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Old 12-15-2017, 02:38 PM   #21
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: battery drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa_M
I just did the starter recently (october), and iirc I charged the battery at that time.
I use torque/OBD and have an innova scanner, and NEITHER one will show me the battery voltage. So I periodically have to check with a MM because I sometimes go a week or 2 without driving, and it's always short distance.It's been a week or 2 since I drove the car, and just measured 7.6V with my MM.
From the 1st post. This is more than enough to end up with a copletly dead batery as it has likely experienced pror complete discharge events. It also apears to have an internal fault.

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Old 12-15-2017, 05:57 PM   #22
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Default Re: battery drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
OP, how cold is your weather now? How short is your typical drive? How long is the car sitting without use?

Point is, frequent 5 mile trips are no problem for me, and letting the cars sit for several weeks (even a month +?) is no problem. No battery tender, of course. I only charge batteries if they have been sitting several months, and even then just to be sure they stay above 12V to avoid sulfation.

Use of a battery tender may help you, but may also be just a crutch to mask the real problem.

Temperature does affect your "battery experience", and I am in a mild environment, hence the question about your temps.

Personally, I prefer the Interstate batteries...
Sounds like my usage, and I thought a few weeks was ok to not drive. I see now that the sooner you restore SOC to 100%, the better. My temps are also mild, not too much driving under 40F.
I have, however , had a few cases where the battery was drained way down, which as mentioned is detrimental. OldNuc also advised me that the battery wasn't fresh enough when I got it ( I guess it was actually 3 years ago), but I did the best I could at the time.

I do plan to get a new battery and especially since they are reasonably priced, a maintainer. I would certainly consider other causes of my problem.

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Old 12-15-2017, 06:04 PM   #23
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Default Re: battery drain

I did a test trip on the charged battery and used my scan gauge, which appears to measure same values as my MM.

Idle 14.6V
While driving 14.4V
Ignition off 12.8V

So that means the alternator is OK.
Still annoyed about the torque app. It shows no value for voltage (cm) and was 13.xV for voltage(ad) - which is the adapter,right?

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Old 12-15-2017, 06:21 PM   #24
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Default Re: battery drain

Did you measure battery/alternator voltages to determine whether or not electrical issues are causing this problem? While there are many suggestions given, no one has determined where fault lies. A battery that's under warranty and either tested at home or as suggested, tested at any auto store selling car batteries can help with battery issues. Battery testing in stores can determine if a dead cell is an issue but does not tell you if battery cables, their connections, connection corrosion, drive belt system and alternator are in good operating condition. To determine where your problem lies and not become too focused on only one problem (battery) can distract you from an overall perspective. The battery voltages after a charge reflect only a charged battery without any other measurements after starting, driving and engine shutdown. Voltage measurements taken at certain points in car use can help paint a picture or simply visit Autozone or other store that can perform in-car tests to battery and alternator. There are diy methods, as already mentioned here, or store testing. Be aware that some stores may not have capabilities for in-car testing so calling ahead helps. I know Autozone in my neighborhood tests batteries in cars and on a test bench. Alternators are tested on a bench too. I don't know if they can test alternators on cars. The reason I mention voltage measuring after starting and driving is to display actual alternator output that should always be above 13 volts with most cars showing around 14v+. You already know battery voltage (after an overnight charge) so measuring battery voltage above the baseline value simply means the wiring, drive belt and alternator should show voltages above 12.5v.

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Old 12-15-2017, 06:26 PM   #25
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Default Re: battery drain

No idea what Torque is reporting and any scanner can be rather inaccurate as to voltage readings, those are not high accuracy voltmeters built into the PCM. As long as it looks reasonable then it is likely OK. Your alternator looks OK so the issue is back to where it started -- Interstate low cost battery.

New battery and a 15-20$ maintainer and all of this grief will be history. Starters last longer when they have a fully charged battery. A battery on a maintainer is internally warmer than the identical battery just sitting and a warm battery has a higher capacity than a cold one. That is also in that chart I linked.

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Old 12-15-2017, 11:24 PM   #26
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Default Re: battery drain

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Did you measure battery/alternator voltages to determine whether or not electrical issues are causing this problem? While there are many suggestions given, no one has determined where fault lies.
I think so. Mostly, anyway.
ignition off (forgot to write it down, lol. 12.6V, iirc)
Idle 14.6V
While driving 14.4V
Ignition off 12.8V

So the alternator is good and I assume that also (generally) indicates cables and connections are also good. I confess I did not dig around to find the battery/alternator connection.

Since the place where I bought the battery does not actually have testing equipment, I'd have to make an extra stop at a FLAPS if I want diagnostics. If I was certain I'd get accurate, reliable info there, I'd be more inclined to go out of my way to do that. I'm a little worried about the load test...if it fails...is there enough power to start it again?

