ELECTRICAL SYSTEM ANALYSIS
Your electrical system is comprised of two major systems; a charging system and a starting system. A battery that goes bad can be the result of over charging, electrical drain as a result of a short or under charging as a result of a bad drive belt, voltage regulator or alternator.
The charging system keeps the battery from going dead as the demand for more voltage is required as a result of accessory load. The charging system is comprised of an alternator, voltage regulator and the belt that drives the alternator. The voltage regulator can be either internal or external. Internalized regulator are usually located inside the alternator but there are those that are internalized inside the computer! The steady supply of voltage is crucial to the operation of today's vehicles due to the increased uses of highly sophisticated electronic. The lack of a steady supply of voltage can result in computer malfunctions (Engine stalling or poor performance, check engine light to come on, computerized climate control, ride control and ABS break control to malfunction, etc.) due to the lack of or fluctuation in voltage. A charging system that over charges the battery and vehicles electrical system can cause serious damage to highly sensitive electronics resulting in hundreds even thousands of dollars in damage! The right equipment and the operator are crucial to arrive at an accurate diagnoses which can save you money! The improper use of equipment, or the wrong equipment, can result in possible damage to other sensitive electronics.
You starting system is comprised of a starter motor, starter solenoid, starter relay, neutral safety switch and ignition switch. Starter solenoids and relays can be either mounted on, or made as a part of the starter and some can even be mounted in remote locations. A vehicle that doesn't crank may or may not totally be caused by the starter. Your starting system is less complex but just as important. The battery must have enough capacity to turn the starter and over come the resistance in the engine. That's why checking the charging system is necessary. Diagnosing the starter system requires several different tests. A starter draw test will determine if the starter is drawing more amperage than is needed to turn the engine over and a circuit test will determined if all the other components are working properly and that voltage is present when and were it is needed.
An electrical analysis can save you money and future headaches by diagnosing the problem right the first time!
Ron L. Dively
ASE Master Certified Technician