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 Post subject: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:33 pm
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I have recently noticed my dash and dome lights flickering. At idle the voltage across the NEG and POS terminal is about 13.2-13.4. When I roll up/down my windows the flickering gets worse. When I crank my heater fan from 0 to highspeed the headlights and radio go out for a split second and my ABS and TRACS light flashes on my dash. I have never really had any battery issues - cold starts are strong.

Can this be a sign of a poor alternator? I only have 180,000 kilometers on it. How can I confirm a weak alternator or other problems? Not very much of an electrical guy. Thanks

1998 Volvo V70 GLT 5 spd manual transmission


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:07 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Location: Calgary, Ab
At some point in the wiring diagram the power from the battery splits in two. The majority of it (thicker cable) goes directly to the starter solenoid and the rest goes to the fuse box. Many times when you encounter problems like this, it is from insufficient power delivery to the fuse box or from the fuse box to one terminal on your ignition switch, or the ignition switch itself. It could also be a common ground point, but since many devices are locally grounded you might not encounter this, depending on the design of the harness.

The way I perform these checks is to clip one terminal of a DVOM onto the positive battery terminal and move the other down the line. Set the DVOM to 12v DC range. Because the voltage at the fuse box should be (ideally) identical to the voltage at the battery, you should read 0.0v when testing like this. Realistically you might find 0.5v drop from connection and line loss. If you read more than this, you could have a problem somewhere along that section. I'm betting you'll find it right at the battery clamp if it's ever been replaced, or somewhere along that section.


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:54 pm 
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Ugly Duck wrote:
At some point in the wiring diagram the power from the battery splits in two. The majority of it (thicker cable) goes directly to the starter solenoid and the rest goes to the fuse box. Many times when you encounter problems like this, it is from insufficient power delivery to the fuse box or from the fuse box to one terminal on your ignition switch, or the ignition switch itself. It could also be a common ground point, but since many devices are locally grounded you might not encounter this, depending on the design of the harness.

The way I perform these checks is to clip one terminal of a DVOM onto the positive battery terminal and move the other down the line. Set the DVOM to 12v DC range. Because the voltage at the fuse box should be (ideally) identical to the voltage at the battery, you should read 0.0v when testing like this. Realistically you might find 0.5v drop from connection and line loss. If you read more than this, you could have a problem somewhere along that section. I'm betting you'll find it right at the battery clamp if it's ever been replaced, or somewhere along that section.


Thanks for the reply.

I have not done exactly what you have said above yet but I will tomorrow night. So far I have:

-cleaned battery connections and chassis grounds
-used an amp meter between alternator and battery - getting 35 amps w/o accessories. 60 amps with all my accessories
-tested voltage between pos and neg terminals. getting 13.6 at idle/ 13.2 with all accessories.

I should also add that rolling down the windows makes my dash lights really dim. Also sometimes when I turn the fan to full (from off) the car will almost stall and the TRACS and ABS light will flash quickly and my radio will turn off.


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:56 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:40 pm
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Sounds pretty classic to me. Good battery, good power to starter and such, but insufficient current flow to fuse box or ignition switch or something. Power windows or heater fan draw enough current to drop the voltage, which starves the ECM and the engine stumbles and/or stalls. My 745s were succeptable to a more localized situation, where triggering the power mirrors or sunroof would wipe the rear window when the switch was released. I never bothered looking for it.


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:43 am
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Location: Regina, SK
What Matt said: http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=35208

Rabin


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:57 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:40 pm
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One more thing: the voltage drop will show up the most when you load the bad circuit, like when your heater fan is on. Without any draw, there will be no drop. Seems logical enough, but many would miss this distinction.


