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Old 06-08-2015, 06:06 PM #1
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Help tracking down battery drain

Battery lasts about two days...

Black wire from positive.



White wire from positive.



Alt-S



EFI



Dome




Amps not hooked up but says it draws 11.8 when tested.

Do any of these look right? The doors were shut and I double checked to see if any light were on...all lights off.

EFI? No idea

ALT-S? No idea

Also...I'm not really sure I'm using this multimeter correctly....
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:15 PM #2
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here was my case.

rear hatch lights were on 'door' position, the rear hatch wasn't completely shut and the light was not on, but it would drain the battery.

I leave it on 'off' position and shut the door firm and fixed the problem.

I don't know if it's common or not, but that was my case.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:21 PM #3
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start pulling fuses until the amp draw lowers.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:26 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXRick View Post
Battery lasts about two days...

Black wire from positive.



Also...I'm not really sure I'm using this multimeter correctly....
Ok, so what you need to do first is put the positive lead in the "20 amp un-fused" port on the meter, and set for DC Amps (A..., not A~).

IMPORTANT!!! Be very careful after once you put that lead in that port on the meter. The meter now acts as a direct short that's not fused. If you try to read battery voltage with it in that configuration there will be smoke, sparks, and you will blow your meter up. This is what my high school electricity teacher referred to as "letting the smoke out of the meter".

Next you need to put the meter in series with the current path. To do this remove the entire terminal from the positive post on the battery. Use a couple of clothes pins or some other non-conductive clamp and hook the multimeter leads up in between the battery (+) terminal and the positive cable. (You can also do this on the negative side of the battery, which is safer if you're in danger of shorting to the chassis) The polarity doesn't really matter, you're just looking at the absolute current flow in this case.

At this point you should be able to see the current draw from the battery. Start pulling fuses one at a time and note the change in the current draw for each one. If it's a constant drain you should be able to narrow it down like that. If it's an intermittent drain it may get more complicated.

Here's some more information with some graphics of the meter connection.

Testing for Battery Drain - Randy's Repair Shop

Again, be mindful of your meter leads being plugged in to the current port on the meter. Don't leave it like that when you're finished because you won't notice it next time. Every electrician I've ever met has blown a meter up in their career, myself included.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:55 PM #5
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Jeremyc is spot on, though I'd say to use the negative terminal/cable and not the positive for testing. I saw someone not only blow the cheap HF multimeter but also he fried either a PCM or some circuit board for a blower motor that made his problem that much worse.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:58 PM #6
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good advise. my culprit turned out to be the rear window defogger, didn't even know I had one! pulling the fuse caused the parasitic draw to drop off but not all the way. turned out I also had to remove the defogger relay. I still don't understand it all but that cured my ill. so don't forget to pull relays also!
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:04 PM #7
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One other thing...... start out with the meter on the 20 setting, and see where you're at. If it's at .2 amps or less, drop down to the 200ma setting for better resolution. You may have to just stick with 20, depending on how heavy the draw is. Based on what you're saying about the battery life if it's a constant drain I'm betting it's right around the 200-300mA range.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:46 PM #8
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Sweet thanks for the info and the lesson. I'll get on it in the AM and let y'all know wassup.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:38 AM #9
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I hooked it up like you said. I tried both pos and neg terminals. It read 0.0 both times. What's that mean?
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:44 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXRick View Post
I hooked it up like you said. I tried both pos and neg terminals. It read 0.0 both times. What's that mean?
Did you switch to the 200ma port and setting? You should see 25-50ma from the radio and wireless door systems. If not, you are probably not making good contact with your leads. If you do, you have an intermittent drain or possibly an internal short in the battery. How old is the battery?

You can rule out the battery by leaving the negative terminal off for two days and see if you can start the car when you reconnect. Also check voltage at beginning and end of the period just before you reconnect.
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Last edited by TheDurk; 06-09-2015 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:46 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXRick View Post
I hooked it up like you said. I tried both pos and neg terminals. It read 0.0 both times. What's that mean?
Sounds like you blew out the multimeter's fuse
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:31 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_C View Post
Sounds like you blew out the multimeter's fuse
The 20A shunt on that particular meter is unfused. It's possible the meter isn't working, but more likely just a connection issue.

OP, when you get the meter connected make sure the dome lights are still working. The entire current draw for the vehicle is passing through that meter though, so don't turn on any heavy loads while it's connected.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:59 AM #13
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When dealing with Rick, the first thing to assume is that he's been drinking (it's summer and that's what teachers do all day) and probably semi-followed instructions...so multimeter works fine...operator error.


Hooked up correctly, right?



After pulling Dome fuse.



All doors shut and lights switched to off. What else is hooked up to this fuse? What should I check? Is that enough drain to kill the battery in a couple of days?

Last edited by TXRick; 06-09-2015 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:01 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDurk View Post
Did you switch to the 200ma port and setting? You should see 25-50ma from the radio and wireless door systems. If not, you are probably not making good contact with your leads. If you do, you have an intermittent drain or possibly an internal short in the battery. How old is the battery?

You can rule out the battery by leaving the negative terminal off for two days and see if you can start the car when you reconnect. Also check voltage at beginning and end of the period just before you reconnect.
I have aftermarket radio, not hooked up and aftermarket wireless door system that worked last time I used it.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:27 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyc74 View Post
The 20A shunt on that particular meter is unfused. It's possible the meter isn't working, but more likely just a connection issue.

OP, when you get the meter connected make sure the dome lights are still working. The entire current draw for the vehicle is passing through that meter though, so don't turn on any heavy loads while it's connected.
Yeah, def connection prob...also direction reading problem

Front dome lights working with meter connected , jumps up to 9 when light is turned on. Rear hatch works intermittently. If I bang on the latch, the rear light will start working.

Battery is from 12/13 not many miles on it since then. I took the battery up to Autozone and they tested it a few months back. They said it was ok...

Last edited by TXRick; 06-09-2015 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Content
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