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Old 05-09-2018, 12:53 PM   #1
88lowrider
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"Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

Not sure if anyone is going to jump in on this or not as, I have been here before with this issue.

Mine is a 1988 GMC 1500 SLE Sierra that I made the low rider out of.
Electric windows, door locks.
350 V8 EFI, automatic trans.
Air, Power brakes, steering etc.

This is not a New problem. Been fighting this now since maybe the year 2000.
Park the truck on a Friday night after work, go to start it Monday Morning, Rrrr Rrrr, click click click, but Not Dead dead. Between 9 to 10 volts.

I let it set a Week, same thing, 9 to 10 volts but Never dead dead. Something is smart enough to shut down once it sees the battery is down to the 9 to 10 volts.

So, within 72 hrs (?) it will draw down the battery. Jump it, its fine driving and parking just over night.

I had put on a boat battery switch to the negative post to the battery and just kept turning it off if I had to let it set for more than a couple of days. (at that point, I was living Off the Grid, but now living On the Grid, I put on a small 1.2amp float charger now)

Over the years, since this problem started, no change in phantom draw:
Replaced starter.
Replaced Alt (2)
Replaced Battery (every two to three years)
Replaced brake light switch.
Replaced Computer.
Replaced heater control and door motor.
I know I am forgetting things too.
Checked grounds, checked wiring plugs and the list goes on.

Now new. The float charger has been holding it as I only drive the truck maybe once or twice a week. This time the truck sat for at least a week, maybe 20 days, down to 8 volts, 1.2 float charger was not able to hold it.

Charged the battery, checked the draw (stereo has been changed out too) and there she is reading .002 amps.....

I even read one time someone found it in the Instrument Cluster. Found some fellow in the mid west that rebuilds them and tests them for $150 bucks. Used on Ebay, they want around $120 to $150 used.. I might give that a try but just can't see were that could pull enough amps :-/

OH, and a Fellow gave me a Circuit design (that I can't find on line or I had printed it out) that I was able to put it on the battery or between the battery that would trigger a small relay that I could run it though a drop cord into the house and next to my bed as to Hear when the draw went above a Amp. I never got that built but my thinking now, I need to have it Drawing the amps and Then get out and start jerking fuses out until the alarm goes out.

Anyone know of a device or have a diagram on how to build something like that?

Something will come on and draw enough amps to pull the battery down.
Anyone want to take a stab at this, please ?
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Old 05-09-2018, 02:06 PM   #2
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A draw on the battery is relatively easy to find

Have you checked the draw on the battery with everything connected electrically like normal?

Have you then tried removing one fuse a time until the unusually high draw is gone?

Other than putting an ammeter in series with the battery that's all you have to do to find the circuit that's the issue.

The assumption is you have a good battery since a bad battery can exhibit the same problem.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:13 PM   #3
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Re: A draw on the battery is relatively easy to find

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Originally Posted by speedygonzales View Post
Have you checked the draw on the battery with everything connected electrically like normal?

Have you then tried removing one fuse a time until the unusually high draw is gone?

Other than putting an ammeter in series with the battery that's all you have to do to find the circuit that's the issue.

The assumption is you have a good battery since a bad battery can exhibit the same problem.
Yes I did, 2 milliamp draw is all, just parked.

Yes, did remove all of the fuses in the Inside of the cab after mapping it to know know to get them back in the right spot. After 72 hours, something still took the battery down to 8 to 10 volts.

Yes, I did put a Amp meter in line between were the main power feeds the truck and battery. I scan see a charge and discharge, when looking at it.

Yes, in the post, I replaced the battery and do so every two to three years and this has been going on for about 18 years. I just choose not to give up.

My thinking is, if I can some how come up with some form of tattle tail circuit so when it draws 25 milliamps, it warns me, I can go to it and Then start pulling fuses and disconnecting major plug ins.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:48 PM   #4
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

probably not your issue but I had an 85 Chevy SWB that would go dead after a few days. after going through the truck numerous times trying to find out why I found out the brake pedal stop light switch was constantly engaged just enough for current draw but not light up the brake lights. adjusted it out some and the battery drain went away.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:44 AM   #5
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

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probably not your issue but I had an 85 Chevy SWB that would go dead after a few days. after going through the truck numerous times trying to find out why I found out the brake pedal stop light switch was constantly engaged just enough for current draw but not light up the brake lights. adjusted it out some and the battery drain went away.
One time I was walking away from my lowrider and happened to look over my shoulder and seen the brake lights on...I thought, Ah Hah, Gotcha. I adjusted the brake switch to give it some play but then also replaced it. I checked it for Any kind of draw and nodda. Good one though..
I even went as far as checking glove box lights, ash tray light, pulling bulbs and made up a small blade type tool that I was able to put my test leads on and can push it into the bulbs place to check for current. All showed good.

