xs 7500d batts ran in parallel, 1 ns-1 sundown amp (10,000 watt ems) powering 2 sundown nightshade v4's 3000 watt rms 15 inch subs, a sundown 125x4 v.2 on 4 jl audio 3 component 6x9s and 2 skar audio super tweeters with inline bass blockers. All with ofc certified basshead 1/0 power and ground, ofc 8 gauge ran for subs. The question is am I done buying parts? With all this power can I demo all day? Will this power supply work or do I need more?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/6/2017

    Anthony, We don't sell alternators nor make specific recommendations about them. I'm not familiar with what's available in your country, but if you're really putting in an amp that size, you'll probably need a high-output alternator that can supply about 75 to 100 amperes beyond the electrical needs of the vehicle, plus a second battery.

  • Anthony from Durban

    Posted on 12/5/2017

    Hi. I currently have a 2017 Hyundai i20 1.2 Motion and I want to add a 2500w rms sub with a 2500w 2ohm rms amp. What alternator would I need to run this system smoothly and would the stock battery work? Thanks

  • Justus from Geronimo

    Posted on 12/3/2017

    Sooooo, when are you guys getting into the HO Alternator game? I can buy just about every other part of an audio system but that.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/30/2017

    Jordan, It could be that your amp's gain is set incorrectly and it goes into protection mode due to being overdriven. I doubt your vehicle's alternator has anything to do with the issue. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Jordan from Ephrata

    Posted on 11/30/2017

    Hi I recently started having an issue where my subwoofer shuts off/loses power when I turn my volume to about 70% max. I think it's my alternator but could it be my amp? I have a 5 channel for my speakers and another amp just for the sub.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/15/2017

    Mark, You don't have to worry about anything. If, after installing and setting up your system, you experience light-dimming when the bass hits, then you can revisit this article for possible solutions. You shouldn't have to solve a problem until it actually exists.

  • Mark from Norwich

    Posted on 11/13/2017

    Hi Buck. I'm planning some upgrades and was lead here by a friend after he mentioned the big 3. My total RMS will only be 700w RMS, do I need to worry about this? I checked my alternator and it's rated at 90a.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/14/2017

    James, I assume you're referring to Kicker's CXA1800.1 amplifier, which can put out up to 1800 watts RMS through a 2-ohm load. It should have 1/0-gauge power and ground wiring, in order to produce its rated power. Perhaps it goes into protection mode due to it being stressed with an inadequate power supply. If your lights dim on loud musical beats, then upgrading the alternator will probably help.

  • James from canton

    Posted on 8/11/2017

    I have an 03 malibu with 2 15in kicker L7s 4ohm wired to a 3600 watt kicker amp. It is not hitting to its full potential i know bc i had 2 12in kicker L7s. I have to upgrade from 4 gauge wiring to 1/0 but is that the only thing throwing my amp into protective mode? wasn't sure if i need to upgrade my alternator or not?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/29/2017

    Ian, If your amplifier stays on after the stereo is turned off, its remote turn-on lead is not wired properly - the amp should turn off when the stereo does. Otherwise what you describe sounds like a loose ground or power wire, not an alternator issue.

  • Ian Wallis from Sydney

    Posted on 7/29/2017

    Hi Buck, Some great information here. I have a Kenwood KAC-PS527 2 Channel Car Amplifier powering 2 x Pioneer TS-A6975S speakers in a 1973 HQ Holden. I get crackling and a popping speaker sound when the car is running with stereo turned off. I think it may be the alternator (Ingram - possibly a 55Amp). What would be the recommended sized alternator if this is the issue? There is some pretty serious gauge power and ground cables going to the AMP. Thanks in advance.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/15/2017

    Brandon, Let me start with that first calculation. For car audio power supply planning, we assume a 50% efficient Class A/B amplifier is being used. To produce a 1500 watts RMS output will require 3000 watts RMS power from the vehicle's power supply. Using 13.8 volts gives us 217.39 amperes of current draw. See our Wire Gauge Chart for more information. Your second question is the million-dollar question of the decade: Does a capacitor do any good in a car audio power supply circuit? A capacitor is used for two things in car audio: filtering out any AC in the 12-volt DC signal, and to "stiffen" the system voltage to prevent lights from dimming when loud bass notes play. They accomplish this by supplying the amplifier with a quick jolt of power. Here's an article that may shed some light on that subject: Capacitor FAQ.

  • Brandon Briggs from Muskegon

    Posted on 7/14/2017

    Hello, I'm just curious if normal rules of electricity apply to sound system power. I'm an electrician and know ohms law and power calculations. How does 1500 watt draw equate to 247 amps. P= I×E Power =watts I= current or Amps and E= voltage. 1500 watts divided by 12 volts equals 125 amps. My car runs around 13.7 volts when running which would equate to even less current (110 amps) I read a bunch of stuff not only here but other places with knowledgeable people such as yourself where their calculations doesn't add up to what I was taught in my IBEW apprenticeship program. I understand that none of these devices are 100% efficient but even to get over 100 amps of lost power due to resistance, making heat or electromagnetic effects doesn't make sense. My other question is how does a capacitor work in a DC system. Capacitance along with induction only exist in an AC circuit. All of the capacitor I've seen are supposed to be installed before the amp which is DC. Capacitive Reactance formula is Xc = 1/(2×p×frequency× capacitor value). But because DC has no frequency that value would be 0 which messes up the whole equation. I could somewhat see a capacitor working after the amp which is an AC circuit but the frequency value is constantly changing. Is there special rules that apply to sound systems or electronics? If so could you point me in the right direction to learn more about this.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/27/2017

    Razaad, Not knowing exactly what amplifier you have (brand name and model number) makes it difficult to determine whether your capacitor is appropriate or not. The fact that your power wire fuse blows tells me that something's wrong. The power cable should be the same size wire from battery to amp, and the ground wire should be the same size as that. So should any wires connecting a capacitor.

  • Razaad Ahmad from Bethlehem.

    Posted on 6/27/2017

    Hey there. I have 2 Skar VVXv3 12" subwoofers running in my Nissan Altima 2005. I have the 1500rms amp running those two subs. My question is should I include a smaller cap? I have an 8fraud cap. Also I've noticed the wire from my battery to my power wire to amp basically blows every couple months or so. So what should I do? I'm running 2 gauge towards my battery but all my wires connected to my amp and cap is 8 gauge wire. Everything is stock but with that much power should I just get a second battery VS A cap. If so what kinda battery or cap should I consider buying that's not too perfect for my set up so far? Also should I do the big three just to do it or no? I just wanna be able to eat the most out of these subwoofer and I feel like I'm really not getting as much powere as they can handle.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/13/2017

    Eric, I doubt a Big Three upgrade will fix your light-dimming issue, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to do one. First, I'd check the battery and then the power and ground wiring for any weaknesses. If that doesn't fix things then maybe a capacitor would work in your situation.

  • Eric from Garfield Heights

    Posted on 6/12/2017

    Hello Buck, let me cut to the question so i won't waste you're valuable time. I have a 2005 Scion Tc Electrical upgrades : 175 amp Alternator and an XS power D2400 with no big 3 upgrade. Personal upgrades : 2 12 inch American bass XFL1244 powered by a Hifonics BRX1516.1d at 1 ohm or 1500 watts rms My question is do i absolutely have to upgrade my Big three now that i have the HO alternator? I have slight headlight dimming and voltage drop from 13.3 to 13.1. Should i be afraid of frying my vehicles computers? Oh, did i mention my voltage at the battery charging is 13.3 with nothing on! Thanks in advance!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/1/2017

    Matthew, If you want a question answered about a system, you must identify the equipment by model numbers as well as brand names. Without knowing the subs' impedances, I can't tell how they can be wired to an amp or what power output and draw would result.

  • Matthew from Wichita Falls, texas

    Posted on 5/1/2017

    Crutchfield, I'm super impressed with your dedication to your customers ! Please help me, for I am a young Padawan. I am wanting to put 2 subwoofers 500rms each, and four door speakers 80rms each. (All are alpine type s) I'll have two alpine amps type d 500 watts(one to each sub), and one alpine amp 300 watt type d(for door speakers). I'm pretty afraid the 1300 watts is gonna kill my alternator. I have a 2014 chevy sonic, not super fancy. Do you think 1300 watts is a little much for the stock electrical system?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/13/2017

    Sage, That amplifier should not be a burden to your vehicle's charging system or a cause of burnt-out bulbs. Maybe it has a loose power or ground connection. Turn the stereo and amp off and take your car to a service shop to have someone check the electrical system, battery and alternator. That sounds like your main issues.

  • Sage from Long Beach

    Posted on 4/13/2017

    Super helpful post. I have a few questions! I am running two 10" Boston Aucoustic subs with a GT2 125 amp in my 2012 Mazda3... with a stock battery and alternator :( I've had the dimming lights for awhile and not only that, I've replaced shattered and burnt bulbs time and time again. Recently my car hasn't been starting as fast and turning over. And now I know for certain my alternator is failing. I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm learning as I go... until I can upgrade my alternator and or get a capacitor should I go to the trouble to remove the wiring as well... (as I'm not sure if they have anything to do with the possible short that's making my head lights shatter) or can I just disconnect them from my amp and subs and be alright? And is my alternator permanately damaged and going to continue to fail even without the extra pull for power?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/11/2017

    Joe, That massive amplifier will try and draw about 120 amperes of current while working, 300 amperes on musical peaks. This is a lot more than what most stock alternators can put out. Generally you can expect to be able to use half of your alternator's amperage capacity for aftermarket equipment like amplifiers. A second battery will help a little, but ultimately you may find you need a beefier alternator.

  • Joe from Tupelo

    Posted on 4/11/2017

    I've already done a 1/0 big 3 upgrade for a previous system but only used 4 gauge for the amp. Im about to upgrade those to 1/0 because im wanting to run 2 skar audio ZVXv2 15"s (1500 rms each) on a skar SK3500v2 (specs say 3800 rms @ 1 ohm)....if I had a good enough second battery, could I manage with a stock alternator still? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/10/2017

    Zac, Not knowing exactly what amplifiers or subwoofers you have make it impossible to give advice on the system they're in. If you want a question answered about your system, you must identify your equipment by brand names and model numbers.

  • Zac from Sherman

    Posted on 4/9/2017

    Just picked up a few things for my 1985 nissan 720 two 10" 1050 rms each runing from a 4000 watt mono block one 8" 500 rms and 2 4x10" 150 rms each running from a 1000 watt duel chl for my highs i have 2 6.5" 125 rms each and 2 1" tweeters running from a 200 watt duel chl should i go ahead and pick up and 2nd battery and a copacitor already got all the wires for the big 3 but my stock alt is 60 amp looking in too a gm swap for a 120 amp any help would be awesome

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/6/2017

    Dustin, A rule of thumb about a vehicle alternator is that 50% of its current capacity is available for non-automotive use, like car amplifiers. The 80-amps of available current in your vehicle will probably easily support your two amplifiers, especially if they use efficient Class D amp technology. As long as your amplifiers have adequate power and ground wiring, I don't see that you'll have any power supply issues. You should only consider getting a capacitor until after you detect slight light-dimming with loud music.

