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Discussion Starter #1
Its been really cold up here in Ontario the last couple of weeks. I have been watching the voltmeter in the truck closely and noticed there is alot of load starting the truck (glow plugs,starter), lasting until the grid heater shuts off. The system has a hard time maintaining 11 volts (from dash meter) during this time and jumps over 14 volts when the heater shuts off. I use the truck mostly for short trips to work at this time of the year and am concerned about how much power is drained from the batteries on each start-up vs. the charging time. With these loads can I drive 10Km to and from work for a week and still expect to have enough power to start the truck (so far so good). I know I should take it out for some good run's, but I can't do it every day. Any thought's?
 

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Diesel Specialist, Formerly SSonnentag
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I heard years ago that an average start drains a battery by 3%. I have no idea how valid this is or what effect dual batteries and a diesel engine (harder to start, glow plugs, etc) have on this percentage, but its a place to start. I would say that any time your meter indicates less than about 11.7 to 11.9 volts your batteries are being discharged. You need in excess of 12 volts in order to charge the batteries.
 

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That is normal operation. I am sure you are able to charge the batteries on the way to work. I travel about 9 miles to work and never had any issues with mine.

Do you use the block heater at home at night? That may help.

I know when I used the block heater at 20F, the warm up cycles were much shorter, not sure if it helps with the temperature you guy's receive.
 

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Sure, 10Km should be plenty depending on your commute. Battery charging is more a function of time than speed or distance. Depending on the status of the batteries they will only 'accept' a charge at a maximum rate (30 amps for example) no matter what the capacity of the alternator may be. So, in this example, if your 10Km commute takes 1/2 hour through urban traffic, you could put 15 amp-hours of charge back in the batteries.

Driving 100Km/H is not necessarily better. You will get there in 1/10 hour. Your alternator would easily be capable of exceeding the maximum charge-rate but the excess alternator capacity is essentially unused. Because of the limited time, you only put 3 amp-hours of charge back in the batteries.

Now, before someone jumps on me, this is just a simplistic illustration and is not meant to be accurate because of the number of factors involved.
 

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My truck was having those types of problems last week. Ending up changing the alt and both batteries. I too have a short commute. What I have been doing is plugging in of course, letting warmup on high idle for the full 20-30 min (remote start) and then once I get to work I engage remote again and let it time out on high idle. Truck runs for close to an hour @ high idle. i thinks that the 10k may not be enuf to fully charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow! You go away for a few days and you end up on page 4. I had a hard time finding this. Thanks for your thoughts. I store the truck in a garage and don't plug it in. I figure its already warmer in the garage, I either install a timer or get up to plug it in, and that would only cover one start a day. The rest of the time the truck is parked outside were it can't be plugged in anyway. I think the best thing is the elevated idle. The voltmeter shows a noticeably higher voltage over regular idle during the warm-up and it is amazing how the truck warms up, including the tranny. I read on another thread that the grid heater draws 83 amps. I don't know what the glow plugs and starter draw, but they would use the batteries exclusively. I'm still concerned about the batteries and will try to give the truck a little more run time. My 10Km's only take about 10 minutes. Thanks.......
 

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Why not throw a battery charger on it once in a while? Maybe on the weekend when you don't have to go to work? I will do this once in a while if I notice the batteries getting a bit run down due to short trips. Works wonders, even if it is a bit of a pain...
 
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