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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Due to an unfortunate series of events, my car will not start without being jumped. This past weekend, a friend and I replaced my leaking Master Cylinder with a new one. I had the radio on with the car turned off for awhile which lead to a dead battery. No problem though, we jumped it and it was fine. Subsequently, we had to jump it every time after that (with the exception of once at a gas station.) Long story short, I parked my car that night, and to my suprise the next morning, someone had broken into my car with a set of filed down keys. They got my head unit (1 month old eclipse cd3000) and my custom cup holders (from a thunderbird), but were unable to steal the car (thank you electrical problem.) They left their filed down honda key on the shift boot, but the other keys (mazda, nissan... etc.) were left in the ignition. I doubt that there's been damage done to the actual lockset on the ignition (if that makes sense) but I need help with this one. Do you think this problem originated from replacing the master cylinder, or from the theft? The guys at Checkers auto parts said that the alternator and battery look to be fine although there's no way of telling without completely charging the battery. They told me that it looks like a connection problem. Help?

P.S. I left it parked for 3 weeks while I travel home for christmas. Hopefully having pulled the fuse to the ignition will be enough of a deterrent for anyone who tries to get smart.
 

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jumping a car off and letting it run is not enough to charge the battery. You need to have the battery fully charged. 30minutes to an hour is not enough either, regardless of what advance, autozone, etc... will tell you. If the battery is completely dead the best way to charge it would be to put it on a 2 amp charge for at least 24hours. The longer it sits discharged, the more chance it has of not taking a charge. The age of the battery will be a big factor as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is there any way that it's something other than the battery? I was thinking that it could possibly be the ignitor (a honda mechanic told me that there was a recall on them from 88-91). Hopefully it's just the battery, and nothing else. I'm also wondering about relocating my next cd player, or getting a nakamichi tape deck with aux in. They look extremely stock, but are the best head units money can buy. Plus... who listens to cds when you have a mp3 player?
 

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An alternator will not charge a dead battery. The battery needs to have some sort of charge in it for the alt to charge it up. . but as directed you should fully charge the battery always when it is low insted of relying on the alt. . . .
the alt will have to work overtime to charge a low batt and can possible burn up the alt. . . . form working too hard. . .

i have seen this allot when ppl's alt would go out. and they would. make it home on the batteries power. . . . they would run the battery totally dead getting the car home running the computer, injectors, sensors etc. and then put a new alt on with out charging the batt. . . .well the new alt.. gets one heck of a workot its first few minutes of life. . . busting its self to pieces trying to bring this ailing batt pack up to charge. . . . . .do yourself and your alt a favor and remember that tip . .

Chris
 

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Ya, you need to work on a process of elimination here. Get the battery fully charged, or if its an old battery, jsut ge ta new one, or borrow someone elses that is known to be good. Then see if you can start it. If not, then you need to check your starter by putting the car in neutral, having a friend push down the clutch pedal, and jumpering straight from the positive terminal on your battery. You also want to check all your grounds at this time. Take them off, clean them with some emery paper and then bolt them back down snugly. If you are able to jumper your starter then it might be a clutch relay. So follow this route to get started on troubleshooting and get back to us.
 

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Make sure your battery cables are in good condition and that they are properly clamped to the battery terminals. If your battery is not dead, I would bet on bad cable connections. Check the battery ground. You might want to replace your distributor cap and rotor. You may also want to swap the distributor with a known good distributor to rule out that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks guys for all of the help. i won't be able to see my car until january 8th (hopefully it's still where i left it.) the connections look fairly clean on the battery and we've been able to jump start it and push start. so we can basically rule out the starter and the clutch switch. additionally, i have about 14 volts running through my alternator, so that's not the problem. i'm guessing it's a battery in need of a good charge. would a broken distributor be able to jump or pop start a car? i'm learning alot here.
 

