i hear about alternators dying and whatnot but how do they die? what happens? i installed a volt gauge in my car, and my car runs at a solid 12 volts, but when i play my system loud and hard, the belts squeel when i press the gas, is this bad? the gauge reads about 11 to 10 volts when i have it hit hard
A properly working alternator should provide something over 14 volts. Under 12 volts usually means its not doing anything and all your power is coming from the battery(not good), but that really depends where you have the gauge hooked up. If you're measuring the voltage at the amp and you have a bad power wire/ground connection or a power wire thats way too small there could be a substantial voltage drop from the alternator to your amp under load. In other words the alternator may be providing 14 volts at the battery, but only 12 at the amp.
The best thing to do would be to take your vehicle down to Pep Boys, etc. and have them test your alternator. 10 volts, even at the amp, doesn't sound too sporty.
Have you tried revving your engine a bit? Some alternators have very little output at idle.
lol, "fishy1". Definitely a better moniker than "cuspid fo life"
fishy fo life
i have the gauge running from the battery terminal, since thats where the alternator starts to recharge, even at 90mph with the gas pedal all the way down, it still only shows 12 solid volts, the car is a honda civic
If you're only getting 12 volts even with the system off it sounds like your alternator is on its way out. Have you had any problems with a dead battery?
Regardless, I'd go get that thing checked out. If its ok you probably ought to think about going with a high output alternator. Less than 12 volts is a pretty good sign that your alternator isn't keeping up. Such continued abuse could lead to its untimely death.