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17V readiness

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I'm sure this has been covered somewhere, but after watching many of Steve's videos, reading all the stickies here, and searching as well, I still haven't found the answers I'm looking for. Please forgive the forum n()()b and point me to the right source if one exists.


I've seen Steve running 14V batteries and 17V charging systems in his videos and this looks like a great way to get more out of an amp with an unregulated power supply. But he also mentioned in at least one video that you have to run a standard 12V signal to the remote terminal on some amps because they won't turn on if it sees 17V. Presumably this is due to the amp trying to protect itself from overvolted input.


So how does one know if their equipment can safely tolerate the higher voltage? My amp's manual doesn't state an acceptable input voltage. It only says that it has an unregulated power supply, plus rated output at 12V and 14.4V. I have bench tested it and it sings fine with 16 amps @15.2V input, but how do I know if I can feed it a steady 17V without hurting it? Similarly with the head unit: the manual states "10.8 to 15.6V allowable" input. Is 17V pushing it too far?


As far as audio electrical, I'm only running a head unit and an amplifier with integrated crossover. It's for personal enjoyment and not competition. I'm not looking at doing a complex dual-circuit system, I just want to cheat a little more out of my amp if I can. I still need to figure out what the vehicle's own electrical system will tolerate. Fortunately it's a 1985, so we're not talking about complex systems here.


I just want to know for starters if a 17V system is even an option as far as the deck and amp go. Please enlighten me.

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What kind if amp do you have? 

Some things to mention that I'm sure you're aware of are that you can't just run any battery. You have to run batteries specifically made to take a massive charge like that. Also, you'd have to learn about step downs. How they work and how to wire them. Being an older car I would think running too much voltage would be even more dangerous because you wouldn't have any safety sensors to tell you something it's wrong before it's too late. And lastly, test everything before you call it good. Who knows how your vehicle and your equipment is going to react. Test everything in a controlled environment so if something goes wrong or something can't handle it, you can stop it before something is severely or catastrophically damaged. 

I've thought about it... but it scares me lol

2011 Chevy Silverado under construction

My build log here. Check it out! 


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Ya, what amp?


Also, ... just spit balling, but, you want to then, change all your alternators, and batteries over to high volt? You also didnt mention the vehicle, it may not LIKE high volt stuff, and toss you codes all day. 

Hence, why steve is doing that, in the cady. Just fyi 

 Ugh... best of luck. 


Edit- and all that, for a few more watts,...... ya man, best of luck. Cheers. 

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The vehicle is a 1985 Mercedes 300 D with an all-mechanical diesel. It probably has an ECU of sorts, but it'll be a primitive one. No OBDII. The amp is a Soundstream Reference 405. I have a programmable DC-DC converter that can put out up to 10 amps that I will likely use for the deck.


I'm aware I would need to replace the battery with a 7-cell 14V battery, and the alternator, or at least the regulator. I'm definitely not committed to this plan, just trying to work out feasibility at this point.





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