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darren_c

Parasitic Drain?

19 posts in this topic

Hi

I have a 2010 ford focus, when left overnight the battery is draining to a point that the car will not start. Tested the battery and that is fine in its self and is charging fine when the car is running. Therefore something is drawing power when car is shutdown. The car is original with no mods.

Have tried testing for a current by connecting a multimeter in line with the negative batt post and lead, but got no readings, expected some? As the intention was to then pull out fuses, Can anyone advise if I am doing this correctly?

Steps I took were

Disconnect negative lead

Connect black multimeter lead to battery post

Connect red multimeter lead to battery lead

Setting on multimeter was 10a DC

Anyone with any directions or advice appreciated

Darren

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I,d be looking at the usual suspects courtesy lights including boot and alarms or any where water could interfere with the electrics

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On the Focus MK2/MK2.5 this is a known problem which most times is caused by a defective CANbus module. A defective CANbus module prevents the CANbus system from entering sleep mode. The result is that the active CANbus system drains the battery. Not entering sleep mode can be recognised by not switching off the display of the instrument cluster. Normally the display switches off about half an hour after locking the car. If the display not switches off this means the CANbus system remains active

Does the car have Bluetooth/Voicecontrol? If so the Bluetooth/Voicecontrol module is known to cause this problem. In some cases resetting the module by temporarily disconnecting it solves the problem. If not the module can be considered defective. In theory every defective CANbus module can cause this problem but the Bluetooth/Voicecontrol module would be the first suspect.

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Your connections of the multimeter are OK but would expect a reading if the battery is draining itself over a period of time. When the multimeter is connected try opening a door or put your lights on and see if there is a current drain. If you don't see a meter reading its possible the meter could be faulty. Also is there a 3rd connection on your meter for current connection only, I've made this mistake before.

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Thanks both,

Car does not have Bluetooth or voice control, Is the CANbus the square unit in the centre console with the odo etc on it?

Is there an easy was of disconnecting it?

I was trying this method http://www.ericthecarguy.com/faq/solving-automotive-electrical-problems?start=3#ParasiticDrawTesting

But I am not getting any reading on the multimeter?

I disconnect the battery to put the multimeter in the circuit but that turns everything off and when I put the multimeter in no amps are measuring?

Am I missing something

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Hi peter

Should the car be "awake" when the multimeter is connected, ie should the interior light come on when I open the door, or should the odo unit light when the multimeter is connected as if the battery is connected as usual or should it be acting as if the battery is disconnected?

In my case it appears to be working in the latter

The multi meter does have 4 connections I am using the COM and the 10A sockets and setting to 20ma/10a on the DC

Darren

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Should the car be "awake" when the multimeter is connected, ie should the interior light come on when I open the door, or should the odo unit light when the multimeter is connected as if the battery is connected as usual or should it be acting as if the battery is disconnected?

In my case it appears to be working in the latter

The multi meter does have 4 connections I am using the COM and the 10A sockets and setting to 20ma/10a on the DC

Darren

Yes AFAIK, the car should be "awake" when the multimeter is connected - as using it in current mode means it should complete the circuit - the device is simply measuring the current flowing through the circuit.

Something is wrong if it is acting as the latter - perhaps there is a fault with your multimeter - you may have exceeded the maximum rating for that mode and blown the fuse. Check the fuse.

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Hi Darren, as the previous post, if the car is awake before you remove the battery terminal but dies when you connect the meter it sounds like your meter is faulty. Most modern meters are auto-ranging so connections shouldn't be a problem.

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Hi all

Sorry I've not replied sooner but have been away with work, anyhow thanks to the above and some good fortune I have narrowed the problem down to the radio.

Basically after disconnecting the battery if I do not enter the radio code and use car as usual with no radio then the battery drain is not there. So I have been using the car with no radio for the past couple of weeks and all good.

However I quite like been able to listen to the radio so want to fix the issue, what do you guys think

Is it a case of just replacing the radio

Or is the root problem with the computer not shutting down the radio so a new one would be the same

Any one got any advice, also if a new radio can anyone recommend one.

Darren

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The radio is basically a stand alone CANbus module. Even if the radio is switched off it still has a 12 Volt power supply. There is no other module which switches off the power supply of the radio.

The radio communicates with some of the other modules over the CANbus network. After locking the car all of the modules should stop to communicate. If there is no communication the CANbus network should enter sleep mode after a certain time.

In your case the radio prevents the CANbus system from entering sleep mode. I have seen before that a defective radio still tries to communicate or puts a small voltage on the CANbus network which can be recognised as communication. This results in the fact that the CANbus system stays active which can drain the battery in a relative short time.

