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Automobile electrical and electronic systems

Table 6.2 Charging system symptoms and faults


Symptom Possible fault

Battery loses charge Defective battery


Slipping alternator drive belt
Battery terminals loose or corroded
Alternator internal fault (diode open circuit, brushes worn or
regulator fault etc.)
Open circuit in alternator wiring, either main supply, ignition
or sensing wires if fitted
Short circuit component causing battery drain even when all
switches are off
High resistance in the main charging circuit
Charge warning Slipping or broken alternator drive belt
light stays on when Alternator internal fault (diode open circuit, brushes worn or
engine is running regulator fault etc.)
Loose or broken wiring/connections
Charge warning light Alternator internal fault (brushes worn open circuit or
does not come on regulator fault etc.)
at any time Blown warning light bulb
Open circuit in warning light circuit

electronic systems. It has also enabled the widespread use of sealed batteries,
as the possibility of overcharging is minimal.
Traditionally the regulator base plate or heat sink temperature was used as a
reference to estimate battery temperature. This is because the ideal maximum
charge rate for a battery varies with its temperature. Further, if the regulator
senses a significant change in voltage, a function is employed to quickly recover
this to the normal set regulation point. In normal regulators this function is
integrated into the regulator itself.
This method of closed loop control (regulator senses the output voltage and
increases rotor field strength if the output is low, or decreases it if the output is
too high) has worked well - up until now.

B
Battery Sense
Ignition Switch

F+
WL
Rotor Rectifier
D1 Battery
Control
Circuit
F-

T1 Stator
T2 W
Electrical Loads

Voltage Regulator Alternator

Standard closed loop alternator and regulator circuit