Battery draining - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 09, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Battery draining

All of a sudden something is draining my battery. I did a draw on my battery with engine off and it shows 2.6 mA, manual says 3.6 mA is suggested. I have a new alternator & voltage regulator, accel super coil, 327 motor. Charging system checks out ok. Hooked up a Grant wheel and horn but horn doesn't work, not sure why though, haven't gotten into that yet, installed a cheap am/fm radio (no clock or digital functions so radio is off), clock in guages works. The car was fine for a couple weeks and now battery is dead. I have since replaced battery but there is still this draw of 2.6 mA. Is this acceptable or should i look for something? I can't imagine the clock would drain the battery after a couple days. Could the horn relay have any draw on the battery as it's original or at least looks like it.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 09, 02:45 PM
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Re: Battery draining

Amperage draw of 2.6 ma would take forever, almost, to drain the battery.
Two point six amps would drain a battery in a week.

However, you can hook up your ammeter or a test light between the battery cable and battery post and start disconnecting fuses, accessories and alternator. The red wire on the horn relay is power source for the car to disconnect.

If you still have a current draw, you might check the junction block next to the battery. Take it off the rad support and check to see there is rust behind it.

Any convenience lights on? Glove box or trunk? Clock unplugged?

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 09, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery draining

My mistake, its 2.6 amps. The clock is with the guages but how do you turn that off?
Do I have to remove guages to disconnect the wire to turn it off? No lights on.
I pulled the plug out of the alternator and the guage went to zero, why???
The same happened with the voltage regulator, both are new; is that suggesting a grounding problem?
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 09, 01:48 PM
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Re: Battery draining

If disconnecting the alt two-wire plug kills the current, hook it back up and disconnect the volt reg connector. If it goes away, then the relay is staying closed for the field.

You might look at the vr connector to see if there is battery voltage on wire #3. This is ign supply voltage, should be off if ign sw is off, for the vr via the GEN light.

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 09, 05:13 PM
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Re: Battery draining

Have you tried the trick of inserting a test lamp between the ground cable and the battery (-) terminal while you remove fuses and disconnet things until the light goes out.

2.6A is a huge current draw - 1000 X more than 2.6mA. The test lamp will glow like the sun until you isolate the short. It also will protect your wiring, and fuses from burn-out by regulating the current to a few hundred milliamps.

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 09, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery draining

I have current on the #2 & 3 wire of the voltage reg. connector, now what?
I have not tried using a test light, just using the tester with that same method. I have removed all the fuses as they say to and the draw remains the same. I can watch my battery voltage drop when it's connected.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 09, 06:22 AM
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Re: Battery draining

Number 3 wire is supply from ignition switch.
Number 2 goes tothe alternator.

Electrical current on #3 wire is closing the relay inside the V/R allowing current to go through the alternator field coil, hence, the 2.6 amps.
Could its plug be wired incorrectly or a misplaced wire?
Or ign switch, after years of use, may not be OFF wen turned off. There could be a trail of carbon within the switch from years of turning on & off. Might look and see if the power can be removed from the ign switch.

Electrical system power comes from the horn relay buss bar through the firewall connector, then branched off to two places, ign sw and headlamp switch inside the dash. There might be a worn spot to the #3 V/R wire.

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 09, 06:58 AM
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Re: Battery draining

Did you unplug the horns or disconnect the horn relay? I had a similar issue with my horn and unplugged the horns and the horn relay contact was active and drained the battery.

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 09, 08:50 AM
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Re: Battery draining

Hi rjg67rs,

Is this a 67 RS? How do you know it's a drain? Maybe it's not charging.

I have a 67 RS with a charging problem which we have just identified. It is a lack of voltage on terminal 4 of the external regulator when the ignition switch is in the 'on' or 'start' position. The voltage on that terminal passes through the regulator out to the alternator on the blue wire and excites the field in the alternator which allows the alternator to begin to generate.

