Skip to Content
Main Content

Quick Tip: Alternator Ripple Test

Last Updated: January 9, 2020

Overview

Having a hard time diagnosing vehicle electrical issues? In this Diagnostic Quick Tip, National Field Trainer Jason Gabrenas shows you how to make it easy, checking the alternator using the Alternator Ripple Test.

Resolution

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

One of the more powerful features inside the Guided Component Tests and all of our lab scope products is this thing called a Top Level Menu.

It gives us all sorts of tests, tips, and maybe some power user tests that are a little more advanced than the ones that we already have within the tool.

Today we're going to talk about an alternator ripple test. This should be one of the first things you might want to do if you suspect you have an electrical problem in a car.

If they have a bad alternator or it's putting out some sort of weird pattern, it's going to screw up all your diagnostics, so it's a good place to start.

So I'm going to show you how to get in there. All right, so in order to get to this test, we're going to have to go into the guided component tests and then we're going to click the menu button here on the bottom. 

Go to Top Level Menus and How To, then this test is under test tips and it's the very first thing right on the top. It says alternator ripple tests.

We're going to to load up, and we'll see here in the second section it says here's how to hook it up, plug the yellow to the alternator output and the black to the battery positive. So that's how we already have it hooked up over here on this car.

So I'm going to scroll down a little bit further and see it gives us a few indications of what a good pattern looks like. Scroll down a little more, it even shows us a bad pattern.

So I'm going to click view meter here, should pull up my meter and then I'm going to go over and start the car and see what the alternator looks like on this vehicle. 

All right, so looking at this pattern, if we compare it to the patterns that are above here, we have a known good pattern and a known bad pattern.

Other than a little bit of noise going on here, we do have an overall good pattern. You want to see nice, even bumps going on there.

Now on this bad pattern here we see a few bumps and then something drops out and then we see a few bumps and then something drops out. That indicates an issue in the alternator winding somewhere.

So this is a really good place to start your diagnostics, especially if you think you have an electrical issue going on in the vehicle.

Because if you have a bad alternator, you might be brought down the wrong path and you wouldn't want to waste any time there.

 

 

Applies To

MODIS Edge™, MODIS Ultra™, TRITON-D8®, Vantage® PRO, VANTAGE® Ultra, VERDICT®, VERUS® Edge, VERUS® PRO, ZEUS®

Manuals

 

Diagnostics Product Family

clear
Please wait while we gather your results.

Accessing SureTrack

Accessing SureTrack

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Edge™
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™

Accessing SureTrack Community

Accessing SureTrack Community

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • ETHOS® Edge
  • MODIS Edge™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • VERUS® Edge
  • VERUS® PRO
  • ZEUS®

APOLLO-D8 Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™

APOLLO-D8 User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™

APOLLO-D9 Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D9™

APOLLO-D9 User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D9™

Arcade Machine Owner Manual

Arcade Machine Owner Manual

Asian Import Vehicle Communication Software Manual

Description

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

BMW Vehicle Communication Software Manual

Description

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Code Scan Report Editing & Printing

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • ETHOS® Edge
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • ETHOS® PRO
  • ETHOS® Tech
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®

Code Scan Report Editing & Printing

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® PRO

Diagnostic Safety Manual

Diagnostic Safety Manual, EAZ0042B04E

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite
  • ETHOS® Edge
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • ETHOS® PRO
  • ETHOS® Tech
  • MICROSCAN® III
  • MODIS Edge™
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • P1000™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • TRITON-D8®
  • VANTAGE® Ultra
  • VERUS® Edge
  • VERUS® PRO
  • ZEUS®

Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite FAQ

Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite FAQ

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Diagnostic Thermal Imager FAQ

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager

Diagnostic Thermal Imager QSG

Diagnostic Thermal Imager QSG

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager

Diagnostic Thermal Imager User Manual

Diagnostic Thermal Imager User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager

Diagnostic Thermal Laser FAQ

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Laser

Diagnostic Thermal Laser Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Laser

Diagnostic Thermal Laser Safety Instructions

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Laser

Diagnostic Thermal Laser User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Laser

ETHOS Edge Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Edge

ETHOS Edge User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Edge

ETHOS Plus User Manual

ETHOS Plus User Manual, EAZ0078L00D

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus

ETHOS PRO User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® PRO

ETHOS Tech Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Tech

ETHOS Tech User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Tech

ETHOS User Manual

ETHOS User Manual, ZEESC312K Rev C

Fast Download for ZEUS VERUS and VERDICT Platforms

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® Edge
  • VERUS® PRO
  • ZEUS®

Global OBD Vehicle Communication Software Manual

Description

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Land Rover Vehicle Communication Software Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Low Amp Current Probe User Manual

Low Amp Current Probe User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • Vantage® PRO
  • VANTAGE® Ultra
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® Edge
  • VERUS® PRO

M2 Scope Meter Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

M2 Scope Meter User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Communication Software Manual

Description

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

MICROSCAN III Quick Start Guide

MICROSCAN III Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MICROSCAN® III

MICROSCAN III User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MICROSCAN® III