I thought, Computer maybe as no matter what, it will Never or has Never pulled the battery Dead dead, Always down to 9 to 10 volts and then whatever it is, it let go or shut itself off as not to kill the battery totally..
Check door switches but whatever it is, I can't seem to find it when its shorting or coming on. I keep thinking, some day it will just Stay on and I will find it.....So far, not so good. A true Phantom.
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:43 AM   #6
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OK now we understand a little better

It is now clearer that you don't see the draw when you look for it. Because obviously a 2 milliamp draw is not near enough to do what you are experiencing. In fact I'll bet the 2 mill is from the radio, which again is normal.

You reiterated that you been replacing batteries every 2-3 years in response I assume to saying "the assumption is you have a good battery". Don't assume ANYTHING, particularly when it comes to replacement parts. Last fall I had a terrible missfire. I bought a Delco cap and rotor. The problem was the same. I had my neighbors shop look at it and it was the old AND the new cap were both bad. He got another cap and it was fixed. So don't assume anything about parts these days. Although you would assume at least one of the last 6 batteries you bought were ok. Anyway back to your problem.

My sister had a Suburban that would kill the battery in less than 2 days. When I put the ammeter in line to the battery the current would go high for about 2 minutes then would drop down from the highest point to a point that was still too high.

I knew from experience to start with audio equipment first and I pulled the radio fuse. When I reconnected the ammeter, the current again went way high for about 2 minutes and then dropped to an acceptable level. All was then good with the radio out of the circuit. My point here is something took 2 minutes to settle down. I assumed it was the PCM

Over the years I've been bitten when helping others because I assume certain things had already been checked. So I'm going to ask you:

What is the voltage across the battery when the engine is idling?

While you're there getting a reading, take a second reading from the ground lug of the battery to the output post of the alternator. If those 2 readings differ, take a 3rd reading from the outside case of the alternator to the output post of the alternator.

One other question I thought of: Does the problem get better when the battery is new and get worse as the battery ages?
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:03 PM   #7
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Re: OK now we understand a little better

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It is now clearer that you don't see the draw when you look for it. Because obviously a 2 milliamp draw is not near enough to do what you are experiencing. In fact I'll bet the 2 mill is from the radio, which again is normal.

You reiterated that you been replacing batteries every 2-3 years in response I assume to saying "the assumption is you have a good battery". Don't assume ANYTHING, particularly when it comes to replacement parts. Last fall I had a terrible missfire. I bought a Delco cap and rotor. The problem was the same. I had my neighbors shop look at it and it was the old AND the new cap were both bad. He got another cap and it was fixed. So don't assume anything about parts these days. Although you would assume at least one of the last 6 batteries you bought were ok. Anyway back to your problem.

My sister had a Suburban that would kill the battery in less than 2 days. When I put the ammeter in line to the battery the current would go high for about 2 minutes then would drop down from the highest point to a point that was still too high.

I knew from experience to start with audio equipment first and I pulled the radio fuse. When I reconnected the ammeter, the current again went way high for about 2 minutes and then dropped to an acceptable level. All was then good with the radio out of the circuit. My point here is something took 2 minutes to settle down. I assumed it was the PCM

Over the years I've been bitten when helping others because I assume certain things had already been checked. So I'm going to ask you:

What is the voltage across the battery when the engine is idling?

While you're there getting a reading, take a second reading from the ground lug of the battery to the output post of the alternator. If those 2 readings differ, take a 3rd reading from the outside case of the alternator to the output post of the alternator.

One other question I thought of: Does the problem get better when the battery is new and get worse as the battery ages?
First off, thanks for taking a interest in this issue !!

I have not checked that far to see what is pulling the 2 mils but either the radio or computer?

