Propper battery voltage - Nissan Forum
GA16DE 1.6L Engine Engine Discussion: 91-99 Sentra, 95-98 200SX, 91-93 NX1600

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#1 Old Aug 15th, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Propper battery voltage

I was wondering what the propper battery voltage should be. My car starts kind of slow even after installing a new battery. I drove the car 100 miles since installing the new battery. After having the battery installed for a week I tested the voltage on the battery and it was 12.26v with the car off and 12.74v with it running. I charged the battery and now it reads 12.71v with the car off and when I start the car the voltage creeps up from 12.71 to aroud 13v. I am wondering if my alternator is doing its job or if these voltages are ok.
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#2 Old Aug 15th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie
I was wondering what the propper battery voltage should be. My car starts kind of slow even after installing a new battery. I drove the car 100 miles since installing the new battery. After having the battery installed for a week I tested the voltage on the battery and it was 12.26v with the car off and 12.74v with it running. I charged the battery and now it reads 12.71v with the car off and when I start the car the voltage creeps up from 12.71 to aroud 13v. I am wondering if my alternator is doing its job or if these voltages are ok.
I'm not sure about the battery output but I know that a good alternator puts out high 13's so if you're not sure of the alternator have it tested. However, alternator shouldn't cause a slow start.

Mitch
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#3 Old Aug 15th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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After charging my battery it read 13v when it was off and the car started perfectly. The battery read 13.5 when it was running. Now a day later the battery reads in the high 12's and is beginning to start sluggishly again.
#4 Old Aug 15th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie
After charging my battery it read 13v when it was off and the car started perfectly. The battery read 13.5 when it was running. Now a day later the battery reads in the high 12's and is beginning to start sluggishly again.
Hmm, I'd start checking wires/connections. Make sure the terminals are perfectly clean. Check all wire connections in relation to the battery including ground wires

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#5 Old Aug 15th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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stock battery should read 12.2 volts. the optima red top that i have will read 14.4 though.
#6 Old Aug 16th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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I would check the ground theres one close to the battery screwed into the body and one that screws into the tranny. When i moved my battery to the trunk I relieze how crappy the grounding is on are cars unbolt those grounds and clean them also sand down a small area to the bare metal for the ground for the connector that screw into the body by the battery. It may not solve your problems but you should do it anyways

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#7 Old Aug 17th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicPie
I would check the ground theres one close to the battery screwed into the body and one that screws into the tranny. When i moved my battery to the trunk I relieze how crappy the grounding is on are cars unbolt those grounds and clean them also sand down a small area to the bare metal for the ground for the connector that screw into the body by the battery. It may not solve your problems but you should do it anyways
Lead Acid Battery voltage fully charged should be 13.2 V
When on the Car rev up the engine and measure the voltage. The voltage on a fully charged battery will be over 14V. The normal limit is 14.4 to 14.7 or so depending on the manufacturer. I am sure you can find the Nissan numbers in the FSM.
This sounds like a Voltage regulator problem. Your batery is slowly going flat. Yes it can be a cable problem, if so the voltage on the back of the Alternator will still be correct. Check it is over 14v.

Hope this helps......

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#8 Old Aug 17th, 2004, 07:10 PM
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Testing the voltage across the battery will get me the alternator voltage right? I just tested it with the car running and the engine reved up and read only 12.8v.
#9 Old Aug 17th, 2004, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie
Testing the voltage across the battery will get me the alternator voltage right? I just tested it with the car running and the engine reved up and read only 12.8v.
If I'm correct, to figure out the output of the alternator you need to check it at the alternator.

Mitch
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#10 Old Aug 17th, 2004, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie
Testing the voltage across the battery will get me the alternator voltage right? I just tested it with the car running and the engine reved up and read only 12.8v.
Ok so now you have one of two possibilities.
1) the Alternator is only putting out enough power to raise the battery to 12.8 V therefore it is bad.
2) The Alternator is good but the cables and conections are bad, droping the voltage to 12.8 V

So measure the voltage at the back of the Alternator with the engine at more than 2000 rpm.

