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Old 09-21-2006, 05:11 PM
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battery keeps going dead, i need some f#*%&!g help

i'm having trouble keeping my battery from going dead in my 85 ss monte carlo. i can put a new battery on it, & 3 weeks later it will be dead if i leave the battery cable hooked up. it's done this ever since i've owned the car. i've had the alternator checked several times & it checks out good. i've checked to see if the battery was being drained by with a test light. when i touch the test light to the battery post & the other end to the unhooked cable it will light for just a second & then go out. i figure that is the radio memory. i just have no idea where to start looking. i'm tired of it looking like a piece of ***** when ever i kill it & then pop the hood & unhook the battery.

i'm having no luck finding the problem. please help, i'm not good with electrical problems at all

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Old 09-21-2006, 07:14 PM
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hey buddy

sorry to hear the news

first of all there is another forum for "electrical" issues in this Hotrodders Forum. Try your post there. there are a few guys who always monitor that forum and really enjoy helping people with electrical problems.

is your car factory wired or was the wiring and charging system changed by you or someone else?

do you have a voltmeter? you will need one. when the car is running you should have approximately 14 volts at the battery terminals. check the voltage with the car off - typically about 12 volts. When the car is running, if the alternator is charging the battery and the wiring is good you will have about 14 volts at the battery posts - a noticeable rise in voltage. If you don't the alternator, voltage regulator, or wiring is faulty. I suspect there is no change in voltage when the car is running, meaning your charging system is not working and everything is being run off your battery.

also you kind of had the right idea about the test light, but not exactly. if you have a "multi-meter" that can check amps (current flow) you can check for current flow when the car is off. there should be none, maybe a tiny trickle like milliamps, but not AMPS. with the car off, remove the positive battery cable. attach one lead from the multimeter (set to amps) to the positive post of the battery. attach the other lead to the disconnected positive battery cable. Look at the meter. what does it show? make sure the meter scale is set correctly. try different ranges if you don't have the autorange feature. if you are showing more than an amp or two current flow when the car is off something is draining the battery slowly when the car is not in use. I believe you should show almost no current flow whatsoever when the car is off.

make those checks then post your response.
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:42 PM
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If you had it checked at one of the chain places (Autozone) they may have only checked to see if its charging. The problem you have can be caused by a shorted diode, and sometimes the alternator will still charge normally.

Disconnect the battery cable and use a VOM to measure the amperage draw between the battery terminal and the disconnected wire. It should be much less than an amp, and should not even move the needle.

When I had a bad diode I got reading of about five amps load, and it would kill my battery overnight.

Bruce
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Old 09-22-2006, 05:10 PM
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You probably have a very minor draw in the system somewhere.Take it to your local alternator/starter rebuilders and they can fix it right up.
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Old 09-22-2006, 05:32 PM
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Doc here,

Overnight draws usually are caused by a forward Biased Diode in the regulator diode pack..(leaking power backward.)

Get your DVOM out , Configure it for AMPS, set it to the highest scale, (usually 10 amps) , and place it in-between the cable and the battery post. Now reduce your amp scale back down to it's lowest scale Without pegging out the readout..This will be your true draw..

If you have a CD/Radio with active presets, A Vehicle computer, Clock, or Alarm system, Normal draw on a modern vehicle traditionally is about 0.3 to 0.8 amps (less than an amp..) Higher than that you have a problem.

Go for the lighting round..Pull all the wires off the alternator first, and then re~measure, If it drops back to spec, or zero..you need to replace the alternator, or you could get a simple rebuild kit for about $16.00..with a regulator diode pack included.

If it does not drop back, the problem is elsewhere..

IF your fuse buss is well marked..pull all the fuses and relays out..retake your reading..It should read zero..If so replace the fuses and relays one at a time until the draw shoots up..That branch circuit is the offender..troubleshoot that circuit and repair / disable as required..

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Old 09-23-2006, 08:08 AM
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re: battery keeps going dead

these are good test but make sure while you are testing there are no lights activated examples: hood light, doom light, glove box light, trunk light. they won't be lit up with the cable unhooked, but they could be causing a draw. after you fix the problem ck it agian w/ every thing put back together just to make sure it won't go dead agian. good luck
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Old 09-27-2006, 03:34 PM
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well i'm more screwed up now than i was. i did the test to see how much draw the battery had & it was only .003 amps. shouldn't be draining from that. i reattached the hot wire & it read 12.36 across the battery terminals with the car off. i started it & it read 14.40. i did notice the longer i let the car run the lower the numbers got. the last i seen was 13.96 before i shut the car off. i'm thinking the alternator might be bad, but at this point i have no idea.

i'm including pictures just to show the settings on the meter. i had the hot wire disconnected with the red meter wire clamped to it, & the black meter wire clamped to the hot post on the battery.
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Old 09-27-2006, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 406 ss monte
well i'm more screwed up now than i was. i did the test to see how much draw the battery had & it was only .003 amps. shouldn't be draining from that. i reattached the hot wire & it read 12.36 across the battery terminals with the car off. i started it & it read 14.40. i did notice the longer i let the car run the lower the numbers got. the last i seen was 13.96 before i shut the car off. i'm thinking the alternator might be bad, but at this point i have no idea.

