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Fixed - Parasitic Battery Drain

 
  #1  
Old 02-10-2012, 04:26 PM
MR5x5
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Fixed - Parasitic Battery Drain

New bats new alt. Bats go flat in 7 to 10 days. Going to start searching for the culprit. Curious if anybody knows of more likely causes than others???

Thanks

MR
 
  #2  
Old 02-10-2012, 04:33 PM
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On board electronics will pull down the battery.
I keep my van and a Taurus parked with smart chargers.
The chargers taper the charge then go into a maintenance setting.

If I don't The vehicles will kill the batteries due to the radios and other electronics I have.
 
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:42 PM
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There is no way that your batteries could be dead after sitting for one week to ten days (if they are good batteries and were fully charged when parked). There is something drawing them down other than the normal draw that the truck has when shut-off. I have had mine sit for over a month in winter weather (sub-zero to 20 degree days) and it fired right off.

Have you ever hunted down a parasitic draw on a vehicle? If not, it is pretty easy finding the circuit causing your problem. Fixing the problem can be a PIA though.
 
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:46 PM
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lET HER SIT FOR A 5, 6 HOURS IN THE COLD, WITH FRESH CHARGE, COME OUT AND CHECK IF THE ALT IS WARM.

Sorry for the caps.
 
  #5  
Old 02-10-2012, 04:49 PM
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Some have had a bad alternator cause the problem. Feel of it after the truck has been sitting over night. If it is warm that could be it. I had the problem and it was my radio. It was one of those cheap "dealer stereo CD players" that looked just like factory equipment. I found it by using a volt meter.

Truck not running, ignition off, key out of switch. Disconnect a positive battery lead and measure the drain. One lead on the battery terminal and one on the cable. Put the meter in the circuit between the battery and the battery cable. Then get a helper and pull one fuse at a time till you find the circuit it's in. I used DC milliamp setting.

Probably everbody on this site is better at electronics than I am, so hang around and lets get some expert advice together ! You are in the right place to get the help you need.
 
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:18 PM
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Bob,

I worked with electricity and electronics for 35 years and still wouldn't consider myself and expert but you used and explained the most commom sense method of finding a voltage drain. Reps sent.
 
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:02 PM
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Thank you Payson ! Guess even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes ! The battery drain problem nearly drove me nuts. I got my info on how to fix it right here on FTE. That was my first fix on the truck and I think it was one reason I got it at a good price. That and a flakey CPS.

I don't know where the OP got his new alternator but I know at times you can get a brand new one that is bad out of the box or shortly after installing it. We'll stick with him till he finds it.
 
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by c125bob View Post
Truck not running, ignition off, key out of switch. Disconnect a positive battery lead and measure the drain. One lead on the battery terminal and one on the cable. Put the meter in the circuit between the battery and the battery cable. Then get a helper and pull one fuse at a time till you find the circuit it's in. I used DC milliamp setting.
I've never thought of doing this. Thanks for the info.
 
  #9  
Old 02-10-2012, 10:34 PM
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The alternator will a lot of times not shut down the armature, if it stays excited, you can test it with a wrench put it across the pulley if it is attracted the stator is excited.
To find a circuit that is a steady draw, I have a wire set up, with terminals and a 20 amp breaker just in case, The wires are about 4 ft long and I put my clamp meter on the wire connect it to the power side of the fuse then test each circuit, one at a time untill you find it.
Sometimes that will not work because as soon as you remove the fuse the circuit will go dead, then you have to attach the wires and start the vehicle, shut it down, and see if the circuit shuts down when I have to do that I make up a couple of extra wires and just move the clamp meter.
A relay can be stuck those you pull them back a bit and use a bent pick to test. I have test wires and a tail light set up to test relays on the bench.
The old relays you could even test them with an infered temp gauge.
Electrical problems can be a lot of hit and miss, I learned a lot from some of the best. RIP Bill.
 
  #10  
Old 02-11-2012, 12:25 AM
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An olt-timer's trick is to get a magnetic pocket compass ("Boy Scout" type), and a wire with clip leads on both ends and a common two-prong tail-light flasher soldered into the middle.

First, turn everything off. Pull the positive battery cable and insert the wire with flasher. If you now hear the flasher operating, that's good.

Then, start tracking along the wiring harnesses until you see the compass needle deflecting at the flasher's rate. That means that current is pulsing in that wiring harness. You should be able to follow the deflections to the short of the current draw or short.

Wires with current flowing in them develop a magnetic field around them. The more current flow, the greater the magnetism, and the greater the needle deflection.

Pop
 
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:44 AM
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Great info Pop and John ! See what I mean, we got some smart folks around here. Reps.
 
  #12  
Old 02-11-2012, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SpringerPop View Post
An olt-timer's trick is to get a magnetic pocket compass ("Boy Scout" type), and a wire with clip leads on both ends and a common two-prong tail-light flasher soldered into the middle.

First, turn everything off. Pull the positive battery cable and insert the wire with flasher. If you now hear the flasher operating, that's good.

Then, start tracking along the wiring harnesses until you see the compass needle deflecting at the flasher's rate. That means that current is pulsing in that wiring harness. You should be able to follow the deflections to the short of the current draw or short.

Wires with current flowing in them develop a magnetic field around them. The more current flow, the greater the magnetism, and the greater the needle deflection.

Pop
I use this method when finding shorts in school busses. There are so many sharp metal edges and corners and screws that cut and poke wires. The wiring harnesses are as large as your wrist. This method works
 
  #13  
Old 02-11-2012, 03:07 PM
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Thanks for the various ideas guys. Oil is changed so it is off to electrical. I'm seeing 35mA off one side with everything off (Bobs method, thanks for that). No idea if that is normal or not...does not seam like much, but I like hammers way more than electrons... Plenty of compasses around for Pop's method...fun with galvanometers - thanks pop for the idea.

Also, Alt was ice cold in the a.m. - Note that it is a local hand wound unit from a reputable shop... Bats are 1 mo old and tested to be good.

Results:
Cab Fuse Panel - #15 (GEM, PCM, Inst Clust) 5mA drop
Under hood: #6 (Generator, PDB Fuses 5,7) and #7 (Generator) both show 5mA drop

Nothing jumps out at me, although the Generator references from my circuit info make me say, huh? A few mA here and there for the GEM and PCM sounds reasonable??

If anyone knows if my 35mA "leakage" sounds about normal or not that would be good info.

Thanks all.
 
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:02 PM
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If I remember correctly, anything less than 0.075 amp (75mA) is within specs...I'm doing this from memory, so . Your reading would take "forever" to draw down two fully-charged batteries.
 
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:43 PM
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Thanks Neal. But they draw down none the less...
Something intemittent perhaps...
 

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