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Old 14 May 2011, 11:02 pm
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Default Battery Light

I have a 2003 PT Cruiser Touring Edition. My battery light came on while driving this week. Installed a new battery and the light still came on while driving so now I have a new alternator. The battery light still comes on. What else could be causing this? The car seems to be running smoother but I'm afraid to drive it to much, especially with my daughter in the car, as I don't want to get stranded on the road.
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Old 15 May 2011, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Battery Light

You need to do the "key dance" and tell us what codes you're throwing, that or go to Advance Auto parts or one of the other parts retailers and ask them to diagnose. They will read your codes for free, and if not let us know and we'll call them and tell them they are criminals (snicker - they all do this for free!).

On the "key dance", you turn your key to the first detent (first click), then turn to the position just before start, then back one detent, then up again, and back again. Basically, you turn up, back, up, back, up and back, that last back you will watch your odometer for the codes it may display. Not sure if I explained that right as I never could seem to make it sound right...lol... one day I'm gonna video that key dance....lmao....

Need to know what codes your PT is throwing so we can help you track down the problem. Otherwise, you can always try disconnecting one battery cable for 5 minutes to allow the system to reset, then reapply and see if it's still there.
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Old 15 May 2011, 08:03 am
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Default Re: Battery Light

Here's the "key dance" procedures.

How to retrieve fault codes.

Agree with Chromenut on taking the PT over to one of the auto stores but not just to read the codes (if any are stored) but have the charging system checked. For FREE they will check to see if that new alternator is working properly and they can also check to see if that new battery is good with no bad cells. Even though both parts are new, doesn't mean wherever you bought them from didn't pull a bad one off the shelf or that whoever hooked up the new alternator didn't screw up the job like leave a wire off.

Why wasn't this all checked out when the battery light came back on after the new parts were installed?
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Old 15 May 2011, 08:17 am
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Default Re: Battery Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinity View Post
I have a 2003 PT Cruiser Touring Edition. My battery light came on while driving this week. Installed a new battery and the light still came on while driving so now I have a new alternator. The battery light still comes on. What else could be causing this? The car seems to be running smoother but I'm afraid to drive it to much, especially with my daughter in the car, as I don't want to get stranded on the road.
Just a little info for you. When the battery light comes on in most vehicles (idiot lights are what I call them. Because I would rather have a volt meter.) It means that the alternator is not charging. It does not sense a bad cell on the batter or really anything to do with the battery.

Bad Battery = car will not start, slow to start.

Bad Alternator = car might start from battery and will run until battery is dead. Lights will be dim and the more accesories you run the faster it will die.

Now, when your alternator goes out it can also take a battery out. Depending on how old the battery is. An automotive battery is not designed to be fully discharged. They are designed to store energy but to be replenished near full capacity most of the time.

When replacing an alternator you need to make sure that the battery is fully charged BEFORE hooking up and starting the car with a new alternator. I have seen many times where someone has replaced an alternator with a mostly dead battery and it takes out the voltage regulator in the alternator out right now. All that work just to do it again.

Most alternator manufacturers will put this info in with the new alternator.

Have the charging system checked. But, my bet is that the alternator needs to be replaced again.

If you have a volt meter I can give you instruction on how to check the charging system yourself.
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Old 15 May 2011, 08:48 am
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Default Re: Battery Light

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Originally Posted by Krueger86 View Post
An automotive battery is not designed to be fully discharged. They are designed to store energy but to be replenished near full capacity most of the time.

Good info, thanks. Can you go a little bit more into what you said above? Does it mean the battery's had it if it does get fully discharged or what? How about a slow trickle charge (say 2 amps) by some alternate source to get it back to a full charge if it does become fully discharged? And how about the thousands of people that get a dead battery jumped from a good battery and off they go letting the battery get up to full charge while driving?
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 15 May 2011 at 08:52 am.
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Old 15 May 2011, 10:05 am
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Default Re: Battery Light

Thanks guys for the replies. I did the key dance and I got a code of P2503. The person who replaced the alternator was a mechanic but he did it at our house. Since the battery was new it should have been fully charged but like you guys said it could have been a bad battery. I drove the car only up the street and back to see if the light would come on and after it did I just parked it until the alternator could be changed.

