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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is a question for those of you have have experienced alternator whine noise at high RPM. Have you ever fixed this problem? If yes, how?

Right now, my speakers play a barely audible whine noise when engine RPM is above 2500. This is only audible when I pause music or play a digital silence file. All in all, this is not an issue at all because my engine RPM hardly stays above 2500 for long, and my stereo is playing some kind of music when on. However, being a perfectionist, I wonder if this is a fixable issue. Right now I am thinking of the following possible solutions:

1. Big 3 upgrade. This will be done some time soon.
2. New battery. I'd rather not upgraded it as it was tested to be good just recently.
3. New amplifier? I know my amp brand is not all that great (Jensen). I am thinking of moving on to MB Quart or Alpine. However, I would preferably not upgrade the amplifier if it is not an amplifier issue..
4. Ground the head unit closer to its location? Right now the head unit is grounded with the factory ground wire which runs all the way to the back of the trunk..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sounds like the rca or speaker wires are close to a power wire,
This is unlikely. My RCA cables run on the left side of the car. The power cable is on the right side. However, those cables may lie close to each other in the trunk area when approaching the amplifier. I'll check that.
 

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I had fits with alternator whine on my car. A few things that helped...

1: Run the power wire from the master link, not the battery. When you run it, keep it as far away from the spark plug wires and the alternator as possible. I ended up switching mine from the passenger side to the driver side to keep it away from the alternator.

2: Get a capacitor. In addition to helping with bass response and dimming lights, a good cap can provide some filtering of noise.

3: Check your routing in the trunk and if signal or speaker wires must cross power wires do it at a right angle.

4: Find the closest possible ground for all components and make sure it has a solid connection.

5: Switch to a head unit (or in my case processor) that has more powerful pre-amp outputs.

6: Use high quality, twisted pair RCA cables.

All these things helped, but the final solution that really dropped the entire noise floor in addition to eliminating the alternator whine was getting better amps. The difference from Dual, Jensen and Power Acoustik amps to my Infintity's was night and day. The Alpine PDX's in my other car are also dead silent.
 

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Its just RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) this happens when a power wire is ran too close to your speaker wires. The speakers will pick up the EM waves put off by the power wire. Just make sure your power wire from battery to amp isn't ran next to the speaker wires harness. Thats assuming you have an after market HU.
 

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I know it's been a while, but...

I had an alt whine problem back when I had my Contour. I lived with it for a while. Eventually, I went to the trouble of installing a ground loop isolator and it didn't help.

One day I had some time to kill so I pulled the HU and temporarily extended the ground wire a few feet. I touched it off on several different grounding locations on the firewall and was able to reduce the whine by 90%.

I always make sure to have good, clean ground locations and figured as long as I did that I wouldn't have to worry about ground noise. Not true.
I've found that sometimes a hack job ground connection in a good location will work better than a clean, well prepared connection in a bad location.

Madsci -- I've never seen or heard of a cap/no-cap example of an audible improvement of any kind. If such results were likely, or even possible, I would expect to see a demo station set up at every good shop and show out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^^

One thing I wanna do, before I try anything else is to install a better amplifier. I am looking right now at several newer pure Class D 4-channel amplifiers and a hybrid Class A/B Class D 5-channel amplifier. This is hopefully to improve SQ, headroom, and to run things cooler (my pure class A/B amplifier runs stupid hot on some hotter days). If alt whine does not go away I'll look into other options.

I have heard many times that capacitors are not that useful compared to have a good battery and/or strong alternator. In any case, I suspect that I don't run the kind of wattage to my speakers that merits having a capacitor.

4. Interestingly, my head unit and amplifier are grounded together at the same location, the head unit ground cable runs all the way to the back of car. Could this be a bad thing? I think maybe I should try grounding the head unit at the firewall as well.

5. The head unit is advertized as high voltage already.. 4V, at max volume. In reality, it's sending probably 2.5V at normal sound volume setting.

6. I already have quality RCA cables..
 

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to get rid of the whine get a ground loop isolator....



Worked for me :)
 
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