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Old 11-18-2003, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Voltmeter - Alternator

When I start my 88 Bonneville LE the voltmeter reads about 16 volts, then it drops to 14 volts as engine gets warmer and stays there. As far as I know it should read 12 volts.
Is that something normal or there might be a problem with the alternator?

The car has 201K miles on it, the battery was changed about 5 months ago, and a new alternator was put about 6 years ago.

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Old 11-19-2003, 09:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Voltmeter - Alternator

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Originally Posted by Excellency
When I start my 88 Bonneville LE the voltmeter reads about 16 volts, then it drops to 14 volts as engine gets warmer and stays there. As far as I know it should read 12 volts.
Is that something normal or there might be a problem with the alternator?

The car has 201K miles on it, the battery was changed about 5 months ago, and a new alternator was put about 6 years ago.

Thanks
This IS PERFECTLY NORMAL. You see when you start the car, it drains from the battery to juice the starter. The alternator should always be putting out 14 volts, as this is what keeps the electrical system fully charged.
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Old 11-19-2003, 09:50 AM   #3
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Yes, it'* OK! The 14 Volts is what the Alternator is pumping out. Sort of like telling you that the Alternator is doing it'* thing properly. If it goes to 12 Volts or below while driving, you probably have an Alternator issue. I always wished I had guages on my Olds. I remember when I installed a Voltmeter in my VW Bug, many moons ago, it read 10 Volts once before I started the car. It was an indication that one of my battery cells was dead. I still was able to start the car(the starter needed about 9 volts to start, I think) and replace the battey before I got stranded somewhere. Back in the 50'* and 60'*, my father'* Pontiacs had Ammeters to show if the Generator was charging. I was wondering what the advantage a Voltmeter has over an Ammeter?
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Old 11-19-2003, 09:14 PM   #4
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The advantage of a voltmeter over an ammeter is that it is much cheaper to manufacture/install.

Of course the old ammeters weren't really measuring total amps, just what was going between the battery and the alternator (most measured +/- 60a and a starter pulls a cupla hundred). Thinkk the last ammeters were around 1967

Expensive part was mainly the heavy wires used to carry current while anything can be used to measure voltage (for that matter an ammeter is actually measuring the voltage drop across a very small resistor).
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