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Discussion Starter #1
How long should the battery stay charged when I park my camaro in the garage? I can park other cars for several weeks. When I get in they start right up. If I park the camaro for a week, the battery will be dead. The battery is only a few months old.

If I don't have ANY unusual battery drains, shouldn't the camaro be able to sit for about a month without the battery going dead? Thanks
 

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If your battery is dying after a few weeks, there is an obvious drain on the battery or the battery is bad and isn't holding charge. A good battery should be able to hold a charge for at least a couple months or more.

If you have a car alarm, that would be a possible drain on the battery. My 67 car battery holds a charge for months, while my IROC will only hold a charge for a few weeks because of the drain from the computer and the alarm.

Try replacing the battery with a new or different one and see if that helps. If the results are the same, start looking for the drain.
 

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Even something simple like a radio memory drain can cause a weak to dead battery in cold weather. I always disconnect the battery for long term ( 1 month or more) storage and charge it before using it again. Your charging system will last longer not having to charge a weak or dead battery.

Kev
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh well, I guess I need to start looking for an electrical drain. The only modern components I have are a CD changer & booster in the trunk. I know the CD changer has a memory. It shouldn't be draining the battery in just a few days though.
 

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Oh well, I guess I need to start looking for an electrical drain. The only modern components I have are a CD changer & booster in the trunk. I know the CD changer has a memory. It shouldn't be draining the battery in just a few days though.
I assume that you also have a capacitor which may add to the drain.

Kev
 

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Search the archives for how to use a test lamp in series with a battery cable to identify an electrical drain. Here is one example of many http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=99752&highlight=test+lightThe test lamp will barely glow for a small drain and will burn brite for a serious drain.

You said you had a "booster". I presume this is an amplifier for your stereo system. Most amps have a remote turn on that gets fed from the antenna lead or some-such form the head unit. If that circuit isn't connected, the amp will draw current all the time.

BTW: A capacitor won't drain the battery unless it's bad. Capacitors pass AC current, not DC.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I assume that you also have a capacitor which may add to the drain.

Kev
I don't know what a capacitor is, what it does, what it looks like, or anything else. I just hooked the amplifier up the way the instructions said to, it goes to an original 67 am/fm. I'm going to do the test light thing tonight where you disconnect the neg battery terminal to look for a drain that way.
 

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I don't know what a capacitor is, what it does, what it looks like, or anything else. I just hooked the amplifier up the way the instructions said to, it goes to an original 67 am/fm. I'm going to do the test light thing tonight where you disconnect the neg battery terminal to look for a drain that way.
A capacitor should be a cylinder type container which is connect to the amp wiring in the trunk..see info below.

If your lights dim with the beat, or your speakers start smoking without permission, or your CD skips a beat or two, your amplifier may be trying to use more fast energy than the electrical system can supply. Unfortunately, your car's electrical system is not thinking about the needs of your amplifier. Power is being robbed from your audio system by such trifling matters as: the engine and lights. This may leave your amplifier hungry for power, and worse, delivering destructive distortion when it fails to get it.

Understand of course, that no capacitor is a substitute for an adequate amplifier to provide the amount of bass energy you want to project. Nor will it substitute for an inadequate car power supply. You may have to install a stronger alternator if you have one of the more powerful systems. The rest of your system must also be "up to spec" to serve that purpose.

Technically, a capacitor is an electronic device which consists of two rolled up plates of electrically conductive material separated by an insulator known as a dielectric. Within this frame an electrical field charge is developed. The quantum of this charge is the capacitor's value, measured in farads. It is largely determined by the surface area of the plates, the effective distance between the plates, and the chemical composition of the dielectric material.


Audio capacitors are energy reservoirs that store the necessary power your amplifier will need to punch those big bass notes while limiting clipping (see definition at right). They store power during intervals when it is not required, which is most of the time, and release it when a short term transient demand exceeds what is available from the car's power system. A stiffening capacitor for your amp is the simplest way to be sure your system always gets every bit of immediate current it needs.

