Tag: The Big Three

The Big 3 Upgrade – Improve your Car Audio Output up to 25%

When adding aftermarket audio equipment to your vehicle, it is extremely important to understand the limitations of your car’s electrical system. Stock batteries, stock alternators, and stock wires can only transfer so much power throughout the vehicle. By upgrading each of these three components in your car, it enables your vehicle to be able to safely have high-powered equipment installed. In this blog, we will outline the Big Three Upgrade. Installing an aftermarket alternator and a Car Battery are excellent choices, but not discussed here.

The Big 3 Upgrade is a fairly simple upgrade that involves replacing some of the factory wiring under the hood of the car. The following are the three wires that need to be replaced and installed in the car.

  1. Alternator Charging Wire: Replace the positive charging wire that connects the vehicles alternator to the positive car battery post.
  2. Engine Ground: Replace the cable that connects the engine ground to the vehicle’s chassis.
  3. Battery Negative: Replace the cable that travels from the negative car battery post to the vehicles’s chassis.

The important part of this upgrade is replacing the standard cable with thicker cable that is cable of higher currents. Typically, it is recommended to go straight for the thick 0/1 gauge wire to ensure compatibility with high-performance alternators and batteries. However, some systems with stock alternators and batteries can use 4 gauge just fine. Remember to use proper techniques when creating your new cables and grounding them. Be sure to keep the new power/ground cables away from anything under the hood that might melt, cut, or damage the newly installed cables. Be sure to make solid terminations with ring terminals at the end of each cable. Be sure to ground your cable to a proper surface cleaned of any dirt, debris, rust, or paint. A wire brush or some sandpaper will easily prepare the metal surface. After properly installing the Big Three Upgrade in your car, your audio system will receive more power, sound better, and your equipment will last longer. For more information on the Big 3 Upgrade, check out the following video by Mike Stiers from Maxxsonics.


The Big 3 Upgrade

By Kyle D. – Product Specialist

Let’s be frank for a minute, the factory wiring in your vehicle is simply not designed to handle the high current demand of aftermarket car audio systems. Stock wiring can handle a maximum of 600 to 1000 watt system depending on your vehicle make and model. While a basic sound system with an amplifier or two of low current draw tends to work on most vehicles, it’s when you start to turn up the volume or use higher output amplifiers that you see the effects. Dimming headlights and drops in voltage are common signs that you need to make the upgrade. The big 3 upgrade is used to make sure the power you need is getting to everything in your vehicle without additional resistance.  So what is the “Big 3”?

Upgrading the alternator wire to the battery, the negative battery cable to vehicle ground, and engine ground to chassis is considered the “Big 3” upgrade. To complete the upgrade you can either replace your factory wiring or simply run thicker cable alongside it, the choice is yours. Most big 3 upgrades are completed using 1/0 gauge wire for the best possible current transfer, if you’re unsure about what gauge wire to use, always go larger. With your factory wires replaced you might notice a sense of freshness to your vehicle. It may crank less before the engine turns over, you will get better system charging as well as little to no voltage drop. If your lights dimmed before they will dim less or stop dimming all together because of the increased current your electrical system will receive. The big 3 upgrade is a big solution!