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once the car is started a nice long drive would be enuff to charger it.
If the battery died completly it could be dead, if it is dead the you cant charge it. if you can boost it then the connections are ok from the batt to the car and the only other connection that could give you this problem is the wire from the alt to the batt.

while the car is running if you test the batt terminals and read 13.9-14.7v then that means the batt is dead. replace the batt and your ok
 

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toxiclows said:
An alternator will not charge a dead battery. The battery needs to have some sort of charge in it for the alt to charge it up. . but as directed you should fully charge the battery always when it is low insted of relying on the alt. . . .
the alt will have to work overtime to charge a low batt and can possible burn up the alt. . . . form working too hard. . .

i have seen this allot when ppl's alt would go out. and they would. make it home on the batteries power. . . . they would run the battery totally dead getting the car home running the computer, injectors, sensors etc. and then put a new alt on with out charging the batt. . . .well the new alt.. gets one heck of a workot its first few minutes of life. . . busting its self to pieces trying to bring this ailing batt pack up to charge. . . . . .do yourself and your alt a favor and remember that tip . .

Chris
Sorry man but that's not how it works. The alternator puts out a steady rate of +xx volts (usually about 14) after the rpms hit about 2k. The alternator doesn't care if the battery is dead or almost charged. It doesn't "work harder" due to the battery needing more charge. It puts out it's current regardless and the voltage regulator dictates if the battery gets 14volts or 12.
 

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if your charging over 13+ volts that is no indication of wether the battery is good or not. Alternators are designed to keep a battery charged, not to be used as a battery charger. Any shop that specializes in alternators, generators and starters will tell you the same thing. Those places will usually void the warranty if you dont fully charge the battery before installation too.

Your alternator uses the battery as a reference to adjust its voltage output. If there is not 12 volts there, it increase its output to recharge the battery. If you turn your lights on, a/c etc.. the alternator will increase output to keep the battery charged since your pulling more from it.

Alternators have a built in voltage regulator ( alot of old cars had an external). If the voltage output did not vary, there would be no need for a regulator.
 

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drnknmnky13 said:
toxiclows said:
An alternator will not charge a dead battery. The battery needs to have some sort of charge in it for the alt to charge it up. . but as directed you should fully charge the battery always when it is low insted of relying on the alt. . . .
the alt will have to work overtime to charge a low batt and can possible burn up the alt. . . . form working too hard. . .

i have seen this allot when ppl's alt would go out. and they would. make it home on the batteries power. . . . they would run the battery totally dead getting the car home running the computer, injectors, sensors etc. and then put a new alt on with out charging the batt. . . .well the new alt.. gets one heck of a workot its first few minutes of life. . . busting its self to pieces trying to bring this ailing batt pack up to charge. . . . . .do yourself and your alt a favor and remember that tip . .

Chris
Sorry man but that's not how it works. The alternator puts out a steady rate of +xx volts (usually about 14) after the rpms hit about 2k. The alternator doesn't care if the battery is dead or almost charged. It doesn't "work harder" due to the battery needing more charge. It puts out it's current regardless and the voltage regulator dictates if the battery gets 14volts or 12.
The info that i gave was correct. . .

The alternator DOES care if the battery is fully charged. That is its sole purpose in life

It does work harder when the battery is low
The voltage regulator is in integral part of the alternator and since most people replace the alt as a service part. . most would consider a failed voltage reg as a bad alt since they most likely would be swapping out the alt. .
 

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toxiclows said:
drnknmnky13 said:
toxiclows said:
An alternator will not charge a dead battery. The battery needs to have some sort of charge in it for the alt to charge it up. . but as directed you should fully charge the battery always when it is low insted of relying on the alt. . . .
the alt will have to work overtime to charge a low batt and can possible burn up the alt. . . . form working too hard. . .

i have seen this allot when ppl's alt would go out. and they would. make it home on the batteries power. . . . they would run the battery totally dead getting the car home running the computer, injectors, sensors etc. and then put a new alt on with out charging the batt. . . .well the new alt.. gets one heck of a workot its first few minutes of life. . . busting its self to pieces trying to bring this ailing batt pack up to charge. . . . . .do yourself and your alt a favor and remember that tip . .

Chris
Sorry man but that's not how it works. The alternator puts out a steady rate of +xx volts (usually about 14) after the rpms hit about 2k. The alternator doesn't care if the battery is dead or almost charged. It doesn't "work harder" due to the battery needing more charge. It puts out it's current regardless and the voltage regulator dictates if the battery gets 14volts or 12.
The info that i gave was correct. . .

