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Am I pushing my luck with wanting to install some Hella 550 fogs? I've been reading some previous post and it looks like 55w is what we cap out at. The 550s are right at that line at 55w. I've got a 2000 X that didn't have fogs from the factory.
 

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Xterra SE 4x4 V6 NA
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Am I pushing my luck with wanting to install some Hella 550 fogs? I've been reading some previous post and it looks like 55w is what we cap out at. The 550s are right at that line at 55w. I've got a 2000 X that didn't have fogs from the factory.
You need to look up the amperage output of your alternator before installing any extra lights on your X.
Most of the stock alternators are rated for what is originally on the vehicle.
You don't want to push your stock alternator near its limit because that could cause it to burn out prematurely.
Last thing you want is to be out in the wilderness with a dead alternator.
I do know that most aftermarket manufacturers do offer higher amp output alternators if you want to add on more gadgets or lights.
 

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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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The battery can handle it, since it can power the starter.

The alternator is rated to recharge the battery after starting the engine, as well as keep it charged while you operate the AC clutch, blower motor, headlights, brake lights, turn signal, and reverse lights, plus any additional lights from a trailer. You can even toot your horn and not hurt the alternator. And you can do all of them at the same time.

I've added a pair of Diode Dynamics amber fog light LEDs on the front that burn with the key on, to act as DRLs. I also added pair of white ones and installed them in the rear bumper to act as reversing flood lights. I can see where the heck I'm backing up now!

I don't anticipate any issues with adding any electrical accessories like what you describe. I've done it for years on many vehicles and never once had an alternator crap out on me.

(Yes, those white lights below are LED backup lights!)

 

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The battery can handle it, since it can power the starter.

The alternator is rated to recharge the battery after starting the engine, as well as keep it charged while you operate the AC clutch, blower motor, headlights, brake lights, turn signal, and reverse lights, plus any additional lights from a trailer. You can even toot your horn and not hurt the alternator. And you can do all of them at the same time.

I've added a pair of Diode Dynamics amber fog light LEDs on the front that burn with the key on, to act as DRLs. I also added pair of white ones and installed them in the rear bumper to act as reversing flood lights. I can see where the heck I'm backing up now!

I don't anticipate any issues with adding any electrical accessories like what you describe. I've done it for years on many vehicles and never once had an alternator crap out on me.

(Yes, those white lights below are LED backup lights!)
Alternators are basically alternating current generators that have a DC converter-regulator that provides the voltage and amperage to charge the battery and power the other accessories while the engine is running. While the engine is running it is the alternator that supplies all the power, not the battery.
The battery's primary purpose is to start the engine and act as a surge capacitor when you turn on something that requires a lot of starting power, such as the AC clutch, or high powered lights.
When you first turn on an accessory, such as a high powered light or your AC, it will first draw its startup power from the battery, but then the alternator's regulator will sense this extra drain and allow more current to flow in order to prevent the battery from being drained. Once the accessory is fully operating it draws its power directly from the alternator while the engine is running.

I used to repair electronics for a living many years ago, and I do know that if you have too many accessories running at the same time the alternator can be overloaded.
One symptom of an alternator that is being overloaded is if the battery warning light comes on while running all of your accessories. If the battery light goes out when you turn off some of the accessories then that proves that whatever you're running is drawing more power than the alternator can provide.

Now I will agree that LED lights do draw less power than older incandescent or Halogen Lights, but if you have enough of them running their drain on the alternator can add up.
Most stock alternators can generate double the power required by the stock vehicle and its original accessories, which means you can add a few extras without pulling too much power from it, but there is a limit.

Back before I got into photography I used to have an electronics repair shop, and I recall one customer bringing me his car complaining about his headlamps dimming or flickering when he turned on his stereo. He also complained about his battery light coming on intermittently. He told me that he replaced the batter but the problem was still persisting, which is why he brought it to me since he thought it was a problem with the stereo.
When I saw his headlamps flickering to the beat of the music I knew that it was because the stereo was simply drawing more power than the car's alternator could provide. So I took a look and it turned out that he had an ultra-high powered stereo amplifier running that produced those big boom boom sounds that rattle the windows. I can't recall the brand of stereo but the amp produced about 2000 watts for the speakers.
I asked him if he upgraded his alternator and he said no. I told him to look into getting a bigger alternator since he had such a huge stereo amp running. He took my advice and about a couple weeks later he reported back to me that the mechanic that installed the new alternator agreed about my assessment. With the higher powered alternator in place his lights no longer flickered and the battery light quit coming on.