  • Dustin Zysset from Columbus

    Posted on 4/5/2017

    I have a 2006 chevy tahoe with stock bose. I'm putting in one 13.5 in jl audio tw5 2 ohm which is 600 watt rms and I'm putting a 500 watt rms jl audio amp to power it, I'm also planning to replace the door speakers and use a 250 watt rms amp to run those, and putting in a new head unit. Its not hooked up yet so i don't know if lights will dim, but im trying to plan ahead I'm going to upgrade my big 3 regardless because i feel like it's going to be a good idea, i also plan to get a yellow top optima battery for the vehicle, i got to looking and found out i have a 160 amp alternator already installed. Now my question is after i get the better battery and upgrade my big 3 and get my stereo in do you think Im going to have to upgrade my alternator or should i be ok? Also should i get a capacitor or will i be ok without it? Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/31/2017

    Travis, It sounds to me like you may benefit with a Big Three upgrade when you replace the alternator, augmenting the existing electrical wiring with larger gauge wires. The auto mechanic who will replace the alternator may recommend upgrading the wiring as well.

  • Travis

    Posted on 3/31/2017

    So, I have a 1981 GMC C1500 pickup, I'm currently installing a new stereo in. I'll be using a Pioneer 7800BHS head unit, Kenwood XR900-5 5-channel amp, running 2 Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 10" subwoofers wired in parallel to a 2-ohm load, Focal PS 130 V in my doors, and some 4" Alpine 2-ways in the cab corners just for the time being. The truck originally has a 63-amp alternator, I'm swapping in a 105-amp later model one, and I'd like to wire everything up as correctly as possible, the factory wiring runs through 10 gauge wiring on the charging system with a few fusible links, am I able to leave this in place and simply run a larger gauge (and fused) wire to the battery, or am I going to need to rewire the entire charging system? As it stands, the factory wiring comes off the alternator, goes to a junction block on the firewall and goes to the + side of the starter, which has a 4 gauge wire going from the starter + to the + terminal on the battery. Thanks in advance. Side note, the amp is going to be wired up using 4 gauge OFC positive and ground, 10 gauge for the subs as they are the big draw, and 16 gauge to the speakers, all OFC, with amp power wire fused near battery with a 125amp fuse.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/28/2017

    Ryan, You didn't say what Class amps you want to run, but whichever, assuming a 13.8-volt system, achieving 5000 watts RMS will take 453 amperes for a D-Class amp, and 725 amperes for an A/B amplifier. If you're bumping tones, I don't think there's a single alternator in existence that can handle that much current, so running multiple alternators plus multiple batteries sounds like your solution. For playing music however, when the duty cycle of the amp is more like a third of peak current draw, it might work with just one high-output alternator and a second battery, like an XS Power XP3000.

  • Ryan from Saint Louis

    Posted on 2/26/2017

    Quick questions on electrical. Planning to run 4.5k rms to two 15s, and then about 500 rms to door speakers. Thoughts are throwing 2 batteries in the trunk and upgrading to a 250 amp alt, or adding another alt along with my current 200 amp HO alt. Big 3 is already done and will probably run a couple runs of 0 gauge. Do you think this would be sufficient enough to run 5k? Also any suggestions on batteries? Thinking maybe 2 XP3000s. Thanks for everything.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/20/2017

    Rob, Let's do the math for your car: A 160-A alternator will have 80-A available for non-automotive use. An 80-A draw at 13.8 volts results in 1104 watts RMS for a perfect amplifier and 552 watts RMS for a typical 50% efficient AB amplifier. So, it looks like your 400 total watts RMS amplifier will pose no issues, as long as it's installed correctly.

  • Rob from Chesapeake

    Posted on 2/18/2017

    Hello, I am looking into upgrading my system in my 2008 Chrysler 300. I am looking at replacing the four stock speakers with Kicker 6x9 3 ways 150RMS, along with adding a Pioneer deck, and using a MB Quart 4 ch 800 watt (100RMS per channel) amp to drive the four Kickers. I have no subs or additional speakers in the car. I would like to know opinions or facts as to whether or not I should be worried about having to change the alternator to a higher output. I hope I do not obviously, and reading the setups others are using here on this forum makes my system sound small in comparison. I have looked up the specs on the 300's stock alternator and it appears to be 160 amps. Give me good news lol...

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/14/2017

    EB, I'd listen to my installer and not cause issues with that wire or the alternator. You should take your vehicle back to him and see if the light-dimming issue can be resolved.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/13/2017

    Eugenio, You might want to wait and see if the amp causes any electrical overdrawing issues before putting in a high-output alternator.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/13/2017

    Teo, It sounds like you may have your two subs wired out of phase from each other, but if you like the sound, go for it.

  • E.B. from Louisburg

    Posted on 2/13/2017

    I recently took my vehicle to my local stereo Shop and they did and upgrade to my negative wires. I thought it was the Big 3 upgrade, but they didn't replace or did anything to the alternator hot wire. They said in there past experience, when the replace the factory hot wire that I could cause issues, so they did 4 gauge ground wire from battery to chassis, battery to alternator, then 8 gauge wire from battery to body, which is the factory ground wires. I currently have changed the battery to a yellow top optima and I have 4 gauge hot and ground wires running to a distribution box the from the distribution box to my amp is 8 Guage wire, cause my amp will only accept no larger than 8 Guage wire. So with all that said and my headlightson dim a little still, but adding all these additions helped, should they have installed the hot wire from the battery to the alternator, a new wire, but still kept the factory hot wire? Thank You!

  • Eugenio garza from Fremont

    Posted on 2/12/2017

    I have 2 12" solo baric 2 ohm at 50-750 watts rms each and am going to order a kicker CXA1800.1 mono amp at 1800 watts rms @ 2 ohms, i read that the amp can draw some serious amounts of current (up to 163 amps) and i was wondering if i should just go ahead and get a hight output aftermarket alternator.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/13/2017

    Anthony, If you expect your alternator to output up to 240 amps, you will need to use Big Three wiring and a fuse that can handle that much current.

  • anthony from aubur

    Posted on 1/13/2017

    hey i have a 2004 mitsubushi eclipse with a new optima red top battery, and recently purchased a 240 amp h/o alternator along with a big 3 upgrade kit. my question is is do i need a new inline fuse between the alt and the battery? the inline fuse already there is only rated for 120 amps

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/4/2017

    Mike, I recommend going back to your installer, show them the problem, and see if they can offer a simple solution, like tightening connections or adding a capacitor. An audio system this size should not overpower your vehicle's charging system.

  • Mike from Poland

    Posted on 1/3/2017

    Hi! I have a 2014 Honda with a 95a alternator. There is only one amp driving the system right now and i already experience dimming when the bass kicks while the car stays on idle. The amp is a mbquart running about 2x85 to the fronts and a bridge of about 260 watts to the 10 inch sub. Wiring was done by a pro and everything is set up for an additional jlaudio 600/1 which i already have but not connected as i noticed the dimming (lights on, idle rpm, no other power drains like heated mirrors or seats etc. - just the lights and aircon). As you probably noticed the power drain from what i have now is not something substantial and the car has a special battery (80ah agm for start/stop usage). The vehicle is pretty new and has about 30k miles on it. What would you recommend?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/3/2017

    Lorenzo, If you've already checked over and ensured good connectivity with the proper-size power and ground wires and the battery checks out as well, you may very well benefit from adding a second battery or replacing the alternator with a higher output version.

  • Lorenzo from Richmond Virginia

    Posted on 1/1/2017

    Okay so I have a 2015 Dodge Charger SE. I have 4 Rockford fosgate 169 prime 3 way door speakers hooked up to a power T-400 4 channel amp. I have two Rockford fosgate P3's hooked up to a power T-1000 amp. When playing everything is fine up to about volume 15. Anything above that and the battery volts drop from 14.5 to anywhere between 11.5 and 12.5 and sometimes depend on the song below 11.5. So my question then becomes do I need an extra battery, do I need to replace the current car battery with a bigger one, should I do the big three or should I replace the alternator?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/28/2016

    Joe, I recommend going back to your installer, show them the problem, and see if they can offer a simple solution, like tightening connections or adding a capacitor. An audio system this size shouldn't overpower your vehicle's charging system.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/28/2016

    Casey, I hope you're not adjusting the amp gain on the fly. Gain should be set once and then left alone. If you have a Hifonics Brutus BRX2000.1D, it calls for 2-gauge power and ground wire. And if you plan on adding another amplifier later, you should put in 1/0-gauge wiring. But this size system will likely overwhelm any vehicle's factory charging system. The mono amp alone, wired to a 2-ohm load, will put out up to 1400 watts RMS, drawing up to 127 amperes from the electrical system. So, larger wiring, new battery, second battery, HO alternator: these are the solutions you should be looking at.

  • Joe cita from Milwaukee

    Posted on 12/27/2016

    I have a 2012 Toyota Camery V6 SE. I had it upgraded to get full range from a pair of Hertz milipros in the doors and a set of same 6X9 in the rear deck. With an alpine sweep 10dr subwoofer, running through a pox alpine 5 channel amp. 75w x 4 to the doors and rear deck 300w to the subwoofer. I have 2 jl cr 350x inthe dash, not hooked to the alpine. The head lights slightly flicker when the sub hits. I upgraded the battery to a deep cycle with reserve (x2 bakttery from batteries plus). I plan to replace exterior lights with led, not the headlights, fogs turns signal etc), but the amp decrease will be minimal. The flicker is slight, and the batterybhelped but did not eliminate the flicker. The stereo pulls more than stock but based on set ups on threads is not pulling a ton of professionally installed by the best reviewed installer in se Wisconsin. Would a big 3 upgrade be the recommended course? A higher output alternator seems like it would be overkill?

  • Casey Woody from Kingston, TN

    Posted on 12/27/2016

    I have a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. I have a stock alternator. My system is a 12" Alpine type x In a huge ported box made by fatbox. (The box really set the sub off! Tuned at 30.2 Very low bass) I also have a 2000 watt Hifonics Brutus 1 channel mono block. I also have a 3 farad Power Acoustik capacitor. I have everything wired to 2 ohms. I think I'm probably passing right around 1000 watts rms. I wired the system up with 4 gauge wire and speaker wire is 10. Also running with a sony head unit. I am going to do the big three upgrade, but here is my question. My lights dim at night. I find when I really start to push the amp ( I have the gain on my amp set to about 2/3) and during the day I can run my gain at about 2/3 which is the max I run because after that I notice clipping. But at night, if I turn my bass knob past the half way point, that is usually where I see the lights starting to dim. I'm looking into a h.o. alternator right now but needing to know which one I should do first. Big three or alternator? I plan on upgrading my component front speakers and rear speakers and push them with like a 5 or 600 watt amp as well. I know that my battery is 5 years old and might actually give out on me anytime. So I need to know about the big three or alternator first. I can find a 180 or 200 watt alt for my car for a decent price. And also, what battery, decent priced, do you suggest. I hope I have given you enough info because I want to get this figured out quickly. Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/19/2016

    Adam, I suggest you wait until after your amplifier and subwoofer are installed, and after you start experiencing headlight dimming before you do any electrical system upgrade. There's no point in preparing to fix something that may not be broken.

  • Adam from Nashua

    Posted on 12/19/2016

    Hello, I have a 2002 Subaru WRX and am planning on getting a Alpine type-r 10 inch sub and a alpine MRX-M110 amp. Will my car be able to handle this? Or should I get a capacitor or high-out put alternator? I also have a radar detector which is plugged into my cigarette lighter. Thanks

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/16/2016

    Brian, It's unusual for such a low-power system to cause light-dimming. Like the article says, the first thing you should do is make sure all the surfaces used in power and ground connections are scraped down to bare metal, clean, and all the connectors and the battery terminals fastened tightly together. And check the battery itself. If you still have dimming after that, you should consider adding a capacitor or second battery or a wiring upgrade to your system.

