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#1983065 - 08/11/10 03:55 PM Can vehicle run without battery?
Jeff3126 Offline


Registered: 09/06/09
Posts: 181
Loc: S FL
I had to jump my father's E-150 today. We got into an argument about the battery. He says you can run a car without the battery and while running, the alternator alone can run lights, radio, etc. I told hime no, the alternator charges the battery and the accesories are run off the battery.

Who is correct? Thanks.
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#1983076 - 08/11/10 04:04 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: Jeff3126]
Quest Offline


Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 7358
Loc: beaver land EH?
Once you manage to get your car/vehicle started by using a storage battery, the engine should keep the alternator running to the point where it(the alternator itself) shall be able to provide enough power to keep itself running.

in other words: once you successfully turn over your engine and fired up, the alternator itself should be capable of taking over the task of supplying enough electricity to keep the engine running (ignition module(s), computer control, etc.) and you shall be able to undo the battery from that point onwards to prove his point.

Q.
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#1983079 - 08/11/10 04:06 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: Quest]
Quest Offline


Registered: 12/19/04
Posts: 7358
Loc: beaver land EH?
p.s. all other onboard/electrical accessories run off of the same power source (alternator) where it charges the battery + ignitions+ all the accessories combined. Battery only serve for the sake of turning over the starter motor while still provide enough juice for all the computer controls + ignition controls.
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#1983080 - 08/11/10 04:06 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: Jeff3126]
VaderSS Offline


Registered: 06/10/02
Posts: 2077
Loc: Cordelia, CA
Semantics... It won't start without a power source of some sort, and it won't run for long without an alternator.

Most spark ignition powered vehicles will run without the battery connected, but doing so can result in electrical surges that are not good for the electrical items.
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#1983081 - 08/11/10 04:07 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: VaderSS]
brianl703 Offline


Registered: 05/07/04
Posts: 10491
Loc: Manassas, VA

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#1983082 - 08/11/10 04:08 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: Jeff3126]
calvin1 Offline


Registered: 08/08/07
Posts: 779
Loc: Indiana, USA
It depends on the vehicle. Some only use the battery to power the starter and from there on it's just along for the ride. Others, especially newer ones use the battery as a reference voltage and require it to be in circuit for the car to operate properly. For example, I know for a fact that I can start my 2003 Taurus just fine off jumper cables with no battery. It will even sit there and idle and you can put it in gear and start to drive off but at about 15MPH it dies. I had a dead cell in my battery and I was doing everything I could to just get over to the parts store.


Edited by calvin1 (08/11/10 04:11 PM)
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#1983083 - 08/11/10 04:08 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: brianl703]
brianl703 Offline


Registered: 05/07/04
Posts: 10491
Loc: Manassas, VA
In some cars the alternator is, under some conditions and especially at idle, not capable of supplying the full electrical demands of the vehicle.

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#1983086 - 08/11/10 04:11 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: brianl703]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13080
Loc: Chicago, IL
The battery provides some level of protection in the rest of the electrical system from surges and drops. It would run but I can't really recommend it. Depending on the car's wiring, it may not work without the battery.
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#1983088 - 08/11/10 04:13 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: brianl703]
Jeff3126 Offline


Registered: 09/06/09
Posts: 181
Loc: S FL
I call it a draw. My father used to have a motorcycle in the '70s that could run off the magneto only with no battery. Thanks for the replies.

BTW I started my ranger, pulled the neg cable off and the vehicle continued to run. Turned the lights on, and she shut off.


Edited by Jeff3126 (08/11/10 04:15 PM)
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#1983095 - 08/11/10 04:21 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: Jeff3126]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 5242
Loc: Canada
"I call it a draw."


Poor looser?

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#1983105 - 08/11/10 04:40 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: dparm]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 13517
Loc: OH
+1.
An old-school shade tree method of determining whether your problem was with the alternator or the battery was to start the engine and then disconect the negative cable from the batt.
If the thing continued running, and everything functioned with the lights on (horn, turn signals; high draw items IOW), then your problem was the batt. If the thing died at once, your problem was the alternator.
I have always though that disconecting the battery from a running vehicle was a bad idea.
There are VOMs for a reason, and a simple one is pretty cheap, and has a host of uses.
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#1983117 - 08/11/10 04:56 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: fdcg27]
Panzerman Offline


Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 3451
Loc: Port Orange, Florida
I would say you need the battery in all newer vehicles. The alternator runs 13.5 volts to the battery which then sends out a stable amount of electricity to feed everything, I think unhooking a battery would "hopefully" blow out a fuse for the computer and all the electronics, if not it would fry alot of stuff by force feeding it high unregulated voltage. I started a Polaris atv without a battery and it blew every light bulb, because the battery was removed to stop the unwanted voltage. Bad idea. Cars can run without the alternator, and alot of stock car drivers take off the belts to get more power and just charge the battery after the race for the next start.
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#1983121 - 08/11/10 05:03 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: Panzerman]
highmilegeguy Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 114
Loc: michigan
No.

A battery is an integral part of the electrical system.

Removing the bat from the system when running will damage or destroy components.

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#1983166 - 08/11/10 05:57 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: highmilegeguy]
ItsuMitsubishi Offline


Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 421
Loc: Ajax, ON
Installing a large capacitor into the electrical system of a car works wonders, and keeps things safe!
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#1983195 - 08/11/10 06:26 PM Re: Can vehicle run without battery? [Re: expat]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 30846
Loc: ME
There are milliseconds between diodes in the rectifier when zero current is being produced. One would be relying on the filtering capacitors in the radio etc to backfeed the rest of the car's electricity during that time.

In "ice road truckers" they were doing a routine inspection on an always-idling truck and discovered the batteries fell out and were somewhere on the tundra...

My old mercedes diesel would have run without any electricity at all, roll started, if it had a long enough run to build up heat without glow plugs. Popular escape vehicle for the EMP fearing crowd...

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