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Go Back   CleanMPG Forums » Modding and Hardware » Technical


Technical Technical discussion on HW and SW mods with the intent of increasing performance and/or fuel economy.

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Alternator Cut-out

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Old 06-30-2008, 03:47 PM
tommyt31 tommyt31 is offline
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Alternator Cut-out

I was thinking of dissabling the alternator via a manual switch to help reduce load on the engine on short trips (everyday, i drive 3 miles to work). I proved that the car would run for at least 20 minutes last week. My alternator died and I continued to drive the car around town. The battery went down to about 11 volts by the time I got home. I charged it up and all was fine. Of course, I would replace my starting battery with a deep cycle battery to ensure I don't reduce the life of my starter battery. Then I could charge the car each night at home. I thought someone had tried this already. My problem is I don't know what wires to intercept on the alternator. My alternator has a large red wire (positive from the starter) and 2 small wires going into it. The two small wires are on the same plug. I am assuming one of them controls when the alternator is charging and when it isn't. I drive a 96 Saturn SC2. Anyone know the answer to this?
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:12 PM
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Xringer Xringer is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

There is info around.. Google for it.
http://www.tffn.net/altwirng.html

http://www.rowand.net/Shop/Tech/imag...o1985Buick.jpg

Here's old stuff..
http://www.rowand.net/Shop/Tech/Alte...onversions.htm

Hey! The De Lorean actually does have a Flux Capacitor!!
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2.5L with a 6 speed AT? The lazy man's Hypermiling SUV!

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Old 07-03-2008, 04:52 PM
tommyt31 tommyt31 is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

Thanks! That helps.
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:25 PM
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Xringer Xringer is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

"The alternator's load on the engine is the alternator belt."
Actually, since the belt doesn't get real hot, it's not dissipating much power at all.
The electrical load (lights, rear window defroster etc) is what loads up the alternator and
that (now mechanical) load is placed on the engine via the belt.


" Removing the alternator belt and running the engine just off the battery will shorten the battery life."
tommyt31 did say he was going to replace the battery with a deep cycle battery,
so, maybe his idea will work ok..


"Draining down the battery and then periodically turning on the alternator with a switch to recharge it might shorten the life of the alternator."

If he watches the battery voltage and doesn't allow it to get too low, recharging it with the alternator shouldn't cause an abnormally high load.
Since tommyt31 is going to charge up his battery at night off the AC mains, it seems to me
that the alternator is going to get less use and should last a lot longer.


"Turning the alternator on and off with a switch would not affect mileage because the engine is still turning the alternator via the alternator belt."

If he is removing all the electrical load off the alternator, it's going to be real easy to turn.
(When you have the lights, etc turned on, it takes more work to turn the alternator,
to generate power: Watts)
.
And if the engine is not doing as much work, then he should get better MPG..


"whenever sensors detect the electrical load has increased when the engine is at idle. Turn on the headlights at idle and the engine will automatically speed up to increase the alternator output to the battery so the headlights don't start draining the battery."

My take on that is, when you turn on the lights, you electrically load down the alternator,
it loads down the engine, which has an idle control unit which wants to keep the engine
from stalling (when RPMs drop too low), so the idle control gives the engine more gas..
====

Any time tommyt31 charges his battery at home, he is not using gasoline..
His car will be working like a Plug-in Hybrid. But not saving a ton of gas
like the real deal (Honda Insight)!!
But, it sure seems like he will be saving a small amount of fuel..
Most likely not an easily measurable amount!
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2.5L with a 6 speed AT? The lazy man's Hypermiling SUV!

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Old 07-04-2008, 11:35 PM
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Right Lane Cruiser Right Lane Cruiser is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

MetroMPG did some testing of this and the gain was on the order of multiple mpg IIRC.

The Insight doesn't even have an alternator -- partly for this reason.
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:19 AM
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basjoos basjoos is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xringer View Post
My take on that is, when you turn on the lights, you electrically load down the alternator,
it loads down the engine, which has an idle control unit which wants to keep the engine
from stalling (when RPMs drop too low), so the idle control gives the engine more gas..
If you have a SuperMID installed in your car, you can see the electrical loads that various accessories place on the engine. You can sit there with your warm engine idling while you turn on the lights, fan, radio, A/C and note how much the injector pulsewidth increases from the idle pulsewidth with only the electrical load required to run the car. The pulsewidth takes only a few seconds to show the new load.
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Last edited by Right Lane Cruiser : 07-05-2008 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:01 AM
tommyt31 tommyt31 is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

Great info, guys. I'm not sure what a SuperMID is, though.
I asked Mike Rowand about my question (he is the guy that owns the website with the alternator wiring schematic above that Xringer posted). He said that drag racers do exactly what I want to do to gain a few hp on the quarter mile. The problem is if you run your electrical system at 12 volt (more like 12.5 volt) instead of 13.5-14.4 volt (alternator output), you could see a reduction in the intensity of the spark. I don't know if that would have a measureable effect in FE, though. I guess I could try it, but I still don't know what wire to intercept. I wanted to avoid messing with the main positive wire because of the amount of amps going through it. I could pull the fuse for the alternator and see if that works but I would be guessing.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:30 AM
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basjoos basjoos is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

A SuperMID is a fuel consumption measuring device that was originally designed for the Prius, but also works on OBD1 (pre-1996) fuel injected 4- cylinder cars that won't work with a Scangauge. It has a number of displays not found on the Scangauge that are useful for FE driving.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:11 AM
tommyt31 tommyt31 is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

Cool, thanks! That would be handy on my 85 Daytona.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:42 AM
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Xringer Xringer is offline
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Re: Alternator Cut-out

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyt31 View Post
Great info, guys. I'm not sure what a SuperMID is, though.
I asked Mike Rowand about my question (he is the guy that owns the website with the alternator wiring schematic above that Xringer posted). He said that drag racers do exactly what I want to do to gain a few hp on the quarter mile. The problem is if you run your electrical system at 12 volt (more like 12.5 volt) instead of 13.5-14.4 volt (alternator output), you could see a reduction in the intensity of the spark. I don't know if that would have a measureable effect in FE, though. I guess I could try it, but I still don't know what wire to intercept. I wanted to avoid messing with the main positive wire because of the amount of amps going through it. I could pull the fuse for the alternator and see if that works but I would be guessing.

I'm not sure you would see "a reduction in the intensity of the spark". Logically, on a well designed system, the spark should stay the same, since the alternator & the loads can vary all the time.
When I'm driving along, I can see my SG2 displaying between 12.6 & 14.x randomly. I'm pretty sure that the spark isn't effected much..
I think it would be effected more by old spark plugs and spark plug wiring.


Anyways, 1 watt = 0.00134102209 HP. So, 200W headlights are eating up around 1/4 hp..
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