Honda Car Forum


 

Go Back   Honda Car Forum - Accord Parts Civic Tuning Acura Racing > Honda Acura > Honda 2

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06 Sep 2004, 10:54 pm
Caroline
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air conditioning,
156k miles, here.

Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
-- idling = about 12.7 volts
-- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts

In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.

Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14 volts or so
indicates a properly operating charging system. So something is wrong, IMO.

I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one (4-years-old;
Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North to the Southwest in the
past year?). The voltages above didn't change.

The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5 years and
50k miles old.

I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too loose,
as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the squeal stopped.
Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery terminal voltage.

I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from the
battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.

I'm going to do the checks at
http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf this weekend.

Meanwhile, has anyone seen a condition like this? If so, what was the fix?

I think this is not critical unless I do a lot of driving with the lights on
(which I do not, as I drive mostly during daylight hours). But I do feel my
battery isn't going to be maintained at optimal charge and so, as winter
approaches, I need to fix this.


Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06 Sep 2004, 11:24 pm
jim beam
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

does the voltage drop under load? you know, fans, lights, defrost etc.,
on? if it drops to say 10V, then you have a charging problem. if not,
and it kicks up to 13/14V when loaded, everything's working just fine.

the alternator should have a regulator circuit that determines whether
it needs to "charge hard" or not. if the battery is charged and there's
minimal load, the alternator is not required to produce max output, and
indeed it shouldn't in order to not fry the battery.

alternators generally fail when the diodes go. semiconductors have a
limited lifetime at high temperatures, and hot climates and/or full
electrical loads will keep them nice & toasty. oem alternators can last
a good long time when treated conservatively.

Caroline wrote:
> 1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air conditioning,
> 156k miles, here.
>
> Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
> -- idling = about 12.7 volts
> -- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts
>
> In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.
>
> Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14 volts or so
> indicates a properly operating charging system. So something is wrong, IMO.
>
> I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one (4-years-old;
> Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North to the Southwest in the
> past year?). The voltages above didn't change.
>
> The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5 years and
> 50k miles old.
>
> I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too loose,
> as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the squeal stopped.
> Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery terminal voltage.
>
> I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from the
> battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.
>
> I'm going to do the checks at
> http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf this weekend.
>
> Meanwhile, has anyone seen a condition like this? If so, what was the fix?
>
> I think this is not critical unless I do a lot of driving with the lights on
> (which I do not, as I drive mostly during daylight hours). But I do feel my
> battery isn't going to be maintained at optimal charge and so, as winter
> approaches, I need to fix this.
>
>


Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 04:24 am
Eric
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

Caroline wrote:
>
> 1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air
> conditioning, 156k miles, here.
>
> Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
> -- idling = about 12.7 volts
> -- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts
>
> In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.
>
> Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14
> volts or so indicates a properly operating charging system. So something
> is wrong, IMO.
>
> I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one
> (4-years-old; Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North
> to the Southwest in the past year?). The voltages above didn't change.
>
> The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5
> years and 50k miles old.
>
> I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too
> loose, as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the
> squeal stopped. Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery
> terminal voltage.
>
> I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion)
> from the battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the
> batteries.


If my memory serves me correctly, you may want to check the battery cables
for a voltage drop. Can you measure a large voltage drop (high resistance),
i.e., more than 0.3-0.5V, across the battery cable? If so, then it may need
to be replaced.

Note: To measure a voltage drop connect the + lead of your DVOM to the +
battery terminal and the - DVOM lead to the other end of the wire at its
connector.

