Brand new battery, battery light still comes on and off

Can anyone help me out please Car: 1991 Honda Accord Wagon ==================== OK after getting some advice I replaced the battery and put in a brand new
one. Now the car starts and runs fine however, when the batter light is on I cannout use the alam/automatic unlock button in my key. The alam light stays ON. After driving a few blocks the battery light goes off and evreything seems fine.
I am worried because this is what it did for the last week until yesterday when my car died and would not start. So I got a new battery.
Why is the battery light coming on.
Uday
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Can you please get a multimeter and take DC voltage measurements at the battery terminals as follows?
1. Engine off. 2. Engine warmed up (like five minutes), idling. 3. Engine warmed up, idling, with headlights, interior heater blower, and defogger on.
See also the alternator check procedure at: http://media.honda.co.uk/car/owner/media/manuals/AccordManual/400/16-94.pdf
How many miles and years are on your car's alternator?
When you say "battery light," you do mean the warning light on the dashboard, don't you? Please describe the color of this light and any symbol appearing on it.
How many batteries has this alternator gone through? How many of these batteries were permitted to die completely before replacement?
Please answer as best you can the questions people ask of you. Otherwise, people are less likely to respond again.
"adf" <afsd> wrote > Can anyone help me out please

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I will do a multimeter test later but I will answer the other questions you ask.
1) I am the second owner of the car so I don't know how many miles the current alternator has. The car has 115k miles total.
2) Yes by batter light I mean the icon that looks like a batter with positive and negative markings lights up RED
3) I have only owned this car since 2001 and this is the third battery since then. I don't much bother with checking the battery as the batter has a LONG warranty and the store that I bought it from just gives me a brand new one. That is what I did yesterday. Of the three only the first one was permitted to die completely I think.
Can you tell me what you are getting at. I mean do you think the alternator is the problem? If so how have you come to this conclusion. I know information is limited as you don't have the alternator reads yet.

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This information helps a lot. These batteries you've been putting in have all been brand new, right? If so, this car is going through batteries much too quickly. You should be getting at least four years even out of a low quality battery. What the information below tells me is that the alternator is not putting out the amps needed to charge these batteries, indicating the alternator is worn. Most probable worn alternator part: The brushes. That's very common. Brushes tend to be a prime suspect when they have more than about 90k miles and several years on them. Also, keeping a battery until its charge is low (not necessarily dead, but just low), as you seem to have, for whatever reason, will wear down the alternator sooner. Google has information on this.
Note that Tegger also suspected these. But we really need more information to confirm.
So you may have had an alternator in need of new brushes for some time now.
Autozone says they'll do an alternator check for free, but they have misdiagnosed my car's battery-charging-alternator system in the past, so I wouldn't trust them.
What you're looking for with the voltage checks are the following
1. Engine off: 12 volts. 2. Engine warmed up (like five minutes), idling. About 14 volts 3. Engine warmed up, idling, with headlights, interior heater blower, and defogger on. Voltage drops to about 13.6 volts or so.
One can replace the brush assembly by one's self, if one is handy. www.slhonda.com has competitive prices.
If you're tight on cash, I would minimize driving the car, because you're likely going to wear this battery down, and so have to buy another new one. Or, when you finally do get new brushes, they'll have to deal with a battery not in top condition.
"adf" <afsd> wrote

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FYI, on the battery light: "The battery light is misnamed: It doesn't go on when the battery is low. The battery light will go on only if the alternator is not charging the battery."
More at http://www.ehow.com/how_7690_respond-cars-battery.html
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brush failure would not turn on the charging/battery light because the current to turn the lamp on had to go through the brushes via the regulator. My '85 Volvo and the '84 Nissan I had were like that. More modern systems (including '91 Hondas, I'm sure) have a separate sensing circuit and don't have that blind spot.
I concur - the alternator is very likely the problem, and the brushes (worn or oily) are the prime suspects. I also agree that the alternator may test okay on the bench depending on whether the intermittent is on again or off again.
Mike
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<blinks>
Really? How dumb.
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TeGGeR

