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HELP, electirical issue, FOUND THE PROBLEM, FIXED IT.


mr. cob
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Howdy All,

As luck would have it we are right now loading everything we need into the trailer preparing to LEAVE tomorrow morning and start heading to Quartzsite Arizona.

For the year and over 20,000 miles that I have driven my Pete, the voltage gauge usually reads about 12.5 volts, every now and then it will read around 13.5 volts but it soon drops back down t the 12.5 range.  The lights are bright, the truck has always started easily, it can sit for days and still easily start so I have not been concerned about the gauge reading I "ASSUMED" it was normal for this truck.

I recently posted a video of the truck going down the road and in the video the gauges are displayed, I have had a couple of people comment that I should check my alternator as the gauge should be reading higher.  In every other vehicle I have had that has a voltage gauge it usually reads around 13.5 or so I know the reading in the Pete is not what is usually displayed I chalked it up to a misreading gauge.  However, today I bought a new battery charger that has an alternator check built into it, I hooked it up to my batteries as the instructions say to do, proceeded to do the check as instructed and according to my battery charger my alternator isn't working properly, it dosen't show any voltage it just says "good" or "bad".

So now I am paranoid to leave without having this checked and of course there is nobody around my area that can do a real check that I know of.  So if anyone can suggest any other check that I an electrical IDIOT with no knowledge or test equipment can do to either ease my mind or try to find a shop that will fix this before I can I sure would appreciate it.  Thanks.

Dave

Edited by mr. cob
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Put a volt meter on the batteries before starting truck and then check it after starting the truck.  When truck is running it should read between 13.8 to 14.2 volts.

Edit....  You should be able to check it right at the alternator also.

 

Edited by dennisvr
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A meter is something you should have.  They are cheap and very useful.  Even if you don't know much about electrical you can get instructions on what to check here on the forum and report back.  I know that doesn't help now, but it could in the future.  As to your issue now, there isn't much that can be done without a meter to check if your alternator is putting out the correct volts.
 

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Hey maybe Mr. DT can learn you and theTeach on how to use a multimeter over lunch....! Just run down to your local Wally World or favorite auto parts or hardware store and buy yourself a multimeter. Lots of info on UTube on how easy they are to use. Might give you some comfort in knowing the batteries true voltage and if the alternator is putting out the required voltage. 

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Howdy All,

First off, THANKS for all the suggestions.

I found it, fixed it, I am a very HAPPY CAMPER.

This was so simple even I could do it.  I checked all my battery connections, they were all tight and clean, so remembering how the gauge would sometimes show 13.5 and then drop back to 12.5 I wondered about the connections on the rear of the alternator. 

I checked the ground wire first as in the past I have found many electrical problems to be because of bad grounds, the ground wire was tight, so I wiggled the hot wire, I could easily move that wire. 

I took the hot wire off, cleaned it and the terminal, replaced the wire tightened it down, the gauge on the dash read 13.5, I hooked up the battery charger and redid the test, the alternator checked "GOOD"  If only all my electrical problems could be solved this easily.

Dave

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A quick and dirty altimeter test is with the vehicle running turn on the highbeems then rev the engine they should briten up if the altimeter is putting out more power than is in the battery. Easier in the dark but you can see the difference in daylight. Definatly get a multi meter, as you are not used to them get a analog one they are simpler to use. Once you have one you will want a digital one also. 

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Walmart has a set of three electrical tools (meter, non-contact voltage tester & 110VAC outlet checker with a zipper case) with a case for ~ $25 (in clear clamshell packing, usually near the electrical aisle). EVERY RVer should have these basic electrical testing tools (BEFORE you ever plug into a power pedestal, you SHOULD check that pedestal to ensure that's it's been wired correctly). I bought my kit years ago. It looks like Walmart is using a different source now a days but, still sell the three tool kit for ~ $25.

 

 

www.walmart.com link.  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Extech-MN24-KIT-Electrical-Test-Kit/470393272

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10 hours ago, jkoenig24 said:

Walmart has a set of three electrical tools (meter, non-contact voltage tester & 110VAC outlet checker with a zipper case) with a case for ~ $25 (in clear clamshell packing, usually near the electrical aisle). EVERY RVer should have these basic electrical testing tools (BEFORE you ever plug into a power pedestal, you SHOULD check that pedestal to ensure that's it's been wired correctly). I bought my kit years ago. It looks like Walmart is using a different source now a days but, still sell the three tool kit for ~ $25.

