Car Battery Startup and Shutdown Voltage Curves

Written 2020-09-23

Tags:Battery Voltage 

Test Setup

My car is a 2002 Toyota Highlander with either a 100 or 130 Amp alternator. The car battery was last replaced about four years ago with an auto parts store brand. I used a Mooshimeter for data logging at about roughly 1.5Hz logging rate. Of note, my car currently sometimes has a low idle, I believe due to a sticky idle air control valve.

Startup

startup

Around 2 seconds I opened the car door and sat down. Around 7 seconds I turned the key to the on-position. Around 15 seconds I started the car, sagging the voltage significantly, then the alternator began and the voltage quickly approached 14v. I then left for the grocery store.

Shutdown

shutdown

After unpacking the groceries, I reattached the meter, waited a few seconds, then shut off the engine completely. The voltage dropped quickly initially then recovered a little and relaxed slower. It appears that around one minute after shutdown another load was removed.

Interestingly, the voltage lowered between leaving the house and returning. This could be alternator regulation changing to float-charge, or it could be that my engine was idling lower when I returned then when I left.