What size capacitor for car audio do you actually need? It’s a common question among car enthusiasts, and we have the answer for you.
A capacitor is a pivotal component of your car’s audio system, and choosing the right-sized capacitor is critical. To get the expected performance from your capacitor, you need to make informed decisions about its size.
In this article, we will go into the details of the ins and outs of car audio capacitor sizes and what size you will need.
Jump To Contents
- Does Size Matter for Your Car Audio Capacitor?
- How is Car Audio Capacitor Size Measured?
- How To Calculate Required Capacitor Size?
- Right-Fit Capacitor Sizes: At A Glance
- Is A Bigger Capacitor Good or Bad?
- Way Forward
Does Size Matter for Your Car Audio Capacitor?
The straightforward answer is yes; your capacitor size matters for an effective and efficient car audio system. Using the right size capacitor lets you ensure that your amplifier gets enough power to deliver the highest quality sound.
If your capacitor is much smaller compared to what you need, it will not properly work for protecting your amplifier. It can result in your car's audio system having unstable voltage and issues, like dimming light, bad music quality, etc., while turning on the stereo or bass.
Thus, the optimum size capacitor is a must to tackle these issues and to enjoy a smooth car audio experience.
How is Car Audio Capacitor Size Measured?
Capacitors are usually measured with the Farad unit. Without going into the complexities of an engineering course, Farad is a way of measuring how much electricity a unit can store within it.
In the case of car audio capacitors, you need to consider Farad for the watts RMS your system runs with. Farad is typically measured for every 1,000 watts of RMS your system carries. Suppose your car has a system that delivers service at 4,000 watts RMS. Then, the measured Farad will result in (4,000/1,000) or 4 Farads.
How To Calculate Required Capacitor Size?
You need to know how to calculate the necessary size for your car's audio capacitor to get the best results. We will now see a simplified process of calculating the size capacitor for 1000 watts RMS in 2 ways.
Method 1: Calculating Capacitance with Power
In this method, you need to simply consider 1 Farad of capacitance for every 1,000 watts RMS your total system has as power. For example, if your car system runs at 3,000 watts RMS power, then you will need a capacitor of at least (3,000/ 1,000) or 3 Farads.
Method 2: Calculating Capacitance with Current and Voltage
In the second way, you will have to calculate how much capacitance is demanded per channel for your capacitor. You can easily do it, as it needs you to multiply 10x of your amplifier's peak-to-peak ripple voltage (Vpp) by the maximum rated output current of the amplifier.
For instance, your amplifier has a peak-to-peak ripple voltage (Vpp) of 0.1 Volts and an output current rating of around 10 amperes. Then, multiply 0.1 x 10 to get 1 Farad as the necessary size for each amplifier channel.
Right-Fit Capacitor Sizes: At A Glance
For you, we have done extensive research and measured the sizes of capacitors you will need to get the peak performance from your capacitor. This summarized information will enable you to shorten your list of preferences.
We have compiled a table to assist you in determining the size of your next capacitor. Here it is -
Total Power of Car Audio System
Least Farad Capacitor Needed
Less than 1,000 watts RMS
Anything around 1 Farad will do
1,000 watts RMS to 1,499 watts RMS
1 - 1.5 Farads is needed
1,500 watts RMS to 1,999 watts RMS
1.6 - 2 Farads are required
2,000 watts RMS to 2,499 watts RMS
2 - 2.5 Farads is necessary
2,500 watts RMS to 3,499 watts RMS
2.6 - 3.5 Farads is required
3,500 watts RMS to 4,499 watts RMS
2.6 - 3.5 Farads is necessary
4,500 watts RMS and above that
4.6 to 5 Farads and more is necessary
Is A Bigger Capacitor Good or Bad?
Although the rule of thumb is to use 1 Farad capacitor for 1,000 watts RMS, you can still use a bit bigger capacitor. Using a 2 or 2.5 Farads capacitor may benefit your car's audio with extra power and charge.
However, you should keep in mind that an extra big capacitor can do more harm than any benefit. It can destabilize your system's internal power supply and increase inrush currents during the power connection.
Deciding upon the right fit size of your capacitor is a significant task for you to do before choosing a capacitor. But with the methods and simple steps involved within them, you can confidently make your decision on the capacitor size.
After choosing your capacitor, if you want to install your car audio capacitor on your own, you can read this article of ours.