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Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

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Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

Can anyone provide any information about the alternator on these vehicles? I went into Holden and they couldn't even tell me how many amps it's good for or what the regulator is set at.

I went in and saw ARB today about a dual battery system and they informed me the Colorado has an ability to turn the alternator on and off? They recommended a Redarc DC:DC battery charger to link the banks but said it can be used to trick the colorado into running the alternator all the time.

I have researched previously for other vehicles and am planning to fit a high output alternator after the warranty period is up but would like to learn as much as possible from others who've gone down this path.

Unread postby BrAdAsS » January 19th, 2013, 2:02 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

BrAdAsS
Why would you need a higher output than what they fit as OE???
A Redarc DCDC will use power from the battery to charge the aux x 2or 3.
This will try to flatten/discharge the main battery as it runs.
The engine ECU will always be set to make keep the engine battery charged, or what is the point, so only IF and WHEN the ECU sees the main fully up to a preset level will it cut the alt output.Does this to save some fuel.
Since you are charging the aux and the DC/DC runs off the main then I don't think you have an issue at all.

Unless you need to charge many big batteries everything you are charging is being done as normal or also supplying the DC/DC unit. The alternator will handle this easily.
The fitting of a BIG alternator means it has an ability to charge more BUT you can't make use of it, SO, all you are doing is using up spare money and supplying a bigger alternator to achieve nothing.
Better off spending the money on a std alt from a wreck when available and having it as a spare if the money is burning a hole.
PS The spare may be very handy out in the scrub unless you have another method of supplying current to the main battery to start and get you home.
I have a small 4 stroke engine with a Bosch alt on it. If I have trouble it gets plugged onto the anderson to the main battery and everything works, even though the alt output may have stopped.
Bigger everything isn't necessarily an advantage.

The only extra thing to fit is an auto "key off disconnecting relay" to supply the DC/DC charger.
mydmax

Unread postby mydmax » January 19th, 2013, 4:36 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

Thanks for the reply mydmax.
I'm looking into addressing an age old problem I've had with the voltage dropping causing all the lights to dim ect from exceeding the alternators output, going from 14.4V to 12V..
Before any problems are suggested, there are no grounding problems or other anomalies causing bad electrical.
Hoping to address it before it happens.. again in the new vehicle.
One of my previous positions was remanufacturing alternators so I have an idea or two and in the past I have contacted just about every business in the USA that does high output alternators finding units to suit. I understand in depth why the voltage is dropping and know that a high output alternator can hold the load without the electrical system reverting to battery voltage under the same conditions.

Although it's use alone wouldn't justify a high output alternator, I've planned to fit a 9500lb Warn winch which can pull just over 400A at full load - I don't expect the alt to have a spare 400A to cover that, but, light duty use and a 350A Alt would have it covered. The subwoofer amp at full tilt can pull around 180A and a speaker amp will be about 70-90A. Other electronics bit and pieces will add to the load as will Spotlights, fridge, capacitor, inverter, air compressor ect.

I have 2x Optima D34 bluetops and 1x D31 bluetop. These batteries can be charged with high current as they only have a internal recharge-temperature limit and can be bulk charged quickly from almost flat which is a feature I have taken advantage of at work in the past.

My main issue is the colorado turning off the alternator and the redarc BCDC unit only being rated at 40A which is nowhere near the upper charging limits of the battery's. This could be the difference between 30mins and 2.5 hours charging on a 110AH+ bank and could be where you suffer from such a redarc setup vs a high output alternator charging all the time.

I need to read up on the readarc unit and I have yet more questions to ask Holden and will be enquiring as to if the alternators fuel miser mode can be permanently left off in the tune, at the same time they recalibrate the speedo for the bigger wheels/rims.

Unread postby BrAdAsS » January 19th, 2013, 9:12 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

BrAdAsS
I'm not into high power sound , I like to keep away from it so little experience with that.
The higher output would be handy for recharge while winching, however, if you think of it, the alternator would have to have battery lead sized output terminals and cabling to the battery and or winch if that sort of current is going to be expected.

