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Parasitic battery drain

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SebRogers View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Apr 13 at 13:51
Advice appreciated... my battery's going flat over a week or so standing on the drive.

While my bus was in the paintshop over the winter the battery died on several occasions. No-one really worried too much about it - everyone concerned just assumed it was cos it had been sat around a lot in the cold.

Got it back, battery dead after a few days. Full charge, lasted nearly a week this time. So I bought a new battery.

Which is also now dead, after a bit over a week...Confused

So either both batteries are duff, or I have a leak. I'm going to charge both batteries up. I've cleaned all the battery terminal connections and replaced one that looked a bit skanky. Had a look at the battery earth - looks fine, nice and clean. Can't do much more because the riveted plastic shroud around it makes it hard for me to even get an open ended spanner on there.

With one of the batteries freshly charged I'm gonna disconnect the -ve feed and put a multimeter between that and the battery. That should hopefully show a current drain (if it doesn't I'm really stumped!). Drain established I'm then gonna pull fuses to see if I can isolate the circuit that's the cause of the trouble, starting with the Webasto engine heater (which has never worked and I haven't got round to fixing).

If none of the fuses show anything the only other thing I can think of to check is the earth strap on the starter motor.

Anything else I can check fairly easily?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 13 at 13:53
Oh, not sure if the 2.4d has an auxiliary water pump, but I've been fiddling around sorting undertray rattles and there's nothing whirring under there, so I don't think it's that issue...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregozedobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 01:00
If you weren't driving van during the week the new battery then it is almost certainly parasitic drain.  Stereos, alarms and any other wiring mods are the most common culprits, so I'd start pulling fuses to those first.  

Please let us know what you find (it might help some other poor soul).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jason k Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 08:00
Seb if the leisure battery is goosed then I'm pretty sure due to the way they are wired westys leach power to the knackered battery.

Be thankful yours is an earlier bus, it has two leisures as opposed to the five hundred quid gel type in the later ones!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 08:45
Thanks for the replies!

Jase, AFAICT the leisure isn't connected to the main battery at all (and I've only got one, and yeah it's goosed...but not a priority right now). Could be wrong though (thinking about it I probably am wrong, cos of course the alternator charges the leisure...)

Made some progress, anyway. Drain is 180-190mA, which tallies with the week or so it takes to drain the battery. Started pulling fuses, got to no. 21 (interior lights, clock, radio)... BINGO! Zero drain.

So... I'm guessing the stereo is the most likely culprit? It works without the key in the ignition... is this the problem, or is it not that simple?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregozedobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 10:49
It might be as simple as the stereo not powering down completely, but sometimes aftermarket Stereos can prevent VW controllers from "going to sleep" properly after switching off the ignition, so it might be caused by the stereo (keeping something else "awake") but the actual current drain is elsewhere.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 12:39
Thanks!

How would I find out? The 2.4d's a pretty simple beast - no ecu to power down afaik. Also... this was happening with the 'old' Blaupunkt stereo too. The new Alpine head unit only went in recently, which makes me think it might be a stereo wiring issue (rather than an inherent problem with the stereo itself).

I read somewhere about VW's switched and permanent live stereo feeds being the 'wrong' way round?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 13:26
Also... if the stereo was the cause but the drain was on another circuit, then logically I'd get zero drain pulling both the radio fuse AND the fuse on the culprit circuit...right? Or is it not that simple?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jason k Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 13:48
On the radios seb you switch the red and yellow wires for switched and permanent lives.

I'm still putting my money on the leisure supping it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote D&D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 15:16

I agree with Jase as i recently had a problem charging. The leisure charged but the engine battery wouldnt & my bus was pulling on the leisure when trying to start because the engine battery Amps were low, the issue was down to a simple switch, both batteries will be on the same system.

The 2.4 has got a small electric after run pump under the rad. These are nearly always goosed, on my last 2.4 it was still supping power even though it was not working.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 13 at 19:43
All good advice, cheers!

Though if I pull the radio fuse and the drain drops from 180mA to zero, I'd have thought that'd rule out secondary pump or leisure battery issues (leisure voltage is fine - 12.7v w/out load, it's just the capacity that's shot).

I'll investigate further...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 17:29
Update: I'm not 99.9% certain it's the stereo.

Ignition feed wasn't connected; instead the live feed was split and run to the igniton / live inputs on the stereo. So it worked independently of the ignition (good), but was drawing 0.18A permanently (bad). Quick test rewiring as it should be drops the current drain to 0.01A, which is where it should be I reckon. 

The trouble is that wired that way it won't work unless the ignition is on. Which is a pain in a camper...

So before I put plan B into action (wire the ignition feed through a switch in one of the blanks on the dash), is there another way to wire it up so that it'll run without the ignition on but not flatten the battery in a week?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jason k Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 17:33
On the t4s I've done seb I just switch the red and yellow as the iso wiring live and switched live are reversed on the standard wiring. The stereo then just works off the acc live

Edited by jason k - 14 Apr 13 at 17:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 17:37
Thanks Jase.

Being an early van I think the wiring might be a bit different. Not sure if there's an acc live...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jason k Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 17:54
Acc live is first click of the ignition key seb.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 17:58
Don't have that on my ignition. Off, glow plugs, start...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 17:59
... which would explain the stereo wiring Big smile

Looking like a switch on the dash, then...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Piledriver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 19:14
......sounds like a plan seb Wink

Edited by Piledriver - 14 Apr 13 at 19:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SebRogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 19:31
Originally posted by Piledriver Piledriver wrote:

 

I want one like that LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alonline Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 13 at 21:27
Wire it to the leisure, that way it can kill that, but you will be able to get started and it can charge or as others said
 
Good old switch but how good is your memory to remember to switch it?
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