Jump to content


Photo

Battery/charging warning light


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 PJS54

PJS54

    18 HDI LX

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 August 2019 - 03:07 PM

2015 C3 Picasso Exclusive 1.6 BlueHDi

 

I'm not necessarily expecting a cheerful solution to this, but experience has taught me that it's amazing how somebody else's experiences can save you from wasting a lot of money.

 

I was driving along a few days ago, when the battery warning light suddenly came on. it was a busy road, perilously close to the river along the infamous North Bank of the River Nene, so I had no option but to keep driving for over a mile until I found somewhere to turn round. As soon as I stopped, but with the engine still running, the warning light went out. I'd set out for a day's fishing, so decided to carry on and fish, although leave a few hours earlier than planned – just in case.

 

Yesterday I drove to Spalding, about 13 miles away, making sure the aircon and mp3 player were off, just in case the battery needed topping up. All was fine until a couple of hours ago, when I went to start the car and at first the engine seemed to be struggling to turn over. It did start and the charging light stayed off, but it put a horrible nagging doubt in my mind, especially as I'm relying on my car to get me to see Posh thrashed by Ipswich tomorrow.

 

I took the car to a local garage, where I hoped they could run a few simple diagnostic tests and hopefully not try to con me into spending a lot of money unnecessarily. The battery turned out to be fine, leaving the alternator as the most likely suspect. Fitting a new alternator will cost me about £500 and even then they said they couldn't guarantee that it might not be something else!

 

So over to you good people, to tell me of a simple fix that will cost me next to nothing, or else fill me with doom and gloom. 


Edited by PJS54, 16 August 2019 - 03:08 PM.


#2 Lancelot

Lancelot

    Lancelot the Beak now with a Kia Venga petrol Auto Type 3.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,703 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Middlesbrough & Mandurah West Australia
  • Interests:Computing. Grand Prix Motor Racing, Holidays in Western Australia each year, for 3 months.
    Red wine and Whisky, more Red Wine & Whisky.

Posted 16 August 2019 - 03:49 PM

I would never go to a garage for electrical faults, I'd go to an established auto-electrician.  A garage will fit a new alternator even when it could just be a new diode pack which is needed, at one tenth of the price. If it is a case of fault finding the auto electrician is your man as he will have years of specialty experience.  Alternators are supprisingly sturdy and the problem is often elswhere as it appears probable in your case.


Edited by Lancelot, 16 August 2019 - 03:50 PM.

  • PJS54 likes this
The retired Beak with a 2ltr Petrol, Exclusive, Automatic, Picasso.
Arctic Steel - of course!

#3 stimulator

stimulator

    1.6 Cherry Red Metallic, wonder car

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,618 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Waterlooville Hants
  • Interests:Model trains OO gauge. C3 Picasso, Grandchildren

Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:21 PM

Alternators are 3 phase electric generating machines. The output is rectified by the diode pack on the alternator. However the so called battery light is not on the same phase as the actual one that feeds the battery. It's possible that you have a faulty diode pack, a loose auxillary drive belt, battery terminals that need removing and cleaning or a lose connection on the battery.
  • Lancelot and PJS54 like this
17 Reg C3 Saloon Flair 1.2 110BHP
Previous Xsara Picasso 20HDi, C3 SX 1.4HDi, C3 SX 1.6HDI, C4 Picasso 1.6HDi VTR+ EGS 62 Reg C3 Picasso VTR+ 1.6 HDi 92BHP

#4 PJS54

PJS54

    18 HDI LX

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 August 2019 - 08:33 PM

I drove 32 miles today without the problem recurring, so I'm hoping it might have simply been one of the electrical glitches that Citroens are apparently famous for, although I can't say I've had any trouble in the past. I do know that the fault codes can't be trusted though.

 

I Googled the diode pack and it returned results from this very site (although from 2008)

"I had the battery charge fault on my (Xsara) Picasso and it turned out to be the alternator. It was intermittent for a while, i.e. on and off, then all of a sudden nothing and car started to stall. I had to drive home with no lights or indicators and trying not to press the brake because anything I touched or pressed made the car cut out. I got the AA out next day to take me to garage, where the alternator was replaced. No more problems."