My experience is that replacing the radio solves the problem. Which type of radio do you have?

darren_c likes this

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Thanks JW1982

The radio in the car is the Ford 6000CD model

Thanks Darren

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If you are still having issues with your meter not working on the 10A setting, it could be that the internal fuse has blown. have you tested the continuity of the leads?

EDIT - sorry I have just read that you have found your suspect..

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Hi any one got any advice for what to replace radio with?

Been quoted 70 quid for a replacement 6000CD

Darren

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Hi, Just came across this topic.I have had a similar problem. 59 plate 1.6 Focus Zetec. Came to start car at work the other day all I got was clicking and instrument and indicator lights flashing in synch. Got a bump start and drove home usually 12 miles of fast roads but did a few extra to boost charge. Spare battery put on charge just in case. I tried to start the car about 2 hours later. All was well so ran it for a while to replace charge. Next morning same result just clicking and flashing. Quick battery change and off to work. This has been fine ever since. Old battery taken to work as we have a dept that can test them under load. My 43amp hr was only lasting 25min under load not 50 - 60 min as it should so scrapped it. While I was in the battery dept the chap mentioned a parasitic load test just to check the car. He thought the drain should not be more than 150 milli amp. I am getting around 300 milli amp.

I am getting 14.3 VDC from the alternator when its running and the battery is holding 12.3 VDC static so the charging circuit is fine.

Does any one know what the drain should be with the ignition off, interior lights off etc so that only the radio/clock/memory circuits etc are live. Hopefully the new battery will sort my problem but am curious none the less about the parasitic drain.

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Hi, Just came across this topic.I have had a similar problem. 59 plate 1.6 Focus Zetec. Came to start car at work the other day all I got was clicking and instrument and indicator lights flashing in synch. Got a bump start and drove home usually 12 miles of fast roads but did a few extra to boost charge. Spare battery put on charge just in case. I tried to start the car about 2 hours later. All was well so ran it for a while to replace charge. Next morning same result just clicking and flashing. Quick battery change and off to work. This has been fine ever since. Old battery taken to work as we have a dept that can test them under load. My 43amp hr was only lasting 25min under load not 50 - 60 min as it should so scrapped it. While I was in the battery dept the chap mentioned a parasitic load test just to check the car. He thought the drain should not be more than 150 milli amp. I am getting around 300 milli amp.

I am getting 14.3 VDC from the alternator when its running and the battery is holding 12.3 VDC static so the charging circuit is fine.

Does any one know what the drain should be with the ignition off, interior lights off etc so that only the radio/clock/memory circuits etc are live. Hopefully the new battery will sort my problem but am curious none the less about the parasitic drain.

Due to the complex nature of the canbus system, the parasitic drain is not constant, and it may start off high (when you 1st switch the ignition off) then go lower after a set amount of time (irrispective of what is switched off/ on at the time)

The charging system is a smart-charge system so under certain circumstances it charges at a higher voltage than normal

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Hi thanks for this info.

I have done a bit of looking at this.The problem measuring the current is that some of the systems remain active for while then go to sleep, but not all. So to avoid waking them up I came across this site http://randysrepairshop.net/testing-for-battery-drain.html which explains it under 'Computer controlled cars' I've not tried this yet but I will give it a go soon and let you know what I get initially and after say half an hour. It might be of use in the future.

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At work we use a clamp-on ammeter to monitor shutdown currents, that way you do not disturb the electrical system and have to adjust ranges as the car shuts down like you would using a meter connected in series. Unfortunately the ones I've seen for measuring DC currents tend to cost £300 or there abouts - nowhere nears as practical as your usual voltmeters you can pick up nice and cheap.

Also when cars are in factory modes they will shutdown a lot quicker, plus disable a lot of features to prevent unnecessary current drains. Tis very likely it can take 30 mins for cars out with customers to completely shutdown.

Another way to get a feel for the amount of current being pulled is to make a note of the battery voltage when you've got it disconnected and then compare it to when you feel the car should have been off long enough to have shutdown. If it varies by say 0.3V or so lower there's a good indication that something is still pulling current. Sadly this does't give you enough info to quantify the current unless you put a known voltage load onto the battery and compared it - maybe already mentioned above.

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Hi,

I have had a chance to test the parasitic drain on my battery when all is off. Started off at 0.53 amp and over an hour drops to between 180 - 66 mili amps. It continually flickers between to 2 readings. I asume it is the alarm and radio causing this. This looks normal to me.

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I had the same issues on my Mk3, turned out to be the bluetooth / SYNC module that were not going to sleep, draining the car flat overnight.

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