High amp alt...... is there such a thing as too much ??? - Team Camaro Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical.

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 02, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 395
I'm upgrading my alt. to a one wire set-up so I figured I should go with a higher amp alt while I'm at it.

The car is not finnished, but it will have dual electric fans, electric fuel pump, AC and a decent stereo.

Is there any DISADVANTAGE of going with the 140 rather than the 100 amp alt. ???

In other words.... is it possible to have too much output and end up frying something ???

I dont know much about electronics, but my understanding is the alt will regulate its self to only generate enough to provide what the car needs.... am I right ???

According to the spec card of the Summit 140, it puts out 80 amps at idle..........

[This message has been edited by DRJDVM (edited 07-22-2002).]
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 02, 03:50 PM
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Location: MANASQUAN NJ. U.S.A.
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Yes ! it will regulate it's self. the higher output should be ok. I just put in an electronic regulator, to replace the one with the coils in my car.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 02, 03:52 PM
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I can remember if the large red wire to the alternator is a #8 or #10 gauge. Basically with a #10 you don't want to have more than 30amps of continuous load on it and no more than 50amps on a #8 wire. This is continuous load. If you overburden the wire then it will heat up and eventually melt or degrade the insulation value of the wire plastic coating. Now these ratings don't really hinder you using electric fans if your total constant loads remain under the limit. You can't really count the high instantaneous amps of starting current for the fan motors which can be as high as 7 to 8 times normal running load, because starting current only lasts a couple seconds.

So, back to your question. If you really have continuous loads greater than 30amps, then you may consider increasing the wire gauge size from the alternator to the soldered junction of red wires under the drivers front fender area. This junction is under the black vinyl tape and is further wrapped with sticky electricians tape over the soldered junction. Once you've looked at one of these soldered junctions you will be amazed that the factory joined them that way instead of a backyard electrician, but thats what they did. This junction area would also be the area where you would want to splice in your heavy gauge feed wire for your radiator fans. A #8 wire from your alternator might be sufficient if your battery is fully charged, but a #6 wire would probably be a better choice and should handle the continuous 80amps. You would probably have to go to a #2 wire if you had to handle a continuous 140amps. And, to give you an idea of how big a #2 wire is, just look at the size of the wire in your house circuit breaker panel and look at the wire going directly to the meter fishbowl. It is at least the size of a lead pencil.

The biggest problem I foresee is when you have a totally dead battery and you jump start the car. After starting the car, that new 140amp alternator is going to try and charge the dead battery at near the alternator's capacity until the battery's voltage and charge is replenished. During this high rate charging event your new high output alternator will probably fry the fuseable link wire that goes from the single terminal block on the core support to the battery. Not to mention heat up the small #12 wire that goes from the horn relay, under the top lip of the core support and over to that single terminal block.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 02, 06:35 PM
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Location: Williamstown,PA
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Since you're going to use a one wire alternator I would tape up the original alternator harness and hide it somewhere. Most stereo shops sell gold plated battery terminals with huge allen screw lugs to hold the wires in. I would then run a 6 or 4 gauge high strand count wire (also available at stereo shops) right from the alternator to the battery. You can then tap all your added accessories off of the battery terminal also.

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[This message has been edited by 1 2RUN (edited 07-22-2002).]
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 02, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Sounds like you are shooting for overkill. I run a very nice stereo, about 1500 watts peak power, 2 10" subs, 4 speakers, aftermarket panasonic deck, neon accect lights, etc. Plus all my factory accesories including A/C, etc. I run a 105 amp alternator that is from a 1985 Camaro with a 305 "G" code engine, if I remember correctly. It was a tip in CHP a while back, and I am VERY pleased with it. My headlights stay bright as can be even with the subs pounding. That is without a capasitor or a trunk battery, just the supply from the alt.

I can't immagine that from your post you would be needing more current than that. And best of all, I can walk into any autoparts store and walk out with a new alt. in hand. Can't say that about the one wire jobs.


67 Pro-touring Camaro-327, 9:1, Comp XE268 Cam, Perf. RPM Intake. 750 Holley, Sportsman II Heads, Ceramic coated headers, 700R4 trans, 17" Amer. Racing TT2's, 12" disc brakes, custom stereo, black with white stripes, cowl ind. hood.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 02, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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If the "dead battery scenario" is a problem with the 140 amp, wouldnt it also be a probem with the 100 amp ?????
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 02, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Orange, VA USA
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Something to think about ... your alt. is not a battery charger. If it should ever become one, you are in trouble.

Vehicle wiring is based on the supply being provided by a properly charged battery with all wiring sizes determined from the battery.

Your alt is designed to provide a continuous output to your battery, replacing what is being used by the vehicle circuits. In essence, it supplies the "running" power for your electrical devices but uses the battery as a reservoir.

The wiring size on your alt needs to be determined by the alt output max and the length of the wire. Check out the tables at http://www.rbeelectronics.com/wtable.htm

If you put the battery in the trunk, be sure to size based on the wire length to the trunk. Also, NHRA requires the alt be disconnected when your rear battery + switch is turned to off. That means don't make the connect direct to the battery, but on the output side of the battery disconnect switch.

Running the wire to the trunk will only require a size 10 on a 140 amp alt.
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