Did I fry my alternator?

Joined
Jul 16, 2008
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Vancouver BC
The troubles started yesterday afternoon when i installed my new 1000watt inverter. I have 2 optima yellow tops. One for starting and regular vehicle functions, and the other for my inverter and self jumping should the need arise.
I had removed my aux battery a few weeks and went to put it back again yesterday. Something is the matter because when I connect the battery I get smoke coming out of the alternator and other places, didn't really get a chance to see exactly as panic kicked in and I got the battery disconnected as soon as possible. I didn't hook the battery up but left it in the engine compartment. Today after work I went to start my car and it had only enough juice to slowly crank the engine. I had started fine in the morning and now I couldnt get started. I still had that aux battery sitting there so i tried jumping off it but again, more smoke...this time it wasn't connected to the vehicle at all.
Got the truck started off a jump from a friend and saw my volt reading was below 12 and by the time I got home it was below 8.
If your still reading, i got the battery on the charger now and will do the same for my aux.
There are a few questions I have...
ANY idea why my aux battery would be causing things to smoke? Electric is really foreign to me...so I am really at a lose. I was thinking maybe a bad ground? checked them all out, cleaned em..but i dunno.
There was a lot of smoke coming out of the alternator. If it is fried is it possible a rebuild would take care of it?
Any help would be great. thanks folks.
 

Bret

 
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2003
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MT
Assuming stock vehicle, voltage regulator if applicable, and alternator. FWIW I had 2 yellow tops just die a couple days ago, the batts were tied together in parallel and they "self discharged". When I plugged in the battery charger to charge them it may have killed the charger.

If the magic smoke has been let out of the alternator you may be able to have it rebuilt or replaced. Sounds like it's dead.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
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Smoke =damaged electronics

You sure the battery was hooked up correctly and the leads didn't get swapped? Might be time to learn a little electronics. First would be to leave out the aux battery and get everything working on the main battery. You got a big switch to select which battery?
 
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Joined
Sep 8, 2006
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In the Rat Hole
FWIW I had 2 yellow tops just die a couple days ago, the batts were tied together in parallel and they "self discharged". When I plugged in the battery charger to charge them it may have killed the charger.
Optima batteries have their plates wound in a spiral rather than being flat like the plates in a conventional batteries. As far as I know, that is the basic difference. If your battery was dead, you need to recharge it slowly and fully before using it again. Regardless, since the battery went into deep discharge, it will never be as good as it was before it "died."

What you need to do is to connect a battery charger that has a desulfation mode to the battery. Two brands that I know of have this; one is the CTEK models and the other is the Battery MINDer brand. The Battery MINDer is different from the Battery Tender brand; don't confuse the two. I have been unable to find any Battery Tender brand chargers that have the desulfation mode.

As a lead-acid battery ages, lead sulphate forms in nodules on the plates of the battery. A charger with the desulfation mode breaks up those nodules and returns some of the sulphur to the Sulphuric Acid electrolyte (H2SO4) and also returns some of the lead back to the lead battery plates. Desulfation has a tendency to rejuvinate the battery after a catastrophic discharge and it tends to keep a good battery from wearing out as fast.
__________________
 

Wile E Coyote

Out in the streets, they call it murder!
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
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Western AZ
Alt and VR are not the culprits, as there's no mention of the truck running when the magic smoke began.
I think you either switched polarity, or "seriesed" the batts and got 24v. The fried alt/VR you likely have now is due to one of the above. I personally would replace all the affected wiring along with any components you find dead.
 
Joined
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I would guess the diodes in the alternator if you saw smoke from the alternator. Diodes can only handle so much reverse current even with the engine off before the magic smoke come outs.
 

Bret

 
 
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Oct 31, 2003
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Fuzzy:

Thanks for the 411 I will see if anyone local has a better battery maintenance device.
 
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