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Battery Time


Raquel

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I hopped into the truck today and started it up. There was a warning that the batteries were only putting out 11.7 amps. Whaaaa!? Okay. We've had the truck 37 months, so maybe that's not too bad life, but not real good. Where are the good deals happening guys?

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Raquel, I'm sure you meant volts and not amps. Anyway, I have found that the truck dealers often have the best prices on batteries. You may want to check with a Freightliner or Peterbilt or Volvo dealer to see who has the best battery deals. You do need to make sure your alternator output is good, also. Let us know what works out for you. Charlie

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Amps, or volts? If amps, then all your loads combined are adding up to 11.2 amps. Not an unrealistic number. I don't know Volvo's enough to know if they have current monitoring hardware. If volts, that's the voltage of the entire system, from the alternator output stud, to the battery bank (with all it's connections), and up to whatever sensor or transducer is used to report to the driver info panel.

How have the batteries been treated? On a maintainer, or solar charger? Disconnected from the parasitic loads, and left to sit? Driven regularly to maintain a charge?

This is one place dealers can often have a good price, ready to go. It seems the Paccar dealers have batteries on special almost all the time.

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Trish & Raquel

 

Is the belt still there? Water in them or are they sealed? A battery under 11.7 won't start your lawnmower. As soon as the truck started that alternator should be trying to put 14.2 to 14.7 volts and (whatever the rated amperage output of the alternator is), if not start diagnosis.

 

1) Alternator output (voltage & amperage)

2) Load test batteries results

 

This should get you started.

 

Curt

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If it was a monitor warning for "low voltage" it's not the batteries, it means the alternator is not putting out. Time for some diagnostics.

 

11.7 volts is about a 30% charge on a 12 volt battery. Probably will not start the truck again.

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Oh, I don't know. It's probably volts. All I know for sure is that the driver's display showed a warning that had a battery on it with 11.7 (probably) volts beside it. I was thinking of trying Les Schwab, Costco, Walmart. I'll try some of the dealers in the general area.

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Has the truck been sitting? If so put a good quality charger on the batteries before you go out and replace them. You may need to leave the charger on for a bit of time to get them to charge up. The volvo dealer usually has pallets of batteries and I have found them to be very competitive in pricing.

I had a very similar problem on my truck and using just the "alternator" never got my batteries charged up. One I used an "external" charger to bring the batteries up in charge my alternate r was able to work properly. Also check to see if you have 3 or 4 batteries. Also verify the type of connection you have connecting the batteries to the truck.

Just a thought....

Scott

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Scott,

 

The truck has 4 batteries. They are connected by a buss bar (I think that's what it's called) across the positive posts and across the negative posts. Right now the truck sits for 4 to 6 weeks at a time without being started but, it goes onto the battery minder whenever it's sitting. The 4 batteries are no maintenance wet cell. There are no caps accessible for us to fill the cells. The negative post of one battery is having some issues of showing some acid on the post. Perhaps what I need to do is to remove the connections, clean the posts and treat with electrical grease before re-assembling?

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It's probably your alternator, not the batteries. The number that your truck is displaying is the output from the alternator, and it should be around 14.0-14.5. If the batteries are down a little you might see as high as 14.8 for a period then it will come down. I would have the alternator checked, before I bought new batteries. Then make sure you get a good charge on the batteries from a charger, it's not really good to let a new alternator charge low batteries. Full batteries should be around 12.6 volts then have them load tested to see how close they are to the rated CCA. If the batteries are rated at 700 CCA you should see at least that on a load test.

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A battery minder would be a better set up. And you must have hit the strike through before you started typing.

 

Rachael, were the bats new when you purchased your truck?

 

If I remember correctly, the batteries were replaced about 2 months before we bought the truck. We picked the truck up 3 years ago April 1.

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I replaced my 4 batteries with two and have been happy with the choice so far. I also added a battery minder that is plugged in whenever the truck is parked for more than a day. My truck can sit for months at a time and there is something that is always using the battery power while it is sitting. Having the charger connected resolves that issue. When removed two of the 4 batteries checked "bad" and two "good". If you are just starting the truck two batteries is really all you need. If you plan to park along the road with the lights on overnight then you will need more battery capacity. Just my opinion. It may change, but not today.

 

Rod

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My Volvo will not start with Voltage that low, the computer will not allow the starter to "try". Sight unseen diagnostic tells me that the batteries are probably OK. Not that old 37 months, on the battery minder when sitting and most important they did start the truck.

Once the truck is running the alternator should have no problem to go into a boost mode of around 14.4V and after running for a while drop to around 13.8V (maintaining voltage) once the batteries get up to full charge. Immediately after shut down fully charged batteries should show around 12.6V by themselves. Before you spend money on the batteries I would have the alternator or anything with it (belt, connections, etc.) checked.

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As has been said check alternator and clean connections first. 3 years old for flooded cell batteries is pushing it. The type of service that these hdt's go through is tough on them, even with a trickle charger. The chemistry is well known, time plus discharge cycles adds up to a finite life some time.

There are batteries and there are batteries. Look for at least 950 CCA. Dealers are ok, they are going to usually sell the "private label" manufactured by one of the majors, Johnson Controls, Exide, Deka. Some of them use batteries as a loss leader and price them accordingly. Check heavy duty truck parts suppliers in the area, Truck Pro as an example. Stay away from consumer outlets such as Costco.

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Just the other day, I went to start the truck to actually take it to Volvo for another issue, and there was no nothing what-so-ever! Turned the key off, thinking I had just tried turning it on too quickly, and then tried it again. Nothing.

I then remembered that you guys had said to check battery connections first when these things happen. So I got a few tools that fit and loosened every connection and then tightened them down again.

Turned right over and started up! My guess is that there is enough vibration (and like we are told to do with everything electric on our rigs and even homes) that these connections can loosen up.

Glad to have this forum to keep us all edumacated ;) .

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My Volvo will not start with Voltage that low, the computer will not allow the starter to "try". Sight unseen diagnostic tells me that the batteries are probably OK. Not that old 37 months, on the battery minder when sitting and most important they did start the truck.

Once the truck is running the alternator should have no problem to go into a boost mode of around 14.4V and after running for a while drop to around 13.8V (maintaining voltage) once the batteries get up to full charge. Immediately after shut down fully charged batteries should show around 12.6V by themselves. Before you spend money on the batteries I would have the alternator or anything with it (belt, connections, etc.) checked.

 

X2 As I said before, you are looking at alternator output (in volts), not battery charge. Mine shows 14.2 right after start up and then levels out between 13.8 and 14 when running. Check your belts and alternator before you start messing with the batteries!

 

My first set of batteries lasted 8 years, mostly vacation use and on the Battery Tender when parked.

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. Look for at least 950 CCA. Dealers are ok, they are going to usually sell the "private label" manufactured by one of the majors, Johnson Controls, Exide, Deka. Some of them use batteries as a loss leader and price them accordingly. Check heavy duty truck parts suppliers in the area, Truck Pro as an example. Stay away from consumer outlets such as Costco.

 

These are 1100 cca batteries.

 

Monday I'll be able to get out and check for prices and tighten connections, etc.

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