From the smallest .5 farad, to 10 farads, there's a capacitor suitable for your installation. Mount them as close to the amplifier as possible, and use at least .5 farad (500,000 microfarads) per 500 watts RMS of power output. Using more will not cause problems. On the other hand, it will not contribute to the operation either, and it's easier on the wallet to just get what you need.

Many capacitors are rated for ESR. This is the Equivalent Series Resistance of a capacitor. A perfect capacitor would have only capacitance. All conductors have resistance. In a capacitor, there are many conductors such as terminal leads, foil and even the dielectric electrolyte. The resistance of all of these conductors contribute to the capacitor's series resistance. It's essentially the same as having a resistor in series with an ideal capacitor. Capacitors with relatively high ESR will have less ability to pass current from its plates to the load (the amplifier).

Discharging the Capacitor:
If you plan to remove your capacitor for any reason, you may want to completely discharge the capacitor to avoid a potential hazard. To discharge the capacitor (only after it's disconnected from the system, of course), will need to enable the current to flow from one terminal to the other. You can use either a test light or resistor for this purpose. Some large capacitors tend to develop a charge similar to a battery and will produce a small voltage across its terminals. Since, in a large capacitor (over .5 farad), even a small voltage could be dangerous. After it is discharged, you may want to connect the terminals together with a piece of wire or resistor. Even if the capacitor design doesn't permit it to develop adverse voltages when unused, leave the terminals connected as a visual confirmation of the unit's safety.

Charging with a Resistor:
Many capacitors will need to be intialized with a 10 to 50 ohm resistor connected to the power main for usually 8 to 25 seconds depending on the size. After charging is completed, simply connect the power main VERY Carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, I'm not experiencing any problems with the amp &/or sterero system. Its not a very big system, just 100 watt speakers in the each kick panel.

I disconnected the negative battery post & connected the test light between the cable & the negative post. THERE IS A GLOW. I pulled out every fuse one by one on the junction block. Not a single one of them being pulled had any effect. I disconnected the wires, red & yellow, connected to the CD changer, still glowed like ever. I pulled the fuse that is in the power booster that is in the truck, no effect, still glowed on the test light. I noticed that every time I opened the door, the light gone a lot brighter. If I step on the brake pedal the light glows much brighter too. I don't know if that is normal or not. Bummer. I was really hoping that pulling the fuses one by one would really help pin-point the drainage problem. :(
 

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Remove the red lead to the alternator with all other power accessories disconnected. If light goes out, there is a leaky, read beginning to fail, diode.

Change alternator.
 

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Thanks, I'm not experiencing any problems with the amp &/or sterero system. Its not a very big system, just 100 watt speakers in the each kick panel.

I disconnected the negative battery post & connected the test light between the cable & the negative post. THERE IS A GLOW. I pulled out every fuse one by one on the junction block. Not a single one of them being pulled had any effect. I disconnected the wires, red & yellow, connected to the CD changer, still glowed like ever. I pulled the fuse that is in the power booster that is in the truck, no effect, still glowed on the test light. I noticed that every time I opened the door, the light gone a lot brighter. If I step on the brake pedal the light glows much brighter too. I don't know if that is normal or not. Bummer. I was really hoping that pulling the fuses one by one would really help pin-point the drainage problem. :(
An illuminated test lamp leaves room for individual interpretation of what is allowed and what is not.Try using a DVOM in series ..set at 10 amps and measure the parasitic draw.OEM new cars with multiple modules usually pull 20 milli amps.If your car pulls...say 250 m/amps you have a 1/4 amp parasitic that needs to be addressed.Once you know the milli amps,you can now point the finger at a battery that has minimal reserve capacity.
 

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...Try using a DVOM in series ..set at 10 amps and measure the parasitic draw...
Most multi-meters require you to move the meter leads to a different set of inputs for measuring current. As soon as you are done taking your measurement, unplug the leads or restore them to the voltage inputs. I've seen numerous DVMs blown up by folks forgetting to reconfigure the meter before they try to take a voltage measurment. Most of those meters had a rattle afterward.
:pout:
That's the main reason the low-tech test light is a better choice. But in this case, you've confirmed the draw is low and I agree with fatblock - time to quantify it.

