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    Thread: Help Needed for Alternator Problems & Measurements Using VCDS

    1. Moderator Paximus's Avatar
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      04-15-2012 06:37 PM #26
      You know far more than I do about alternators!

      I was thinking of the Hitachi voltage regulator part 077 903 803C, item (4) in the drawing, but I don't even know what model of Phaeton that alternator is for... It's certainly not a V10, which is gear-driven.

      And isn't yours water-cooled, somehow?

      Regards,
      Chris



    2. Member WillemBal's Avatar
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      04-15-2012 07:08 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post
      You know far more than I do about alternators!
      Long time ago I kept myself busy with windmills, trying to store and conserve energy...all this idealistic thinking vanished since I'm driving a Phaeton.

      Yes, the W12 generator is water cooled. The water cooling has been added to make it more silent. It looks like this:


      The essential electrical components (12 diode rectifier block and the regulator) are located at the left side of the stator housing.

      Your drawing shows the components which can be replaced. Strange enough, the components which may fail, like diodes, regulators and brushed, aren't listed.

      Willem

    3. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      04-16-2012 12:42 AM #28
      Hi Willem:

      This conversation has climbed way above my 'service ceiling' so far as my ability to comprehend it is concerned - I have never been able to figure out electricity (although I can tell the difference between a volt and an amp).

      Anyway - I did get back home yesterday, and after charging up both of the batteries in my car using an external charger (the car had not been used since February, although it did start and run just fine when I got into it), I observed the measurements you asked for.

      MVB 053/3 in the engine controller of my W12 remained pretty constant at 13.2 volts regardless of engine RPM (RPM range was 550 to 1,000).

      MVB 053/4 appeared to be fixed at 99.2% when the engine was idling. When I increased the engine speed above about 700 RPM (range between 700 RPM and 1,000 RPM), the reading flickered rapidly between 99.2 and single digits, with 99.2% predominating.

      By way of comparison, MVB group 007 of controller 09 (the central electrical controller) showed a pretty constant 13.7V for the left battery and 14.65V for the right battery, regardless of RPM.

      If it puts your mind at ease - I have never heard of anyone having to replace a generator on a W12 powered Phaeton.

      You mentioned midway above that when you operate your auxiliary heater, you get about 5 cycles out of it before the battery voltage declines to a point where the heater shuts down. I suspect that (like me) you have a pretty short commute between your home and your workplace, and the batteries are not getting fully charged up during the short drive from home to work each weekday.

      My average driving cycle is about 1.5 to 2 km; rarely over 2 km per cycle. Heck, the engine doesn't ever get a chance to warm up, let alone the battery getting a chance to charge. I need to put my left battery on an external charger once per month to make up the accumulated deficit. Even though I replaced the left battery about a year ago, I still have to do this, so the need for a periodic external charge is not a function of age of the battery.

      Michael

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      04-16-2012 10:47 AM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by WillemBal View Post
      To me, it looks logical that these power consumers are shut down during cranking the engine and up to 5 seconds thereafter, because the ECM consumes quite a bit of energy. I stopped the car for some time (from 700 up to 1350 seconds in the first trend), and then started the car again with the same result.
      I don't think it's really unique to the moment of trying to start the engine. They were shut down as soon as the vehicle was turned on and available voltage was below a threshold where ILM needed to act. They get turned back on as soon as the alternator is running and the ILM algorithm decides it's safe.

      I was bringing ILM into the conversation because in my experience, if my voltmeter is wandering down below 14V, I often see ILM actively managing stuff like the defroster. This would be invisible to the driver unless they were specifically looking for it with VCDS. And that might have an impact on the very detailed readings you're trying to take. Just wanted you to keep it in mind.

      Quote Originally Posted by WillemBal View Post
      My problem is actually not that the engine shuts down electrical consumers while driving. During the winter time, I used the auxiliary heater every day, for about 10 to 15 minutes per day. When I charge the battery with an external charger, I can use the heater about 5 times per week. The 6th time, it will not turn on. When I make a scan, these errors are reported:

      ...
      Okay, so that tells us two things. One, your VPS battery is seeing a lot of deep cycles. An AGM battery will tolerate that somewhat, but not that often and not forever. Two, your vehicle charging system isn't able to keep the battery topped up on its own. This could be as simple as not driving very often or driving on very short trips, or a battery in poor condition, or the alternator not putting out enough current.

