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Discussion Starter #1
A Honda certified mechanic just replaced my alternator and told me I should get a new battery.

A few weeks prior, I was listening to my aftermarket stereo and killed my battery, jumpstarted it, and got it home. a week or so after that, my car wouldn't start. I jumped it off another battery and brought it to the mechanic and had the alternator replaced.

Aftermarket Stereo is a Pioneer 5500, 820 watt max amp. Did this aftermarket amp kill my alternator and battery?
 

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Just seems a bit too coincidental to me. Maybe I should do the 'big 3' upgrade, or check the amp grounds? I'm just a bit paranoid because I was planning on adding another 800 watt amp to run the other speakers, but I can't afford to be replacing alternators and batteries.

I'm curious I anyone has equal sized or bigger amp(s) in their E without a problem..
 

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If you are looking to get another 800 watt amp for a total of 1600 watts peak your alternator should do the trick unless you turn it up loud enough to blow your ears out. Remember, Alternators are only made to maintain your battery and not charge it so if you are using your radio while the engine is off and you are then charging your battery with the alternator you stand a good chance of burning up your alternator again. A good heavy duty alternator should do the trick. 1600 watts at 12 volts equals around 140 amps peak.
 

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Remember, Alternators are only made to maintain your battery and not charge it...
That is not entirely true. The alternator is designed to provide as much output as necessary to drive every single electrical system in the vehicle at one time without draining the battery. But it is designed to recharge the battery after starting & then maintain its charge regardless of the electrical demands of the vehicle. Until you have reached or exceeded the output of the alternator, it will recharge the battery as needed.
The battery is primarily for starting the car, maintaining memory settings in the ECU, radio, etc.., and second is to function as a power reserve buffer between the electrical demands of the vehicle & the time it takes for an alternator to ramp up its output to match. The battery is constantly being drained & recharged while you drive.

Add up all of the fuse values under the hood & dash, and compare that to the 90amp alternator. Then consider what your aftermarket amp is adding to that.
It is very likely that while playing your system (with car running) that your amp is pushing the electrical demands higher than what the alternator can provide, and thus is actually draining the battery while driving the vehicle.
If the alternator is constantly running 100% to keep up, then yeah they can wear out within a couple years, and a bad battery can equally damage an alternator. Killing a battery is not a good thing & can often make the battery worthless even after trying to recharge it. They are designed to be drained & recharged countless times, but never deeply drained. (that is what deep cycles are specifically for)

While you are driving & jamming the stereo the alternator needs to provide enough amperage to cover all of the vehicles demands, all of the stereo demands, AND have enough left over to charge the battery. If there is nothing left over (or a deficiency) then the battery will either go uncharged or possibly discharge while driving. (thus leaving you with a dead battery, even if the alternator is fine)

When they tested the alternator, did they do so with a new battery already installed? If you could jump start the car & it drove just fine once started, I doubt the alternator was actually bad, but it could have been putting just a little less than it should.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When they tested the alternator, did they do so with a new battery already installed? If you could jump start the car & it drove just fine once started, I doubt the alternator was actually bad, but it could have been putting just a little less than it should.
The alternator was not charging the battery adequately, even with all of the accessories and lights off. It died at an idle after multiple jump starts, and the multimeter dropped well below 12v with the car running.

I am looking into one of those Optima Yellow Top and replacing the Big 3, but the big 3 wiring is expensive and it is going to be a pain the the ass to upgrade the alternator hot wire to 2 ot.
 

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You are correct Slimerdogs, however a deeply discharged battery is a big deal compared to a battery drained too low to start a vehicle. A typical 12v car battery drawn down to only 10v can very often be enough to leave you stranded ("dead" enough to require a jump start) and still be easily recharged by the alternator, provided there is a long enough drive associated. A deeply discharged battery (drained to 6V or less) is another matter, and such situations require a long slow recharge if you want to bring the battery back to life.
Optima is also just trying to cover their own rears because they hate to warranty batteries, and a deeply drained redtop is a PITA to bring back to life, you cannot just recharge it on a trickle charger.

