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Old 10-30-2005   #1 (permalink)
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Alternator = Good, battery = good, But Battery still Drains

Hey Peeps
Just wondering if anyone has experienced this before. I have an 01 civic, with no electronic accessories except an after market alarm.
This past week , twice my car's battery were totally drained and i needed a boost to get it started. Both times the car was sitting at my school parking lot for 8+ hours in 0 degress temp. Now I had the battery load tested which came out fine, and had an AVR check and the alternator is operational too.

My car runs just fine and im not experiencing any lag when accelerating due to possible alternator failure. The only other explanation i can think of is that something is draining my battery. Is it possible that my alarm system has developed a short somewhere or theres a blown fuse? I get no indication lights when im driving. But when i do put the car ingnition in the second position before cranking and leave it there, the battery, oil and check engine light are on. But when the car is on, none of these lights are on. Can anyone shed some light on my situation? THanks in advance for you advice.

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Old 10-30-2005   #2 (permalink)
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something is draining the battery with the car off. Where did you get the alarm installed?
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Old 10-30-2005   #3 (permalink)
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The car alarm was professionally installed by a well recommended alarm shop and has been working perfectly for about 4 months.
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Old 10-30-2005   #4 (permalink)
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think about what else you have on the car. Any dome lights on? does the trunk light go off when its closed? dome lights? any accessories you may have wired, neons, strobes, etc. I think to go further you're gonna need a multimeter to measure voltage drops.
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Old 10-30-2005   #5 (permalink)
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The only other accessory i have is a scanner light on the dash (its the row of leds that flash in pattern) when the car off, that draw very little current. Thats all the electronic accessories i have, no neons or sound system. Dome lights go off and on as they should, havent check the trunk light but i will. Other than the car not starting those two times, the car is in perfect working condition. I just cant understand what had drained my battery those two times.
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Old 10-30-2005   #6 (permalink)
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those three lights stay on in that position...

have you checked (if its a non sealed battery) the cells...load test would usually catch this if done properly but you never know...is it the OEM batt? those don't fair very well in the winter time...(from stories of customers...not my personal experience)

I just saw you have an '01 (like I said earlier if it is O.E.M. battery) you should DEFINITELY CHANGE IT avg life span of a batt is 3-5 years...
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Old 10-30-2005   #7 (permalink)
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you need to do a parasitic drain test to determine if there is a amp draw somewhere. I dont know the specs, but I thinks its like more then 50 miliamps or so. I am not sure. I will check later.

Anyway if there is an amp draw, to figure out where it is coming from, you remove each fuse untill the draw goes away. If it does when say you pull the headlight fuse, then there is a draw in the headlight circuit. If it doesnt go out with all fuses being pulled, pull the alternator fuse, then the major fuses.

You need to check this.
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Old 10-31-2005   #8 (permalink)
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That's weird, My 02 did this twice, bone stock. Completely at random. Each time, I recharged the battery and the car was fine for weeks, even months before it did it again. I have since switched to an optima yellow top and have never had the random dead (and I mean STONE DEAD) battery problem again.
I never found any problem with the car itself.
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Old 10-31-2005   #9 (permalink)
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I have not activated/armed my alarm for the past 3 days and my car is running just fine. I remember on the two days my car's battery had drained, my alarm pager had notified me that someone may have bumped my door because it vibrated but did not stay on, meaning my alarm was not squealing.

For the most part, im way too far away from my car to get the page everytime it goes off. It just so happens i was in the very east part of my school, close to where i park.

My question is, is it possible that my alarm may have been going off for hours, for whatever reason, and it was draining my battery? I dont think the siren could drain that much power from the battery, even if it was on for say 3 hours.

And Yes, this is the Original battery i have had.