      If your car was topped-up on an external charger just prior to starting, do you get better voltage readings?

      Quote Originally Posted by WillemBal View Post
      Half a year ago, I went to the dealer and one of the things I asked, was to check the state of the battery. After completion of this test, which I was allowed to witness, the technician gave me a little printout of the result. This report told me that the test apparently was done using a Midtronics device, Inpect 65, version 11 @2005, with the following details:

      • Charge conditions: 12.21 Volt
      • Measured: 798A (SAE)
      • Value: 520A (SAE).
      Below this text, to graph bars telling me that the battery condition was 100% (798A is a lot better than the specified 520A !) and charge condition 40%. Conclusion: battery is excellent, but needs recharging. A remarkable result, given that I had just been recharging my battery 2 days before. And it was in the middle of the summer, so there couldn’t have been much battery drain due to “cold weather” electricity consumers, like defrosters, PTC rear heaters and so on.
      Your tech put the wrong figure in his tester. The measured value is valid, but if he's doing the SAE CCA test, the SAE battery rating is 850A - see the label on the battery, "850A EN/SAE 520A DIN". I found a conversion chart as well, it's about halfway down. You can see the two ratings line up roughly on that chart. Also, measuring SAE or DIN CCA (very brief, very high current test) may not tell you much about the battery's reserve capacity, endurance under a low current draw which is exactly what you need from a Phaeton VPS battery.

      Quote Originally Posted by WillemBal View Post
      I also checked the battery drain using a current clamp. No more than 35 mA each time, although it can take up to 10 minutes before this quiescent current is reached.
      That's good to know, and a very acceptable number.

      Jason

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      04-16-2012 11:14 AM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
      MVB 053/3 in the engine controller of my W12 remained pretty constant at 13.2 volts regardless of engine RPM (RPM range was 550 to 1,000).

      MVB 052/4 appeared to be fixed at 99.2% when the engine was idling. When I increased the engine speed above about 700 RPM (range between 700 RPM and 1,000 RPM), the reading flickered rapidly between 99.2 and single digits, with 99.2% predominating.

      By way of comparison, MVB group 007 of controller 09 (the central electrical controller) showed a pretty constant 13.7V for the left battery and 14.65V for the right battery, regardless of RPM.
      Readings from my car are very consistent with this.

      Willem, I emailed you some VCDS logs from my car. You already have the Excel charts built the way you want, so I'll let you integrate and compare the data however you like.

      I think we are all seeing the same generator-DF oscillating values. I'm not an expert in alternator design and function. Is it possible the reading we're being shown is an instantaneous sample of a PWM control signal? It would account for "random" values being shown when less-than-full output is called for.

      Quote Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
      You mentioned midway above that when you operate your auxiliary heater, you get about 5 cycles out of it before the battery voltage declines to a point where the heater shuts down. I suspect that (like me) you have a pretty short commute between your home and your workplace, and the batteries are not getting fully charged up during the short drive from home to work each weekday.

      My average driving cycle is about 1.5 to 2 km; rarely over 2 km per cycle. Heck, the engine doesn't ever get a chance to warm up, let alone the battery getting a chance to charge. I need to put my left battery on an external charger once per month to make up the accumulated deficit. Even though I replaced the left battery about a year ago, I still have to do this, so the need for a periodic external charge is not a function of age of the battery.
      I would concur with this. Even if you don't currently have winter-time electrical loads, you'll eventually get behind on charging the battery if all you do is very short trips.

      I don't think you mentioned it above - what's the manufacturing date on your VPS and starter batteries?

      You mention that you need to run your auxiliary heater (you and all your nice Euro-only options! ). That implies that you park outside. You might consider a solar charger semi-permanently installed on the hat shelf. The W12 reflective glass will cut down on output, but it'll be better than nothing. Or, tweak your solar sunroof wiring a bit.

