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mr_slick

join:2003-05-22
Lynnwood, WA

Battery drain in my truck

The battery in my truck has been dieing when I don't run it for a week. The battery is fairly new, could possibly use more water (pretty full though). So I did some testing and the aftermarket stereo is pulling 0.03 amps. The alternator works good ~15v and once I jump it (after charging a while from the other car) the battery reads at ~12v. A few questions for the experts here

1) Will the 0.03 amps drain a battery that fast or do I just have a cheap Wal-Mart battery?

2) How long will a "good battery" maintain a charge with no usage (assume that I remove the memory lead)?

3) If I want to top off the battery, do I need to use distilled water or is tap okay. I assume I should fill to the top of the resevior (not so much that it squishes out when I recap it however?)

TIA



dandeman
Premium,MVM
join:2001-12-05
Chapel Hill, NC
Reviews:
·AT&T Southeast

1 edit

I know for certain, Toyota specs for ignition off, parasitic drain is to be no more than 50 milliamps (0.05). I've actually measured it on my vehicle and it is 40 milliamps..

The onboard security systems todays vehicles, which also includes the key flob radio and the clock run 24x7..

If you have these systems you need to check the entire vehicle idle draw which may be higher.


Cheezz

join:2003-10-17
reply to mr_slick

What model and year is your truck?
That draw isn't really that bad,you may just have a bad battery or one that doesn't have enough reserve capacity (too small). There's other things also to take in account, like how cold is there,do you fully charge the battery,are the battery cables clean and tight.
You said that was the draw from the radio,did you check just the radio or did you do a draw test at the battery to check the whole vehicle?



McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
reply to mr_slick

said by mr_slick:

2) How long will a "good battery" maintain a charge with no usage (assume that I remove the memory lead)?
Last winter, we left our 2001 Astro parked in the garage for over 6 weeks. When we got home from Florida, it fired right up. We did nothing to it, removed no "leads", nothing.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

1 edit
reply to Cheezz

nm



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to mr_slick

said by mr_slick:

The battery in my truck has been dieing when I don't run it for a week. The battery is fairly new, could possibly use more water (pretty full though). So I did some testing and the aftermarket stereo is pulling 0.03 amps. The alternator works good ~15v and once I jump it (after charging a while from the other car) the battery reads at ~12v.
How are you recharging this battery after you find it dead?

If it is not being put on a charger and you are relying on the alternator to recharge the battery then that may be 80% of your problem. Alternators are not designed to recharge dead batteries.

What is the exact voltage of the battery?




Regards,

Doctor Olds
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

Cheezz

join:2003-10-17
reply to Doctor Olds

Ok



Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to mr_slick

A lot of new vehicles slowly drain the battery over time. but one week is a short time. The New Silverado/Sierra trucks have an issue with dead batteries after sitting for a month or so. People that travel for work and are gone for extended times are the ones noticing this. There are just so many gizmos and gadgets running, even when the ignition is off.

By the way, like hand tools, most batteries are not made by the "brand" company on the label. Those "cheap" Walmart batteries (Everstart brand) are actually just re-badged batteries made by other respected companies. They are usually pretty good batteries. »www.galttech.com/research/cars/b···tery.php
--
I can spell. I just can't type.



Mactron
el Camino Real
Premium
join:2001-12-16
CM94sv
reply to Doctor Olds

said by Doctor Olds:

How are you recharging this battery after you find it dead?

If it is not being put on a charger and you are relying on the alternator to recharge the battery then that may be 80% of your problem. Alternators are not designed to recharge dead batteries.

Agreed. Putting a half dead battery away for a week at a time repeatedly will sulfate them in short order. Buy a Charger. Their designed to recharge batteries. Then buy a battery maintainer for those "storage" times.
--
If only the Verizon CSRs worked this well.


mr_slick

join:2003-05-22
Lynnwood, WA
reply to mr_slick

Thanks for all the replies everyone! It does not really matter so much anymore however... I took my truck out yesterday and the drive shaft (u-joint) broke. And I was in the middle of nowhere, snowing heavy so I tried to drive it home-- also the transmission / transfer case suffered damage.

