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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this is the right section for this but here it goes...

In the last 7 months I'm going on my 2nd new battery. The truck will usually start fine and then for a few days it'll start turning over weak then BAM its dead.

I have a feeling it has to do with all the stuff I'm running in my truck and possibly how its hooked up.

In the truck I have HID headlights, HID fogs, an Alpine in dash tv, 2 400 watt amps and 1 12" subwoofer.

I took a pic of how everything is hooked up to see if that would help. The big red wire on the left is the power wire to the amps and the small skinny red wire on the right is to the headlights for the HIDs.

Thanks for the help guys and hope I can find a solution.

 

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I'll caveat my answer that I'm no electrical engineer....

But it sounds to me like you've overwhelmed your alternator (assuming you've got the stock Frontier alternator). It's rated at 110 amps (70A at 1800 rpm, 91A at 2500rpm, 110A at 5000rpm), and you might be sucking more power than the alternator can supply thus also sucking the life out of your battery.

I've never put in a high capacity alternator, but there are threads on here from people who have (they're not cheap though, although in the long run cheaper than replacing batteries every 3 months). Just do a search for posts with the word "alternator" in the title.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've thought about something with the alternator being the culprit but I know plenty of people run the same amount of stuff as I do without issue.
 

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ive run 1400w systems on a stock alternator and an upgraded battery for years without issues. im not saying its right tho. i use high output alternators where required and overkill the wiring with 1/0.

what kind of battery are you running?
what kind of hid kit are you using?

i have noticed a trend of these types of threads across a couple forums. common themes are optima batteries and ebay hid kits. make sure all these accessories are off when the truck is off. and saying "i turn them off" is not the right answer. make sure they arent drawing current. get a clamp ammeter, or rig the wires up on a quick disconnect and unhook them at night when you park the truck. if your battery life extends with the disconnect, then the accessories are sucking the battery dry while its off. this can be remedied by changing their power source from constant to a switched 12v with a relay.

in the mean time, have your alternator checked out. its unlikely with such a new truck, but definitely a possibility.
 

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The alternator in the 2nd Gens is basically designed for exactly what the truck comes with. Add and you are likely going to overmatch it. For instance, I have a Kenwood touch screen DVD player and an amp. I drove cross country with a trailer and at night, with the lights on (including the 13 lights on the trailer, wtf), a cell phone charging, and the radio on, I was pulling more than the alternator was giving. I stopped at a truck stop and then it was dead.

Get yourself a capacitor for the amps to help smooth out the draw but you are almost definitely overmatching your alternator.

BTW, it does look like you are providing constant power to something. Probably the amps. Even if they aren't on they are still drawing some juice. Between that and the fact that the frontier has a huge amount of parasitic draw on its own probably doesn't help.
 

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Just as a hint of curiosity, take a pic of your amp wiring configuration.... there is a common mistake made when wiring up amplifiers that many people do.
 

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Get yourself a capacitor for the amps to help smooth out the draw but you are almost definitely overmatching your alternator.
this situation cannot be remedied with a capacitor.

a cap is used to stabilize voltage only. It stores amperage quickly and discharges it just as quickly. It will not magically generate power that you dont already have. it is a band aid on cancer. They serve very little purpose in car audio other than making it appear that there is less voltage drop. A high output alternator is always a better investment as it solves the problem, instead of hiding it.

a larger or additional battery will provide a longer reserve time, or a larger alternator will provide the extra amperage to run everything and charge the battery.
 

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Another good question would be.. do you tend to run accesories without the engine running?
Draining to near empty and "fast charging" it with the engine?
It's cycling the hell outta the Batt. shortening life.
 

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Car batteries are designed for starting the vehicle, not running electronics constantly. Take a voltmeter to your battery and just make sure your Alternator is putting out ~14.0+ Volts when your car is on.

You might want to get a capacitor for your sound system.

You might want to get a Optima battery and not that K-Mart one you have...
I also like the Sears Diehard SUV batteries.

Good Luck!
 

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Car batteries are designed for starting the vehicle, not running electronics constantly. Take a voltmeter to your battery and just make sure your Alternator is putting out ~14.0+ Volts when your car is on.
I agree with that part, if your alternator is getting weak then your battery isn't getting charged properly thereby shortening it's life significantly.

Also, as mentioned, be sure everything turns on/off with switched leads.
Meaning when the key is removed your amps or any other accessory isn't staying on slowly sucking the juice out of the battery.

This is an obvious one but, make sure your battery clamps are on the terminals tight and make sure they are clean.

Lastly, like Scotty said capacitors are not going to help your battery drain.
In fact, I don't even believe in using capacitors inline on car audio stuff at all.
They are just a patch for a larger problem and quite frankly a waste of money in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the advice guys. I've always known caps just disguise a problem and don't truly help.

I never run anything without the truck on and everything seems to turn off when I turn off the truck but my question is does the way I have everything hooked up the terminal look fishy or create a constant draw?

I'm guessing I'm going to need to upgrade batteries to some sort of Optima but I want to make sure I remedy any issues before destroying a nice battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ive got a lot more coming off my battery then that. An it seems to be holding up just fine. Although at night with all of my lights on and my system pretty loud my lights will fade on a good base hit.
Thats what I was figuring. I don't have all that much going on in there so thats why I was curious if I might have some stuff hooked up wrong.
 

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Take a dvom, hook it in series w/the + post and + terminal, and read the parasitic drain. Split your feeds apart and read that. Turn things on and off and read that. Make sure your grounds are clean and tight so the alt can do its best. Polish and grease those battery terminals.
The quick disconnect was a good idea. Visit you're local Interstate Warehouse for everything battery related. Might find a high output alt in a junk yard. The alts. off the Quests are the ones, right?
 

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Ive got a lot more coming off my battery then that. An it seems to be holding up just fine. Although at night with all of my lights on and my system pretty loud my lights will fade on a good base hit.
This is what a Capacitor is for, fills that extra power when needed. You actually do damage to your electronics when you don't have enough juice going to them. A voltage drop is just as bad as a spike in power ... remember the capacitor should be within 18" of wire from the amp...
 

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Car batteries are designed for starting the vehicle, not running electronics constantly. Take a voltmeter to your battery and just make sure your Alternator is putting out ~14.0+ Volts when your car is on.

You might want to get a capacitor for your sound system.

You might want to get a Optima battery and not that K-Mart one you have...
I also like the Sears Diehard SUV batteries.

Good Luck!
I'm pretty sure our alternators have a variable output. That's why it's best to not run something right at the negative terminal of the battery. I remember reading in the manual about it not charging properly if you remove the sensor or add accessories before it. I have a scangauge II and one of the gauges I have it showing all the time is voltage and I've seen it swing from 12-14.4vdc.
 
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