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Old 07-18-2011, 01:44 PM   #11
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Old myths are hard to kill. It amazes me how so many people still think the way to check an alternator is to pull the battery cable off with the engine running.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:20 PM   #12
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Old myths are hard to kill. It amazes me how so many people still think the way to check an alternator is to pull the battery cable off with the engine running.
Alternators haven't been around long enough to qualify for old myth status.

I am curious though, how is pulling the battery cable off the battery, with engine running, supposed to check the alternator?
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:37 PM   #13
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You need voltage to fire the spark plugs. If the battery is not connected then the voltage is coming from the alternator. It the alternator stops working you are running off battery only. TV will stall after a time and not be able to start because the battery is drained.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:57 PM   #14
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You need voltage to fire the spark plugs. If the battery is not connected then the voltage is coming from the alternator. It the alternator stops working you are running off battery only. TV will stall after a time and not be able to start because the battery is drained.
Yes, thats how the myth goes. If it stays running your alternator is good. Of course it does not work and besides risking a spark induced battery explosion you also most likely destroyed the alternator in the process. It started back in the days when cars had generators instead of alternators and 50+ years later many still believe you can do it. Just like old methods of battery production has continued the concrete myth even though modern battery's are not effected by it. Old time battery's where wood then rubber construction for cases. Both are affected by moisture on the ground. Todays battery's polypropylene cases are uneffected my moisture.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:13 PM   #15
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I can't imagine there's too many cars on the road these days without at least an "idiot light" for the charging system. However if that's the case, a simple voltage check at the battery terminals will tell you if the alternator is working.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:06 PM   #16
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I can't imagine there's too many cars on the road these days without at least an "idiot light" for the charging system. However if that's the case, a simple voltage check at the battery terminals will tell you if the alternator is working.
After 25 years in the automotive parts business I have learned that people want to work on their own vehicles, but don't want to buy tools. For the average consumer a volt/ohm meter falls under the category of "specialty tool"
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