The battery is normally a Interstate or lately been buying the higher end (3 year) NAPA batteries. I used to work for several dealerships and auto shops back in the day and the auto places would buy the cheapest crap they could get and if it went bad or was bad once put in or on, I didn't get paid for the replacement of it. I will normally purchase the higher end of the parts, well, not normally, all the time as you still kinda get what you pay for. Knowing that there Is a failure rate in about everything you get, I will test things as much as possible. Even if its just something like a coil, I will still test the resistance to make sure its good before I put it on. So normally, I do test things as I can't agree more, never can tell for sure.

With the newer cars, I have seen and heard about parking them at the airport for weeks and coming back to a dead battery. Most of those have a 50 milliamp draw from what I read. Even if a battery get pulled down in a weeks time, something needs to be changed or put on a switch. Reprogramming the radio is a snap.
Oh, I don't drive this every day. I am in the process of say, Bringing her back as I Did let her set for a year. Thankfully, no seals dried out!. Anyway, its a slow process being on a budget.
Anyway, I did put a Amp meter (old school guy) in line and its between the main feed from the battery to the buss block on the cowl. I can see charge and discharge and it seems normal. Meaning it will charge hard for a few moments and then settle down until it brings the batter back up.

I will go get those readings this morning.

The problem never seems to change other than, Some times it does not pull the battery all the way down. I got enough battery to start her, so, I don't know what the voltage was before I started her.

Ok, across the battery cold, 14.67 volts
Across the battery after warm up 14.40 volts.

Cold, Neg post to the alt, 14.77 volts
Warm, Neg post to the alt, 14.56 volts.

Alt to ground cold, 14.77 volts
Alt to ground warmed up, 14.56 volts.

Both the Alt wire and battery hot wire goes up to a buss block on the cowling or firewall. From there, wires feed off to other parts of the truck. Internal fuse block etc. Never really traces those out to see what went where..

Also the radio was on after starting and the heater was on low while testing. I didn't think to shut them off :-/. But it does give the difference between the alt and batter as well as the alt ground.
This thing has Chassis grounds All over the place and I have taken a wrench, and just Loosened them, scratched them around and tightened all that I have found.

One more thing, I had it plugged in last night to its little on board float charger (1.2 volts) and it Was still charging when I opened the hood this morning. Battery voltage before touching anything across the battery was 13.37 volts.

Just to show you how nuts I am about finding this. I found one of my Old car alarms that would trigger a pager. My thinking is if I can some how get a circuit that shows more than 25 milliamps, have it some how trip that alarm system and set the pager off, (which might not even work any longer, needs testing) then I know to jump in my pants and shirt and head out to the truck and start pulling fuses and watching the amp meter. The amp meter I have in this is pretty crap. Its a older one that only has a 1/4 scale across the top and it reads 0 to 100 amps. Problem with it is, you can only tell if its either charging big time or discharging big time. Really can't get a accurate reading from it.

Any of this help?
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:31 PM   #8
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

What I wanted to be sure of was that the charging system was indeed doing it's job.

I don't believe anything in your vehicle can do what you think it's doing. That is all of a sudden start drawing a bunch of current.

If I may suggest you take your vehicle to auto parts store that can put their analyzer on the charging system.

I also highly suggest you take off your starter and have it checked for current draw along with anything else they can test it for.

Hear me out here. Suppose your charging system can't quite put out enough current AND your starter draws way more than it should. See where I'm going with this?

Let me give you a little information on motors. Like several other things, have wire windings which I know you are aware of. These windings are insulated from one another by varnish. Over time this varnish wears out and more and more windings become shorted together. As this happens, the resistance of the starter is less and less and it pulls more and more current.

Now let's suppose you crank it over and the charging system isn't quite up to the capacity it should be. So the battery is some what lower than it was before you cranked it cause cranking uses up some of its reserve. Now you park it and come back later to test it and starter that is now pulling way more than it should is now encountering a battery that has less than it normally does. What you think?

BUT...........I'm trying to figure out if you measure battery voltage BEFORE or after you attempt to crank it over after having sat all weekend.

I didn't want to keep asking questions before throwing my idea about the starter and charging system out there for your consideration.

Again I don't think there is anything in your vehicle being as old as it is that is capable of randomly drawing a bunch of current. Hell I don't think there's anything on my vehicle that could do that.

