Honda alternator and charging systems explained?

Honda Dual Mode Charging systems The system consists of an Electric Load Detector (ELD) to determine vehicle electrical load, an alternator with an internal voltage regulator, and communication with the ECM. The system is designed to produce just enough power to maintain electrical loads and recharge the battery.

  • Honda/Acura charging systems appear to be similar to other manufacturers. They still use a belt driven three phased alternator and an internal electronically controlled voltage regulator that has three main functions.

How does an alternator charging system work?

An alternator works together with the battery to supply power for the electrical components of the vehicle. The output of an alternator is direct current (DC). When the alternator pulley is rotated, alternating current (AC) passes through a magnetic field and an electrical current is generated.

What should a Honda alternator charge at?

If the alternator is functioning properly, the voltage displayed on the meter will be around 13.5 volts. If the voltage displayed is the same or less than battery voltage, replace the alternator.

What types of alternator charging systems are there?

Types of Alternator based on its use

  • Car alternators.
  • Diesel-electric alternators.
  • Marine alternators.
  • Brushless alternators.
  • alternators for radio transmission with low band radiofrequency.

What are 4 major components of the auto charging system?

Its main parts are the battery, alternator and voltage regulator. If any parts of the charging system are worn, a vehicle will be hard to start or may not start at all. The battery stores the power that initially starts the engine, and the alternator generates the electricity that’s stored in the battery.

Does the alternator charge the battery when car is off?

The answer is ‘ YES ‘, yes the car battery does charge while the engine is idling. Then the alternator is producing AC current, thereby charging the battery while your car is idling.

Do alternators charge at idle?

Yes, the alternator does charge the battery while the car is idling – regardless of the load on the battery. However, if your electrical use load (radio, lights, fan, etc) exceeds the amount of charge the battery is receiving from the alternator, you will end up with a discharged battery at some point.

What is ALT FR signal?

This signals the ECM when the Alternator (ALT) is charging.

How long does a Honda alternator last?

Most alternators last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles, or about seven years. Though there are some conditions which can cause an alternator to wear out quicker, such as: Alternator quality. Driving conditions.

What does check charge system mean in Honda?

What’s happening when the battery/check charging system light comes on? Whenever this light goes on, it means that the vehicle is running solely on battery power. If the problem continues and your charging system fails, the battery won’t be able to recharge and it will soon run down, leaving you with a dead battery.

What are the 2 types of alternators?

From this standpoint, there are two types of alternators: the revolving armature type and the revolving field type. The revolving armature alternator is similar in construction to the dc generator, in that the armature rotates through a stationary magnetic field.

What will happen if you make wrong connections to the alternator or regulator?

Ultimately, as all the charge drains out, your vehicle battery dies, and you’d no longer be able to start your vehicle. Besides a faulty voltage regulator, your vehicle battery can also go dead if: You’ve got a bad alternator that can’t charge your battery.

Can a car alternator charge two batteries?

You can run two batteries on the same alternator. The alternator registers these two batteries as a single large battery and charges them the same. The batteries self-regulate the amount of current they take as they charge. This means that a single alternator is effective for multiple batteries.

What are the basic requirements of a charging system?

Charging Systems The charging system consists of a belt-driven generator (dynamo or alternator), a regulator to limit maximum voltage, and electrical wiring with switches to connect into automobile electrical system.

How do you diagnose a charging system?

Troubleshoot Your Alternator Charging System in 4 Steps

  1. 1- Conduct a Visual Inspection Under the Hood. Inspect belt condition and tension.
  2. 2- Visually Inspect and Test the Batteries.
  3. 3- Perform a System Voltage Test.
  4. 4- Test Alternator Output.

How do I know if my alternator is bad?

7 Signs of a Failing Alternator

  1. Dim or Overly Bright Lights.
  2. Dead Battery.
  3. Slow or Malfunctioning Accessories.
  4. Trouble Starting or Frequent Stalling.
  5. Growling or Whining Noises.
  6. Smell of Burning Rubber or Wires.
  7. Battery Warning Light on Dash.