Happy to wait a while then the sizes of everything comes down to a reasonable size/level.

With your alternator, I would imagine the output signal from the ECU is an applied voltage to the alt when the upper level charging is required.
By careful probing and measuring when the full or low charge is happening and the alt output voltages at those times, you should be able to identify what is happening when and be able to replicate the signal and fool it into the full charge state. Possibly switchable.

I wouldn't think anyone at a dealership would know how it works, or which wires did what, so possibly on your own there.
If they do know surprise me with a "yes they do" please.

mydmax

Unread postby mydmax » January 19th, 2013, 11:28 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

Yes mydmax you are right again. I will be using oversize 0awg tinned competition grade OFC cable and marine 2/0awg lugs. I been taking notice of winch wiring in general and can only guess why they only use 2awg, but I wouldn't be using anything less than 0awg - when wires heat up they create more resistance and so begins the cycle of death. My subwoofer amp alone has dual 0awg inputs. High power car audio brings it's own bag of problems that's for sure.

The original plan was to have atleast one run of 0awg to the 2nd bank of batteries with a 500Amp switched isolator with a VSR or a BEP 720 VSS, but the alt has thrown me a curve ball until I work it out. If I had a 2012/2013 service manual I would be giving it a proper work over... I had the thought of 2x redarc bcdc40's one for each battery in the 2nd bank, it would halve that 2.5 hours mentioned earlier and put more load on the alternator, but, that's not what I'm aiming for.

I plan to upgrade the below all to 0awg.
batt - to chassis -
alt+ to batt+
winch + and -
batt + to starter +
batt- to engine if applicable.

The USA made high output alternators are light years ahead of anything I've seen locally made.

I will try get some sort of wiring diagram or other information on the alternator even from spare parts if I have to, it most likely would have to use another wire or two apart from the standard ones for the on/off feature....

Unread postby BrAdAsS » January 20th, 2013, 10:21 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

Just spoke to Holden.

Yes it is possible to turn off the Alternator control in the ECU with the Tech2 tool.
They also said they have stopped performing this mod as it kept throwing all the warning lights up. No further explanation given. Meaning it will no longer be covered under warranty. That just smells fishy to me.

I pondered what you said mydmax and looked into it a bit more on other vehicles. It's obviously something I'm going to have to test when I have the vehicle, and trial after the warranty runs out....
Honda and Vigo have similar systems whereby the ECU controls the alternator.

Like you mentioned above mydmax, I think the key to solving this dilemma will be finding the conditions by which the alternator effects that ECU control wire and what the ecu is expecting to see in both states.

I've thought of a couple of options based on that.

1. Splice a suitably sized diode/s into the alternator battery sense wire (Not ECU to Alt) to force the alt to detect a slightly lower voltage thinking there is always a load when there is not - In the hope one or a combination of the right diodes can trigger the constantly operating mode permanently. This will make the alt slightly overcharge even when all the batts are charged - not ideal.

2. In the case the Alternator control wire is pulled to ground to turn the alt off, this wire can be removed from the alt plug and secured preventing the ecu control. May throw up warning lights. A electronic circuit to get around this safely may be the best option.

3. I have to look into this one more, but, In the case the Alternator control wire is fed a positive voltage to turn the alternator off, depending on the actual voltage it may be as easy as splicing it into 12V or constructing a electronic circuit to mimmick the expected conditions of the wire.

If I get any more information or work something out I will post it in this thread.

Thanks for your help mydmax

Unread postby BrAdAsS » January 22nd, 2013, 6:04 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

BrAdAsS
Sounds like you are thinking into it quite well.
However, I still think if you use a solenoid relay to supply the DC/DC unit, the battery will still be supplying the energy for the DC/DC and the ECU won't let the main go flat.
So, the amps you are drawing off the main will mean the ECU will turn it up as required. This leaves the DC/DC always getting current to convert for the aux battery charging.
I would hook it up that way and observe what it does.
I would imaging it is no different to running some extra driving lights from a relay.

