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Old 26-12-2011, 08:06   #1
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Alternator charging??

Hello, have been motoring and sailing south on ICW for one month now and it seems my alternator is NOT charging the batteries ? Is there a simple way to check ? I have checked the belt, it's there, and it's turning and all.. but after a while the batteries always seem to be not be charged.

thanks
JV
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Old 26-12-2011, 08:12   #2
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Re: Alternator charging??

when charging the voltage should increase...check the charging and non-charging voltage
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Old 26-12-2011, 08:14   #3
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Re: Alternator charging??

Use a DC amp clamp meter to see if the alternator is putting out and how much.
These really shoul be on every boat. It's a quick way to help figure out were the problem is.

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Old 26-12-2011, 08:21   #4
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Re: Alternator charging??

OK, Thank you for the replies..will get the meter today ..
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Old 26-12-2011, 08:26   #5
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Re: Alternator charging??

I agree with Tellie....a decent clamp-on AC/DC ammeter should be on every boat.

So, too, should a decent multimeter. Assuming you already have one, you can measure the voltage output of the alternator at the positive post of the alternator. If it's 14VDC or above with the engine running, then the alternator is putting out some juice.

But, no matter what you read with the multimeter, go ahead and get the clamp-on ammeter.

Makes a good Christmas present for the boat!

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Old 26-12-2011, 10:15   #6
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Re: Alternator charging??

My Craftsman 82369 AC/DC clamp-on meter is also a multimeter--$60 at Sears and works well.

Buy the Christmas present, take a few readings, like voltage across the alternator output, voltage across the battery posts, and amps flowing through the alternator output, and we should have you sorted out quickly.
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Old 26-12-2011, 11:20   #7
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Re: Alternator charging??

Wow, DC clamp ammeters have gotten cheap.

But still, a $20 multimeter can pretty much do the job just as well. If the alternator is not putting out 14.4 volts, or at least 13.8 at idle, it isn't going to be charging. Odds are if it is putting out the correct voltage, it will be putting out as much amperage as it is capable of--or as the regulator thinks it should.

If the alternator is putting out but the battery failing to hold the charge, the batteries are shot. If the alternator isn't putting out voltage, the alternator/regulator is shot. (Rashly assuming the belt, installation, connections, simple mechanical things are all right.)
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Old 26-12-2011, 11:50   #8
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Re: Alternator charging??

Another vote for a clamp on multimeter, make sure you get one thet will measure DC amps, some only do AC.
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Old 26-12-2011, 13:01   #9
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Re: Alternator charging??

While you are Xmas shopping for the boat, get the 12 volt Doctor's Practical Handbook, Boat Owner's Electrical / Mechanical Manual and Boat Owner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook. Any one or all three.
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