      Jason

    6. Member WillemBal's Avatar
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      04-16-2012 06:30 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
      This conversation has climbed way above my 'service ceiling' so far as my ability to comprehend it is concerned....
      Hi Michael,
      Don't worry, you probably are not the only one... I just hope that we can find a quick and easy method and standards to determine the condition of the generator and the battery.

      MVB 053/3 in the engine controller of my W12 remained pretty constant at 13.2 volts regardless of engine RPM (RPM range was 550 to 1,000).
      MVB 053/4 appeared to be fixed at 99.2% when the engine was idling. When I increased the engine speed above about 700 RPM (range between 700 RPM and 1,000 RPM), the reading flickered rapidly between 99.2 and single digits, with 99.2% predominating.
      That is about the same as what Jason observed (I'll post some trends later).

      By way of comparison, MVB group 007 of controller 09 (the central electrical controller) showed a pretty constant 13.7V for the left battery and 14.65V for the right battery, regardless of RPM.
      That looks OK to me. I'm trying to figure out where all these voltage readings are coming from. It is possible that the Central Electrical Controller (06) and the ECM have their own voltmeter built-in, to report eventual problems. Some difference in voltage reading can be expected then.

      If it puts your mind at ease - I have never heard of anyone having to replace a generator on a W12 powered Phaeton.
      I think that the generator itself is a sturdy design. But its output may be a bit tightly specified, given the very large power consumption of the W12 engine itself and the many power consumers. And as a result, there is little juice left to recharge the battery. On the other hand, soon I will have to replace the serpentine belt. This seems to be an excellent opportunity to inspect the alternator. If everything looks OK, my mind will be put at ease...

      Even though I replaced the left battery about a year ago, I still have to do this, so the need for a periodic external charge is not a function of age of the battery.
      A healthy battery sure helps to avoid a lot of problem. How many batteries did you already replace since it was new? Mine was replaced with an original battery in June, 2009. And the battery itself was manufactured in 2009 as well. Is it time for a new battery already?

      Quote Originally Posted by jyoung8607 View Post
      .... I often see ILM actively managing stuff like the defroster. This would be invisible to the driver unless ....
      Thanks Jason, I didn't know this.

      If your car was topped-up on an external charger just prior to starting, do you get better voltage readings?
      Somewhere in the range between 13.65 and 13. 85 Volt. But never 14.2 Volt. I did this log some time ago, with battery voltages reported by the battery monitor controller.

      Your tech put the wrong figure in his tester
      OMG.. This test was done by the same tech who tried to connect his battery maintainer on the jump start posts under the bonnet. But I'm glad he tested the LH and not the starter battery.

      The measured value is valid, but if he's doing the SAE CCA test, the SAE battery rating is 850A - "850A EN/SAE 520A DIN".
      So the measurement result was 440A DIN in reality. I can imagine that 520A DIN is the specification of a new battery. But what is the criterion to reject a battery which has been in service? Is a measured 440A DIN acceptable?

      ... endurance under a low current draw which is exactly what you need from a Phaeton VPS battery.
      Well... what I really need is something that can top off the battery while driving

      Willem, I emailed you some VCDS logs from my car. You already have the Excel charts built the way you want, so I'll let you integrate and compare the data however you like.
      I'm working on them right now!

      I think we are all seeing the same generator-DF oscillating values.
      All 3 W12's have pretty much identical oscillations.

      Is it possible the reading we're being shown is an instantaneous sample of a PWM control signal? It would account for "random" values being shown when less-than-full output is called for.
      It is possible that the ECM can't make any soup (Dutch expression) of this PWM signal, while the PWM control signal itself might look perfect. (when viewed with an oscilloscope). I just have no possibility to reach the DFM right now.

      (you and all your nice Euro-only options! ). That implies that you park outside. You might consider a solar charger semi-permanently installed on the hat shelf. The W12 reflective glass will cut down on output, but it'll be better than nothing. Or, tweak your solar sunroof wiring a bit.
      Do I detect some Euro jealousy here? A solar panel won't help me through our dark and windy winters though... Perhaps a wind turbine would be a better idea?