I would make the supply for the relay to the DC/DC unit run directly off the back of the alternator main terminal as this is the highest potential voltage you have available. Due to the loss IE Voltage drop, under a heavier current flow, the battery +ve terminal may be 0.5 to 0.7 volts less than the alt main terminal. There is always a bit there, depends on the cable size from alt to B+ve.

mydmax

Unread postby mydmax » January 22nd, 2013, 7:24 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

Just read the RedArc BCDC1240 instruction manual and it clearly states contrary to the ARB rep,

1.1 Alternator Input
Once the voltage level has been detected, the voltage sense is used to determine when the alternator is running. The output battery will only be charged when the alternator is running, guaranteeing that the charger will not drain the input battery.
tested for every 100seconds

Can anyone with one of these units and a new Colorado come in at this point and comment on real world use?
To me it's saying it is smart enough to detect the alternator turning off but will at that point stop charging until the alternator turns back on, thus, it doesn't actually present a load to keep the alternator active.

I started to look into the Redarc SBI212D, and that has offered another perspective.
The idea is to use the redarc dual battery kit and wire it in like normal.
Change the vehicle Alternator battery sense wire to the rear batt so as to charge based on the state of the rear batt.
All my accessories including vehicle stereo will be wired off the rear batt so the rear batt should always be a lower voltage than the start battery and should by default when charging keep the start battery full based on the lower state of charge on the rear batt. No additional charging load is placed on the alternator until the voltage is above 13.2v and the DBS parallels. This condition will be met on startup.
This will present more load to the colorado alternator which will mean it will stay active where it counts and force it to prioritise charging based on voltage/demand from the rear batt's.

Then a 3-way switch to control which battery bank the alternator sense wire is working on for backup should a failure with either occur, or a circuit to automatically choose the bank based on preset voltages and conditions for increased alternator running time, safety and autonomy.

the search continues...

Unread postby BrAdAsS » January 23rd, 2013, 11:16 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

G'day guys,
Firstly I only have limited 12v elec experience but have picked up a little knowledge (some would say a dangerous thing!) from reading these forums and researching the manufacturers websites. Please forgive my ignorance in matters elec and terminology used in my questions

I am currently considering a dual battery system with DC/DC charger and solar, had my heart set on the Ctek 250S Dual till I was informed by supplier that it won't work properly with the variable voltage alternators fitted to the RG
I am now looking at the much more expensive Redarc BCDC 1225LV or 1240LV not sure how much advantage the 40amp model has over the 25amp? I may install a third battery under the tray in addition to the one in the jack-off canopy so as to have auxiliary power when operating the ute with the canopy removed.

I'm not exactly sure why the BCDC charger will work while the CTek will not? Does it just turn itself on when it recognizes that the ignition switch is activated and then with the (inverter?) technology inside the box just pumps up whatever current the alternator supplies (even if very low?) to charge the 2nd battery? Does this system supply sufficient charge to the 2nd battery or does it just do the best it can manage depending on the input voltage from the alt? I read in the manual that the BCDC will turn itself off below 8 volts - so I assume (another dangerous thing to do!) this means that whenever the alt reduces charge below 8 volts the system doesn't work?

Does anyone know what voltage (if any) the VarVoltAlt drops down to?

I would have thought as mydmax suggested above that any DCDC charger would work as the discharged state of the 2nd battery would draw down the voltage of the starter battery to a point where the VarVoltAlt would realize it had to start fully charging again?

Have you fitted your system yet BrAdAsS? Any tips to share?

If anyone with experience would like to weigh in with any advice/comments on setting up a dual bat system in one of these variable voltage alternator models it would be appreciated as I would like to try and do it right the first time...
Catchya Dave
2012 RG Colorado Crew Cab, auto, alloy tray, OEM snorkel & tow bar, Dobinsons bullbar, Tigerz11 Grande 12000lb winch, GME TX3540, Yokohama Geolander AT/S 265/70 R16 on CSA Ranger 16x8 steelies, 2" Dobinson suspension lift, custom lift-off aluminium canopy, AusTrack rooftop tent, reversing camera, dual bat system in progress
"Let the Good Times Roll!"

