Fleet Maintenance - 31

on other vehicle systems and processes, including
updates to maintenance procedures, additional
technician training, and new service equipment.
Before any of this can take place though, the
minds of the fleets must change.
"There is a resistance in trying to get the
industry to move to the higher voltages, and it
all revolves around cost. [S]omebody needs to eat
the cost to make the change, and nobody wants to
be the guinea pig," says Clive Harley, vice president
of engineering, Prestolite Electric, Broad-Ocean
Motors, a global manufacturer and supplier of
alternators, starters, electrical equipment, and
services to the transportation industry. "The only
way those kinds of things change is with legislation. [W]hen the government steps in and says,
'You will go forward,' or 'You will do this, otherwise you will incur penalties.'"
Though there currently is no legislation specifically for transitioning to a 48V system, Harley
believes the greenhouse gas emissions standards could be the push the industry needs to
stop talking about 48V systems and make them
a reality.
"[B]y going to a 48V system, specifically on
trucks, there are huge, huge cost savings that
can be benefited," Harley says, "... and those cost
savings should offset the cost to change from the
12V systems to the 48V, or the 24V to 48V."
Cost savings is just one of the benefits fleets
could gain from transitioning to 48V electrical
systems in their trucks.
"The purpose of creating higher voltage electrical systems is primarily for the ability to achieve
higher requirements from the vehicle," say Rodney
Spangler, application engineering manager and
Matthew Hedges, senior application engineer
at BorgWarner, a supplier of vehicle engine and
drivetrain components and parts. "Higher vehicle
efficiencies will be the biggest benefit we will see
in the new technology."
As discussion continues on the implementation of higher voltage systems, there has been
some talk about the future design of starters
and alternators.
The components within the electrical system
such as the starter and alternator are likely to have
a smaller and lighter weight design. This is in part
due to thinner wires, notes Denso's Braga.
"When you increase the voltage," Braga says,
"you reduce the current, hence thinner wire."
Using a thinner wire is also more environmentally friendly. Less wire being used for those
components means less usage of finite resources
such as copper, Harley points out.
While internal structure may change, Spangler
and Hedges suggest the size of the systems will
remain similar to today's starters and alternators.
"Physical size of both the starter and the alternator will stay roughly the same," they suggest.
"However, internal components will change
depending on the voltage required."
At this point, however, any changes in design
are only speculation. Every OEM seems to have
a different strategy on what the future holds for
electrical systems, notes Harley. Some aren't looking to make any changes while others are looking
to go beyond 48V systems to 300V, or even 700V
systems. Just implementing and designing the

electrical components (starter, alternator, etc.)
could take years or even decades, notes Braga.
"The major drawback for truck and component
manufacturers and their customers would be the
cost [of] changing to a higher voltage system,"
Braga says. "Designing and testing new components would be expensive for customers buying
new trucks with a higher voltage system while
keeping older trucks with 12V system[s]. There
may also be a difficulty in keeping and buying
replacement parts and training their technicians."
Along with updating maintenance training
for technicians on these higher voltage systems,
safety training will need updating as well. The
higher the voltage system, notes Harley, the more
dangerous it becomes for the technicians maintaining these systems.

The role of the technician

As technology changes, it makes sense that technicians adapt along with it. That means when
the industry does implement these higher voltage systems to meet the increased demand on
vehicles' electrical systems, technicians must be
properly trained and have the correct tools and
equipment necessary to service and maintain
these systems.
Training
Training for technicians on how to service starters
and alternators in higher voltage systems mainly
centers on safety.
According to Technology & Maintenance
Council's (TMC) Recommended Practice (RP)
1511, "There are three primary hazards associated with electricity: shock, arc, and blast. Shock
is generally considered a hazard when working
with voltages in excess of 50V. Arc and blast are
generally considered a hazard when working with
very high power, low-impedance power sources
(e.g. utility substations)."
Though a 48V system is a bit below the shock
hazard, that doesn't mean technicians should take
their safety lightly. Tools specific to electrical work
and personal protective equipment should be used
at all times when work is being done on an electrical component.
Additionally, when servicing high-voltage electrical systems, TMC's RP 1511 notes technicians
should use any lock-out or tag-out systems, tools,

In addition to safety,
technicians will
require training on
proper maintenance
and procedures
for starters and
alternators in higher
voltage systems.

