Capacitor Install Guide

Car Audio Capacitor Installation

There is often a lot of confusion on how to wire a car audio capacitor (a.k.a. power capacitor or stiffening capacitor).

There are two terminals on a car audio capacitor. A positive and a negative. The negative terminal is connected to ground.

The positive terminal is connected "in-line" with the car audio amplifier +12 volts terminal. See the diagram below.

Car Audio Capacitor Installation

Ideally the power capacitor should be as close as possible to the amplifier. Within a couple of feet is acceptable.

The diagram below will show you how to properly install two capacitors into one system, increasing available farads.

Please be sure to follow all enclosed directions and instructions very carefully.

Car Audio Capacitor Installation Two Capacitors

NOTE OF CAUTION: Power capacitors store a large amount of energy and they charge very quickly. You must first "charge" your power capacitor using a resistor before connecting it directly to +12 volts.

( You will need to remove any inline fuses to properly charge your new capacitor. Remember to disconnect your amplifiers )

Charging is done using a 1k ohm resistor and a voltmeter. The exact value of the resistor is not critical but it should be in the 500-1k ohm range.

A lower wattage resistor will heat up too quickly. Any good capacitor will come with the appropriate charging resistor.

Now you'll need to put the resistor in your main power line. A great place for this is the fuse holder or block you removed your fuse from.

You don't ever want to hold the resistor in your hand while charging or immediately after charging, they can get very hot.

You will need to place a voltmeter across the capacitor to monitor the voltage.

Once the voltmeter reads 12 volts you can remove the voltmeter and replace the resistor with the power fuse.

Thinking about buying a new capacitor? There are some points that you'll definitely want to cover first as you may not need a capacitor.

Think about how much power your alternator is putting out and how much of that is being used by the vehicle itself. Normally there's only 20 or 30 amps to spare, you may first want to look into a higher output alternator. StompAudio.com can help you out with that. Contact us with your vehicle specs and we'll get you a quote which will include information about the max possible alternator output for your vehicle.

If you think your alternator is putting out enough power, you may look at your 12 volt battery.

The 12 volt dc battery stores power generated by your alternator. Your amplifiers are drawing power from the battery and the alternator. If your battery is weak, small or old -> Go To AutoZone and replace it! Tell them you'd like the largest battery they can fit into your vehicle.

If you need 12 volt battery info, there are some great sites 12Volt-Travel.com and others.

Most beginning stereo system enthusiasts go for a new capacitor as soon as the bass hits and the lights go out. A lot of the time a capacitor is not necessary. A car stereo capacitor should be used in addition to an already well function vehicle and stereo system and not as a means to fix alternator or dc battery power shortages.

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