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Re: Running with alternator disconnected

Subject: Re: Running with alternator disconnected
From: (James Fischer)
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 10:45:39 -0500
    Andy Castellano Smith asked:

>If I were to run my car with the alternator plug not plugged in to the 
>alternator, would I do any damage to the alternator ?  I can't see why it 
>should, but there may be some effect I've not heard of going on.
>If you really must know, I've been running with the alternator disconnected 
>because I unplugged it while tuning the car ages ago to get my colourtune in 
>easier, and must have forgotten to plug it back in. I found out this morning
>after recharging my battery 4 times and getting a new battery convinced the 
>old one was bust. Don't laugh too loudly guys.

    Hey, it happens.

    Aside from the fact that you will run your battery into the
    ground (any excuse for a pun!), you can't hurt the alternator
    or anything else by spinning the alternator without a load for 
    a short period of time.  Over a long period, I am not sure what
    the voltage regulator might think of never having a load.  Since
    the regulator is easy to test, you may want to take a look at
    the voltage that is being put out at various RPMs, or take the
    easy way and have the whole alternator checked (for free) by
    your local auto-parts place on their testing machine.

    The problem is that if you are driving at night, your headlights
    will slowly grow dimmer, dimmer, and you will start to think that
    you have lost your mind.  When the panel lights also grow dim, 
    and the radio starts to loose stations, a light will come on in 
    your head, and you will suddenly realize that you are loosing juice.

    A voltmeter and an ampmeter would have helped here.  Of course,
    many who have ridden in my Midget feel that I have too many
    gauges as compared to, for example, a Boeing 747.

    The little red light just above the high-beam indicator on the 
    dash (do your rubber-bumper cars even have this?) may also help.  
    It should come on when you turn the key, but before you turn the
    engine over.  As I recall, if the alternator plug is unplugged,
    the light will never come on.

    How far can a Midget run on nothing but battery?  Betcha at
    least 30-40 miles during daylight, maybe 10-20 with headlights

    See?  The MG "Northstar System"...  The car can keep going 
    under extreme conditions, even without all the parts!!!

       No software will ever be able to compress information to the 
       extent a human female does when she merely raises an eyebrow.
 james fischer             

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