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Thread: Distribution block
02-12-2010, 07:45 PM #1Senior Member
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- Feb 2008
Ok, I have a couple questions. I finally got my other amplifier in so I'm ready to hook them both up. I'll be running a Kicker 700.5 and Kicker 550.2. Since my amps have fuses in them do I need to run inline fuses between the distribution block and the amps? Also, will running 4 gauge power from battery to the distribution block and then 4 gauge wire out to the two amps be alright? If not what kind/size of distribution block do you guys recommend and what kind of power wire off the battery to the block and out to the two amps? Thanks in advance.
P.S. Been trying to read up on Capacitors, do any of you guys run one? Did it help? Seems like from what I read that the first time the sub/s need that power it takes it all and then it can never catch back up making it...well pretty much useless, what do you guys think? This audio stuff is fun but man there is a lot of info Guess I should have been installing systems in my car back in high school instead of chasing women LOL
02-12-2010, 11:17 PM #2
Hey there Hydro
First thing Yes you need to run fuses from the Distro to the amp, or inline from the battery to the Distro. Fuses on the amps are a last chance thing and its always better to have a back up in the Marine environment. Just my 2c
As for a Distro block theres lots of them out there. Basically all you need is a single in and 2 out. You can fuse it as one main fuse, < add the amp fuses up and get a main line fuse to equal both amps > or add inline fusses after the distro to the amps. You can even run a relay to the distro so if it pops you just reset it.
If your running 4 gauge to your amps from the Distro then you should feed the Distro 2 gauge.
Think of a water pipe, you got 2 pumps both able to pump 2 gallons a minute. Thats 4 total gallons they both can pump, if you only supply them a single line with a flow of 2 gallons then you starve them both.
Ive talked to Exile about Capacitors and in a Boat you wont need them as its drawing the power directly off the Battery. In a car your stereo is ran on the same battery as the car and this creates the problem of draining the voltage and it not being there when the amp relies on it. At least this is what i understand.Malo <--- Means--Evil or Mean One. This explains a lot.
2013 Mojo 2.5 Skylon Tower. Bestia < Beast >
02-14-2010, 01:55 PM #3
ya, caps are a waste in a boat imo. boats don't draw enough to worry about since amps are drawing straight off battery with very little additional load..'06 Supra Launch 20SSV-gone but never forgotten
02-14-2010, 05:57 PM #4
If you just use breakers or fuses you can run them both to the battery seperately.
Unless your distrobution block has fuses or breaker bulit in. If thats the case I would run 4 gauge from each amp to the the distro block and 1 gauge from the battery to the distrobution block. If you don't have 1 gauge capability I would run 2 4ga from the battery to the block.
PWI as usual...
02-24-2010, 11:33 PM #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
Yeah that makes sense, thanks guys. This is going to take a while cleaning all the wires up and stuff but time spent with the mistress is time well spent says I. The wife thinks different
02-25-2010, 12:44 AM #6
That's why shes the wife and there's a mistress.Malo <--- Means--Evil or Mean One. This explains a lot.
2013 Mojo 2.5 Skylon Tower. Bestia < Beast >
02-25-2010, 10:30 AM #7
Each amp has its own fuses, to protect the amps. You DO NOT need fuses between the distribution block and the amps. Adding extra fuses between the distribution blocks and amps only adds more individual electrical connections, increasing the chance of failed contacts, corrosion, and other problems associated with open metal-on-metal connections in a marine environment.
You DO need a fuse or a curcuit breaker on your primary power wire between your battery and your distribution blocks, right next to the battery, equal to the sum of the fuse values recommended in the amplifier's owners manuals.
