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How To Test an Alternator Part 1 Voltage Drop and Dirty Connections | Best hand-held repair tools

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How To Test an Alternator Part 1 Voltage Drop and Dirty Connections
How To Test an Alternator Part 1 Voltage Drop and Dirty Connections

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Meters shown or similar to those in the video
Fluke 117
Fluke 115

Lower price alternatives
Uni-T Budget Multimeter
Uni-T Clamp Meter

In this first of a short series, I show you how to quickly establish whether a charging fault is due to a faulty alternator or something which is much quicker and cheaper to solve. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Using my Amazon links does not cost you any extra..

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20 Comments

  1. I've found most of the voltage drop is from the cable to the ring connector. Clean it and put some solder on it or even better as solder wont last, tighten the clamp with a dedicated big wire gauge clamp tool or a small portable vice and a ball from a bearing. In my car this exact cable from alternator to battery would get very hot to the touch if many electrical consumers were on. Got it from 13.3 to 14.4V just by cleaning connectors.

  2. Excellent explanation and edit. What if you were getting higher charging voltages? 16.5V tested on the battery on my V70. First thought, voltage regulator, could there be other culprits?

  3. Hi u realy know how to explain this stuff. Just on the diode test u covered the b+ lead did u unplug the alternator main plug also?

  4. Thanks for the video, when you're checking body chassis earth, to alternater body Earth, and you have high readings, does this mean you unbolt alternator from the engine and clean? Many thanks Geoffrey

  5. 12:28 see there the wire is crimped? Thats half-assed from the factory.
    This really should be soldered and heatshrinked with hot glue heat shrink that seals it

  6. Hi, can you help a novis, BMW K100 motorcycle, the alternator is a modified car one (bosch 14V 8/32 A) , internal diodes for the rectifier and the regulator/brush pack is external. I have only two wires going to the alternator plug, I believe one small wire goes to the ignition warning lamp on the dash and the other I assume eventually back to the battery. The problem, 12.4 volts at the battery with engine off and at 2000rmp or more. I have checked and cleaned the brushes, connections and slip rings.
    with a FLUKE 79 series meter set to diode red to casing black to large terminal (B+) I have 0.897 VDC, reversing the leads I have 2.352 VDC are my diodes faulty?

  7. Thanks for great video on alternator. This is a great way to get the electrical system to work efficiently :-)

  8. Wow! A Volvo battery! I bet that cost a packet!

    My Volvo V90 is losing 0.3V at the junction at the starter terminal, even after cleaning the connection lugs – the cable from the alternator terminates there, joining the cable from the battery. Nothing for it but to clean the lugs again. Unfortunately, too inaccessible to get at Dremel tool in there.

  9. can use carb cleaner or something else to clean the insaide mine hase a lot of dirt and oil.after repair the steering pump how can i clean my alternator?thanks

  10. Marvelous video. People (including myself) tend to forget that corrosion and (or) dirt can add up to resistance greatly and cause a series of problems. A little bit of inspection with the good old multimeter (btw. like the Fluke) can point to problems and solutions. Maybe some contact grease can also prevent rust / dirt on contacts too.

  11. Hi, love your videos. Helps me a lot on my volvo s60 d5. Is there any chance in the near future that you could show us how to do brake fluid change/bleeding? That is of course if you know how to do it your self?

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