Electrical for dummies. - Realm of Excursion



Accessories & Electrical Alternators, Batteries, Tools & Sound Deadening

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Old 09-19-2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Electrical for dummies.

I've seen many posts asking which brand/type/best battery to buy and I will tell you now there isn't a ULTIMATE battery for audio. There are many quality brands out there and many batteries you should stay away from. The sole purpose of this thread is to provide a one stop guide for quality battery brands and provide many useful links to assist in selecting the right battery, selecting and building up a quality electrical system to help support and keep your system healthy...

Here is a great guide of the electrical system and its components:

http://forum.realmofexcursion.com/ac...explained.html

BEFORE starting any kind of system it's best to start with looking at the big 3.

Whats the big 3?

Discussed in detail here:

http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/i-c-e...big-three.html

There are 3 main connections:

1) Alternator to battery positive
2) Battery negative to chassis
3) Chassis to engine

Especially in our cars these wires are very, very undersized. Why does this matter? When electrons are transferred through these wires some energy is lost due to the resistance in the form of heat... This loss over long runs of wire show as a loss in voltage...

What is voltage drop?

http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/i-c-e...t-dimming.html



So say your running a 20 ft run of wire from a typical 12v battery with a 60 amp load from an audio system with an average 35C (95F) operating temperature:

Please note these are mathematical numbers and won't show real world numbers

Aluminum conductor (don't confuse with CCA as its a mix)

4 AWG wire:

8.8% drop... (1.056V)

2 AWG wire:

5.5% drop... (0.66V)

1/0 wire:

3.5% drop... (0.42V)

Copper conductor:

4 AWG wire:

5.4% drop... (0.648V)

2 AWG wire:

3.4% drop... (0.408V)

1/0 wire:

2.1% drop... (0.252V)


As you can see there is quite the difference between the two types of conductors, and AWG wire... Keeping in mind this is one run, one way... But as I have said earlier these are NOT going to be the true results in the real word...


Improving these three wires will allow the current to flow much easier without as much loss in voltage... A very common thing people do first when trying to fix voltage drop...


I don't have a system why would I want to do this?

Improving the Big 3 can be felt and seen in all the electrical within the car. Such as brighter dash, headlights, interior lighting. Also improvement in the way the Car runs. Especially if you have loose connections...



Now that we understand the concept of the Big 3...

What wires should I choose and how much?

Now there is quite the debate between running CCA and OFC for Power wire though out these forums. In all reality it all depends on your system. While OFC is proven better then CCA in HIGH power system, most incomers are looking to gain a nice cheap quality audio upgrade over stock.

So in my research and understanding for LOW power systems it's OK to run CCA for power/ground... Keeping in mind tho its less efficient then OFC but has a great advantage in price... Much cheaper the OFC


There are many great brands out there for wire, these are in no particular order:

CCA:

1) KNU KCA (Select your length, 90% Aluminum, 10% Copper)

http://www.knukonceptz.com/productde...m?prodid=KCA0R

2) Q-Power

http://qpowerinc.com/installationaccessories.php

3) DIYMA (49.5' spools, tinned CCA, 10% OFC)

http://www.diyma.com/index.php/cable...-cca-50ft.html

OFC:

1) EFX Scosche (Tinned OFC)

http://www.scosche.com/car-audio/product/1803

2) Monster

http://www.monstercable.com/mpc/prod...&section=power

3) Sound Quest

http://www.hifisoundconnection.com/S...0046/set_num/2

4) Xscorpion

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_m...ound-wire.html

5) Rockford Fosgate

http://www.amazon.com/Rockford-Fosga.../dp/B001SPRNKQ

6) Tsunami

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_m...ound-wire.html

7) KNU Kolossus

http://www.knukonceptz.com/productMa...0Fleks%20Kable

8) Stinger HPM

http://www.hifisoundconnection.com/S...0046/set_num/2

9) Cadence

http://www.audiosavings.com/products...G100-BLUE.aspx

10) Street Wires

http://www.streetwires.com/products/default.aspx?grp=20

Not all wire being the same. Some are stiff and hard to form. Some are very flexible and easy to work with. Some are not true gauge even though they may be the same size. Some are actually bigger the the gauge stated.

Here is a great comparison of 14 different types of wire:

http://teamassholespl.forumotion.com...ire-comparison

So with this in mind here is a great link to help assist in choosing the correct gauge wire for you application:



I want to note that you need to really think about the future. Its best to gauge higher then what you will really need as its easier to run once then tare things out and run a bigger gauge/more runs.


In my experience and research I wouldn't run anything smaller then #4 gauge OFC and #2 gauge CCA wire for power. Of course that's dependent on your system and how much power your running. Ideal for most runs would be 1/0 only because it allows for system expand-ability. As we all know we will eventually want more power and a better system...


To determine the amount of wire to get its best to use the string method:

Determine Big 3 wire length:

1) Have someone hold on end of the string right at the alternator and run a line to the battery. Then add another foot or so for enough wire to run and mount it correctly...