I have also contacted my alarm installer and am awaiting a response.
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Old 11-01-2005   #10 (permalink)
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It's possible that your alarm killed the stock battery. It is not exactly a strong battery to begin with.
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Old 11-01-2005   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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And Yes, this is the Original battery i have had.
I'd still say change the batt...but that will most likely not solve the drain problem BUT it will save you from having future problems...
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Old 11-01-2005   #12 (permalink)
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Seriously. Optima = best investment.
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Old 11-20-2005   #13 (permalink)
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I thought I'd fixed this problem by replacing the Battery. The car worked fine for about 1.5 weeks, until this morning, the problem occured again. I was unable to start the car and needed a boast to do so.
But before i got a boast, I tried to start my car, but all i got was rapid clicking sounds. The starter did not seem to be engaging at all, unlike the other times my battery was drained, the starter was at least trying to start the car. My alarm seemed to be de-activating just fine. When i got the boast the car starter engaged and the car started. After the boast I left my car on and parked for 5 minutes. Then i decided to turn it off and try again, and the car started just fine. Now if the battery were drained, shouldn't it have NOT started? Unless the alternator was able to charge the battery that quick?!

This seems to be and intermittent issue so I am clueless as to what the problem may be. Previously, for a week, I did not use my car alarm and the battery drained on me again. So that lead me to beleive the problem was a faulty battery. But now i have a brand new battery and the problem has occured again. Can anyone shine some light into this issue? Thanks, all ur help is greatly appreciated.

ps. Can you guys tell me where all the Ground Points on the car are located, i want to check those just to make sure.

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Old 11-20-2005   #14 (permalink)
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engine should have 3 grounds...valve cover, thermostat housing, and tranny.
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Old 11-20-2005   #15 (permalink)
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Old 11-21-2005   #16 (permalink)
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You still aren't diagnosing the problem properly. You must hook an ammeter up to the battery and figure out what the current draw is. Then start unplugging things one at a time under the main fuse box. This includes the relays. A relay stuck in the closed position will cause your battery to drain slowly. A new battery or different battery will only mask the problem.
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Old 11-21-2005   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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You still aren't diagnosing the problem properly. You must hook an ammeter up to the battery and figure out what the current draw is. Then start unplugging things one at a time under the main fuse box. This includes the relays. A relay stuck in the closed position will cause your battery to drain slowly. A new battery or different battery will only mask the problem.
That's very true, but an intermittent fault can drive you nuts. My own car has never gone dead again by itself since I have my optima, btw.

Check the trunk light to see if it stays on.
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Old 11-21-2005   #18 (permalink)
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Checked the trunk light and that is not on when the car is off. I did hook up an ammeter and checked the current draw while the car was off. I noticed a constant 0.3-0.4 Amps draw from the battery when there was nothing turned on in the car except for 1 light scanner (row of LEDs flashing) on the dash board. I opened the car door and turned on the dome light and it jumped to 1 Amp so i know my ammeter was working correctly.

Now my question is, with my car off, should the current draw be ZERO, or is 0.3-0.4 Amps regular for the cars computer, maybe some EPROMs, or other electronic devices that require a small current while the car is off?
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Old 11-21-2005   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip114
Checked the trunk light and that is not on when the car is off. I did hook up an ammeter and checked the current draw while the car was off. I noticed a constant 0.3-0.4 Amps draw from the battery when there was nothing turned on in the car except for 1 light scanner (row of LEDs flashing) on the dash board. I opened the car door and turned on the dome light and it jumped to 1 Amp so i know my ammeter was working correctly.

Now my question is, with my car off, should the current draw be ZERO, or is 0.3-0.4 Amps regular for the cars computer, maybe some EPROMs, or other electronic devices that require a small current while the car is off?
0.3-0.4 Sounds far too high. It should be less than .08A depending on what accessories you have and whether the multiplex unit has gone into sleep mode or not. It will not be zero as the car's multiplex unit, alarm, and radio do draw power when it is off.
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Old 11-21-2005   #20 (permalink)
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Do this. Easy check for a common flaw. Unplug the relays one at a time in the main fuse box one at a time. If you notice a current drop, you've found the faulty relay. If this doesn't work, you'll have to go to unplugging each of the fuses to narrow down the faulty circuit.
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Old 11-21-2005   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
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0.3-0.4 Sounds far too high. It should be less than .08A depending on what accessories you have and whether the multiplex unit has gone into sleep mode or no. It will not be zero as the car's multiplex unit, alarm, and radio do draw power when it is off.