      Willem

    7. Moderator Paximus's Avatar
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      04-16-2012 06:57 PM #32
      what I really need is something that can top off the battery while driving
      ...
      Perhaps a wind turbine would be a better idea?
      You answered your own question!




      I already have a worry about units 50 & 52 - the controllers!

      CB

    8. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      04-16-2012 07:33 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by WillemBal View Post
      How many batteries did you already replace since it was new? Mine was replaced with an original battery in June, 2009. And the battery itself was manufactured in 2009 as well. Is it time for a new battery already?
      Hi Willem:

      My car was manufactured in September of 2003 (it is a MY 2004 car). I took delivery of it, new, with 3 km on it, in the fall of 2004. My VW dealer put a new left battery in it as part of the PDI, because he was concerned that during the half-year that the car was in the showroom, the battery had been run down too often.

      I used that LH battery (manufactured Q1 2004) until the summer of 2011, when I replaced it with a new one. So, I think that it is reasonable to expect between 5 years (minimum) and 7 years (maximum without having to worry about the battery failing on the first cold day of the year) out of the left battery.

      I suspect you will get close to 7 years out of yours, first because the climate in your community is mild, and second because you maintain it on a regular basis with the external charger.

      FYI I still have my original starter battery, which tested just perfectly last summer at the VW dealership using the VW battery testing tool. I am quite surprised at the longevity of the RH battery, but I suppose it really does not get used all that often (just for engine cranking), therefore it has a pretty soft life.

      Michael

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      04-17-2012 04:23 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
      I am quite surprised at the longevity of the RH battery, but I suppose it really does not get used all that often (just for engine cranking), therefore it has a pretty soft life.
      Hi Michael,
      Indeed the RH battery tested perfectly today at the dealer. And in fact, the LH battery wasn't so bad either, compared to the result which was obtained back in August year.

      Below are the two results of the LH battery (2011 and now) and the RH battery.
      FYI:
      "Laadtoest" = "Laadtoestand" = Charge condition
      "Gemeten" = Measured value
      "Waarde" = (reference/specified) value
      17/4/2012 = 17 April 2012
      "Laden" = Charge (what I've been doing all winter just about every week )



      Willem

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      04-17-2012 04:28 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post


      I already have a worry about units 50 & 52 - the controllers!
      Brilliant! The car even has a spoiler! And unit 10 must be the solar panel, I presume?

    11. Member WillemBal's Avatar
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      04-17-2012 06:11 PM #36
      Mike sent me some log files. Unfortunately there is some confusion (not only Mike ) about which group should be addressed to obtain the generator load value. Apparently, it is hidden in group 16 of the ECM. Also, the Phaeton Diesels seem to not yet have label file, or I couldn't find it.
      Some more detailed information is given below:

      Group 016 Additional heater / Zusatz Heizung (heater elements in cooling system)


      • Generator loading
      • Additional heater
      • Activation of heater elements
      • Voltage supply from ECM



      Anyway, Mike's results are quite remarkable, at least when we compared them with the W12 version. Below are some trends of the V10:



      So far, the trend is similar to the W12. The battery voltage drops considerably during the start procedure, then quite rapidly the generator starts functioning, raising the voltage to 13.4 to 13.5 Volts.

      Next picture shows the trend of the "Load Voltage" during Mike's trip:



      It is remarkable to see that the load % values are not "random", as they appear in the W12 logs. Just after start, the generator needs to work harder to increase the supply voltage back to a sufficiently high value. Once it is approaching the target value (explained below), it reduces the "load" value. This value is in fact the amount of correction as applied by the regulator.

      Below is attempted to visualize the load versus RPM:



      I won't say much about the factor R2, but basically it tells us something about how well one parameter is depending on the other. A value of zero means there is no relationship, a factor of 1 means it is perfect. The regression line describes the supposed linear regression and the R2 factor is pretty poor. Nevertheless, there is at least some relationship. This is related to the higher output of the generator at higher RPM. A good fit would probably be present when the load is kept constant, which is obviously not the case.

