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Old     (humboldtboarder)      Join Date: Sep 2005       11-30-2009, 6:25 PM Reply   
I know in some competition car audio systems, guys are running their amps at 16-18 volts. Just wondering if there would be any advantage to this this in a boat? I don't know anything about 16v systems so this might be a really stupid idea. From the little bit of research I've done, the advantages are the amps run more efficient, and put out more power (i could be wrong about this). The disadvantges are having to charge 2 electrical systems(12v for boat and headunit, 16v for amps), and most amps cannot handle above 16volts. It is just an idea I got when I was looking at batteries and came across this one

(Message edited by HumboldtBoarder on November 30, 2009)
Old     (joe_crawley)      Join Date: Jan 2007       11-30-2009, 7:19 PM Reply   
It completely depends on the amplifier. An amp with a fully regulated power supply would see no advantage from this.

An amp with an unregulated power supply would benefit from this, but unless you were in a competition that limited amplifier power (@14.4V) there is no rational reason to do this. Just get a bigger amp in the first place- it's a MUCH cheaper and simpler way to get more power.

I'm not sure, but I doubt efficiency would increase substantially in a class AB topology.
Old     (brianinpdx)      Join Date: Aug 2009       11-30-2009, 9:14 PM Reply   
Nick - there are a lot of points of view on this topic. Some valid, some not, some witch-craft and some lay somewhere in between. We have many guys out there in the audio world that use our amplifiers for 1 main reason: Exile Amplifiers are unregulated. Meaning when they juice them up to 17.15 volts the amplifiers will produce a 20% jump in constant power output. It's not just a case of buying a bigger amplifier in the first place. It's the opposite... It's getting more from what you have. Like Overclocking your computers CPU. This brings into play the actual board layout, powersupply design and output rail voltage limits, actual devices used and a close look at the IEE specs those parts can handle before they explode like a bomb.

From a design point of view, many people might say why regulate vrs unregulate. Each have their own +/-'s. downside with hard regulation is that as voltage drops (which for the sake of this argument happens in boats as the batteries run down), the regulated power supply will do everything it can to make its firm output power level. Problem is that as voltage drops, current consumption goes up up and away. On the contrary, in the unregulated design as voltage drops, so does its output power. Is that better? one could argue yes! And one could argue no! And they are both right. From the Exile point of view, we see more upside than downside to offering un-regulated designs.

There is also an output stage in the amplifier that is affected by all of this. Some of the hardcore audio elitists could argue that a regulated design allows for the use of top quality FETS and bias in the output design. If we where looking at home AV designs that can be very true. However, you guessed it, there are some exceptions to that. In our unregulated designs we use triple darlington output stages that offers three levels of scaling depending on the output needs of the amplifier. combined with Sakens bi-polar outputs and you have a marine amplifier / car amplifier unregulated design that actually can go head to head with some of those elitest home regulated designs. (think dynamic headroom).

Not sure I really answered Nicks question but, at least there is a bit of insight as to whats under the hood so to speak, and why.


Exile Audio
Old     (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       12-01-2009, 10:32 AM Reply   

I can think of numerous reasons why I would not go the 16 volt route in an everyday system.

My first issue is how you would charge a 16 volt battery to its potential in a boat and maintain that voltage?

I would predicate my boat system design on a sustainable voltage.

Earmark Marine
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       12-01-2009, 11:38 AM Reply   
Most people have a hard time getting 12 to 13 volt's. How the heck are u suposed to maintain 16 volt's. Unless they were to come out with battery's that could maintain voltage and alternators that can charge 16 volt systems your pushing a train up hill IMO.

Hell why stop at 16 volt's why not 24. At least 24 volt alternators exist, and 2 12 volt batterys can be hooked together to make 24 volts.

I agree with what Brian a say's "It's getting more from what you have".
David's right on "how you would charge a 16 volt battery " do you buy a special 16 volt charger that works JUST your stereo batterys.
Old     (wake1823)      Join Date: Dec 2005       12-01-2009, 12:48 PM Reply   
a few banks of 3-(6v) batteries in series...charging is another issue.
Old     (humboldtboarder)      Join Date: Sep 2005       12-01-2009, 1:30 PM Reply   
I assumed using the Kinetik battery that you could hook up the 12v equipment to the 12v post, a bank of 16v batteries and the amps connected to the 16v post, and then install a 16v alternator. The triple post battery would be isolated as the starter battery. Or maybe it's not that simple? Like I said, I don't know if it is worth the trouble though.
Old     (brianinpdx)      Join Date: Aug 2009       12-01-2009, 1:42 PM Reply   
oh geez. I just read my post and realize, I really started flapping about technology. A few to many hours at the pub last night!!!

