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Old 07-20-2010, 10:56 PM   #1
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

The step-by-step procedure you listed is exactly right. Do exactly what you posted.

A "short" is a layman's term for any type of failed wiring, including "opens." True shorts are generally accompanied by fires, burned wires, or blown fuses or circuit breakers. A charged battery can put out hundreds of amperes, and will do so if given the chance. If Advance Auto measured a 3-amp continuous draw, it is likely not a short.

A dome lamp left on is about 3 to 4 amps. While it is possible that you may have a high resistance short (about 4 ohms) due to something like carbon tracks or salty grime across the housing of the starter solenoid or a panel lamp dimmer, it is much more likely some vehicle system does not go off with the key. Check for lights that stay on. Does the brake pedal come all the way up and turn off the brake lights, or do the switch or spring need adjusting? Is there a glove box with a courtesy light, and the door does not quite close enough to keep it always off?

Follow the one-by-one fuse test to find out which circuit(s) contribute to the draw. It may be one item, or four little 3/4-amp items all adding up.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:15 PM   #2
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

i agree with the fuse and the meter thing. lets you know what circuit is draining you!
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:27 PM   #3
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

I chased a parasitic drain for a long time, ended up being a bad triode in the alternator. Being the King of Cheap, I replaced the triode for $3 rather than buy the alternator. A very easy job actually.
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

I have four 6.2L diesels. The regulator is internal. Pull the alternator and get it bench tested at AutoZone, O'Reiley's, et al. Compare the datum from the different stores to see if the results are consistent. If so, then the wiring is the problem, if not, suspect the alternator (unless the datum is consistently negative for the alternator). Also disconnect the batteries and test the system to see if you get any connection from the hot side to ground. Follow the cables to their respective distribution areas to see if you have any worn insulation or frayed wires. I'm doing the same thing with my bus. It's a pain, but is important for preventing an electrical fire. Just like everyone else has said here before, it probably is an issue with the wiring and you need to trace it carefully. And remember, for good contact wet both fingers...... Just sayin'....
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:46 PM   #5
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

how many batteries is the bus using? the ones on my bus were doing similar (2 12v's) and sure they were 'good'. they can start a gas engine no problem, and if they were on the trickle charger they could start it okay but if it sat a few days they would be no good again. crank a couple times and it would be done.


have you told the guys at the store that they are for a diesel? might change their testing results.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:01 PM   #6
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBucks614
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031
Also disconnect the batteries and test the system to see if you get any connection from the hot side to ground. Just sayin'....
How does one do this?
I disconnect the batteries, turn off all the switches, connect the negative lead to the chassis, the hot lead to the positive cable lead, and check for what kind of flow I get and then the resistance. If I have no flow, then the main system is properly insulated. If there is a flow back to the ground, then I start with the battery wiring to the panel and go to the switches. I then go system by system to see if there are any grounds in them. I just keep tracing until I narrow the problem down one step at a time unless I know I have a specific electrical issue with one part of the system. With Max, I'm slowly going system by system because I have a similar problem. The school system converted the external regulator system to an internal one. The inadvertently caused a secondary problem with the system draining. After a week or so - dead batteries. So I'm doing the same thing. I started at the batteries, I have some issues there I'm fixing (when the heat breaks), and then I'm moving on to the lead to the starter, checking it, then on to the different systems diverging from the battery cable. I've already removed about 50 pounds of wire that has been snipped for each end and goes nowhere. It just takes time. Believe it or not - this is how I relax. Wifie says I'm nuts......
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:41 PM   #7
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

I just bought my 97 Carpenter 2 days ago and I already have some electrical gremlin. I've been in and out the back door (open for several hours with removal of seats) and I've been told something on there drains power. Somebody on this thread mentioned there being an alarm and/or an ignition cutoff via the back door. Might my bus have that too, and if so, how do I bypass it or reset it back to normal? I remember seeing a few buttons on the back door, though I don't know what they do.

Right now it seems the battery drained quite a bit or there is some sort of ignition cut-off engaged because I don't get any cranking whatsoever. I've tried putting the ceiling lights on and when I go to START the ignition, the lights not just dim, they completely cut out! I've tried measuring the batteries and they say 12.5V when off, but I've read that it could be false readings given that they're in parallel and need to be disconnected from each other to be completely accurate.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:10 AM   #8
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

Nevermind, I figured it out. The back door has a bolt that locks the door from opening, and normally the bolt is supposed to be open (away from the door) which keeps a button pressed, which happens to be an ignition cut-off switch. Once I "unlocked" the bolt (pushed it all the way to the right), the bus started right up. Seems a bit backwards that having the emergency door "unlocked" (all it takes is some clown kid to pull a single lever), making the back door easily opened even while the bus is moving. I'd think the cutoff should work when the backdoor ISNT locked.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:15 AM   #9
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Re: parasitic battery drain - help?!?!

Quote:
I'd think the cutoff should work when the backdoor ISNT locked
They want to make sure that if there is an emergency, you can get out, or someone on the outside can get in. Very few emergencies happen
when the bus isn't running.
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