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Old 01-16-2017, 04:58 PM
Bellyman Bellyman is offline
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Default Normal parasitic battery load - trying to figure out what "normal" is



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Hi guys,

I am trying to figure out what a "normal" parasitic battery load might be on a modern vehicle with all the bells and whistles, alarms, lots of electric gadgets and toys.

I had a battery go dead in one of my vehicles a couple of weeks ago and it was under suspect circumstances. I was away from it for almost 3 weeks and it was not found in the same state as I left it. I left it at a friend's house and they had a key to it, also they had the remote for it. They did mention that they tried to use the remote at least once but didn't know how to use it. But they said little else. If they did drive it or open it while we were away, I don't really care. It's just that I don't quite know what may or may not have happened so I don't know much about details to process.

Anyway, I left it closed and locked and found it unlocked with a dead battery. That's kind of my starting point. I put a new battery in it and it has not failed to start since.

Spent a couple of hours with it yesterday trying to figure some stuff out 'cause it's nagging at me about whether I have a problem with it. I did figure out that if one of the rear doors is just unlatched but never actually opened, the body control computer never goes to sleep, even after like a half hour. The interior lights do go off, as they should, but the computer never goes to sleep. That could be a possibility that would explain a dead battery. But it nags at me that there may be more.

I hooked up an ammeter inline with one of the battery connections so that all current had to go through that. It drew about an 1.5 amp or so, maybe a little more when the door was opened and the interior lights went on. Shutting the door and shutting the door and turning on the alarm didn't seem to make any significant difference. With doors all shut, once the lights went out, the current would drop to maybe 800mA. Then 20 or 30 seconds later, it would drop down to 500mA or so, obviously, something was shutting off. And then in another 20 or 30 seconds, it would drop down to around 300mA. And that's about as low as it would go. Nothing was obviously on.

We checked to see whether the alternator was perhaps leaking enough to be causing some drainage. Nope. Unplugged it completely (fortunately, easy to do), and there was zero change in the current draw. Pulled every single fuse we could find and with the exception of one fuse that made like 10mA of difference (the radio/navigation system, I think), not a single fuse we pulled did a thing to lower that 300mA current draw.

I suppose it's possible that I could have missed a fuse panel stuck somewhere I don't know about. But the big question I have is, what would be "normal"? If 300mA is indeed "normal" for this vehicle, I'm only chasing my tail and should move on to other things. If it really is abnormal and something is wrong, I need to keep digging and figure out what might be going on.

I've never left a car sit for nearly a month before without disconnecting the battery anyway. And this one gets driven most every day so it's not been an issue since getting another battery installed.

I've googled and read quite a lot and have no baseline from which to work from. A lot of the forums suggest that anything over 50mA is showing signs of a parasitic draw and something needs fixing. That may be true but I haven't read anything from any factory manual or anything of any authority that gives any number at all. (It's a 2006 Toyota Sienna if anyone wants to know.) Is 50mA normal for a modern vehicle? Or was that a figure from years gone by when the major electrical draw when shut off was the clock on the dash?

I figured you guys seem to be a pretty knowledgeable group so thought I'd run it buy you. Whatcha think?

(I did start the thread about looking for a small SUV. But dang it, I just don't feel like throwing this old van away yet. It's got 192,xxx on the clock and I kinda feel like I could get another 50k to 100k out of it without that much work, most of which I can do myself. Just drove it 650 miles on a little trip and it ran nice and smooth, never a hick-up. And it was comfortable. That's important. Just too good to trade off just yet so figure I might just run it a while. Didn't want to tag this onto that thread, though...)
Old 01-16-2017, 07:23 PM
patdaly patdaly is offline
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300 mA is like .3 A, you sure you don't mean 30 mA?

Just about all of them pull up to 30 mA as a parasitic, I don't think there is a hard and fast rule, but I start looking seriously at the 50 mA mark.

Today it is hard to diagnose with all the various computers that may run for 30 minutes or more after the door is shut.........
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Old 01-16-2017, 07:56 PM
Bellyman Bellyman is offline
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Originally Posted by patdaly View Post
300 mA is like .3 A, you sure you don't mean 30 mA?

Just about all of them pull up to 30 mA as a parasitic, I don't think there is a hard and fast rule, but I start looking seriously at the 50 mA mark.

