No, your regulator is not acting up.

For all issues involving the Smart Alternator Regulators, V1, V2 and V3

No, your regulator is not acting up.

Postby Coulomb on Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:16 pm

Any electronic device is subject to failures when stressed to its limits. The limits are set by the design, and Ample Power products have shown over the years to be very reliable in demanding environments.

Any device controlled by a computer chip is subject to software bugs. Some bugs may not be detected for years. We won't be so rash as to claim that Ample Power products are free of bugs, but none have been observed in a regulator product for a decade or more.

So what's going on when a regulator appears to be missing charge steps, or battery voltage is "drifting" around?

If we rule out program bugs, missing a charge step would be a failure in computer memory. A failure of such a narrow scope, where the other functions of the regulator continue to operate normally, is very unlikely. It would be repeatable, even on a test jig. We have never seen this kind of failure in any computer product.

It's safe to say that charge steps are never missed. Casual viewing by a human is likely to miss a charge step. For instance, every regulator goes through the bulk charge state. Yet people report that a given regulator goes straight to absorption. That would be a failure in the computer memory or a bug in the program.

The bulk charge state is not being missed. Battery voltage rises very quickly to the absorption setpoint so the computer enters that charge step.

A fast rise to the absorption setpoint implies:
1) battery state of charge is high; or,
2) battery absorption capability is low.

What happens when absorption voltage is quickly reached? The computer sets absorption time to a low value - reviewing the two conditions above will explain why.

What about wandering battery voltage? It's possible to be hovering at the limit of alternator ability and see peaks and valleys in both current and voltage. If this is not the case, then a check on wiring condition is necessary. Voltages at ground and battery sense on the regulator should be within a few millivolts as measured on the far end of the connections at the battery.

Check for frayed or corroded connections. One thing often overlooked is a film on the fuse and holder that is in series with the battery sense line. Sometimes people remove it to see if it's blown and discover that everything works again after re-installation.

Finally, if you haven't read the following URL previously, do so now.
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