How do they test for a bad cell? I had a shop tell me I had a bad cell on a previous battery (they warrantied it out) but they never actually tested it.

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Old 12-15-2017, 11:49 PM   #27
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Default Re: battery drain

The test for a bad cell is simple.

This is the at home method. You charge the battery for sufficient time that the battery terminal voltage with the charger operating at the trickle rate is 14.8 or above. This is hard to do with the new smart chargers but they will eventually get a good battery up to 14.7 or so, probably about 24 hours of charging. Once you reach this point remove all load and the charger and allow the battery to sit in a 70-80F environment for a minimum of 12 hours. Measure terminal voltage and any reading less than 12.7 is indicative of a bad cell. A completely failed cell will result in a 11.3 - 11.5 v reading.

This is the quick easy way. A load test will show a bad cell immediately. The car will still start after a load test if it started before.

Go to FLAPS as their computer battery tester will give you a detailed printout including the calculated Cold Cranking Amps(CCA) capacity with if it is way off of the spec for the battery indicates failed. The quick load test will also indicate condition.

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Old 12-16-2017, 12:27 AM   #28
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Default Re: battery drain

Good! Those values give a picture of a normal electrical system.

Battery on standby 12.6v
Idle 14.6V
While driving 14.4V
Ignition off 12.8V

A load test is the same as connecting a starter; drawing large amount of current in a brief amount of time and measuring voltage afterwards. Autozone will test and recharge a battery if it needs it while you wait. Most load tests do not kill batteries as good batteries will not suffer load tests. Think of store battery tests as starting several times in the dead of winter with the battery able to supply power for several starts before running down. One store test won't kill a good battery while giving the equipment a way to measure battery capacity to give an honest assessment of battery life. Its good business not to sell a battery if not needed and generates good customer relations for any future purchases.

Most of not all 12v car batteries are designed around individual battery cells. A 12v car battery will have 6 cells, each one outputting a little over 2 volts. This is based on lead cells with sulphuric acid. A 12v battery should always have at least 12 volts with most around 12.5v. A dead cell is seen as one cell losing its ability to output so subtracting 2 volts from a 12.5v battery = 10.5 volts. This becomes obvious only in the dead of winter or possibly desert heat conditions where temperatures affect battery life. When a dead cell becomes obvious may be during starting when one moment a car starts fine then the next start fails without rhyme or reason. Most car owners don't pack a multimeter in the glove box when a set of jumper cables are more likely. Without measuring battery voltage at the point when a startup fails, reaching for jumper cables is easier and asking a stranger for a boost. As soon as another battery is connected and boosts the dead battery, a startup allows a driver to continue to either home without wondering what went wrong or if this scenario is repeated several times in a week, wonders if the battery or electrical system is failing. The battery test at most auto stores with a trained person will connect their tester and load the battery, duplicating at least similar current loads on a battery, anywhere from 50-200 amps for about 15-30 seconds. The load draws a large amount of current similar to starters and afterwards a voltage is read. All good batteries will allow large current drain without issues and recover. A voltage reading during these tests may reveal voltages dropping to around 10 volts or less but usually rise once the load is removed and show 12 volts+. A dead cell will most likely drop battery voltage to less than 10 volts and afterwards not rise back to 12v, indicating a dead cell. Simple without knowing any rocket science. This is a known fact but not shared in forums since most battery tests are done in stores or out in the parking lot by store people with their simple to operate testing equipment. Some store people may not even know this and simply reads the display and parrots what they see without knowing the facts to explain why a dead cell displays 10 volts instead of 12v. A dead cell is just another way for a battery to fail and all anyone wants is either receive a replacement under warranty minus pro rating or buy a new one without a care for why it failed.

If you bought your battery locally, you should return to the place for testing and warranty questions. Why this place can't test your battery is inexplicable as they would have to take either your word or the word of a third party test to offer a pro rated warranty replacement. Testing by any auto store selling car batteries is part of good business since a person is most likely to make a one stop choice to test for possible battery failure like you have and simply buy what's on the shelf. Others may take their time and shop around for best prices but that's usually with a good battery that was tested and due for replacement anyway, based on battery life and other factors. A loose formula for battery life might be; a 2yr cheap battery warranty will die after a year or two, a 5yr battery will die after 4-5 yrs, etc. Its rare for batteries to last longer than their warranty and an exception to the rule. Some Ion owners have almost doubled their factory battery life for unknown reasons. This general rule only covers standard car batteries, not the high end ones like Optima or Odyssey - these are sealed AGM batteries with expensive manufacturing different from regular batteries. Desert car owners report no matter what battery they buy, desert heat cooks batteries to a premature death.

