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WakeGirl

Slow drain on battery

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WakeGirl

Okay guys, this is an issue that I'm not well versed on & I could use a little help. I've established that I've got a slow drain on my accessory battery using the old test light trick, but that's as far as I've made it. The starting battery appears good & doesn't show a drain on that one, so I'm relatively confident that this is isolated to the one battery. So, what can cause this? A bad ground or connection somewhere? The last mod that I did was to replace the head unit, I think last fall sometime. It didn't act up at all prior to that, so that's my initial suspicion. Battery cables & connections there are good, & both batteries were purchased at the same time (a little over 2 years ago, & they're Optima Blue Tops). Any pointers that you guys can give me would be great.

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MalibuTime
Okay guys, this is an issue that I'm not well versed on & I could use a little help. I've established that I've got a slow drain on my accessory battery using the old test light trick, but that's as far as I've made it. The starting battery appears good & doesn't show a drain on that one, so I'm relatively confident that this is isolated to the one battery. So, what can cause this? A bad ground or connection somewhere? The last mod that I did was to replace the head unit, I think last fall sometime. It didn't act up at all prior to that, so that's my initial suspicion. Battery cables & connections there are good, & both batteries were purchased at the same time (a little over 2 years ago, & they're Optima Blue Tops). Any pointers that you guys can give me would be great.

To make sure that you have a drain, and not a bad battery that won't hold a charge, swap your batteries. That will rule out whether it's the battery or circuit. In order to drain, it there needs to be a circuit. If you have a battery isolator (dual battery switch) and the battery is switched off, then the isolator is suspect, plus in that situation something is drawing power, which may or may not be the isolator if its got a problem. I have had equipment that would draw enough power even when "off" to drain a battery over a couple of months that it needed a seperate master power switch. Also, a bad ground will break the circuit, so I would be looking for the drain on the positive side of the circuit -all wiring and equipment, barring aforementioned items. Good luck, in general a PITA.

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hotrodbowtie

Might have an answer.

on 06 boats with power wedge there was a bad module that needs to be replaced. The original module was designed (unknowingly) for ac use. You should be able to get that module replaced by your dealer. It usually takes about one to two weeks to kill the battery. I believe that it is about a 30ma drain.

Good luck

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68Slalom
Might have an answer.

on 06 boats with power wedge there was a bad module that needs to be replaced. The original module was designed (unknowingly) for ac use. You should be able to get that module replaced by your dealer. It usually takes about one to two weeks to kill the battery. I believe that it is about a 30ma drain.

Good luck

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I think that would be drawing power from her starting battery!!

Wakegirl is your acc. battery runing your stereo etc and do you have them connected together and only one is loosing charge? (two questions in one sentence, sorry) I would pull the battery out, fully charge it and let it sit and check it after a week or so to see if you lost charge, it may take longer I don't know how long or short of time it takes for you to loose charge.

Another old trick to see if you have anything pulling a charge is to disconnet the positive cable and have a good solid ground to the battery, try this in the dark if you can, tap the battery post with the cable to see if you have any obvious spark, if you do, process of elimination you could do it by pulling or shutting off a breakers with known power sources. I had a problem one time and acutally traced it down to the starter that way. I just started disconnecting things one by one until the spark was gone. No repair shop could figure it out, it was either find the problem or sell the car with the defect. I still hate fords to this day, but it actually has happened to other cars other than Ford :)

This would not be the problem in your case but I used it as an example.

Good Luck and let us know if you find the problem.

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Hman442

When I am searching for a draw, I unhook the battery (either post) and hook a volt meter in between the battery & cable. Set the meter on amps (ma)-(milliamps)) is perfect, but if its a "big" draw it can "peg" the meter & blow the meters fuse. Attach one lead to the battery post & the other to the cable end. If it's "backward" it will just read negative - no matter. It should show a draw. To see if it's doing what you want, you can turn on a low draw item, like the bow light, etc. assuming it is running off of the battery you are checking. Then simply remove a fuse, pop a breaker, etc. one at a time until the draw goes away. Draws can be haunting at times, but this should make it visible. It is usually a component of some type, but can be wierd - once I worked on a Buick with a door dome light switch not "opening" all the way. The lights were not glowing - even in the dark, but it was drawing enough to kill the battery in a week.