      But the next trend shows a better relationship:



      This is almost like to a text book example of a proportional control loop. In such a control loop, the control signal (the load % in this case) is proportional to the amount of deviation of a set point (desired value). The control signal will be zero when the set point has been reached. As you can see in the trend, this point can be found where the trend line crosses the X-axis (load% = 0).
      The problem with a proportional control loop is that there is always a difference with the desired (14 Volt) value. This control loop will only do something when there is a difference, and when there is no difference, then no intervention is needed. More clever control loops also integrate the difference (i.e. add more control signal when the difference stays constant) or try to anticipate the amount of control signal when a sudden change occurs (differentiating action). For those of you who want to know more about this, please google "PID control loop".

      Bottom line is that the load % value is not a measured value, but a control signal. The more load on the battery, the lower the voltage will be. The lower the voltage, the more control signal needs to be applied (more field current for more magnetism in the poles). So this signal is a "kind of" load signal. Almost "Simple comme bonjour" as the French say.

      Willem

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      04-17-2012 06:18 PM #37
      Mike's V6 seems to provide a much higher voltage:



      14.4 Volts!

      Mike, you are the winner!

    13. Member WillemBal's Avatar
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      04-17-2012 06:52 PM #38
      Here are Jason's trends:



      Markers are placed where the dash panel meter indicated exactly 14 Volts. Quite a difference with the 12.82 Volts, as recorded by the VCDS.
      Jason placed a marker at a point roughly 3-5 seconds after voltage stabilized at 14V indicated by the panel meter.
      The second marker is where he added headlights, foglights, seat heater and music playing to add some electrical load. Indicated voltage stayed at 14V the entire time during driving. Difference with the VCDS is about 0.5 Volts.

      The next, blue snow picture, trends the load % during his trip:



      The load % versus Voltage trend seems to be typical for the W12, as shown in the picture below.



      Well, I hope you are still with me now... Lots of trends and puzzling information.
      Looking forward to comments...

      Willem
      Last edited by WillemBal; 04-18-2012 at 06:40 PM.

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      04-17-2012 08:57 PM #39
      Willem,

      Very interesting stuff.

      I have several thoughts on your earlier postings, but I'd like to explore an idea first: do you really have a problem?

      While running, your ECM-measured voltages don't seem to be out of line with mine and Michael's. You seem to draw your battery down with the aux heater, but that wouldn't be totally out of line if your trips are too short to replenish the battery.

      Your Midtronics measured battery voltage of 12.1-12.2V when testing would reflect about 40-50% charged for an open-circuit resting battery. But, $5 says your tech didn't disconnect it from the car, and all sorts of stuff will be awake with the trunk open. A measurement under unknown load doesn't really reflect its state of charge. I'll take a measurement of mine later to compare.

      This leaves your wandering dash panel voltmeter. My dash panel seems happy to indicate 14V on the dot for anything roughly 13.0V and above that I've seen, and you say you're getting up into that range - although it would be worth using VCDS to check the dash panel itself rather than the ECM. Do you have a full-car auto-scan you can email me? I wonder if the dash panel voltmeter is not supposed to be stabilized for a car in your market, or if you did any custom recoding or it has odd firmware? VW does customize dash panel and other behavior by market. I know I'm grasping at straws (USA expression), but let's compare our controller part numbers and coding and such.

      Jason

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      04-18-2012 05:23 AM #40
      Mike's V6 TDI voltage seems to be reporting the normalised feed to the voltmeter rather than the Power Supply voltage.

      Chris

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      04-18-2012 06:37 PM #41
      Quote Originally Posted by jyoung8607 View Post
      ..... do you really have a problem?.....
      I don't know, ask my wife and she'll probably say yes, but my shrink doesn't yet have a clue