  • Brian from Cleveland

    Posted on 12/16/2016

    Hey Buck, I had a kicker zr360 and 2 Orion xtpro122 connected and my lights dimmed even while accelerating on the highway. Since, it has been disconnected and I am going to connect a zr600 which I believe definitely will not help. What would be the best addition to address the dimming lights? Should these be wired a specific way? Thanks in advance!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/13/2016

    Salih, Like the article says, the first thing you should do is make sure all the surfaces used in power and ground connections are scraped down to bare metal, clean, and all the connectors and the battery terminals fastened tightly together, Then you'd ensure that the battery checks out as well. If you still have dimming, then you may very well benefit from replacing the alternator with a higher output version.

  • Salih Taylor from Hyattsville

    Posted on 12/13/2016

    Afternoon Buck, I just recently installed my MOFO-10 Power Acoustic sub of 2400 watts, I have a capacitor, and a stinger SPV44 battery. And the lights still flicker on. Any suggestions.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/7/2016

    Luis, If you already have checked over and ensured good connectivity with the power and ground wires and the battery checks out as well, you may very well benefit from adding a second battery or replacing the alternator with a higher output version.

  • luis from brick

    Posted on 12/7/2016

    Hey there! I have an single 12 inch type r sw12d4 subwoofer...handles 1000 watts rms and I have it hooked up to an Alpine mrp-m1000 amp. The 4 ohm subwoofer is wired so that amp sees a 2 ohm load so that I get the most out of it. the problems I'm seeing is that when volume is turned up and bass hits my lights dimmed and volt gauge drops as well. I'm running 4gauge wire and also a 3 farad capacitor which helps a little.. any suggestions that you may have to help me fix this..thanks my car is 2002 monte carlo.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/21/2016

    Cliff, Like the article says, the first thing you should do is make sure all the surfaces used in power and ground connections are scraped down to bare metal, clean, and all the connectors and the battery terminals fastened tightly together. If you still have dimming after that, you can consider adding a capacitor or second battery or a wiring upgrade to your system.

  • Cliff

    Posted on 11/20/2016

    Hi i have an emergency question, i bought 2 kicker comp r 12s with aftermarket dvd dash unit with cx 1200.1 amp set only half way wit control knob plugged my car does have 2 monitor in the back but doesnt draw current them selfs . my lights only dim when my vol go past 21 and i like my music on 25 vol seenig my voltage drop to upper 12s when bass hit tested by car electrical specialist they stressted it needs to be in the 13 volt range so my battery stsy charged and saying i dont need an alt because that not really that much current not goin full tilt and maybe even so my other have way more in cars or trucs doin just fine question is what should be my next step my car is a 2004 toyota camry le 2.4L thank you

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/16/2016

    Mike, Apparently that's a common problem, charging your device and playing music at the same time results in noise. Often, a car's cigarette lighter port shares its power and ground wiring with the radio, and the charging adapter's activity interacting with the vehicle's electrical charging system create noise through the audio system. Possible solutions include getting a higher-grade charger or installing a ground loop isolator or a noise filter.

  • Mike from soldotna

    Posted on 11/16/2016

    I plug my i pods charging cable into cigaret lighter port and get electrical noises with engine running . If engine is off or I unplug cable interference stops. What can I do to stop interference from coming through the cigaret lighter port.?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/14/2016

    Eathen, If your car's electrical system can support it, an amplifier like Pioneer's GM-D9601, capable of putting out 1200 watts RMS at 1 ohm, would probably work great with your subs.

  • Eathen from Caldwell,idaho

    Posted on 11/13/2016

    I have 2 ecw120 vm audiodont know if they are any good honestly don't care cheap buy and was on sale.., but they run about 1500 watt rms each they are DVC 4 ohm.., I have no idea what would be best for my car

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/9/2016

    Jay, Audio systems don't usually drain batteries unless they're played with the engine off. Maybe your battery died of old age - most batteries only last 5 years or so. Make sure you have someone check your car's charging system when you replace the battery. If your audio system is drawing so much power from the electrical system that the alternator can't keep the battery charged, then you probably do need an upgrade like adding a cap or a second battery.

  • Jay from Dallas

    Posted on 11/9/2016

    Hey buck thanks for the input in advance, i have a power acoustik rated at 3000w rms amp and 2 alpine typer r rated at 1000 w rms each and a 400 w rms rated voice amp, my system recently killed a new regular battery and drained it completely, i purchased an optima red top battery but i am worried that the system will drain it as well, i am currently trying to acquire a soundstream 1000 capcell do you think that would help the system from draining the battery, im currently limited and not being able to purchase a performance alternator or doing the big three , would the capcell help or would it be a waste of money?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/7/2016

    Panda, Not knowing exactly what subwoofers you have make it impossible to recommend an amp. Are they single or dual voice coil? Are they 2 or 4 ohms? If you want a valid recommendation, you must identify your subs by brand names and model numbers.

  • Flyingpanda1014 from Caldwell,id

    Posted on 11/5/2016

    I have a 2002 Chrysler Sebring Lxi and I have 2 12 inch 3000w subs (1500w rms each) what is the right amp for me and should I upgrade my electrical system?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/3/2016

    James, Hopefully, when you listen to music with the doors open, your vehicle's engine is either off or just idling. In that situation there is less over-all power available than when the engine is at cruising speed. This is normal and I think nothing to worry about.

  • james from derby

    Posted on 11/3/2016

    i have a h/o alternator, big 3 with 1/0 cables, agm battery, 1/0 cable running to 2 amps that are about 2000 rms combined, and a capacitor. all connections are rock solid. headlights do not dim even with the heaviest hit, but when doors are open interior lights do when it hits hard. should i even worry about this?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/20/2016

    Zach, If you're playing just music, you may be alright without any upgrade needed. But if you play long bass tones and burps, you may need a second battery, a capacitor, or a high-output alternator for your electrical system to keep up with the amp. So, you don't have to do any of these procedures unless you do experience bothersome headlight dimming.

  • Zach from Huntington

    Posted on 10/20/2016

    I have two Rockford P 3's with a Rockford R1200-1D. I am installing these into a 2014 Altima. With a yellow top optima AGM Battery. Should i add any other power source?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/19/2016

    Jorge, According to the folks at XS Power Batteries, the CA or CCA spec is more useful for determining a battery's short-term effectiveness for a car audio system. The AH spec will indicate a battery's long-term effectiveness for starting the car.

  • JORGE COLUNGA from Dallas

    Posted on 10/18/2016

    Hi Buck, i have a silverado and have 4 aftermarket speakers, with 2 subs, and an amp. I just recently noticed the dome lights dimming when the bass gets loud. Im in the process of selecting a new battery. What specs should i look at when buying a new battery to make sure my sound system will work fine? Im not sure if higher CCA, AH, or CA make a difference. My current battery has 615 CCA 70AH.

  • Jay from Dallas, TX

    Posted on 10/3/2016

    Thanks Buck for your advice i highly appreciate it !! your site is A1+

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/3/2016

    Jay, I don't think you should try to solve a problem until it arises. Your car's electrical system may very well support your entire system without needing an upgrade.

  • Jay from Dallas, TX

    Posted on 9/30/2016

    Hey buck good afternoon, i just bought 2 alpine type r 12 2 ohm woofers rated at 1000 w RMS, and a power acoustik GT1-6000.1d rated at 2 ohms: 3000 watts x 1 chan. i know thats probably overrated, i also have an amp boss audio ch 250 ratings i found say 200 RMS x 2 but i know thats overrated as well running to 4 5x7 rated at 230 w peak each, i have an epicenter and a 2 fard CAP, i tried just the woofers and the power acoustik amp yesterday and there was no light dimming but im skeptical once i plug everything or else in or with time i might encounter problems, what do you think? oh and i currently have a 1998 chevy cavalier with a stock alternator no extra battery. do you think i might encounter problems in the future or anything?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/9/2016

    Frankie, a) No: the Hifonics amp claims 750 watts at 2 ohms while the Rockford Fosgate amp claims 500 watts at 2 ohms. b) The only way to know is to swap amps and see. c) If you still have lights dimming, start by checking the charging system, battery, and power wiring. If they check out okay, then you'd move up to doing the Big Three or adding a second battery.

  • frankie from burbank

    Posted on 9/9/2016

    hey buck, i just installed two rockford fosgate punch 3 12" 2 ohm subwoofers in sync with a bridged wire on the subs, going back to the amp at 2 ohms with a hifonics sues 1000.1d amp. my headlights the other day started dimming but i can't remember if my truck was running i think it was just off accessories power. my my overhead lights definitely dim. recently i bought the rockford fosgate Punch 1,000 Watt Class-bd Mono Amplifier and was wondering if i install that if a) it would give me more power. b) solve the dimming c) if it would need the big three upgrade or second battery. thanks!! personal message me if we need to discuss more

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/7/2016

    Terry, Long-term strain on your vehicle's electrical system may bring about premature failure of the alternator or battery. I'd start by having your battery and charging system checked out, to see if you can eliminate the issue altogether.

  • Terry from Virginia Beach

    Posted on 9/6/2016

    Buck I have a amp that is rated at 70X4 @4 ohms and 440X1 for the sub @2 ohms. In a 2015 Honda Accord. Less than 800W. But at high volume levels I notice a slight flicker in my headlights. Which surprised me because I'm way less than 1KW. I don't listen to volumes that high all that often, and even more rarely at night when there is the added demand from lighting. Am I safe to do nothing? Any potential risk to other electronic components in the car when I am seeing headlight flickering/dimming? Thanks and a great article!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/6/2016

    Mike, A 5A fuse for that line will be fine. I've forwarded your amp question to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your vehicle. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat - just click on the phone icon at the very top of this page.

  • Mike from Deland

    Posted on 9/4/2016

    Cool sounds good I'm only planning on a 100 amp anl fuse on the 4 guage to the rear battery. Any ideas on a good amp for a reasonable price for that sub? What about putting a fuse on my amp remote wire to protect head unit from any short. 5 amp fuse good for that or what would you recommend? Thanks for all the help.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/3/2016

    Honey, 1100 watts RMS will probably strain the electrical of your small car. You may have to add a second battery or upgrade the alternator in order to provide enough current for your planned system.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/3/2016

    Mike, The fuses in power lines are there to protect the wiring and your vehicle in the event of a short circuit, not the amplifier. A 200-A fuse on your 1/0 line should be alright, but would be a hazard for the 4-gauge line. Otherwise, I think you should put your system together and find out empirically how it all works.

  • Honey from Lahore

    Posted on 9/1/2016

    Hello im in process of installing a new sound system in my small car. I usually suffer from dimming light and low power when i was using a simple 4 channel amplifier and kenwood woofer. But now im going to install Lanzar 12" 1232D 2ohm dvc subwoofer its 1100 RMS and 2200 Watts and my amp is audiobahn which will give almost 1000 rms and i will use my subwoofer in 4 ohm wiring, I have 2 capacitors of stinger both are 1 farad. So what do you suggest me? Is my system okay or i have to make any changes? and can i use both capacitors for that amplifier will it help? I will wait for your reply thankz.

