Electrical tips

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Originally submited by T.

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Electrical Tips:

See also Dim Lights

Alternator Upgrade:


If you upgrade from a lower capacity alternator to a higher capacity alternator,
like a 55 amp to an 85 amp, you must also upgrade the alternator feed as well.
If not the higher capacity alternator will cause heat rise in the cable
which will oxidise it.
Once the cable oxidises it will become resistive and no longer able
to recharge the battery when any load is turned on.
As a workaround in an emergency, leave the engine running with minimal electrical load
and the alternator will eventually recharge the battery.
Note that a high capacity alternator may require a heavy duty fan belt which is characterised by having indents made on the outside or inside of the belt. These indents or teeth allow
the belt to bite into the V-Pulleys more convincingly.

Matching the Charging System to the Battery:

Matching the charging system to the battery can be advantageous. If you have an original generator, it's output will be gentle compared to any alternator.
If you have a 12 volt grey motor Holden and you want to keep the original generator, then using a 12 volt 450 CCA screw cap battery can work out a good pair. Those batteries don't endure high charge rates which those generators don't provide anyway.
A no/low maintenance 550CCA battery will expect 14+ volts applied to it to make full charge again and if used with a generator that can't get up there will die sooner from the lack of charge it needs.

Dead Battery Cells:

A dead battery cell can be identified by removing the screw caps. While *wearing eye protection* observe the cells during cranking of the engine. An individual cell that boils like an electric jug is shorted because an accumulation of deposits has accumulated under the cell high enough to short the cell's plates together.

Connecting Wires Properly:

Electrical authorities recommend the use of crimp connections rather than soldering
in motor vehicles. This is because automotive wiring is subjected to vibration and intense movement under heavy braking and cornering.
A crimp connection is actually a cold weld so its electrical conducting properties are superb. In addition the crimp connector holds both the copper cable and the external insulation and supports it in the strong movement environment.
Soldered connections can break inside the insulation right where the solder ends.
Twisting wires together should only be used temporarily since they will soon become resistive and cause the wire to burn at the joints.
Securing wires under screw connections is a classic cause of burnt connections and voltage drop. Always use the appropriate sized eyelet connector to avoid problems.
Wires that fit into screw blocks should be connected by a crimped connector
which holds the wire at one end and has a tough metal prong for the screw to tighten against.
Tightening the screw directly onto the wire causes a resistive and consequently a burned connection. This is a classic cause of dim lights in a Volkswagen.
With any right handed thread remember the old song title "Time is Tight." If you want to tighten a bolt, turning it in the direction a clock turns (clockwise) will make it tighter.

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