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Old 05-03-2020, 12:23 PM   #1
AstraFasta
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Default Battery draining tips during lockdown

During the lockdown, how can we prevent battery from being drained by the standby electronics?

I would rather NOT be continuously disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. And NOT recharging the battery from the mains every 2 weeks.

Is there a recommended procedures to test and eliminate parasitic drain sources? Maybe we could remove each fuse and check for voltage at each terminal. If the Astra had fuses with the 2 metal contacts on top that would be easier.
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Old 05-03-2020, 02:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

All parasitic currents are derived from; radio preset memory and clock, ecm/pcm/bcm keep alive memory (kam). Service manuals give milliamp values for each model. For instance - my 4dr L300 3.0L V6 use milliamps for radio memory and clock, ecm and bcm kam, averaging around 0.025-0.050 amp or 25-50 milliamps total. If OnStar is enabled, there are spikes in current usage, up to around 250 milliamps for brief periods to 'call home'. If a Wi-Fi dongle is plugged in or usb charger is left plugged in, each pulls current. When plugged in, they're still running even when nothing is connected to them so current is used. A check of service manuals should state the amount of current used by factory electronics. With only factory electronics, no other extraneous plug-ins connected, no aftermarket alarm or remote start connected, my guess is less than 100 milliamps is drained per day. In theory, a fully charged new battery can be left in long term parking for several months before needing the vehicle. In reality, batteries aren't new so even a full charge and long periods between vehicle usage doesn't apply. Good batteries should retain enough charge for starting if not used for severs weeks but that depends on how old the battery is and if there are aftermarket electronics like alarms and remote start mods added. These will draw current in standby mode.

Service manuals describe procedures to measure parasitic current using special equipment not available to to diyer. A meter set to the highest amperage rating and wired in series to battery ground can help. 10 or 20 apps DC first to ensure wiring is correct. With auto ranging meters, reverse polarity is shown with a (-) symbol. If polarity is correct then either 0.00 is shown and opening a door should turn on the dome light with a current reading. Headlights should draw several amps. If all goes right, set the meter to a lower current value - 250 milliamps as the highest and wire the meter as before in series to battery negative. There should be a value whether its a delay timer for dome lights still on before turning off, remote needed to lock and enable security, etc. Setting up the car to be away and monitoring current draw should show total parasitic current of less than half an amp. If more then something is plugged in and drawing current that shouldn't.

Others may have better info.
...
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Last edited by fdryer; 05-03-2020 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Trickle charger
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

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Originally Posted by maschinenbauer View Post
Trickle charger
Either that or get out and start it occasionally. I've left mine sit for extended periods without it draining the battery.
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Ok - we did some testing and cleaning today.

PRELIMINARY TESTING

First did some testing with DMM in series with the negative terminal. When first connecting the DMM, voltage spikes to 2-3A for a second, holds at 1A for say 10 seconds. Creeps down to 10ma after about 45 seconds and stays there for 5+ minutes.

We pulled some fuses one by one but that didn't seem to make any real difference and I couldn't get below 10ma.

We couldn't figure how to do that test with doors locked and car armed. Also didn't see any strange peaks people attribute to OnStar; but maybe didn't wait long enough.

WORK

Cleaned some grounds and terminals (they didn't look too bad but are pretty shiny now)
** Cleaned G101 & G110 (under hood near fuse box/hood strut- needed to remove fuse box to access)

** Cleaned G103, G105, G109 (under battery- needed to remove plastic battery tray. I think G103 was very heavy-duty.

** Cleaned battery terminals and clamps

We removed alternator and cleaned terminals and connectors spring 2018

Also, remembered there was a broken iSimple phone charger/FM transmitter connected. Best Buy did a total hack install. That stopped working years ago.

- The 10A glass fuse holder was broken so Best Buy just taped that together and the electrical tape failed last year so the fuse fell out. I fixed that.

- iSimple has 3 RCA cables (white, red, yellow). The yellow RCA cable was taped to the iSimple FM metal transmitter box so might have caused some intermittent short.

- iSimple seems to be on 24/7 so I might disconnect the whole thing. Sound quality is garbage.