The alternator was not charging the battery adequately, even with all of the accessories and lights off. It died at an idle after multiple jump starts, and the multimeter dropped well below 12v with the car running.

I am looking into one of those Optima Yellow Top and replacing the Big 3, but the big 3 wiring is expensive and it is going to be a pain the the ass to upgrade the alternator hot wire to 2 ot.
You need to read Slimerdog's great link he shared, and there is a possibility your dead battery wore out the alternator, but if they did not test the alternator with a fresh battery installed (or tested the alternator after removal on a machine) there is a good chance it probably wasnt bad. I deeply drained battery can do exactly as you describe, even with a functioning alternator.

As for Optima, they are crap. They are nothing like they used to be years ago. A yellow top is also a deep cycle battery NOT A STARTING BATTERY. They are designed for an entirely different situation and setup, so dont bother with one unless youre gonna do it right.

My favorite right now, Duralast Gold from Autozone. They are cheap, have great warranties, and Ive never had a problem with them. There are threads here where people have put larger batteries into their E's with very little effort, which I suggest you search for.
Batteries are a consumable that needs to be replaced every few years, dont bother wasting the money on an over priced & over hyped Optima.
 

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I do agree on the optima batterys being poop. Ever since interstate took them over they just don't hold up too well. As for the alternator, what happens is when the battery is way down the alternator go to full current and eventually overheats and burns out the windings. Overloading the system will do the same thing. GM alternators were the worst on going up in flames with a low battery
Doing both mechanical and electrical I could tell you storys but not worth getting into.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As for Optima, they are crap. They are nothing like they used to be years ago. A yellow top is also a deep cycle battery NOT A STARTING BATTERY. They are designed for an entirely different situation and setup, so dont bother with one unless youre gonna do it right.

My favorite right now, Duralast Gold from Autozone. They are cheap, have great warranties, and Ive never had a problem with them. There are threads here where people have put larger batteries into their E's with very little effort, which I suggest you search for.
Batteries are a consumable that needs to be replaced every few years, dont bother wasting the money on an over priced & over hyped Optima.
I'll look into that Duralast Gold, but I kind of wanted a deep-cycle battery with plenty of cranking amps too, just in case I do discharge it. Any recommendations for deep cycles?

also, I did test the alternator myself: no (or very weak) polarity.
 

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Being here in SoCal its unreasonably difficult to find a smaller sized higher amp battery so I went with an Optima. The first one kicked the bucket within six months but no issues at all with the replacement. I highly suggest if you go with an Optima you do so very local, not mail order, not three counties over, not used...
 

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Starting batteries have higher cranking output than similar sized deep cycles.
A deep cycle is designed to run dead & recharged, there is no benefit to running one unless you have a dual battery setup, isolator, and a dedicated circuit to drain it. Take a little time & do some research before you throw money away. Deep cycle is not what you want for a primary battery, not gonna say it again.

If I wanted to spend extra money on a battery that is overkill, Sears platinum diehard is my next choice. But I'm plenty fine with my oversized Duralast batt that is already 2 years old & it has a very long reserve capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Starting batteries have higher cranking output than similar sized deep cycles.
A deep cycle is designed to run dead & recharged, there is no benefit to running one unless you have a dual battery setup, isolator, and a dedicated circuit to drain it. Take a little time & do some research before you throw money away. Deep cycle is not what you want for a primary battery, not gonna say it again.

If I wanted to spend extra money on a battery that is overkill, Sears platinum diehard is my next choice. But I'm plenty fine with my oversized Duralast batt that is already 2 years old & it has a very long reserve capacity.
I've run deep cycles in boats as starter and accessory for years. I know they don't crank as hard, but they start fine. I think they're a bit more forgiving in case I discharge my battery too much with the amp.

I don't know. That's why I'm asking, and thanks ALL for giving me so much feedback so quickly.:razz:
 

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I've run deep cycles in boats as starter and accessory for years. I know they don't crank as hard, but they start fine. I think they're a bit more forgiving in case I discharge my battery too much with the amp.

I don't know. That's why I'm asking, and thanks ALL for giving me so much feedback so quickly.:razz:
& I've used a butter knife as a screwdriver, still doesn't make it the right tool for the job.

