Alternator -- Computer Controlled ... ? - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 06:10 AM
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Alternator -- Computer Controlled ... ?

G'day,
I was wondering if someone might be able to shed some light on this query I have.

I recently went and saw my local auto electrician to see if they were able to fit both an Anderson plug for my camper trailer to the rear of my 2012 Rav4 ... and ... a rear cigarette lighter socket (above the current one) that was connected to the battery via a shut-off solenoid ... so it would run whilst the car was turned off ... but would turn the fridge connected off to allow you to still start / crank the vehicle.

My auto electrician whilst saying that he's done heaps of late(r) model cars, he was fearful that the new Rav4 may have a computer controlled alternator.

His explanation of this was (similar) to the following :

1) the ECU reports on the current status of the battery and altenator.
2) ECU sets the charge at which the alternator should charge the battery .
3) Once the battery has been fully charged, the ECU *may* under certain contains let the alternator drop its charge from 14.5V to just above 12V.

My auto-electrician stressed that this was a big down fall, that would cause the fridge in the rear of my Rav4 (and battery in my camper when it's attached) to possibly go into shutdown mode due to low input power.

Because of this ECU controlled alternator output, he stressed I'd need a DC to DC converter (incl a shutoff solenoid) which retails for about $500 (Australian).

He did comment though, that if the alternator *WASN'T* ECU controlled we'd be able to get away with using a far cheaper unit (ie. $150 Aus)

I just wanted to check to see if anyone knew who / what controlled the alternator on this new Rav4.

Overall his cost for doing the rear cigarette lighter and anderson plug for the camper was all bar $1000 ... does anyone have any thoughts on this ... as I thought @ the time it was perhaps a little steep ...

Many thanks,

Cheers,
TC
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 04:23 PM
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There have been issues with the alternator charge dropping out on a few members cars (mine included) when charging is viewed realtime (like with Scangauge). I've seen battery voltages as low as 11.9V. So, in my case, I don't think the ECU is controlling it. I believe it to be a flaky voltage regulator. RAVs also have a decoupler pulley that may play a part in this.

2007 Red Limited V6 4WD
w/ Tow package
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#3 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonycrouch View Post
Overall his cost for doing the rear cigarette lighter and anderson plug for the camper was all bar $1000 ... does anyone have any thoughts on this ...
Yeah, my thought is that you got robbed, mate. I don't know the prevailing prices for that kind of work in Oz, but that sounds mighty high for a power point and a trailer connector...

As to your alternator question, I don't know the answer, but maybe you could ride around with a voltmeter and see what happens under various conditions.

It's actually my sister's, but I'm the family wrench.
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