Honda charging systems

If you have ever worked on a Honda charging system, you may have observed that it runs in a somewhat different manner from other charging systems in terms of overall strategy. When the vehicle is first started, the alternator does not appear to be charging, but after a few seconds, it comes to life and begins to charge the battery. If you increase the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM) to 2000, you may observe an unexpected voltage reduction in the charging system. The fact that you are inexperienced with this system will almost always result in unneeded component replacement.

This particular tech tip will be demonstrated utilizing a 1989 Honda CRX with a 1.5-liter engine as an example.

Take a look at diagram1.

The electricity is supplied by one wire from the fuse box (the solid white wire).

  • Secondly, while the ignition switch is turned on, electricity is provided (the black wire with a yellow stripe).
  • The third button is in charge of the warning light (white wire with a blue stripe).
  • The fifth is a result of the ECM’s operation (white with a yellow stripe).
  • The charging system is connected to the computer by a total of three cables, all of which are connected to the computer.
  • This circuit has three inputs: the ELD input (Electric Load Detection), the FR input (Charging Rate Signal), and the C circuit output (which is the final output) (The wire that the computer uses to turn the alternator on.).
  • This sensor keeps track of the amount of electrical load being applied to certain circuits.
  • The computer utilizes this information in conjunction with the FR or charging rate signal to manage idle speed as well as whether or not to switch on or off the alternator in order to conserve energy.

On the ELD signal line, the computer delivers a 5 volt reference signal, which is controlled by the computer (green wire with a red stripe).

When you connect the sensor to a power source, the signal voltage will be reduced in proportion to the amount of current flowing through the ELD sensor.

For example, when a warmed-up engine is running at idle with all accessories turned off, the current demand is around 5 amperes.

In the event that you turned the heater blower up to its maximum setting, the heater would use around 17 amperes of electricity.

Whenever the computer identifies a problem with this sensor, it will generate a Code 20 error.

The FR signal, which we shall explore in more detail later, takes into consideration the charging current of the battery, the flashing of the warning lights, and the operation of the computer’s memory keep-alive circuit.

This signal informs the computer about the amount of effort the alternator is exerting to satisfy the vehicle’s complete electrical requirements, which includes the level of charge of the battery and any other loads that are not directly monitored by the electronic load detector.

The voltage regulator receives an approximately 5 volt reference signal from the computer, which is sent through the FR circuit.

The duty cycle should be 30-35 percent, for example, with a heated engine running at idle and all accessories turned off (negative trigger on your meter).

When you include the rear defroster, the percentage should be 80-90 percent.

When the load on the alternator is extremely high, one of these will occur.

If the system is functioning properly, that should be the lowest reading you would ever get on the system.

It is possible to encounter the second circumstance if the overall electrical demand is extremely low.

As a result, the computer is informed that the battery has been fully charged and that the overall electrical demand is minimal.

This is the only circuit in which the computer has the ability to turn on and off the alternator.

When the computer grounds this signal, the alternator will stop charging, as in the case of a fully charged battery and a low demand for the vehicle’s electrical power from the battery.

Finally, the computer continuously monitors the ELD and the FR signal in order to gain a good understanding of the level of electrical demand.

It also uses this information to regulate idle speed.

In diagnosing some idle speed problems, these charging system inputs or outputs, being out of specification, can be the source of the problem and need to be checked for proper operation.

Honda ELD Dual Mode High Output Alternator Charging System Explained

On the majority of Honda vehicles from 1990 to 2012, a dual-mode charging mechanism is employed (figure 3). In order to enhance fuel economy, this technology minimizes the drag on the engine when cranking and reduces the output of the charging system (engine load). The alternator is controlled by the PCM in the same way as other systems. When the electronic load detector in the fusebox detects a change in system voltage or amperage demand, the PCM gets the information. The PCM will set the output goal voltage between 12.4 and 12.9 volts when the engine is revving (in Low Output Mode).

  1. Don’t mistake a low output mode for a malfunctioning alternator.
  2. After turning on the ignition, the alternator should receive a signal on the IG circuit that is larger than 12 volts.
  3. PIN C — When determining voltage output, the PCM looks at the PIN C of the alternator.
  4. In order for PIN FR to function, the PCM must supply it with a 5 volt signal.
  5. PIN IG is an abbreviation for ignition.
  6. Honda began using a single control wire for its upgraded design in 2013, which was debuted in 2013.
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Smart Charging

What distinguishes today’s charging systems as “intelligent”? Voltage-based charging that is managed by a computer might be regarded of as a semi-intelligent charging system. However, when a charging system is able to monitor the amount of current flowing into and out of the battery (amperage-based charging), it is called a real smart charging system. A variety of features and operational modes are available in today’s smart charging systems. These features and modes include load shedding, start-up mode, battery sulfation mode, deceleration mode, fuel economy mode, windshield de-icing mode, and other features that help to optimize vehicle charging, emissions, performance, and fuel economy.