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Old 12-16-2017, 09:46 PM   #29
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Default Re: battery drain

I have done many battery tests at the FLAPS. They show voltage, temp, CCA, and report good/bad. I have had many batteries test 'bad' and continued to use them without issue (even a few fresh off the shelf). I wonder if that tester includes the load test? Guess I will be finding out. Never had a clerk who seems to know much about the tests, as you say, they just parrot 'good' or 'bad'.

So even if I get the load test and it shows a bad cell, this doesn't indicate the cause of it?

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Old 12-17-2017, 12:15 AM   #30
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Default Re: battery drain

Its difficult to determine whether or not auto store people know about dead cells and voltages from a faulty battery. The reason for test equipment is to eliminate second guessing and let a battery load test determine battery state of health. You can always ask for how test equipment determines battery health, google for descriptions of battery load tests, etc.. Since each cell of a six cell battery generates two volts, a load will force a dead or faulty cell to drop voltage with a voltage showing a two volt drop. This is good enough to find a faulty battery. A load forces all batteries to output as much as their design allows with the weakest cell simply dropping out.

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Old 12-17-2017, 12:57 AM   #31
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Default Re: battery drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa_M View Post
I have done many battery tests at the FLAPS. They show voltage, temp, CCA, and report good/bad. I have had many batteries test 'bad' and continued to use them without issue (even a few fresh off the shelf). I wonder if that tester includes the load test? Guess I will be finding out. Never had a clerk who seems to know much about the tests, as you say, they just parrot 'good' or 'bad'.

So even if I get the load test and it shows a bad cell, this doesn't indicate the cause of it?
To determine the cause of a cell failure requires an actual disassembly of the battery for a physical examination. The battery tester does a lad test as that is a part of the CCA calculation. The GOOD/BAD on the printout is the load test result. Generally if the battery still holds a charge then it can be used even if it is way down on total capacity. Testing batteries is not a simple matter and the FLAPS test set is a valid test mechanism for automotive starting batteries.

Before running to the FLAPS fully charge your battery so you get valid results.

The FLAPS will usually not get into a bad cell discussion as the tester does not directly provide that info. A load test will fail if there is a bad cell or other causes of low capacity under load so all you get is the good-bad. If you have a failed cell then the battery will not hold a charge and show a 12.6+ terminal voltage reading after sitting overnight.

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Old 12-17-2017, 08:25 AM   #32
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Default Re: battery drain

It's holding 12.5v after one test run and sitting a full day
Wasn't able to get out for the diagnostics, but should be able to today.

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Old 12-17-2017, 09:39 AM   #33
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Default Re: battery drain

The 12.5 may be an overall degraded battery capacity but there is no single bad cell causing problems. IF it is verified to be below expectations for the CCA OR the load test fails then using a maintainer will get you continued acceptable service from that battery.

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Old 12-18-2017, 11:16 AM   #34
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Default Re: battery drain

Battery tested low CCA and supposedly failed load test. This tester does not show good/bad. Just gives volt, cca, and says the battery needs a charge. I wonder if the tester accepts temperature input or if it is fixed. It's usually way above the actual temp, but today it was 160F. Mr. FLAPS didn't want to talk about it.

It was also leaking, which was not there 2 months ago when the battery was taken out for charging.I am sure we kept it flat&level. Not the first interstate battery I've had that leaked (different car).

I picked up a new battery (easy warranty swap) and charged it up to 12.8V.
After sitting in the car all night, it's 12.48V.
Some of that may be a temperature difference. The air temps were pretty close but it did spend an hour on the charger (2A rate).
I may have also used 2 different MM, I just checked them against each other and there is a 0.2V difference.

I guess I'll check it a few more times, then take a closer look at parasitic draw testing.

I do have RKE that is set to auto arming. After reading the owners handbook, I see that it is actually supposed to prevent battery drain from the door/light. At any rate, I already had switched the light to OFF a few years ago.

I also need to troubleshoot my trunk light, as the replacement bulb doesn't work.

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Old 12-18-2017, 01:13 PM   #35
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Default Re: battery drain

New battery should be charged to 14.2-14.7v on a 1 amp charging rate charger, only then is it actually fully charged.

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Old 12-18-2017, 04:54 PM   #36
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Default Re: battery drain

Guess I can't do that. My 'smart' charger is 2A and I've only measured 13 ish V.

I read about a break in period, as well. I'm know all these measurements have some innaccuracies, I'm just trying to figure if I have other issues to check on.

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Old 12-18-2017, 05:43 PM   #37
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Default Re: battery drain

Smart charger must be connected to a battery and then it does its thing. They work and are real handy but when trying to set up batteries they tend to be too smart by half. Just run the new battery on the smart charger until it shuts off. It should have a low current finishing rate which will be OK as well.

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Old 12-27-2017, 09:53 PM   #38
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Default Re: battery drain

Is the glove box light staying on all the time by chance ?

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