MICROSCAN Quick Start Guide

MICROSCAN Quick Start Guide

MICROSCAN User Manual

MICROSCAN User Manual

MODIS Component Test Meter User Manual

MODIS Component Test Meter User Manual

MODIS Edge Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Edge™

MODIS Edge User Manual

MODIS Edge User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Edge™

MODIS Flexible Gas Analyzer User Manual

MODIS Flexible Gas Analyzer User Manual

MODIS Lab Scope Plugin User Manual

MODIS Lab Scope Plugin User Manual

MODIS Scanner Plugin User Manual

MODIS Scanner Plugin User Manual

MODIS Ultra Quick Start Guide

MODIS Ultra Quick Start Guide, EAZ0079L00B Rev A

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Ultra™

MODIS Ultra User Manual

MODIS Ultra User Manual EAZ0079L03C Rev A

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Ultra™

P1000 Quick Start Guide

ZEESC334A1 Rev E P1000 QSG

Diagnostics Product Family
  • P1000™

P1000 User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • P1000™

Product Warranty - 12 Month

Product Warranty - 12 Month

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • Vantage® PRO
  • VANTAGE® Ultra

Product Warranty - 24 Month

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® Edge
  • VERUS® PRO

PRO-LINK Ultra HDS Suite User Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • PRO-LINK® Ultra

PRO-LINK Ultra Registration Activation Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • PRO-LINK® Ultra

PRO-LINK Ultra User Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • PRO-LINK® Ultra

Scanner Demo Prop Instruction Manual

Scanner Demo Prop Instruction Manual

Scope Demo Prop Instruction Manual

Scope Demo Prop Instruction Manual

Snap-on Cloud Registration Instructions

Snap-on® Cloud Registration Guide for ZEUS, VERUS Edge, APOLLO-D8, MODIS Edge, MODIS Ultra, SOLUS Edge and Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite
  • MODIS Edge™
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • VERUS® Edge
  • ZEUS®

Snap-on Cloud User Guide

User Guide for the Snap-on Cloud for TRITON-D8, APOLLO-D8, MODIS Edge, MODIS Ultra, SOLUS Edge

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • MODIS Edge™
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • TRITON-D8®

Snap-on Cloud User Guide Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Software License Agreement

Description

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • ETHOS® Edge
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • ETHOS® PRO
  • ETHOS® Tech
  • MODIS Edge™
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • P1000™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • TRITON-D8®
  • VANTAGE® Ultra
  • VERUS® Edge
  • VERUS® PRO
  • ZEUS®

SOLUS Edge Quick Start Guide

SOLUS Edge Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • SOLUS Edge™

SOLUS Edge User Manual

SOLUS Edge User Manual, ZEESC320A Rev B

Diagnostics Product Family
  • SOLUS Edge™

SOLUS Legend Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • SOLUS Legend™

SOLUS Legend User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • SOLUS Legend™

SOLUS PRO User Manual

SOLUS PRO User Manual

SOLUS Ultra Quick Start Guide

SOLUS Ultra Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • SOLUS Ultra®

SOLUS Ultra User Manual

EAZ0075L06D Rev A

Diagnostics Product Family
  • SOLUS Ultra®

TRITON-D8 Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • TRITON-D8®

TRITON-D8 User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • TRITON-D8®

US Domestic Vehicle Communication Software Manual

EAZ0025B01J

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

VANTAGE Legend Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VANTAGE® Legend

VANTAGE Legend User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VANTAGE® Legend

Vantage PRO User Manual

Vantage PRO User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Vantage® PRO

VANTAGE Ultra Quick Start Guide

VANTAGE Ultra Quick Start Guide, EAZ0081L02A Rev A

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VANTAGE® Ultra

VANTAGE Ultra User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VANTAGE® Ultra

Vehicle System Report Editing & Printing

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Edge™

Vehicle System Report Editing & Printing

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® Edge
  • ZEUS®

VERDICT Quick Start Guide

VERDICT Quick Start Guide, EAZ0063L15A Rev B

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERDICT®

VERDICT User Manual

EAZ0063L05G Rev E, VERDICT User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERDICT®

VERUS Edge Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® Edge

VERUS Edge User Manual

VERUS Edge User Manual, ZEEMS330A Rev. E

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® Edge

VERUS PRO Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® PRO

VERUS PRO User Manual

EAZ0077L00D Rev E, VERUS PRO User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® PRO

VERUS User Manual

EAZ0061B46F Rev E, VERUS User Manual

VERUS Wireless Quick Start Guide

VERUS Wireless Quick Start Guide

VERUS Wireless User Manual

EAZ0061B46F Rev A, VERUS Wireless User Manual

Volkswagen-Audi Readiness Code Charts

Description

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Volkswagen-Audi Vehicle Communication Software Manual

EAZ0031B01E

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Volvo Vehicle Communication Software

EAZ0025B47A_RevC

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Plus
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™
  • SOLUS Ultra®
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Waveform Demo Board User Manual

Waveform Demo Board User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • Vantage® PRO
  • VANTAGE® Ultra
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

Wi-Fi Connection Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

Diagnostics Product Family
  • Diagnostic Thermal Imager Elite

WI-FI Connection Instructions for MODIS, SOLUS, ETHOS

Wi-Fi Connection instructions for MODIS, SOLUS, ETHOS

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ETHOS® Edge
  • MODIS Edge™
  • MODIS Ultra™
  • SOLUS Edge™

WI-FI Connection Instructions TRITON-D8 and APOLLO-D8

Diagnostics Product Family
  • APOLLO-D8™
  • TRITON-D8®

WI-FI Connection Instructions VERUS, VERUS PRO, VERDICT

WI-FI Connection instructions VERUS, VERUS PRO, VERDICT

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERDICT®
  • VERUS® PRO

WI-FI Connection Instructions ZEUS to 19.2, VERUS Edge

WI-FI Connection instructions ZEUS, VERUS Edge

Diagnostics Product Family
  • VERUS® Edge
  • ZEUS®

ZEUS Quick Start Guide

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ZEUS®

ZEUS User Manual

Diagnostics Product Family
  • ZEUS®