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Old 12-07-2013, 01:25 AM   #1
DarthFaderZ
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Default Battery/Charging issue

About 6 months ago I put a brand new gold series battery from autozone in my 09 aura XE

yesterday - first hard cold day of year, car wouldn't start.

Took it to autozone - typical needs to be charged and tested. Restart car and test alternator. It passes all the tests. Checks voltage output. 14.97 volts primary, then a thing I've never heard of called 'Ripple' was at like 20.86 volts. he said that number is usually 5v or less.

So I bought a charger and am charging it..was on so far 3 hours...still charging - 6amp charger/maintainer.

any ideas...I have thought maybe with my screwed up door speakers they have a grounding issue..but I have had zero problems since new battery was installed - which had to be done from the day I got the car i detailed it with radio on and it died...never the same after that.

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Old 12-07-2013, 01:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

Also if there is a guide or something to where all the grounding locations are under the hood - would be useful as well...might check and take a dremel to them.

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Old 12-07-2013, 01:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

also, by the 4th hour - charging unit shows green.....now if i had my damn multi-meter

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Old 12-07-2013, 03:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

There are many grounds around the car nowadays due to the plethora of electronics demanded for the bored driver not content with just driving. Unfortunately, unless someone can point out the various grounds to you, concentrate on the main grounds directly connected to the battery; battery negative going to the chassis and engine block. It shouldn't be too hard to trace these two connections as they're the largest wire gauges off the battery to ensure the starter motor has the best current feed possible since it draws the largest amount of current. Welding current anywhere from 50-200 amps in the few seconds to start an engine. All battery cable corrosion seen on batteries can be cleaned, dissolved and neutralized all in one step by simply using a warm solution of baking soda and water with a toothbrush - the bubbling neutralizes dried acid and rinses away with plain water. A spray can of this is available too that mixes a small amount of oil to foam away corrosion. Allowed to enter old style batteries with caps for topping up with distilled water and this solution will kill a battery by neutralizing battery acid.

When you find your multimeter, measure battery voltage before starting the engine. A good battery will read 12v+. The alternator outputs anywhere from 13v+ with the engine idling. Most cars will show 14v+. This is the target voltage as anything below 13v means; a loose drive belt, loose/corroded battery connections or a faulty alternator. Alternators supply all the voltage and current demanded by car electrical/electronic systems while simultaneously slow charging car batteries, the reason for ensuring voltage is above 13v with an idling engine.

Ripple voltage is an electrical term to describe the small AC voltage in DC generated voltage from the alternator. All alternators generate AC voltages in three phases that are rectified (converted) to DC voltages and regulated to no more than 14.7vdc. The ripple voltage is the tiny ac voltage left over from rectification and one way to monitor alternator efficiency. If ripple voltage increases above minimums then the rectifier diode pack may be faulty. Ripple voltage is usually measured in millivolts (0.001), thousandths of a volt. 20 mv would be twenty thousandths of a volt. Usually when an alternator fails, one of six diodes shorts and causes the a/c voltage to become larger and unfiltered, causing battery charging problems. Batteries aren't charged with ac voltage as this voltage reverses many times a second (400 cycles for alternators) and can damage batteries. Sometimes a whine can be heard from car speakers as indication of a faulty alternator. Measuring voltage is one way to see how well alternators are doing. 12v+ for good batteries, 14v+ for an alternator with engine idling.

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Old 12-07-2013, 07:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

See that's the thing. There is -0- corrosion. I worked at an autozone for years...So I begrudgingly know the benefit of the grease and corrosion inhibitors...my battery looks brand new, as do all the connections I can visually see easily.

it just makes no sense to me.

I've had it on the smart tender for about 8 hours now. will be a little while longer until I can take it up there when the open to get it tested again.

I am hoping it's just a bad cell or something and is a fast warranty swap - and if alternator kills another one - esp in 6 months, I'd be willing to not want to pay someone to do it since the grounds white here

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Old 12-07-2013, 08:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

What you don't see can be a problem too. Are you sure battery grounds are clean and free of corrosion? Not the battery connection but the other ends that go to the chassis and engine block. I'm not sure what you mean by "ground white there". Battery ground still needs a battery cable connected somewhere on the engine and chassis. The engine and chassis becomes one large negative connection for everything. The alternator still needs one HOT 12v connection to the alternator post as well as the switched signal to turn on the alternator.

Assuming anything is another way to get lost. Unless you're familiar with using a multimeter to measure voltages, you're more or less dependent on store tests. While store tests for batteries and alternators are very good in general, having a second way to test things at home anytime allows better familiarization with being a DIYer.

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Old 12-07-2013, 09:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

means snow. ****ty cold..and snow.

Update - after hours on charger, in store battery test came back bad - so free swap and replacement.

after that retested it all and the ripple charge dropped to 8mv from 20. charging still at 14.79 now. so looks better.

I will attempt to look at the end of the leads when I get home..in like...2-3 days

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Old 12-07-2013, 09:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Battery/Charging issue

Dead battery. Case closed. Let the snow fly and skip checking things since you have a battery tender on standby charge to keep the new battery at full charge until weather warms up.

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