INSTALLING A CAPACITOR
So, you've brought home your shiny new capacitor in the bag. If this is your first cap installation, your first hope is that it came with good installation instructions. If not, or if you just want to know how its done, perhaps this article will get you off to a good start.
Some capacitors require you to pre-charge them to attain usability mode. To do this, you will need the charging board that comes with the unit. It is usually a simple PC board card with a positive and negative 16 gauge wires. Simply follow the included instructions, administering the power wire from a 12V source to your cap's positive terminal. Don't forget to ground it too. Now connect the card, positive-to-positive and negative-to-negative (or ground). When the indicator on the card comes on, the capacitor is fully pre-charged.
At this point, its time for the installation. Select a good spot, no more than 18" from the amplifier on the + power wire. Cut the power wire on the amp at the location where the cap is to go, and connect the wire to the positive terminal. If you are using ring terminals, install the first one flat on the base of the terminal. Then, run the second half of the spliced power wire from the same positive terminal (set the second ring right on top of the first one) and run it to the fuse block. If you are installing a model that uses a distribution block cap, simply hook the wire to the amp in the appropriate slot, and the 12V lead (to battery) in the appropriate slot. As always, follow the instructions.
Don't forget about the ground (-) connection! The cap should be grounded close by, preferably in the same spot the amp is grounded. Using the same gauge wire, run the ground cable to the negative terminal (usually the one not marked). Next, if your cap came with a remote lead terminal, run this to either the ACC fuse in your fuse block or to the REMOTE/ANT lead on your receiver using 16 gauge or so wiring. With the wiring all in place, secure the cap into place using an included bracket (if included) or using some 3" pipe brackets from Home Depot. You can install the cap right side up, upside down, side ways, diagonally, or whatever. Just make sure the vent at the top is never covered or blocked.
You can now proceed to safely reconnect your battery terminals. Sit back and enjoy cleaner, crisper and faster response, from your bass system.
For more on the theory and benefits of capacitors, see our About Capacitors Page.