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Discussion Starter #1
Problem
On holiday last week, alternator battery symbol flashed on. Have some electrical knowledge, decided to continue driving because I suspected brushes worn down in regulator and with new battery recently fitted no damage would occur. With frequent battery charging overnight I used vehicle for next day. Then quite unexpectedly the alternator started getting hot and smoky. New alternator fitted and after an hours running also started to get very hot to the touch. Rang for roadside assistance and recovered home. Another new alternator fitted under warranty - charging okay but still alternator overheating. My contention is that? with a fully charged battery, little charging would be taking place and I should be able to hold my hand on the casing quite comfortably neither of this is the case.
ABS light and ESP light have come on - is this significant?? I am, reluctant to drive it any further in case I ruin this alternator. Any suggestion please.
 

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Your right, with a fully charged battery and none of the cars electrical consumers switched on the alternator shouldn't be producing very much current. So you'd probably want to measure the alternator output current flow by removing the alternator fuse and connecting an ammeter in it's place to see what it's being asked to supply.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ongoing alternator problem

Thanks very much Autospark. As you suggested I removed alternator fuse and linked out connections with wire and using current indicator meter something is drawing 50amps which obviously the alternator does not like. ABS and ESP lights stay on when engine is running. I disconnected ABS fuse (10amp) and also ABS unit multiplug but still drawing 50amps. I have no sophisticated diagnostic gear but as a layman how can I progressively check the system through. I thought of removing all relays and fuses marking there position etc and then replacing one at a time. Your help would be appreciated.
Dixie
 

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Before getting too involved with the car's electrics I'd suggest you eliminate the battery as a possible cause of the high current flow. If you have jump leads you can use those to link your car to a known good battery on another, then measure the alternator output with the Santa Fe battery disconnected. Alternatively, just replace the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ongoing alternator problem

Thanks Autospark, yes tried battery change in case new battery dodgey. Country logic tells me that if my jump wire on the alternator fuse is getting very hot and it it then something else must be starting to smell mousey but cant run the engine long enough to find out for fear of cooking the alternator. Have also checked the new battery for correct polarity. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Diixie
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My problem

Sorry Autospark I omitted to report ABS and ESP and brake light still staying on
Dixie
 

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You can protect the alternator by fitting a 12V bulb on place of the fuse. The bulb will limit the amount of current that can flow between the alternator and the car's other circuits. That should allow you to run the engine while investigating the problem.

I wouldn't worry about the ABS/ESP lights at this point. You know the problem isn't related to the ABS because the current flow was the same even with the ABS module disconnected.

I just noticed you have a diesel engine. You might not actually have a fault at all in that case. It's normal for the glow plugs to stay on for a period of time after engine start, so that might be the cause of the high current flow. Try disconnecting the glow plug relay to confirm.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hyundai overheating alternator saga

Dear Autospark, TESTS SO FAR
1) changed battery
2) removed all relays and fuses progressively in fuse boxes in engine compartment
3) checked as far as possible all wiring loom for overheating
4) lifted out whole fuse box to check for signs of overheating underneath
Can't understand why this problem only occurs when the engine is running
Surely the battery would drain down without the engine running?
All electrics are working but ESP, ABS and hand brake light still stay on.
I am considering as another test removing the alternator main feed to the fuse box, then link between the battery positive through a high rate discharge tester to the fuse box to enable me to carry on checking the system without stressing the alternator. obviously care must be taken - what are your thoughts? I feel I am taking too much of your time so it you feel like jumping ship please do so.
Dixie
 

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I am considering as another test removing the alternator main feed to the fuse box, then link between the battery positive through a high rate discharge tester to the fuse box to enable me to carry on checking the system without stressing the alternator.
You could try that but I'm not sure a high rate discharge tester will limit the alternator current much because it has very little resistance.

Dixie38 said:
I feel I am taking too much of your time so it you feel like jumping ship please do so.
Don't worry about that. I'm here anyway so happy to try and help.

Have you tried removing the glow plug and PTC heater fuse links to see what effect that has on the current drain?
 

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If you are using the same brand of alternator, I would try a different one. I have experienced bad batch of alternator sold in autoparts store. Good thing for the lifetime warranty. I finally got a different one after 2 years when they changed brands. I replaced 3 units in < 2 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Autospark,
Have now acquired a moving coil ammeter which reads up to 50amps. There are a set of circumstances I do not understand. As you suggested I removed alternator fuse and linked across with a 12v 5watt bulb. With engine running the voltage reading between alternator output and alternator body reads 15.8volts. Battery voltage 12volts so battery not being charged as a result of the bulb link. Likewise no current being fed into system. Alternator body starting to get quite hot. When alternator fuse replaced test voltage positive to case reads 14.3volts. Battery voltage also rises to 14.3volts and constantly being charged at 25amps which the alternator does not like and still gets overheated.
Questions:
Why is the alternator chucking out 15.8volts when not under load? and why is it getting hot with no load?
With the alternator fuse replaced, why does the voltage return to normal? and why doesn't the alternator cut back to around 2 or 3 amps instead of bashing out 25amps constantly and causing quite rapid overheating?
Should I now begin to expect I have a dodgy service exchange alternator as Nitely suggested?
Also not sure what PTC fuse is?
Dixie
 

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Questions:
Why is the alternator chucking out 15.8volts when not under load? and why is it getting hot with no load?
My guess is you have a battery sensing alternator. The alternator measures the battery voltage and adjusts it's output (within limits) to try and make the battery voltage equal 14V. The bulb in series with the alternator output is preventing the battery voltage from rising so the alternator output has maxed out.

Since we've proved the heat isn't being produced by the current flow within the alternator, it must be being created by friction of the moving parts.

Dixie38 said:
With the alternator fuse replaced, why does the voltage return to normal?
That battery sensing circuit again at work again.

Dixie38 said:
and why doesn't the alternator cut back to around 2 or 3 amps instead of bashing out 25amps constantly and causing quite rapid overheating?
The most likely answer is there is something on the car's electrics drawing 25 amps.

With the ammeter connected in series with the alternator output you are measuring +25A flowing from the alternator to the battery.

Leave the alternator fuse disconnected and start the engine. Now disconnect the battery neg terminal and insert the ammeter between the disconnected terminal and the battery post. How much current is flowing out of the battery? You will likely be measuring -25A now, indicating that the electrics on the car are drawing 25A out of the battery. The alternator will always attempt to balance the load that is being placed on the battery.

Dixie38 said:
Should I now begin to expect I have a dodgy service exchange alternator as Nitely suggested?
Up to this point I haven't seen anything that makes me think the charging system isn't working.

Dixie38 said:
Also not sure what PTC fuse is?
PTC is the auxiliary heater found on diesel engined cars. Modern diesel engines are highly efficient and there is very little waste heat from the engine available to heat the car interior. So diesels often have an electric auxiliary heater which is quite a large power consumer. That might account for the high current flow your measuring.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Autospark
Speaking to some Auto Electricians they are telling me the particular make of alternator that I fitted is no good and prone to problems so have exchanged it for a new Lucas one. Sadly problem of alternator overheating still exists so I now have ABS, ESP and handbrake light on and alternator still overheating. Yesterday the engine became hard to start, would not go above 700revs and start to surge and was emitting light coloured exhaust smoke. I think the end is nigh but thank you for your help. ps This morning took out alternator fuse and replaced with bulb as you suggested (as done before) this allowed me to start the vehicle which will now rev up and emits very little smoke but all other problems still exist. Dixie
 
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