More and more electronics equals increased
amp draw loads. This only helps to shorten the
amount of time it takes for a 12-volt battery
to drop to marginal voltage levels; 16 volts
provides a 4-volt cushion to the electrical
system over a 12 volt system. Instead of a full
charge open circuit of 12.6 (2.1 volts per cell
times 6 cells), the 16-volt battery offers a
full charge voltage of 16.8 (2.1 volts per cell
times 8 cells). A discharged battery with a
specific gravity of 1.175 produces around 1.75
volts per cell. This means that even when totally
discharged, a 16-volt battery will produce 14
volts as opposed to a 12 volt discharged battery
producing only 10.5 volts. The voltage of a
16-volt battery will exceed the minimum recommended
voltages of a racing ignition even when totally
post, 16-volt batteries are the most common.
Because the battery has a higher voltage to
begin with (and since the voltage of depleted,
totally discharged 16 volt battery still remains
at 14 volts), the need for an alternator (along
with the associated complexity and weight) is
16 volts allow the starter motor to spin faster
and increases the performance of electric fans
and pumps. The primary reason for using a 16-volt
battery is to improve the performance of the
ignition system. Typically, a 16-volt battery
can help to fire massive plug gaps (up to 0.080").
In some cases, this can also lead to increased
jet sizes over a 12-volt baseline. Some racers
claim that due to the hotter spark, engines
running 16 volts do not fall off as much in
"bad air" as when using 12 volts.
number of components in your racing arsenal
such as these will positively love a 16-volt
system. The starter in your racecar, the electric
fuel pump as well as electric fans will also
function perfectly with a 16-volt system.
So far so good, but what parts can you really
use with a 16-volt system?
Ignition: Most racing ignitions on the market
need at least 12 volts for proper operation
and will benefit from 16 volts. The more input
voltage to the ignition, the greater the output
from the ignition. The hotter spark from a 16-
volt battery run through a high-powered ignition
system will allow the racer to run as high as
an 0.080" plug gap. Wider plug gaps can allow
an increase in jet sizes.
Starter: 16 volts will spin the starter as
much as 33% faster than with 12 volts.
Electric Fans: The electric fans will also
spin 10-15% faster with no damage to the fan.
Electric Water Pumps: The water pumps will
also spin 10-15% faster, resulting in quicker
Electric Fuel Pumps: 16 volts will build an
additional 4-6 pounds of pressure at the pump.
If additional pressure is not required, it can
easily be backed down at the regulator.