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Bad Battery? Tested for Parasitic Draw, Different Battery...

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by Dalandser, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:27 PM
    #1
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    I bought a truck with an Optima D35 Yellow Top (smaller size Optima battery):

    https://www.amazon.com/Optima-Batteries-8040-218-YellowTop-Purpose/dp/B000MSDKMA

    A few weeks ago I sold a bumper from the truck that had a winch and some led bars. I disconnected all of the wires at the terminals except for one light bar that I couldn't find the crimp connector to and cut the wire. The next time I went to turn the truck on - maybe a few days later (project truck), it was completely dead - paid $10 to have it charged back from 5 volts at the battery shop after Pepboys said their machine failed it. I read that parts store chargers had a tough time with this kind of battery so I figured that was "normal" for it.

    Put it back in the truck, disconnected any aux systems so it only was running ignition and stock stuff. Even left the negative terminal off the battery so I didn't have to worry about it. A couple weeks went by with driving it twice a week about a block to move it for street sweeping. Finally decided to put the negative lead on the battery again since it seemed like the battery had had a parasitic draw from the aux fuse box once I cut the wire from the light bar. Over time it took a little longer to start each time and I thought it was a bad component in the starting process (new starter not too long ago from the previous owner - the thing looks brand new).

    Last night I tried to start it just for fun and it wouldn't even though it was trying. I tried twice - the first time got more cranking sounds, the second time almost nothing so I stopped there. Researched some trouble shooting methods tonight and went out to try to diagnose a parasitic draw. Watched these two videos:





    Went out to my truck and figured there was nothing to lose so I tried starting it one more time. It turned over. WTF? So I didn't stop there since it's been a frustrating issue. I checked the battery and it was somewhere around 11 volts - I forgot exactly, but it was enough to turn over the engine. I let the truck run in place for awhile (can't drive it too far due to issues w/ radiator) and it was only getting up to 13 volts.

    I replaced the battery with the good battery from my other truck (13 volts with the truck off). Immediately went up to 14 volts with the truck running. I turned the truck off, closed the door, and did a parasitic draw test with the leads of the mulit-meter going from the negative lead to the negative lug on the battery. I set my HF multimeter to 10A DC and got a reading of .2-.3 which is what the guy on the second video had got after he had found the cause of the parasitic draw in his customer's vehicle. Now he kept saying to be suspicious of anything over 50ma, however that's .05, not .2-.3. I also watched a video on HF multimeters and saw that they can be off by roughly a decimal or two that much in voltage tests. Not sure that this applies to current tests.

    Long story short is that the battery is $180 on Amazon, which won't warranty it and $225 with a discount at Pepboys. I don't remember anyone in my family paying nearly that much for a battery ever, but I know Optima's got a good name going for itself. I also know that bad reviews do not account for a representative proportion of the population on amazon, however there were 13% bad reviews that described this battery failing quickly or far sooner than people would expect an expensive battery to fail. Take it for what it's worth...

    I'd just get a guaranteed AAA battery or whatever the battery shop will warranty for a long time, but the previous owner replaced the battery hold down with a trail gear unit specifically for this battery / ones it's size, which is quite small. So if I get a regular battery I'll have to buy a new holder too.

    I left both terminals off of the battery and measured it at 11.84 volts so I know if it's discharging without any possibility of parasitic draw the next time I got so check on it.

    Should I get a better multimeter and check for parasitic draw again this time pulling fuses? The second video said to look for current draws that were large, like 2-3 amps like the map light that was left on in his customer's vehicle. I did not have that, at least if I did the check right, which I think I did as per the video and the instructions in the manual.

    Thank you for reading my wall of text! Let me know what you think. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  2. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:32 PM
    #2
    IronPeak

    IronPeak PermaLurker

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    Your battery was already in poor shape at when it was at 5v. Likely badly damaged and unrecoverable. And driving around the block a few times without going on a longer trip like say like 20mins isn't sufficient to charge the battery further draining it. . Short trips killed my oem battery quickly I'm at 12.2v resting voltage (50%) . I was driving to and from the store a mile each way a few days a week. It wasn't enough to charge the battery. Now I hardwired a charger so I can charge after these short trips.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  3. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:35 PM
    #3
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    These batteries are supposedly able to get way down in voltage and come back from it and the battery shop said it passed a load test and was good to go when I picked it up a few weeks ago. That said I didn't know that only driving once in a while is bad for a battery. I could throw it in my daily driver and see what happens I guess - thanks for the input, I appreciate it. :oops:
     
  4. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:40 PM
    #4
    IronPeak

    IronPeak PermaLurker

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    I would suggest buying a multi stage charger such as battery tender or ctek brand they can be had for <100$ ,
     
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  5. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:42 PM
    #5
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    Which one did you buy & install - was it a pretty straightforward process?
     