A deep cycle is great for a boat, And I'm sure you drive this boat in every weather extreme, every single day, with multiple starts/stops each day, and have no worries about it leaving you stranded. :roll:

Cranking output = starting output, and deep cycles do not offer as much, which means it cannot put out power as fast as a typical battery. Music hits a big bass note, you think your amp won't notice the difference in power availability?
They are also not designed for the constant & very frequent discharge/recharge cycling that a typical vehicle puts its battery through. Will it work? Sure it probably will, but it is not ideal & for some odd reason people still believe that a deep cycle is the way to go with a loud sound system. Optima is just like Monster Cable, snake oil in a different wrapper. (Especially now after interstate batteries bought them out)

I fit a size 24 battery in my Element with very little effort.
It puts out WAY more cranking power, has a MUCH longer reserve capacity, and was a whopping $120. Look at the specs of batteries, a yellow top optima for an Element will have the same (if not lower) output than the bone stock battery, and the red top has the same ratings as oem. How is that an upgrade? You are paying for the name & a sealed battery which benefits you in no way, but go ahead & spend that cash because its not my wallet.

Do the research, you want an upgrade get a nice AGM normal battery & enjoy its faster discharge capacity, higher CCA outputs & plenty long power reserve. If you need to park & play longer than 20-30minutes at high volumes, consider running multiple batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
& I've used a butter knife as a screwdriver, still doesn't make it the right tool for the job.

A deep cycle is great for a boat, And I'm sure you drive this boat in every weather extreme, every single day, with multiple starts/stops each day, and have no worries about it leaving you stranded. :roll:

Cranking output = starting output, and deep cycles do not offer as much, which means it cannot put out power as fast as a typical battery. Music hits a big bass note, you think your amp won't notice the difference in power availability?
They are also not designed for the constant & very frequent discharge/recharge cycling that a typical vehicle puts its battery through. Will it work? Sure it probably will, but it is not ideal & for some odd reason people still believe that a deep cycle is the way to go with a loud sound system. Optima is just like Monster Cable, snake oil in a different wrapper. (Especially now after interstate batteries bought them out)

I fit a size 24 battery in my Element with very little effort.
It puts out WAY more cranking power, has a MUCH longer reserve capacity, and was a whopping $120. Look at the specs of batteries, a yellow top optima for an Element will have the same (if not lower) output than the bone stock battery, and the red top has the same ratings as oem. How is that an upgrade? You are paying for the name & a sealed battery which benefits you in no way, but go ahead & spend that cash because its not my wallet.

Do the research, you want an upgrade get a nice AGM normal battery & enjoy its faster discharge capacity, higher CCA outputs & plenty long power reserve. If you need to park & play longer than 20-30minutes at high volumes, consider running multiple batteries.
what sort of mod. is required to get that 24 in the E?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I fit a size 24 battery in my Element with very little effort.
It puts out WAY more cranking power, has a MUCH longer reserve capacity, and was a whopping $120. Look at the specs of batteries, a yellow top optima for an Element will have the same (if not lower) output than the bone stock battery, and the red top has the same ratings as oem. How is that an upgrade? You are paying for the name & a sealed battery which benefits you in no way, but go ahead & spend that cash because its not my wallet.

Do the research, you want an upgrade get a nice AGM normal battery & enjoy its faster discharge capacity, higher CCA outputs & plenty long power reserve. If you need to park & play longer than 20-30minutes at high volumes, consider running multiple batteries.
I took your advice and got the duralast gold 24. The guy at Autozone told me that if I brought it in ANY time during the warranty period (which I believe is 3 years) he would apply the value of battery to an optima yellow in exchange. you're right too, b/c the specs on this battery are superior to the yellow top (except for the deep cycle).
DON'T DISAPPOINT ME!:evil:

I'll upgrade the grounds and the Big 3 this weekend, if I got the means...

also, with the car at idle, and the subs beating at MAX, the stock battery/alt never dropped below 13 v when I tested with multimeter, but hard beats were readable up to less than 1 volt. I still upgraded to the duralast 24.
 
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