Are you one of those people who takes pride in having the biggest speakers on the block? Are you the kind of person who likes your music so loud that it rattles the windows from a mile away? If so, you have probably experienced some power drain issues at some point.
We all like those big thumpers, but there is a functional limit to the amount of power that your car can put out. Remember, the battery and alternator aren’t just powering your stereo; They’re powering many of your vehicle’s most important functions. If you have hit the ceiling of what your car’s power system can do, and you want to keep going, this article might be helpful to you.
Top 5 Car Audio Capacitors
1. PYLE PLCAPE50 – Editor’s Choice
2. Rockville RXC4D – Best 4 Farad Capacitor
3. Planet Audio PC10F – Best 10 Farad Capacitor
4. Rockford RFC10HB – Good Budget Option
5. BOSS Audio CAP8 – 8-Farad Capacitor
- Top 5 Car Audio Capacitors
- How to Choose the Right Capacitor for Car Audio
Below is a list of the best car audio capacitors of any size and capacitance that we could find.
1. PYLE PLCAPE50 5 Farad – Small But Powerful Capacitor
At 5 Farad, it is not particularly powerful but should do the job for most purposes.
We like the fact that this product comes with a decent resistor and two easy-mount brackets, but some customers have complained about the LED display burning out, and others claim that the warranty is too restrictive and is thus difficult to use.
2. Rockville RXC4D 4 Farad – Versatile And Compact Digital Car Capacitor
The entire thing is well-enclosed, which should help to protect it from any accidental water exposure or terminal bridging.
Perhaps the best thing about this cap is the fact that it is available in 2, 4, or 20 Farads.
3. Planet Audio PC10F – 10 Farad Car Stereo Capacitor
The only flaw we can find is the fact that some users have complained of background noise interfering with their music when using this product.
However, only one or two have made this claim. This one is available in 2, 10, and 20 Farads, and has the highest capacitance rating of any unit on our list.
4. Rockford RFC10HB – Elegance In A Small Package
Right away, we should mention that this is the most expensive item on our list, and the others aren’t even close. However, this thing offers us an effective design in an elegant package.
We like the compact design of this unit, as it makes the job of placement much easier. We also found this one to be incredibly resistant to surges and fluctuations. There also seems to be a lower chance of getting a defective product from this company.
5. BOSS Audio CAP8 – Fancy But Effective Capacitor
That being said, some customers claim that this unit does not put out the amount of power that is advertised. These reviews are in the minority, but take them for what they are worth.
This one has quite a few bells and whistles, including an auto-sleep feature, bright LED display, an alert tone, and a strong metal casing that should help to prevent breakage.
How to Choose the Right Capacitor for Car Audio
Now let’s take a look at some of the essential information that you will need to know when selecting a product of this type.
Why Do I Need A Capacitor?
As we mentioned at the start, audio capacitors are mainly intended to fill one specific function. A capacitor works a lot like a battery, except that it is not designed to hold a charge for long amounts of time. A capacitor also differs from a battery in that it can send and receive voltage more quickly than a traditional chemical battery. This quality is exactly what makes it useful in a car audio system.
Have you ever been riding along, listening to your music, only to have the lights in your car become dim as your car begins losing power? Chances are, your system was pulling way too much power. A capacitor is designed to make up the difference between what your stereo needs and what your car can produce. Its’ ability to charge and discharge with great speed allows it to correct any problems quickly, and without interrupting your favorite song.
Will A Capacitor Improve Sound Quality?
Some people expect a capacitor to improve the general sound quality of their speaker system. However, this is not what a capacitor does. It’s basically just a backup power source. However, although a capacitor does not improve your potential audio quality, it can make a difference in your actual audio quality due to the fact that it prevents any electrical issues from interfering with the music. Remember: The capacitor is meant to help your stereo system function at its peak, but it won’t improve that limit.
How Large Of A Capacitor Do I Need?
Estimates vary, but most authorities seem to agree that you need one Farad (a measure of capacitance) for every 1000 RMS that your system packs. If you don’t know what RMS means, don’t worry too much about that. All you need to know is that RMS shows you the power level of your stereo.
Bear in mind that the 1 Farad=1000 RMS rule isn’t unbreakable. You can certainly go above this limit, but don’t go below the limit. If you go above the limit, you will simply experience a greater degree of stability. At worst, you will get no effect at all. If you go below the limit, however, your system will still be vulnerable to electrical interference and power shortages, which means that you won’t get the results you wanted.
Other Things To Look For
One thing to keep your eye out for is an alert mechanism. This can take the form of an audible tone, or flashing lights, or maybe just an LED display. Either way, you need a way to know if something is going wrong. This is not only important for the proper functioning of your speakers, but it’s also important for safety reasons. Capacitors can be dangerous when they malfunction, due to their ability to conduct such large amounts of power with great speed.
In order to determine the necessary size and power of your cap, you will also need to look at its maximum voltage. Be careful here, as the documentation will probably give you two numbers. These numbers are called the “working voltage” and the “surge voltage.” The working voltage is the amount of power that is normally provided by (or provided to) the capacitor. The surge voltage represents the maximum level of power that the capacitor can conduct before malfunctioning.
You should always check the capacitance of your chosen product, as this is quite possibly the most important criteria. Although capacitance is not a simple thing, you only need to know this: More capacitance means a greater amount of power that can be stored.
You will also want to choose a capacitor of the proper size. We’re not referring to the power of the device here but its physical dimensions. Think about where you want to mount this device and how much clearance you have in that area.
Finally, you should always look for a warranty. Complex electronic equipment is neither cheap nor simple, and you need every guarantee you can get in order to ensure that you don’t waste your money.
There are many choices out there, and we have given you only five of them. However, we sincerely hope that we have told you everything you need to know in order to make the best decision about your prized car audio system. We thank you for reading and wish you a pleasant day.