The ZX700.5 has 90 amps of fuses, and the ZZX550.2 has 70 amps of fuses, so you want AT LEAST 160 amps of over-current protection right at the battery on the primary power lead going to the amp distribution blocks. A 200 amp fuse or circuit breaker will do the job, and is safe, as Coast Guard law for new boat production allows overcurrent protection up to 1.5 times the max current draw of the electrical components on the circuit. Coast Guard law also mandates that the fuse or circuit breaker have no more than 7" of wire between the battery and the fuse or breaker. For your own use, you can go further; sometimes it is impossible to really get the fuse or breaker that close to the battery, but try to be within a foot or so... The reason for providing a fuse right at the battery is to prevent an accidental short circuit of your primary power wire, resulting in a very hot hunk of copper, burning insulation and a fire or explosion on your boat.
So starting at the battery positive terminal: You have a short piece of LARGE wire, (I recomment 2 ga or 1/0 ga, NOT 4 ga as you suggested), then a fuse holder with a 200A fuse, (or a circuit breaker if you can find one that big) then you have another LARGE wire, (2 ga or 1/0 ga) going to the positive distribution block near the amps. From the positive distribution block you have 4 ga wires going to each amp.
For the negative side of the equation, us a similarly large ground wire going from the battery to a distribution block, and then 4 ga wires to the ground terminals of both amps. No fuses needed on the ground side...
There are lots of theories on capacitors, and very few facts. Some people use them with good results; I will tell you those folks probably have inadequate charging systems and insufficient amounts of copper between their batteris and their amps. The caps cover up the voltage sag that shows up as a result of poor system design like a band-aid covers up a cold sore.
Proper systems, with alternators, batteries and wiring sized properly for the system do not need caps.
I have attached a very crude schematic showing my preferred wiring method for a dual amplifier setup. It shows the relatve locations of the big fuse, the distribution blocks, and the amps. In this schematic I also show a wiring scheme that moves the radio's power out of the dash wiring, (noisy) and onto the amplifier power wiring, (lots quieter). The relay shown takes advantage of the boats accessory ignition switch position, (like in an older car, where you turn the key backwards). If you have a dash rocker switch for your stereo, you can use it instead of the relay. I have attached that pic, even though it only shows a single amp.
Anyway, if you have further questions, let us know. good luck and have fun!
Last edited by philwsailz; 02-25-2010 at 10:33 AM.
02-25-2010, 12:02 PM #8
The primary role of in-line fusing or a circuit breaker is to protect the boat from the heavy gauge cable that runs battery-direct. In case of a power wire pulling loose and touching a ground terminal for example or in the event of a boating accident resulting in a short, its possible that a fire would result before a 4-gauge wire would burn through. So the fuse or breaker should be as close to the battery or battery switch as possible.
Pertaining to stiffening capacitors on a boat: Usually in an automotive application when you initilly power up a large cap the manufacturer strongly suggests that you use the supplied resistor to slowly charge the capaitor. Otherwise, repeatedly applying power to a totally discharged cap would eventually damage the cap and the damaged cap would create other problems for your charging system and audio system.
In a vehicle installation the capacitor is always tied in parallel with the battery and never fully discharged. But in a boat it is often necesaary to isolate your compenents during storage. So it would be impractical, or at minimum an inconvenience, to slow charge the cap every weekend.
From a different perspective, boats are often used at rest where the voltage rapidly drops more so than in an automobile where most of the time the vehicle is operational. While a cap will help stiffen the voltage during the transient cycles of music it will only be of benefit in an optimum situation. It can't raise your voltage. It can only sustain voltage for a micro-second at the level supplied to it.
So if it were my investment, I would skip the cap in a boat and focus on building a more efficent system design from a woofer to amplifiers to bateries and very important, I would get a smart AC dual-bank charger. All these things would have much more impact in my opinion.
02-25-2010, 06:34 PM #9Senior Member
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- Feb 2008
Phil, David and the rest of the crew, you know who you are, thanks for the advice I really appreciate you guys setting me straight. I will probably go with 1 gauge power wire and will for sure get that fuse within 7". Also, I knew my system was missing something, thanks for the advice on the dual bank charger.