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Old 01-03-2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Default How do I check for a battery drain?

Probably been asked a million times on here but can someone tell me how to check if I have a drain on my battery?

It currently keeps going flat every couple of weeks and is really annoying, car is a 1993 4x4 Sierra Cosworth.

Also can someone confrim what kind of voltage I should be seeing across the battery terminals when the engine is running and the alternator is charging?

Thanks
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:58 PM   #2
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voltage at the battery when running with all electrics off i would want like to see high 13s to low 14.s Volts with everthing on would want it around the 13 mark !to check for a drain set your volt meter to read amps then disconnect your earth lead from battery and put your volt meter with one lead on the earth side of the battery and the other lead on your earth wire and take the readings
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:56 PM   #3
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A minimum of 13.4 running with lecky bits off@idle.
With lecky bits on, it can drop to 11.5 or so, BUT so long as when revs increased and held, it picks up to 12.7-12.8 or over all is well.
This is dependant on several factors though such as the battery being FULLY charged when you test it.
A much easier way to look for drain is to insert a 3/5watt bulb between one of the battery leads and it's post, any more than a faint glow is not good, but does depend on alarm type tracker etc, cliffords tend to use a bit more current than others.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:08 PM   #4
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With the volt meter connected between the earth lead and battery post what ampage reading would you typically expect to see? My car has a Clifford alarm and tracker fitted if thats of any help.
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:10 AM   #5
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I would expect no more than 0.2-0.3amp.
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tabetha View Post
...A much easier way to look for drain is to insert a 3/5watt bulb between one of the battery leads and it's post, any more than a faint glow is not good...
I'm feeling dumb today. I don't understand this bit at all, can you explain more tabetha?
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:29 AM   #7
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think he means put a bulb between the neg terminal and earth o.O
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:34 PM   #8
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as above 0.3amp max
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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NO I mean, take off a battery lead/s, either neg or pos, then use a bulb 3/5 watts so that the bulb is inserted between the leads/ and the battery post, then any current that is flowing will have to go through the bulb and light it up, just easier to understand than numbers, any more than a faint glow is a NO NO.
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Old 02-03-2008, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
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NO I mean, take off a battery lead/s, either neg or pos, then use a bulb 3/5 watts so that the bulb is inserted between the leads/ and the battery post, then any current that is flowing will have to go through the bulb and light it up, just easier to understand than numbers, any more than a faint glow is a NO NO.
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I still don't understand. You're connecting a light bulb to a battery, it's going to light up. See? I'm confused.
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:11 PM   #11
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its abit of a crude way of checking you looking at how much the bulb lights up to see how much of a current pull there is i.e if its fairly bright its not good!!!!should be a very very low glow
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:06 PM   #12
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Right, I charged the battery last night and re-fitted it to the car today. Battery voltage after charging last night was 13.2 volts across the terminals. Re-connected the positive leads to the battery then set my volt meter to amps and connected it between the negative battery post and the various negative leads which I had bolted together. The reading on the volt meter jumped to 0.45 amps and then kept spiking to around 0.65-0.75 amps and would not settle down to a constant level.

I have 3 leads on my negative battery terminal, two small round connectors and one large rectangular connector, I only get a reading on the volt meter when I connect it between the large rectangular connector and the battery, can anyone tell me what this lead earths? Is it just the starter motor or is it the main earth lead for the whole vehicle? If it is the main earth lead then how do I go about pin pointing the faulty circuit?

Checked the battery voltage when the engine is idling and it reads bang on 14 volts so the alternator seems okay.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:30 PM   #13
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the only way is disconnect things really until u find the drain!might be worth cleaning up your engine earths first
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
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its abit of a crude way of checking you looking at how much the bulb lights up to see how much of a current pull there is i.e if its fairly bright its not good!!!!should be a very very low glow
I kinda understand what it tells us, but I got a mental block, I want to see a wiring diagram, if you get my drift?