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WakeGirl

I should have elaborated, but it was late & I was tired. I set the system up on the Hellroaring Isolator a couple of years ago. 1 battery is for starting only, the other is for accessories (all of them). I know that I have a slow draw because the trick I used was to pull the negative cable off of the battery terminal & use a test light to complete the circuit. It lit up & blew the bulb on the accessory battery, but using my second test light I got no light on the starting battery. So it's definitely a draw & it's definitely isolated to that battery (which is good, at least the boat would start & won't strand us). A meter is on my list of things to get today, along with new bulbs for both of my test lights because I blew the second light by testing to make sure that it works on the bad battery. :lol:

No power wedgie for me, so that's not it.

How do you pop the breakers on these things? A fuse box would be much simpler, I'd be able to just start pulling fuses to isolate where the problem is. And I would look for the problem on the hot side of things? It makes sense that a bad ground would just break the circuit, but I'm not knowledgeable enough about this stuff to know for sure.

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D-GOOSE

IIRC Tracie has a full floating wedge so its not in the power wedge and has a perko switch.

If you did have a isolator then, yes you could have a back feed to the Alt and making the battery draw down that way.

Tony had some good ideas about removing the battery and seeing if the battery it self is the problem. But with it being the start of summer I'm sure you want this problem behind you now, as I would.

The trick with removing the cable and looking for a spark is you need to know how big of a spark is normal. All electrical systems in cars, boats, bikes ect has an parasitic draw because of the electrical components IE clocks, radio memory, amps, capacitors.

You will need an Amp meter that would be found on a digital malti meter for this test.

Remove the + battery end

Check amp draw across battery and take note

Put meter in series with the battery. One end of meter on + post and other to removed + cable

Check amp draw and take note.

If you have more then an 1-2 amp draw you will need to start removing fuses or breakers, one by one.

Leave meter hooked up until amp draw drops. That is the circuit or part with a draw.

I’m thinking that maybe when you hooked up your radio, your acc wire is powering up your amps or radio all the time. You would have never of seen the problem with using the boat every week.

If this is not your problem let us know what you have on your ACC side battery.

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bigD

Don't know if you have one or not but my stereos capacitor has a small current draw, I also have digital voltage display but it shuts down when voltage stays below 12 for more than a few seconds.

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WakeGirl
You will need an Amp meter that would be found on a digital malti meter for this test.

Remove the + battery end

Check amp draw across battery and take note

Put meter in series with the battery. One end of meter on + post and other to removed + cable

Check amp draw and take note.

If you have more then an 1-2 amp draw you will need to start removing fuses or breakers, one by one.

Leave meter hooked up until amp draw drops. That is the circuit or part with a draw.

This was the only part of your instructions that I'm not clear on. What do you mean when you say check amp draw across battery?

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electricjohn

I don't think he (she ?) said that right. DO NOT take an amp reading across a battery (or any power source). That is a direct short circuit.

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D-GOOSE
You will need an Amp meter that would be found on a digital malti meter for this test.

Remove the + battery end

Check amp draw across battery and take note

Put meter in series with the battery. One end of meter on + post and other to removed + cable

Check amp draw and take note.

If you have more then an 1-2 amp draw you will need to start removing fuses or breakers, one by one.

Leave meter hooked up until amp draw drops. That is the circuit or part with a draw.

This was the only part of your instructions that I'm not clear on. What do you mean when you say check amp draw across battery?

Check voltage across battery to make sure you have a full charge and Johns right about it being a direct short. Make sure not to turn on any thing with more then a total of 10 amp draw. If you do your going to blow the fuse in the meter.

