It was still raining in the morning when Tina drove us to the airport.
We hoped to depart today
at noon for Ouarzazate as I hoped that the alternator problem was a
loose wire for the alternator field excitation (the brushes had been
replaced 6 weeks ago in Iceland). Cowling came off and I checked the
tightness of the two connections for the alternators. Seemed tight
enough, but I nevertheless tightened them a bit more and started the
engine. Still no alternator charging current. So something more
complicated. The brush assembly came off, but the internal wires looked
fine, and the brushes were put back in again.
So it was either the alternator or the voltage regulator which would
need replacement, and we headed back to the terminal to rent a car for 3
days and tried to locate a multi-meter to further localize the problem.
Carlos, the deputy director of Alicante airport was extremely helpful.
He was also a pilot. He tried to put us in contact with a German Mooney
pilot Martin based here and also contacted Iberia maintenance to see if
they had a voltmeter. In the end we had to drive to a do-it-yourself
shop in San Juan to buy a digital multi-meter and a long piece of wire
to measure the field excitation voltage in the cockpit.
Back to the airport again, through security and by the VIP car back to
the airplane in pouring rain. A few resistance checks of ground
connection, rotor resistance and supply to the voltage regulator
revealed nothing abnormal. We checked the field excitation voltage in
the cabin with the long wire and it was OK. We then started the engine
and everything was working fine: no low voltage, normal charging
current. What went wrong? Probably a little piece of dirt at the end of
the springs for the brushes had prevented good contact an therefore no
alternator field. So we can leave for Morocco tomorrow.