  • Voltage-based charging systems and amperage-based charging systems are the two types of smart charging systems that may be distinguished.
  • The location of the voltage regulator determines which of the two most prevalent techniques of controlling the alternator field circuit on a smart charging system is used.
  • The voltage regulator is housed within the alternator and may be regulated from a distance by means of a hardwired control circuit that is specifically designed for this purpose.
  • 2) is the most popular because, if the control circuit fails or communications with the voltage regulator become damaged, the voltage regulator will generally operate at a fixed voltage or in default mode, which is the most common situation.

GM, Ford, Toyota, and the vast majority of other manufacturers are using some form of smart charging system, but I’d like to focus on two manufacturers who started out with semi-smart charging systems and have either completely switched over to full smart charging or are in the process of doing so.

  1. Despite the fact that Honda and Stellantis/FCA (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA) are two famous car manufacturers who both employ a smart charging system today, they use various ways for managing the alternator in order to get the outcomes that they are looking for.
  2. Honda’s Dual Mode Charging System included an Electronic Load Detection device, often known as an ELD, in the fuse block beneath the hood of the vehicle.
  3. Since 2013, Honda has been using a single LIN (Local Interconnect Network) bus to manage the alternator’s output, which was previously utilized by the company until 2013.
  4. On a fully charged battery, the Honda Dual Mode system may operate in low output mode with a charging setpoint as low as 12.4V when the battery is completely charged.
  5. Though most of us know that a completely charged battery has a voltage of 12.6V, early and later versions of Honda’s Dual Mode were only capable of charging the battery to an 80 percent state of charge (12.4V) in order to accomplish the reduced engine load.
  6. This is an excellent illustration of the need of understanding how the charging system is intended to function rather than how we as technicians anticipate it to behave.
  7. This may be accomplished by turning on the headlights and blower motor, which should result in the alternator outputting 13.5V or more.

The alternator is controlled by the PCM in this configuration, which provides charging voltage orders.

When this information is paired with the information provided by the battery management sensor, the PCM is able to run the vehicle’s electrical system more effectively.

Honda even admits that, under certain operating situations, the alternator may circumvent PCM control and utilize a preset value instead of the current value.

Alternatively, P065A This might be caused by a faulty serpentine drive belt or a faulty Overrun Alternator Decoupler (OAD) pulley, which would result in no charging function.

In some cases, failed alternators have been reported as well as broken alternator brackets, which have caused the alternator to lose its ground and generate excessively high voltages.

Honda has also experienced problems with the battery management sensors and has issued recalls for certain Accord models from 2013 to 2016.

Stellantis/FCA This firm is not a newcomer to the concept of smart charging.

This voltage-based charging system included a battery temperature sensor, as well as additional sensors that allowed the alternator’s charging strategy and engine idle speed to be adjusted as needed.

A voltage-based charging method is used in the most popular 3.6 V6 Dodge Caravan, with the Electronic Voltage Regulator (EVR) and supporting software contained in the circuitry of the powertrain control module (PCM).

By use of the alternator casing, this circuit is grounded internally within the alternator.

The EVR will calculate the right command signal to transmit to the alternator in order to manage the alternator’s target voltage based on the voltages measured by the two sensors.

A higher frequency of 400 cycles per second (400Hz) on newer models and 100 cycles per second (100Hz) on older models is achieved via the EVR circuit in the PCM, which cycles the high side driver that supplies battery power to the alternator field.

The PCM has the capacity of operating the GEN FIELD CONTROL at full field (100 percent duty cycle) in order to produce the desired voltage.

The duty cycle of the GEN FIELD CONTROL system may be determined using a scanner, a scope, or a DVOM.