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essentially in series with the ignition power to the regulator input. As the alternator spins up it starts generating and part of that is fed to the regulator input, supplanting the ignition source and putting 12V on both sides of the charging light. If the alternator doesn't charge (like if the belt breaks) the light stays on as the regulator feeds the lamp current to the field. But if the brushes don't make contact, there is no place for the current to go to ground so the lamp doesn't light. I've wondered if a bad warning lamp means no juice to the regulator, but I've never tried it to see.
I was lucky that both my cars that had that problem also had voltmeters. I noticed the voltmeter in each fluctuating as the brushes made contact and then didn't, but the lamps never flickered. (Sometimes they wouldn't come on before start-up when the brushes were wearing out.) Talk about "idiot lights!"
Mike
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Would you say watching the voltage across the battery terminals of an idling car might also likely pick up bad brushes?
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wrote

you'd see somewhat more fluctuation there due to the resistance of the circuit to the battery. Come to think of it, you'd do well to check both - big changes at the alt and small change at the battery could indicate bad wires or connections...
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Interesting post;
I noticed the exact same problem crop up last week on my 1990 Honda Civic wagon. The red battery light on the dash would flicker intermittently ont the highway, and sometimes stay on as long as 5 minutes. The battery is about year old. Now that I am back in the city, it may flicker a bit and come on for about 10 seconds.
After a voltmeter test, it shows that the alternator is charging the battery fine when the engine is running, but under full load (radio, heater, defroster, lights), it is not. Is this something I should be worried about?
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Can you do the five quick and dirty voltage checks at the site http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id13.html and report back?
The voltage is supposed to drop, by design, when you add the loads you list. The question is how much it is dropping.
Regardless, as you'll see from the commentary at the site above, your alternator system is highly suspect at this time.
If it's the brushes (and based on posts here, I think that's a very high likelihood for a car your age), then I would get them replaced as soon as possible. For one thing, I think the car could leave you stranded any day now. For another, the condition is going to worsen until the battery does not charge fully. This does lower the battery's life.
Can you share the battery history of this car, including jumpstarts over the years? Is the alternator the original, with original brushes?
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PS,
If the brushes are worn in my alternator, how long would it be until complete failure?
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hours operation) from beginning of dropouts to almost never charging. Be aware the alternator diodes and windings are being overstressed from the surges to catch up in the meantime, though. I wouldn't recommend putting it off any longer than really necessary.
Mike
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Now.
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wrote

between charging and battery voltage. I think the movement of the meter caught my eye as much as actual dash scanning did. At first it was only a couple seconds dropout at a time, worsening to a minute or so good and a minute or so bad within a week. In both cases the dropouts were worse when cold.
Mike
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I want to make sure I understand. These cars had a built-in voltmeter on the dash, and it was oscillating more than usual? Then you also took a portable voltmeter under the hood, connected it to the battery terminals, and watched the voltage at the battery terminals vary?
I have started a site on "Battery & Alternator Tips" and want to include this or similar.
Doug, I saw your post and agree there is at least a small advantage to going to the alternator itself for measurements to identify bad brushes. However, I am trying to devise some quick and dirty checks (if they exist) a layperson can do to identify likely failed brushes.
Draft: http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id13.html
(Not to supplant Tegger. His site is way more comprehensive. I am anticipating pre-emptively replacing my 91 Civic's brushes in a year or so, so I'm writing this up as much for that.)
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wrote

calibrated, of course, but we get used to what they read with the engine running and see what they read before starting) some of the time and not-charging voltage other times. That got my attention so I checked the actual voltages at the battery to see if the charging really was intermittent. Normally the meter in either car would be pretty steady until I turned the lights or the heater blower on - then it would only drop a bit. These were big changes.

I'm sure if the Volvo and the Nissan didn't have dash voltmeters I wouldn't have known anything was wrong until the battery gave me real trouble. I suppose I might have been lucky enough to see the headlights dimming a bit once in a while, but I dunno.
Mike
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snip but comments noted

Good idea. I agree one might see the headlights dimming (or, really, any electrical funny business) with voltage dips as serious as that implied by, say, failing brushes.
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