  6. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:48 PM
    #6
    IronPeak

    IronPeak PermaLurker

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    A load test is a brief test to tell if the battery will start the vehicle reliably after the test it is not a picture of the battery's health. Your resting voltage after charging the battery will give you a better idea.
    Cut paste from my build:
    According to my ultragauge short trips have been running my battery down. Hardwired a battery tender then used an extension to run the connex into the truck so I don't have to pop the hood every time I hook up the charger. Cut the grommet and pushed the extension thru, and applied plenty of rtv silicon after to prevent water egress. Getting under the hood and seeing a few acorns reminded me I need to do the rat screen mod at some point before they set up shop on my cabin filter.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  7. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:55 PM
    #7
    IronPeak

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  8. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:56 PM
    #8
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    Thank you. I see what you're saying. I guess I could load it into my daily driver and see how it fares after driving ~30 miles a day for a few days with it? :notsure:

    Lets say I do need a new battery, any suggestions? I will most likely be adding a few auxiliary lights down the road and a mild sound system, but not anything over the top with subs. No refrigerators etc - a winch will be run off it though. The only way I'd replace this battery with another one is if I can get a warranty from a store I buy it from - too risky not to after this experience!
     
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  9. Mar 13, 2017 at 11:59 PM
    #9
    IronPeak

    IronPeak PermaLurker

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    Since my battery is at 50% depletion I also am looking into a new battery and haven't chosen yet.. doing research .
     
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  10. Mar 14, 2017 at 12:01 AM
    #10
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    Oh I thought these were a little different from what they appear to be. So they are plugged in to a 120 volt outlet? I thought they were basically a second battery that stores a charge and charges the main battery slowly over time when the vehicle is not in use. I park on the street... 8th year student problems.

    Edit: Didn't think about that I could take out the battery and charge it in my apartment lol :facepalm:
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  11. Mar 14, 2017 at 12:08 AM
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    IronPeak

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    That one looks good and is waterproof for a permanent install. Also these chargers also come with traditional clamps for using without permanent installation. I like the battery tender ones because they come with a basic quick disconnect so you can hardwire your truck and still use the charger for other uses. This is the hardwire kit that I bought with the battery tender. Actually I bought the 6' one

    https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tend...keywords=car+battery+charger+quick+disconnect
     
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  12. Mar 16, 2017 at 2:07 AM
    #12
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    Kept the leads off of the battery and got back to it tonight with 11.76 volts after sitting for two days and being at 11.84 on Monday. I let it run a few minutes and moved it, charged to 12.20 volts and I took to the leads off again. Interesting. I'll keep monitoring the situation.
     
  13. Mar 16, 2017 at 2:20 AM
    #13
    Misplaced Nebraskan

    Misplaced Nebraskan TTC #007 'First Gen Best Gen'

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    200mA is a huge draw. I just went through this on our car. First time doing the draw test showed zero. I guess I didn't wait long enough for the car to go to "sleep". Another way to do the test and narrow the circuits faster is shown here:



    Helped me find it was my bluetooth module. Disconnected it and went to less than 10mA. I hate chasing electrical draws and drains. It's a tedious step by step process. Maybe try this method and see if something stands out.
     
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  14. Mar 16, 2017 at 2:21 AM
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    Misplaced Nebraskan

    Misplaced Nebraskan TTC #007 'First Gen Best Gen'

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    Oh, and I haven't had any luck with Optima batteries in the past few years. They all seem to be really expensive paperweights now.
     
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  15. Mar 16, 2017 at 2:24 AM
    #15
    Dalandser

    Dalandser [OP] ¡Me Gustan Las Tacos-mas!

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    What blue tooth module? The truck has a Kenwood aftermarket stereo - I might jump past other possibilities and go straight to that before I start the step by step test if I'm still getting too much parasitic draw as per your statement and the video I referenced earlier. I don't know why he ended his video with the multimeter reading .2-.3A and then said 50mA was the limit like 5 times. Ah well. It'll make me more familiar with the wiring in my truck.

    Yes if the truck hadn't come with one there's no way I would have bought such an expensive battery. I know they're serving the purpose for people with lots of accessories like fridges and other power hungry items. I grew up camping for a week or more at a time off the grid with my parents and my dad kept his vehicles bone stock and I haven't changed my camping setup since I was young so I don't see myself buying another one.
     
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  16. Mar 16, 2017 at 2:29 AM
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    Misplaced Nebraskan

    Misplaced Nebraskan TTC #007 'First Gen Best Gen'

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    Bluetooth module on our Acura TSX. It's for the homelink system. Not the taco, sorry. I tried optima three times... 2 yellows and a red.
    85fd9163479afaf501d336a917e81b66.jpg
     
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