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Old 08-20-2018, 06:10 PM   #1
spitfireap
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2008 Astra XR
Default Astra Battery Draining & Low Voltage - Battery and Alternator are New

I have a problem that I've been living with for a year now, but I need to fix it. I first noticed it when I'd make a tight turn the radio would turn off. Then I noticed that if I used the A/C regularly eventually I'd not be able to start the car. I'd have to charge the battery as it would be drained too low to start the car. I bought a cigarette lighter voltmeter since this thing doesn't have one built in. It reads in the low to mid - 12s if nothing's running. High 11s if I have the AC on, and low 11s or high 10s in turns with the A/C on. I replaced the battery and alternator last year (the battery was bad, but the alternator I removed ended up testing good). So, I've got a good battery and a good alternator but the problem remains. I've cleaned all the contacts on the battery but nothing seems to help. From researching online I'm inclined to look at the fusible link from the alternator but can't find ANY info on that concerning this car anywhere (there's plenty info about that concerning other cars, though). Any ideas? Video linked to demonstrate the issue.

https://youtu.be/N8JdJYdQpmA

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Old 08-20-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Astra Battery Draining & Low Voltage - Battery and Alternator are New

All conventional alternators rely on battery power to provide initial power for the alternator. Power from the battery is between frame/ground/engine block/negative battery cable and battery positive at the (large external) starter terminal where a smaller gauge wire, the fusible link wire, provides power to the alternator. Two wires on the starter (exterior) terminal. The fusible link wire is just a calibrated wire to provide no more than 20-30 amps of current. If an alternator fails in one of several modes, a short can result in battery power draining thru the fusible link wire so it burns out, sometimes without discoloring the insulation. When the alternator is replaced, sometimes the fusible link wire is overtightened on the insulated side post, twisting the lock nut too much twists the post, breaking an internal wire to the alternator circuits. This effectively kills a new alternator. You can measure for voltage of a good fusible link wire at the alternator side post. It should have battery voltage. If not, examine the starter terminals for the two wires, large battery cable and smaller fusible link wire. Measure starter terminal for battery voltage. If the fusible link wire shows 12v at the alternator, the wire is good. If this wire doesn't have 12v on the alternator (regardless of ignition switch position) the wire burned out and needs to be replaced.

Remember, testing an alternator out of the car on a bench removes all car wiring issues to concentrate on the alternator. Testing good on bench tests points to car wiring.

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Old 08-21-2018, 01:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Astra Battery Draining & Low Voltage - Battery and Alternator are New

Thank you for the inputs. I have a generally decent understanding of a car's internal workings....with the exception of electrical. You're speaking to someone to whom electrical workings appear to be magic ;]. What setting do I need to place my multimeter on and where exactly do I have to make contact to test as you describe?

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Old 08-21-2018, 04:54 AM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Astra Battery Draining & Low Voltage - Battery and Alternator are New

Just set your mm to DC voltage, selecting a range that's higher than 12v. Many with a setting of 20 allows voltages up to 20v to be measured accurately. Positive/red probe on the starter (exterior) terminal, negative/ black probe on engine block (ground). You should be seeing battery voltage as if you were measuring on the battery terminals. Once you see 12v on the starter terminal, locate the alternator and measure the side terminal wire. The side terminal wire is the fusible link between the starter terminal and alternator and should have battery voltage too. Ground is always either the bare engine block or bare metal chassis.

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