      I've learnt to live with imperfections, i.e. I don't mind when my car occasionally doesn't crank at once, sometimes doesn't lock using the door handle buttons, occasionally doesn't open the trunk lid using the VW logo...
      I know that all of these little inconveniences instantly disappear by shutting down the engine, leave it and come back. Or make a scan and clear all DTC's.
      As far as the occasional crank imperfection is concerned:
      During half a year, I had this happening about 1 or 2 times a month: car seems to crank normal for half a second, then dies, another push on the start button cranks the engine normally. Since last winter, I know that it must be due to a low battery charge condition (not a poor battery), because since I use the battery charger every week, this problem is vanished.
      I know for sure that the dash panel meter indicates exactly the same as what is reported by VCDS, plus 0.25 Volts. When I switch off my rear PTC heaters via the A/C menu -> "Extra functions" page, the dash panel VM goes up by 0.4 Volt at any RPM above 1000. Rear windshield heater: 0.3 Volts and dipped beam (not city light): 0.25 Volts.
      Sometimes, after making a night trip and after parking the car on my drive way, the interior lights start flickering (engine running idle at 550 RPM). When I see this (faint) flickering, I check my VM and at all occasions I see it drop down to 12 Volt. Increasing idle speed puts the needle back to 13.5 Volts. I release the gas pedal: voltage stays 13.5 Volts, no flickering.

      Some time ago, Wouter visited me and I of course was allowed to measure his battery voltage before and after start. From the top of my head, readings were 0.2 Volts higher (i.e. 12.5) before starting the engine and afterwards, the DVM rapidly indicated 14.2 to even 14.4 Volts. I never see these voltages, even not immediately after recharging the battery overnight. Charger is fine...please be sure I checked the voltage several times.
      This triggered my R&D heart to search for possible causes of the problem - and remedies.

      Perhaps all this is caused by the high energy consuming W12 engines... which would be food for the thought that the generator the Achilles heel of the W12 Phaeton.

      [QUOTE]While running, your ECM-measured voltages don't seem to be out of line with mine and Michael's. You seem to draw your battery down with the aux heater, but that wouldn't be totally out of line if your trips are too short to replenish the battery.[QUOTE/]

      It actually doesn't matter whether I make 5 km or 500 km trips.

      Your Midtronics measured battery voltage of 12.1-12.2V when testing would reflect about 40-50% charged for an open-circuit resting battery. But, $5 says your tech didn't disconnect it from the car, and all sorts of stuff will be awake with the trunk open. A measurement under unknown load doesn't really reflect its state of charge. I'll take a measurement of mine later to compare.
      The Midtronics operating principle can't work when the battery isn't isolated from the car. That device injects a "multitude of frequencies" in order to measure the conductivity of the battery. The measured conductivities are somehow proportional to the CCA value of the battery. The Midtronics would be easily able to detect that the battery is still connected, based on the same measuring principle. And alert the VW technician who carried out these measurements.

      This leaves your wandering dash panel voltmeter. My dash panel seems happy to indicate 14V on the dot for anything roughly 13.0V and above that I've seen, and you say you're getting up into that range - although it would be worth using VCDS to check the dash panel itself rather than the ECM.
      So I am probably the only one who has a (Euro-only?) VM which actually reads correctly (with +0.2 Volt error. Another explanation is that the VM is connected to the generator itself instead of the battery.

      Do you have a full-car auto-scan you can email me? I wonder if the dash panel voltmeter is not supposed to be stabilized for a car in your market, or if you did any custom recoding or it has odd firmware? VW does customize dash panel and other behavior by market. I know I'm grasping at straws (USA expression), but let's compare our controller part numbers and coding and such.
      I just sent you a PM with some logs. I did recode things, but only the usual, i.e. seat belt warning chimes etc.

      Willem

    17. Member n968412L's Avatar
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      04-19-2012 04:53 PM #42
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post
      Mike's V6 TDI voltage seems to be reporting the normalised feed to the voltmeter rather than the Power Supply voltage.

      Chris
      Hi Chris - I think that assumes that the panel voltmeter really is a voltmeter... I bet it's not!

      Not pondered all Willem's trends yet.... all jolly confusing!

      M

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      04-21-2012 02:31 PM #43
      I think that assumes that the panel voltmeter really is a voltmeter... I bet it's not!
      Ahh, what in this life is what it seems? The news is all spin-doctored, photos are all airbrushed, reality is virtual, and voltmeters are pulse-width modulated energy-to-angular-rotation converters!

      Chris

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      04-22-2012 07:29 AM #44
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post
      Ahh, what in this life is what it seems? The news is all spin-doctored, photos are all airbrushed, reality is virtual, and voltmeters are pulse-width modulated energy-to-angular-rotation converters!

