Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Voltage Drop

As always happens when I make some kind of improvement to the van there will be fallout. In this case the simple renewal of an ignition coil and a voltage regulator has led to a discovery of a problem with the charging. I think I've figured out the issue but the reason it hasn't come to my attention until now is another story. I don't drive at night because of repeated problems I had to deal with keeping the van running early on. I decided that I would drive during the day so I could safely find a place to work on the van when problems came up. If the problem came at night then I would already be in trouble. Also, cows and boars roam the roads at night.

But recently I was up until 2am at a corn barbeque and on the way back noticed the headlights flickering and then almost dying at high speeds. Initially, I blamed the new fangled voltage regulator and inspected all the wiring with no success. But the alternator was also a suspect and although it charged at low rpm and even high rpm in low gear (proving once again that testing a problem while parked is no good), when I reached 3rd gear and still accelerated there was a dimming of headlights. So I lashed the volt meter to the windshield wiper and took to the road in an experiment. And this is the video of that event. There was a mishap that forced me to edit it but no cops pulled me over.

 I may try to put new brushes in the alternator since I haven't done that before. But it's likely nothing will change and the alternator has other problems with it. The belt doesn't slip and you can tell how predictable the voltage drop is when I lift my foot off. It goes to 14.04vDC and when I step on it the voltage drops to 12.36vDC...which is still charging but unless someone has some advice I have to fix the alternator that I bought the winter before I went to Labrador for some ridiculous low price. That was the fall of 2010. It has some hard miles on it but I thought I'd get more than 3 years out of it. Of course I bought it at Advanced Auto in New England so there's no returning it.

thanks to all who provided advice and support.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.