Battery keeps dying! Parasitic Draw?! - Nissan Frontier Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Battery keeps dying! Parasitic Draw?!

On my 2010 Frontier LE, I replaced the stock battery after my wife accidentally left 2 100W Foglamps on. I replaced it with a Bosh battery which did great, after 8 months I tried to help a POS mercedes by giving it a jumpstart. The next morning my battery was completely dead. I took it back and had it replaced (under warranty woo-hoo) It lasted a month then died again, I was able to jump it a few times but after that it was completely dead. Took it back again yesterday(still under extended warranty which I bought for $12 at PepBoys) Took it to the stealership and paid $55 for them to tell me it was a parasitic drain. - Has anyone had any similar issues after giving someone a jumpstart? Fried a relay or had a short?

I only have two after market items that pull electricity, a Viper 5901 alarm and 2 KC SlimLites. I hooked up the multimeter and the parasitic draw remained the same even after I completely removed them from the battery. Any ideas?

Thank you fellow Frontier owners!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 10:21 AM
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Did you actually measure the parasitic drain? How many milliAmps? Factory spec is usually lless than 10mA (without your mods, and after all the computers have gone into standby). If is 50 mA or less wirth the mods, measured ~30 minutes after shutdown, I don't think it's the cause of your premature battery deaths.

A lot of bad things can happen during a jumpstart, particularly to the sensitive electronics in modern cars/trucks. If, during the jumpstart, you had your ignition On and/or connected the negative jumper cable directly to your battery negative post rather than to the frame, some of the protections designed into your truck were bypassed.

My first suspicion would be one of the rectifier diodes in the alternator has been damaged. If the parasitic drain is more than 50mA, pull the big (120A, I think) alternator fuse and see if it substantially diminishes. If no, you will have to start pulling other fuses and look for a big change.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 10:31 AM
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time for a DMM and a fuse puller. the first thing i would pull would be the alarm.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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I disconnected the alarm and lights. I put the multimeter to DC10A, and put it on the disconnected negative terminal. it bounced everywhere from .1.20-.35 Not sure what is in miliamps though.

Autozone says they can test an alternator while it's still installed. Do you think they could tell if the diodes you were referring to are damaged?

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 01:55 PM
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your ALT has nothing to do with it. if it was the problem then your battery would either be overcharging or undercharging and you would see that on the dash and probably trip the SES light. check the voltage with your DMM with the motor running. it should be 13.4v or more but not over say 14.8.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 03:25 PM
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the alt can have a failed diode, the electricity runs backwards out of the battery into the windings of the alternator.

here is how to properly test the parasitic draw. pop hood then lock the doors. wait 30-45 minutes. turn your DMM to amp mode before removing anything from battery put one lead on the NEG battery clamp and the other on the post. that way you don't loose NEG contact when you remove the clamp from the post. then take that reading.

I thought i had the same problem. the readings go from 2.5 amp to 730ma to 500 >145>10ma in the source of about 45 mins. timers in circuits and such.

that being said, i am still having problems. mine are just not as noticeable as i have 300AH of battery my parasitic draw is 10 Milliams

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 06:16 PM
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r32gt-r's description is superb. Excess reverse currents through the alternator diodes are a common cause of premature battery failure. The company I work for makes those diodes, and vehicle manufacturers regularly try to blame us for battery and alternator warranty claims.

The diode reverse current becomes a parasitic drain that is too low to discharge the battery overnight, but high enough to deep-cycle it.

I don't think the Autozone test will detect this fault. They can check charging capability OK, but would have to disconnect the alternator from the battery to measure reverse current flow. I doulbt if they do any tests that require a disconnect.

0.35Amp is 350 milliAmps. The absolute value does not mean a lot unless you wait for all of the post-shutdown diagnostic routines to complete, but you can disconnect and reconnect loads without waiting to see how much the current changes (but only if it is steady).

Disconnecting the fat wire that runs from battery to alternator should only cause the parasitic current to change by a few milliAmps. Incidently, measuring between battery negative terminal and chassis is the right way to do it.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Autozone Machine

That's great feedback on the alternator. I did go to Autozone and have them test it for free. VERY cool machine, tested the battery, starter & alternator within a few seconds. All came up good.

I will try the test suggested by r32gt-r on the alternator for backwards draw. The autozone machine actually lists the diodes as good. I'm very curious about that autozone machine and really want to see if it is accurate!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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I had a mechanic friend take a quick look. He found out the aftermarket alarm is still connected. I had disconnected what I thought was the external fog lamps and the alarm, turns out both cables were for the fog lamps. I have no idea where the alarm is pulling power from.

The mechanic suggested the alarm is the problem. The dealership said the aftermarket products are causing the problem. Has anyone had issues with alarms causing drains before? Is it something that can be fixed by replacing the alarm's computer?

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 04:58 PM
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Take another look at Mylt1's post #3, above. Alarms are a common source of parasitic drain.

No need to guess. Disconnect the power or ground wire to the alarm, and measure the current flowing in it with your meter. If less than 0.1 Amp (100 milliAmps), it's not your problem unless you only start the truck once a week and drive a few miles.
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