This should isolate the problem for you. ie 14V + is good, Less than 13 V is defective.

When you take the Alternator off to change it you can have the parts store check it for you to make sure it is defective.

Hope this helps....

Please note there is a FSM sticky and the Electrical has a diagnosis section, download the EL section. It says to perform these tests with a fully charged battery.

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New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
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#11 Old Aug 18th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Or just go to autozone or other nearest parts store. They have a specific machine they will roll out to your car and test the battery and the alternator. And even the stupid ones can't get it wrong. They will check with the car off and then with it running. While running they apply a load to the system and watch how much the voltage drops. Too much drop is a faulty alternator and you know without having to take it off the car. Also, they don't charge for the service.

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#12 Old Aug 19th, 2004, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
I was wondering what the propper battery voltage should be. My car starts kind of slow even after installing a new battery. I drove the car 100 miles since installing the new battery. After having the battery installed for a week I tested the voltage on the battery and it was 12.26v with the car off and 12.74v with it running. I charged the battery and now it reads 12.71v with the car off and when I start the car the voltage creeps up from 12.71 to aroud 13v. I am wondering if my alternator is doing its job or if these voltages are ok.
I just read your post and from what I can see your battery and alt seem to be working.
Have you checked the voltage at the ALT and then the battery? If the voltage at the ALT is say 14v and at the battery it's 12v I would check into the connections because there is to much resistence in the wires. But the problem seems to be at the starter. Check the voltage at the starter if it is less than 12v you could have a problem with a bad wire. Most of the time the wires corode from the inside causing higher resistance, and like some else posted check your ground wires they might be going bad also.

Advance Auto Parts, Autozone can roll the machiene out and check (but only at the battery) sometimes it can get a false reading because of faulty connections and grounds.
When we test a starter we look for Voltage and current draw Amperage (at the battery) 10v and 50- 150A is normal. 250A and higher and I would say it's the starter going bad.

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#13 Old Aug 19th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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Thanks for everyones help. I checked the voltage at the alternator last night and it was a solid 14.5v and about 13v at the battery. This weekend I will check the connections and resistance in the wires. Is there anything in particular I should look for?
#14 Old Aug 19th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie
Thanks for everyones help. I checked the voltage at the alternator last night and it was a solid 14.5v and about 13v at the battery. This weekend I will check the connections and resistance in the wires. Is there anything in particular I should look for?
Yes I agree and a bad and varriable contact or wire could cause this.
But the car started fine when the battery was at 13v+.
This says the starter is at least good when the battery is good.
OK so the Alternator is reaching or is near its max voltage controlled by the voltage regulator. So voltage regulator is good.
I am very worried about your measured battery voltage dropping, you say
"Originally Posted by Sharpie
After charging my battery it read 13v when it was off and the car started perfectly. The battery read 13.5 when it was running. Now a day later the battery reads in the high 12's and is beginning to start sluggishly again."

So for some reason the voltage dropped on the battery, it should not do this unless you left the lights on or ran the car and exceeded the output of the Alternator for some time, lights stereo etc.
SO did you do this ? If not check that your Alternator belt is not loose and slipping. Although this is not the problem with the newer cars it used to be a problem. And of course its worse if the battery gets low for some reason. The red light does not nornally come on if the belt is slipping under load because the Alternator is still giving output, but at a lower rate.

If belt is tight and in good condition, not glazed, then we are back to the Alternator current output being low.
Does the red light ever flash if you rev the car up high, ie 4000 5000 rpm ?
If so it is bad.

Let us know how you are doing...

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1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
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#15 Old Aug 19th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanH
Does the red light ever flash if you rev the car up high, ie 4000 5000 rpm ?
If so it is bad.
That could only prove a possibility of a loose belt not bad alt if I'm correct. From my experience if the alternator puts out below a certain point at any rpm's the charging system light will come on. And when you rev up the car the alt will put out more voltage. When my last alternator died the light would be on at idle and if I revved it up it would go off.

Mitch
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