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Unread 05-15-2013, 05:30 PM   #1
jroth0916
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Battery draining with no draw

I know there are a lot of threads talking about battery drain already, but this is a unique situation. I have an optima red top battery in my WJ and it drains quickly while the car is sitting idle. I have tested multiple times to find a draw but the draw shows as .01A. I have done the test with both the computer set in sleep and when the computer is active and still no more than .03A of draw. The battery keeps discharging after a few days. Anyone have an idea of what could cause the battery to fail in a week when there isn't a significant draw? This is the second new optima battery I have gone through in a month with this issue. Either two batteries were bad, or I got a bigger problem. I monitored the drop of voltage and it seems to lose about .17v per day. Any takers on what could be the problem?

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Unread 05-15-2013, 06:23 PM   #2
04RockyMountain
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When you say you are loosing certain amount voltage everyday do you mean you are not getting that voltage back or you mean like you loose creating voltage and it charges back? If you keep loosing juice alternator not charging the battery maybe?
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Unread 05-15-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
jroth0916
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The alternator tests good. The car only gets driven probably once a week so it isn't getting charged regularly by the alternator.
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Unread 05-15-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
04RockyMountain
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Test the battery while the car is running. Let us know what it reads that way you can tell if the battery is shot or not.
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Unread 05-16-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
jroth0916
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So at idle the battery is showing 13.34v. Even after running the car for a while and driving it the battery only shows 12.2.
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Unread 05-16-2013, 08:07 PM   #6
ratmonkey
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optima ain't what she used to be.

either your jeep isn't charging it at all(alternator is only part of the equation, the voltage regulator is in the computer) or you got another battery with a bad cell. once they've discharged all the way they don't recover usually. it's not a deep cycle battery.
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Unread 05-19-2013, 12:07 PM   #7
04RockyMountain
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You mentioned this is the second battery. I say 3rd is the charm lol go out there nd exchange it for another/different one bud.
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Unread 05-19-2013, 12:10 PM   #8
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If you do get the same brand, get one that has a different manufactured date the the one you have.

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Unread 05-19-2013, 12:47 PM   #9
4Tom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jroth0916 View Post
So at idle the battery is showing 13.34v. Even after running the car for a while and driving it the battery only shows 12.2.
Both those voltages are low

You should be looking at 13.6 min 13.8 normal at ideling. Anything below 13.6 isn't charging your battery properly. Most lead acid batterys only charge correctly at 13.7 volts.

When battery is low the charge voltage will be higher than 14v when driving and fall back to 13.6 ~ 13.8 normal charging voltage.

A good battery at rest with no draw is 12.6v. Sitting for a while in the jeep it will drop a little. So its hard to gauge by battery voltage drop as both draw and time will effect reading.

As you have measured draw and its well below maxium acceptable, I would guess alternator isn't putting out the correct charge current ( voltage) and slowly undercharging the batteries.

The alternator should be capable of running lights radio etc while charging the battery I suspect your alternator is putting out a low current. Or the leads, battery terminal connectors aren't good.

The battery terminals need to be clean and tight fit on battery pole. Quick simple check. Next look at the heavy gauge wire from battery to alternator and lastly earth.

If all are ok next get alternator tested.

I think its very unlikely to be battery
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Unread 05-19-2013, 01:01 PM   #10
Wheelin98TJ
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Battery temp sensor ok? Usually not a problem, but worth mentioning.

It'll only charge at 25% if there is an issue there.
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Unread 05-20-2013, 08:24 AM   #11
jroth0916
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This has been helpful. I think what I am going to do is disconnect the alternator and see if the voltage continues to drop while the car is off. I had the alternator tested at and auto parts store and they said it was good, but you never know. If the voltage keeps dropping while the alternator is disconnected I will have the problem solved. I am also going to go get a test light just in case the multimeter is wonky. At this point if the battery goes back it is for a refund. When I talked to optima they told me the red top battery isn't meant to fully charge after a full discharge and I need a yellowtop (bad sales pitch to buy a yellowtop). I'll let you know if the alternator is the problem. I know when I searched this issue it seemed like nobody posts the solution when the find it so I don't want to be that guy.
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Unread 05-20-2013, 10:49 AM   #12
ratmonkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jroth0916 View Post
This has been helpful. I think what I am going to do is disconnect the alternator and see if the voltage continues to drop while the car is off. I had the alternator tested at and auto parts store and they said it was good, but you never know. If the voltage keeps dropping while the alternator is disconnected I will have the problem solved. I am also going to go get a test light just in case the multimeter is wonky. At this point if the battery goes back it is for a refund. When I talked to optima they told me the red top battery isn't meant to fully charge after a full discharge and I need a yellowtop (bad sales pitch to buy a yellowtop). I'll let you know if the alternator is the problem. I know when I searched this issue it seemed like nobody posts the solution when the find it so I don't want to be that guy.
Optima is correct, the red top will not recharge after a full flat discharge. The yellow top will as it's a deep cycle battery.
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Unread 05-20-2013, 11:29 AM   #13
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please take voltage measurement from the + and - of the battery while car is off and also while it is running.

Please report when done.

Your comments on disconnecting the alternator to see if the battery is draining is concerning. The Alternator will not drain your battery, it will only charge it, or not.

The voltage measurement AT THE BATTERY posts is very important.

4Tom has very good info and directions.
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Unread 05-24-2013, 07:06 AM   #14
jroth0916
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I disconnected the alternator just to see if there was a random drain from it. I have a friend who works fro Chrysler and he told me to just check some of the larger wires, like the alternator for corrosion. I figured the best way to find out if corrosion was causing the problem was to just disconnect the wire. I disconnected the alternator and had it tested again at a place and I am told it tests fine. I'm still waiting to get the test light (been busy with a honey-doo list this week) but I should have it today and I'll hopefully work on the issue more tomorrow.
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Unread 05-24-2013, 07:09 AM   #15
WJChris
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A test light will serve no purpose in determining a current drain.
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