i'm including pictures just to show the settings on the meter. i had the hot wire disconnected with the red meter wire clamped to it, & the black meter wire clamped to the hot post on the battery.
dude:

great job. at least you're learning a lot right?

anyway. take a look at the first picture. the multi-meter leads (red and black) are plugged into the middle and bottom right ports on the meter. that's ok if you are measuring volts and ohms. But.... If you are measuring amps, one of the leads needs to be pulled out and plugged into the other port on the bottom left of the meter. It should say "amps" or something indicating amps next to it. That .003 reading you got was really a bogus reading because the meter was set to amps, but the leads were connected incorrectly.

try it again and let me know.

also that volt reading that was dropping.... how long did it take before it dropped to 13.96? was it 2 minutes, 20 minutes?

did you ever replace the alternator? you said it was tested ok, but was it ever replaced?
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:50 PM
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Doc here,

Leejoy is quite correct in his assessment of the configuration of your DVOM..

Voltage Readings= Parallel (Across power and ground)

AMPS readings = Series (In line with the load [vehicle electrical system] and the source current [battery].

Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Get your DVOM out , **--->Configure it for AMPS,<---** set it to the highest scale, (usually 10 amps) , and place it in-between the cable and the battery post. Now reduce your amp scale back down to it's lowest scale Without pegging out the readout..This will be your true draw..
Configure it means: place the probe in the AMP test lead plug..set the scale for AMPS, and the highest Current setting the meter has (usually 10..) then reduce it to almost max readout that is the correct scale, correct reading...may be Ma ..may Be 1 amp depends on the scale..

What you have done, is an example I use all the time to prove a "Loaded ground" ..pull a lamp from ground, set your VOLT meter between it and ground..it will read 12 volts but the lamp is not lit..WTH?? right? The voltmeter only See's the filament as a wire to the battery, and shows 12 volts..EVEN though..It is DRAWING NO CURRENT (lamp out in the presents of power).. simply because the circuit is NOT doing any useful work...has no resistance (the filament ) To ground..Ground that wire, your meter goes to zero..and the lamp lights.

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Old 09-30-2006, 05:46 PM
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well i check it again today like you said with the red wire in the other lead. it tested out at .15. i pulled all my fuses & it was still .07. i pulled the wire from the alternator & it went to zero. i put all the fuses back in & it went back to .15. i pulled the voltage regulator plug out & it went back to .07. i suspect it's the alternator, but would this be in the voltage regulator, diode, or something else?

sorry it took so long to reply, it's been raining here & i have no garage.
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Old 09-30-2006, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leejoy

also that volt reading that was dropping.... how long did it take before it dropped to 13.96? was it 2 minutes, 20 minutes?
it took about 3-5 minutes to drop that low. it more than likely would have dropped more if i hadn't turned the car off so soon.
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:21 PM
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Doc here,

The .07 is high...but acceptable..The .15 is not...the range is 0.3 to .08..

The Regulator Diode pack inside the alternator is Shot and reverse biasing (leaking backward just sitting) Imposing a load on the battery.

You Can replace the alternator, Or get a rebuild kit for it..(about $15 , and you will have a better alternator than you can buy off the shelf today..) And simple enough to rebuild if you do it right..





If you decide to go that route..post back and let us know, I can advise you so you get a first rate rebuild..

Doc
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:33 PM
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And keep in mind--that these sometimes will check okay at AutoZone.

My 94 bird was tested several times over a month before it finally wigged on their tester.

Drove me (and the wife at she was the driving that car) nuts.

Bryan
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan59EC
And keep in mind--that these sometimes will check okay at AutoZone.

Bryan
Doc here,

Not to mention SOME of the guy's at Auto Zombie are not the sharpest crayons in the box...

Need to know what year the fragrance trees fit, and Super-size those trees for ya??.....

Uhhh...Alternator...That's like a starter ... Right? ...

Humm...Voltage Regulator??...OK...How many PSI??...

Be sure you get a guy that at least LOOKS like he knows a spark plug from a trailer lamp plug..

Doc
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:07 PM
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Doc here,

Not to mention SOME of the guy's at Auto Zombie are not the sharpest crayons in the box...

Need to know what year the fragrance trees fit, and Super-size those trees for ya??.....

Uhhh...Alternator...That's like a starter ... Right? ...

Humm...Voltage Regulator??...OK...How many PSI??...

Be sure you get a guy that at least LOOKS like he knows a spark plug from a trailer lamp plug..

Doc

doc, you are so very right. why do they need to know if my car has a/c to tell me which u-joint it takes? cross referencing is a thing of the past.

i'm going to rebuild the alternator. where should i get the rebuild kit? i have rebuilt this alternator before, but the only thing i didn't put in new was a rectifier. it's a 78 amp alternator, but if i can get it to put out more than that, that would be alright too. thanks for all everybody's help, i couldn't have done it without it.

by the way, whats the differance between a 10 si, 12 si, & 15 si alternator's?

Last edited by 406 ss monte; 09-30-2006 at 10:14 PM.
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