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JmuRiz's Avatar
 
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Post Battery drain?

Does anyone have any ideas what causes a battery to prematurely die? I know it is probably something drawing power when the ignition is off. Are there any areas notorious for draining power? Could it be that my alternator is bad and I am running on battery power all the time? I really hate electircal problems! Thanks for any ideas.

Nathan

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'73 2.0 914

[This message has been edited by JmuRiz (edited 10-20-2001).]
Old 10-20-2001, 04:29 PM
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Could be anything....best bet is to get a multimeter. See what your battery is putting out with the engine off....if it is less than 12.5 volts, could be a bad battery OR there is something on and pulling current....

Next start disconecting stuff....I usually just start pulling fuses and watch for a jump in the volts, pull, replace and go to the next one.

When isolated, if any, look up what electrically powered units are on that circuit. Work from there....

My problem once was the voltmeter, oil and temp gauges were wired hot all the time. Switching them to a dead circuit with the ignition off cured it...

Old 10-20-2001, 04:55 PM
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Nathan, A few other things to think about:
-Is this an old problem or a recent situation? If new, what has changed electrically since just before the problem began?
-Consider performing a load test on the battery and check the specific gravity in the cells.
-How old is the battery?
-How often do you drive the car? Short trips?
-Looks like you've got an analog VDO clock. It's live all the time.
-Make sure your turn signal lever is in the neutral position or you'll send low power to the bulbs on the side activated even when everything is switched off.
-Look for short circuit situations.

Good luck, Wayne

Old 10-20-2001, 07:40 PM
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Nathan, what does your guage say when the car is running? Are you sure that your regulator is working properly? Have you checked the ground connections? Is your alt light on when the car is running? Does it come on when the key is simply turned to the on position without actually starting the car?
Old 10-21-2001, 11:29 AM
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Thanks for the ideas guys. My 914 is not my daily driver so I only end up driving it once every week or two and not for long periods, just short trips. I'm sure this can't be good for the car at all. Mikez, how do you wire up the multimeter? Do you just run it in series from the battery to the red cable? I do have an analog clock, it's been broken for months now so I unhooked that, I plan on playing w/ all my gagues soon, cleaning and making sure the wiring is good. I'll start pulling fuses and trying to hunt down the problem maybe next weekend. When the car is on the volt meter is around 12...it also fluctuates quite a bit when turn signals, lights etc are on...is this normal?
The only wiring changes recently are a subwoofer install, but that has a auto switch that only turns on w/ the radio (and it's sapping no juice when the car is off) and a fuel pump I had installed a couple months back.
The battery is about 1/2 year old (I think). Another idea was to look into a battery saver, one that you plug into an outlet and when the battery is getting low turns on automatically and recharges. A guy at the PCA swap meet the other day out here said he uses one, since he doesn't drive his car much, and it works great.
Thanks again for the ideas...unfortunately I have bigger fish to fry, stay tuned for that post

Nathan

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'73 2.0 914
Old 10-22-2001, 05:04 AM
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A multi meter just goes across the battery terminals....you can wedge the pins in the clamps and park the meter on the roll bar with the roof off....watch the meter as you pull fuses...

BOTH my 911 and 914/6 have a trickle charger when I plan on leaving them for than a week.
Old 10-22-2001, 05:07 AM
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A voltmeter is wired across the battery, or across some section of circuit. An ammeter (measuring current) is wired in series with a circuit.

You can use the ammeter function to see how much current is being drawn with everything off. If it's more than tenths of amps, you've got something sucking more juice than it should.

You should use the voltmeter to check the health of the charging system. As MikeZ said, you measure across the battery posts, not the clamps and not the wires. Should be over 13V when the engine is running, and hopefully at leasat 13.5V when the engine is at or over 2500 RPM.

Check Jim T's charging system troubleshooting article in the Tech Articles section of this website.

--DD

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Old 10-22-2001, 07:54 AM
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