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Old 01-25-2009, 03:16 PM
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Battery problems........ :(

Hey guys so I bought a brand new battery for my 1980 Camaro about 8 months ago. I still haven't insured the car so the battery is still basically brand new. I can start the car up one day and have it running for hours. Once I shut it down and let it sit overnight the battery will drain enough that I can't even turn over the engine. I am not sure if it is the battery that is hooped or if there is some sort of electrical short or something that is constantly draining the battery. Is there anyway I can check to see if something is shorting out and constantly draining the battery? I mean the battery will loose 1 whole volt just from sitting overnight!! I have to throw the charger on it everytime I want to start the car. I have no idea what I should look at here or any tests that I should do. I think the battery came with a 5 year warranty or something so if it is the battery I sha'll return it. Thanks for any and all input here.

Keith

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Old 01-25-2009, 04:26 PM
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Remove the negative battery cable and use a voltmeter to check for a drain by connecting one of the meters probes to the terminal on the end of the negative cable and the other probe to the negative battery post. If you find a drain of more than .5 amps start removing fuses 1 by 1 until the voltage drops. This will tell you which circuit the drain is on. From there, check each item on that circuit to see if you can find out whats causing it.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:32 PM
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Hey, thanks for the reply. Ok so I went ahead and tested as you said and here is the update. When placing the digital multimeter in series with the negative battery post and cable I am getting a reading of what appears to be 35 miliamps (The meter is set on the 200ma range and reading comes up as 35.4). So now that I knew something was drawing power without the keys in the ignition I began to pull fuses like you said to see if I could isolate the problem. I pulled every single damn fuse on the fuse panel and tested seperately each time and the reading was still the 35miliamps!! I read in another post that related to mine that the GM 1-wire alternators draw amps even with the engine off. So I then proceeded to remove the 1 positive wire going to my brand new GM 100 amp alternator and test again. Still drawing 35 miliamps with the positive wire disconnected from the alt. So now this leaves me high and dry troubleshooting a drain that could be anywhere and that must be shorting before the fuse panel (if it runs through a fuse). It also tells me that it is a direct link to the positive side of the battery because the ignition is turned off when the drain is occouring. Where else should I look now?? I heard I could use one of those master battery cut off switches if I am unable to locate the drain but this is an everday commuter vehicle and that would be a pain in the *** to pop the hood every morning at 6:00a.m. when it is -10 outside to hit this switch and then do the same thing when I am leaving the car. If anyone could give me some more advice of other problematic circuits or other places to look it would be greatly appreciated. Oh and before I forget to mention the car radio is missing so there should be absolutely no drain when the car sits.

Thanks for anything here,
Keith
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:19 PM
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Try another battery - short inside bat????
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:53 PM
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Hmmmm I guess that could be a possibility but it is almost a brand new battery so I doubt it. How could I test to see if the short is in the battery itself, I am assuming I could test that by disconnecting it and charging it up to 12.6v let it sit overnight and test it again again the next day?? I have been thinking of what else it could be and I realized that my gas level gauge on the dash works all the time with the keys out of the ignition. Is this common and if so it definately shouldn't drain the battery overnight!! Now that I think of it most newer cars I've driven have gas gauages that only register when the ignition is in the "ON" position. I really don't know where else this drain could be I think i'll try to disconnect the single positive wire going to the gas tank and see if the 35ma drain goes away. If the drain still remains I will probably purchase one of those master battery cut off switch that uses a solenoid so I don't need to run 6 gauge cable through the firewall and back out.

Thanks for any more help here,
Keith
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:10 PM
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I would look toward the gauges as a culprit, I can't believe that the gas gauge was wired hot all the time, I have a 78 camaro project, and am positive that the gas Gage is not registering with the key off, after reading your post I telephoned a friend who has a 80 z28 to question the gas gauge issue, he went to the garage and actually did a visual inspection of his car, the gas Gage only activates with the key on, I think you have already identified part of the problem!
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:32 PM
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A gas gauge should definitely NOT be wired hot all the time. But even if it was, it should draw more than 35mA.

