Wire directly to battery? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 08, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Wire directly to battery?

I have a battery drain issue I've been fighting with for a while now. I've posted about it before but I'm looking for different ways to approach this. Maybe I'm not wiring properly! I'm running my electric fan directly to the battery via a 30 amp relay and I think this is ok for this accessory but my two audio amplifiers I am running directly to the battery as well. I think the amps might be causing the drain and I was wondering if I should route power to them differently? Both amps are hooked up to the power remote wire coming from the stereo so they should only be getting power when the stereo is on so that is covered and this is how others suggest to power your amps is directly of the battery but is this not correct?
I still haven't upgraded my alternator from 70 amps up to maybe a 100 amp that will produce at low RPMs . These seem to be the ideal aternators. I prefer to stay with the 3 wire hook up for the alternator as oppose to the 1 wire. Can somebody recommend a brand or part number that would be an easy swap and retain the 3 wire hook up?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 08, 07:26 PM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Powermaster sells an alternator that is configured to run either as a 1 wire or the standard 3 wire depending on how you wire it. I have one of their alternator's on my car and it's currently running as a one wire.I have an adapter that M&H Electrical makes that allows me to run the alternator as a traditional 3 wire if the internal regulator were to malfunction thus keeping me from being stranded on the side of the road.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 04:03 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Do the famous "test light" to one battery cable. Unhook one bat cable and insert a simple 12 volt test light between the cable and bat post.

If a current draw is present, the light will glow, depending upon the current drawn. Unhook the stereo amps to see if the glow stops. If the glow dims, good, you still have other battery powered circuits running, as in a modern stereo unit, i.e., clock & station memory, alarm system, etc.

The stereo amps do have power cables running to them, but the stereo head/tuner sends a Power ON signal to the amps, and the transistor conducts, or turns on the amp. Transistors have a very high reverse resistance and still draws microamps.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 04:32 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

like Ev said, do the test. I've recently just been using my meter on the 10 amp setting. A draw is a problem, and it has nothing to do with where accessories pick up power.





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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 07:43 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

put relays on your amps as well, that is most likely where the drain is!

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Yea, I've done the test and there is a draw but the light just comes on then slowly dims to nothing! Wierd!?! Is this just because of the micro amp draw? I'll make contact and the bulb will glow and then quickly fade out. I remove probe for 5 seconds and then make contact again and it glows and quickly fades out again! There is some kind of draw but it is wierd. This only happens with the amps connected to the battery otherwise nothing else is drawing current!
I thought about running relays for the two amps but still not sure if battery is best place to draw power for the amps. Will a 30 amp relay a piece be enough? This is a painless wiring harness kit and the alternator is internaly regulated so The old horn relay/ext. regulator is no longer in the system thus leaving me with out the junction for power! I'm not sure where the new kit would be using a junction source. I think maybe the starter solenoid? Also I'm not really sure where the remote sensing wire for the alternator is taking its reading from. Where ever it takes its reading from, would this be the best place to tie in all my accessories power leads (fan,amps) instead of going directly to the battery?? Or is coming off the battery the best place??? Insight please
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 07:50 PM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

It doesn't really matter where you take the power from. I generally (with a stock car) prefer the horn relay as it is "in the right place" and is the central junction between the battery, alternator, and the rest of the car.

Where does the alternator feed go with the painless harness?
Where does the main feed for the fusebox connect?

If your meter has a 10 amp range, use the meter for a test (now that you know you do not have a huge draw that could damage the meter)

I checked mine just yesterday. She pulls .08 amps with nothing on. Permanently powered items include 2 amplifiers, the head unit itself, and the commander 950 ECU.

While I just added the efi, without it, the battery would stay charged all winter.

What you're seeing with the light is "capacitance" Something in the system (probably the amp) is "taking a charge" and then stabilizing at a much lower draw rate. This could very well be very normal for that particular device. The meter test may show you more.

While I normally like to use the horn relay, my amps are wired directly off the battery. It has both side and top terminals, so I used the positive side terminal for the amps. Easy and clean, and when the bass needs a bunch of power in a hurry, the battery will deliver it.