 

 

www.walmart.com link.  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Extech-MN24-KIT-Electrical-Test-Kit/470393272

John,

When you’re at the ECR, I have a simple and more complex pedestal checker you can look at.  Takes less than a minute to check when you pull in the site.  Just remind me as I will be kind of busy.  Have to give credit to sdixon747 for the design of both.

 

Edited by SuiteSuccess
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15 hours ago, DesertMiner said:

Hey maybe Mr. DT can learn you and theTeach on how to use a multimeter over lunch....! Just run down to your local Wally World or favorite auto parts or hardware store and buy yourself a multimeter. Lots of info on UTube on how easy they are to use. Might give you some comfort in knowing the batteries true voltage and if the alternator is putting out the required voltage. 

Whew......D-miner......it poured catz-n-dogz last week here on the edge of Death Valley so.....x-pertz predict way, way-2 many wild flowers will be bloom'n shortly so....Mr. Cob(b) & his minder might have to wear welding hoods to keep from being blinded by the color to the flowers......Death Valley gets pretty lively at times......

So.......teach'n Mr. Cob(b) some of my bad-multimeter-habits is a tall order but I suspect that he might be a very good student of learning bad habits......I have a Fluke Scope meter that has so many features that you could rig the outcome of a presidential election from page 36 of the on-$ceen menu..... Fluke Meterz are silly expensive so thank goodness it's up in one of our Oregon slumz otherwise Mr. Cob(b) would likely flash big $$$$ at me and then I would not have a Scopemeter no more......

Have a multimeter is ok but trucks are still trucks so sometimes the meter readings can lead to some odd conclusions.....few folks know that most charge-isolators have a pass- through ONE volt drop from the Alternator terminal to the battery terminal (s) so ....alternator may be outputting 13.5 V but IF you test the Battery terminal you only see 12.5 V and likely assume that the Alternator is toast.....when in fact the Alternator just needs to be taken over to Huston at Ind Auto Elec and he will spin it up on his ancient Stewart Warner test bench and adjust the Voltage to about 14.4 V or so.......

Another thing to consider is the test temperature......IF you look up the Alternator output graphs you will likely be amazed how much some Alternator outputs fall off as it's operating temps rise.......

Some engines have high-current-draw starting aids that can skew multimeter readings at start up.......

Don't worry .......when Mr. Cob(b) arrives I'll mix up a 5 gallon of salt water to dose any smoking wires......

Plenty of bad habits await the visit by the Royals from the NorWet.....

Drive on.......($moking great time at ....Last Chance Peak camp)

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10 hours ago, NeverEasy said:

I am doing a "How to use a volt/ohm meter at the ECR in hopes it will help those with a willingness to try.  It is listed as "Electrical Safety" on the schedule but the safety part is just an awareness thing.

 

I don't suppose you are going to make it back to the WCR this year?  I would love to add that to our schedule as well.  I have been thinking about doing it myself, but someone with your background would be much better.  ;)

 

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I haven't seen Chet's agenda but we may be covering a lot of the same things. My presentation is on "Hot Skin" which is present on way too many trailers due to faulty wiring in either the trailer or power pedestal - I will also cover cautions when using a generator or inverter that can also cause a hot skin.  I will have a bag full of Harbor Freight meters with me.  I will be happy to give you one and even show you how to use it to test basic functions.

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10 hours ago, RandyA said:

I haven't seen Chet's agenda but we may be covering a lot of the same things. My presentation is on "Hot Skin" which is present on way too many trailers due to faulty wiring in either the trailer or power pedestal - I will also cover cautions when using a generator or inverter that can also cause a hot skin.  I will have a bag full of Harbor Freight meters with me.  I will be happy to give you one and even show you how to use it to test basic functions.

Randy,

I am in touch with Chet and may be some overlap but not much.  He is aware of your topic.  If you wish I can forward your contact information to him so you two can coordinate, but betting you already have it since he helped with your hitch.

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3 hours ago, NeverEasy said:

Chad,

Not looking to get out west this year. 

If you shot me your email via a PM, I will send you my Power Point.  Feel free to use it or not.  I am going to add some stuff on Non-contact testers (NCVT) but have not done that , yet.

Chet

That’s too bad you won’t be coming this way, but I appreciate the offer.  I will send you the pm shortly with my email address.

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