Thanks tacheon, i wasnt to sure if 0.3-0.4 Amps was sufficiently high or not, I do have a aftermarket alarm/starter, which was not ON while i was taking those readings. I guess the next step is to remove the fuses and see if they make any difference in the current draw. I might also contact my alarm installer and see if i can have him double check the wiring and remove the unit for observation.
Before i do this step, is ther anything i should be aware of, or any relays/fuse that i should NOT take out? thanks for all the advice and i will keep you guys updated.
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Old 11-21-2005   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip114
Thanks tacheon, i wasnt to sure if 0.3-0.4 Amps was sufficiently high or not, I do have a aftermarket alarm/starter, which was not ON while i was taking those readings. I guess the next step is to remove the fuses and see if they make any difference in the current draw. I might also contact my alarm installer and see if i can have him double check the wiring and remove the unit for observation.
Before i do this step, is ther anything i should be aware of, or any relays/fuse that i should NOT take out? thanks for all the advice and i will keep you guys updated.
Anything which is in there which can be unplugged can also be plugged back in without too many problems. I wouldn't unplug the ecu fuse as that probably won't help much in the diagnosis. The relays are somewhat failure prone and will cause they amount of draw you see with the car off.
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Old 11-21-2005   #23 (permalink)
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Yep... .3 to .4 Amps, about as much current as a glove box light, enough to drain your battery. But not overnight. It should still take a few days with a healthy battery. ECU and radio will always pull a few milliamps, alarm as well. Honestly, I'd start by unplugging the ALARM first and measure again.
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Old 11-25-2005   #24 (permalink)
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I measured the current being drawn from the battery when the car was left off by putting the Ammeter in series with the battery and the lead to power the car. I would measure a current draw of 0.3 Amps, however as i remove the ammeter and then back on again to measure, i would frequently get a current draw of 2.0 Amps and it would rise to 2.8 Amps!

I have found the current draw source by pulling the 10 Amp Alternator fuse from the interior fuse box. When i pulled this fuse the current draw would drop from 2.8 or 0.3 Amps, to 0.11 Amps.

The alternator also has two fuses plus an ELD (electronic load detector) in the exterior fuse box. But I do not know which one they are. I have a copy of the Alternator circuit diagram and i am assuming there is a problem with the ELD, might be a short. Im not sure how the ELD works, but from what i can interpret its probably a mini ammeter measuring load going to/from the battery and notifying the ECM (engine control management) about it.

Can anyone tell me which in the engine fuse box is the ELD and two fuses for the Alternator and a possible solution. Thanks for all the help.!
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Old 11-26-2005   #25 (permalink)
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Battery light flicks on randomly while driving

I just changed my alternator and battery, but after driving for 2 days, I noticed my battery light would randomly flicker on for half a second. Any ideas as to whats going on?
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Old 11-26-2005   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I just changed my alternator and battery, but after driving for 2 days, I noticed my battery light would randomly flicker on for half a second. Any ideas as to whats going on?
check your connections.
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Old 12-14-2005   #27 (permalink)
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Okay I've been reading up on this, and this only seems to happen to me when its really cold out. For example, Last month we had a cold day and my car took a couple seconds extra to start with the clicking sound on the starter. After that car started okay every morning with np. Again when it got cold the clicking sound from the start as it tried hard to start finally it started.
This morning it was cold as hell probably 18 or so and my car just gave the clicking sound no start, all lights worked, radio, alarm windows, but it wouldn't start until I got a boost. I seem to have trouble starting when its really really cold out. ANy clues?
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Old 12-14-2005   #28 (permalink)
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Old 12-14-2005   #29 (permalink)
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Hmm, so does leaving the key in the On position really make a difference. Anything that we can do about that?
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Old 12-15-2005   #30 (permalink)
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test your alternator see if it's charging ok and if it is just get a red optima battery... because i change my battery less than 2 years after i got my new car beacuse all the stereo set up and extra lights i installed...
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Old 12-15-2005
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