Today it is hard to diagnose with all the various computers that may run for 30 minutes or more after the door is shut.........
Yes, it really is 300mA, 0.3 amps. And that does seem high to me, too. I just have no real baseline from which to say whether it's "a little on the high side" or "totally ridiculous".

I'll definitely keep looking. I must have missed something... there's probably another fuse panel hiding somewhere. Even stuff that doesn't get shut off should be fused (stuff like brake lights) and I did read about a faulty brake light switch on one of the forums, just today, that was causing a parasitic load for somebody. Sounds weird, but there must be something, just gotta find it.

Thanks for the input.
 
Old 01-17-2017, 03:24 AM
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I would keep looking for fuses to pull. Pulling enough fuses you should get to zero current. Some older vehicles the power antenna would jam and draw current. Windshield wipers not parking correctly. Check for lamps that stay on, the glovebox, under hood, the trunk. My wifes Sante Fe has a "feature" that will force the parking lights on full time if you turn the light knob while the drivers door is opened. I am forever leaving the map light on because Hyundai neglected to wire them to the front doors.
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Old 01-17-2017, 03:26 AM
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Also beware of some circuits that are unswitched like the hydraulic brake light switch. Ford expeditions were catching fire because these would leak moisture and brake fluid creating electrolysis, heat and eventually fire.
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:05 AM
dyingslower dyingslower is offline
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On a newer vehicle, you can never really turn it "off".

You just can't.

The only way is to buy and wire up a terminal disconnect for your battery. That's what I do for any vehicle that's going to sit untouched for over a week. The price I pay is that my radio stations are no longer programmed when I get it in. Oh, the humanity!!

Track and trace all you want, but you'll find it's something like an ABS module or a transmission computer or something you can't really switch off. Your only hope is to switch off the battery. Because even if you do find a way to switch off something big like that, there's always the chance of closing the door and activating a power window or power seat switch (that all new vehicles seem to have) and that will drain it just as bad.

Lowly Walmart sells a lowly brass terminal with a big green screw knob. Works great for many years.


DS
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
I would keep looking for fuses to pull. Pulling enough fuses you should get to zero current. Some older vehicles the power antenna would jam and draw current. Windshield wipers not parking correctly. Check for lamps that stay on, the glovebox, under hood, the trunk. My wifes Sante Fe has a "feature" that will force the parking lights on full time if you turn the light knob while the drivers door is opened. I am forever leaving the map light on because Hyundai neglected to wire them to the front doors.
That one hadn't occurred to me. Thanks.

The more I think about it, the more I think there HAS to be a group of fuses I've somehow not managed to find. Will do some more looking.

You mentioned the power seat switches. My brother was helping me for a bit, him under the dash and me with the meter under the hood watching for any change, and upon exit of the vehicle, he bumped the power seat switch. Dang, the meter sure noticed that! I can see how something could get jammed up against one of those though I don't think that's what happened to me.

My step-daughter-in-law owns a fully loaded Sante Fe. She bought it new a few years ago and it has just about every option possible. It's been great for them so far. I just hope they never have serious electrical issues. It would be a nightmare! It also has a CVT and they drive it hard. But that's yet another subject...
Old 01-17-2017, 08:30 AM
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If you have an aftermarket car alarm, those are the most common fail points on a car... power drains, ignition starts, etc. Aftermarket stereos directly connected to the battery rather than being connected to the electrical system will draw some amperage, If your car has a fob and it stays within range of the receiver, it will pull constant amperage.

Feel all the bulbs around the car.. glovebox, under the hood, the trunk and see if they are warm. If so, they are on constantly... pull them.
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:34 AM
loki81 loki81 is online now
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i did a bit of research for you, it looks like it's normal to your vehicle, apparently there is some logic circuit in the window system that draws between 350 and 220mA for a good long while after everything is switched off, most people with your problem simply installed a new battery and had the issue resolve itself...

"After spending a lot of time on this parasitic current problem of 220ma, I found out I did not wait long enough for the onboard computers to complete whatever they have to do after connecting the battery. As I said earlier, when I first connected the battery, the current was about 350ma. It then began stepping down until it got to 220ma, and seemed to stabilized there. However, after waiting minutes longer, it made a sudden drop to 12 - 15ma. Based on this, it looks like the new battery will fix this problem. When the dealer did a load test on my old battery, it tested OK. This is why I decided to check the parasitic current."


