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Old 04-25-2010, 12:50 PM
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finding a short

I've been through the knowledge base and have found an important thing...I'm too stupid to ask the right question/I don't understand the answer. I've been having trouble keeping the turn/park lights working so I think the problem is there but?? The battery goes dead almost over night so there must be a short. I have an inexpensive multimeter but don't know how to use it. What I need is an extremely simple explanation of how to track down the leak, in plane english (not electrician speak) if that is possible. I'm afraid I don't know the difference ohm,volt,amp etc., so If someone could just say put this thing there and it should read this not that.
I know that's alot to ask, but thanks!

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Old 04-25-2010, 02:49 PM
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I had a problem like yours even after buying a new battery. Turns out the horn wire was shorting out in the steering colomn under the steering wheel.
I didn't have the horn itself connected so I had no clue or the horn would have been honking the whole time!
Just something to think about. Some where, a hot wire is grounding out.
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Old 04-25-2010, 04:55 PM
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The problem is electricity isn't simple, shorts can be and usually are hard to find. You can't see electricity and you can't smell it either so you have to learn to track something in a maze that only leaves smoke when it gets completely out of control. If you have the battery disconnected at one terminal and reconnect it after a short while does it have a strong spark or is it a small little spark. Depending on they ear of the car it has different electrical consumers so the draw will change between cars. So disconnect the battery, charge it for a day and let us know what you see. If you suspect a stronger short you can take a fog lamp bulb with wires on it. Use the two wires to connect between the battery and the cable, if you have a strong draw the light bulb will burn brightly, if not there will be little or no light. Its a visual amp meter, there's a total voltage drop across to element so a greater current flow cant occur. If it's really bright start disconnecting fuses and other possible consumers, when you get the circuit the light will go out. Personally I would seek out an automotive electrician so's not to damage something on the way. Good luck
Bill
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:45 PM
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I was going to suggest the same method as Bill Adkins but instead of a fog lamp I always use a test light. Disconnect the neg cable from the batt post, stick the sharp pointy end of the test light into the negative post and clip the alligator onto the cable end. If there's a short to ground the light will shine. As Bill said start pulling fuses until the light goes out, then trace wires in that circuit.

http://www.2carpros.com/dia/test_light.htm

Here's a good link.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:27 AM
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Thanks guys! I tried the things suggested, using a small accessory light connected between the neg pole and the cable there was just enough of an orange glow to see in the dark space where the battery is under the seat. Following the same approach after charging the battery for a few hours, the lights were bright and the engine kicked right over, there was the tiniest spark from the cable to the post. All of which I guess just confirms that there is a short.
As I said at the beginning I think the problem is in the F turn/park lights. One of the parts store bulb sockets is broken I noticed and I ordered prewired LED lights to replace both sides. The tail lights are LEDs with the proper flasher. I removed the sockets and taped the ends, let the battery charge for some hours and will now leave it over night to see what the battery does. When the lights come in I'll trace the wires all the way back to check connections. I should maybe add that mine is a pretty basic hotrod and there are no extra accessories like sound, heat, air, or power anything. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:32 AM
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The only led system I have seen had an electronic controller as led's work on different voltage than regular lights. There is always a potential for un wanted draw with electronic devices. The system I mentioned, I ripped it all out and made a nice simple dependable lighting system to replace it.
Bill
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