Davids Comments are spot on from the tactical point of view. Just because you could juice a stereo system doesn't mean you should. Sure its like overclocking a cpu but ultimately in a marine environment we need a stable voltage platform WAY more than we need to peak it up up and away.

And Grant - why we stop at 17V is because most consumer electronics literally Explode right in that range from a component level. Mental image at 24V is like putting a CD in the microwave and watching the light show. Lets not go there!
Old     (joe_crawley)      Join Date: Jan 2007       12-01-2009, 10:03 PM Reply   
"I don't know if it is worth the trouble though"

It's not, except for the only case where it is- power class competition. Even then it's like taking steroids- definitely cheating in some burroughs.
Old     (johnsvt)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-02-2009, 4:26 AM Reply   
I thought about doing a 16v system on my boat but I was going to use a 2 post battery and a step down box for the electronics that can't take that much voltage. However, it seemed like a lot of work and I never had problems keeping my voltage between 13-14 volts with 3600ish watts rms and 2 kinetic batts.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       12-02-2009, 7:54 AM Reply   
I never had problems keeping my voltage between 13-14 volts with 3600ish watts rms and 2 kinetic batts.
That's kind of a miss leading statment. What I think your trying to say is your system dosen't seem to dip below and you don't push or run it below 13 volts.

If you turn your boat off and run your stereo for 2 min's your running 12.6 to 12.8 volts. Turn it up or if you have a system with a pretty big draw your gonna be dipping down.

Ewing: Im not saying your full of it but its the way your use your system. Example I can make my Esclade say I can get 23 MPG by driving 50 Mph and being super easy when your touch the gas but is that realistic. Is that the way you drive all the time?
A system that never dip's below 13-14 volts the engine is running all the time or is not turned up.
Old     (wake1823)      Join Date: Dec 2005       12-02-2009, 8:09 AM Reply   
ok, I'll say. Ewing, I call b.s. No way.

I can't do that with 2100 RMS and two 6v batts.
Old     (johnsvt)      Join Date: Dec 2006       12-02-2009, 7:30 PM Reply   
I have two of the 2400 kinetics, but I/we don't hang out for hours listening to music. I have a powermaster agm charger and it is put on the batts every time the boat is put away. Also 3K watts of my system came from the sub amp.

Sam I was told the 6v battery method was cheap, but you get what you pay for.

I never had problems running 13.8 - 14.2 volts, but we didn't sit around with the radio blasting.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       12-03-2009, 11:36 PM Reply   
I have 2 x KinetiK (proper spelling) 2400s and 3000ish watts of class D high efficiency amps. I can play my system pretty hard for about 2 hours before the voltage drops below 12.2V. At that point I need to start throttling the bass knob or think about running the alt.
Old     (882001)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-04-2009, 5:15 AM Reply   
how would you get 16 volts? 3 6volts wired would make 18? but my question is why? seems to me over working these amps would create some serious heat. in a boat its not a few burps, its cranked all day. and in a boat i think unregulated is best, because at the cove stereo up battery gets low the regulated will try and keep up and run you dead
Old     (05mobiuslsv)      Join Date: Apr 2006       12-04-2009, 6:40 AM Reply   
^^^And this thread is about 16-18 volt amplifiers.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       12-04-2009, 10:36 PM Reply   
Standard battery cells produce 2.1V each. Automotive batteries have 6 cells, hence the 6 fill caps on an automotive battery and 3 fill caps on a 6V golf cart batt. The 16V batteries have two additional cells and yeild 16.8V when fully charged at rest as compared to 12.6 from a standard automotive battery fully charged at rest.

Kinetik makes a 16V battery as well as many others. They most frequently have three terminals, (-), (+12), and (+16).

The Kicker demo Excalade at CES a few years ago had a huge system with two of the sledgehammer subs had an array of different batteries in the bed under a plex panel. Most were 16V stingers. The truck had at least 3 alternators and a microprossor charge coontroller. I believe two of the alternators were dedicated to charging the 16V systems. If Phil is reading he can probably elaborate more.

There are lots of SPL guys running 16V systems, I have wondered how well they would work in boats. Considering we can barely figure out our 12v systems I doubt most of us should venture into the 16V realm.

Here is another option in theory. Have one 12V battery bank for use when the boat motor is running, have a separate 14V system for use when the motor is off. You would need to wire switch them via a big ars relay or via a Perko. The 14V system could be built with an 8V and 6V golf cart battery wired in series (8V is a common golf cart batt). It would be a bit of a challenge to charge but it could be done. This would allow you to get full output from your amplifiers while the batteries could be drained down to 20%.


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