 

"When brushes are worn they tend to leave a gap inbetween the brush and slip ring on the alternator. Vibration intermittently reconnects the electrical circuit, creating the confusion of an electrical fault. In reality this means a new alternator or brush replacement before the diode pack or ECU is damaged. Tell-tale signs are a flashing red battery charge light whilst driving along."

 

Mine wasn't flashing so hopefully it isn't the latter. Because of the vast expense of replacing the alternator, I feel as if I have no option but to carry on driving (not too far from home) in the hope that it really was just a one-off occurrence. I would have thought that an something as expensive as an alternator should be expected to last longer than 43,000 miles. I'll let you know if I have to be rescued.

 


Edited by PJS54, 17 August 2019 - 08:36 PM.


#5 Lancelot

Lancelot

    Lancelot the Beak now with a Kia Venga petrol Auto Type 3.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,703 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Middlesbrough & Mandurah West Australia
  • Interests:Computing. Grand Prix Motor Racing, Holidays in Western Australia each year, for 3 months.
    Red wine and Whisky, more Red Wine & Whisky.

Posted 17 August 2019 - 10:15 PM

So you've decided to take a chance and not seek the help of an auto electrician?


The retired Beak with a 2ltr Petrol, Exclusive, Automatic, Picasso.
Arctic Steel - of course!

#6 discv

discv

    1.8 HDI Exclusive

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 956 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London UK

Posted 18 August 2019 - 10:35 AM

So you've decided to take a chance and not seek the help of an auto electrician?

Yes OP- give this really good advice consideration.


  • Lancelot likes this

C4 Grand Picasso 1.6 HDi 16V FAP/DPFS 110, -Auto (DV6 - 80kW) (C4) (DT) (2008)

 


#7 granpa

granpa

    started with this beauty in '02 now got white c4 pic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,361 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:West Yorkshire
  • Interests:winding down and cruising to avoid my grown up kids who have diy jobs for me

Posted 18 August 2019 - 11:47 AM

Dont wait for winter when alternator loads will be massive, have it checked out now


  • Lancelot likes this

#8 PJS54

PJS54

    18 HDI LX

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 August 2019 - 11:02 AM

I took it elsewhere in my town for a second opinion, where a few tests confirmed that it was highly unlikely to be the alternator and far more likely a fault with the starter motor, which being on the same circuit had somehow sent a false alarm to the warning system. Quite how this happens when the car is moving I don't understand, but later on this afternoon I am driving it to the nearest auto-electrician, who is about twenty miles away down a rough track in the middle of nowhere.


Edited by PJS54, 19 August 2019 - 11:03 AM.


#9 PJS54

PJS54

    18 HDI LX

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 August 2019 - 02:20 PM

I've now left in with Stonebridge Auto Electrics, which is out in the wilds of Cambridgeshire between Peakirk and Werrington. They're taking the starter motor out today and will bench test it to see what can be done. I'm pleased I didn't take the obvious route and get a new alternator fitted, which would have been terrible after only 43,000 miles.



#10 PJS54

PJS54

    18 HDI LX

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 August 2019 - 12:24 PM

It just shows you how easy it is to jump to the wrong conclusions and waste a hell of a lot of money. The alternator was fine and so was the battery, but by a very unlikely coincidence, the starter motor had started to fail at the same time as I had the battery warning light alert. The starter motor needed a new solenoid which with the bench testing cost only about £60, but getting it off and on again took four and a half hours of labour at £60 an hour. The entire bill came to £396, although still cheaper than having an unnecessary new alternator fitted and still needing the starter motor fixing. What seems to have happened with the warning light is that at some point in the past, somebody had done something to the main fuse box and forgotten to replace the fixing bolt at the bottom, leaving it free to rattle around. Apparently it was getting very hot, although I'm not sure exactly how that caused the light to come on.


  • granpa likes this