Capacitor VS. POWER Capacitor?

My alternator die in my car the other day so i got a new one in it and questioned the guy who put it in as to why it would have messed up and he said because of my audio system which is a Memphis Audio Sub in a huge box, a picture of it is here:

and a Prestige 800 watt amp with a pioneer dehp4600mp for the cd player. so i asked what could help with this problem in the future and he said a Power capacitor and i asked if thats the same thing as a capacitor but he said there 2 totally different things, that ones to help the battery and the others to help the alternator,is this true or does the man even know what he's talkin bout and where ONLINE can i get one if so

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A cap is only good so far as the audio system isn't trying to pull too much from the electrical system. A cap doesn't provide more power, it's designed to 'stiffen' the voltage to the amp, nothing esle. If the current isn't there, a cap won't help.

    If your total system power is 1000 watts RMS or more, you will need to:

    1. Upgrade the alternator to a high output alternator

    2. Upgrade to a heavy duty deep cycle battery

    3. Upgrade the "Big 3" - that is to replace the power wire between the battery and alternator, the ground from the battery to the chassis and the ground strap from the engine/tranny to the chassis with at least 1/0 AWG wire.

    Failure to do this will result in you replacing them anyway as the alternator will eventually fail.

    Here is a guide that will calculate what size alternator and power wires you need

    You'll need Microsft Excel to use it.

    See my site for more info

    Source(s): A.A.S. degree in Electronics/Industrial Electronics with 25 years in the mobile audio/consumer electronics field
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  • teagan
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    A capacitor is basically a battery that can discharge immediately (Stun guns use them to make a 9v battery take down a thug) or at a rate that maintains the line DC voltage at the source voltage level (typically 13.6vdc on most cars with a properly fuctioning electrical system). If the load (amplifier) pulls current at a rate that actually drops the line voltage, the Cap will release its charge to compensate. Capacitors are also used as filters for AC current. i.e. the ones that are on the back of your tweeters or in your crossover networks. In answer to your question, your capacitor could not have injured your alternator since the alternator is the source of the electricity and the capacitor can only reproduce what it is given by the alternator/battery (unless the alternator or battery has an internal short to ground thereby releasing the entire capacitor charge at once and frying a lot of wiring). "Power Capacitor" is a sales gimmick by the stereo manufacturers. A Farad is a Farad regardless of what else is on the package.

    Source(s): DeVry
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Sounds like he's full of poo-poo dust.

    Number one, a cap does not save a battery, alternator, or a damsel in distress. A cap is used purely as an improvement for sound quality. Stop listening to the car audio witch doctors.

    And you cannot wire a cap "to" a particular device, unless you're going to put some large diodes in for some crazy reason. Your electrical system is all interconnected, the current from a cap can flow anywhere. That's one reason for placing it as close to the amp as possible.

    For the people out there who still think a cap is like a battery, I make this challenge for you:

    Remove the fuse at your battery and power up the system. Now tell me how long you are able to power your amp off your cap :)


    Source(s): I have been a mobile electronics installer for 25 years, 15 of which in my own retail store in Los Angeles. I have had installations featured in "Installation News" magazine and have won many awards in autosound competitions.
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  • 1 decade ago

    There's nothing special about a capacitor that makes it a power capacitor. Whatever you'd use one for, you simply have to pick one that has sufficient voltage rating (which is practically nothing in this case) and pick the size you want.

    I'm not sure how it's supposed to help. Especially with his explanation that one helps the battery and one helps the alternator. I've never seen a capacitor wired to help either. I've seen them wired to help the radio......

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  • 4 years ago

    a cap wont effect your electrical system as much as a power cell would. the best thing you could do for your system is upgrading the alternator but since you dont want to do that i would upgrade the cables going to your alternator(power/ground) and just use a cap. but dont be too discouraged a cap is not going to cure you power draws just ease the pain on the alt. a little bit. a power cell will act as a battery and put more strain on the alt.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    i think he is full of crap.... but maybe i am... as i understand it they are the same and in fact would add more strain to the alternator, not less... what you need (if anything) is a high current alternator, and a big three upgrade...but with 800 watts you should be fine as is...

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