To test just one thing like an amp all you would have to do is rehook up the battery. Remove the positive wire going in and hook up the meter in series with the amp. One test probe on removed wire and the other probe in the amp.

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WakeGirl

Okay, that makes a little more sense. :)

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68Slalom

Sounds like you know for sure that you have a draw on the battery so you could pretty much count out the bad battery, there is a way to trip the breakers and I think they actually made two different types from what my dealer said. I'm not sure which ones you have but mine you can unscrew a plug. I'll take a look at them tonight, I acutally had the boat out yesterday to start it up and I didn't even think to look at them when it was out Whistling.gif .

The purchase of a good meter is the best way to pin point this problem, as everyone else suggested.

Good Luck, I'm sure you'll find the problem soon.

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D-GOOSE

As a side note! Under curton conditions Optima (or any battery) can create a memory. Check your voltage, put a 2 amp charger on for 30 min, recheck voltage while charging, if you’re not up to or over 13v then put charger on High (15amps) for 30min and repeat low amp charge. This will some times help correct the memory problem.

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SacRiverRat

If you leave the neg(-) disconnected, it wont drain Yes.gif

... solved Biggrin.gif

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D-GOOSE
If you leave the neg(-) disconnected, it wont drain Yes.gif

... solved Biggrin.gif

Also turning off the perko will work.

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WakeGirl

Except I don't have one of those, just the isolator. I don't want to have to disconnect something every time I bring it home from the lake.

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68Slalom
Except I don't have one of those, just the isolator. I don't want to have to disconnect something every time I bring it home from the lake.

Perko, is just a switch. They are actually really good to have especially if you want to shut all your power off with one click, you can even switch from 1 or 2 either or both Thumbup.gif I wasn't going to install one, but I think when I redo my batteries this month I'll install one just to have Thumbup.gif

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LS-One

Very first thing I would check is the stereo equipt (a likely suspect). After that since you don't have a Perko, I would start checking everything that still has power and operates when the ignition is off. Lighting being least likely, I would check bilge pump and blower for sure. Years ago when Malibu used a timing circuit in the blower I had a bad one.

Edited by LS-One

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zilla

Wakegirl

you need to get one of these current tester (make sure you get the right size fuse) just pop out the fuse then look at the screen its going to be the higher reading one if it is over 0.03 ma then you might have a problem

Edited by zilla

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WakeGirl
Wakegirl

you need to get one of these current tester (make sure you get the right size fuse) just pop out the fuse then look at the screen its going to be the higher reading one if it is over 0.03 ma then you might have a problem

That looks a heckuva lot easier to read than the multimeter that I bought. I feel like I need a class or 2 just on how to use the thing. Crazy.gif

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D-GOOSE
Except I don't have one of those, just the isolator. I don't want to have to disconnect something every time I bring it home from the lake.

Perko, is just a switch. They are actually really good to have especially if you want to shut all your power off with one click, you can even switch from 1 or 2 either or both Thumbup.gif I wasn't going to install one, but I think when I redo my batteries this month I'll install one just to have Thumbup.gif

I hate using a perko switch and love how easy and brain less it is to have an islator. Tracie also look to see if the isolator is bad and back feeding into the alt.

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WakeGirl
Except I don't have one of those, just the isolator. I don't want to have to disconnect something every time I bring it home from the lake.

Perko, is just a switch. They are actually really good to have especially if you want to shut all your power off with one click, you can even switch from 1 or 2 either or both Thumbup.gif I wasn't going to install one, but I think when I redo my batteries this month I'll install one just to have Thumbup.gif

I hate using a perko switch and love how easy and brain less it is to have an islator. Tracie also look to see if the isolator is bad and back feeding into the alt.

Exactly, it was my whole reason for setting it up on an isolator to begin with. So how do I do that, check the line running back to the alternator for current & put the meter in series with it?

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