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Excessive Battery Drain


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#1 SeaGrey

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:03 PM

I'm trying to work out if my car has a fault that's draining the battery excessively, or perhaps that the battery itself is knackered (car is a 2010 TDCi Titanium).

 

If I leave a SatNav plugged into the interior 12V socket to charge (unit turned off), should this cause the battery to go flat within a couple of days ?

 

The battery has gone flat a few times lately while parked, preventing the car from starting the next morning. There are no lights left on, it's double locked and alarmed etc..the only thing I can think of that's using power is the SatNav.

 

It was flat again this morning. I'd driven about 50 miles on Sunday, and my wife about 10 miles yesterday. The SatNav had been plugged in since Sunday.

 

I actually took the car to Halfords on Sunday after the 50 mile drive, for a battery diagnostic test, and they found nothing wrong with the battery and charging voltages. The only thing he noticed was that the overall battery voltage was low, which suggested it wasn't getting fully charged. He suggested our problem could be because we only do short journeys with the lights on etc.. but I replied saying that could represent almost all drivers ! Besides, 60 miles in 2 days isn't exactly short journeys, and my battery was dead this morning.

 

While the battery was flat, I checked it with a voltmeter. It read 8.5V with the car unlocked, door open. It read 9.0V with the doors locked and car alarmed. With the wiring disconnected from the battery it read 10.5V

 

So it's still on charge now - something I'm getting used to.

 

Anyone else had any similar experiences ?

 

Also - just curious to know - I always disconnect the wiring from the battery before charging it. Is this necessary ?



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#2 artscot79

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:22 PM

not being funny but if youre leaving the sat nav constantly plugged in no wonder its going flat the 12v still works even when the cars off so it will be using constant power



#3 SeaGrey

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:40 PM

I know what you mean, it does just sound like I'm being a bit daft - but on previous cars we used to leave the same Garmin unit plugged in all the time without ever flatting the battery. In fact, this is the first car I've had (since my old RS Mexico) that has flatted the battery just while parked up overnight.

 

It could just be that I need to get used to more modern vehicles, i.e. maybe they use a bit more power when parked, i.e. ECU, alarm and any other electric gizmos that still draw some current.

 

So I'm just wondering if people find that their newer cars have more problems with batteries going dead, just through general, but perhaps slightly careless use, as in my case. I mean how much electricity can a SatNav drain while on charge ? Surely a car battery has the capacity to charge a thousand SatNavs ?



#4 wase16ll

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:02 PM

im often called out for jump starts when owners leave a mobile charging for a few hours...it does make a difference but it could also mean the battery is servicable, but weak.

 

can always do a current draw test with an amp meter...disconnect one of the terminals, connect the amp to terminal and post...check the current with all electrics off/doors closed etc, then plug the sat nav charger in and check again...compare the readings



#5 artscot79

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:40 PM

most older cars i had didnt have the 12v but the lighter socket but they were switched ignition meaning with the car off there was no power to them the ford isnt like that its constantly powered so it will just keep draining away even when the units charged



#6 Stoney871

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:56 PM

Safer to bring the satnav indoors and charge overnight.

#7 jeebowhite

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:50 AM

Amongst other things the satnav in the house is more likely to keep your windows intact and the local scavengers out of pocket...



#8 vince_13

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:52 PM

not sure if this happens with new batteries but when i had my first car and my battery died the AA told me that the battery had reached it saturation point, where the battery has become so low that any attempts to recharge where futile due to the battery not being able to recover the losses,

 

i myself took the battery to get tested and was tested ok, when engine running and when turned off, however the battery slowly drained over night, new battery was the cure, however in order to prevent the this occurring the original source to the draining would need solving



#9 jeebowhite

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:33 PM

IMHO a flat battery is fine but three times and you need a new one. seems after three flat lines as Vincent said, it's unrealistic to trust it and will play games soon enough

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#10 FOCA

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

As others have said, the sat nav is a constant drain - it does not use a lot of power, but its like a dripping tap - it builds up over time and slowly drains the battery all the time (on top of all the other battery drains - it could be the "feather that breaks the camels back")

 

With  constant short journeys and the high (huge) electrical drain on modern cars, (just opening the door lighs up the interior like Blackpool iluminations- this is the critical time before the engine is started- )

 

8.5v is too low, if the voltage drops below 10.5v a fault code is generated - as you have mentioned, letting a lead acid (/silver-calcium) battery run low, knacks it -  my own car does not start if it is below 11v, and normally stays above 12v with the engine not running, and upto (approx) 14v with the engine running

 

If you have the sat-nav switched from the ignition (only on when the ignition is on) and change all the interior bulbs to LEDs (typically 1/5th to 1/10th the power drain - makes a significant difference because this drains the battery before the engine is started)  you might be able to carry on with your present battery, if you keep it charged.

 

A set of jump leads and a booster (always kept charged) kept in the car would keep you out of trouble/ give you peace of mind - 

 

Realistically, though, with allowing it to get so low, you have probably knacked it and would probably be safer replacing it with a new battery to get you through the winter, and with the sat-nav and LED interior lights that will stop you "taking out" the new battery as well

 

Of course if its a smart-charge system it should be a silver-calcium battery  



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