Unread postby Colly Kid » March 18th, 2013, 9:14 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

I had a conversation with Redarc direct after I'd emailed them asking WTF should I be getting. They rang me same day and told me that given the variable voltage alternator on the RG, I would need the BCDC1220-IGN.

Unread postby Ntbill » March 18th, 2013, 10:24 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

I thought I'd throw up this link to a thread i was reading on another forum:

http://www.4x4earth.com.au/forum/electr ... ystem.html

its about the ECU controlling the charge on the Ranger, and how if you earth accessories straight to the battery the ECU won't be able to read that extra current draw, but if you earth it to the chassis, or main battery earth point on the chassis, it will.

Not sure it helps, but maybe.
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Unread postby SuckSqueezeBangBlow » March 19th, 2013, 4:39 am


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

It's the same deal on the RG Collie. Good to keep in mind.

Unread postby Ntbill » March 19th, 2013, 5:53 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

Theoretically, it should run a normal DC/DC system if it's neg feed is placed in the correct position for it, the ECU, to sense the DC/DC load and will charge accordingly with no problems.
It would be good to hear from someone who is fitting a DC/DC to a Ranger or Collie vehicle and measure what happens.
It might help a lot of blokes who are doing dual battery stuff.

mydmax

Unread postby mydmax » March 19th, 2013, 7:36 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

There's a lot of confusing info out there and some of the info on the forums isnt real helpful.

For my part, I'm fitting dual battery with the aux battery located in a portable box in the tray. I want it portable so I can move it around at the campsite if needed and will run a solar panel to keep things happy when staying put for a while.

I've had a good chat with Redarc (very helpful that mob are) and they assure me that with the RG Colorado, my best bet is to go with the BCDC1220-IGN. I've got one on order and ill be putting it together when it arrives. I've got no reason to think I've been given bad info and I intend to fit it and enjoy. (I hope...)
http://www.redarc.com.au/images/uploads ... Manual.pdf

Have a look at this link.
http://www.redarc.com.au/images/uploads ... t_2012.pdf
Bill.

Unread postby Ntbill » March 19th, 2013, 8:07 pm


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Re: Any info on 2012/13 Colorado Alternators?

I was just in at TJM discussing this again today. I'm currently sitting on the fence until I have more time to test and am hoping a product is released to nullify this alternator turning off nonsense in the meantime.

The redarc LV unit is what I was told by ARB would work in the Colorado. I look at the specs, and it states clearly under section 1.1? it won't work as suggested. I just looked over the spec sheet of the IGN model and it appears to inherit the same problem as the LV albeit IGN switched.

I was told that Ford have a workaround for the Ranger problem, but, they don't cover you under warranty if you use it. I'm still to look into this.

At the moment, the best way I see to wire it is to use a traditional smart battery isolator, make the rear bank bigger than the front battery and move the vehicles alternator-battery sense wire to the rear bank.
This would force the vehicles charging system to charge based on the voltage/load on the rear bank. When you start the car the smart isolator wired in as per normal would see 14v on one of the banks and parallel both banks. Charging would not stop until the rear bank is full. Being a bigger bank it will take longer to charge which means by default the front batt will get fully charged.
The only problems I can think of would be if the rear bank was dead or flat and you started the car, the ECU would see a low voltage on the rear bank and ramp the alternator up to 100% to compensate which over time may not be ideal.
A switch to select which bank the vehicles alternator-battery sense is wired to would solve this problem.

Using a winch may flatten the main battery also, but, as soon as voltage reaches 13-14v, both banks will be paralleled and charging commences.
A circuit to automatically detect the lowest voltage battery and connect the alternator-battery sense wire automatically would be ideal for charging.

I am also under the impression there is another alternator-off condition with the RG Colorado that when you go uphill and exceed a certain angle the alternator will shut off for maximum engine power.

Saying this, I'm a bit sceptical as to the conidtions required to turn the alternator off. I've done 2400km's and not seen the voltage below 14.3v yet.

Unread postby BrAdAsS » March 19th, 2013, 9:03 pm


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