Battery drain, dead overnight. - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 18, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Battery drain, dead overnight.

How do you trace a battery drain? If I don't disconnect the battery it will be dead in the morning. I've replaced the instrument cluster with a Dakota digital system so that's all new wired.. I did headlight motors so that's all new wired.. There are no lights on that I can see, interior or exterior.. no radio... New battery, what can be draining the system like this?

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 18, 02:02 PM
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re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

Disconnect battery neg terminal and use a test light between the cable removed and neg batt terminal. See if the test light is on (it should NOT light up) If it does illuminate, start to pull each fuse until the test light goes out. This procedure will narrow down what circuit you need to look at.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 18, 02:05 PM
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re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

I'd try this.
Put an ammeter between the +bat cable and + terminal on the battery.
It will read some amount of amperage drawn.
Go to the fuse box and pull fuses until that draw goes to nothing.
Investigate whichever ckt made it change.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 18, 02:45 PM
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re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

You need a meter ideally and know what it can measure as far as amperage but before it would get hooked up I would find out what it can measure first and if it's limited to let's say 10A, is to then disconnect one of the battery terminals from the battery and then insert a 10A fuse between the battery post and the cable end. If it doesn't blow, then hook the meter in between and have it set to read amperage. If it blows the 10A fuse, then do not put in a meter capable of measuring 10A or less. If the meter were to say only measure up to 5A or less, test with a 5A fuse first. Some meters are cheap and if asked to measure too much amperage, then it might blow an internal fuse in it or possibly burn it up.

When checking, you may find out that even with all of the fuses out of the fuse block, you still have a draw.

Other things to check would be the alternator, external voltage regulator, and the horn relay/key buzzer. These are not on any fuse in the fuse block but are off of fusible links in the engine compartment harness.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 18, 05:09 PM
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

Good suggestions given and a test light is real good as you can see the current being drawn.
The bulb will not burn out because current is limited by the bulb filament.
The less the brightness, the less current drawn.
You might pull off from the radiator support, next the battery, the junction block the cable pigtail is attached.
Over time, some rust mat develop between the block stud and support, creating a current path.
As suggested, unhook alt BATT red lead, in case a bad diode.
Also, there are two red wires on horn relay buss bar. One from battery, via junction block mentioned, the other feeds the rest of the electrical circuitry via fuser panel.
Ammeter would be good in viewing the amount of current drawn.

Last point, maybe alternator is not recharging battery enough, engine hasn't ran long? and could need an external charge overnight?
Usually, alt would need to run for about 15-20 miles for a fairly good recharge.

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 18, 04:08 AM
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

make sure you shut the doors every time you get in and out of the car while pulling fuses. Courtesy lights will be on and drawing power if you dont....
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 18, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

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Originally Posted by Everett#2390 View Post
Last point, maybe alternator is not recharging battery enough, engine hasn't ran long? and could need an external charge overnight?
Usually, alt would need to run for about 15-20 miles for a fairly good recharge
.
Shows 14+ volts when running and I disconnect the battery and keep a battery tender on it between outings

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 18, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

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Originally Posted by kv67ssrs View Post
make sure you shut the doors every time you get in and out of the car while pulling fuses. Courtesy lights will be on and drawing power if you dont....
No courtesy light.. previous owner(s) installed a leatherish looking head liner and there is no light fixture.. I've often wondered if it's still up there underneath and a possible cause

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 18, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

Great suggestions guys, thanks and i'll see what i can figure out. You've given me some good places to start

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 18, 02:07 PM
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Exclamation Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

Well also do not discount two common but overlooked power drains besides the courtesy lights. The trunk light and the glove-box as a possible drain.
Place you hand on the trunk about where the light is, if your hand is hot the mercury switch has failed and the light is on in any position.
Check the glove-box light as the plastic plunger turns it off and if it is broken, the light stays on all the time.

Brian
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 18, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

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Originally Posted by 69-Pace View Post
Well also do not discount two common but overlooked power drains besides the courtesy lights. The trunk light and the glove-box as a possible drain.
Place you hand on the trunk about where the light is, if your hand is hot the mercury switch has failed and the light is on in any position.
Check the glove-box light as the plastic plunger turns it off and if it is broken, the light stays on all the time.

Brian
Not possible.. they no longer don't exist on this car

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 18, 04:28 AM
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

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Originally Posted by Just 1 More View Post
Not possible.. they no longer don't exist on this car
As already stated in a couple of responses here, attach a simple and cheap test light between the negative cable. Remove one fuse at a time, close the door (in case a previous owner who had the new roof liner placed the dome light above it; however, I'd think that center spot of the roof liner would be warm from the light being on) and see if the test lamp is lit. If its lit, then the fuse you pulled and its related electrical components it protects is not the culprit. Replace that fuse, and move to the next fuse. Continue this process until the lamp is no longer lighting up. At that fuse, you now can identify what electrical circuits the fuse removed is protecting, and identify which component is drawing from the battery.

Has any other electrical components been installed, such as an aftermarket radio? When you installed the dash, was it installed to a power circuit that is only "on" when the key is in the on/start position?

When did this drain begin? After the headlight installation? After the gauge pod installation?

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 18, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucko View Post
As already stated in a couple of responses here, attach a simple and cheap test light between the negative cable. Remove one fuse at a time, close the door (in case a previous owner who had the new roof liner placed the dome light above it; however, I'd think that center spot of the roof liner would be warm from the light being on) and see if the test lamp is lit. If its lit, then the fuse you pulled and its related electrical components it protects is not the culprit. Replace that fuse, and move to the next fuse. Continue this process until the lamp is no longer lighting up. At that fuse, you now can identify what electrical circuits the fuse removed is protecting, and identify which component is drawing from the battery.

Has any other electrical components been installed, such as an aftermarket radio? When you installed the dash, was it installed to a power circuit that is only "on" when the key is in the on/start position?

When did this drain begin? After the headlight installation? After the gauge pod installation?
No radio, Dash only on when key is on, Drain began before I bought the car as evident of the battery disconnect someone installed at the terminal. I became aware of it as per the dead battery the next morning after I brought it home. Only had the car since August and have been chasing and undoing years of bubba crap

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 18, 09:52 AM
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

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Originally Posted by Just 1 More View Post
Only had the car since August and have been chasing and undoing years of bubba crap
Excuse me, but your bubba would be spelt with a capital B for us Rednecks ... LOL
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 18, 09:59 AM
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Re: Battery drain, dead overnight.

A courtesy light shouldn’t kill the battery overnight (a week sure but not a few hours)

Id bet on the alternator, or regulator...esp if it’s been ‘converted’ (badly) to a modern alternator.

MSD unit wired on all the time? Suspect anything that’s connected directly to the battery ‘cause that’s generally A Bad Idea.

Could also be a partial short somewhere possibly one of those unused courtesy light wires. Pulling the fuses as previously suggested should tell you that answer.

Es

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