Low amps....question for dummy's - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 08, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Low amps....question for dummy's

Need some help for the electrically challanged.

I bought a new battery at Les Schwab's (old one was dead ) and had them check my system with their machine. The machine shows that I am running at 11-12 amps, which shows "low amps". The kid, who admits he doesnt know much about it, says the "machine never lies". Oh yeh the old battery with dead cell still showed charge of 12.6 volts.

Some other things Ive notived, since I owned the car, is the head lights are dim at idle but brighten with rpms. The voltage meter shows 12 at idle but 14 with rpms.

Do I need a new alternator? A new regulator?

Thanks for any help.
Let me know if this is incomplete info.
Chad

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 03:34 AM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

most first gens dim during idle due to the way the headlights are wired.
the fix is a headlight relay kit from Mad electrical.
Im betting your alternator is going bad if it isnt charging the battery.
im assuming your talking voltage vice amps as stated above.
alternator should put out 13 to 14.5 volts to the battery.
or a corrosion problem on the terminals.
stay away from those chain parts stores cuz the people running them dont know a darn thing about cars.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 03:42 AM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

Your readings sound like a perfectly normal firstgen to me.





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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 04:57 AM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

As JimM & Harry suggest, normal operation with an external regulated alternator.
You add stereo and fans, the system will be strained.

A PM (Preventitive Maintenance) find the horn relay and look at the buss bar. Disconnect the battery, then aisconnect the two red wires from the buss bar, and wire brush all three items, buss bar, and two terminal lugs. Reassemble and attach battery cable. This junction powers the car when engine is off and recharge path for the battery when running. Do the same to the local junction block next to the battery.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 05:50 AM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgrady View Post
I bought a new battery at Les Schwab's (old one was dead ) and had them check my system with their machine. The machine shows that I am running at 11-12 amps, which shows "low amps". The kid, who admits he doesnt know much about it, says the "machine never lies". Oh yeh the old battery with dead cell still showed charge of 12.6 volts.
Low amps? Possibly he meant low volts? How much of your system did he recreate on the machine?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

dawg and onovakind67, he said the volts being put out are good. But that there was only 11-12 amps, which the machine said was "low". This was at idle with no lights,radio,wipers,etc on.

I added the part about volts so the TC experts had all the info I had (probally made it more confusing, sorry). The bad battery had a good charge (so I know alternator was working).

Hopefully JimM and Everett#2390 still think this is normal readings.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 09:15 AM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

Ten to twelve amps at idle with just the engine running is good, battery taking some charge, good sign.

As long as idle voltage isn't below 13 volts and increases with rpm, good to go. Common operation of an external regulated alternator with a mechanical regulator. It does read like the reg needs alittle adjusting of voltage to bring it up. Make sure the belt is tight and of good repair.

Best bet would be to replace the reg with a Wells P/N VR715, electronic reg. Keep the old one, if OE and you're not concerned being date correct, you might sell it to another member looking for a date correct reg for their car.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

Thx everyone for the info/advice....Cheers to you!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 01:31 PM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everett#2390 View Post
Ten to twelve amps at idle with just the engine running is good, battery taking some charge, good sign.
Exactly. If you aren't putting a load on the alternator, it isn't going to produce much current. Can't make amps if you don't have a place to use them. A voltage regulator doesn't recirc the current like a pressure regulator....
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 08, 06:10 PM
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Re: Low amps....question for dummy's

Sounda like normal operation to me. If he'da tested it with more stuff on (headlights, brakelifghts, heater blower) he'da seen more "Amps"
Like onovakind said, the system output is controlled by the system "demand" which is very low with just the engine idling.





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