The alternator DOES care if the battery is fully charged. That is its sole purpose in life

It does work harder when the battery is low
The voltage regulator is in integral part of the alternator and since most people replace the alt as a service part. . most would consider a failed voltage reg as a bad alt since they most likely would be swapping out the alt. .
Unless you have a variable sized pulley that would adjust the speed of the alternator to the rate of charge..then no. The alternator spins at whatever speed the belt makes it spin. It produces XX amount of current for a given rpm regardless of the charge level of the battery. The regulator simply adjusts the amount of current it converts (or lets through to simplify things) to the battery. A dead battery would have the regulator allowing full current (up to a point) to the battery... as the battery reaches charged the regulator simply allows less current to flow. But the alternator itself doesn't work any "harder".

Yes if the regulator went bad I would replace the entire unit as a whole. But I wouldn't blame low battery charge for killing it.
 

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drnknmnky13 said:
Unless you have a variable sized pulley that would adjust the speed of the alternator to the rate of charge..then no. The alternator spins at whatever speed the belt makes it spin. It produces XX amount of current for a given rpm regardless of the charge .
Correct. What, you guys think the crank pulleys gonna speed up on its own, or the belt will get shorter?

It suprises me sometimes how knowledgable, and unknowledgable, us CRXers can be. What nobody mentioned:
Fill your battery cells with water. Theres a good chance after dyin and bein jumped a gajillion times, the cells depleted, and need filled, Ive seen it happen a million times.
Second, if thats all good, you guys ALWAYS forget CCA (cold cranking amps) which, without enough, the engine wont crank, even if the battery reads a full 12v charge.
 

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drnknmnky13 said:
Unless you have a variable sized pulley that would adjust the speed of the alternator to the rate of charge..then no. The alternator spins at whatever speed the belt makes it spin. It produces XX amount of current for a given rpm regardless of the charge level of the battery. The regulator simply adjusts the amount of current it converts (or lets through to simplify things) to the battery. A dead battery would have the regulator allowing full current (up to a point) to the battery... as the battery reaches charged the regulator simply allows less current to flow. But the alternator itself doesn't work any "harder".

Yes if the regulator went bad I would replace the entire unit as a whole. But I wouldn't blame low battery charge for killing it.
The voltage regulator is just that ... it adjusts current produced by the alternator to maintain the regulated voltage (14.5 volts). BTW the CRX has a sensor ("ELD Unit") that measures the electrical load (it is located in the main fusebox under the hood) and under some circumstances (this is controlled by the ECU) the voltage regulator will be commanded to reduce the output voltage from 14.5v to 12.5v. The purpose of this is to save gas by reducing the alternator load. If you were a mad hacker, you could probably hotwire the regulator so that the alternator shut down when you were at WOT. The only reason I know this is because something in my 'rex is busted and the alternator light comes on when it goes to the 12.5v mode. I suspect my ELD is not working right.

The way the voltage regulator actually works, btw, is that it regulates the field coil in the alternator. The larger the magnetic field produced by the field coil, the more current the alternator produces. In a sense this is like having a different pulley size, it's just accomplished electrically. When the regulator dumps more current into the field coil, the alternator pulley becomes harder to turn because it's generating more power.
 

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'9445 said:
drnknmnky13 said:
Unless you have a variable sized pulley that would adjust the speed of the alternator to the rate of charge..then no. The alternator spins at whatever speed the belt makes it spin. It produces XX amount of current for a given rpm regardless of the charge level of the battery. The regulator simply adjusts the amount of current it converts (or lets through to simplify things) to the battery. A dead battery would have the regulator allowing full current (up to a point) to the battery... as the battery reaches charged the regulator simply allows less current to flow. But the alternator itself doesn't work any "harder".

Yes if the regulator went bad I would replace the entire unit as a whole. But I wouldn't blame low battery charge for killing it.
The voltage regulator is just that ... it adjusts current produced by the alternator to maintain the regulated voltage (14.5 volts). BTW the CRX has a sensor ("ELD Unit") that measures the electrical load (it is located in the main fusebox under the hood) and under some circumstances (this is controlled by the ECU) the voltage regulator will be commanded to reduce the output voltage from 14.5v to 12.5v. The purpose of this is to save gas by reducing the alternator load. If you were a mad hacker, you could probably hotwire the regulator so that the alternator shut down when you were at WOT. The only reason I know this is because something in my 'rex is busted and the alternator light comes on when it goes to the 12.5v mode. I suspect my ELD is not working right.