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:00 pm 
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I have now done the following checks (all while car is idling, no accessories):

-POS lead multimeter to POS alternator > NEG lead multimeter to POS starter = 0V
-POS lead multimeter to POS starter > NEG lead multimeter to POS battery = 0.9V (seems like a voltage drop)
-POS lead multimeter to POS starter > NEG lead multimeter to POS fuse box = 1.2V (even more of a voltage drop)

I have also noticed that my POS batter cable is extremely hot at the battery connection. I cannot touch it. It is also hot at the fuse box. I ran a separate battery wire from starter to batter and its now cool, but the fuse box POS is still very hot. Ill have to replace that too.

Local parts store tested the battery and its good but he said it just needs a charge so Im thinking alternator. It was 12.2V across the terminals.

Can someone tell me how many amps a Volvo alternator is supposed to put out?


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:48 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:03 pm
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Location: T2C
I'm thinking new battery cable. It should not be hot. It gets hot when it gets all corroded up inside. It takes power to create heat...

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'67 123GT
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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:30 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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hamburgler wrote:
I have now done the following checks (all while car is idling, no accessories):

-POS lead multimeter to POS alternator > NEG lead multimeter to POS starter = 0V
-POS lead multimeter to POS starter > NEG lead multimeter to POS battery = 0.9V (seems like a voltage drop)
-POS lead multimeter to POS starter > NEG lead multimeter to POS fuse box = 1.2V (even more of a voltage drop)

I have also noticed that my POS batter cable is extremely hot at the battery connection. I cannot touch it. It is also hot at the fuse box. I ran a separate battery wire from starter to batter and its now cool, but the fuse box POS is still very hot. Ill have to replace that too.

Local parts store tested the battery and its good but he said it just needs a charge so Im thinking alternator. It was 12.2V across the terminals.

Can someone tell me how many amps a Volvo alternator is supposed to put out?


1.2 volts is a lot of drain considering your accessory load and the short distance. Though you can live with some, I’d prefer to see closer to 0.2v total drop to that point.

Now that you’ve got the hang of testing, you need to verify that the voltage drop between the starter and battery has been reduced with the new cable. Then once you’re happy with the power the battery is getting, you can stop testing from the starter and start testing from the battery. See how much loss you’re getting between the battery and fuse box now – if it’s only 0.3v it’s not too bad, but I’m betting it’s more when you’re drawing full accessory load. Yes, these things can warm up with a lot of draw but they shouldn’t be too hot to touch. Check your battery ground to chassis using the same method – one lead of DVOM on battery NEG, the other to chassis and engine grounds. No distance is too small to test with this method, by the way. You can test the length of a wire, or from the wire to the ring/spade terminal that’s clamped to it, or from the terminal to the connection it makes with the next device. Battery clamp to battery terminal is another good place to lose some voltage, but you’ve cleaned them already so I don’t think that’s the problem in this case. I usually test between POS and NEG battery posts and then immediately between POS and NEG battery clamps, just as a routine check whenever I’m checking alternator output. A quick NEG to chassis and NEG to engine test follows, along with an alternator to battery POS test.

Be suspicious of every connection – between battery post and clamp, between battery clamp and wire, between one end of the wire and the other, between the other end of the wire and the ring terminal, between the ring terminal and the starter solenoid, etc. You can have a break or a bad connection at any of these points. Testing with an ohmmeter will test the resistance at each of these points, but on the higher current wires you may not see a significant loss by testing this way – you need to load it up and check the voltage loss. You can also use an infared temp gun if you can isolate the wire enough to be sure that it’s the only thing the gun is picking up, and if the loss is great enough.

Testing the battery is a waste if you’re getting good strong cold starts – the battery is only a buffer while the engine is running, generally accepting more amps than it discharges (recharging) while the engine is running. The alternator MAY have a blown rectifier circuit which will put out a certain amount of alternating current (that’s what the alternator naturally generates, but it uses a rectifier to create direct current and a regulator to … regulate it), but if that happens it’ll be at a much higher frequency than your eyes can detect as flickering in the lights. You can’t see a lightbulb flicker at 60 hz, and your alternator is spinning about 40-50 times per second and has at least 3 cycles per rotation, so more like 120-150 hz of flicker. I don’t believe the alternator is your problem either – it’s still jamming out the volts and amps, so I think you can rule it out for now. The typical mid-late ‘90s Volvo alternator puts out around 90 or 100 amps, by the way, while regulating at around 13.5-14 volts.