2) Hold one end at battery negative and run down to chassis ground point, you may need to remove battery and plastic tray to see what I'm talking about... Add about 3 in more to length for slack in wire

3) Hold one end at chassis ground and run to engine ground. This one should have some slack due to the movement of the engine less then an inch.

Determine length for power wire run:

1) Have someone or tie the end of the string to the battery and run a line to where you will be entering the vehicle. Here is a great DIY for our cars (Civic Kseries) Keeping in mind to leave slack for easy wire placement and always use loom or equivalent to protect the wire from wearing out (then shorting out, don't want that) on metal contact points:

http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/audio...ire-trunk.html

Of course measure the length of the string and record it.

2) Depending on your entrance location you will will then determine the run you want inside the vehicle, once you know where you want to run it have someone hold on end at the entrance point, or tie it and do the run you previously planned... Its easy to use some tape to keep the string formed to your exact run. Measure the length of the string and record it.

3) Once you determined your trunks entrance point you will then take the rest of the string and run it into the trunk. Record the length of the string.


Once you have determined you lengths add them together for your final run length. If your running multiple runs then multiply this number by the amount of runs. Its best to get more then what you will really need to account for screw ups.



By far that's the most accurate way of determining the length you will need. Personally I got roughly 17' or so for my big 3 and power run.



TO BE CONTINUED

Continued from post #4:

Dedicated ground

What I mean by dedicated ground is when you run a ground wire, equivalent to the power wire gauge (no smaller), back to the battery. This is much more efficient then chassis ground as over time, especially the snowy areas, where rust is very prominent. Rust prohibits the conductivity between the grounding point and the chassis. Which causes resistance and will effect the efficient flow of electrons. To combat this you can run a dedicated ground as its the more efficient option.

Personally I recommend running dedicated ground(s) when pushing close to 2-3K as this is when you start seeing a huge difference between chassis and a dedicated run. Some members have seen better results from this then doing the big 3. Don't confuse that with not doing the big 3.


Proper grounding measures

I've seen way to many shops, members installs, where they just used a self taping screw placed nowhere close to a chassis contact point. Not only is this inefficient but depending on the power can be dangerous. Here are some things to do and not to do:


Poor grounding, amp connection measures:

1) Poor loose connections at the amp
2) Poor crimping/soldering jobs
3) Failure to remove paint at grounding point
4) Improper grounding connections:
1) Grounding to sheet metal
2) Self tapping screws


Proper grounding, amp connection measures:

1) No loose wire at amp connection point, expose enough wire to bolt inside securely
2) Solid, and tested, crimp and solder jobs. Its also good practice to tape/shrink wrap and exposed metal connection points to prevent accidental discharge
3) Clear paint off grounding point for efficient flow
4) Ground directly to frame if possible, using bolts
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Last edited by Fallen; 09-25-2012 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Merged and cleaned up as requested :)
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Old 09-19-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

I can provide testing on a nsb110ft. Will update this post when I get them.
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Old 09-19-2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SINTORMAN View Post
I can provide testing on a nsb110ft. Will update this post when I get them.
Thanks, PM it first
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Old 09-23-2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

Updated:

Massive rewrite of guide to include Big 3, wire runs, determining how much wire, etc...

I'm currently compiling a list of wire brands for power/ground runs. Feel free to chime in with brands and links please...

Thanks
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Old 09-23-2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckerson1 View Post
Updated:

Massive rewrite of guide to include Big 3, wire runs, determining how much wire, etc...

I'm currently compiling a list of wire brands for power/ground runs. Feel free to chime in with brands and links please...

Thanks
Amp Installation Kits, HDMI Cables

KnuKonceptz Should be the only link you need
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Old 09-23-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcarver1112 View Post
Amp Installation Kits, HDMI Cables

KnuKonceptz Should be the only link you need
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Old 09-23-2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

Sank u for the n fo.
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Old 09-24-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

Updated with power wires and links
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Old 10-23-2012   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ultimate Battery Guide: Audio only (alts included)

No haven't forgot to update this... Just haven't had the time with work, and system upgrades

Also Mods I need the title changed to reflect more of what this will cover:

"Electrical for dummies: Everything a NOOB needs to know"
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Old 11-18-2012   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Electrical for dummies.

Holding this spot for a compete walk-through in selecting the right electrical equipment (HO Alt and battery banks) per power level (say power beyond a stock 70-150A alt). This is something I'm going to research more but am opening the floor to those willing to share information:

What I'm looking to answer:

What combination of HO (its dependent on the vehicle but from what I read the more alts/ highest output alt you can fit the better), battery banks can achieve certain power levels (such as: 3-5K, 5-10K, etc).


__________________________________________________ _______________

Once you have a solid Big 3 setup its time to determine if your electrical can support your system. Provided will be a general guide to determine proper electrical.

Step 1)

Determine "Full tilt (even though your system will rarely ever reach this level) Amperage of entire system:

http://forum.realmofexcursion.com/ac...al-system.html

I do want to make a clarification with this guide though. The reserve capacity, as this thread talks about, for every car is different. A general rule would would be between 30-50A to run the basic's of the car (ignition, cooling, etc).