Eric
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 10:46 am
Rex B
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

On Tue, 07 Sep 2004 02:54:10 GMT, "Caroline" <caroline10027remove@earthlink.net>
wrote:

||1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air
conditioning,
||156k miles, here.
||
||Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
||-- idling = about 12.7 volts
||-- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts
||
||In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.
||
||Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14 volts or so
||indicates a properly operating charging system. So something is wrong, IMO.
||
||I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one (4-years-old;
||Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North to the Southwest in the
||past year?). The voltages above didn't change.
||
||The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5 years and
||50k miles old.
||
||I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too
loose,
||as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the squeal
stopped.
||Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery terminal voltage.
||
||I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from
the
||battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.
||
||I'm going to do the checks at
||http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf this weekend.
||
||Meanwhile, has anyone seen a condition like this? If so, what was the fix?
||
||I think this is not critical unless I do a lot of driving with the lights on
||(which I do not, as I drive mostly during daylight hours). But I do feel my
||battery isn't going to be maintained at optimal charge and so, as winter
||approaches, I need to fix this.

Caroline
If your boltage reads 12.7 with motor off, motor on, and motor revved up a
little, then you alternator is toast. 13.2V is a bare minimum and it should have
that at idle of just above. 12.7 means a fully charged battery.

Texas Parts Guy
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 12:21 pm
mark smith
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

Caroline wrote:
> 1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air conditioning,
> 156k miles, here.
>
> Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
> -- idling = about 12.7 volts
> -- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts
>
> In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.
>
> Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14 volts or so
> indicates a properly operating charging system. So something is wrong, IMO.
>
> I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one (4-years-old;
> Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North to the Southwest in the
> past year?). The voltages above didn't change.
>
> The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5 years and
> 50k miles old.
>
> I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too loose,
> as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the squeal stopped.
> Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery terminal voltage.
>
> I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from the
> battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.
>
> I'm going to do the checks at
> http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf this weekend.
>
> Meanwhile, has anyone seen a condition like this? If so, what was the fix?
>
> I think this is not critical unless I do a lot of driving with the lights on
> (which I do not, as I drive mostly during daylight hours). But I do feel my
> battery isn't going to be maintained at optimal charge and so, as winter
> approaches, I need to fix this.
>
>

hi caroline
If the idle voltage is the same as the no load voltage,i.e. car
stopped,it looks as if the alternator is not putting out any
charge...another recon needed??
hope this helps
spike
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 12:23 pm
Abeness
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

Rex B wrote:
> If your boltage reads 12.7 with motor off, motor on, and motor revved up a
> little, then you alternator is toast. 13.2V is a bare minimum and it should have
> that at idle of just above. 12.7 means a fully charged battery.


Do Honda's have voltage regulators? ISTR that a dead voltage regulator
could lead to the appearance of a dead alternator in 80s GM cars, but I
may be misremembering.

Abe
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 12:31 pm
John Ings
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

On Tue, 07 Sep 2004 02:54:10 GMT, "Caroline"
<caroline10027remove@earthlink.net> wrote:

>I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from the
>battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.


Clean your battery cable clamps with a round wire brush. Check the
cable itself under the insulation near the clamp, make sure it isn't
corroded under there. Check both cable connections at the other end,
especially the ground cable. Unbolt them, clean with a file and
reconnect. Half an ohm resistance in a 115 volt circuit is nothing.
Half an ohm in a 12 volt battery cable is a big deal. Do the math
E = IR If the alternator wants to put 20 amps into the battery,
..5 X 20 = 10 volts drop.



Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 02:17 pm
SoCalMike
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

John Ings wrote:

> On Tue, 07 Sep 2004 02:54:10 GMT, "Caroline"
> <caroline10027remove@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>
>>I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from the
>>battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.

