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How can you tell your alternator is charging your batter?

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  • How can you tell your alternator is charging your batter?

    WITHOUT A VOLTMETER, how can you tell your alternator is charging your battery? I fired the boat up today and it was right around 13 Volts. Increasing the power to about 1500 rpm the volts jumped to about 13.5 volts. I'm sure it's working fine, but when should I become concerned it's not charging the battery? Below what volts do you guys think?

    Thanks for the help!

    Andy-
    "Slingshot, engage"

  • #2
    The shade tree was is to remove the battery terminal while the engine is running, if it dies alternator is not doing its job, if it stays running the alternator is operating.
    James

    1989 MasterCraft TriStar 190 SE
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't remember the details, but there is something about hitting enough RPM to excite the field in the alt to begin charging. I don't know it's possible to diagnose this without a voltmeter.
      - Peter
      TANDEM AXLE PACKAGE $950 DELIVERED
      5 14X5.5 T06 WHEELS W/5 ST215/75R14 KENDA LOADSTAR RADIALS SS CENTER CAPS, LUGS, MOUNTED, BALANCED & READY TO INSTALL


      PM or email me for tire, wheel or package pricing.
      CARBURETOR REBUILDING - $125 + PARTS
      LED lights, Chrome & Powder Coated Lugs
      2 LED 6" BRAKE LIGHTS DELIVERED $25

      tiresplease@gmail.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by j.mccreight@hotmail.com View Post
        The shade tree was is to remove the battery terminal while the engine is running, if it dies alternator is not doing its job, if it stays running the alternator is operating.
        Remove which terminal? + or -? Hey I'm game for new ways to do things!
        "Slingshot, engage"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by thatsmrmastercraft View Post
          I don't remember the details, but there is something about hitting enough RPM to excite the field in the alt to begin charging. I don't know it's possible to diagnose this without a voltmeter.
          Yeah, I'm not positive there is either. Just curious if anyones got any ideas. Thanks man!
          "Slingshot, engage"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by j.mccreight@hotmail.com View Post
            The shade tree was is to remove the battery terminal while the engine is running, if it dies alternator is not doing its job, if it stays running the alternator is operating.
            Wasn't there something about this only being advisable on a points system? That this could do some damage to electronic ignition?
            - Peter
            TANDEM AXLE PACKAGE $950 DELIVERED
            5 14X5.5 T06 WHEELS W/5 ST215/75R14 KENDA LOADSTAR RADIALS SS CENTER CAPS, LUGS, MOUNTED, BALANCED & READY TO INSTALL


            PM or email me for tire, wheel or package pricing.
            CARBURETOR REBUILDING - $125 + PARTS
            LED lights, Chrome & Powder Coated Lugs
            2 LED 6" BRAKE LIGHTS DELIVERED $25

            tiresplease@gmail.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by thatsmrmastercraft View Post
              Wasn't there something about this only being advisable on a points system? That this could do some damage to electronic ignition?
              Someone else mentioned this to me earlier today and it's do-able if I was able to maintain 100% electrical continuity (in order to protect the electrical circuits/EFI). However, I'm not 100% on anything with my boat.
              "Slingshot, engage"

              Comment


              • #8
                Thatsmrmastercraft: I took your advice too with the electrical connections on my boat, so far so good! That protection grease was a great idea. Thank you.
                "Slingshot, engage"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 96prostar190 View Post
                  Thatsmrmastercraft: I took your advice too with the electrical connections on my boat, so far so good! That protection grease was a great idea. Thank you.
                  Good to hear things are working for you. Working out the kinks on a used boat is quite an experience.
                  - Peter
                  TANDEM AXLE PACKAGE $950 DELIVERED
                  5 14X5.5 T06 WHEELS W/5 ST215/75R14 KENDA LOADSTAR RADIALS SS CENTER CAPS, LUGS, MOUNTED, BALANCED & READY TO INSTALL


                  PM or email me for tire, wheel or package pricing.
                  CARBURETOR REBUILDING - $125 + PARTS
                  LED lights, Chrome & Powder Coated Lugs
                  2 LED 6" BRAKE LIGHTS DELIVERED $25

                  tiresplease@gmail.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by thatsmrmastercraft View Post
                    Good to hear things are working for you. Working out the kinks on a used boat is quite an experience.
                    I love my boat man, taking it out tomorrow for the first time of the season!

                    Your boat looks great too by the way! Its nice to see people keeping the classics alive!
                    "Slingshot, engage"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 96prostar190 View Post
                      I love my boat man, taking it out tomorrow for the first time of the season!

                      Your boat looks great too by the way! Its nice to see people keeping the classics alive!
                      Thanks. Best of luck on the maiden voyage. I remember the apprehension, then the exhilaration of the first successful trip with my boat. Not sure how I survived before I got my MC, but I know where a lot of my free time went.
                      - Peter
                      TANDEM AXLE PACKAGE $950 DELIVERED
                      5 14X5.5 T06 WHEELS W/5 ST215/75R14 KENDA LOADSTAR RADIALS SS CENTER CAPS, LUGS, MOUNTED, BALANCED & READY TO INSTALL


                      PM or email me for tire, wheel or package pricing.
                      CARBURETOR REBUILDING - $125 + PARTS
                      LED lights, Chrome & Powder Coated Lugs
                      2 LED 6" BRAKE LIGHTS DELIVERED $25

                      tiresplease@gmail.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 96prostar190 View Post
                        Remove which terminal? + or -? Hey I'm game for new ways to do things!
                        Does not matter which connector you remove just make sure which ever connector you remove does not contact the other one or any metal that may be around, so the negative one would be the one I remove and it does not matter if the boat has points or electronic ignition, And yes you will have fewer volts at idle versus a higher rpm I don't know the rpm cutoff or the voltage cutoff. The manual does state that at 1500rpm and above you should be producing more amps.
                        James

                        1989 MasterCraft TriStar 190 SE
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A simple digital volt meter is under $20 at any auto parts store....it's a good tool to have for many things (trailer lights, etc.)

                          Congrats on your boat purchase! Welcome to the club.
                          I was njskier on here.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by j.mccreight@hotmail.com View Post
                            Does not matter which connector you remove just make sure which ever connector you remove does not contact the other one or any metal that may be around, so the negative one would be the one I remove and it does not matter if the boat has points or electronic ignition, And yes you will have fewer volts at idle versus a higher rpm I don't know the rpm cutoff or the voltage cutoff. The manual does state that at 1500rpm and above you should be producing more amps.
                            Great, thanks a lot for the help!
                            "Slingshot, engage"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As long as the voltmeter is reading 13 volts or more your alternator is charging. At higher rpm it will increase a bit, and if the battery is low on charge it will be 14 or 15 volts. I wouldn't remove a cable from the battery while it is running. You would be breaking a circuit with possibly some serious amperage. I'm an electrician, you can get a major spark when you do that. Definite risk of burns to your hands.

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