  • Mike from Deland

    Posted on 8/31/2016

    Recharging. From my research the average amp for sub woofers draws an average of 1/3 its peak draw. So say 200 amps max draw of the amp would equal 67 amps continuous recharge needed to maintain the charge of the second battery supplying the amps power. So i figured that with 75 amps (1/2 my 150 amp alternator) would cover this no problem. So if class d amplifiers are 80% eff then the 62% number i found on the web is off (thanks for correcting that) so what i was looking for is your thoughts on if my plan in theory should handle what I'm looking to do. Also i need an amp recomendation hopefully not too expensive. Aside from what you have already answered and corrected bad info i had gotten, you said if i wanted to step up to 10 guage to reduce the resistance and ohms to the sub from the amp that would be fine and 12 guage is fine. I already have 12 guage wire plenty of good quality (i bought a large roll for my home surround sound system) is there any reason for me to not double up 12 guage wires to the sub to achieve the same reduction in ohms resistance to the sub? Sub will be in a fatbox custom made box and will be ported and tuned to 38 hz. (Most class d mono blocks ice looked at offer an adjustment for both high and subsonic frequencies. What should i set the amp to on sub sonic for this set up with a box tuned to 38 hz. I was thinking about 20 hz to cut off anything below that. I heard playing to low under that would damage speaker

  • Mike from Deland

    Posted on 8/31/2016

    Ok. Due to lack of info on the web i couldn't find, i didn't realize the amplifier to speaker was low amperage higher voltage. Thanks for clearing that up for me. To better explain the other my car stock electrical system has a 150 amp alternator. From my research i believe that half of this (75 amps) is available for use constantly. I plan to put a second battery in the trunk of my car next to the amp and speaker box. I plan to run 4 guage wire to the trunk battery from the cars stock battery with a 100 amp anl fuse next to each of the 2 batteries. The trunk battery will basically only be recharging from the stock electrical system. The second battery in the trunk is a 92 amp hour 270 rc 880 cold cranking amp battery. From the second battery in the trunk i plan to run 0 guage power to the amplifier with a 200 amp anl fuse. Also grounding the amp and the second battery to the same grounding block i bought that will be installed in the trunk next to the second battery. I need a 2000 watts rms amp (need suggestions) for my orion hcca 104 sub rated at 2000 watts rms and 4000 watts peak. When i talk of burp i was using internet term for the peak draw of the amplifier during the heavy bass notes. From my research a 2000 watt rms amp needs a 200 anl fuse (why i chose that number) so assuming that during the heaviest bass notes it will draw less than 200 amp but close. I figured the second battery can supply normal power to the amp while constantly re

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/31/2016

    Mike, I'm not at all clear on what you're intending on doing with 1/0-gauge and 4-gauge wiring between a couple batteries and an amplifier. And a system made to play bass burps will have a vastly higher power demand than one designed to play music. But I can say your output figures are way off. An amplifier's power supply draws high current (amperes) from a low voltage source (12-14 volts) in order to produce its high power (watts). Amplifiers output high wattages through low impedance loads at high voltage and low current. For instance, in order for an 80% efficient Class D amplifier to put out 2000 watts RMS, it must draw 2500 watts from the source at 14 DC volts, and 178.6 amperes of current. That amplifier, putting out 2000 watts RMS through a 2-ohm sub, will be sending 31.6 amperes of current at 63.2 volts AC. 12-gauge wire will work fine in this case, but if you're worried about power loss through such a short piece of speaker wire (from amp to sub couldn't be that long), then you can step up to 10-gauge speaker wire, which Crutchfield carries.

  • Mike from Deland

    Posted on 8/31/2016

    Sorry had one other question. At a burp of 190 amp draw figure (from what i understand) the average amplifier is only about 62% eff. That means my amp will send my sub up to about 120 amps of power. Everyone says that 12 guage speaker wire is all i need but according to the crutchfield chart at up to 4' in length i should need 8 guage wire not 12. What do i really need research on this side of the amp seems non existent. And should i fuse protect my factory stereo remote wire (i was planning to with a 5amp buss fuse and holder) and is that a good size fuse.

  • Mike from Deland

    Posted on 8/31/2016

    I know that i need to install it first to really determine, but i wanted to get your opinion on my build as it will take a couple weeks to get everything and install it. 2015 Infiniti q50 sedan. Alternator 150 amp. I plan to run 1 x 10" orion hcca 104 dual 4 ohm voice coil sub. Plan to wire in series to 2ohm load rated at 2000 watts rms that way. I plan to run an amp that puts out 2000 watt rms @ 2 ohm. Got the wire kit 4 guage from factory battery to new 90 ah 270 rc battery in trunk. Plan to anl 100 amp fuse at both batteries. 1/0 guage power to amp with 200 amp anl near battery and 1/0 guage ground next to trunk battery. Leaving factory wireing alone. Based on my research I'm thinking I'm going to be properly fused as well as only using 2/3 if what that configuration can put out. ((2000w rms/13.8)/3 average duty cycles) is a recharge load to trunk battery of 48.3 amps. With the 4 guage and 100 amp anls from front battery to trunk battery gives me double that for burp needs. With the amp needing a 200 amp anl i figure 90ah for constant and the 100 from the recharge line from front battery should be perfect for amp burp under 200 anl fuse. If it matters I'm ordering a custom fatbox usa box for the sub. Do you agree/like my plan or let me know if I'm off on anything. I've got the sub and box ordered already and wireing anl fuses and fuse blocks in hand but returnable if needed Also any recommendations for amps trying not to overspend on the amp.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/29/2016

    Jani, Although a voltage drop to 13.8 volts shouldn't damage any equipment, it sounds like you'd benefit by (in ascending order of expense) installing a capacitor, a second battery, or a higher-output alternator.

  • Jani

    Posted on 8/28/2016

    My headlights are still dimming, after trying many steps to fix it. I have done the big three upgrade, bought a new battery and checked all the connections. My stock alt is 150A and my amp is 1,5kw rms. Using a DMM i have measured voltage drop from 14,2V to 13,8V during heavy bass and headlights are dimming. Is this dangerous and what should i try next to get rid of dimming? Second battery or capacitor? And yeah, i'm running 2 gauge full copper wires to power up my amp and grounds

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/24/2016

    Jeff, I believe the meter you're referring to is a volt meter, not an amp meter. Ordinarily a 500-watt amplifier shouldn't cause as large a voltage drop as you report. When you turn off the amplifier does the voltage go back up? Maybe it has a loose ground or power connection.

  • Jeff from Bristol

    Posted on 8/23/2016

    I just had 2 shallow mount pioneer subs and a 500 watt alpine mono amp installed. 4 gauge wire was used. Truck is a brand new 16 gsm sierra. I noticed that now I'm running at 12.5 amp and prior to my install the truck was at 14amp. I would think that the 150amp alternator should be more than enough but the truck does have all sorts of bells and whistles (lane departure, nav, valve shut off, rear cam, front and rear parking sensors). It foes have a slot for a second battery under the hood. Was thinking about adding that in or a capacitor but havent heard good things on capacitors.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/18/2016

    Daniel, First of all, check to see if the amp is wired correctly so that it turns itself off when the car is off. If not, you'll need to wire the remote turn-on lead correctly to a switched source of power. Before upgrading anything, I think you should take your vehicle to a battery expert and have them check the electrical system. It could be you need a new battery. If that checks out okay, your next step would be to make sure the amp is the culprit by turning it off (unplug its fuse) and see if the battery holds its charge or not. After determining that the amp is indeed the cause of the battery drain, then you can proceed with adding a second battery or upgrading the alternator.

  • Daniel from AURORA

    Posted on 8/18/2016

    I have a 2013 dodge charger r/t with the beats audio and the beats subwoofer, I had the beats subwoofer disconnected and had my 2 10" Pioneer 1000rms watts with a 1500 watt amp hooked up to the stock touch screen radio and stock electrical system and the battery won't stay charged. Would upgrading the alternator solve this problem?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/18/2016

    Aaron, If you think you need a Big Three upgrade and two batteries wired in parallel but don't know how to wire them, you should take your gear to a professional auto sound installer and pay for a proper installation.

  • AaronRene from San Antonio

    Posted on 8/17/2016

    I currently have two Q class 15' L7s Two Ct Sounds 1400.1 amplifiers Two yellow top batteries 1 1800 krank it up battery I would like to do the big three as well as have both batteries wired in parallel i have dual trays in my truck so I can have both batteries in the front are there any suggestions or recommendations on what I will need or how to wire properly?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/12/2016

    Dan, If, after installing your amplifier, you experience light-dimming you can proceed as this article describes, by first checking the ground and power connections and the battery. After confirming that they are all good, then you can plan on adding a capacitor, or a battery, doing the Big Three, or upgrading the alternator.

  • Dan from Sandpoint

    Posted on 8/11/2016

    I'm hooking up a planet audio ac5000.1d monoblock amp to a couple of mofo 15s 2 ohms. the amp i believe is rated at 2500 rms @ 2 ohms. I would imagine that kind of pull on a stock electrical sytem in any vehicle will have your lights dimming. I drive a 99 expedition so Im wondering if you would recommend the big 3 an a HO alternator? Also I have a standard battery from Les Schwab under the hood so will I need to upgrade that?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/4/2016

    Thomas, Alpine makes two models of 10" Type R subs - DVC 2-ohm and DVC 4-ohm. It sounds like you have yours wired together forming a low impedance load and the amp's protecting itself from that condition before damage occurs. These links show the proper wiring for two DVC 4-ohm subs and two DVC 2-ohm subs using that amplifier. As long as the amp uses 4-gauge power and ground wires, it should get all the power it needs.

  • Thomas Harding Jr from Eau Claire

    Posted on 8/4/2016

    I have a kicker 43cxa1200.1 mono amp which runs at 1200 RMS and I have it powering my one Alpine type R 10" sub and that is rated at 1000 RMS. I haven't done anything with upgrades on my battery or anything. I'm having issues with my amp going into short circuit protection mode and shutting down whenever I try to turn up the volume. So my amp isn't getting enough power. What would you recommend I do? Battery cell? Capacitor?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/25/2016

    Charles, You sure do have a lot of electrical equipment in that little car, it's no surprise there's some noise and distortion. If you bought any of your gear from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number would be on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Charles from long beach

    Posted on 5/24/2016

    Hi Buck, heres my system. 1997 mazda miata (i think it has a 60A alternator stock!) running a pioneer DEH-P4200UB headunit which is driving 4 pyle 3.5" coaxial headrest speakers, a pioneer GM-D1004 amp (in 2x90w config) powering my polk audio DB 6501 door speakers. i have 4 dayton TT25-16 bass shakers installed in my seat powered by a BOSS RT1002 putting out 2x25w. i have a pioneer 10" sub in a sealed box (TS-W256C) powered by nanostream PN1-450D putting out maybe 250w. I have upgraded the lights, stock is 55w low beam 60w high, mine are 60w low, 100w high. added oem foglights that are 55w each, but have 100w bulbs sitting on counter. my system started making a high pitch whine, rpm dependent when i added the bass shakers, ive started improving the grounds, but so far no improvement. the battery is in the trunk and very close to the bass amps. planning on adding a ground cable from battery to chassis by just adding jumper cables and seeing if that helps. same plan for the engine ground. but the cable from the alternator to the battery is likely more work than im willing to invest. the other night i was running the system hard w/ the lights on, it started making crackling distortion sounds, i turned the lights off and turned the volume down a bit and the distortion disappeared. i fear my alternator was struggling , and my battery is quite small and puny, and not new. i want to add the dayton RSS265HO-44, amp at 450w@2R, but am afraid my car cant handle it. HE

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/29/2016

    Rafal, A DVC 4-ohm sub normally gets wired to a mono amp like this diagram.

  • Rafal from Barnsley

    Posted on 4/28/2016

    Hi could you help me out, ive got a mono amp which produces 600rms at 2 ohm and sub 600 rms which is dvc and have 4 ohm independence what would be the best connection?