The alternator lead is a good next choice - just be sure not to let it touch ground once it's disconnected. Then again, a test lamp will protect you from an accidental short circuit. You can also disconnect various wiring harness connectors to isolate circuits that way.

Your description of the light changing brightness with the doors open and brake are normal. The more current you draw from the battery, the brighter the light.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I disconnected the large red wire at the back of the alternator. The test light remained glowing. I also unplugged the two wire plug & nothing improved. I disconnected the juice going to the amp in truck (just to be sure) but, the test light remained glowing. From doing searches on "drains" on this sight, I'm starting think its either the external voltage regulator or the horn relay.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good news & bad news: I isolated the drain but, it looks like its the power window relay behind the kick panel on the drivers side. JimM has a picture of the relay in his "What it is, Where it is" sticky.
I disconnected the large black wire that goes from the horn relay to the "circuit breaker" on the fire wall. At that instant, the test light goes completely out! ! ! ! But, I can hear the relay (behind the kick panel) clicking. The circuit breaker on the fire wall also services the power top.
Does anyone know if the drain might be, being caused, by the circuit breaker on the fire wall instead of the power window relay behind the kick panel???? Taking the kick panel out is a real big time consuming pain.
Might the horn relay (STILL) be causing the problem, & I'm just being faked out by the clicking of the power window relay???? Thanks for any suggestions guys.
 

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Audio capacitors are energy reservoirs that store the necessary power your amplifier will need to punch those big bass notes while limiting clipping (see definition at right). They store power during intervals when it is not required, which is most of the time, and release it when a short term transient demand exceeds what is available from the car's power system. A stiffening capacitor for your amp is the simplest way to be sure your system always gets every bit of immediate current it needs.
Where's the definition at right? Is this a C&P from somewhere?
 

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Good news & bad news: I isolated the drain but, it looks like its the power window relay behind the kick panel on the drivers side. JimM has a picture of the relay in his "What it is, Where it is" sticky.
I disconnected the large black wire that goes from the horn relay to the "circuit breaker" on the fire wall. At that instant, the test light goes completely out! ! ! ! But, I can hear the relay (behind the kick panel) clicking. The circuit breaker on the fire wall also services the power top.
Does anyone know if the drain might be, being caused, by the circuit breaker on the fire wall instead of the power window relay behind the kick panel???? Taking the kick panel out is a real big time consuming pain.
Might the horn relay (STILL) be causing the problem, & I'm just being faked out by the clicking of the power window relay???? Thanks for any suggestions guys.
What happens when you push in the door light switch ? Does the drain stop? I hope you ruled that out and did not have the door light pin out during the test. Also running of that is the key buzzer. With the key on and the door opened, the light and the buzzer will sound..

Kev
 

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The circuit breaker most likely is not causing the drain, but some careful disconnections and troubleshooting will tell you for sure. The reason I believe the breaker is not at fault is that it is not a grounded circuit. Instead the breaker is in the power circuit with no connection to ground.

You're getting close. Keep unplugging things one at a time until you isolate the specific component that is causing it. A bad power window switch could do it. A relay can get stuck, but you say it's clicking so that's *probably* not it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What happens when you push in the door light switch ? Does the drain stop? I hope you ruled that out and did not have the door light pin out during the test. Also running of that is the key buzzer. With the key on and the door opened, the light and the buzzer will sound..

Kev
No its not the door jamb button. I had the doors shut & the ignition off when I was testing the battery drain.

I've narrowed it down to one of 3 things:

1) The horn relay (I don't suspect it too much)
2) The circuit breaker on the firewall for the power top & windows
3) The power window relay behind the driver's kick panel

Should I be able to put the power top up & down with the ignition off? Because, I can. Is this an indication that the circuit breaker on the firewall is not functioning properly? Thanks
 
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