So if you plan to load up with a lot of accessories I would see about getting a bigger alternator just to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You need to look up the amperage output of your alternator before installing any extra lights on your X.
Most of the stock alternators are rated for what is originally on the vehicle.
You don't want to push your stock alternator near its limit because that could cause it to burn out prematurely.
Last thing you want is to be out in the wilderness with a dead alternator.
I do know that most aftermarket manufacturers do offer higher amp output alternators if you want to add on more gadgets or lights.

I have the Quest alternator in mine so it will have more oof than the factory one. I'll see if I can find the information about it online so I know what I'm working with.
 

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You’ll be fine. A large stereo amp is 1000 watts or bigger. You’re talking about 100. The cigarette lighter is 150w. If you’ve added more than a couple lights, I’d recommend the quest alternator but you’ve already done that.

Edit: I think the concern is more putting too hot of a bulb in the housing, not overloading the charging system. Either way, I’d think 55 is fine
 

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I have the Quest alternator in mine so it will have more oof than the factory one. I'll see if I can find the information about it online so I know what I'm working with.
I'm not familiar with the different aftermarket brands out there, but if the amperage output is more than your extra accessories will be consuming if they're all turned on at the same time then you should be fine.
 

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Quest isn’t a brand, it’s a Nissan model. The xterra had alternators from 70-100A max output. The quest was born with a 125A alternator. The quest alternator puts out a minimum of 36A at 1300 rpm, while even the high output xterra alternator is only 24A at the same speed. When your xterra alternator fails, consider a quest alternator as a 25% output upgrade
 

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Quest isn’t a brand, it’s a Nissan model. The xterra had alternators from 70-100A max output. The quest was born with a 125A alternator. The quest alternator puts out a minimum of 36A at 1300 rpm, while even the high output xterra alternator is only 24A at the same speed. When your xterra alternator fails, consider a quest alternator as a 25% output upgrade
Since I never owned a Nissan before I got my current Xterra I didn't know that Quest is a Nissan product.
I suppose Quest is to Nissan like what Mopar is to Chrysler.
But in any case, I did some checking and there is an aftermarket high output alternator available for the Xterra that has 270 amps of power.
It is very expensive, however, and over $600.
But it says in the listing that it can put out 200 amps while the engine is idling.
This is good if you need to operate a heavy weight winch to pull your X out of a ditch without draining the battery.
It says that this alternator fits Xterra years 2005 and newer, but I suppose they have another one for the older Xterras.

 

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quest is a model. It’s a minivan.

Rugged rocks doesn’t make alternators. They resell alternators they get from a company called DC power. If you get the DC Power alternator, you can get any color, not just orange

DC Power alternators are trash. Every one I’ve ever seen has caused a problem. You can find multiple threads about it on this site even. The last one we saw actually blew the battery up and caused a car fire. Sometimes you may not want the biggest one you can find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You’ll be fine. A large stereo amp is 1000 watts or bigger. You’re talking about 100. The cigarette lighter is 150w. If you’ve added more than a couple lights, I’d recommend the quest alternator but you’ve already done that.

Edit: I think the concern is more putting too hot of a bulb in the housing, not overloading the charging system. Either way, I’d think 55 is fine
I don't have any additions to my X as far as electronics. It's all stock minus the alt upgrade. The Hella 550s are self contained so they have a bulb and housing together so I don't think that would be an issue at all.
 

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quest is a model. It’s a minivan.

Rugged rocks doesn’t make alternators. They resell alternators they get from a company called DC power. If you get the DC Power alternator, you can get any color, not just orange

DC Power alternators are trash. Every one I’ve ever seen has caused a problem. You can find multiple threads about it on this site even. The last one we saw actually blew the battery up and caused a car fire. Sometimes you may not want the biggest one you can find.
I just found them in a search for aftermarket Xterra alternators.
I don't know what their quality is.
I always stick with the stock OEM alternators anyway, which means I don't add a lot of things to my vehicles that would cause a strain on the electrical system.
 

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Use the OEM switch. All it does is tell a relay to turn on, which it's designed for.

If yours has the switch already, then it has the relay and fuse, too. Find the relay, make sure the fuse is good, find the wire to the fog lights, then wire them up!

If there is no OEM switch, then you can choose whether to add one or to use a simple switch that you mount somewhere. Then you run the wire to a relay, add fuses (2A between the switch and its power source; 15 or 20A from the battery to the relay contacts), then run the wires.

Simple, effective, cheap.
 
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