  • Dev from Silver Springs

    Posted on 4/12/2016

    I have a 2009 Nissan Sentra with a stock 110 Amp Alt. I had a 2000w rms amp @ 1 ohm and a 100w rms X 4 @ 4 ohm amp hooked up, and experienced voltage drops into the low 11's. Since then, upgraded to an AGM battery and also did the big 3. I removed my sub amp and only ran the interior speakers for a while, and my voltage never dropped below 14.2. I have a deka group 31 agm I can run in parallel to my starting battery, and then run my subs, but I'm not sure if that will strain my alternator too much.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/23/2016

    Chris, It sounds to me that your receiver powering off on bass hits could be due to loose power or ground wiring being shaken by the bass vibrations. Check the wiring first - that amplifier shouldn't stress your electrical system at all. If you bought your amp from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number would be on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • chris howell from Oakridge

    Posted on 3/23/2016

    Ive got a 2001 dakota that iv installed a 250 amp alternator pioneer head unit 1000 watt soundstorm 2 ch amplifier a 2 farade capacitor and a single infinity 8 in sub. The only thing my amp is hooked up to is my sub. Every time my bass hits if I have the sound turned up the head unit dies. I haven't noticed any head light dim what do you think would be causing the problem

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/14/2016

    Christian, If you play continuous bass tones or bass-heavy EDM, you'd probably need to implement some of the suggestions this article makes to alleviate headlight-dimming. But if you're just listening to music, you may find you don't need any electrical upgrades at all. On average, musical programming demands maximum power only for about one-third of the time. What this means in your case is that the amplifier may try and draw 90 amps from the car's electrical system, but only for the small amount of time it takes for the bass note to play. It would probably be best if you wait until after your amp is installed to see if your electrical system needs upgrading or not.

  • Cristian G from San Marcos TX

    Posted on 3/12/2016

    I have a 2014 Volkswagen jetta tdi. I do not have the fender audio package nor the CD changer. I believe my alternator is rated at 140 but I'm not positive on that. I plan to install a kenwood KDC 9106D amp (I believe this is 1000 rms) with two jl 12'' w3v4 subs (I believe these are 500 rms each). My question is can my stock alternator handle the draw from my subs without impeding on my vehicles electrical system? Do you recommend getting a ho alternator? Or possibly performing the big three? Please share your thoughts. Thank you, -Cristian

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/7/2016

    Jay, There's really no way of knowing whether or not a specific addition will solve a problem that doesn't yet exist. You may find that those amplifiers won't tax your car's electrical system. But if your lights do dim on big bass hits, adding a second battery will certainly help.

  • Jay from Phoenix

    Posted on 3/7/2016

    I have a 2011 Honda Accord , I will be running two- amps Sundown SCV-2000d and An old Rockford fosgate 450.4 I'm also running an American Bass XFL 1244 rated 1000RMS 2000 Max right now at this moment I cant afford an HO alternator but I could probably by two deep cycle batteries .. would this be sufficient without encountering any issues at least for a while ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/29/2016

    Joe, A 450 watts RMS amplifier wouldn't ordinarily cause light-dimming unless the car's alternator was very small or the amp's wiring needed a repair or upgrade. I'd check your battery and wiring first, like this article says, and see if that eliminates the problem. If you bought your gear at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Joe H from Preston

    Posted on 2/26/2016

    Hi, I have a 400W RMS subwoofer pushed by a 450W RMS amplifier. I was going to also wire my 4 aftermarket door speakers to an amp to push 50W RMS to each speaker but my headlights are already dimming when I turn up the amp a little. My speakers start to distort just below the volume I would like. This is my reason for adding the 4 channel amplifier. I also have a 2 Farad capacitor to the amp that powers the sub but it didn't seem to help that much. I've seen voltages up to 15.5V; I'm not sure what that means. Usually it will be around 14.5V until I turn the engine off. My question is, what would be the best thing to do in my situation to stop the headlights dimming so that I can comfortably add the second amplifier to power my speakers. Thanks

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/23/2016

    Derrick, It would probably be best if you wait until after your amp is installed to see if your electrical system needs upgrading with a capacitor or HO alternator. Most vehicles will handle a 750 watts RMS amplifier without needing any reinforcement.

  • Derrick from Houston

    Posted on 2/22/2016

    Hello, I plan to run 1 sundown 8" x8 subwoofer with 750 rms at 1 ohm, and an amp that powers 750 rms at 1 ohm... I already have 0 gauge power wire running from battery to rear, would I need a capacitor or HO alternator for this setup?Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/8/2016

    Storm, If your headlights dim along with your music when idling but not when running, you will probably benefit better by adding a capacitor or a second battery than with upgrading the alternator. A high-output alternator doesn't produce much more current than a stock alternator at idling speed anyway.

  • storm eiserman from belleview

    Posted on 2/7/2016

    Hi, i have a few questions.. i have an 87 caprise classic.. i have 2 12" jl w3s running on a jl 1000v2 and i have a tma 400 4 channel runnin 4 6x9s. The batter i have is an optima yellow top. My problem is that my headlights dim a good bit when im at idle.. i been lookin at gettin a 220 amp alternator but its a one wire that can be ran with the 3 wire setup.. what kinda upgrades should i do to keep my system fully charged at all times

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/4/2016

    Francisco, It sounds like when you're accelerating, the HO alternator sends out too much voltage for your amplifiers and they cut out for protection. A Big Three, additional fusing, or a second battery probably won't solve this issue. I suggest taking your vehicle in to whoever installed the new alternator, explain the problem, and ask them to test it to see if additional circuitry is needed to regulate the alternator's output voltage.

  • Francisco from National City

    Posted on 2/4/2016

    I was having issues with light dimming so I upgraded to a HO alternator but now my audio cuts of for about 2-3 Seconds then comes back, its always when I accelerate from a stop. My question is do I need a big 3 upgrade to help fix the problem? Or do I need a secondary battery? Or both?? Or should I just add a fuse to my existing electrical system (alternator to battery line)?? I have 1 12" kicker L7 dual 2ohm, with Rockford Fosgate 1000.1 Infinty kappa component speakers in front and infinity 2 ways in back, with Kenwood KAC-8452 800w 4ch.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/2/2016

    Brian, Before trading your DVC 2-ohm sub away, you may want to try wiring it to the amp like this and see if that doesn't tame your current draw a bit. It will be difficult with that powerful amplifier, but if you set the gain low enough it may not overwhelm your car's electrical system anymore. If that doesn't help, you may need to get a second battery or a new high-output alternator in order to run that amplifier.

  • Brian from Seattle

    Posted on 2/2/2016


  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/1/2016

    Joseph, This article is supposed to help troubleshoot light-dimming, but it sounds like your amp cuts out for similar reasons - 2400 watts RMS is a lot of power for any vehicle's electrical system to try and support. If you've already gone through all the steps this article lays out, starting with checking all power and ground cable connections, then you may need to install a second battery or a new high-output alternator.

  • Joseph Patrick from

    Posted on 2/1/2016

    07 tahoe, jbl gto 24001 amp on subs, amp cuts out at high power. Amp has dual 0 gauge to battery with 300amp fuse on each cable. I have carquest AGM(all glass mat) yellow top battery.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/25/2016

    Jason, It doesn't matter what wattage ratings your subs have, it's your amplifier's current draw that will affect the electrical system. If your amp is actually an SQ1150M, then it should not outdraw your car's electrical system. If you're unsatisfied with the way your installers are handling the situation, you can either take it to another installer or check out the system yourself. Start, like this article say, with the power and ground wiring, making sure everything is tight, secure, and with no loose strands or paint interfering with current flow. Even a 6-month old battery could have problems, so don't forget to have that checked as well.

  • Jason Ledbetter from Lubbock Texas

    Posted on 1/25/2016

    I have a question. I have a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan sxt? with the 3.8 v6. 6 month old battery. My door and dash speakers are factory, un-amped. I had some subwoofers installed a few months ago, and my headlights dim constantly. Amp is American Bass Sq 1550? I believe. The subs are cerwin vega he'd 10s. Rms is like 150 a piece so I would think this is a very mild power subwoofer system, although they can get pretty loud in my van. Even at lower volumes, with mild bass hits, the lights dim significantly and it's driving me nuts and it can't be good for my van. I am a bass head of sorts, and want to get louder and heavier bass in the near future but can't even listen to it now cause I look like a goofus with diminished headlights. The shop that installed them keeps talking about capiciters and batteries. I don't want caps and extra batteries for a 300 rms system. That sounds rediculous to me at 400 bucks for something I don't see really working. I'm thinking big three wiring, and high output alternator. Got a quote for 300.00 for a 170 amp highoutput, and 400.00 for a 250 amp. Both spec at full output at 1800-2000 rpms with a 2 year warranty. Am I thinking right? Or am I thinking non-sense? And listen to the capiciters talk. Thanks a bunch!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/18/2016

    Kenny, I can find no specific specs on those amplifiers, but if the RMS ratings you quote are correct, the power wiring needs upgrading. The two amplifiers together will require a 1/0-gauge wire from battery to distribution block. And the 1000-watt amp will need 4-gauge power and ground, while the 4-channel can do with 8-gauge or even 10-gauge, for the short runs. This upgrade will allow the amps to draw more power from the electrical system than they do now, so you may experience even more light-dimming. Then you can go through the steps outlined in the article: Big Three, second battery, capacitor, or high-output alternator.

  • Kenny from Camino

    Posted on 1/17/2016

    Hello, So I was curious if I need any electrical upgrades at all based on my situation. My setup: Napa legend premium battery 4 ga. amp wiring kit going to 1000W RMS 8 ga. amp wiring kit going to 45W X 4 RMS The 1000W RMS amp powers a 15" 1000W The 45W X 4 amp powers 2-6x9's & 2-6 1/2 My situation: So everything that I described above sounds and works amazingly except for the times when I really want to crank the gain up on my 1000W amp to power the 15" sub louder and before I can even hear distortion coming from the sub (it's a very strong well built NVX sub) it sounds like the amp & sub gets starved of power, likes its hungry for more but can't get it. Also at that same time that's happening the lights do dim very slightly even with the car running. So that's my situation and my question is do I need to do anything electrical wise to be able to crank the gain on my amp when I feel like it and have it not seem like it's hungry for more power? Just to clarify, it's a NVX 1000W RMS amp and a NVX 1000W RMS 15" sub. Thanks in advance!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/11/2016

    Cody, I suspect that 3,500 watt spec is a peak, not an RMS rating, and therefore useless for planning out a system. Most car electrical systems offer about 50% of their alternator's power for non-automotive, aftermarket devices. This means that you may have up to 60 amperes available, which would easily handle a 450 watts RMS Class AB amplifier or a 600 watts RMS Class D amp. Most stock electrical systems can take a 750 or even a 1000 watts RMS amp without an upgrade because the amp doesn't try to pull full power all the time when playing music. Electricity travels so quickly that it really doesn't matter too much where you mount a second battery, although most people feel that they do the most good near to the amp that uses the most power. I'd wait to do the Big Three until I see evidence of poor current flow, like headlight-dimming.

  • Cody from Naples

    Posted on 1/11/2016

    i have a 1999 Chevy truck with a V8 motor so the alternator puts out about 120 amps, my friend sold me his 18" subs with a 3,500 watt amp. How can I get these fully powered without the amp going into protection mode? How big of an alternator should I go with? Is 270 amps enough or do i need 300 amps? I also have a second battery tray in the hood compartment, can i just get two new yellow top optimas and put both batteries up front or does the second need to be by the amp? Do I need the big 3 wiring kit?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/6/2016

    Jesus, As far as I know, all aftermarket receivers have an on/off button, often marked as a "source" button. If yours doesn't work, it may mean that the receiver's constant power and switched power wires were mixed up during installation. This could be a reason the battery drained. If everything's hooked up correctly, and you have a new battery, and still experience light-dimming, then you should follow the steps in the article by re-checking or upgrading the wiring, adding a capacitor or second battery, or getting a high-output alternator.

