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At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? #4654583
02/03/18 08:45 AM
02/03/18 08:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 10,691
Indiana
dlundblad Offline OP
dlundblad  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 10,691
Indiana
Say a person has a stock vehicle with a 160 amp alternator, but wants to add 2 100w auxiliary lights. Would an alternator upgrade be necessary?

I personally ran my stock 130 amp alternator when I added my 100w IPF's with no issues. I did however do the 160 amp 2006 Durango upgrade when my alternator went out. The ~$60 discount and surplus power was a no brainer IMO.


03 Jeep WJ 4.0 202k Castrol Edge 10w40 HM Fram XG16
02 Volvo S60 2.4T 186k M1 0w40 Mahle OX149D
97 Chevy Blazer 4.3 153k Synpower 5w30 Supertech ST3980 (Ecore)

Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654589
02/03/18 08:48 AM
02/03/18 08:48 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 198
Michigan
64bawagon Offline
64bawagon  Offline
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 198
Michigan
Switch to LED and you will have more light with less energy consumption. There are some very nice lights and the price has come down. I replaced the 2 55w lamps on my Wrangler with an 18" bar and its like daytime when the bar is on.


05 Duramax Chevy(SOLD), 64 Chevy wagon, 10 Jeep Wrangler, 17 Equinox (rental), 18 Silverado 1/2 ton
Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: 64bawagon] #4654601
02/03/18 09:01 AM
02/03/18 09:01 AM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 10,691
Indiana
dlundblad Offline OP
dlundblad  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 10,691
Indiana
Originally Posted By: 64bawagon
Switch to LED and you will have more light with less energy consumption. There are some very nice lights and the price has come down. I replaced the 2 55w lamps on my Wrangler with an 18" bar and its like daytime when the bar is on.


It's for my brother's Jeep and he personally finds those very distasteful.

Just thinking out loud, he did install some Quadratec LED headlights because the OE's were pretty sad at night. Maybe this did the alternator some favors thus leaving more capacity for the upgrade.


03 Jeep WJ 4.0 202k Castrol Edge 10w40 HM Fram XG16
02 Volvo S60 2.4T 186k M1 0w40 Mahle OX149D
97 Chevy Blazer 4.3 153k Synpower 5w30 Supertech ST3980 (Ecore)

Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654646
02/03/18 09:46 AM
02/03/18 09:46 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,598
USA
mk378 Offline
mk378  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,598
USA
The 100 watt lights would take nominally 8.3 amps each. (8.3 is 100 watts divided by 12 volts.) Worst case still less than 10 amps each if he is able to get more than 12 volts to the bulbs.

So this mod would add about 20 amps. There is still enough power from the stock alternator, especially as the regular lights use less.

Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654697
02/03/18 10:24 AM
02/03/18 10:24 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,027
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Online content
maxdustington  Online Content
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,027
VW Fanboy Island
When you want to shake the block with four 18s!


03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654740
02/03/18 10:53 AM
02/03/18 10:53 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,592
ME
eljefino Offline
eljefino  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,592
ME
Not yet. If he's going to be doing some weird camping thing with tons of idling and the lights on he should check ratings at idle. Beware the stock alternators are wound better for idle output than many aftermarket hop-ups though.

I suspect this car still has the factory alternator... it'll be up there in the revs, the lights aren't all on forever, and the battery can carry a deficit briefly:


Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654791
02/03/18 11:34 AM
02/03/18 11:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,478
Staten Island, NY
michaelluscher Offline
michaelluscher  Offline
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 2,478
Staten Island, NY
I'm not 100% sure, but a little extra amps in reserve never hurt nobody...

I took my Camry from the factory (and probably tiring) 100 amp to a 130 amp reman that's a drop in upgrade from a Sienna

I thought it prudent with HID's, heated washer fluid, a small sub, time's of extended city traffic driving and remote starting, planned heated/cooled seats

Even offsetting this with many LED bulb replacements, I feared running out of electricity

Now I have ~14v+ at idle most times, which wasn't possible in the past, and loads like window and seat motors don't dim the lights like they used to


TL:DR, Your milage may vary


'06 Toyota Camry SE V6 3MZ-FE 100k
'01 Mercury Villager Estate VG33E 52k
'06 Ford Taurus SE Vulcan 60k
'13 Chrysler 300 3.6 Pentastar 230k
Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654806
02/03/18 11:53 AM
02/03/18 11:53 AM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,580
Toronto
PeterPolyol Offline
PeterPolyol  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,580
Toronto
Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Say a person has a stock vehicle with a 160 amp alternator, but wants to add 2 100w auxiliary lights. Would an alternator upgrade be necessary?


Abolutely not! 160amps is a beast already, a couple of 100W lamps shouldn't even make it flinch.


Scambling for solutions is a hopelessly futile endeavour and potentially dangerous, without first coming to a solid, personal understanding of the problem. Beware riding the ideological hobby horse.
Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654840
02/03/18 12:32 PM
02/03/18 12:32 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,160
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,160
Saskatchewan, Canada
130+ Amp alternators are usually fine in most cases. Of course it's always best to do the electrical math (add up your loads) so the definitive answer is to do that and you will always know for sure.

Just like with your electrical panel / breakers at home, you only need to account for simultaneous use, with vehicles you should spec out the night time use with lighting assumed on and account for air or heater being on.

For basic loads keep in mind that a carb equipped OEM vehicle usually came with a 65A alternator in base configuration (eg GMC / Chevy pickup). Supplemental lighting (fog lamps, off road lamps, beacon lighting) would usually result in an upgraded alternator from the OEM. Modern engine electronics would add 10A maybe. Car Audio can be a power hog. Go from there for your "back of the envelope" calculations.

Watts = Volts x Amps

Assume 14.5V (charging load) for automotive use.


'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: dlundblad] #4654930
02/03/18 01:58 PM
02/03/18 01:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 10,540
Illinois
javacontour Offline
javacontour  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 10,540
Illinois
Really need to know what the other draws are.

200w at 12v is about 16-17 amps (doing the math in my head here)

If you are no where near the 160A capacity of the existing alternator, you probably don't need an upgrade.

The answer really depends on the total load on the alternator. We can't tell you what adding another 17A of load will do without knowing what it is already asked to provide.

Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Say a person has a stock vehicle with a 160 amp alternator, but wants to add 2 100w auxiliary lights. Would an alternator upgrade be necessary?

I personally ran my stock 130 amp alternator when I added my 100w IPF's with no issues. I did however do the 160 amp 2006 Durango upgrade when my alternator went out. The ~$60 discount and surplus power was a no brainer IMO.


network down, IP packets delivered via UPS -BOFH
Re: At what point is an alternator upgrade necessary? [Re: PeterPolyol] #4665857
02/14/18 01:39 PM
02/14/18 01:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,100
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,100
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: PeterPolyol
Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Say a person has a stock vehicle with a 160 amp alternator, but wants to add 2 100w auxiliary lights. Would an alternator upgrade be necessary?


Abolutely not! 160amps is a beast already, a couple of 100W lamps shouldn't even make it flinch.
+1


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 89k Motorcraft Synthetic Blend 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 231k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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