Looks like I'll be getting rid of this heap sooner than I anticipated

To answer some questions that you all posed though and remark on your posts:

said by Cheezz:

What model and year is your truck?... There's other things also to take in account, like how cold is there...
78 Chevy 1/2 ton 350ci auto 4x4 And it has been fairly cold.

said by Doctor Olds:

How are you recharging this battery after you find it dead?

If it is not being put on a charger and you are relying on the alternator to recharge the battery then that may be 80% of your problem. Alternators are not designed to recharge dead batteries.

What is the exact voltage of the battery?
I think you hit it on the head there. I have been just letting the alternator charge it. Voltage after "charging" with the alternator = 11.78v. I did not take a reading when it was dead.

I will invest in a charger for the future (I did know about the fact that the alternator is a poor substitute, just didn't really think about it.

Thanks all again. Anyone want to buy a broken beat up truck? all or parts?

On the bright side I definitely got my $750 out of it!


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

Sorry to hear of your further mechanical troubles. Been there done that myself. When it rains, it pours or when it snows, it blizzards.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?



Jim Gurd
Premium
join:2000-07-08
Livonia, MI
reply to mr_slick

said by mr_slick:

If I want to top off the battery, do I need to use distilled water or is tap okay.
You might as well use distilled water. You can get a gallon of it for about $1 at the grocery store.

Use a squeeze bottle to fill the cells. Here's how to tell if you need to add water. Look inside the cell. If the water level looks flat you need to add water. Add it until the water level just touches the bottom of the cell. The water will "pucker" as it touches the plastic cell wall. Once you see the pucker it's full. Do this for all of the cells and you will be good.

Hook it up to a charger and let it go. I strongly recommend buying an automatic charger. That way you can leave it unattended without worrying about overcharging the battery.
--
Vote for liberty, fiscal responsibility and to uphold the constitutionally limited government as originally intended by our founding fathers.


Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to mr_slick

said by mr_slick:

I think you hit it on the head there. I have been just letting the alternator charge it. Voltage after "charging" with the alternator = 11.78v. I did not take a reading when it was dead.
At 11.78 volts it has only a 30% charge. It would take 5 to 6 hours with a 10 Amp charger to get it back fully charged.

»www.apexbattery.com/faq-auba.html
quote:
How do I charge my battery?
If a battery was discharged quickly then it should be recharged quickly, and a slowly discharged battery should be recharged slowly. The main concern is to not overheat nor overcharge the battery. All batteries contain sulfuric acid and can generate explosive gases. Read and follow all warning labels before charging a battery. Be sure to charge in a well-ventilated area. It is important to follow the charging instructions to ensure that the battery is returned to a full charge as battery chargers vary by manufacturer. For best results, charge the battery as soon as you know it is discharged. For charging an average fully discharged automotive battery using a 10-amp automotive charger, it will take approximately 8-10 hours at 80 degrees F temperature to reach full charge. Warning: Once a battery has been fully charged, it should be disconnected from the charger immediately. Continuing to charge a fully charged battery will severely damage the internal plates and shorten battery life.

Do I need to add water or additives to my battery?
Most automobile batteries are maintenance accessible. Remove the vent caps which will expose 6 holes or fill wells, add distilled or good drinking-quality water. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERFILL. The electrolyte should not go past the end of the fill well. Overfilling can cause acid to be discharged during operation. The electrolyte level should be checked at least once a year in cold or mild climates and more often in hot climates.
Other additives: Under normal conditions, a battery fails due to the deterioration of the positive grids and active material. Additives will not restore the integrity of the metal grid nor replenish the active material onto the plate. Simply stated...DO NOT add additives!
Hope this helps.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?