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Old 01-07-2020, 12:38 PM   #21
97SL2guy
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2006 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: Battery light comes on after about a minute, stays on!

Due to the heavy rains and wind in my area lately, I still haven't gotten around to testing the red wire coming out of the alternator plug for voltage. But, before I do this, I want to be clear on the procedure. Do I leave it plugged in, and simply pierce the red wire with the DVM probe? Or do I unplug the harness thing and probe the metal tip? Although I'm pretty gifted in car repairs, I've never been too knowledgeable on the subject of alternators.

I'm also still puzzled by the 1.32 volts I got from the gray wire. This seems pretty low for ANYTHING in a 12 volt system, but it makes me scratch my head and think to myself that MAYBE it's that low because the wire only sends a signal to the battery light. Does this sound logical to anyone?

As annoying as the 4 dings when the battery light comes on after 20-30 seconds is, I'm still sleeping good at night just knowing my alternator IS charging just fine, and my battery is good. As mentioned earlier (I think), my radar detector has a setting that shows battery/alternator voltage any time it's plugged into the lighter socket, running or not. When I start the car, it shows around 14.5-14.7 volts with nothing turned on. Then when I drive, and maybe the DRL's turn on, or anything else like heater, headlights, radio, ANYTHING, the voltage shows right around 13.5-13.9 volts, which seems perfect. Then when I shut off the car and watch the gauge, it stays right around 12.2 down to maybe 11.8 volts, no matter how long I sit there, even if I leave the radar detector plugged in all night. So, this shows me the battery IS good.

Anyway, I plan to test that red wire from the alternator for voltage as soon as I get a break in the rain/wind.

Oh, and as for everything I've read in the forum about the fusible link, I'm just going to ASSUME that this is okay since the car starts and that stud/large wire connection on the alternator shows good voltage when I start the car. If the fusible link was bad, would this show up as low voltage with the engine running, OR wouldn't it make the charging system not charge? I'm thinking so.

Thanks for all the advice! I'm brand new to this Ion, so I've got a lot to learn about it. I had an SL1 for about 6 months until I got tired of shifting the 5-speed and bought an SL2 automatic that I had for just over 2 years. So yeah, I got pretty familiar with the SL1 single cam and SL2 twin cam engines and cars. Plus my friend has an SL1. Also, this is my first of 3 Saturns that ever had the battery light come on, so this part IS new to me!

I won't even get into the DTC's I'm getting! That's a whole different topic I'm dealing with! But since I'm getting 0441 and 0446, at least I can sleep easier knowing it's just something in the EVAP system and not a cat or oxygen sensor issue.
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Old 01-07-2020, 03:23 PM   #22
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Default Re: Battery light comes on after about a minute, stays on!

Read post #20 again unless you missed it. 12.5v engine off, 14.5v engine on. If battery voltage drops below 12 volts with engine off either your voltage meter isn't correct and a multimeter probing the battery connection for better voltage readings is necessary or have the battery fully recharged on an overnight charger. Even a new battery can fail so while its under warranty, have it checked to be sure its fine.

The low voltage signals to turn on the battery light and ecm signal to turn on the alternator voltage regulator do not operate on 12v. Electronics does away with many circuits on vehicles requiring 12v. The ecm itself actually uses a 12v-5v voltage regulator for the ecm. It doesn't ruin on 12v at all. Led indicators only need 1.3v to turn on. 5v has been used in electronics for decades to reduce power demands and the fact that integrated circuit chips work on 5v with many working on 3v levels. Power isn't needed for computer chips so lowering voltages allows tinier circuits occupying less space. Your cellphone works on 3.3v lithium power to send low power signals to nearby cell towers. The older brick phones needed a 12v gel cell battery to operate and consumed power until advances were made to circuits to allow the smallest cellphones possible with a best battery to date for portability anywhere in the world without needing a land line to call mom from half a world away. Efficiency.


Try piercing wiring and measuring voltage on the L and F terminal. This was already measured in the other Ion thread but verifying values creates a larger database for references. And there may be a slight change in information. Pulse width modulation (pwm) is a form of digital voltage used everywhere in electronics and may be the case here with alternator signal voltages. This can create misinformation in measuring voltages on those two terminals.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:21 PM   #23
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Default Re: Battery light comes on after about a minute, stays on!

As hard as it was to get to and still let the engine idle, the stud from alternator is showing 14.1 volts at idle with nothing on.
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:57 PM   #24
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Default Re: Battery light comes on after about a minute, stays on!

The battery is always connected so it's always charging when the engine's running whether high, medium or low charge as determined by the voltage regulator. Since the engine's running, electronics is drawing current so the alternator always runs voltage higher than battery voltage to ensure the battery is charging and not being drained by the car needing electricity.
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