" it initially was 350 when the battery was first connected, then dropped back to a steady 220ma. The dealer thought this was too high. I then checked my daughters 2004 Sienna, and got the same readings, so I suspect this parasitic drain is normal"

" Typical draw a few minutes after shutting off the engine (there are some standby functions like power window logic that will draw more for a while) is something on the order of 250 milliamps"

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/27...ent-drain.html

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/27...ent-drain.html




beyond that there was alot of TSB's issued for your vehicle that center around the electrical system, i'd scan through the TSB's and see if your having any of the issues there.

http://www.toyotaproblems.com/tsbs/Sienna/2006/

i also came across an issue in vans with the JBL sound system which had issues with draw as well, so maybe give that a look if you have that system.


with all of that said you're better off going to a car forum than a woodsmen forum even though we are pretty awesome here. lol

search string i used to pull up info... lots and LOTS of info there, try reading around and see what fits to what your experiencing.

https://www.google.com/search?biw=12....0.63QV_6Ljy2c
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Old 01-17-2017, 09:01 AM
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Just read on a forum that the 2005/2006 Sienna with the JBL sound system had a recall/TSB because the amplifier had a parasitic draw...

Also, apparently you have a "power saver" feature that gives some people havoc. It turns off interior lights automatically if they are left on... but they still drain. Also, leaving a door open and that single indicator on your dash can drain your battery. Have you gone out to any of the forums? Apparently, this is a common issue.
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Old 01-17-2017, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by America's Patriot View Post
Just read on a forum that the 2005/2006 Sienna with the JBL sound system had a recall/TSB because the amplifier had a parasitic draw...

Also, apparently you have a "power saver" feature that gives some people havoc. It turns off interior lights automatically if they are left on... but they still drain. Also, leaving a door open and that single indicator on your dash can drainF your battery. Have you gone out to any of the forums? Apparently, this is a common issue.
I should spend some more time on the forums. Will do that soon.

It does have the JBL audio system and it's been nonfunctional for years. Pulled the fuse for it (I think that was the one) and the current did drop about 10 mA. Could be more there.

Sure do appreciate the old woodsmen input. :-)

Sitting in the ER right now with an ailing mum... kinda not sure if she'll be with us much longer. So other stuff going on besides car stuff.

Thanks again for the thoughts. I appreciate the replies.
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:53 PM
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no worries buddy, the car forum comment was just saying they'd likely know more than we would as they share the same vehicle and consider it a hobby, I'm sure we got quite a few good shade tree guys here, but I've always found it's best to go to the forums for the specific vehicle...some people really go all out when it comes to knowing their vehicles, whatever it maybe, lol

that said,glad to help anyway we can, feel free to keep the thread going (not that you need my permission, lol) and I'm sure we'll see what we can do, i know I'll keep an eye out and give ya a hand, you got better things to deal with atm and I'm sorry your going through this right now and know a strangers thought and prayers are with you, may you have a favourable outcome whatever that maybe.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:37 AM
Bellyman Bellyman is offline
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no worries buddy, the car forum comment was just saying they'd likely know more than we would as they share the same vehicle and consider it a hobby, I'm sure we got quite a few good shade tree guys here, but I've always found it's best to go to the forums for the specific vehicle...some people really go all out when it comes to knowing their vehicles, whatever it maybe, lol

that said,glad to help anyway we can, feel free to keep the thread going (not that you need my permission, lol) and I'm sure we'll see what we can do, i know I'll keep an eye out and give ya a hand, you got better things to deal with atm and I'm sorry your going through this right now and know a strangers thought and prayers are with you, may you have a favourable outcome whatever that maybe.
Thanks for the kind words! Will definitely update the thread if I find a parasite that's hoggin' the juice,
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:14 AM
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Hi guys,