      Chris
      Absolutely! For instance, when you take a look at your odometer, you will see that the scale is not linear, although at first glance there is nothing odd with it. The angle displacement of the needle is proportional to the speed up to 80 km/h, i.e. each +10 km/h causes the same positive angle displacement of the meter. From 80 km/h to 100 km/h causes the needle to rotate the same way as from 70 to 80. And above 200 km/h, each additional step is 30 km/h instead of 20 km/h.
      The result is that, while zero and 320 are neatly positioned at symmetrical positions with respect to the 100 km/h, which is then in the centre of the scale. Apparently, the digital information is converted/adapted to the scale of the odometer to make this all happen.

      Controller 17 (Instruments) contains various information which is presented in the instrument cluster. One piece of information, in group 004, seems to be the 004,1 Voltage at Instrument Cluster. The reported voltage is exactly the same as presented by the dash panel voltmeter. The resolution is 0.1 Volt, opposed to the resolution of the voltages as reported by the other controllers, i.e. the ECM, the Battery Monitor controller etc. (0.05 V)
      In VCDS, this group 004-1 voltage is clarified by the text "generator voltage".
      In my own car, the group 4 voltage is a little higher than the voltage as reported by the battery monitor and the ECM when the engine is running. When the ignition is on while the engine is off, this voltage is slightly lower than the battery voltage. In both cases (engine running and ignition on), the group 4 voltage of the instrument cluster is identical to the dash panel meter reading.

      After I recharged the battery overnight, I got readings near 14 Volts (Controller 17, group 4). Dash VM's needle solidly on 14 Volts during 5 minutes of driving with all electrical consumers off.
      As soon as I switched on A/C and the rear heater, the voltage dropped to 13.5 Volts.

      Willem

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      04-22-2012 08:24 AM #45
      Hi Willem,

      Just for interest, what is the VCDS scan text on your Address 17: Instruments (Combi Instrument)?

      Chris

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      04-22-2012 10:43 AM #46
      As you know, I originally started this thread to be able to diagnose the electrical system using tools which we have. VCDS seemed a perfect tool for this purpose, however up till now, more questions arose than were answered. One question is answered though, and this relates to the way the generator recharges the battery while driving. The charging process doesn't seem to be different from any other car (as far as the LH-convience battery is concerned). The generator is tightly connected to the battery - the only difference is that there is about 6 meters of 50 sq. mm cable between generator and battery.
      The output of a our generator is controlled by an internal regulator, which in turn is only controlled by the output voltage itself. It tries to maintain the output to 14.2 to 14.4 Volts (the float charge voltage) and any deviation from this setting is corrected by the regulator, which in turn increases the DF (dynamo field) current. Only when the electrical load is very high, this voltage may not be maintained. This may happen when the engine is running idle (stationary) at for instance 550 RPM. To overcome this situation, the Central Electrical Controller sends a signal to the ECM, to increase the RPM to 650 RPM (in the case of a W12).

      This is all perfectly understandable, but still, the charging system isn't different from a car produced in the 80's. What is different though, is the way how it is discharged. For instance, the 30+ computers already awake when someone touches the door handle, not to mention when one unlocks the door or even the trunk lid. Massive power consumption of all controllers, randomly taking energy from the battery, prevents proper battery diagnosis. And despite the use of "smart" diagnostic tools, mixed with whatever intelligence the technician (unintentionally) might throw in the game, I think that the battery/generator is best determined by means of good old proven tools, like volt and amp meters, possibly complemented by more advanced tools, such as oscilloscopes.

      The most simple tests, still performed by many car technicians, are the OCV test and the alternator output test. The first test is almost impossible to perform on the Phaeton, because the trunk lid needs to be opened, causing immediate and hefty drain of the LH battery. In my opinion, I found a better location to perform this test, which is right under the bonnet, next to the jump start post.

      All you need to for this test is to purchase a 20 $ DMM and all you need to do is to lift one little panel under the hood, and lift a red cap, covering two major electrical junctions:



      These 2 junctions are connecting multiple major electrical components.
      The left one (seen from the front of the car) is also called the jump-start post. Connected to the starter AND to the starter battery.
      The right one is the "TV22" junction. There is just one meter of 75 sq.mm wire between this junction and the generator. The aft side of this junction (not visible on this photo) connects directly to the battery via a 50 sq. mm wire.