The way the voltage regulator actually works, btw, is that it regulates the field coil in the alternator. The larger the magnetic field produced by the field coil, the more current the alternator produces. In a sense this is like having a different pulley size, it's just accomplished electrically. When the regulator dumps more current into the field coil, the alternator pulley becomes harder to turn because it's generating more power.
Unless they changed them recently it doesn't modify the field. It switches the field off and on (it can do this hundreds of times per second). Even if the field were to stay on the entire time (or even if the MF changed like you stated)...it wouldn't make the alternator work any harder. It might make the engine work a little harder as there is more resistance...but the alternator itself is not working "harder".
 

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g0CRXg0 said:
drnknmnky13 said:
Unless you have a variable sized pulley that would adjust the speed of the alternator to the rate of charge..then no. The alternator spins at whatever speed the belt makes it spin. It produces XX amount of current for a given rpm regardless of the charge .
Correct. What, you guys think the crank pulleys gonna speed up on its own, or the belt will get shorter?

It suprises me sometimes how knowledgable, and unknowledgable, us CRXers can be. What nobody mentioned:
Fill your battery cells with water. Theres a good chance after dyin and bein jumped a gajillion times, the cells depleted, and need filled, Ive seen it happen a million times.
Second, if thats all good, you guys ALWAYS forget CCA (cold cranking amps) which, without enough, the engine wont crank, even if the battery reads a full 12v charge.
Exactly. Good info. I have had a few instances were I took my battery to autozone or somewhere like that and they said "it's putting out 12 volts..it's a good battery"
 

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drnknmnky13 said:
Unless they changed them recently it doesn't modify the field. It switches the field off and on (it can do this hundreds of times per second). Even if the field were to stay on the entire time (or even if the MF changed like you stated)...it wouldn't make the alternator work any harder. It might make the engine work a little harder as there is more resistance...but the alternator itself is not working "harder".
OK, whether the field is pulse-width-modulated on or off, or varying in intensity doesn't really matter, except that pwm is certainly more efficient as you eliminate the resistance losses associated with transistors or FETs operating in the linear region (i.e. this is why class D amplifiers are so efficient).

And if the field is off, the alternator is doing no work, if it's on 100% of the time, then the alternator is working as hard as it can. Most of the time it's not going to be working very hard as the field will be off 80% or more.

The point I was originally trying to make is that the current output of the alternator is NOT tied to the rpm the alt pulley is spinning. The graph of alternator output vs rpm show maximum output, which is for the case where the electrical load exceeds the alternator output (regulator commands 100% field) or if you have full-fielded the alternator (bypassing the regulator).
 

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'9445 said:
drnknmnky13 said:
Unless they changed them recently it doesn't modify the field. It switches the field off and on (it can do this hundreds of times per second). Even if the field were to stay on the entire time (or even if the MF changed like you stated)...it wouldn't make the alternator work any harder. It might make the engine work a little harder as there is more resistance...but the alternator itself is not working "harder".
OK, whether the field is pulse-width-modulated on or off, or varying in intensity doesn't really matter, except that pwm is certainly more efficient as you eliminate the resistance losses associated with transistors or FETs operating in the linear region (i.e. this is why class D amplifiers are so efficient).

And if the field is off, the alternator is doing no work, if it's on 100% of the time, then the alternator is working as hard as it can. Most of the time it's not going to be working very hard as the field will be off 80% or more.

The point I was originally trying to make is that the current output of the alternator is NOT tied to the rpm the alt pulley is spinning. The graph of alternator output vs rpm show maximum output, which is for the case where the electrical load exceeds the alternator output (regulator commands 100% field) or if you have full-fielded the alternator (bypassing the regulator).
I think we're both going off on seperate tangents. My point is the alternator doesn't actually work any harder. Meaning there really isn't any extra stress on an alternator itself due to a low battery. Passing the coils through a field doesn't really cause them any extra stress.

The current being tied to rpm was an overly simplified explanation. My fault. What I should have said is: When the field is in an on state the current generated is proportional to the speed at which it is being spun. Putting the regulator aside; the faster you spin the alternator the more current you would create. The regulator keeps the current in check by switching the field off (or pulsing) when the output is too high.

By the way..hopefully there is no sarcasim or malice read into any of my posts. I'm not trying to start a fight or anything. :tea:
 

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No malice read into any of that ...

Bad battery is most likely problem simply because alternators last a lot longer than batteries ...
 
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