When it comes to upgrading your car’s audio system, one of the most important considerations is the size of the alternator. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery and providing power to the vehicle’s electrical systems, so it needs to be powerful enough to handle the demands of your new audio components.
In this article, we will discuss what size alternator you need for car audio and how to determine the right size for your specific needs.
What Size Alternator Do I Need for Car Audio?
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.
If you have invested in a sound system that is drawing more power than your current alternator can supply, your best bet would be to install a high-output alternator.
High-output alternators can be expensive but are usually necessary for louder audio systems. The size of your high-output alternator depends on your car’s electrical requirements in addition to the power requirements of your new audio system.
Typically a 250-300 amp high output alternator should provide enough power for your car’s power needs in addition to the new audio system. The best way to choose the right alternator for your car is to consult a mechanic so you can make an informed and confident decision.
The Alternator’s Role
The alternator in a vehicle is responsible for generating electricity to power the car’s electrical systems, including the lights, radio, and other accessories. It also charges the battery, which is used to start the vehicle.
When a powerful amplifier is installed in a car, it requires a significant amount of power to operate. This increased demand for power can put a strain on the alternator, which may not be able to produce enough electricity to meet the demand.
If the alternator is not able to produce enough power, the car’s electrical systems may start to malfunction. This can cause flickering dash lights, dimming headlights, and a weak bass response from the subwoofer.
This is because the car’s electrical system is trying to compensate for the lack of power by restricting power to certain systems. To avoid this, it is necessary to make power adjustments to the car’s electrical system, such as upgrading the alternator, to ensure that it can handle the increased demand for power.
Do You Need a Bigger Alternator?
The simplest workaround is to keep the volume at a level the alternator can handle. However, if you want a powerful sound to match your powerful amp, you have a few options.
When determining the right size alternator for your car audio system, there are several factors to consider. Some of the most important include:
- The number of amplifiers in your system
- The type of speakers in your system
- The overall power requirements of the system
- The type of vehicle you’re installing the system in
- The type of driving you to plan to do (highway vs. city)
- How you use your car (commuting, long trips, etc.)
It’s important to consider all of these factors when determining the right size alternator for your car audio system. By taking the time to understand your specific needs, you’ll be able to choose an alternator that can handle the power demands of your system and keep your battery charged.