It is possible to have the duty cycle set to zero percent (0V) or it may be set to 100 percent (completely fielded) with 11-12 volts being given to the GEN FIELD CONTROL wire, depending on what the PCM is asking for in the first place.

The IBS, which is a miniature microprocessor, is coupled to the negative terminal of the battery and is powered by the negative terminal.

Through the use of a LIN BUS, the IBS is connected to the BCM, and the BCM will communicate IBS information to other modules (such as the PCM) through the use of a CAN BUS.

The IBS is diagnosed through the BCM, which will show IBS data; however, if there are any issue codes associated with the IBS, they will be saved and accessed through the PCM, which is located in the engine compartment.

In response to an overheated diode failure in the alternator that might result in a probable fire, varied amperage alternators for Stellantis/FCA cars from 2011 to 2014 have been recalled.

It is conceivable that the battery in the smaller Jeep 3.2L V6 Cherokee will fail because the vehicle has just one battery under the hood.

There is a second supplementary battery found beside the service battery under the passenger seat on larger Jeeps such as the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee that must be used if they are setting the P057F trouble code.

One point to emphasize about the Stellantis/FCA smart charging system: the diesel applications are distinct from the gasoline ones.

The diesel alternator will use a LIN BUS from the PCM to manage the charging voltage, and an IBS will be used to monitor the amperage drawn from the battery.

It will also cause codes to be placed in the PCM and the check engine light to illuminate.

However, because we have electrified so many components on today’s automobiles, the charging system has been subjected to a significant amount of strain.

Jeff Taylor has worked as a fully certified professional lead technician with Eccles Auto Service in Dundas, Ontario, for 34 years.

Along with his day-to-day commitment to being “on the bench,” Jeff is also highly involved in government focus groups, is a skilled technical writer, has participated in international diagnostic contests, and acts as an automobile technical teacher for a large aftermarket parts shop.

Recent Articles byJeff Taylor

Date last updated: July 19, 2021 When it comes to cars, an alternator is a generator that produces electric power. It is also a critical component of the vehicle’s charging system. An alternator is standard equipment in all automobiles powered by internal combustion engines, with the exception of certain hybrids. When the engine is operating, the alternator recharges the battery and provides additional electric power to the vehicle’s electrical systems, which is known as auxiliary electric power.

An alternator is a device that requires no maintenance.

If the alternator fails, the automobile may still be able to operate for a limited period of time on battery power alone.

Although replacing an alternator with a new OEM part is pricey, there are other options available.

Symptoms of alternator problems

A warning light in the form of a battery While driving, the most typical sign of a problem with your vehicle’s charging system is the appearance of a battery-shaped warning light (as seen in the photo) or the ” CHARGE ” icon on the dash display. If everything is working properly, this warning light should illuminate as soon as the ignition is turned on and then switch off immediately as the engine is started. If it continues to illuminate, there is an issue with your charging system. The charging system warning light does not necessarily indicate a faulty alternator, despite the fact that alternator failures are quite prevalent.

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The fact that the dash lights and headlights decrease at idle but get brighter when the engine is revved is another sign of a faulty charging system.

Another indicator of alternator problems is the production of a whining or buzzing noise from the alternator.

It is possible that a faulty alternator decoupler pulley is causing the same noise in some Jeep/Chrysler vehicles.

How the alternator is tested

Battery and charging system tester with a computerized interface The battery and charging system tester may be used by your mechanic to determine the condition of your charging system (in the photo). A battery and charging system test (also known as an AVR test) ranges in price from $30 to $50. The test will reveal whether or not the charging system is functioning properly or at all. It is also capable of detecting whether one of the diodes within the alternator has failed. If the charging system fails the test, your mechanic will need to do more diagnostics to determine whether the problem is with the alternator or something else.

In addition, see How to Check a Fuse in a Car for more information.

The voltage test can be performed by your mechanic in the event that there is no charging system tester accessible.

After starting the engine, the battery voltage should rise as the alternator produces extra power to charge the battery (see the photo). If the battery voltage does not increase once the engine is started, this indicates that there is a problem with the battery charging mechanism.