  • Jesus Rojas from Estes Park

    Posted on 1/5/2016

    Hi, my battery died today and after a jump start it seemed as the battery didn't have enough juice. I noticed the positive battery terminal was loose and when tightening it broke. Replaced the battery terminal and had to jumpstart the car every time to start the car. I have an aftermarket stereo that does not have a power button so the screen stays completely on until the cars turned off. I also have a kicker sound system with one kicker amplifier 1200 watts on the 2004 Acura TSX. I have experienced lights dimming when the music is playing. I only play the music when the car is on. I replaced the battery. And car works like new. I disconnected the subwoofer for now. Do you think I should make some electrical upgrades so that the cars power can work well with the sound system and and after market stereo? What's the best option for dimming lights?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/4/2016

    Spencer, If, after installing all your amplifiers, you experience light-dimming when your music hits, you can go through the steps delineated in the article to solve it. Check the wiring, then add a battery or high-output alternator if the problem persists.

  • spencer

    Posted on 1/2/2016

    I currently have 2, 12 inch subs. They use 1000 watts rms of power, was thinking of getting door speakers, and adding another 500 watts rms to my system, i think i will need some sort of upgrade, which is the best option between 2nd battery, better wires or new alternator, i have a 2003 mazda tribute

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/28/2015

    Shay, You didn't say how large your new alternator will be so it's impossible to say whether or not those amplifiers might overwhelm it after they're all installed. I suggest you wait until your system is installed and exhibits light-dimming before adding a second battery or a capacitor.

  • Shay from Telford

    Posted on 12/26/2015

    Hello. I have a question for you. I have 2 JL 1000/1 amps and 2 JL 300/4 amps. The 4 channel amps will have their channels bridged to power my 8 6.5 inch alpine type R speakers while my 2 JL 1000/1 amps will power my 2 12inch JLW7's. I am currently waiting for this alternator to come in the mail and have already upgraded my battery, chassis and alternator ground wires to 0 gauge. I also plan on running the ground wires for the amps back up to the negative post on the battery to help transfer more power from the front of the vehicle to the rear (JL and a competition stereo experts advice). My question for you is, what kind of spare battery would be best and how many should I get? Should I get a capacitor as well? Anything else I should look into before I have my system installed? Thank you for your response in advance. Merry Christmas!!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/21/2015

    David, Like this article describes, start by checking the ground and power connections and the battery. After confirming that they are all good, then you can proceed by adding a capacitor, or a battery, doing the Big Three, or upgrading the alternator.

  • David from Slidell,LA

    Posted on 12/20/2015

    I have 12" Mtx with 400w rms I have its powered by a 1200w kicker mono class d amp with its powered with 4g wire and 16g speaker wire. My alternator is around 120-130 amps and the lights dim slightly when the volume is around max. Should I retune the amp or looking in to a capacitor

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/15/2015

    Ronald, You don't need to do anything beyond installing your gear and rocking out. If you then experience headlight-dimming when the bass hits hard, then you should proceed through the steps this article lays out to solve that issue. You shouldn't try to solve a problem that doesn't yet exist.

  • Ronald from Portland

    Posted on 12/14/2015

    I have a 99 civic coupe and I'm putting two 12" re audio dvc 4 ohm 750w rms each to a polk audio pd1000.1 which at 1ohm will put out 1200rms so my system will be about 1200rms I am going to do the big three and wire all thick gauge wire what else will I need ? Or what all should I need

  • Dillon Jones from La Verne

    Posted on 12/10/2015

    Hey Buck, I'm thoroughly impressed and give my highest respect toward your devotion to answering everybody's questions. You make Crutchfield look good.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/9/2015

    Brandon, Your first step would be to find out if your dry cell battery is appropriate for automotive use and check that it's working properly. Another thing to do would be for you to disconnect your audio system's power (pull the fuse) and see if the alternator can then charge the battery fully. If you really can't upgrade the alternator (I'd get a second opinion on that) then you may have to add a second battery or even a second alternator in order to successfully run your audio system.

  • Brandon from Pensacola

    Posted on 12/2/2015

    Hey I see you actually respond to people and I was wondering if you could help me out. In my '09 Nissan Altima, I have 2 amps: a class D Hifonics ZRX 3000.1 and a Hifonics 1400 4-channel amp. The sub is a Kicker L7 12 inch. Head unit is JVC AV61BT and I replaced the door speakers with Pioneers that can handle more than stock speakers. I replaced the battery with a dry cell battery But for whatever reason, my battery is down to 33% and I've only had it for about 6 months. I've been told that my alternator can't keep up with recharging the battery. But they also said that replacing the alternator wouldnt be feasible. Is that true? What should I do?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/23/2015

    Adam, Not knowing the rating of your vehicle's alternator makes it impossible to predict whether that aftermarket system will strain it or not. If I correctly understand what amplifiers you have and how you intend to hook them up, they are capable of putting out a total of 1300 watts RMS when playing together at their loudest level. At that point, they would be trying to draw 118 amperes from the electrical system. Fortunately music doesn't demand full power all the time - we figure on a "duty-cycle" for music of one-third. So, in your case, the system would need about 39 amperes all the time. If your car's alternator is rated for 80-amps or more, it will probably handle the system okay. If your alternator is smaller than that, you'll probably need to upgrade the electrical system with a second battery, a capacitor, or the Big Three.

  • Adam from Louisiana

    Posted on 11/20/2015

    Good Day I recently purchased Alpine SPR 60C 330watts max @110RMS per speaker for Front and Rear Door Speakers Alpine SPR 60 Coaxial 2-way @100watts RMS per speaker with an Alpine PDX F4 4channel amp at 400watts RMS. I also purchased a single Alpine SWR-12D4 subwoofer 3000watts max power @1000watts RMS along with a Hifonics Brutus 1500W Mono Amp. I haven't installed the system as yet because i was wondering if I should upgrade my Big 3 wiring and/or add a capacitor/battery to my car. I don't want my headlights and lights to be dimming if i install this system.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/19/2015

    Morgen, I've forwarded your questions to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your vehicle. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Morgen from Milton

    Posted on 11/19/2015

    Thank you for the excellent write up, I am having issues getting ring terminals to do the big three. My alternator is a 200 amp ford 6g styled. I am having a hard time finding terminals that will fit the alternator and still support 2 awg wire. Do you have any suggestions on doing the big three on a ford ranger?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/5/2015

    Mike, After checking that the power wiring (you should be running 1/0-gauge wire from the battery to a distribution block) and ground connections are secure, and that your battery holds its charge correctly, then you may find that a second battery by the amplifiers will eliminate those electrical issues.

  • Michael Powell from Whippany

    Posted on 11/5/2015

    Hi, I have an 03 trailblazer . I running two jl audio 10w6 subs and 2 pairs of component speakers, top dash speakers . 3 jl audio slash amps .. 1200/1 v3 and 2 450/4 v1... I installed a 250 amp alternator and the big 3 kit.. I still get some head light dim but my bigger concern is when I play music with heavy bass the 2 450/4 amps cut out for a few seconds than come back on.. do you suggest a second battery is needed or other options ? Thanks - Mike

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/3/2015

    David, To power those subs, you should look for an amplifier that can put out from 1200 to 2500 watts RMS at 1 ohm. A good choice would be a Rockford Fosgate T1500-1bdCP, which would be able to put out 1500 watts RMS to your 1.5-ohm load - perfect for those subs.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/3/2015

    James, First, calculate your amplifier's current draw: take the total RMS wattage times 1.25 (inverse of Class D amplifier efficiency); divide by 13.8 volts (running car); equals the current draw in amperes That Kicker amplifier should be able to draw up to 91 amperes of current at maximum output. How often that occurs depends on the music you listen to. EDM, dub, and rap use more "duty cycle" time on bass hits than other forms of music like classic rock or country. For most applications, you can figure one-third of the maximum current draw will be needed on a constant basis. In your 1000-watt amplifier example, count on needing about 30 amperes of constant current. You then estimate to see if that much power is available from your stock electrical system by dividing the current rating (amperes or "amps") of your alternator by 2. For example, if your Sentra has an 80-amp alternator, 40 amps are available for aftermarket equipment and your 30-amp system demand will be easily served.

  • David Prillaman from Newport News

    Posted on 11/2/2015

    Buck, i have two jbl w12's. Dvc 6ohm 4000w 750w rms. I am planning to wire the two parallel which will make it 1.5 ohm as i read on their site. I have been asking around local audio store and it seems nobody has any similar views. One guy said 6 ohms is odd and that if i dont get the right amp i could fry my subs. What should my amp specs be and will my 88 bronco be able to handle them? Thanks -Dave

  • James from Miami

    Posted on 11/2/2015

    Is there any calculations I can make ? So I won't have to buy the big 3 or a high put alternator ? With my 2015 Sentra I have a 600 rms system that's the kicker comps and kicker amp with the 2 farad capacitor in which it works perfectly fine , but I asked several people from crutchfield that I should be fine with a capacitor if I have a system of 1000 rms watts , so it should be 400 rms watts more Imma add to my upgrade if I was to get the dual 12 inch compr , I know it's a lot of power so the only way to know for sure is the dimming lights ? And if that happens a capacitor should help and I'm set ? I just wanna buy the loaded enclosure and the dxa1000.1 amp without having to worry of buying the big 3 or high put alternator since I'm in a budget and I don't want to damage my alternator either so yeah . Thank you for replying for my last question too

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/2/2015

    James, You won't know if you need an electrical upgrade until after installing your gear properly you experience light-dimming when the music hits hard. Only then should you try and solve the issue by installing a capacitor.

  • James from Miami

    Posted on 11/1/2015

    I'm planning to get a kicker dual 12 inch CompR and a kicker DXA1000.1 which in total will be 1000 rms , do I need to do any upgrades ? I'm told that I'm fine with a capacitor . I have a 2015 Sentra

  • Swampy from timbuktoo

    Posted on 10/28/2015

    @Buck Pomerantz: Thank you for your insight. It is greatly appreciated. You verified precisely what the master installer at my employer stated as well. I will look into the high output alternator. Thanks again.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/27/2015

    Swampy, If your power cable were to suffer a short, the 2-gauge wire would melt, burn, and possibly set your vehicle on fire before the 250-amp fuse would blow. For your safety, you should replace that fuse with a 200-, 150-, or even a 125-amp fuse. If, after confirming that your battery is fully functional and that all wiring and grounds are secure and tight, you still experience light-dimming, I suggest looking into adding a second battery or a high-output alternator. A Big Three upgrade or adding a capacitor wouldn't hurt, but by themselves probably won't do much to alleviate the issue.

  • Swampy from timbuktoo

    Posted on 10/27/2015

    Actually the amp wire was not the issue. I didn't state that clearly I appologise. It was the OEM front ends wire bundle that controls the headlights, turn signals, and clearance lights. Apparently the draw as so severe with the heavy draw of the amp and sub that it caused a low voltage situation on the OEM wire bundle, basically starved the front end of the vehicles electrical connections. I am running TSpec 2ga power and ground wire to the amp with a 250 fuse. Was considering doing the alt, battery power lines into 2ga, all connections at the alt and ground are secure, it is a older car with a lot of electronics that are 25 years out dated by current vehicle designs. The amp has 4 40 amp fuses, it as well is not a efficient amp, mostly just a sledge hammer power amp versus lets say like a ARC 1000 amp. The question is since the working theory was a power draw/starvation on the OEM electrical system issue, would the three new 2ga wiring be enough or should i also put in a cap/battery as well? Or any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/26/2015

    Swampy, Before upgrading your alternator's wiring, you need to address why your amplifier wiring caught fire. Just running an amplifier hard should not cause a short circuit. Check your wiring for loose connections or stray conductors. Perhaps the power wire and fuse aren't appropriate for the amp. I'm not familiar with that amp, but according to what I can find out online about it, it needs 2-gauge power and ground wires with a 125- or 150-amp inline fuse near the battery.

