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Thread: Help? Voltage drops at night while stoped.. How to fix?

  1. #1
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    Help? Voltage drops at night while stoped.. How to fix?

    Ok.. I'm using a 180 watt power supply for my atx computer. My LCD Touchscreen is also attached to it. I am currently using a 300 watt inverter. The problem is at night when i have the AC/Lights/Radio (using it for an amp)/Carputer on.. .. While stoped at say a red light the inverter beep which I think it means not enough voltage? Pretty sure thats the reason. But I could be wrong but thats my noob diagnostic.

    So how do I go about fixing this?
    I actually just wanted to remove the damn buzzer from the inverter.. little round black thing right?

    1) Would getting a 200watt inverter fix it? Would it draw less power? Or it only draws what it needs so my 300 watt is pulling 200watt b/c thats my powersupply size. (BTW I don't have a volt meter =\)

    2) A isolator with a batter in the back trunk? I wouldn't need a big battery right?

    3) Putting some in-line (im not sure what they are called.. it saves power untill I need it.. and recharges when it can) thingy?

    I'm sure the isolator w/ a tank battery would be the best solution but im poor so can anything think of a easy fix?

    I dont have this problem during the day.. only at night w/ the lights on.. or unless my AC is at full blast. I have a honda civic 02 4d. Small car so thats why I think im having this problem.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    FLAC is for flaccid parksgm's Avatar
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    Problem related to your engine speed at idle...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yellow-Snow
    Ok.. I'm using a 180 watt power supply for my atx computer. My LCD Touchscreen is also attached to it. I am currently using a 300 watt inverter. The problem is at night when i have the AC/Lights/Radio (using it for an amp)/Carputer on.. .. While stoped at say a red light the inverter beep which I think it means not enough voltage? Pretty sure thats the reason. But I could be wrong but thats my noob diagnostic.

    So how do I go about fixing this?
    I actually just wanted to remove the damn buzzer from the inverter.. little round black thing right?

    1) Would getting a 200watt inverter fix it? Would it draw less power? Or it only draws what it needs so my 300 watt is pulling 200watt b/c thats my powersupply size. (BTW I don't have a volt meter =\)

    2) A isolator with a batter in the back trunk? I wouldn't need a big battery right?

    3) Putting some in-line (im not sure what they are called.. it saves power untill I need it.. and recharges when it can) thingy?

    I'm sure the isolator w/ a tank battery would be the best solution but im poor so can anything think of a easy fix?

    I dont have this problem during the day.. only at night w/ the lights on.. or unless my AC is at full blast. I have a honda civic 02 4d. Small car so thats why I think im having this problem.

    Thanks for the help!
    The voltage drops at night when you are stopped at a red light because the engine slows to idle speed and doesn't turn the alternator as quickly. Slower alternator = less voltage (and current) output.

    The alternator is turned by the engine belt, which runs across a pulley that bolts on the front of the alternator. An easy, and relatively cheap fix would be to substitute a *smaller* pulley on the alternator. The smaller pulley would turn more times for every engine rotation, turning the alternator faster, and increasing the voltage at idle.

    The other solutions you mention are not ideal.

    Removing the buzzer from the inverter would be like removing a warning light from your car. The buzzer is there to let you know that the inverter is not performing as designed. The solution is to fix the problem, not ignore the buzzer.

    Replacing your computer power supply with a smaller supply would not help either, as you are correct that the computer only draws as much power as it needs. In fact, an underrated power supply would likely be more dangerous to your computer than your current setup...if a power supply fails, it can often fry connected components, such as the hard drive, motherboard, etc.

    I'm not sure what you mean by an "isolator", but a second battery in the trunk would not increase the voltage supplied at idle (or if it did, only for a few seconds to minutes).

    I think that the "in line thing" you're are thinking of is a capacitor, and it does store energy temporarily and then "recharge". A capactor functions as a really quickly reacting battery...car audio enthusiasts with large amplifiers use them to supply massive amounts of current to their amps more quickly than their batteries would be able to do so. Your problem is related to voltage, not instantaneous current demand, so a capactitor is not for you either.

    You might try looking at different auto supply stores for a different sized alternator pulley...I imagine that you could buy and have one installed for less than $50, or just for the cost of the pulley if you could do it yourself.

    Finally, another solution would be to turn the idle speed on your engine up a bit...but if you have a computer controlled ignition system (as most modern cars do), that is likely not an option.

    Hope this helps,

    Gregory

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    wwwhhooaa.. i was totally wrong.. maybe thats because I read the forums for answers and noone else has this problem or had to do this? Does this seem like a common problem?

    hhhmm I have a switch for my inverter on the 12v wire... Its a small one that im sure is not big enough for it.. but.. could that cause the voltage drop? But then again its fine when im running.. I guess ill stop by the car auto parts on the way home from work.. but you say ~50$.. with my luck its going to be 100 or something..

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    Try to use BIG and as short as possible for the + wire. Also use bigger wires for - and short too.
    Also take a look at the inverter minimum working voltage. Try to get one that has lowest working voltage you can find.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatrixPC
    Try to use BIG and as short as possible for the + wire. Also use bigger wires for - and short too.
    Also take a look at the inverter minimum working voltage. Try to get one that has lowest working voltage you can find.
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    FLAC is for flaccid parksgm's Avatar
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    MatrixPC has some good advice...the longer or smaller the wires going to your inverter are, the more resistance they have, and the less current they will flow. So, it's possible that at normal driving speed, your alternator is putting out enough voltage to overcome the resistance, but at idle it is not. Worth looking into...

    Gregory

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    yup! I dramatically reduced the lenght.. put the inverter under the seat and removed the switch for it.. added thicker wires .. PRESTO! AC on full w/ lights on and no error beep!!

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    FLAC is for flaccid parksgm's Avatar
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    Glad you found a cheap solution, yellow-snow. How are you turning the inverter on and off without the switch?

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    Quote Originally Posted by parksgm
    TThe alternator is turned by the engine belt, which runs across a pulley that bolts on the front of the alternator. An easy, and relatively cheap fix would be to substitute a *smaller* pulley on the alternator. The smaller pulley would turn more times for every engine rotation, turning the alternator faster, and increasing the voltage at idle.
    Umm...while this might fix the low idle speed, it would increase the voltage when the engine was at operating speed. I'd think that would risk shortening the alternator life or smoking the regulator.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parksgm
    Glad you found a cheap solution, yellow-snow. How are you turning the inverter on and off without the switch?
    right now im just reaching behind the seat and flicking it on.. but after work today im gana just open it up and cut the wire to the switch and extend it to my console.

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