Alternator replacement vs rebuilding

A new alternator has been installed. The cost of replacing an alternator with an aftermarket replacement ranges from $350 to $520. Alternators purchased from a dealership are more costly. The alternator can also be rebuilt, which is an option to consider. Your mechanic will be able to remove the alternator and have it shipped to the closest alternator/starter rebuilding business. After the alternator has been restored, your mechanic will reinstall it in the vehicle. It may take longer, but it is normally less expensive because you just have to pay for the labor to remove and reinstall the system ($70-$120) plus the rebuilder’s fee ($80-$150).

Alternator rebuild kits are available for purchase online for between $15 and $50.

It is not prohibitively costly, and by replacing it at the same time as the alternator, you can save on labor costs, as the serpentine belt must be removed in order to replace the alternator.

How to make your alternator last longer

When an alternator’s protective engine undercover or shield is broken or missing, it is common for the alternator to fail early. This occurs as a result of water splashing from the road into the alternator and causing it to wear out more quickly. If your engine undershield is damaged, it should be replaced as soon as possible to keep the engine compartment dry and clean. A leak in the coolant or oil might potentially cause harm to the alternator. Similarly, if you need to wash the engine compartment, you must make sure that the alternator is shielded from the water and soap.

How an alternator works, common problems

Alternator dismantled. Submitted by Robert Bosch GmbH with permission. A standard alternating current automotive alternator includes two windings: a stator (which is the stationary outside winding) and a rotor (which is the revolving outside winding) (rotating inner winding). Energizing the rotor and transforming it into a magnet is accomplished by applying a voltage to the rotor winding through the voltage regulator. The rotor is turned by the engine, which is connected to it via a drive belt.

  1. Diodes are used to convert alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC), which is then utilised in the vehicle’s electrical system.
  2. In most cases, a voltage regulator is included into the alternator’s design.
  3. Robert Bosch GmbH provided the image.
  4. A faulty voltage regulator is another typical problem.

A whining noise can be produced by faulty outer and inner alternator bearings (shown by the large and tiny silver cylinders in the cutaway figure above). When an alternator is rebuilt, it is common for the bearings, voltage regulator, brushes, and other components to be replaced with new ones.

ELD Keeping the Alternator from charging when it should

The following are some early Sunday morning musings on the notion of “needing” to by-pass Honda’s load detecting circuit: The first is that the premise is incorrect. The post linked to Steve Meade Designs misses the simple truth that, if 14VDC is “required,” the “low alternator” feature may be avoided by simply leaving the inside blower motor running at a low speed while the engine is running. Through the use of a switch and circuit control mechanism that is already there in a DC power system that has not been altered, the audio system now has access to all of the voltage and current available.

  • The issue has been resolved.
  • What happens if there isn’t enough voltage available?
  • So the supposed “need” to circumvent ELD is based on the assumption that more is better.
  • For me, eking out every last ounce of strength is a dragon hunt that I don’t want to be a participant in.
  • Without going into the LONG history of human hearing sensitivity, suffice it to say that each 3db increase in acoustic output of a system – regardless of its kind or location of installation – necessitates doubling the amount of watts drawn from the amplifier (and vice versa) (s).
  • When using a 500W sub amp, you’d need to increase the power to 1KW to hear even the tiniest audible change.
  • It’s an endless dispute, and the only actual response is “yes” and “no” at the same time.

It can be helpful to think about the problem in terms of two similar automobiles with identical configurations.

One has 200 horsepower at the driving wheels, while the other has 215 horsepower.

Would the 215 horsepower car win every time if it competed in 25 consecutive 1/8th mile drag races against the 200 horsepower vehicle?

The world’s shiniest hot rod equipped with the most extravagant audio system may be made by someone who is dedicated to getting the absolute most out of a system and has unlimited finances to spend on the project.

It’s not uncommon for this hair splitting things to leave reason in the weeds.

For a 3db boost that may or may not be heard, the cost, current demands on the supply system, space needs, and so on are all worth it, right?

My opinion is that the ongoing debates about 14V mobile power supply systems needing dedicated, secondary alternators and a battery system are a sneeze in the face of reality.

Are you looking for the finest DC system for your system?

Even though it’s probably a good idea, most applications would not need increasing the capacity of the alternator.

While the RL presents a challenge for large audio systems in the cabin, the trunk is an excellent location for a mondo batt system.

If we’re talking about “monster systems,” there’s a big difference between quality (timbre, subtlety, color, tone, taste) and quantity (neighborhood unsettling SPL).

