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AlumaPro C.A.P. 5
AlumaPro offers up one CAPtivating performer with its killer 5-Farad C.A.P.
by Rob Hephner

When discussing the products that you can buy for a vehicle’s sound system, a capacitor is probably the most misunderstood of the lot. Even when testing them, it’s hard to prove one better than another or what level of capacitance is needed for what size system. That said, you don’t see us do a lot of capacitor reviews or even talk about then much. That’s because, for the most part, they’re really similar in every sense of the word.

Given this aforementioned rambling, why would I be talking about the AlumaPro C.A.P. 5? Well, it’s simple — the combination of the level of capacitance with the design of its package make the AlumaPro C.A.P. 5 the most usable capacitor offered. All one needs to do is check the winners’ circle at the recent IASCA and USACi World Finals events, and one shall find the AlumaPro C.A.P. used extensively throughout the winners’ gear lists. Ask any of them, and you’ll most likely find that they agree with the aforementioned statement. When it comes to the user friendliness, its near limitless display possibilities, and its performance, the C.A.P. is at the top of its class.

Installing the C.A.P.
I had one problem when it came to installing the system in my Miata, and it’s one that a lot of people have in many systems: space. More specifically, the lack thereof. While a lot of factors are considered within system design and installation, space is one that’s always an issue. As far as conventional capacitors go, you have as many options as you would like, as long as they’re tubes. The mounting of a tube doesn’t commonly offer itself to looking good, so we must first deal with that. Secondly, the issue of termination always seems to rear its ugly head. Ask competitors and safety-minded installers what the most difficult challenge is during even a routine install, and termination of a capacitor will always come up.

The Miata’s original install utilized two 1.5-Farad capacitors that were terminated with large gold-plated bars. The only place that was available to install the capacitors without taking up precious cabin or trunk space was in the tunnel that connects the front and rear of the car. Since the fuel system was located on the driver’s side, the caps needed to be placed on the passenger side tunnel, which was indeed suitable, since it was the side nearest the rear mounted battery. I originally selected 1.5-Farad capacitors because they provided me with the most capacitance that I could fit in the space. Overall, they performed well, but two more issues popped up in light of their install.

As good as they were, the capacitors were just not enough for the modified Xtant amplifiers that provided the power to the system’s speakers. What I needed was more capacitance to help stabilize the system during large impacts and quick transient passages of music. It could be heard in the system and was evident once I metered the system’s voltage. The second problem seemed to stem from the fact that, because of their size, they only fit one way in the tunnel which forced one of the rear cosmetic panels to sit unstable in the trunk. (This was a minor problem, but one that annoyed me nonetheless.) This was the situation at hand; at the time, I really had no plausible solution — until the introduction of 5-Farad AlumaPro C.A.P. 5.

After completing extensive testing in my vehicle, I had come to the determination that what I really needed was 6-Farads worth of caps to get the system in peak condition. This was essentially determined by placing the caps in the trunk, and testing the system both sonically and electronically. The overall package wasn’t something that would work due to the fact that when I drive this car, I really drive it...I needed something that would fit in the tunnel and be secure. In response, I obtained the 5-Farad AlumaPro C.A.P. 5 and installed it.

Take The Easy Path!
I could talk theory all you want. I could show you numbers that say things work, and I could show you the same numbers and show you how things will not work. But, at the end of the day, I know this: if I put something in a car and it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I take it out; while the AlumaPro C.A.P. 5 was 1-Farad under what I assumed I needed, I decided to try it anyway. The package took up less space than the previous 3-Farad set up, and has a built in terminal block, which allowed me to easily attach the power and ground connections. The C.A.P. also comes with a large connector relay that keeps the capacitor from draining the battery during non-usage periods and it was straightforward to install. At the end of the installation, I was going to test everything separate - with the C.A.P. sitting in the trunk - but its size and configurations made it so easy to drop into the tunnel. I had everything back together before I knew it.

So, what happened? It worked like a champ! I now have no issues with regard to cosmetics in the trunk, and the system maintains a perfect balance voltage-wise - no matter how hard I push it. I no longer experience the sonic annoyance of low voltage, and actually have no drain problem due to the C.A.P. That was the real benefit of the C.A.P., which I did not even realize at first — there’s no voltage drain when the system is off. It turned out that I had a problem with the original capacitors which taxed my Miata’s small battery. Now, with the C.A.P., I have no starting or voltage problems...it’s always good to have added benefits!

For more information, contact AlumaPro at 630-543-6444, or visit www.alumapro.com.

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