>
>
> Clean your battery cable clamps with a round wire brush. Check the
> cable itself under the insulation near the clamp, make sure it isn't
> corroded under there. Check both cable connections at the other end,
> especially the ground cable. Unbolt them, clean with a file and
> reconnect. Half an ohm resistance in a 115 volt circuit is nothing.
> Half an ohm in a 12 volt battery cable is a big deal. Do the math
> E = IR If the alternator wants to put 20 amps into the battery,
> .5 X 20 = 10 volts drop.


theyre worth replacing, regardless. along with the connection to the
alternator. if the readings still dont improve, its new rebuilt
alternator time.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07 Sep 2004, 05:20 pm
Randolph
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

Caroline,

The voltage regulator has two settings. Under normal operation the
output voltage should be 14.5 V +/- 0.6V. At idle with a warmed up
engine (and a few other requirements) the voltage is dropped to save
fuel. Try measuring the voltages again, but this time step on the brake
pedal when you measure the voltage at idle (stepping on the brakes will
force the voltage regulator into the 14.5 V mode). When you measured in
February, perhaps the engine wasn't fully warmed up?

Caroline wrote:
>
> 1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air conditioning,
> 156k miles, here.
>
> Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
> -- idling = about 12.7 volts
> -- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts
>
> In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.
>
> Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14 volts or so
> indicates a properly operating charging system. So something is wrong, IMO.
>
> I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one (4-years-old;
> Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North to the Southwest in the
> past year?). The voltages above didn't change.
>
> The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5 years and
> 50k miles old.
>
> I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too loose,
> as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the squeal stopped.
> Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery terminal voltage.
>
> I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from the
> battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.
>
> I'm going to do the checks at
> http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf this weekend.
>
> Meanwhile, has anyone seen a condition like this? If so, what was the fix?
>
> I think this is not critical unless I do a lot of driving with the lights on
> (which I do not, as I drive mostly during daylight hours). But I do feel my
> battery isn't going to be maintained at optimal charge and so, as winter
> approaches, I need to fix this.

Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 08 Sep 2004, 07:08 pm
Caroline
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage?

Randolph,

I understand what you're saying and so checked the voltage at the battery
terminals first thing this morning, before the engine had anywhere near warmed.
Voltage at the battery terminals remained about 12.7 volts, whether idling or
not.

I am not sure whether the engine was warmed up or not when I checked and got
proper voltage readings this past February. But regardless, in the future I
agree this is something to consider.

The car continues to run fine. I drove it with the headlights and radio on in
darkness for about 50 minutes last night and another 50 minutes this morning.

Thanks Jim, Eric, Rex, Mark (= spike), John, Abeness, and Mike for your input.
All has been considered. I can't reject any of the theories and am bearing all
in mind as I continue to work on this. I have made progress. See below.

John, I'm going to go work on cleaning up the battery cables, especially the
ends, a bit more this afternoon.

Mike, I'm looking into replacing as many battery cables as I can easily do. Some
of these wire harnesses/bundles seem like a bit of a morass to get into. I guess
there's an argument that (low load?) wires age with time and so should be
replaced every so often, but I wonder whether the amperage load through these
wires is low enough that they tend to last a very long time. They don't see the
same sort of load (via fatigue?) that spark plug wires see, I reckon.

Abeness, yes, Majestic Honda online indicates this alternator has a regulator
(assembly).

Further Update:

This afternoon I started the steps at
http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf and got to about
#6. The first thing I noticed was that the alternator connector's plastic
fitting (see step 2) was partly broken on the female (= alternator) side. This
breakage is around the piece that snaps to hold the connector very securely in
place. It looked like maybe someone had got rough with it and pried the
connector free, breaking the plastic in the process. (I don't recall
disconnecting the alternator connector in the past, but maybe it was in the way
and I did disconnect it at some point. Or maybe I broke it today while
disconnecting it! It's kinda hard to see down there. It came free too easily,
based on my experience with similar connectors where a little screwdriver may be
used to free up the plastic clip. I suppose the techs who put in the new
alternator several years ago may have broken it, too. Anyway, it's now busted
plastic... )

I went ahead and checked for an open electrical connection (black/yellow wire
from alternator to fuse box) per step 2 and found none.

I perused steps 3-6 and saw where the procedure was going, but I didn't have
enough equuipment to fully test the regulator. Nonetheless, I did check the
voltage difference between alternator terminal B and ground for different loads.
Results:

Under no load, and I guess somewhat warmed up (I'd been driving but the car had
been sitting for about an hour. The engine was hot to the touch.), voltage from
terminal B to ground = 14.4 volts.