I am trying to figure out what a "normal" parasitic battery load might be on a modern vehicle with all the bells and whistles, alarms, lots of electric gadgets and toys.
Many vehicles since the 90s say in the owner's manual that they must be run at least once a month or the battery will do dead. That is with a 80 amp-hour battery. That comes to around a 1/10th amp draw, all the time (100 milliamps).
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:38 PM
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My late Dads Porsche Boxster had a "feature" where after 4 or 5 days sitting idle the remote keyless entry system would be turned off. The manual recommended using the actual key to get into the car whereupon after driving it, the system would reawaken. Another "feature" was that the battery was locked in the front hood and could only be accessed with the electric release. If you were unlucky enough to have a dead battery, as his was, you had to jump start the electric system from a terminal post on the fuse block. Also if the electric release failed, as his did, you had to flatbed to Por$che, so the $ervice department would have Gunther the mechanic put the car on a lift to remove the right front tire and fender liner to grab a secret pull cable. No way I was doing that nonsense so I rerouted that cable to the front tow hook plug. Those German engineers had a fix for every problem they created.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:19 PM
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Lead-acid batteries do have a natural self-discharge rate which will cause the battery to go flat even when disconnected. Fortunately it's very low, but it's not zero.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:15 AM
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I have too many project vehicles. None of them are worth anything until they run, so I can't sell 4 to fund getting one running.

1 each per unrunner; 10 watt solar panel, solar charge controller, problem solved.

phantom load aggravation: 1997 Fords have a module in the trunk. radio, dome, trunk, underhood, glove box lights, speedo, door locks run through this module. it is designed to save the battery if a light stays on. what it really does is fail, and drains the battery at a rate consistent with leaving the radio, dome, trunk, underhood, glove box lights on. they don't make new modules, you buy replacements from a junkyard off a car that is just as 1997 as the one you have. A 1997 Ford, even a Mustang convertible, is not worth the aggravation of replacing a module every 6 months that costs more and is harder to find every time.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:27 AM
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Have considered a solar panel just as a "trilkle charger". Then again, if it's going to behave decently, I'll not bother. Since the last new battery, it has started without hesitation every time, even after about 2 days sitting. It seldom goes longer than that.

It might be that on such occasions that I expect it will sit for weeks at a time, maybe a couple of times a year, I'll just lift a battery cable.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:23 AM
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What disconnecting will get you is a radio that needs to be reprogrammed, a computer that needs to relearn things about your vehicle, and a slowly dying battery. a dying battery sulphates; irreversible damage created by chemistry due to long term lack of charge. you need to keep a charge on it. not using it just kills it slower.

your choices are operating it once a week, taking the battery inside and keeping it on a charger, leaving the battery in place and leaving a charger in the vehicle, or a solar charger. the three major benefits of the solar charger are continuous no intervention charging, the ability to just fire it up and drive away, and you don't drive off with the charger plugged in to AC.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explainist View Post
What disconnecting will get you is a radio that needs to be reprogrammed, a computer that needs to relearn things about your vehicle, and a slowly dying battery. a dying battery sulphates; irreversible damage created by chemistry due to long term lack of charge. you need to keep a charge on it. not using it just kills it slower.

your choices are operating it once a week, taking the battery inside and keeping it on a charger, leaving the battery in place and leaving a charger in the vehicle, or a solar charger. the three major benefits of the solar charger are continuous no intervention charging, the ability to just fire it up and drive away, and you don't drive off with the charger plugged in to AC.
I like the idea of a solar charger. Have you seen any more permanent mounts that would connect in such a way as to work well with a modern vehicle?

I say that because in days of yesteryear, a person could buy a small panel, stick it on the dash and plug it into the cigarette lighter outlet. That won't work on my vehicle. First, I suspect the glass would cut down pretty drastically on the energy available through the windshield. But even if that was enough, the cigarette lighter type outlets on the dash get cut off when the ignition gets turned off. They do not stay powered.

I've wondered if there is one of those flexible panels that would attach to the roof and get the wires run very similarly to what an XM radio antenna might be run, but end up in the engine compartment with either a direct connection to the battery or a connection to a charge controller that would connect to the battery.

Honestly, I'd rather not have to have something I need to be fooling with all of the time. On my F350, I do have a trickle charger that I leave hooked to an AC outlet most of the time. It's not a problem as it stays put for extended periods of time. The van, though, is driven often enough that I doubt anything too cumbersome would happen.

So if you actually know of a solar charger setup that's made to be a more permanent installation, do tell. I'm interested. It might also find itself being installed on the truck.

Thanks!
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