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Where does the power come from?

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  • Where does the power come from?

    I've always wondered how patrol vehicles get so much power, in respect to electricity. I'm a storm chaser for the national weather service and the car will die in about 5 hours with my ham radio going, along with the headlights, a/c, and windshield wipers and I know the battery is good. So how is it that police vehicles can run their cars with a laptop, light bar, headlights, windshield wipers, radio, siren, cameras, and who knows what else while the car is idleing without the car cutting off? What's the trick?

  • #2
    Its because they have alternators the size of small children. Just my thoughts. If you really want to know just look at the specs of a crown vic with the Police package and it will tell you that it is a high output alternator.

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    • #3
      If there is room under your hood, try replacing your existing battery with two, 6 volt, heavy duty truck batteries connected in series.

      Back in the 1950s, when trunk mounted radar units had tubes that sucked the life out of batteries, using this configuration really saved the day.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        Huge *** alternators!

        Also, alot of our stuff is specially designed to draw less amperage than most other electronic equipment on the civilian market. Also, you may want to check into an Optima RedTop battery, alot of departments are using those.

        Don't think we never have our cars die though. I remember a night when I had to "grab and go" at shift change. There were six cars at the precinct, only one of them would actually start. The one that would start was a detective car with VERY minimal emergency equipment in it.
        Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.

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        • #5
          There's a rat in the trunk that runs constantly in a wheel supplying extra power....just kidding

          There are companies that make large alternators for police/fire/ambulance vehicles. Do some research & you can easily find them. We go through alternators on our ambulances about once a year along with batteries.

          Here's a link! Leece-Neville

          Good luck!
          Last edited by Java King; 08-04-2005, 07:53 AM.
          That's right, bring me my royal coffee!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Java King
            There's a rat in the trunk that runs constantly in a wheel supplying extra power....just kidding
            Lol, nice....
            Well life is too short so love the one ya got cuz ya might get run over or ya might get shot.

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            • #7
              Go to one of your big car stereo places and see what they recommend as far as replacement alternators. A large battery is great for surges of power use but continuous use requires a bigger alternator. Many of the high end stereo guys out here will put in a 2nd alternator to handle the power requirements but that entails different pullies.
              "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

              For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

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              • #8
                I was thinking about taking two or three car batteries that are the same make and model and wiring them in parallel in the trunk and then sending wiring from there to the contacts under the hood. Do you think this would prolong my battery life or would it cause me other problems? I know at least if they are in parallel they will still run 12V to the car.

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                • #9
                  That will work good while your engine is off but will hurt your alternator when it has to charge them up. Your best bet is to update the whole system in balance with bigger alternator or two and multiple batteries. You might check out an RV websites to see what they are doing for multiple batteries. You'll want your accessorry batteries isolated from your primary via a diode so you don't drain your main battery when running your equipment.
                  "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

                  For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

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                  • #10
                    You are already being given some good info, get a "high-output" alternator and a larger battery.

                    The "police package" on our cars has these as standard equipment.

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                    • #11
                      On our fire trucks, we have a power gov. When you put on the emergency brake, it revs up the engine to keep the lights. radio, etc. going.
                      "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                      John Stuart Mill

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