By: Ray Frescas | 01/21/2012 < Back to Motor Life Home

You can have the most powerful ignition available and tuned to perfection, but without a battery to fire things up, you’ll be going no where. The battery is the main source of power for a performance ignition system, and you need to be sure that it’s capable of having the juice you need get the engine fired up. Not to mention to supply the ignition with current and voltage created by the alternator.

There’s more relying on the battery than just the ignition system. The starter is also pulling huge amounts of current to crank over your engine. Adding compression and big strokes adds to this demand as well. Also, any other electrical devices such as fans, pumps, motors, and even fuel injection controls all tap into the battery for voltage.

When looking for a battery, certainly look at the cold cranking amps (CCA) racing. Also look at the cycling, or recovery capabilities of the battery.

Alternators are used on all street cars and even on the majority of race engines (except purpose built drag cars for the most part). The alternator is responsible for producing the electricity that a car draws from the battery while it is running. The alternator generates an alternating current (AC) when it is turned by a belt and pulley system connected to the crankshaft. Inside the alternator, a rotor spins to create a magnetic field. This field is induced into the windings of a stator (around the rotor), and eventually makes its way to the battery as direct current (DC).

If you run a battery without a charging system, it is important that it’s fully charged at the beginning of the race so it has the capacity to power all of your car’s electrical needs through the finish line.

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