voltage problems

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  #1  
Old 12-30-04, 06:08 AM
my86chevy
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Exclamation voltage problems

Hello everone! I am new to the site so lets see how it works. My problem is in my 86 chevy 4x4 1/2 ton. It has a 350 engine with an automatic transmission. The truck is an 86 but the engine is from a 78 that was put in about 1 year ago by a budy of mine then he left it to sit in his yard. Anyways I got the truck now and I am cleaning up someone elses mess. I painted it and gave it a little TLC and I had everything working fine on the truck and drove it around for a few weeks and decided to put the snowplow on and wire in some new snowplow lights that I just bought I have the new wiring on the truck BUT no lights are plugged in yet. Yesterday driving home from work the voltage guage for the battery jumped up from the middle (13) to the 18 which is in the red and fluid started to bubble out of the battery. I double checked all my wiring and I checked the battery and everything looked fine. I replaced the alternator because I thought maybe the voltage regulator inside was bad ( I wanted the local parts store to test it but they weren't set up for it they said). BUT my voltage is still high. It isn't as high as before now moves between 14-16 which is still higher then what it was to begin with. Oh! The truck always starts to idle a little ruff when the voltage goes up. I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas as to what it might be that is causing this. Sorry for the extra long story but i wanted everyone to know the history of the truck. Thanks
 

Last edited by my86chevy; 12-30-04 at 06:18 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-30-04, 12:34 PM
JK052370
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Typically, a cars voltage is between 14 and 15 volts when runnign off of the alternator. But, it sound like you may have connected your lights wrong, if the battery is bubbling, that is a good sign that you have reversed polarity somewhere. If you are connecting more than one light make sure you connect them in series in the circuit to avoid any confusion. There is a slight possibility that with no lightbulbs, the circuit was not closed, and If you were driving when the voltage problem occured all it would take is a little water to close that circuit and really mess up your voltage. Good Luck.
 
  #3  
Old 12-30-04, 02:40 PM
my86chevy
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I went back out to may truck and double checked the wiring again and found that I did make and error. I had no wire diagram to hook up the lights and typically I always thought that the black wire is the ground but in this case I guess it wasn't. The plow lights that I got have high and low beams and blickers on them had they have 5 wires and it ended up being a white wire that was the ground wire. The volt now is at about 14-15. Thanks for the info. One more quick question. When I move the snowplow the voltage will drop way down and the lights dime down a little. Is there anything I can do so the plow will not draw so much power and I can keep my voltage up so my lights will not dime down?
 
  #4  
Old 12-30-04, 09:33 PM
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I doubt you can keep the plow from drawing so much current because it was designed this way. With the plow and extra lights, you'll be best using a high-output alternator to provide the additional power needed. You may need a more powerful battery as well.
 
  #5  
Old 12-31-04, 06:53 AM
JK052370
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A large, heavy duty capacitor would help as well, although not commonly available, a capacitor stores additional charge and releases it on demand, hence stopping your lights from dimming. They can also be rather tricky to install. Be especially carefull when installing an electrolytic capacitor, as if you cross the wires on this it will explode very violently. From an electrical engineering point of view, I think i would go with a capacitor. If you add more current or voltage to a circuit that was only designed to handle 15 volts and a select number of amps, you are asking for a truck fire.
 

Last edited by JK052370; 12-31-04 at 07:08 AM.
  #6  
Old 12-31-04, 07:57 AM
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Good idea by JK0 but if you're going to be running the additional lights for a long period of time, the high output alternator would be best. Keep in mind that you'll also be running the heater, normal headlights, radio, etc. too. I'm not sure a heavy duty capacitor could keep up with all that. JK0 would know more about that. Also, I forgot to mention, you'll need some heavy gauage battery cable, like 2 AWG if you go with the alternator upgrade.
 
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