Battery warning light flick

Tiny
VALJEANLK
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 TOYOTA YARIS
  • 1.0L
  • MANUAL
  • 70,000 MILES
Hi,
My car has shown flicking battery warning light for thirty seconds to one minute after cold engine start. It does not show at warm engine start.

I have tested using a voltmeter as you guided in this forum. Battery has shown about 12.6 V when engine is off and when engine started, the power shown about 14.4 Volt (although when the warning light is flicking).

I bring my car to three garages, but they cannot find any reason. One guy suggested me to change the alternator. But, I am not sure it has gone or not.

Can you give your comments on this my issue?
Thanks,
Hung
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 4:24 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup. You successfully performed the charging voltage test, but that only means it is okay to do the second half of the testing, and that requires a professional load tester. The generator needs to be tested for "full-load output current" and "ripple" voltage.

All AC generators use three-phase output and a minimum of six diodes. Diodes are one-way valves for electrical current flow. With a single failed diode, the most output current you will be able to get is exactly one third of the generator's maximum rated current. Thirty amps from the common ninety amp generator is not enough to run the entire electrical system under all conditions. The battery may have to make up the difference until it slowly runs down over days or weeks.

Also, the loss of one of the three phases results in a momentary drop in output voltage. On some models, the voltage regulator sees that and responds by bumping up charging voltage in an attempt to get it back into the acceptable range of 13.75 to 14.75 volts. This variation is that ripple voltage. The battery absorbs much of that ripple voltage, and your digital meter responds much too slowly to see it, but a professional load tester will measure it. High ripple voltage is simply a clue pointing to the cause.

The voltage regulator also turns the dash warning light on, and it does that in response to the drops in voltage caused by the missing phase. The fact the warning light goes off after a while is most likely the result of higher engine speed where the voltage dropouts occur too quickly for the regulator to see them. Also, the battery becomes fully recharged within a few minutes after cranking the engine, so it puts less of a load on the charging system. At that point it is easier for it to maintain a smooth and steady charging voltage in spite of the missing phase. The clue is you may see the warning light turn on again when you turn on multiple high loads like the head lights, heater fan, and rear window defogger.
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Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 AT 5:07 PM
Tiny
VALJEANLK
  • MEMBER
Thank you very much for your quick answer.

Just now I got help from my two senior colleagues, who know well about car, for testing again with a high accuracy voltmeter, and we found nothing. They said, sometimes, it would be due to the code remained in the car compute from my old battery and we can simply clear the code. Do you think it is a possibility?

I am going to bring my car to an Auto Electrical Service Center to test the alternator with professional load tester as you suggested. I will update the problem once I have found the exact reason.

Thank you again.
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Thursday, January 5th, 2017 AT 3:01 AM
Tiny
VALJEANLK
  • MEMBER
Dear All,

I have solved my problem and found exactly what was that.

My warning light stayed on for 30 seconds to 1 minute when the cold engine started because of the regulator was gone.

My alternator was made by BOSCH so that my new regulator also should make by BOSCH.

Total cost I paid is about 86.6 EUR (56 EUR for the new BOSH regulator + EUR 20 for labor and over EUR10 for VAT).

You can purchase a regulator yourself if you are sure that your alternator is still alive so that the cost would be EUR40 only.

Thank you.
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Friday, January 6th, 2017 AT 10:46 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Happy to hear it's solved.
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Friday, January 6th, 2017 AT 2:02 PM

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