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Discussion Starter #1
49k miles, this car has been so obnoxious this past three months. >_>

Latest issue:
Girlfriends battery kept dying, after a few jumps we determined the 6 year old battery needed to be replaced. Got a charging system test again after the new battery was installed, and the autoparts store handheld says "bad voltage regulator" it's not picking up any charge from the alternator. Car starts and runs but just from the battery, battery isn't being charged. The regulator is internal to the alternator on this car, so I replaced the alternator, no change in problem.

I looked at the main fuse diagram and secondary fuse diagram, I don't see anything that would obviously be "charging system" or "alternator" other than the one labeled "battery" which I assume is the main 12V system and not just the battery. I found one online thread someone said check fuse 15, so I did, but that is labeled "f1 main" (idk what that means), and the fuse is fine.

How do I continue?
Thank you :)
 

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Welcome! Welcome to DriveAccord!
 

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Welcome! Welcome to DriveAccord!
Thanks. This car has been a headache recently, it's to the point where my opinion of Honda has been negatively impacted. 3 months ago starter went out... easily found many complaining about same issue all with very low miles, no replacement recalls, completely unacceptable. Then when I go to change the sparkplugs, 1 & 3 are soaked in oil so had to change gaskets.. at under 50k miles. Now charging system issues! Hopefully it continues to be easy fixes, but geeze, come on!
 

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OK, so voltage regulators can be bad- right out of the alternator box if they are from a parts store. You replaced the alternator with what, exactly?

Did you have the alternator tested at a rebuild shop (alternators, starters, etc) or from a place such as Pep Boys? There is a way to test under load.

Some 9th Gen's with the I4 engine have starters that fail too early. There are good write-ups here at DriveAccord on how to rebuild for $25 and do it yourself in an hour. I rebuilt my 7th Gen I4 starter at 140,000 miles for $13, and re-installed. There is a guy on the 7th Gen forum with 600,000 miles who just replaced his alternator with one from O'Reily's- and the replacement was bad right out of the box.

Anyhow, here is a thread for your reading pleasure: (Anything with @greg1c or @Miker discussing electrical, read it.

 

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A couple of things,

1. Is the alternator light on the dash?
2. The voltage regulator is internal on the alternator, it would be rare one fails at that low mileage.
3. All Honda's have had a device called an ELD for the last 25 years. I suspect what the person using the test tool does not know that Honda's have an ELD and low voltage is normal with low load. Search for ELD and you will see how it works
4. If you have a multimeter/voltmeter this is an easy check, put the test leads on battery, read the voltage. The standing voltage overnight should be at 12.6v, start the car and turn on the headlights and measure the voltage, it should be above 13.5v even as high as 14.0v. If you have an issue with the alternator it will have dropped below 12.6v.
5. Be sure the battery cables are clean and tight. Do you know if the battery sensor was replaced as part of the recall?



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A couple of things,

1. Is the alternator light on the dash?
2. The voltage regulator is internal on the alternator, it would be rare one fails at that low mileage.
3. All Honda's have had a device called an ELD for the last 25 years. I suspect what the person using the test tool does not know that Honda's have an ELD and low voltage is normal with low load. Search for ELD and you will see how it works
4. If you have a multimeter/voltmeter this is an easy check, put the test leads on battery, read the voltage. The standing voltage overnight should be at 12.6v, start the car and turn on the headlights and measure the voltage, it should be above 13.5v even as high as 14.0v. If you have an issue with the alternator it will have dropped below 12.6v.
5. Be sure the battery cables are clean and tight. Do you know if the battery sensor was replaced as part of the recall?



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I looked at all the lights on the dash see if I could see one for charging system/alternator, I don't see anything that I recognize that would relate to either. What is the symbol for it for reference? But no, there is no alternator light or anything similar lit on the dash. I'll try and track down a multimeter... I don't have one.
 

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The charging system trouble light is a battery icon.
 

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With no warning lights I doubt seriously that you have a charging issue. I know there will be 10 people that will say "my alternator was bad and the light never came on" . That is just not the normal failure, the regulator in the alternator is the device that tells the ECM that it has a problem. If you do not have a red battery indicator on the left side of the tachometer between the 2 and 3 number, most likely you do not have a charging issue. You can see that light before you start the engine.

If you really want to diagnose this issue with a handheld tester, you need to order a Clore Automotive BA9. That will check you battery, alternator, and some aspects of the starter. On Amazon it is $55 and it would save you money to be able to troubleshoot your own electrical issues.

A voltmeter is cheap, for as little as $5 to as much money as you care to spend you can get a voltmeter. A best seller on Amazon is Etekcity MSR-R5000 digital Multimeter for $12.

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Discussion Starter #9
Multimeter reports fluctation of 13.5 to 14.2 when car is running heater/lights on. Is the voltage regulator fine...?
 

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Yes, the readings sound good to me. Again, there is a device called an ELD that senses the "load" on the electrical system, when there is a low load the alternator is in low mode controlled by the ECM. When it senses a high load it puts the alternator in high mode, it is a way to squeeze the last little bit of fuel mileage out of the car.

Some people get a bit confused if they do not know about the ELD and condem the Alternator as "bad" because of low voltage output, when it is functioning properly.

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Yes, the readings sound good to me. Again, there is a device called an ELD that senses the "load" on the electrical system, when there is a low load the alternator is in low mode controlled by the ECM. When it senses a high load it puts the alternator in high mode, it is a way to squeeze the last little bit of fuel mileage out of the car.

Some people get a bit confused if they do not know about the ELD and condem the Alternator as "bad" because of low voltage output, when it is functioning properly.

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Glad amazon has such a good return program... I'll pull out the new alternator and put the old (EXPLOSIVE, PAINFUL, AND UNCONTROLLABLE BOWEL MOVEMENTS WHICH WILL LEAD TO DEHYDRATION, HOSPITALIZATION, ORGAN FAILURE, REPEATED RESUSCITATION, EVENTUAL DEATH, LAWSUITS, ACCUSATIONS, ALLEGATIONS, ACCEPTANCE, LEGAL SETTLEMENTS, AND A YOUTUBE TRIBUTE VIDEO WITH 6 VIEWS)
 

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I have an elm327 code reader and an app on my phone so that I can read codes and it also shows voltage readings. Helped me out when my battery died.
 
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