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Ok, So, I am in downtown phoenix, live hour away in middle of nowhere. Leaving, bet battery and brake warning light, everything is fading, radio, headlights etc. Stop at hotel parking lot, wont start again, sounds like dead batt but figure alternator since the battery is not old and have original alternator on 120Kmi car. Plus, was running fine so alternator must not be charging.

About an hour later, go back out to car, all good. Starts, runs, lights, radio, ac everything ok.

never had either a battery or alternator problem like that before.

Will head to dealer in AM via AAA but would like to know what it might be, really confused. Do not want to drive home now and car dies on I10 at night.

thanks for any help
 

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Well, first pops in mind is the alternator for not charging the battery.
The battery light point at low voltage of the alternator. The brake light is internally hooked up to the battery light, maybe to let it seem worse, so forget it, no brake problem there.
However, It could also be connections or fuses, like the big one, 120 Amps in the engine fusebox.
Do check it for being properly bolted. Also the 2 big bolts with strong wires to the side of it.
Also the big bolt with strong wire at the side of the alternator.
Also check seating or corrosion on the little 2 wire side connector of the alternator.
Furthermore, check fuse B+/ECM, it is used for sensing the battery voltage by the alternator.
Then, check grounding wire at the battery. Should be firm.
There are 2 brushes inside the alternator for it's electro magnetic field coil which could be worn out. So could be intermittend bad contacts there resulting in no charging.
You need to dismantle the alternator to get to them for eventual replacing.
However, all said, if the battery itself is weak, high internal resistance, it will loose it's voltage quickly without being directly charged. Normally it should be able to hold it's nominal voltage charge, some 12.5 volts for some time before dropping out on a load.
You could measure with a voltage meter if it can hold the 12.5 volts charge when switching headlights on for a while (no running engine, only contact). If it drops in an instant or within a minute to below 12.0 (or lower) you should replace your battery. Then it will no longer hold it's charge and f.i at engine idle running start to drop.
Good luck,
Paul
 

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Warning lights good indication alternator not making power to run the systems needed to keep car running, so you end up powering the systems with battery, and we all know battery is only good for power so long without something to charge it.. turn on flash light and set it on counter, light gets weak and finally quit illuminating..

You dont state which engine you have in your DRIVES 2001 hyundai santafe,, but I will venture maybe a 2.7L,, and when you change alternator, use the Hyundai part, as it was changed about 10yr ago with smaller pulley and changed regulator logic for better voltage control, so you need new belt to go with it.. recent topic here in Santa Fe or "EF" Sonata with pics and text from TSB that fella used info I provided and went that route with new OE updated alternator
 

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yes it is your alternator , just went through the same symptom's I've got the 2.0 diesel version over here in Scotland, but I've only done 40,000 miles, so was a bit bummed when I was told the alternator gone, and it's £346 over here
 
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