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Discussion Starter #1
First let me say I know little to nothing about electrical stuff, so be patient with me. Last night I was hooking up some wiring (alt. wires, and battery cables) on the Z which I think I have correct. I hook up the pos. to the battery, then go to hook up the neg. cable and get a fairly strong spark (arc?). The spark is strong enough to leave marks on the post and cable. Where do I start? The battery is reading 12.6vdc.
 

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Did you disconnect the starter? If so, check to make sure the terminal on the end of the positive battery cable that connects to the starter is not touching anything other than the large post on the starter. If it touches the block or the other terminal on the starter, you will have a short circuit and see a "fairly strong spark".
 

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also if you have a stereo amp, and stereo, you will possibly get an initial power draw from them...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I checked the starter connection and everything seems ok. No amp just a factory radio. Now for the scary stuff. I made everything was off, key out of ignition, lights and radio off. I thought I would try it one more time. I got the positive on the post. It didn't seem to spark as bad. After a few seconds the small wire coming off of the positive cable (which I had hooked to the the wires down by the headlights where the alternator wires come from and runs over to the voltage regulator) smoked and melted in two. This only took a few seconds. SCAREY!!!!! I hope I haven't destroyed anything else. Whats wrong with this picture?
 

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I checked the starter connection and everything seems ok. No amp just a factory radio. Now for the scary stuff. I made everything was off, key out of ignition, lights and radio off. I thought I would try it one more time. I got the positive on the post. It didn't seem to spark as bad. After a few seconds the small wire coming off of the positive cable (which I had hooked to the the wires down by the headlights where the alternator wires come from and runs over to the voltage regulator) smoked and melted in two. This only took a few seconds. SCAREY!!!!! I hope I haven't destroyed anything else. Whats wrong with this picture?
That small wire coming off of the positive cable is a fusible link and is supposed to melt when you have a short. It is somewhat like a fuse as it protects the circuit by opening when the current draw is excessive.

There are seveal threads on this problem. Search this forum and you will find some.

Basically, you remove one of the battery cables and hook up a 12 volt test light between the cable and the battery terminal. If the light is on, then you have a current draw. Then you can start unhooking things until the light goes out and you have found the source of the problem.
 

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hmmm, methinks this one is beyond a test light, lets get some more info.
http://www.camaros.net/techref/electrical/What_it_is/radiator_support.htm
Study these pages and pics, then give us some answers:

That small wire off the battery (if you used factory style wires) is in fact a fusible link. It goes to a small terminal on the rad support, behind the battery. If the battery "small wire" itself is what burned, your problem could be right there.

The other wire on that junction block goes across the rad support to the orn relay, alternator, and regulator, and there are more fusible links there.

Exactly (from the pictures) which wire burned?

Is your wiring like the pics?

does your car have any options that would give you extra wires, such as console gauges, A/C, power windows, or power top?

I'll be around, so let's try to work this in as close to real time as we can. You have a serious short, so let's take it slow.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First let me say thanks for the help guys. Ok, the cars is a 69 Z, so there is no AC, or power top it has the console gauges. The wires are the factory style. The fusible link is what burnt in two. The block on the rad support seems to be missing. I had the wires that go there screwed together and taped.
 

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You've got the resident expert on it now. Just listen to what JimM says and you can't go wrong.
 

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ok, replace the battery cable if you have one

Get the junction block as soon as you can.

Get a 12 volt test light from an auto parts store or home center, or any 12v bulb with a socket and pigtail wires will do. Connect the battery fusible link to one end of the test light, and the red wire to the other. Leave the black wire for the ammeter off and tape it.

At the horn relay, disconnect the red wire with the fusible link. It kinda looks orange, it's shown in the "what it is post I" linked. Also disconnect the black wire for the ammeter, tape that one off.

Unplug the regulator, and remove and tape off the red wire at the alternator.

At this point, you should have power from the battery to the horn relay and no where else. Connect the battery. Any more smoke? The light should NOT go on.

If no, (disconnect the battery first) then connect that red wire with the orange fusible link back onto the horn relay. Connect the battery. Smoke or no smoke? Light mey glow dim if you have an aftermarket radio, should not be bright.

At this point, you should have power to the car. Turn the key to run, and flip some switches and see what works. Any problems? Everything work? The light will be brighter as you turn on more stuff.

ok, time to get serious. verify the light is off.

Disconnect the battery, plug in the reg, hook up the battery, light still off?

Disconnect the battery, plug in the reg, hook up the battery, light still off?

Disconnect the battery, connect the black wire (ammeter) on the battery side to the light, where the red wire is, not where the fusible link is, connect the battery, light still off?

Disconnect the battery, connect the black wire (ammeter) on the horn relay, connect the battery, light still off?

I suspect an inadvertant dead short in the wiring between battery fusible link and the main splice, probably where the junction block is missing, possibly at the regulator. I don't think it's inside the car, that would take out one of the other fusible links. It could possibly be the alternator.