TESTED VOLTAGES
--------------------------before cleaning------after cleaning
CAR OFF
@ battery terminals------------12.9V----------12.9V
@ battery clamps---------------12.9-----------12.9

CAR IDLING
@ battery terminals-------------13.6-----------14.0
@ battery clamps----------------13.6----------14.0
@ alt body to batt pos-----------13.9

CAR IDLING, LOAD (lights, radio, AC, rear defrost)
@ battery terminals-------------12.9-----------13.5
@ alternator body to batt pos--14.1

2500 RPM, LOAD
@ battery terminals--------------13.1---------13.3
@ engine to batt pos---------------------------13.3

We did more tests but didn't document everything as it was getting dark. We thought the bold data indicated a ground issue. That seems to have been solved by cleaning the grounds (and maybe fixing the sloppy iSimple radio wiring).
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Old 07-20-2020, 02:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Narrowing down the culprit. Removing two fuses, we see battery drain of about 0.05v per 24 hours.

We have a sample size of about 10 days (typically we could keep car parked 3 days straight so in that case would check every day at noon and see say 12.55v, 12.50v, 12.45v). We also tried running lights for 30 seconds to remove any "surface charge" but that didn't change the results.

Fuses removed
35 Radio (FYI radio unit also has a removable fuse on the back we did not remove)
36 OnStar™ Module/OnStar™ InterfaceModule/Display

**We have seen that some Europeans had battery drain from radio if car was left without a CD in the radio. Fix was to keep a CD in the radio. That did not work for us.

**Below are incomplete schematics of the OnStar and potentially one of the boxes. The system is uber-integrated.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=140908
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=125618

Today we will reconnect the radio fuse 35 to try narrowing down the issue.
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Old 07-20-2020, 10:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

I recall a member posting strange battery drain issues. The thread wasn't in Astra forums. What I remember was the dead backup battery for OnStar needed to be replaced and expensive. Not rechargeable and only used when the main battery failed, becomes disconnected (in a crash) and OnStar was used/needed. Once the backup battery supplied power, it served its purpose. I don't know if owner's manuals mentions how or when this backup battery is replaced but the standard procedure is to refer to the nearest GM dealer. Digging into it, I found out what Onstar does when the backup battery dies.

GMs OnStar was featured for its ability to phone for help as a supplement to personal cellphones when cellular services were still in its infancy and cell towers were numerous in cities but not in rural areas. When OnStar subscription expired, the option to renew became a decision to continue with it and have a cellphone or let it lapse. Most owners began to forego OnStar when issues began to pop up. The issues were if Onstar maintains cellular service despite discontinuing service.

Under normal circumstances, OnStar relied on the main car battery for power. If for any reason main power was interrupted when OnStar was used, backup battery power took over. The backup battery is a long life lithium type and non rechargeable so its purpose was limited once it was needed. Replacement is suggested and I recall something like $89 for this battery. Sourcing only showed GM even when trying ebay for aftermarket sources. In many cases the battery either discharged or reached the end of its standby shelf life by dying of old age. Rather than replace the battery, the member posted an unusual battery drain of around 250 milliamps (0.250 amp). Monitoring unusual drain, it appeared and was determined that OnStar was periodically calling home every 20 minutes or something like it and broadcasting to GM even when OnStar service was discontinued. The question came up on completely disabling OnStar. The solution? Locating the VCIM (Vehicle Communications Interface Module) and disconnecting the power connector and antenna. Back then, there was concern of disconnecting the antenna if it would interfere with radio reception. To prevent OnStar's vcim from 'calling home', I suggested disconnecting power. No power, no OnStar activating on its own and draining the car battery. OnStar calling home to GM only lasts about a minute or less, just enough to "reach out and touch someone". OnStar wouldn't remain on, just calls home periodically.

Cellphones operate at no higher than 3 watts. OnStar cellular power may be the same. 12v X 0.25A = 3 watts. Back then, no one mentioned OnStar having its own fused line. I think OnStar was integrated into the radio so removing the radio fuse disabled both. Locating the vcim and disconnecting the power connection to it seemed to be the solution. Like many threads, no follow up was ever posted.

Last edited by fdryer; 07-20-2020 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 07-20-2020, 11:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

I start my car once a week for 15 minutes or more, sometimes I leave it like that. I usually go for a long drive on the weekend or just roam around the neighborhood.
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Thanks @fdryer.

There is a small box behind the glove compartment. We see two pictures below of that with wire colors & part numbers; I matched most of the wires colors from the picture to the schematic so it seems to be the "Onstar Interface Module" (OIM).
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...32&postcount=2

Based on the schematics there is also a Vehicle Communication Interface Module (VCIM). This dark photo and text show it to the LEFT of the steering column.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...77&postcount=4

Both boxes seem to get power from red B+ wire 3140 (OIM terminal 14 & VCIM terminal 15). Any tips to end battery drain?