If you put a volt meter on terminal 4 and get zero it won’t begin to charge. When I tested mine it read zero after the car was started, I then applied battery + to terminal 4 and you could tell the alternator kicked in because the car idled down slightly and the voltage went to 14.5 on terminal 4. The battery voltage was 12.5 prior to starting which indicates charging.

In a typical situation the voltage that would be present at that terminal would come from the alt lamp in the cluster, you turn the key and b+ goes to the lamp, through the filament and out the brown wire to terminal 4 of the of the reg. Of course the RS doesn't have that light and I have not been able to find out how Chevy sent the voltage to the reg.

I don't know if this relates to your issue but I thought I would throw it out there. Good luck.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 09, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery draining

Let me add this; I did change the deluxe wheel to a grant wheel. The horn didn't work before but when I changed it out the horn worked, constantly once I connected the battery. I figured my button was making constant contact with the ring, removed the button and re-assembled. Now my horns don't work and gave up on that for now. I also installed an am/fm radio with dials that I picked up from JC Whitney, a cheap one, not digital and no clock in it. After this work my battery went dead after running the car a couple days before. I have checked the charging system and it is fine, even pulled the positive cable off and the car did not stall. The wiring at the voltage regulator/horn relay, etc. was a mess but mostly intact when I got the car. Maybe I should trace all these wires out. The head light doors are not wired up but can't imagine that would be a problem (the motors don't have a wire coming from them for some strange reason, next project)
What do you mean by a worn spot to the #3 wire?
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 09, 05:05 PM
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Re: Battery draining

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjg67rs View Post
I also installed an am/fm radio with dials that I picked up from JC Whitney, a cheap one, not digital and no clock in it. After this work my battery went dead after running the car a couple days before. What do you mean by a worn spot to the #3 wire?
If the problem of dead battery came up after installing radio, then maybe the installation is faulty.

A worn spot would be the insulation rubbing off between two wires. Common problem to 40-year old wiring, if stll original.

You had said in an earlier post, while monitoring current flow, you unplugged the two-wire connector from the alt and current flow went to zero. Good troubleshooting to this point.

Plug in the alt and unplug the voltage regulator, if current goes to zero, then ignition side of vr is supplying coil voltage for the field relay and it is energized allowing current to flow through the alt field. Ignition switch should turn off current flow through vr to alt, unless there is an alternate path.

Now you suggest the problem happened after installing the radio. Cheap radio, so I don't think this would be the problem, but the wiring of power to the radio might be the source of the extra current path not needed. Only takes a few minutes to check the wiring.

Think back in history before the problem appeared. What has changed since then? Retrace the steps and disconnect items added, check wiring at horn relay, unhook the new horn button, etc.

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 16th, 09, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery draining

OK, this is weird. I cleaned up the horn relay connections, relay ground connection from rs headlights, hooked my amp meter and it doesn't register anything, (stayed at 0.00) no drawdown.
I hooked up a test light and it lit up my garage. Unhooked alt. plug, vr plug, horn wire from relay, radio power; all individually and light didn't dim.
Haven't tried pulling the fuses with this method although didn't show anything before using meter. Any ideas where else to look?
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 16th, 09, 06:56 PM
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Re: Battery draining

With the test light hooked between the battery post and the disconnected cable, either polarity, and the light shines, then start pulling fuses to localize the current draw.

You could also unplug power sources for those circuits not having fuses.
There is one red wire on the horn relay buss bar with a fusible link. This lead powers the car from the battery if the alternator is not spinning.

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 09, 05:22 PM
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Re: Battery draining

If you're saying that there is not current draw from the horn relay on, then focus on the horn relay itself or perhaps the terminal block behind the battery has a bunch of wet crud behind it or something causing it to leak current into the radiator support.

2.6A will create some heat. That's 12 X 2.6 or 31 Watts which will get pretty toasty.

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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old Sep 18th, 09, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery draining

Here's one; I installed a new voltage regulator; I've seen in other posts that there are grommets used to install it. The original one didn't have rubber grommets and should this be installed with grommets or does it need the radiator support for ground as there is no wire for grounding it.
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