Follow the steps (they start with restoring power, then adding loads, least likely culprit to most likely), only make one change at a time, report back when something fails the test.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I went the easy route and took the alternator off and had it checked. It was no good so i replaced it. Some kind of short? I now have working headlights, turn signals and taillights. Actually the left front blinker doesn't work and neither does the interior dome light. These could just be bulbs, I haven't had time to check yet but I'll see if I can figure this out and get back to you guys. Thanks for the help so far!
 

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ok, replace the battery cable if you have one

Get the junction block as soon as you can.

Get a 12 volt test light from an auto parts store or home center, or any 12v bulb with a socket and pigtail wires will do. Connect the battery fusible link to one end of the test light, and the red wire to the other. Leave the black wire for the ammeter off and tape it.

At the horn relay, disconnect the red wire with the fusible link. It kinda looks orange, it's shown in the "what it is post I" linked. Also disconnect the black wire for the ammeter, tape that one off.

Unplug the regulator, and remove and tape off the red wire at the alternator.

At this point, you should have power from the battery to the horn relay and no where else. Connect the battery. Any more smoke? The light should NOT go on.

If no, (disconnect the battery first) then connect that red wire with the orange fusible link back onto the horn relay. Connect the battery. Smoke or no smoke? Light mey glow dim if you have an aftermarket radio, should not be bright.

At this point, you should have power to the car. Turn the key to run, and flip some switches and see what works. Any problems? Everything work? The light will be brighter as you turn on more stuff.

ok, time to get serious. verify the light is off.

Disconnect the battery, plug in the reg, hook up the battery, light still off?

Disconnect the battery, plug in the reg, hook up the battery, light still off?

Disconnect the battery, connect the black wire (ammeter) on the battery side to the light, where the red wire is, not where the fusible link is, connect the battery, light still off?

Disconnect the battery, connect the black wire (ammeter) on the horn relay, connect the battery, light still off?

I suspect an inadvertant dead short in the wiring between battery fusible link and the main splice, probably where the junction block is missing, possibly at the regulator. I don't think it's inside the car, that would take out one of the other fusible links. It could possibly be the alternator.

Follow the steps (they start with restoring power, then adding loads, least likely culprit to most likely), only make one change at a time, report back when something fails the test.
Old thread, I know but still good. I need to know where JimM said "Connect the battery fusible link to one end of the test light, and the red wire to the other." What red wire is he referring too and what the other means. Is the other the battery post? Thanks.
 

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He is referring in substituting the test light for the fusible link during troubleshooting the location of the short.
The bulb filament will only allow the filament current rating to pass for this purpose.
Once the short is found and eliminated, the filament should be off, unless there is an aftermarket radio head as they need battery power for clock and presets.
Also, if the OE clock is installed, the clock will draw power rhythmically, as a small solenoid energizes every 5-10 minutes for rewinding the main spring.
 

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Okay, if I understand this correctly, one end of the test light lead connects to the junction box and the other lead connects to the battery terminal along with the battery cable.
 

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Yes, as long as there are no other cables connected with the pos cable at the starter solenoid post, just the pos cable to the solenoid by OE design.
You have to isolate the electrical system from the battery then disconnect one electrical circuit at a time and any add-on electrical devices.
 

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At the horn relay, disconnect the red wire with the fusible link. It kinda looks orange, it's shown in the "what it is post I" linked. Also disconnect the black wire for the ammeter, tape that one off.

Unplug the regulator, and remove and tape off the red wire at the alternator.

At this point, you should have power from the battery to the horn relay and no where else. Connect the battery. Any more smoke? The light should NOT go on.

If no, (disconnect the battery first) then connect that red wire with the orange fusible link back onto the horn relay. Connect the battery. Smoke or no smoke? Light may glow dim if you have an aftermarket radio, should not be bright.


At this point, you should have power to the car. Turn the key to run, and flip some switches and see what works. Any problems? Everything work? The light will be brighter as you turn on more stuff.

Everything was find to this point until I turn the key to run/start, then positive cable had smoke. The alternator was disconnected and as well as the voltage regulator. Then the car would not start although there was still power at the horn relay. So guessing the starter is bad or the ignition switch. After about a 10 minutes, turn the key and power came back and the car would turn over and there was no smoke. Still leaning toward it being the ignition switch or the starter. Any suggestions.
 

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Clean the battery posts and cable clamps.
Remove the wires from the horn relay buss bar and wire brush the terminals and buss bar.
Reassemble. Power for the Camaro goes through the buss bar.
Any high resistance, read corrosion, will smoke as current goes through the junction.
 

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Clean the battery posts and cable clamps.
Remove the wires from the horn relay buss bar and wire brush the terminals and buss bar.
Reassemble. Power for the Camaro goes through the buss bar.
Any high resistance, read corrosion, will smoke as current goes through the junction.
Thanks for your assistance; it's good to go now. Thanks again.
 
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