Schematics are linked here
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...4&postcount=28
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:30 AM   #10
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:30 AM   #11
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Great reference links to the past. Snapshots are always better to help with discussions.

From your situation, I wonder if you can remove Fuse 36 OnStar interface module, connect ammeter to the fuse sockets and monitor current whether in the driveway or while driving? A temporary setup to see if a continuous current draw above 10ma occurs or if its periodic. 10ma is considered parasitic current for memory power to all modules having keep alive memory. Current above 100ma would be a problem for any vehicle left unused for weeks at a time when it's recommended to either disconnect the battery or plug in a trickle charger to maintain a full charge without over charging. The other alternative would be disconnecting one or two OnStar modules that have constant 12v power connections to them then monitor for current draw remaining at 10ma without going higher.

In either case, I'm presuming you don't need or want OnStar any more. If you decide on power disconnects to OnStar and presuming its tied into the factory radio (muting music automatically when a call comes in or goes out), check to be sure your radio still works as a standalone without OnStar. If your factory mirror has OnStar indicators, they're likely to go dead and not be a distraction.
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:46 AM   #12
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Today we will reconnect the radio fuse 35 to try narrowing down the issue.
So we left Astra sitting for 22h and see no battery discharge. Only fuse 36 (OnStar™ Module/OnStar™ InterfaceModule/Display) was disconnected. We will run the test for a few nights to confirm.

But it looks like the parasitic drain is down to the circuits of fuse 36.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
From your situation, I wonder if you can remove Fuse 36 OnStar interface module, connect ammeter to the fuse sockets and monitor current whether in the driveway or while driving? A temporary setup to see if a continuous current draw above 10ma occurs or if its periodic. 10ma is considered parasitic current for memory power to all modules having keep alive memory. Current above 100ma would be a problem for any vehicle left unused for weeks at a time when it's recommended to either disconnect the battery or plug in a trickle charger to maintain a full charge without over charging. The other alternative would be disconnecting one or two OnStar modules that have constant 12v power connections to them then monitor for current draw remaining at 10ma without going higher.
Thanks fdyrer for your tips.

A few weeks ago, we ran an ammeter between the ground and battery for 5 or 10 minutes and neither saw high parasitic drain nor high levels. But maybe we needed to run this for a longer period of time to catch the OnStar calling. I will do this at fuse 36 for as long as my eyes can concentrate. Or better yet, buy a multimeter that stores peak readings.
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Does anyone know where J116 is located? It brings 12v from the underhood fusebox (fuse 36) to the display/onstar etc. It is illustrated in the schematics above.

Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2022, 11:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

The VCIM (Vehicle Communication Interface Module) is located under the driver's side dash.

VCIM shows part numbers 25826220 & 94716101.

There seems to be 4 connectors based on the photos (below) and schematics (linked above):

X1 - Power, VCIM battery backup, rear view mirror controls, radio

X2 - OnStar Interface Module (OIM), data communications, cell phone mic

X4 - Data Communication (2500 - 4 wires)

X5/X6 - Coax for cell & navigation antennas

FYI - Yellow wire 710 runs between VCIM (X2-pin6) and OIM (pin-1).

Still not sure how removing fuse #36 kills the Center Screen.
Attached Images
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Old 03-03-2022, 11:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

The VCIM Battery seems to be part 88861186 and hidden behind the glove compartment.

The attached photo shows the battery and additional plastic bracket.
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Old 03-05-2022, 03:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Basic fuse diagrams are in the owners' manual. This is the Canadian online version

https://my.gm.ca/gm/en/content/dam/g...nual_en_CA.pdf

Euro schematics identify typical Relays. These values and IDs changed over the years in different markets but are a place to start

https://fuseandrelay.com/opel/astra-h.html
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Old 04-11-2022, 04:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

Maybe made some progress here.

The CD30 radio unit was misbehaving, with the following symptoms:

1. Radio backlight failed (radio buttons, round knob, etc.).

2. Ignition logic failed (radio would not turn off with key removal, even when "ignition logic" was set to On).

3. Intermittent battery drain.

After some more research, we tried the following repair:

A. Disconnect 12v battery ground for an hour

B. Remove CD30 radio from dash and disconnect both the wiring harness and antenna for an hour.

After reconnecting everything, radio backlight & ignition logic worked correctly. Will report on battery drain in a few days.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Battery draining tips during lockdown

That seems to have solved the major drain issue. The car will start fine even after 2 weeks sitting.
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