It would certainly work well for SPL enthusiasts as well – but the actual world isn’t very accommodating to those types unless they are ready to give up the rear seat.

Let me say it again: don’t be concerned about piddly small things that make little difference.

Create a budget and make educated judgments about every component in the system; maintain the DC system healthy but do not modify circuits that have shown to be dependable through millions of aggregate miles; pay attention to installation details; and relax and enjoy the journey.

Honda Electrical System Diagnostics

For this month’s feature, we’ll be looking at the charging and starting systems found in the Honda lineup of automobiles. Hondas are always welcome at our business since they are good, dependable automobiles that are easy to repair and for which there is a wealth of service information and replacement components. When it comes to Honda charging systems, there aren’t many obstacles for the skilled technician to overcome, but there are a few things to keep in mind. It has been our experience that the charge indication lighting on the dashboard performs an excellent job of keeping the system in check – of course, this is assuming that the light is functioning properly.

  1. That is true for every car on which we work.
  2. You may come across a car that requires an alternator and, after the new unit is put, the charge indicator bulb continues to illuminate despite it appearing to be charging normally.
  3. You’ll notice that the indicator light circuit passes via the underdash integrated control unit on a 2000 Civic DX, and that there is a device called the Electric Load Detector on U.S.
  4. Consequently, it’s understandable why some technicians can become disoriented after installing a high-quality remanufactured alternator only to discover that the indicator continues to illuminate (more on this later).
  5. Using a 2005 Civic DX as an example, while all of the same components are there, all of the alternator control wire is now routed to the ECM, allowing for improved control and diagnosing capabilities.
  6. We’ve had good experience using high-quality ­aftermarket modules on most models in recent years, with the exception of the CRV and the Element.
  7. Make no mistake, this is not the same as the internal voltage regulator in the alternator.
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When there is no load on the signal wire, there will be around 3.5 volts on the line, which tells the ECM to ground the control wire (terminal 2 white/green wire) at the alternator/regulator and switch off the alternator without turning on the dash charging indication.

The ELD device is located in the fuse box beneath the hood and is easily accessible.

There have been technical service bulletins (TSBs) issued on these codes, detailing reflash remedies and some unusual ECM difficulties, but our experience has been with ELD devices that have failed.

More information is available by clicking here.

After the test, make careful to remove the codes from your computer.

When a car is brought in with a charging problem, the first thing that many of us do is charge and test the battery.

Depending on the model, charging may be delayed for a few minutes after initiation until the idle stabilizes; just be patient and remember to produce a load during this time.

Also keep in mind that the ELD will not detect any loads that are connected directly to the battery itself.

Due to an alternator failure, the battery will run out of power and eventually die; thus, be aware that these ­accessories will have an impact on the charging system.

You shouldn’t have any issues with the nuts and bolts that are used in alternator installation.

While these positions are well-suited for less-experienced technicians, appropriate work habits must be instilled in all employees.

Last but not least, make certain that the alternator mounting brackets are securely fastened and that the mounting surfaces are clean in order to ensure a direct path to earth.

LET’S GET THIS THING ‘STARTED’ When it comes to the starting system, Honda employs a straightforward and extremely dependable approach.

On activation of the start button, current is delivered to the control (and currently open) switch circuit in the underdash fusebox-mounted starter cut relay, which then activates the starting cut relay.

When the control side of the circuit is complete, the switch side of the circuit is closed, allowing current to flow to the solenoid.

In our years of experience working on thousands of Hondas, I can confidently state that we have never encountered a problem involving the starter control circuit.

The most often seen starting issue is faulty starter contacts.

­ Following several repeated key cycle operations, the starter may engage depending on the state of the contacts.

And if the contacts are in place, it’s likely that the brushes are not far behind.

When the key is in the start position, a higher-tech option is to check that there is solid battery voltage at the starting wire, that battery voltage is accessible at the battery cable at the starter, and that the battery grounds are intact and clean.

For example, on the Honda Element SUV, it is advised that the intake manifold be removed in order to obtain access to the starter motor.

Furthermore, removing the manifold is not a difficult task, and doing so will make it easier to reach the starter.

You should first remove the alternator belt from a towed Civic that appears to have an engine lockup before declaring the engine to be seized.