Ickey, sorry to litter your thread with my dumbness. So I'll try to be helpful too! The big earth lead with the square-ish connector will be connected to your engine. your engine earth lead. The starter motor earths through it's mounting to your engine, so don't worry about that.
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:01 PM   #15
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The only way to tell what is causing a drain is to take out all the fuses, noting the radings, then replace one at a time until you find the defective circuit, but the drain you mention is way too much.
As said a bulb in the circuit will light but gives a more meaningful representation to some people of amount of current flow.
The fact that it will not settle down is suggesting it could be alarm in nature, but certainly NOT definite.
As said clean the leads anyway though this is not the problem.
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:58 PM   #16
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tabetha,
I have had a problem in the last 3-4 months with my alarm in that it keeps randomly going off, according to the LED flashes from the alarm light it is the tilt / motion sensor which is at fault. Sometimes when I arm the system it overrides this sensor, do you think this could be linked to the battery drain issue I have?
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:53 PM   #17
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Absolutely, problems like this are NOT uncommon, with cliffords anyway, disconnect the tilt and see what happens to the drain.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:13 PM   #18
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Thanks tabetha, will disconnect tilt sensor at weekend and see what difference it makes, just need to locate the sensor now!!! Not sure where it is in the car.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:32 PM   #19
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I've been fitting clifford for nearly 9 years and never had a tilt sensor drain a battery not at those ratings any way. alot of people will point the finger at clifford but to be honest i'd put money on it not being your clifford (unless it's a g3 concept 50(x) this is the alarm that gave clifford it's bad name nearly 10 years ago oh my how things have changed since then in terms of clifford look at the differnce in mobile phones. If a monkey has fitted your alarm they may have put your tilt sensor on the transmission tunnel this is a no go as the tilt sensor is very sensative to heat and would therfore cause you false alarms. the sensor should be placed as near to the edge of the car as possible.
I'd check boot light and kick well lights to make sure they are turning off. All though your alternator is charging your battery my be shagged and will not hold a charge take it to an auto electrician (like me lol) he'll be able to do a slam test on your battery to see if it is holding a charge. If i were to do this i woukd ask for the battery to be charged on a trickle charge for 12 hrs and then stood for 12hrs before i did the test so this may be worth while doing before you take your car there. Shoddy fitted stereos is another one to check easy to test just unplug it.

If you need any more help pm me.
Good luck

P.S don't mean to go on about clifford but i get the arse when people blame clifford for every possible fault on there car when they really have no idea about clifford. Clifford is with out a doubt the best vehical security you can buy.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:34 PM   #20
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Hi Phil2002
I have a G4 Concept 600 fitted to my Cosworth which I had installed in 2003 by Imperial Securities in Birmingham. When I first brought the car in 1998 I had a Clifford Concept 50 X fitted but like you say these weren't very good and it failed after 5 years. Haven't had any issue's with my Concept 600 untill recently when the alarm kept randomly going off. I have brought a Cliffnet Wizard kit for my laptop which has confirmed that the tilt sensor is what has triggered the alarm the last few times it has gone off.

I'm sure that when I last took my centre console out there was a small black box on top of the tunnel so I guess this is the tilt sensor? will have another look at the weekend. I have already checked the footwell lights and the boot light all of which are going out okay. Haven't checked the stereo yet but will disconnect this and see if it makes any difference.

Have been looking on e-bay to see roughly how much a new tilt sensor would be in case I have to buy a new one. I can only find a tilt sensor suitable for the latest G5 generation Clifford's do you know if one of these will work okay with my G4 system? Do you have any recommendations on the best place to fit a tilt sensor on a Cosworth?
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:34 PM   #21
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The g5 tilt is really good and yes it will work but if your not sure on what your doin then get a pro to do it. The sensor in your center console may be your prox sensor as the concept 600 did come with duel zone prox. Your sensor could be fitted absolutly any where. If you need to find a clifford dealer near to you let me no and i'll ring clifford for you and find out.

I would probably fit it up by the engine ecu.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:51 PM   #22
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when was the last time the tracker battery was replaced - if thats more then about 4 years old it could have gone duff and be pulling a fair old load trying to keep itself charged.

the other way is to disconnect your neg lead and place your ammeter in series as your were doing. and then pull the fuses out the box , one at a time, and see if the current drops.

on my escos, it turned out to be the facrory alarm.

i didnt leave the car locked in my old secure garage. turns out the whole draw on the car battery then left unlocked was around 350ma. when locked this droped to 50ma for the whole car.
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:06 PM   #23
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You make me laugh clifford are the best etc etc, UNLESS it is a certain model, as you say you DON'T know that it isn't, so it could be.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #24
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How long you been dealing with clifford from what you wrote earlier i'm guessing none and to think that a tilt sensor could drain a car battery due to false alarms is to be honest laughable.
due to clifford having 'FACT' if a sensor keeps on setting the alarm off it will ignore that sensor and turn it off until the ignition is turned on and then it is reset.
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:30 AM   #25
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I have been dealing with clifford for over 10 years FACT, I have been delaing with TOAD for over 10 years FACT.
I am a trained auto sparky fact, I was foreman at hunter international for 3 years fact.
In my experience I would not fit a clifford if it was given to me free, but would happily buy a toad fact.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:53 PM   #26
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Yeah coarse you have. A trained sparky would no that a tilt sensor could not possible pull a .6 amp drain. I don't mean fact in that sence. it means False Alarm Contol and Test but i guess you already new that as you've got 10 years experiance. All installers that sl4g off clifford generally can't fit it properly or they won't give you a dealership. As a VSIB/MESF CAT5 Cliford,Cobra,Tracker approved installer and trained auto electrician i would put clifford above all the other brands. Aint arguing with you any more go back to the office job and push some paper and leave the electrical stuff to an electrician
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:53 PM
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