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Old 11-01-2014, 09:27 PM
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Default Ultracapacitors for enormous output, low alternator

This is just a real simple question for the current cap users out there so im going to create an example and see if my calculations are about right or not.

100,000w of power potential

Single alternator- 270A
Weight is 100% concern

caps vs batts, i can save 400lbs by going with caps.

Is 204 3,000F caps enough?

Time is always against us so i'll explain usage-

Burps is fine..
Daily- voltage start point- 13.8v
Shut off point- 9.5v
4v swing.

Having active protection guarantees no electronic failure but does playtime suffer tremendously by doing this?

I see they can recharge quick but how quick with that many and 1 alt?

If i went with batts, i'd have the equivalent of 9 D3100s.

I run low power source because i do not go crazy on doing demos or daily for long periods but ability to burp effectively when necessary.

In this scenario, is play times of 30-60s ideal with about 160-200caps or is batteries still the winner here?
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:36 PM
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Interested in this read as I have started buying banks for next season..
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:43 PM
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In either scenario you are going to run into issues during 30-60 second runs.

I would say that batteries would probably hold out longer in that situation, however that is a lot of caps so I can't say batts 100%.

It would depend on how much power you plan on running for 30-60 seconds.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:27 PM
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I would say, run 2~3 d3100s and the caps together. The batts will offer more reserve to keep the caps charged on the longer runs .
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:31 PM
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yea, i'd be limited on what power i could run based on how quick it drops..

I've been thinking about adding a couple batts to the mix of the large cap bank but didn't know if that was wise.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:40 PM
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I kinda have a much much smaller scale setup right now. I have 1 juicebox g31 a 1 bank of maxwells running about 5~6k watts on a stock alt. Full tilt, the voltage slowly crawls down from 14.4v to about 12.6v and will level off there for a while because the caps and battery are working together.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:43 PM
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Before the caps i'd drop to mid 12v almost immediatly off of just batts
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:23 AM
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Interesting to know..

So, the thing is this..

What happens when, just an extreme example, when 60,000w meets 2 G31s, lol.

Of course caps still have juice in them til 0v. I guess the voltage drop will be slowly linear with batts instead of crazy drops without caps...


One question i've been meaning to ask the "cap community".

IS caps hard on a regulator or the entire alternator?

IF i were dropping below 11v then waiting to charge back up quite often.. is this bad?
I have the DC XP alt with the bridge rectifier temp protect on it so i'm not worried about possibly frying the rectifier, just curious if it's abuse on the regulator.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:02 AM
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is that 100k clamped or rated? Pretty big difference.

200 blue caps in banks of 6 is roughly 33 banks. IMO for daily each bank can support about 2k with slow voltage drop so that puts you at 66k watts.. Without testing you won't know how your voltage will hold up.

I can tell you this. If caps will hold above 9 for the duration (unlikely) then rock em because you can charge back to full within a few minutes for your next run.

If caps alone won't work you can add in a couple big batteries to take over for the remainder of the run.. just be advised those batteries are going to hate life and will be pretty much worthless after a few runs. So beginning of your run you have a slow linear drop to about 12.5 and then drop will slow a little bit and probably level off around 9-10 volts by the end of your run.

Batts alone is not a good option IMO because after your first few runs they are going to be hurting on charge level and your score will drop into the competition without being fully recharged. Plus a ton more weight. (literally lol)

As far as alts go caps are very hard on the alternator, not the regulator. When caps need to recharge they trigger 100% duty cycle on the alt. Cheap alts or big alts with poor cooling can't handle this and will burn up. But with a quality alt it's no concern. I run 6 banks off an 8k in my subaru and only a 240 amp singer but it handles 100% for extended periods fine.

All in all. Caps are great for burps... for extended runs you are kind of pushing it but if it is possible with caps still better than batts. You can repeat scores barring subs heating up/amps heating up changing score etc...

The best thing you can do is buy a single bank and scale down your testing with say 3.5 clamped to give you a little headroom and try a 30 second run.. graph voltage vs time and see if you can make it.. try adding another bank etc... Test test test.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:07 AM
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Yes. Can you provide a formula for calculating constant current discharge from Voltage A to Voltage B?


The thing i'm curious on.. since i doubt anyone has done this.. is how long a single alt would take to recharge a massive bank of caps like that..

Instead of going through the time constants and all that, how you ever discharged your's down a few volts? like to 11 or 10 and just waited for it to charge?

By going off of someone else's scenario, i can easily estimate how long it would take for a larger bank.

SINTORMAN- this isn't for primarily competition.
Just competition capable, but for music as well when not competing.
I'm curious if it's wise to use a couple big batts for last minute reserve for a daily scenario in case i demo for too long.
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