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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Thanx for response Jim! Do you use relays for your amps or are you saying they are hot 24/7?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 08, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

I think alternator feed connects to starter solenoid, the same post as the battery cable! Main power for system connects at the alternator out put lug! The two prongs on the alternator, one on the left is for exciting and one on right is jumped to the alternator output lug! isn,t the one on the right the remote sensing lead? Should I re-route this to somewhere else or is this the best place?
Also wondering if my sub woofers are sucking to much power from the battery for the alternator to replenish since I run them almost up all the way all the time! Should I turn them down somewhat or is this really not much of a factor?

Last edited by fearsomfoe; Apr 1st, 08 at 08:39 PM. Reason: got my left and rights mixed
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 08, 04:02 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearsomfoe View Post
I think alternator feed connects to starter solenoid, the same post as the battery cable! Main power for system connects at the alternator out put lug! The two prongs on the alternator, one on the left is for exciting and one on right is jumped to the alternator output lug! isn,t the one on the right the remote sensing lead? Should I re-route this to somewhere else or is this the best place?
This lead is normally from the fusebox supply wire. Yes, remote sensing.

What JimM is describing and you are seeing with the bright-to-dim glow, is a capacitor(s) charging in the power filter line. Amps place large caps to filter out the alt noise/ripple to give a quiet sound. Listen to the amps with only battery power, then with the alt running, volume may have to be cranked up, but you'll hear the difference.

I would have thought the capacitor(s) would of stayed charged longer, more than 15 seconds. A cap is a short to DC voltage until it charges up, hence, the bright-to-dim you seen.

I suggest you do the same trick as JimM suggested with the ammeter and read the milliamps drawn with the car off. Should not be over 100 milliamps, or 0.1 amps. The amps are fed hot 24/7.

Let us know.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 08, 04:36 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearsomfoe View Post
Thanx for response Jim! Do you use relays for your amps or are you saying they are hot 24/7?
Yes, my amps have alkways been hot 24/7.
I don't know that I can imagine a relay setup that could handle this. I have a #0 battery cable running across the rad support to a 50 amp fuse under the washer bottle, then #4 running back to the amps in the trunk.

I need to retest my car, too. The .08 amps I read the other night is a lil high. I "think" I remmeber pulling the fuse to the commander 950 ECU and seeing it drop to zero (may need reading at a lower scale on the meter) but my brain is fuzzy so I'll retest.

My battery was dead as a stone Monday night (that's why I was doing the test), but I also found the courtesy lights switched on, ooops.





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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 08, 09:19 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Most power amps I've dealt with (less than a dozen) had a remote turn-on feature that was operated by the power antenna lead of the head unit. If your amps have that feature, you may not need a separate relay.

If you have a high current load (rule of thumb - greater than 20 amps) or a load that must be relatively noise free (like power amps) connecting straight to the battery is the best choice. You'll want to run both a hot and a ground lead from the battery to the load. You'll also want to fuse both the hot and the ground leads. I know it seems weird to fuse the ground, but it is possible for the engine block ground to fail and the starter motor (alternator, etc.) will try to use your auxillary ground. I've seen several power amps with vaporized traces on the PC board from a starter motor attempting to use it as a ground.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 08, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Alright dudes I'm working the problem people! I hooked up my tester on the 10 amp scale and the amps are reading zero. When I hook up the leads between the negative post of battery and the ground cable with the head unit (stereo) fuse in line I read .27 amps on the 10 amp scale but when I pull the fuse it drops to .01 I forgot about the alarm system so I pulled that fuse and it drops to zero. So I think the alarm system draws .01 amps which I don.t think is to high? or is it? But the stereo head unit draws about .27 amps I'm guessing for the memory! Is this to much? What can I do or is this just how much the head unit memory draws? Does this seem excesive? Can I look in the stereo manual to see what it should be drawing or is this something that would not be specified? What should The head unit be drawing for amps under normal conditions?
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 08, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

Previous post says .08 seems high but what is exceptable to keep from draining the battery? .27 doesn't seem much but is it?
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 08, 07:17 AM
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Re: Wire directly to battery?

0.27A is over a 1/4 of an amp and that is a bit on the high side. Radio memory should be less than 0.003A I'd say, but milage will vary.

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