  • Swampy from timbuktoo

    Posted on 10/26/2015

    I am running a Merlin Meam 3000 mono block 1 ohm stable. To a Merlin 12" M7 1100rms in parallel. I do some sound demo with the vehicle but rarely since merlin is no longer manufactured. The thing is I had zero dimming issues until i ran heavy load on the system with headlights and such which caused the primary front harness short poof caught fire. 90amp OEM alt, after the short i am seeing dimming which i had minor/zero issues with before. Though the amperage is low still costly, i was thinking of upgrading the positive and chassis ground on the alternator to 1 gauge all around would you recommend this or any other suggestions.

  • Mitch from Cape Town

    Posted on 10/18/2015

    Hi sorry. In RMS each sub is 1000w RMS and the monoblock amp is 2000w RMS. Ground cables are all stable. Everything is good until i play my music above 12, thats without me tampering with the parametric. Car is rather small and considering removing the back seats to make room for another battery. Thanx for the feed back though. Much appreciated

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/16/2015

    Mitch, The first thing you should do is check to see if the power and ground cables for your amplifiers are adequate. I'm not familiar with that brand of amp, but I suspect those enormous power specs you quote are peak ratings, which are useless for planning a system. Find out your amplifiers' total RMS power rating and check out this article to see if your cables are large enough. After that, you could recheck the wiring again, check the battery, upgrade your wiring, replace the alternator, or add a second battery. Unfortunately there's no one correct solution to this problem, especially with a large system in a small vehicle.

  • Mitch from Cape Town

    Posted on 10/15/2015

    I have a Citroen C2 with 2x 10" dVC 40ohmTarga 6000watt subwoofers and a 11000watt Targa MonoBlock amplifier and a 500watt 4channel amp for my mids. Any volume above 12 and my headlights get a serious dim. Mind you its an old model car. Upgrade battery and alternator i suppose? What you think?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/13/2015

    Ryan, That amplifier calls for 4-gauge power and ground wiring.

  • Ryan from Rockford

    Posted on 10/12/2015

    Hi. I was wondering if I should go with 4ga wire or 0ga wire with my hifonics brx 1100.1 it's 800w rms @ 2ohm a 1100w rms @ 1ohm. I have it wires at 2 ohm on a kicker 15 inch l7.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/29/2015

    Wyatt, The Kenwood KAC-929 amp can put out up to 460 watts RMS when bridged to a 4-ohm load, which shouldn't distress your electrical system. But if your vehicle's voltage gauge (not amperage) shows the voltage drop below 10 volts when attempting to play music, something's wrong. Having the battery checked is a starting point. It sounds to me that your subs may be wired so that the amp has been presented with an impedance it can't handle and protects itself rather than burn up.

  • Wyatt Black from gastonia

    Posted on 9/29/2015

    I have a 2001 tahoe I have 1000 watt kenwood kac 929 i believe and 2 12 inch subs. When playing at normal levels everything is fine but when i turn it up my headlights dim and my dash lights dim. Also my amperage guage is car goes back and forth with the neat from 14 all the way to 9. When ot starts to dip down my amp goes into protection mode. Ik my battery is more then 4 years old. Do you believe it is battery because i know alot people which same amount of power and 1000 watt amps that dont have this problem with stock altinators

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/27/2015

    Aedan, I wouldn't have thought those amplifiers could overwhelm your vehicle's electrical system. I'd recheck the wiring and especially check your battery to see if it needs servicing or replacing. While doing the Big Three improves current flow, and that's always a good thing, the best way to provide more power to your system is with a second battery or a high-output alternator.

  • Aedan from magnolia, de

    Posted on 9/25/2015

    i have a 2010 Toyota Corolla with stock alt(100a) and battery. I just bought a new batt. My speakers total 200-250rms and I have a JL audio(50x4) amp for them. Then I have two 12" rockford p2s totaling 800RMS and a hifonics Brutus 1100.1d amp... When I had the hifonics wired @4ohms I had no light dimming but now I have it @1ohm and it's horrible... I've checked all my wires and grounds, so I know my next step is the "big 3"... I was just wondering if you thought the big 3 would stop the dimming, or if I will have to buy a 2nd battery too. (Because if so, I'd rather just order everything online at once)... Just looking for a professional opinion. Thanks in advance!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/19/2015

    Graham, The Big Three improves power flow, but does not add power to an electrical system that needs upgrading. The only ways to add power are putting in a second battery and getting a high-output alternator.

  • Graham from Sylva

    Posted on 9/18/2015

    I currently have a 96 landcruiser with a stock alternator putting out around 80 amps running a 75x4 mb quart and a kicker 600.1 running a jl w6 and i am considering adding 2 more jl w3 8s I found a rockford Fosgate that puts out around 500 watts to a single channel should i consider upgrading the big three? I would like to avoid buying a new alternator if possible because they aren't exactly cheap

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/14/2015

    Eric and Jon, I don't think either of you will have a problem adding your gear to your factory systems. However, if you like to play music with loud and long bass bursts that suck up a lot of power, then you may find you will need to upgrade your wiring, battery, or alternator.

  • Jon from Clearwater

    Posted on 9/13/2015

    Hi, I have a 2001 Toyota Corolla with the stock 80A alternator. Currently, I'm running a Jensen 75w x 4 4 channel, Class AB amp to 4 Kicker KS Series speakers, each rated at 100W RMS. I plan on getting 2 10" Rockford subs rated at a combined 300W RMS, and pairing that with a Class AB 250W RMS Rockford amp. I'm worried on whether or not adding the subs & mono amp to my stock system will cause problems. If so, what kind of problems? I'm leaning towards a High Output Alternator, something like 150A or so. Any help would be appreciated!

  • Eric from Houston

    Posted on 9/13/2015

    I have a 2002 Firebird v6 and plan on getting two kicker 10" CVX rated at 800 rms each and plan on getting a kicker 2400W class D monoblock amp rated at 1200rms. Should i go ahead and get the big three upgrade as well as upgrading the alternator?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/10/2015

    Rassel, Ordinarily I advise waiting until light-dimming occurs before putting in a fix, but you're talking about trying to get a 3200-watt RMS output from a system in a small car. Even taking into account music's duty-cycle only asking for full power about one-third of the time, this would be asking for about 94 amperes from an electrical system that could supply maybe 75 (one-half the alternator's capacity). A second battery may help a little, but it sounds to me you'll need a higher-output alternator to take care of this large a system.

  • rassel from denver

    Posted on 9/9/2015

    Thanks a bunch for this article. I have 2008 Porsche 911Turbo ( Alternator 150amp,2100watts,12volt,70 ah battery...i think) . I plan to install One Orion Hcca 122 12" 2500rms watt@2 ohms & Orion 5000.1D 3600rms@2ohms .plus focal 165KRX3 100rms/each 3 way sys with JL HD600/4 ch amp. I really need to know do I need to change the Alternator or Just add a high performance battery or What? Mono Amp is 3600 rms but my One sub can take 2500rms so I need to set low gain on amp right?its a small car so space is issue too. please please help. thanks in advance .

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/8/2015

    Joseph, Adding capacitors and a second battery may help your audio system's power draw for short bursts of music, but for long-term supply, a high-output alternator will work best.

  • Joseph W. from Sacramento

    Posted on 9/7/2015

    So I have had a system in every car Ive owned but nothing over 1000 watts RMS. I have now a 91' Chevy Caprice Classic and I think I want to shoot for 2500 to 3000 RMS. I understand you believe in installing the system first and seeing how it acts but my last system had minor headlight dimming pushing 1000 RMS, sooooo Im pretty sure 2500 RMS will definetly do the same. My question is, should I just go along with what I have been doing and just add a couple capacitors? Or should i go strait to adding a second battery?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/2/2015

    Alec, Without knowing the specific amplifier you're referring to I can't say for sure, but I think bumping 2000 watts RMS will tax any car's electrical system beyond the capacity of the stock alternator. I'm sure there are some car audio dealerships or auto parts stores in your area who can help you find a high-output alternator.

  • Alec Reece from Daytona Beach, Fl

    Posted on 9/1/2015

    I have an Orion HCCA 10 inch sub. Dual 2 ohm voice coils wired in parallel to one ohm. 2000W RMS with 4000W nominal. I want to get an amp that does exactly that (2000Wrms, 4000W nominal.) It is labeled as a 4000W mono class D amp. My stock alternator puts out 150amps. I have not bought it yet in fear that i would have to buy this only for my system to not be able to handle it. I have looked for a high output alternator for my vehicle and cannot seem to find one anywhere. Please let me know your thoughts.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/31/2015

    Dirondi, If you're still having light-dimming issues even after installing a second battery, then I do think a higher-output alternator might help.

  • Dirondi Johnson from Saint George

    Posted on 8/31/2015

    The total wattage of my system will be about 3300 watts once I add the sun. I have a d2400 up front and a d3400 for the back and a battery isolator. Since only one battery will be discharged at a time due to the isolator, do I absolutely need a better alternator than my 120amp? I do not plan on playing my music with the car off but i was hoping that the isolated can help me get around the alternator change since I will be driving the entire time and charging both while only depleting one for the most part.

  • al from San Francisco

    Posted on 8/29/2015

    I have a rough estimate of 2000 rms sound system i want to run off a house battery in the trunk but would also like to replace my start battery so running 2 of the same battery 1 in front and 1 in back with A relay battery isolator how many ah do I need or can u recommend a specific battery thanks

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/28/2015

    Zack, Your amplifier may perform better supplied with 16 volts, the ignition system may be unaffected, but your vehicle's onboard computer will probably freak out and fry. Your receiver too. Manufacturers publish specs using inflated voltages so they can claim their products are louder than others. You should ignore such claims.

  • Zack Delgado from 253TACOMA WA

    Posted on 8/28/2015

    I recently got an Audiopipe APCL-3000.1 class d mono amp and will be running either 3 or 4 alpine typeR 12's dvc 4ohm. Now I have seen the bench test on this amp and it functions a lot better at 16volts now my 2003 f150 supercrew truck along with just about everyone else in Americas car electrical system runs between what 12 and 14 something volts. So my question is, I want to upgrade my charging system to a 16volt system, how do I do that? Is it expensive? What does it entail?. THANX

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/26/2015

    Colton, You won't be able to know whether or not you need a high-output alternator until after you install your amplifier and experience light-dimming with music.

  • Colton

    Posted on 8/26/2015

    i have a 2001 subaru outback im gonna put 2 pioneer champion pros in running 1200 rms will i need to get a bigger alternator

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/24/2015

    Reuben, This article is meant to explain to you what steps to go through to help eliminate light-dimming yourself. You start by ensuring that all the power and ground wiring is clean and secure and that the battery is good. Then you'd add products like a Big 3 upgrade kit or a capacitor. Only after that should you look into getting a high-output alternator or a second battery.