Before the battery and alternator was replaced I did notice the radio acting like it didn't want to work and the windows rolled up very slowly. Last night after I drove it up the street and back it didn't do that. I'm still going to take it to an auto parts place today today to have the charging system checked.
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Old 15 May 2011, 04:30 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
Good info, thanks. Can you go a little bit more into what you said above? Does it mean the battery's had it if it does get fully discharged or what? How about a slow trickle charge (say 2 amps) by some alternate source to get it back to a full charge if it does become fully discharged? And how about the thousands of people that get a dead battery jumped from a good battery and off they go letting the battery get up to full charge while driving?
Depending on the age of a battery... completely discharging the battery can ruin the battery. Doesn't happen all the time. But, it does happen. Just one more reason why people get so confused about checking their charging system.

For example, an alternator fails and a person keeps driving the vehicle until it dies. Gets it jumped and drives some more. Maybe even does this a couple more times. They get the alternator replaced and the battery fails, either immediately or within the next few weeks.

Automotive batteries are not designed like deep cell batteries. Deep cell batteries are made to be fully discharged and then charged. Automotive batteries are not.

HowStuffWorks "What's the difference between a normal car battery and a deep-cycle battery?"


Quote:
People who have recreational vehicles (RVs) and boats are familiar with deep cycle batteries. These batteries are also common in golf carts and large solar power systems (the sun produces power during the day and the batteries store some of the power for use at night). If you have read the article How Emergency Power Systems Work, then you also know that an alternative to gasoline-powered generators is an inverter powered by one or more deep cycle batteries.

Both car batteries and deep cycle batteries are lead-acid batteries that use exactly the same chemistry for their operation (see How Batteries Work for more information). The difference is in the way that the batteries optimize their design:

A car's battery is designed to provide a very large amount of current for a short period of time. This surge of current is needed to turn the engine over during starting. Once the engine starts, the alternator provides all the power that the car needs, so a car battery may go through its entire life without ever being drained more than 20 percent of its total capacity. Used in this way, a car battery can last a number of years. To achieve a large amount of current, a car battery uses thin plates in order to increase its surface area.
A deep cycle battery is designed to provide a steady amount of current over a long period of time. A deep cycle battery can provide a surge when needed, but nothing like the surge a car battery can. A deep cycle battery is also designed to be deeply discharged over and over again (something that would ruin a car battery very quickly). To accomplish this, a deep cycle battery uses thicker plates.

A car battery typically has two ratings:

CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) - The number of amps that the battery can produce at 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) for 30 seconds
RC (Reserve Capacity) - The number of minutes that the battery can deliver 25 amps while keeping its voltage above 10.5 volts

Typically, a deep cycle battery will have two or three times the RC of a car battery, but will deliver one-half or three-quarters the CCAs. In addition, a deep cycle battery can withstand several hundred total discharge/recharge cycles, while a car battery is not designed to be totally discharged.
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Old 15 May 2011, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light

Went to an auto parts store today to test. There isn't enough power. Going to try putting in a new alternator in case the one installed was bad. The guy at the store also mentioned a bad ground wire. Can anyone explain what he means and where the wire could be?
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Old 15 May 2011, 11:29 pm
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Default Re: Battery Light

Trinity, the guy may be talking about the negative gound cable that attaches to your negative battery post (that's the post on the battery that is on your right as you're standing in front of the car with the hood up). You have a clamp on this side of your battery (negative side) that attaches to a wire (a fat one), and this wire also attaches to a bolt that attaches to the inside of your fender well. If the ground wire is corroded, loose, or not attached to the fender well at a place that has bare metal, then your electrical system is NOT grounded.

Lift up the top of your air cleaner housing and check this wire yourself. Get a flashlight to see if it's corroded, if necessary. Trace the wire (not a long distance) to where it attaches to the fender well. See if it's a good ground, in other words.

Tim
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Old 17 May 2011, 09:52 am
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Default Re: Battery Light

i have a 03 pt turbo, and the battery is also on. replace the battery, alternator.went to 2 part store to have the battery,alternator,starter.all checked out 100%.THE PROBLEM IS WHEN IDLING THE HEADLIGHTS ARE FLICKERING, ANYTHING INSIDE THE CAR IS FLICKERING.I.E.DIGITAL ODOMETER.ALSO THE ENGINE IS NOT STABLE, IT IS GOING UP AND DOWN AND UP AND DOWN. ANY TECH IDEAS TO RESOLVE THIS???
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