Tag: The Big Three

When to Upgrade Your Vehicle’s Electrical System

Your vehicle’s electrical system is crucial to your vehicle’s audio system and how it sounds and performs. Wiring, your car’s alternator, as well as your car’s batteries are all important factors when it comes to your vehicle’s electrical system. In this blog article, we will go over some guidelines to follow when it comes to how and when to upgrade your vehicle’s electrical system. If ya’ll still have questions regarding your vehicle’s electrical system, feel free to comment in the section below this article and we will do our best to help you upgrade your electrical system.

1Upgrading Your Alternator

High Output Alternators

First of all, upgrading your alternator does depend on the type of vehicle you’re working with as well as how much wattage your car audio system needs. But, when it comes to upgrading the alternator, in our experts’ professional opinion, if you are dealing with a system that is anywhere over 1000 watts, it might be a good idea to upgrade your alternator- especially if you are adding more batteries to your car’s electrical system. The key takeaway is that its always better to have too much power than too little power. So, make sure you also have a sufficient amount of batteries to power your system.

2Upgrading Your Car Battery

Car Batteries at Sonic Electronix

It is important to your audio system that you have an adequate amount of batteries powering your system. If not, your system cannot run efficiently. It is recommended that if  you add an amplifier to your system,  you should add a secondary battery as well. And as you add more components to your car audio system, pay attention to how much power your system needs in order to run without failing and add a secondary battery or upgrade your battery accordingly.

3Using a Capacitor

A capacitor is a temporary storage tank for electricity, which charges and discharges electricity at a high speed. Although a capacitor won’t add any additional power to your car audio system, once the capacitor is charged up, it will help stabilize the voltage by providing quick bursts of electricity during peak power demands. Adding a capacitor can fix occasional headlight dimming or other electrical issues within your vehicle. However, their primary use is to help provide your amplifier with a consistent voltage for improved performance. Although capacitors can act as a quick fix solution to your electrical system’s power output, they are usually not recommended. Instead, our experts suggest recommend a secondary battery, as a battery holds power more permanently. However, if you are going to install a capacitor, make sure to get one that is well built, such as NVX’s XCAP1F.

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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!