  • Reuben Perea from Glendale

    Posted on 8/23/2015

    Hello, My name is Reuben and I have a 2004 Acura TSX. I recently put in a 1400 watt Crunch amplifier running all 6 Infinity speakers that came standard in my car. I also have a 2500 watt Hifonic amplifier in my trunk pushing one 12" Rockford Fosgate subwoofer (uncertain of wattage) but now that I'm running both amplifiers all my lights in and out of the car are dimming. How would you recommend I fix this problem?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/20/2015

    Noah, When planning a system you should only consider RMS ratings, never peak specs. That amplifier's advertised ratings are 2000 watts RMS at 2 ohms and 2800 watts RMS at 1 ohm, but in my opinion, judging by its fuse complement, even those figures are exaggerated. I think you should go ahead and install your sub and amp and see if your truck's electrical system can take it before spending more money on a second battery and capacitor.

  • Noah Latour from Wilson

    Posted on 8/20/2015

    Quick question. I have a 2004 Chevy Silverado 1500 and I'm planning on putting in a orion hcca 15" subwoofer with a 4000 watt amp. If I were to add a second battery for the amp, and then on top of that, a capacitor. So a 15" sub, 4000 watt amp, second battery, and a capacitor. Think my vehicle will handle that pretty well? Amp: Planet Audio AC4000.1D ANARCHY 4000-watts Monoblock Class D 1 Channel 1 Ohm Stable Amplifier Capacitor: Planet Audio PC20F 20 Farad Capacitor Second battery: Kinetik HC600 BLU Series 600-Watt 12-Volt High Current AGM Car Audio Power Cell Battery

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/14/2015

    Anthony, Sorry, Crutchfield doesn't sell alternators. You should check with a local auto parts store for that.

  • Anthony Baca from Las Cruces New Mexic

    Posted on 8/14/2015

    I'm looking for a high output alternator for my 86 mazda b2000 do you have one that will work

  • Jeffrey Wright from Corpus christi

    Posted on 8/5/2015

    Pretty cool nice to know some of these things thanks alot..

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/31/2015

    Thomas, I think you should take your car back to your installer as soon as possible and politely point out the issues and give him a chance to correct any problems or suggest possible solutions.

  • Thomas rossiter from Oak forest

    Posted on 7/30/2015

    I have a 2009 Malibu that had a Bose system in and I got a jl 2 channel amp for a pair of jl audio 13 subwoffers and jl inside speakers with separate tweeters and a 400 watt amp hooked up to them hooked up to a clarion head unit with DVD and gps! My head lights dim when turned up loud to bass beat and amp sometimes shuts down and I'm getting crakling sounds from tweeters even when radio is off! 4 gauge wired was used and installed from qualifying installors! What do you think Is wrong?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/29/2015

    Alex, You didn't mention experiencing any headlight dimming when the music played before your alternator died, so maybe the amp had nothing to do with it failing. Did you ask your auto repairman what he thinks caused the alternator to fail? It was a 9-10 year old part. If after reconnecting your system you get light-dimming, then you'll know you need an electrical upgrade.

  • alex zakharov from United States

    Posted on 7/29/2015 i have a 2006 Hyundai Tucson. and got a hold of 2 12" sony explod woofers with a sony explod 1200 watt amp. everything was going great. until after about a year or so of blasting..the amp fried...(it was old ish). After that i got a Planet Audio 2400 watt 4 channel amp. and hooked it up to the woofers and it sounds amazing...but after short 4 months or so of alternator fried. so i got a new alternator installed..and before i hook up the woofers again, i wanted to ask what would be the best solution for my case...i still dont know much about woofers. as much as i want power...i want my alternator to have as least strain as possible. please help

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/21/2015

    Signar, First of all, I suspect those huge power ratings you quote are peak or maximum specifications, which are useless for planning out a sound system. Use RMS ratings only. Secondly, it sounds like you haven't installed this gear yet. I suggest you wait until after it's installed in your vehicle and after you start experiencing headlight dimming before you do any electrical system upgrades. There's no point in preparing to fix something that may not be broken. You may not even need a capacitor (kondensator) at all.

  • Signar from Kollafjordur

    Posted on 7/21/2015

    Hi. I just bought a new car system. And as it seems, you guys really know your stuff. So I would just like to know if I need a bigger kondensator, and if I really need to do The Big 3. Just whatever I need. With the lowest cost possible, but still get full effeciency from the car sound system, and not screw the electrical stuff up. What I got: Subwoofer 4000 watt (2400 max output). 2x amplifiers 4000 watt each. 1x amplifier 10.000 watt 6x car speakers 1000 watt each. 1x kondensator 2 farad. I think I must get a 4 farad kondensator? I was thinking of using the 10.000 amplifier and 1 amplifier 4000 watt. What do you guys think about this?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/15/2015

    Juancho, Like this diagram

  • juancho from nashua nh

    Posted on 7/15/2015

    quick question how would i wire 2 Alpine SWS-12D4 12" Dual-Voice-Coil 4-Ohm Subwoofer to a Rockford Fosgate PRIME R1000-1D its a Single-Channel Monoblock

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/15/2015

    Michael, The only way to find out if your battery is bad or not is to take it to a battery or auto parts store and have them test it. Making sure your batteries are good and the ground wiring secure are the first steps in eliminating light dimming. If you've already added a second battery and are still having dimming issues, perhaps a capacitor will help. But it sounds like, for the long term, you're going to need a higher output alternator.

  • Michael from Ocala

    Posted on 7/15/2015

    I have (2) 12's DB 2000 4ohms 2000 watts , krank it up fc-1200 battery for the amp and a OE mopar battery for the 2013 jeep grand cherokee laredo, amp (clif design CDX20A 3k to 4k watts) The 12 are dual coil and they were wired in series negative to negative and positive to positive Getting light dimming. it has been over a year since I used the krank it up battery for audio.. 1.) do you think the battery is bad or 2). should I be adding a 10 farad cap.. or would adding another battery by sufficient 3.) or checking the the ground

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/14/2015

    Nolan, I suggest you wait until after your amplifier and subwoofer are installed, and after you start experiencing headlight dimming before you do any electrical system upgrade. There's no point in preparing to fix something that may not be broken.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/14/2015

    Joey, If I understand, you have up to 2900 watts RMS going to subs, 150W going to two sets of speakers and 100W going to four more, for a total of 3600 watts RMS. At full power this system would need 522 amps of current. Even if we took into account a duty cycle for music of one-third, that would still mean you'd need 174 amps to run the audio system. Add in what it takes to run your car and you can see that a much larger (and expensive) alternator is called for in your situation.

  • Nolan from Arizona

    Posted on 7/13/2015

    I will be getting one Fi audio bl12" sub along with a CT sounds 1400.1 amplifier. I will be pushing 1500 watts rms. Anyways I drive a Honda Civic coupe 1.7L with a stock alternator and battery. I have already spent more money than I have and I'm trying to do this part as cheap as I can until I can do it right. I have a friend that is telling me I can get away with just buying a battery and a capacitor. But from all of the reading I've done, it seems like every single person has different opinions on it. If I don't upgrade my alternator and I just get the battery with a capacitor will the battery eventually die? What do you suggest I do?

  • joey

    Posted on 7/12/2015

    i have a soundstream goliath 6500 4 mtx 75 12 inch woofers a autotek 1200 watt amp n a power acoustic 2500 watt amp the autotek is running 2 american bass 6.5 n a two rockford f tweets the power acoustic is running 4 6.5 mtx n 2 horns i have a optima yellow top battery under hood and a optima blue top marine batrry in trunk stereo plays for a amount of time then the 6 speakers in front cut off and eventuly the subs and the highs in back just play i have a 150 amp altenator and all power and groind wires are 0 gauge would u suggest uppong the amps on alt or another optims marine or both system is in a 73 impala

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/6/2015

    Jason, So you're powering your subwoofers with about 4500 watts RMS - that's an enormous draw on any vehicle's electrical system. Do you have an amp for your full-range speakers also? I'm not sure there's any stock system that could support this. Make sure each of those sub amps has its own 1/0-gauge power wire to the battery. Make sure your two batteries are up-to-date and keep their charge. After that, I can only see upgrading your alternator as the solution. You'll have to go to an automobile shop for a recommendation on high-current alternators.

  • Jason from Salt lake city, UT

    Posted on 7/5/2015

    I have 2 jl w7 12 inch with a rockford fosgate amp t2500 and I have 4 15 kicker l7 2 ohms with a zx.11 2500 I do have a stock alternator . I have 2 batteries and one capacitor. My truck struggles to turn on at time I know my amps are using to much power out of the batteries. My question is what should I upgraded first? My battery or alternator. And what are some of the best brands out there ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/24/2015

    Justin, Yes, that is always a good thing to do.

  • justin bresnahan from United States

    Posted on 6/24/2015

    Do you leave the stock wire in place after doing the big 3 upgrade?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/18/2015

    Tyler, Do your headlights dim when the music plays loud? Or are your amplifiers going into protection mode without any light-dimming? Amplifiers go into protection mode for a number of reasons. Insufficient current flow due to a loose ground. Low voltage because of a weak battery. Trying to drive a load below its minimum impedance. Overheating due to being driven too loudly (gain set improperly). So, start by having your battery checked. Then ensure the ground connection is clean and tight. Reset the amp gains. Check the wiring to see if the amps are really driving loads they can handle. Only after all that checks out okay should you move on to the choices of putting in a second battery, doing the big three, or adding a capacitor.

  • Tyler

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    I have 2 10" Rockford P2 and 2 12" Rockford P2. The 2 10" are powered by a Rockford r-1000 and the 2 12" are powered by a Rockford r-1200. The 4 subwoofers are in one enclosure, but each subwoofer has its own compartment to where it is sealed off from the other subwoofers so it doesn't ruin them. They are wired correctly and to the correct ohm stability of each amp. Also, all connections are fine as well. My question is concerning that when they are turned up to a certain volume, they will shut off and come right back on when I turn the volume down a little. I know this is because they aren't getting enough volts for that certain note of sound. I am wondering what you suggest to get to prevent this from happening. Sometimes they will shut off when they are not even displacing close to what I know they are capable of. All connections are fine, and both amps have power to them. My power wire is 0 gauge going into a distribution block with 4 gauge going to each amp. I am wondering if you suggest getting a capacitor or the big 3 package? I have thought about ordering both, but didn't know exactly what I need. I am trying to avoid buying a high output alternator because they are so expensive. I really don't care if I can turn the volume up all the way because it can damage the subwoofers, your ears, etc. I am just wondering if either the capacitor, big 3 upgrade, or both would help.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/15/2015

    Daniel, Wiring the DVC 2-ohm subwoofer like this diagram will get 2000 watts RMS out of the amp. Wiring the DVC 4-ohm model like this will get 1600 watts RMS. Which do you like better: 1600 or 2000? As for the car's alternator, I'd say you'll probably need an upgrade - the amp will occasionally try to get up to 196 amperes from the system. Adding a capacitor alone will do very little to improve your electrical system's capacity.

  • Daniel from Chicago

    Posted on 6/14/2015

    2 Quick questions: I have a 2014 Dodge Charger SXT. I plan to install one (1) Orion HCCA154 15" Dual 4 ohm Competition HCCA Series Car Subwoofer w/ a Hifonics MT Olympus Hercules 4K 4,000w Mono Amplifier Competition Car Audio Amp. A.) Will i need to upgrade my car's alternator or can i get away with just installing a capacitor? Second Q: Would I be better off purchasing the ORION HCCA152 15" 4000 Watt Dual 2 Ohm Voice Coil Subwoofer HCCA-152 to go with that AMPLIFIER or will it even make a difference? Your expertise is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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