and processes. RP 1511 defines a lock-out as "the
placement of a device on a piece of equipment to
ensure that the unit cannot start-up unexpectedly," and a tag-out as "the placement of a device
on a piece of equipment to warn others that the
machine or hazardous energy sources must not
be operated under present conditions."
In addition to safety, technicians will require
training on proper maintenance and procedures for starters and alternators in higher
voltage systems.
"For the starter, the most important maintenance is maintaining a clean and proper torque at
all electrical connections. Moving to a 48V starter
does not have any impact on this," BorgWarner's
Spangler and Hedges say. "For the alternator, the
inspection of the electrical connections, battery
tests, visual inspections for debris, [and] pulley
clamp loss (or proper belt tension) are essential
for maintaining the life of the alternator."
Additionally, they note, "for 48V systems, some
alternators will require additional cooling, and
for this, there will likely be an additional cooling
loop to maintain."
Maintenance for the starter and alternator will
also depend on the design of the electrical system
OEM's decide on. It is possible there may be more
electrically driven components than mechanically
driven components in the 48V system, Spangler
and Hedges say, meaning technicians will need
a greater electrical knowledge.
It should also be noted, Denso's Braga says,
"When you increase the voltage system, components will experience greater electrical stress and
will likely wear out faster. Technicians will likely
have to change their service interval and check
the start/charge system more frequently."
Tools and Equipment
As for the tools and equipment necessary for maintenance of the starters and alternators in higher
voltage electrical systems, there, again, may not be
too much of a change from the tools and equipment
needed to service current voltage systems.
"For 48V systems, there may or may not be
new tools required to properly troubleshoot
depending upon the complexity of the system,"
Spangler and Hedges say. "Most handheld [digital multimeters] and amp clamps are capable
of reaching 48V, but there will definitely be a
shortage of automated diagnostic tools designed
to troubleshoot 48V systems."
Ultimately, as long as the technician's tools
are capable of reading and analyzing the electrical components within the higher voltage
system, they should be able to properly service
this equipment.

Conclusion

Overall, the future of starters and alternators
within higher voltage electrical systems remains
uncertain. The best way for fleets to prepare for the
potential shift to higher voltage systems is to stay
aware of the conversations happening throughout
the industry and keep their technicians up-to-date
on all safety and maintenance procedures for the
systems, as well as provide them with the necessary tools and equipment for servicing.

April 2020 | VehicleServicePros.com

31


http://www.VehicleServicePros.com

Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime: The responsibilities of being an essential business
How fleets can benefit from today's 6x2 axle configurations
With greater voltage comes greater responsibility
How to manage unanticipated roadside events
Amping up the voltage
Getting the most out of fuel injection systems
Management: Do you sabotage success?
Economic Outlook: Dealing with a natural disaster
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Classifieds
Guest Editorial: NASTF steps into the world of heavy duty
Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Diagnostic Tools
Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Power Tools
Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Specialty & Hand Tools
Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Shop Equipment
Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Tool Storage
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: The responsibilities of being an essential business
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - How fleets can benefit from today's 6x2 axle configurations
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - With greater voltage comes greater responsibility
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - How to manage unanticipated roadside events
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - Amping up the voltage
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - Getting the most out of fuel injection systems
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - 34
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management: Do you sabotage success?
Fleet Maintenance - Economic Outlook: Dealing with a natural disaster
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - 42
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - 46
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: NASTF steps into the world of heavy duty
Fleet Maintenance - 51
Fleet Maintenance - 52
Fleet Maintenance - S1
Fleet Maintenance - S2
Fleet Maintenance - S3
Fleet Maintenance - S4
Fleet Maintenance - S5
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Diagnostic Tools
Fleet Maintenance - S7
Fleet Maintenance - S8
Fleet Maintenance - S9
Fleet Maintenance - S10
Fleet Maintenance - S11
Fleet Maintenance - S12
Fleet Maintenance - S13
Fleet Maintenance - S14
Fleet Maintenance - S15
Fleet Maintenance - S16
Fleet Maintenance - S17
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Power Tools
Fleet Maintenance - S19
Fleet Maintenance - S20
Fleet Maintenance - S21
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Specialty & Hand Tools
Fleet Maintenance - S23
Fleet Maintenance - S24
Fleet Maintenance - S25
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Shop Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - S27
Fleet Maintenance - S28
Fleet Maintenance - S29
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Shop Equipment Supplement: Tool Storage
Fleet Maintenance - S31
Fleet Maintenance - S32
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