For that matter, 35mA should not be enough to drain a fully charged battery overnight. I would charge the battery up and take it to an auto parts store to have it load tested.

Unless it's one of those Neverstart batteries:.



If you have one of these, just bring it in and exchange it. They won't ask for a receipt nor will they test it. They'll just give you a new one.

Hope this helps...

Joe G.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:25 PM
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Update here. Thanks for all the replies guys greatly appreciated!! Anyways I took another look at things today and did some more testing with the gold old multimeter. I disconnected the power supply wire going to the gas tank float and the reading on the multimeter was still at 35 (I am believing this to be 35 miliamps because the micrometer is set to the "200 m" range which i can only assume the "m" means miliamps? After some more thinking of what I could have left out I realized i never tested against the aftermarket temp. gauge I installed in the engine bay. The temp gauge has a direct power wire going to the battery positive. I disconnected the wire from the battery positive and tested with the multimeter yet again. Well guess what, with the wire disconnected the gauge was reading 0.000 amp draw!! I made sure all connections were good and then hooked the wire going to the temp gauge back onto the battery positive and the multimeter read the 35 miliamp draw again. I think I have located the drain, the darn temp gauge!! I sha'll now run the power wire for the gauge through a switched 12v source rather than straight to the battery. I am now charging the battery as it is currently sitting at 11.7v. I will note the voltage of the battery when the charge is complete and let it sit for 24 hours and re-check tomorrow. Typically, what is an acceptable amount of voltage drop for a 12 volt battery over say a 24-hour period? I think I have solved the drain problem but I want to now make sure the battery is still good. Anyways thanks for all the input here guys, I couldn't have done this without you!!

Thanks again,
Keith
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:58 AM
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35 milliamps or .035 amps isn't enough to discharge your battery overnight. I think your issue is in the battery.
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe G
A gas gauge should definitely NOT be wired hot all the time. But even if it was, it should draw more than 35mA.

For that matter, 35mA should not be enough to drain a fully charged battery overnight. I would charge the battery up and take it to an auto parts store to have it load tested.

Unless it's one of those Neverstart batteries:.



If you have one of these, just bring it in and exchange it. They won't ask for a receipt nor will they test it. They'll just give you a new one.

Hope this helps...

Joe G.
As a matter of fact they will and always do test and if you don't have a reciept there better be a date tag on it! Maybe in your area they don't test it but in mine they do. And those batteries are made by the the same company(johnson controls) that makes 1/3 of the aftermarket batteries,and they also designed manufacture the Optima batteries and even some OEMS(honda of america) so definitely don't badmouth them.

Last edited by stroker_SS; 01-28-2009 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:54 AM
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One other source of dark current is a sound system, radio and amps will have a load on the battery even when off.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:39 PM
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what is an acceptable voltage drop for the battery over a 24 hour period of sitting with no draw?? I am assuming it would be 0.00000000000 volts??
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:21 PM
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You cant judge the battery by voltage. It needs to be tested to see how much current it can supply after it is fully charged. .035 amps should not even touch a good battery. Most new vehicles draw more than that just to keep the electronics alive. I would be will to bet your battery is no good. If it has gone flat more than 2 or 3 times it is probably jusk and should be replaced. Regular lead acid batteries dont like being completly drained.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sexypizzaman
I am now charging the battery as it is currently sitting at 11.7v.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but 11.7v is very low. I think your Alt. lost a phase because the alt. is a 3 phase generator. You loose a phase, then you are getting partial charge. It should read between 14 to 14.4 Volts when your car is running. Even if is discharge to 10V with the key off. The instant the car is running, it should jump to 14.4V Hope is help
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:55 PM
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Get the battery load tested. It's free and will tell the story. It the alt comes out easily, get it bench tested.
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