So the next tests I’d like to see are (both at idle and with full accessories):
ALT POS to BATT POS post – if voltage drop is more than 0.2v, break this test down at each connection.
BATT NEG post to a good clean chassis ground – if voltage drop is more than 0.2v, break it down.
BATT POS to fuse box (there may be a fuseable link in this line, which increases the drop slightly)
ALT POS to fuse box
Fuse box inlet to ignition switch main power

If you don’t find a loss of more than 0.1-0.2v at any of those tests and your dome lights are still dimming when you use power windows or heater fan, we are probably barking up the wrong tree. The headlights, TRACS, and obviously your engine are all running through your ignition switch, but your dome and glovebox lights are not. I’m pretty sure the ignition switch gets its power from the same place the battery ties into the fuse box, but I’m not sure what happens in the later cars with relays or whatever else might be happening to isolate things.


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:33 pm
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Quote:

So the next tests I’d like to see are (both at idle and with full accessories):
ALT POS to BATT POS post – if voltage drop is more than 0.2v, break this test down at each connection.
BATT NEG post to a good clean chassis ground – if voltage drop is more than 0.2v, break it down.
BATT POS to fuse box (there may be a fuseable link in this line, which increases the drop slightly)
ALT POS to fuse box
Fuse box inlet to ignition switch main power



Wow great reply. You seem to know your stuff. Ill get you those numbers tonight. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:16 pm 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:03 pm
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Location: T2C
hamburgler wrote:
You seem to know your stuff.


:lol:

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'67 123GT
'67 122s
'99 AMG E55T


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:01 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:40 pm
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Location: Calgary, Ab
Pylon wrote:
hamburgler wrote:
You seem to know your stuff.


:lol:


Got him fooled, don't I?


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:33 pm
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hamburgler wrote:
Quote:

So the next tests I’d like to see are (both at idle and with full accessories):
ALT POS to BATT POS post – if voltage drop is more than 0.2v, break this test down at each connection.
BATT NEG post to a good clean chassis ground – if voltage drop is more than 0.2v, break it down.
BATT POS to fuse box (there may be a fuseable link in this line, which increases the drop slightly)
ALT POS to fuse box
Fuse box inlet to ignition switch main power



Wow great reply. You seem to know your stuff. Ill get you those numbers tonight. Thanks!


I dont know where the ignition switch is but below is my fuse box:

Image

ALT POS to BATT POS post = 0.2V
BATT NEG post to a good clean chassis ground = 0.0V
BATT POS to fuse box = 0.3V (no fuse that I could see unless its wrapped up in electiral tape and plastic?)
ALT POS to fuse box = 0.5V

All accessories were on (high beam, heated seats, fog lights, high fan, radio, dome lights)

Is 0.3V too much loss from battery to fuse box? Would it cause dash and dome lights to flicker?


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:52 am 
Haha, I just built a W24 Octo-Turbo, now what?!
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Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:40 pm
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No, and they're still doing it? Is the fuse box still getting hot?


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 Post subject: Re: dash and dome lights flickering 1998 volvo
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:33 pm
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Ugly Duck wrote:
No, and they're still doing it? Is the fuse box still getting hot?


Yes still doing it and the fuse box is burning hot (not red hot, but I can't touch it with fingers). The cable from fuse box to battery is warm on battery side - not nearly as hot.

Something else going on in the fuse box then? I have also noticed that when letting the clutch out to start moving the car, the headlights will dim for a split second. It also happens when I switch to brights, turn on fog lights, turn on fan, or turn on dome lights. It seems to be hotter with the more accessories I have on so I have been driving to work (10 min) with nothing on until I get this fixed.


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