It's recommended to determine the reserve capacity by using a clamp meter:

Clamp Meters, Clamp Multimeter, Electrical Clamp Meter - Fluke

Basically let the car warm up to operating temperature, make sure all accessories are powered off (Radio, AC, Heater, Lights, etc...) and test the current off the alt.



If you don't have access to a clamp meter you can use the example in the thread above to get a general reserve capacity for your alt.

Please note that you will want to account for your amp efficiency's. You must calculate every amp you will be using. Also if you will be running separate units such as processors, etc that require a separate power supply must be accounted for as well. Generally you can find that information in the user manuals. The more precise you are in calculating this information the more accurate things will become


Step 2

Adding batteries is good and can help level out voltages (and if you plan on playing with the car off for extended periods of time) but should NOT be the primary focus in determining your electrical. It's far more beneficial to look for a HO alt to supply the mass majority of your Amperage.



Step 3

Now every car is different and there are times you can't fit a massive HO alt into your stock location without modification. At this point this is when you want to supplement with a battery bank.


__________________________________________________ _________


Basically that's going to be the format^^^
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Old 11-18-2012   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Electrical for dummies.

what if I run multiple batteries? Say 10 batteries? Do I need to add AWG 0 wires? Or just use 1 AWG 0 cables for the big 3?
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Old 11-19-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Electrical for dummies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaiyayay View Post
what if I run multiple batteries? Say 10 batteries? Do I need to add AWG 0 wires? Or just use 1 AWG 0 cables for the big 3?
The big three up front will be the same. Within reason, if you have to use Higher gauge then do so (Alt to battery, battery to chassis, and chassis to engine block). Seeing you will be running multiple batteries I suggest a dedicated ground instead of chassis as well.


I haven't finished this section yet (as you could see, in the middle of researching, and trying to keep it general and NOOB friendly). This should help explain more until I get my rendition up (as there are a few minor issues with this one below)

Dual battery wiring tutorial (and why)

Also very important is if you would run 10 batteries you need to make sure your alt(s) can handle charging these batteries. Batteries themselves introduce resistance within a circuit as well, so that would be something to keep in mind.
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Old 11-19-2012   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Electrical for dummies.

Updated:

Once you have a solid Big 3 (includes a solid front battery) setup its time to determine if your electrical can support your system. Provided will be a general guide to determine proper electrical and for some this may seem over your heads. Please don't be afraid to ask questions as that's why we are here and we will be more then happy to assist you.

Provided will be a 3 step process guiding you in figuring your proper electrical. Please note that this is something you need to be comfortable doing, if not please seek professional help as if things are done wrong there could be some serious damage. I am not responsible for such issues.

Step 1

Determine "Full tilt" Amperage of entire system. You will rarely ever reach this level of output as in most cases you will be seeing 60-70%.:

Determine Amperage Draw of Your Electrical System - Realm of Excursion

I do want to make a clarification with this guide though. The reserve capacity, as this thread talks about, for every car is different. A general rule would would be between 30-50A to run the basic's of the car (ignition, cooling, etc).

It's recommended to determine the reserve capacity by using a clamp meter:

Clamp Meters, Clamp Multimeter, Electrical Clamp Meter - Fluke

Basically let the car warm up to operating temperature, make sure all accessories are powered off (Radio, AC, Heater, Lights, etc...) and test the current off the alts power wire to the battery with your clamp meter.

If you don't have access to a clamp meter you can use the example in the thread above to get a general reserve capacity for your alt.

EX:

My alt is rated at 120A. Using the formula that would be 48A reserve capacity (of course this isn't definite and in most cases won't be the actual for your application)


Please note that you will want to account for your amp efficiency's. You must calculate every amp you will be using. Also if you will be running separate units such as processors, etc that require a separate power supply must be accounted for as well. Generally you can find that information in the user manuals. The more precise you are in calculating this information the more accurate things will become


Step 2

Adding batteries is good and can help level out voltages (and if you plan on playing with the car off for extended periods of time) but should NOT be the primary focus in determining your electrical. A few people will disagree with me on this. It's far more beneficial to look for a HO alt to supply the mass majority of your current over a lot of batteries. Adding batteries, in Parallel, increase your run time and current handling but with this increased capacity it takes longer (in turn makes your alt work harder) to charge these batteries. Which if you don't have a proper alt you can kill yours.

Every car is different which means the choice in alts are different. There are some direct bolt on alts and also there are some that need to be modified to fit your application. A general rule is to follow what you figured above. Say you figured you would need 300A to run your system "Full tilt". Depending on your application you may find an alt high enough or you may not. Best bet would be to get the highest HO alt you can get, within your budget and fitment options.




Step 3

From this point if you still don't have all you need you will want to look into making a battery bank to supplement the rest.

Here is something that will assist you in wiring multiple batteries together:

Dual battery wiring tutorial (and why)

You will want to wire your battery bank in parallel as this will increase your capacity and current handling. Please note what I said above in step 2.
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