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Put a meter on the system. Check first your ACTUAL draw with the lights on, then check generator output amps with both the lights on and off. Also check charging system voltage under load and without any extra draw [except the engine ignition.]
 

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A DECENT clampmeter is invaluable for troubleshooting electrical systems on equipment. It will tell you voltage, [with the leads] at the POINT of connection, amperage flowing through a wire, and just as important with charging circuits, the DIRECTION of the current.
 

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Hope it works for you! Do check one thing though. Find out it's operating temp specs as a lot of these chicom meters don't work dependably in the cold, where most problems need to be traced. GRRR. Also, while you are in the ordering mood, score yourself a pair of SILICONE leads with SCREW ON clips. Not expensive and WILL save you a lot of aggravation when testing a circuit. Ask me how I know. @#$%%]
 

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First, a fully charged 12v battery, at rest, not fresh off a charger, should read 12.4 to 12.5 volts, not 13+. That would indicate a faulty meter. And yes 17.6+ is too high. Make sure it is the correct voltage, then check your rectifier ground. Also temperature should have very little effect on voltage so testing in the cold is fine.
 
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