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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel > Battery alarm troubleshooting
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Thread: Battery alarm troubleshooting Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-24-2013 03:20 AM
jaybeegee
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

thanks for that. unfortunately i checked the bulb and the connections on the control panel but all in order. I will try and figure out where the sender unit is located and check the continuity but I cannot locate the thing so will start a new thread! thanks again.
02-23-2013 10:08 PM
hellosailor
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

"now the temperature light does not go on at all on ignition! "
That could just be a burned out bulb. Most idiot light systems are designed to self-test and light up when the key is turned. No light means the bulb has burned out, or there's a break in the wiring or other fault. But most commonly, a burned out bulb.
I'd suggest taking the bulb out and testing it, and if it has burned out, or if it simply was a PITA to access the bulbs, think about replacing them all while you are in there. Bulbs are cheap enough.
You may find different bulbs that will fit. If any are listed as an "instrumentation" bulb, that means they are usually a little dimmer but designed to be more robust, with a stronger filament that is less likely to burn out again. Filaments don't like vibration, engines will always offend them. (G) And these days, who knows, you may find LED replacements available as well.
02-23-2013 02:43 PM
jaybeegee
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

Here is an update ... it turned out to be the alternator was infact causing the problem and a local electrician repaired it for Eur80 (a. USD 105) for parts (internal regulator + brushes) and labour! Put everything in place and it looks to be working well although there seems to be one problem albeit unrelated! So my original problem was after starting the engine, the battery light remained on and now the temperature light does not go on at all on ignition! All three warning ligths (battery, oil pressure, temperature) + buzzer would come on as I turn the ignition key and then all three go off after a few seconds with the engine on! pfff never a moment ...
02-18-2013 04:49 PM
jaybeegee
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

thanks for all the tips! I have now removed the alternator which seemed to be the source of the problem as there was no charge the wiring in place. I take your point about all the cowboys around - I am hopeful that the electrician I will go to will be genuine as I am sending the part via a common friend!
02-18-2013 04:38 PM
jaybeegee
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
A battery that has rested should read around 12.6 when fresh. "12" would be more than half dead. A charger (or alternator) typically would put out 13.8-14.4 in bulk mode, and "13" would be way too low.
thanks for this. I have checked my battery readings and with the engine off I got a 13 and no change registered with the engine on under load!
02-18-2013 02:44 PM
hellosailor
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

An alternator consists of a heavy metal frame, which more or less lasts forever, and a batch of cosumable parts. Wire windings, bearings, diodes, sometimes the internal regulator, etc.

Everything in the alternator can be replaced, so the alternator can be rebuilt (which means fixed) or remanufactured (which means stripped down and rebuilt 100% to original specs). Sometimes it is cheaper to simply buy a whole rebuilt/reman'd alternator, with a warranty, than it is to gamble on whether some shop is really qualified and going to charge any less to fix yours, IF it needs fixing.

It really pays to learn how to diagnose them yourself, since there has also always been a thriving community of "see? Your alternator's bad!" thieves around. As well as the nice men who spray the whole thing shiny silver when they've fixed it, which actually guarantees it will burn out again (gee, I don't know why) right after the warranty. All it takes is one extra coat of paint on the new diodes, and they WILL overheat and blow out early. All sorts of little tricks to keep the business repeating.

Best adice I ever heard about alternators, is to look in the shop. If it is a greasy mess? Walk away. Yes, it is a dirty business, and someone who is doing a good job will also usually keep their shop fairly neat.
02-18-2013 01:38 PM
Stu Jackson
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybeegee View Post
Yes I realise now that was not a clever thing for me to do!

Are alternators and diodes something that would typically be repaired?
It all depends on how it's wired. If your alternator output goes through the C post of your 1-2-B switch, perhaps, but sometimes if the batteries have been full and the regulator was not being "requested" to maximize alternator output, the alternator diodes might survive. Only YOU can tell, by firing up the engine and measuring alternator output voltage.

You might want to consider these articles:

Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams This is a very good basic primer for boat system wiring: Basic Battery Wiring Diagrams

This is another very good basic primer for boat system wiring: The 1-2-B Switch by Maine Sail (brings together a lot of what this subject is all about)
1/BOTH/2/OFF Switches Thoughts & Musings - SailboatOwners.com
02-17-2013 04:13 PM
hellosailor
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

A battery that has rested should read around 12.6 when fresh. "12" would be more than half dead. A charger (or alternator) typically would put out 13.8-14.4 in bulk mode, and "13" would be way too low.
02-17-2013 04:11 PM
jaybeegee
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

thanks for that.

Yes I have sourced a digital multimeter and get a 12v reading on both batteries and around 13v when I connected the electric battery charger using the shore supply.
02-17-2013 03:35 PM
hellosailor
Re: Battery alarm troubleshooting

jb, go to WallyWorld or Target and spend $20 on a digital multimeter. Put it on the 20VDC setting and test your actual voltage, engine on/off.

That's the only way you'll find out if the problem is in the alarm, or your battery/alternator are dying. Unless you want to just wait to see what dies.
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