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  1. #1
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow The Polaris PWC Battery and Charging system

    This began as a reply to another member's questions, but I thought it might be useful to split it out into a separate technical thread.

    The intention is to outline the basics of the battery system in Polaris PWC, primarily those with carburetor engines.

    How the battery system works, how to do basic diagnostics, common problems and fixes.

    Note: When diagnosing battery and charging system problems, you must use a multi-meter, not the MFD or MFI display's voltage reading.
    Polaris recommends Fluke brand multi-meters, such as the Fluke 77 series. Any brand of meter can be used for battery and charging system diagnostics, provided it is reasonably accurate.

    If using a multi-meter is new to you, take some time to learn how to use it before working on your PWC with it.
    Typical battery voltages when the engine is running

    The battery voltage while the engine is running should be approximately 14.5 volts DC. That is the sign of a properly operating charging system.

    The charging voltage should not vary much as RPM changes, staying roughly in the range of 14.0 to 15.0 volts, with 14.5 volts being the nominal target.

    If the battery voltage is under 13.5 volts while the engine is running then something is wrong with the charging system. Voltages between 13.0 volts and 11.5 volts indicate the charging system is not working.


    Voltage measurement while the engine is cranking, but not yet started

    When the engine is cranking but not yet running, the battery voltage needs to stay over 10.6 volts while cranking. That indicates the battery is both charged AND is internally healthy.

    While cranking the battery voltage will always be less than 12.5 volts. It is not possible for the battery voltage while cranking to be over 12.5 volts.

    If you check the voltage 'while the engine is cranking' and it measures anything over 12.0 volts, you should re-check the measurement


    Resting battery voltage

    The only time the battery voltage should be around 12.5 to 13 volts is with the battery just sitting there, not cranking the engine, engine not running, and no battery charger connected. This voltage measurement is the least important, and it often can be misleading.

    The 'just sitting there' voltage will measure higher if the engine has recently been running (and the charging system working), or the battery was recently re-charged. This is a false (high) voltage reading, as it does not reflect the actual internal state of the battery. This is sometimes called a 'surface charge', and the voltage will quickly subside once the battery is asked to do some work (like crank the engine).

    Only after the battery has been sitting for many hours does the surface charge dissipate by itself. Even then, the measured voltage with the battery just sitting can be misleading if the battery is internally degraded.


    Summary

    The critical measurement for battery health is the voltage delivered while cranking the engine.

    The voltage provided by the charging system with the engine running is important for maintaining the battery health. And keeping it charged, of course.
    Last edited by K447; 03-04-2011 at 12:52 AM.


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    I thought this battery voltage chart might prove useful.

    When measuring battery voltage, often one of the things you want to figure out is how 'strong' the battery is. The 'proper' battery voltage varies depending on what the engine is doing.

    For example, while the battery is actively cranking the engine 11.8 volts would be an excellent voltage measurement, showing the battery voltage to be very strong despite the heavy load of the starter motor.

    When the battery is just sitting there, with the engine not doing anything, a measurement of 11.8 volts means the battery is very weak or discharged.

    A healthy and fully charged battery, just sitting, might measure 12.5 volts. When the engine is running, that same 12.5 volt measurement says the charging system is broken, and is not charging the battery.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow How the Fuji engine starting system works

    How the blue Fuji engine starting system works

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  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow How the red domestic engine starting system works

    How the red domestic engine starting system works

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  5. #5
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow How the Fuji engine battery charging system works

    How the blue Fuji engine battery charging system works

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  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow How the red domestic engine battery charging system works

    How the red domestic engine battery charging system works

    placeholder

  7. #7
    I saw somewhere on your posts " How to remove the battery on a 2004, 1200cc Polaris ". And now I can't find it. Can you help? Thanks johnx639

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