Flat battery (engine)

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by elizabethh7802, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. elizabethh7802

    elizabethh7802 Read Only Funster

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    Another newbie question I'm afraid!
    We are having problems with our engine battery constantly running flat.
    Have changed the battery to a new one but problem continues so something is running it down.
    We are due to take it to our auto electrician next week but he charges £60 per hour so if we can try to eliminate some possible factors before then it may save some pennies.
    Any ideas where we can start to try to diagnose problem?
    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    Have you put a meter across the battery whilst the engine is running to see if your alternator is supplying a proper charging voltage to the battery?

    Callum
     
  3. elizabethh7802

    elizabethh7802 Read Only Funster

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    Yes, hubby has done this and all seems okay with alternator.
    We think it is something draining the battery down as it goes flat between runs in just a few days. We fully charged the battery again last week but this morning it was flat again.
     
  4. DP_JAY

    DP_JAY Funster Life Member

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    Had a similar problem but our went flat in hours not days.
    Turned out to be the relay that powers the fridge on 12v sticking.
     
  5. spannermanwigan

    spannermanwigan Read Only Funster

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    You dont give much info in your post, re how much van is being used or standing,
    how much mechanical knowledge you have, to attempt to test or repair yourself.
    Its easy sometimes for people to post advice but if you dont have a clue to what
    they are saying, it wont get you very far. Have to agree with callumwa , checking
    battery with volt meter, first with engine stopped, then with engine running will
    rule out or indicate the direction that further checks should go.

    Sorry if this sounds a little negative, but sometimes its best left to the pro's.
    However if you are able to do these checks yourself, lots of us on here will be only
    too happy to point you in the right direction, and share our knowledge.
    ( obviously my typing skills are much less than my mechanical Knowledge
    took me so long to type this it is now obvious from your subsequent posts
    your husband is able to carry out checks)

    Regards
    Steve
     
  6. spannermanwigan

    spannermanwigan Read Only Funster

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    Simple way to check disconnect battery, recharge,reconnect. then without starting
    van turn fridge onto 12v setting and see if freeze box gets colder if it does,you know it is getting a feed which it should not without engine running.this would indicate faulty relay.
    You would then need to locate relay, and replace.
    Make, model and year etc of your vehicle will help to pinpoint things.

    regards
    Steve
     
  7. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    dont forget that the alarm and radio are always going to slowly drain the battery.

    I know you mention the battery goes flat between running the engine, but is the battery fully charged? If the alternator is charging ok, it would take a few hours driving to fully charge. Try charging fully for 24hrs plus using a mains charger, then time how long before it goes flat. This will show the amount of drain involved
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    your man sounds like he knows how to use a multimeter so....

    charge battery.
    disconnect earth (-ve) wire from battery. (make sure you have the radio code if one is needed)
    set meter to DC amps and connect leads to the amp position on the meter
    connect the black lead to the battery -ve (earth/neg) post and the red lead to the wire which was removed.

    the meter should then show the amount of current being drawn.

    it should only show a few milliamps.......5 to 10amps will probably be the fridge relay stuck in circuit.
     
  9. SuperMike

    SuperMike Read Only Funster

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    Yes, but make sure the Meter is capable of taking such a draw and is switched to the correct range. Some of the little cheapy ones will only take milliamps.:thumb:
     
  10. freelanderuk

    freelanderuk Read Only Funster

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    have you got a reversing camera fitted, people have had problems with the battery going flat because the camera was always on
     
  11. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    I may be missing something here but surely if you simply turn the fridge off that would stop the open relay :thumb:My monies on either alarm or radio :Wink:
    terry
     
  12. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Mine isn't, not if its flat in a couple of days, that's one hell of a drain.

    My money is on the OP subscribing and coming back to tell us what it was. :Wink:
     
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  13. elizabethh7802

    elizabethh7802 Read Only Funster

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    Thank you all for taking the time to reply.
    I'm sorry about the lack of info in my OP.
    We have a Fiat Ducato Mobilvetta 1995 (named Bertha by my two year old but called a lot of other things by my hubby over the last few months but none repeatable:Rofl1:)
    We don't have an alarm.
    We do have a radio which has been fitted recently but the problem was occurring prior to this.
    We haven't actually used the fridge yet so it is off.
    We do have a reversing camera but it has an on/off switch.
    Hubby has a multi meter tester, we just didn't know where to start! He is certainly able to test things if we are given some direction on what to do.
    I hope this info helps a little but please do let me know if I can tell you anything else which may direct us to the problem.

    Thank you all again.
    Liz
     
  14. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Welcome back Liz and glad you subscribed...

    Just want to try and keep the simple stuff sorted and make sure of the following...

    Tick as you go..

    Ok, so my first thoughts would of definitely of been the alternator not charging, but you have checked this, are you sure you have checked it properly? check again just to be on the safe side.
    Now, not completely familiar with your van, but I am assuming. It has a leisure battery and a split, so that the engine battery does just the engine, and fridge when on 12v and travelling. All other hab electricals should come off the leisure battery.
    Unless, you have a switch to switch between the two batteries? some models worked that way and you had to click from one to the other.

    So,
    Reversing camera, you say its switched off but are you sure its not still drawing? I have a similar set up with my built in sat nav even when its off it draws whilst on standby.
    Again sounds ridiculous, but no interior lights hidden away that are on? glove box light etc

    Although you haven't used the fridge, the problem explained would not make any difference, if its stuck on, it stuck on and drawing, regardless of whether its used. when you charge the battery again, check to see if the fridge is cold.

    Its all guess work Im afraid, and probably something simples that's not been found. Try looking at it as a car or standard van first then see how you get on :thumb:

    keep us posted, were intrigued now.:Smile:
     
  15. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    agreed Mike...should have mentioned it but just assumed the operater knew how to use the meter :Doh:
     
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  16. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    as said in my post John. Im still not convinced that this is not the problem, might be best to get it running and off to a tyre shop for a quick battery check :Wink:
     
  17. elizabethh7802

    elizabethh7802 Read Only Funster

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    It was ....

    It turned out to be the radio, so we have put in a switch.
    Also found that the leisure battery was wired incorrectly to engine battery so at night time when we had lights etc on it was draining our engine battery. So we had a split relay put in and prob solved.
    Thanks for all the replies.
    Now we just have to mend the fridge but that's another post.....:cry:
     
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