      The procedure to test OCV and alternator voltage is pretty simple.


      1. When you plan to do this test, pull the handle for opening the bonnet prior to leaving and locking the car.
      2. Wait at least 10 minutes (to allow out-run of processes like coolant fans and pumps).
      3. Find paper and pen to make notes of all the readings.
      4. Now open the bonnet and connect your DMM (selector set to DC Voltage) as per below photo.
      5. This is the OCV (open cell voltage). Above 12.6 Volts indicates >90% charged (12.8 is fully charged).
      6. Now enter your car (bonnet still open), do NOT start the car, but switch on ignition. Your dash panel will now light up all warning lights, as usual.
      7. Turn A/C all the way to the left (0). This will shut it down completely.
      8. Observe the dash panel voltmeter: it will read between 12 and 12.5 Volts.
      9. Now, again measure the same TV22 junction voltage with the DMM. It will probably read approximately 0.2 to 0.3 Volts lower.
      10. Start the engine.
      11. Observe the dash panel meter. It will first drop a bit, then hesitantly climb to 14 Volts within 10 seconds.
      12. Now, again measure the same TV22 junction voltage with the DMM. It should at least read 14.0 Volts.



      My own set-up looked like as in the photo below:



      Above is the OCV (open cell voltage) which looks OK to me. I would have liked to see 12.8 Volts, since I had recharged the battery the night before, but I still was happy to see that this voltage was 0.3 Volts more than what the dealer had measured with his intelligent Midtronic device at the battery in the trunk.
      For 80's cars, the alternator voltage is usually between 14.2 and 14.4 Volts. I measured 14.01 Volts with A/C off and 13.7 with A/C on. In my case, the rear heater (PTC's) draw a considerable amount of current. I guess that the engine itself already is demanding a lot of electrical energy.

      Of course, you may wish to inspect the starter battery as well. Below is my "OCV" reading.



      In this case, it is much higher than 12.8 Volts. The reason is that a trustworthy OCV reading can only be obtained when the battery is slightly discharged prior to taking the reading. An OCV reading of higher than 12.8 Volts indicates that the battery was fully charged, but never loaded after charging and is perfectly normal. Any reading between 12.8 and 14.2 Volts can be expected.

      Willem
      Last edited by WillemBal; 04-24-2012 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Corrected "discharged" in last line into "charged"

    22. Member WillemBal's Avatar
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      04-22-2012 10:51 AM #47
      Quote Originally Posted by Paximus View Post
      Hi Willem,
      Just for interest, what is the VCDS scan text on your Address 17: Instruments (Combi Instrument)?
      Hi Chris,

      My last scan, made just shortly after my dash panel meter (possibly also the odometer) was completely dead, showed this result:

      Address 17: Instruments Labels: 3D0-920-xxx-17.lbl
      Part No: 3D0 920 881 E
      Component: KOMBIINSTRUMENT RB4 0321
      Coding: 0005111
      Shop #: WSC 00420 211 102108
      VCID: 2854FAFEA4A90D5C

      1 Fault Found
      00457 - Control Module for Network (J519)
      004 - No Signal/Communication - Intermittent

      Does it trigger a "Eureka" moment?

      Willem

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      04-22-2012 10:58 AM #48


      OH MY GOD, I think I'll buy a FIAT....................................

      Stu

    24. Member WillemBal's Avatar
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      04-22-2012 02:56 PM #49
      Quote Originally Posted by EnglishPhaeton View Post

      OH MY GOD, I think I'll buy a FIAT....................................
      Stu

      Hi Stu,
      Don't forget to watch this Instruction Video before you buy one...

    25. Member EnglishPhaeton's Avatar
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      04-22-2012 11:24 PM #50
      Quote Originally Posted by WillemBal View Post

      Hi Stu,
      Don't forget to watch this Instruction Video before you buy one...
      So Willem,

      is this the problem that you have with your Phaeton? If so I suggest a much longer piece of string to start her up on a morning!



      Stu

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