The amount of traction provided by the serpentine belt is quite surprising, in fact.

If you do come across a difficult problem, there is a wealth of helpful information available on the various technician websites that will assist you in resolving the problem. I am confident that they will provide good, profitable repairs with few problems; something that any shop would appreciate.

79-83 Honda DOHC charging system procedure for troubleshooting, testing, and performance verification

On the agenda this month is a look at the charging and starting systems found in the Honda lineup of automobiles. Hondas are always welcome at our business since they are good, dependable automobiles that are easy to repair and for which there is a wealth of service information and replacement supplies readily accessible. When it comes to Honda charging systems, there aren’t many obstacles for the skilled technician to overcome. However, there are a few things to remember. Our experience has been that the charge indication lights on the dashboard performs an excellent job of keeping the system in check — of course, this is assuming that the light is functioning properly.

The same holds true for any car on which we are currently working.

For example, you may meet a car that requires an alternator repair and, after the replacement unit has been fitted, the charge indication bulb continues to illuminate despite the fact that the vehicle appears to be charging normally.

models that detects when the vehicle is overloaded (ELD).

An much more difficult task may be to examine an older model’s wiring schematic.

Returning to our charge indicator bulb, there have been multiple comments (as well as our own personal experience) that using just an OEM rebuilt alternator is the best course of action.

ELECTRIC LOAD ­DETECTOR is a device that detects the presence of an electrical load.

Make no mistake, this is not the same as the internal voltage regulator found in the alternator!

There will be around 3.5 volts on the signal wire when there is no load, which tells the ECM to ground the control wire (terminal 2 white/green wire) at the alternator/regulator and switch off the alternator without turning on the dashboard charge indicator.

A fuse box beneath the hood makes it easier to get to the ELD unit.

Because they are affordable and quick to replace, we always begin with replacing the ELD unit.

As soon as you finish testing, remember to clear the codes.

When a car is brought in with a charging problem, the first thing that many of us do is charge the battery and test it.

Depending on the model, charging may be delayed for a few minutes after initiation until the idle stabilizes; just be patient and remember to produce a load while waiting.

Keep in mind that the ELD will not detect loads that are connected to the battery directly.

If the alternator fails, the battery will run down and eventually die; thus, be aware that these ­accessories will have an impact on the charging system and should be avoided.

This will allow you to compare the requested charge rate and actual output, as well as view extra codes and information that can aid in the diagnosis.

Avoid making educated guesses about labor costs; instead, always consult your service information, since some models will take extra time to reach the unit.

When it comes to replacing a worn serpentine belt, it is also a good opportunity to inspect tensioners and pulleys for operation and noise, as well as taking a thorough look at the crank pulley for separation in high-mileage vehicles.

ECMs have been reported to be damaged by surges generated when the alternator grounds are lost, however this is not a regular occurrence at this time.

If you’re looking for a simple and extremely dependable starting method, go no further than Honda.

On activation of the start button, electricity is routed to the control (and presently open) switch circuit in the underdash fusebox-mounted starting cut relay, which is located in the engine compartment.

A complete ­circuit on the control side results in the switch side being closed, resulting in the solenoid receiving current.

In our years of experience working on hundreds of Hondas, I can confidently state that we have never seen a problem connected to the starting control circuit.

Incorrect starting contacts are the most often encountered issue.

­ After a few repeated key cycles, the starter may engage, depending on the state of the contacts.

The brushes can’t be far behind if the contacts are still in place.

When the key is in the start position, a more high-tech option is to check that there is stable battery voltage at the starting wire, that battery voltage is accessible at the battery cable at the starter, and that the battery grounds are intact and clean before proceeding.

However, while pricing the task, be sure to consult your labor guide.

Whether or not it is required to remove the manifold is up for dispute; nevertheless, there is little doubt that the tech must exercise caution while working around the knock sensor if the manifold is left in situ.

Finally, both the starting and charging mechanisms are involved in this problem.

Unexpectedly, the serpentine belt produces an incredible amount of traction.

There is a wealth of useful information accessible on the numerous technician websites that can walk you through any difficult situation you may encounter. I’m certain that they’ll give decent, lucrative repairs with few issues; something that any shop would appreciate.

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