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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:26 am 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 8:07 am
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Location: Malvern
Over the last 6 months I have had some problems with batteries going flat with no warning.

I had a new alternator 15 months ago, and have had 2 new batteries die on me after they have been in for about 3 months.

I have ruled out all the usual suspects - no strange current drains, charging voltage looks ok (more on that later), haven't left the lights on.

Both times the batteries have died I had been on a long drive - greater than an hour, left the car for a week, then found the battery dead (0.05V dead).

Having done more research, I found the sentence below at http://www.landiss.com/battery.htm

"Older vehicles with voltage regulators set at about 14.0 volts simply will not fully charge lead/calcium or hybrid batteries. Stories abound of cars with older regulators leaving their owners stranded on cold mornings shortly after a "new, improved, maintenance-free" battery was installed. Even two weeks of sitting in the garage, with no load other than the electric clock and burglar alarm, can discharge a battery if the voltage regulator prevented it from being properly charged."

I had noticed that since new new alternator went in, the charging voltage has been lower than before when it used to sit at a steady 14.1. At idle the battery terminals seemed to be 14v which was ok, although the in-dash gauge varied.

Yesterday I hacked a cigarette lighter adaptor and connected it to my multimeter and took the car for a drive. Voltage started at 14.1, but dropped to 13.9 as the car warmed up. When I restarted following a short stop the voltage was 13.7 and climbed back up to 13.9 over a few minutes of driving. Not related to engine revs. I plan to do the same tests in my gf's Mondeo this morning to see how her alternator behaves.

Reading the spec of the reconditioned alternator, the test sheet says it is set to 14.3 volts but it is never getting close to this.

If anybody else has the kit to be able to run this sort of test on their 9000 (mine is a 97 Aero), or knows more on the topic, I would be most grateful :D

A little more info on my problem is at http://www.sevenman.f2s.com/blog/


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 8:05 am
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Location: Bedfordshire
Car Model: The TG 9000 Aero, Edna Aero...
Had a quick look on my 9k this morning.

Idling on the drive, with a reasonably charged battery, it was sitting at 14.05V. With the headlights on, it went down to 13.98V.

However I wouldn't rely on the cigarette lighter. It shares a loom with other items that will cause a voltage drop. You really need to check at the battery terminals, or being even more pedantic, the +ve distribution block.

The in-dash gauge is only a guide and it's accuracy will depend on it's calibration and whatever other items are on at the time.

HTH


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:35 pm 
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Thanks for taking a look at your 9000.

Values I have measured from the lighter socket seem to match those measured at battery terminals but I can do more tests to confirm - I don't believe there should be a significant difference betwen the two.

My gf's Mondeo starts at 14.5V and drops as low as 14.2 when fully warmed up, which is a fair bit higher than my 9000.

I need to get some more detailed information from battery manufacturers about charging requirements to see if my < 14v could be the cause of battery failure when the car is left. It's the only possibility I can think of at the moment.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:02 pm 
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Location: UK, USA, Deutscheland
Car Model: sorted 9000 Aero; 9000R
Don't know if this is useful Gavin, but my Aero sits at 13.4v to 13.6v unless there is a large load on, then it dips to 13.2v. Could be a calibration issue on the display. but I seem to remember other 9ks I've driven as being the same.

Been like this for 11yrs now, my batteries last 5 years on ave.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:26 am 
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On a good day with no load the charging voltage will show on dash as 14.1 initially dropping to 13.6 eventually. However it is more typical for the initial voltage to be around 13.9 with no extra load (lights etc.)
After having a found a fault (that was intermittently causing the car to be difficult to start) in the positive battery terminal a few years back my charging voltage leaped up by several tenths of a volt as the alternator could properly 'see' the state of the battery and charged it accordingly.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:09 pm 
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Thanks for the further replies - looks like my car is within spec. on the charging front.

As I can't find any current drains, I guess the (cheap) batteries that I have been using maybe aren't up to the job...

Any recommendations for good battery choices and suppliers? I couldn't seem to find many places that had a decent stock of batteries.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:30 pm 
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Location: Devon
I wouldn't think that's it either. My dad's 9000 had a cheapo (less than £30?) GSF battery fitted at some time before I bought it for him 4 years ago and has never given any charging problems. I tend to buy Bosch Silver from GSF (about £50 last time I bought one).

Still, I can't remember in this long saga whether you've checked/replaced the positive and earth cables. Have you checked the alternator output with all electrical gadgets switched on - main & dipped beam, foglamps, rear screen heater, blower full on, etc?

How many miles on the car again?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:50 pm 
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Location: trossachs
Car Model: Turbo xx
last bosch silver one died on me after a pretty pathetic 4 years
stole the varta battery out the sons carly till I get another...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 5:02 pm 
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Location: Malvern
The alternator works ok under heavy load - if I put everything on at idle it drops to ~ 12.5 volts, but that's quite a hard test at 1000rpm.

I haven't checked/replaced positive/earth cables.

I checked resistance from alternator to battery and that looked fine. What further checks should I do?

Car has 116k miles, alternator is 15 months old, battery is about 5 months old.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:35 pm 
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Have you checked that the serpentine belt isn't slipping, and that it is taught?

Kenneth


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