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Old 01-26-2017, 05:14 PM   #1
MikeNW
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1997 SL
Default Wanted: quick battery check info

A voltmeter across the terminals should show 12+ volts (?)

When the engine is running, it should read 14 volts (?)

When cranking, it should show no less than ?????? volts.

Thanks

...
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:31 PM   #2
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Wanted: quick battery check info

Good batteries - 12.5 volts.

Engine idling, alternator output always above battery voltage since it supplies all the electrical needs of a vehicle while recharging the battery. Alternator output should be at least 13.5 volts and usually around 14+volts when idling or just above idling. Lights should be off, blower motor off, etc.. When accessories are used, a load is placed on the alternator and it automatically regulates voltage above battery voltage to ensure it continues to supply all power and not allow the battery to drain. As little as a 1-volt difference between battery and alternator voltages allows the alternator to slow charge the battery after every engine startup while still supplying power to run the entire car - the reason many disconnect battery negative to prove a point about the alternator working without needing the battery once the engine fires up. This isn't recommended but proves how well alternators can run in an emergency if a dead battery is found in the middle of nowhere and a jump start gets the engine running. Higher alternator voltages allows more current output for faster battery recharging as the excess current is absorbed by the battery while driving. Alternator voltage should never exceed 15 volts.

Cranking voltage may be anywhere since a good battery and battery cables are assumed in good condition and electrically well connected without corrosion interfering with large current demands every starter needs. Since no one can say what current is used and in what temperature, a general rule of thumb applies here. Four cylinder engines will demand less current than large high HP/high compression engines. Anywhere between 50-150 amps are drawn for 4cyl engines. Good batteries may drop voltage during starter use to around 10 volts, no less. An old battery may drop voltage more as a consequence of not having reserve power for cranking, the cold cranking amps (CCA) mentioned in battery ratings. CCA gradually drops as a battery ages and lower in freezing temps yet still provides cranking power for several freezing temperature starts.

Last edited by fdryer; 01-26-2017 at 07:38 PM..

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Old 01-27-2017, 05:27 PM   #3
MikeNW
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1997 SL
Default Re: Wanted: quick battery check info

Thank you for another concise and informative reply

...
97 SL. Born 6/5/97, bought 7/7/97
08 Burgman 400
02 Haro MTB- can't kill it, still trying though

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