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Old 10-22-2013, 01:36 PM   #1
Schlag96
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Insufficient charging: alternator, fsr, or amps?

So it seems if I take a lot of short trips / run errands (i.e. high ratio of starts to time charging) my battery drains down. It will also drain down if I leave it sitting for a week or two.

1. Is it because my alternator is small / old / defective?

2. Can the FSR have any effect on this? I've read both ways on the issue.

3. Could my power amps be slowly draining the battery even when off?

Thanks,

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Old 10-22-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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1-possibly, check the voltage using the hidden obc feature
2-most definitely,I would start by replacing this part first..
3-likely,
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:40 PM   #3
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Insufficient charging: alternator, fsr, or amps?

My FSR killed my battery overnight and i got it replaced and now it has been running perfect ever since!


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Old 10-22-2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlag96 View Post
So it seems if I take a lot of short trips / run errands (i.e. high ratio of starts to time charging) my battery drains down. It will also drain down if I leave it sitting for a week or two.

1. Is it because my alternator is small / old / defective?

2. Can the FSR have any effect on this? I've read both ways on the issue.

3. Could my power amps be slowly draining the battery even when off?

Thanks,

Schlag
See the 4th link below in my signature, you can display the battery/charging Voltage directly on the dashboard.

You can also get your battery and alternator tested usually for free at local auto parts stores.

Battery base Voltage should be 12.6 Volts, may only register between 12.3-12.5 on OBC. Charging Voltage should be between 13.5-14.5 Volts, as displayed on OBC may display 0.2-0.3 Volts lower.

Simple question about your audio amps be an issue, disconnect the power and see what happens.

Engine to body ground strap below the passenger motor mount on the frame side is a known problem area as well and will cause low charging Voltage.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:41 AM   #5
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your battery is 15 years old.. time for a new one
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:05 AM   #6
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your battery is 15 years old.. time for a new one
Don't know how old your battery is, but it certainly could be the battery...even after 5 years...particularly if short trips is your standard mode of travel.

Also, so you know, if it is battery, then your alternator will be called on to do more work...so I've heard (I'm not strong on electronics...though I read a lot here). So you really should monitor voltage using your cluster--using the left turn stalk to get into the obd menu).
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoebama View Post
your battery is 15 years old.. time for a new one
Brand new battery a year ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfoj View Post
See the 4th link below in my signature, you can display the battery/charging Voltage directly on the dashboard.

Engine to body ground strap below the passenger motor mount on the frame side is a known problem area as well and will cause low charging Voltage.
I tried the cluster test but it cycles from 1 to 1.7 then back to 1 again. I can't get into 2 or higher.

Last edited by Schlag96; 10-23-2013 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:49 AM   #8
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Brand new battery a year ago.


I tried the cluster test but it cycles from 1 to 1.7 then back to 1 again. I can't get into 2 or higher.
You're doing it wrong. I think you need to press the stalk one more time just after you see "OFF" Took me a while to get the timing down too.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:54 AM   #9
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If you want to do a voltage test, go to HF and get a cheap voltmeter.

You know the drill, Schlag. Your car needs full professional electrical maintenance. With your new battery, you're 1/3rd the way there!
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:27 AM   #10
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If you want to do a voltage test, go to HF and get a cheap voltmeter.

You know the drill, Schlag. Your car needs full professional electrical maintenance. With your new battery, you're 1/3rd the way there!
Well ****, I have a volt meter. Just measure across the terminals?

So battery = 1/3

FSR = 1/3

what's the other third?
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:29 AM   #11
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Well ****, I have a volt meter. Just measure across the terminals?

So battery = 1/3

FSR = 1/3

what's the other third?
you have a new battery already.

fsr/ vr

haven't you read my thread?

yup just measure. 12v engine off, 14.4v engine on (typical guide) though with a weak or failing VR, those can fluctuate erratically
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:33 AM   #12
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Trickle charge overnight, monitor from there. Seems FSR is a PM item anyway.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:46 AM   #13
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Yeah mango i read that as you were replying. I'll do the FSR first since I get a few hiccups with my fan speed every now and then.

I'm not sure about the VR. May get a better alternator if I have to mess with that.

I really should just sell Betsy and get an 05 ZHP sedan with 40,000 miles, for all the time I spend refreshing stuff.

I just can't stomach the thought of seeing her on the side of the road, property of some migrant worker, slowly rusting away. Or worse, stanced out with neon colored wheels.

