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Old 04-25-2005, 07:20 AM
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Dead Battery-HELP!?

Please bear with a brief history. I built a new battery box and put in a new battery in the fall of í03. Since Iím working on getting the Model A to pass inspection, I donít start it very often. So I wired in a connection for a maintenance charger. The connections are in a small plastic box under the running board. Most of the time, itís connected, the charger says charged and itís always started up just fine. About 10 days ago, I fired it up drove it about 15 miles, got the paperwork done for the state registration and parked it in the shop. No problems. I did not rehook the trickle charge since it was pretty warm out. Saturday I go out and it is dead. Enough power to light the dome lights, thatís it. As far as I know, there is nothing I left on. I put it back on the trickle charger overnight-no deal. I pulled the battery-a 30 minute ordeal from two sides of the car- and put it on my bigger charger-after 5 hours there was no change in the hydrometer reading.



So:

1. Could this just be a bad battery-why isnít it taking a charge?
2. How do I check for a closed circuit somewhere, keeping something I donít know on? I do have a volt-ohm meter.
3. Obviously, I need to reinstall a disconnect switch. (Not a question)
4. I should probably install some of those remote jumper cable connections (Ron Francis part #FN-6,FP-5). How do I mount them, and how do I connect them into my battery lines?
5. If I do, I am going to have to cut and shorten my battery cables (They run from under the seat up to the engine compartment.) Whatís the best way to reattach cable ends?
6. If I get new cables, what gauge wire do I need for a 5-6í foot run?
7. Any other suggestions?



Many thanks to all.

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Old 04-25-2005, 10:00 AM
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1....Possibly
2...Turn the ignition off. Take the pos cable off the battery. If you see even a slight spark when you put it back on, there is a drain somewhere. Pull fuses one by one, while doing this to narrow down which circuit it is.
3...Not if there is no drain.
4...??
5...Solder them.
6...The bigger the better....negative too.

7......Wait for docvette to answer this post........................
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:27 PM
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Battery Help

Doc here,

First of all, are we dealing with a stock Model A ? , 6 volt system, or is this a V8 60 Flathead? or a 12 volt system and other type V8?

A Battery as it ages (a lot like us...) will fall apart just sitting. Plates will sulfate, insulators will swell and crack, and the junk in the sluff box will continue to rise until the bottom of the plates are floating in liquid antimony.

If the Battery was swollen, this is a good indication...The Fact that the Hydrometer has little or no specific gravity reading suggests that the battery is refusing to charge , pushing the active Electrolyte back out of the negative plates and into the positive plates..

When you hook up the charger does it show a High rate of charge, (may even peg the meter) and not drop? Good sign of internal shorting..Put a Volt meter across the Battery, if it's a 6 volt, and shows 5 or less volts, or a 12 volt and shows 10 or less volts, You have a bad cell...This will not take or hold a charge very long..replace the battery..

If you Replace the battery, and It is a 6 volter..a little trick my father used to do with his A's and T's...(and it's a bear to get in and out on both cars) He'd install a Deep Cycle 6 volt golf Cart battery , more conducive to sitting on charge, and used only seasonally...usually he'd only have to replace them once.

This battery state MAY be your whole problem...just going dead sitting..you may not have a power draw at all.

If this is a standard "A" car, you can hook your charger up to the Battery cables and bypass the battery, BE sure if you have a modern radio, you pull the FUSE power AND memory..the AC ripple from a charger is not well filtered at best one electrolytic cap on the output side..It can destroy the linear op amps inside the radio.

If you have a clock disconnect it or pull the fuse..make sure your dome lights are off..and look at the rate of charge meter on the charger...It should show "0" amps and not spark when you hook it up.

Don't do this if you have a modern V8 especially with ECM and other solid state compo nets. You can damage them.

If it does..the only possible thing on a Stock Model A I can think of that will draw power (other than a miswire or short) is the Voltage regulator...Burned and Crowbarred shut at the point air gap adjuster.Pull the top of the regulator and check.

The Commutator on a stock A generator had a tendency to blacken from brush wear as it ages and won't charge also..Do you show a rate of charge when it's running? You may need to pull the band from around the generator and inspect the brushes and clean the commutator with Emery cloth. Although the battery won't take a charge outside of the vehicle, It may be a contributing factor in "long term" run down..low output from the generator.

Not knowing What system you have, If you have a draw, get a 12 volt test light , pull the Negative Cable and hook the light between it and the battery..If you have a draw it will light..pull fuses or unhook things until it goes away..then troubleshoot that circuit...Or you could use your meter set for 12 volts red on the cable, black on the battery..If it has a draw it will show 6 (or 12) volts.

To install the Remote Jumper plug, The BEST way to do this is get some bolt on Cinch posts and parallel the wires into the new battery posts, (be sure they will accommodate both gauge wires) This way you should not have to cut or re~route your existing cables...

If you can't find a set of posts that will handle the double gauge wire, you can get at home depot, or other big hardware, a set of service entrance clamps made for 1/0 or 0/0 cable..

you just strip your existing wire (without cutting the end off) and new cable end, and bolt the whole thing together. Use electricians putty to make a "Ball" around the connector and a few inches to either side, then tape once up, once back, then once up again (without cutting the tape) You should have a joint that resembles your power connectors where the meter is on your house (look up from the meter) If you did it right.

Then route your wires to where ever you installed the plug, neatly and using rubber/plastic coated Adel clamps to secure the wires.

If you do it this way, you should not have to reroute/add cable..but if you do find that you have to..I'd go 1/0 or 0/0 to be safe...

If you do have to extend the cables, the only proper way to do that is with a Nicopress on the end connectors..this is not exactly a garage tool..but if you know an electrician, he might have one, or the hardware store might be able to press them on for you. Solder is kinda Iffy..heat (from cranking)can melt the solder and loosen the joint.

The only suggestions I have, is be sure your ground bolts up at or near the Starter, get a battery cable (about 3 foot ought to do it) with ring terminals on both ends, and attach it to the bolt you attach your ground cable on the block, and run it to the frame and ground it.From the same bolt, make 2 #10 wires and attach them, route one to the firewall, burnish paint and ground it there, The other to the generator / Alternator mount, and ground it there..Use Star washers at all ground points and burnish paint and dirt from all attaching points.

Post back and tell us what engine you have, what electrical system you have (6 or 12 volts) and we can "thin" down the above coarse of action..

Doc
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Old 04-26-2005, 08:22 AM
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Here's an update. I had the battery tested where I got it-Walmart,home of fine automotive products-and it was bad so they replaced it free.

I am thinking of building a panel under one of the running boards holding remote cable connectors for jump starting and a keyed disconnect switch. These would be in the main cables from the battery-the line would be battery to disconnect,disconnect to remote jumper cable connector then into the main power leads-started,etc. Are 4 gauge copper wires thick enough to make these connections? If not What gauge? Doesn't look like the switch or jumper sites have very large lugs.

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Old 04-29-2005, 08:56 PM
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Cables

Doc here,

Ahhh Wally mart...racers choice...

Your Cables need to be the same size if not larger than your battery Cables to be able to carry the current.

If your going more than a few feet, opt for larger gauge cables (as large as the terminal will support) you should be good to go.

Doc
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