With headlights, defroster, cabin fan, and hazard lights on, the voltage from
terminal B to ground = about 13 volts.

The readings at the battery terminals under these conditions were just a little
lower, like 14.3 and 12.8.

So now the car is getting over 14 volts at the battery when idling(!)

My latest theory is that the alternator connector had come loose, possibly
because of the broken plastic fitting, possibly because of all the monkeying
I've been doing with the car in general in the last several months.

I will keep checking and, if you don't hear further from me, for the sake of the
archives, assume I (my car) was bamboozled by a somewhat busted alternator
connector, allowing it to come partly loose.


"Randolph" <trash@junkmail.com> wrote
> Caroline,
>
> The voltage regulator has two settings. Under normal operation the
> output voltage should be 14.5 V +/- 0.6V. At idle with a warmed up
> engine (and a few other requirements) the voltage is dropped to save
> fuel. Try measuring the voltages again, but this time step on the brake
> pedal when you measure the voltage at idle (stepping on the brakes will
> force the voltage regulator into the 14.5 V mode). When you measured in
> February, perhaps the engine wasn't fully warmed up?
>
> Caroline wrote:
> >
> > 1991 Civic LX 4-door sedan, 1.5 Liter, manual transmission, no air

conditioning,
> > 156k miles, here.
> >
> > Voltage at the battery terminals when the car is
> > -- idling = about 12.7 volts
> > -- stopped, ignition off, also about 12.7 volts
> >
> > In February, these numbers were 14.5 volts and 12. 4 volts.
> >
> > Internet sources say a voltage when the car is idling of around 14 volts or

so
> > indicates a properly operating charging system. So something is wrong, IMO.
> >
> > I put in a new battery (Interstate) today, replacing the old one

(4-years-old;
> > Diehard; wrong climate design as I moved from up North to the Southwest in

the
> > past year?). The voltages above didn't change.
> >
> > The car is on its second alternator (OEM). This 2nd alternator is 5 years

and
> > 50k miles old.
> >
> > I installed a new alternator belt in June. I originally had the belt too

loose,
> > as indicated by a squeal at cold startup. I tightened it and the squeal

stopped.
> > Unfortunately I did not at this time check the battery terminal voltage.
> >
> > I did shake out quite a lot of white powder (indicating some corrosion) from

the
> > battery's positive terminal's cable connector while changing the batteries.
> >
> > I'm going to do the checks at
> > http://www.honda.co.uk/owner/Concert...k301/16-66.pdf this weekend.
> >
> > Meanwhile, has anyone seen a condition like this? If so, what was the fix?
> >
> > I think this is not critical unless I do a lot of driving with the lights on
> > (which I do not, as I drive mostly during daylight hours). But I do feel my
> > battery isn't going to be maintained at optimal charge and so, as winter
> > approaches, I need to fix this.



Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Re: Measuring battery voltage using a multimeter? nospam Honda 3 0 05 Jul 2006 05:47 am
Re: Measuring battery voltage using a multimeter? johnin Honda 3 0 02 Jul 2006 05:17 pm
Incorrect Battery Charging Voltage? Caroline Honda 3 11 09 Sep 2004 11:43 am
Re: Running battery voltage Kevin McMurtrie Honda 3 0 03 Sep 2003 12:38 am
Re: Running battery voltage Barry S. Honda 3 1 02 Sep 2003 11:53 pm


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:47 am.


Attribution:
Honda News | Autoblog
Powered by Yahoo Answers




Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 © 2011, Crawlability, Inc.
HondaCarForum.com is not affiliated with Honda Motor Company in any way. Honda Motor Company does not sponsor, support, or endorse HondaCarForum.com in any way. Copyright/trademark/sales mark infringements are not intended or implied.