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Old 10-23-2013, 12:23 PM   #14
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Just because a battery is only 1 year old does not mean it is fully charged or is still good! Fully charge and test battery then move on to other tests.

Battery is the first thing you want to have properly tested.

Search YouTube for Hidden Menu info if you cannot figure it out. The E46 is very specific about timing on the button pushing to access the Hidden Menu features, do not wait too long.
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:35 AM   #15
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Measured the voltage across terminals last night - 28.0 at the battery, 29.8 at the red jumper terminal in front.

Ordering FSR today.

Last night I had the key in the ignition for about 20 minutes scanning codes and it wouldn't start. So I guess I've killed my one year old battery.
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #16
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It is not hard to ruin a new battery. I killed a one year old battery in my Land Rover by driving it infrequently and not starting it often enough. I would definitely keep a eye on the charge after getting a new battery and installing the FSR - especially if you have not replaced the alternator. Personally, I think the VR/alternator may also be on the way out.

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Old 11-19-2013, 12:46 AM   #17
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I re-did the measurements, as the first time it didn't make sense. i got the correct settings on my volt meter this time.

With the car running, I had 14.0V at the jump terminals and 12.75V at the battery, neither fluctuating more than a few hundreths of a volt.

With the car off, I had 12.07V on both terminals.

I also did some research - apparently the Alternator / VR for a 1999-2000 is like 3x the cost for later models. So I don't know if I'm going to PM those.

Is 14.0V normal as long as it's not fluctuating too much?
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:09 AM   #18
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I re-did the measurements, as the first time it didn't make sense. i got the correct settings on my volt meter this time.

With the car running, I had 14.0V at the jump terminals and 12.75V at the battery, neither fluctuating more than a few hundreths of a volt.

With the car off, I had 12.07V on both terminals.

I also did some research - apparently the Alternator / VR for a 1999-2000 is like 3x the cost for later models. So I don't know if I'm going to PM those.

Is 14.0V normal as long as it's not fluctuating too much?
No wonder you have problems. You should have very close to the same value at the battery as you do at the jump start terminals. You have too much Voltage drop between the engine compartment and the trunk.

Alternator & regulator are good at this point. 13.5-14.5 Volts is a the proper charging Voltage.

Voltmeter on the battery, engine running, take a single jumper cable and connect from the engine metal surface to the NEGATIVE jumper terminal under the hood. See if the Voltage at the battery increases. If it does, the engine to body ground near the passenger side motor mount is bad, usually on the body frame rail side.

If no change, then you have a problem in the positive wire path. Make sure the positive jumper terminal wiring is tight, then check the BST cable in the trunk. If your jumper cables are long enough you can connect from the battery positive post to the positive jump start connection under the hood and see the Voltage at the battery increase, this just confirms there is a problem in the positive cable path.

12.07 Volts at the battery means it is only about 50% fully charged at this point.

Almost check the Voltage at the battery posts, then the terminals to make sure you do not have just a bad battery cable to post connection in the trunk.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:49 PM   #19
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Awesome, thanks for the gouge, jfoj!

where can I send the BMAparts gift card?
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:05 PM   #20
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No wonder you have problems. You should have very close to the same value at the battery as you do at the jump start terminals. You have too much Voltage drop between the engine compartment and the trunk.

Alternator & regulator are good at this point. 13.5-14.5 Volts is a the proper charging Voltage.

Voltmeter on the battery, engine running, take a single jumper cable and connect from the engine metal surface to the NEGATIVE jumper terminal under the hood. See if the Voltage at the battery increases. If it does, the engine to body ground near the passenger side motor mount is bad, usually on the body frame rail side.

If no change, then you have a problem in the positive wire path. Make sure the positive jumper terminal wiring is tight, then check the BST cable in the trunk. If your jumper cables are long enough you can connect from the battery positive post to the positive jump start connection under the hood and see the Voltage at the battery increase, this just confirms there is a problem in the positive cable path.

12.07 Volts at the battery means it is only about 50% fully charged at this point.

Almost check the Voltage at the battery posts, then the terminals to make sure you do not have just a bad battery cable to post connection in the trunk.
Running, I had 13.23V +/- 0.03 V on the battery positive with no change grounding the engine and no change linking the engine compartment positive with the battery positive.

I guess I'm back to square one, though it's good to know my alternator and VR are okay. Once i change out my FSR if I still have any issues then I'll know it's my sound system.

Thanks!
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