************UPDATE****************
I texted my neighbor that has a shop that specializes in electrical repairs. My 20YO son works for him. So I don't want to take credit for this.

He said you can do what you are trying to do (find random high current) with a DVM set to Min/MAX. Duh obviously it won't have an alarm so you can come running but it will answer the question of randomly timed high current draw!!!!!!!

He also mentioned the light switches like for the doors but that you should see all the time.

Hope that helps.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:21 PM   #9
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

It's possible the ignition switch is causing a draw after a while being unused. I have trouble explaining it but I can see it in my mind.

Put ammeter between cable and battery then check it every couple hours. If/when you see it above 20mA wiggle key to exercise the sliding contact in switch and see if draw goes away.

I check parasitic draw by using a digital meter and check voltage drop at fuses. I have a chart at work showing acceptable readings for each fuse rating.
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:13 AM   #10
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedygonzales View Post
What I wanted to be sure of was that the charging system was indeed doing it's job.

I don't believe anything in your vehicle can do what you think it's doing. That is all of a sudden start drawing a bunch of current.

If I may suggest you take your vehicle to auto parts store that can put their analyzer on the charging system.

I also highly suggest you take off your starter and have it checked for current draw along with anything else they can test it for.

Hear me out here. Suppose your charging system can't quite put out enough current AND your starter draws way more than it should. See where I'm going with this?

Let me give you a little information on motors. Like several other things, have wire windings which I know you are aware of. These windings are insulated from one another by varnish. Over time this varnish wears out and more and more windings become shorted together. As this happens, the resistance of the starter is less and less and it pulls more and more current.

Now let's suppose you crank it over and the charging system isn't quite up to the capacity it should be. So the battery is some what lower than it was before you cranked it cause cranking uses up some of its reserve. Now you park it and come back later to test it and starter that is now pulling way more than it should is now encountering a battery that has less than it normally does. What you think?

BUT...........I'm trying to figure out if you measure battery voltage BEFORE or after you attempt to crank it over after having sat all weekend.

I didn't want to keep asking questions before throwing my idea about the starter and charging system out there for your consideration.

Again I don't think there is anything in your vehicle being as old as it is that is capable of randomly drawing a bunch of current. Hell I don't think there's anything on my vehicle that could do that.

************UPDATE****************
I texted my neighbor that has a shop that specializes in electrical repairs. My 20YO son works for him. So I don't want to take credit for this.

He said you can do what you are trying to do (find random high current) with a DVM set to Min/MAX. Duh obviously it won't have an alarm so you can come running but it will answer the question of randomly timed high current draw!!!!!!!

He also mentioned the light switches like for the doors but that you should see all the time.

Hope that helps.
I don't think its a Big draw. maybe a amp? Can't tell, can't seem to catch it.
We have this auto service company that I did take it too, maybe a year, year and a half ago and after reading back though my post, I seen were I only put down replaced the starter. I have replaced it twice and do have a draw meter that I check it from time to time. My charging system was ok at the time they checked out my charging system other than the battery was a little weak at that time. Maybe because of the amount of times it got pulled down farther than it should have. It got replaced but the problem was still going on.

I have tested it with the volt meter several times before even trying to start it. That is were I knew it was between that 9 and 10 volts.
When it was up on the rack over at Green Streak (the place I go when I need up in the air or something tested that I don't have equipment to do so) I did put the fluke meter across the solenoid or the trigger post to see if any juice was maybe leaking across for any draw...It got replaced with the last starter too.

Now I Do have a issue with the gauges. My temp and fuel gauge are not working properly. Could be not tied together as one problem but I did replace both water temp sensors and its still a issue. The fuel pump is about 4 years old now and I can't remember if I replaced the fuel sending unit or not so, that could be hinky.

I can't go back and look at the posts right now but in case I didn't mention, someone said they had a issue with the instrument cluster drawing more power than it should have. I can't see that myself but been watching them on Ebay and checking the local U-Pullit yards that are local. Seems everyone wants over $100 bucks for them and I found this place in Moscow Idaho that dos a Total rebuild to new for $150 bucks so might just do that anyway. One more thing eliminated.

The door switches, glove box, ash tray, all disabled at one time or another.

Its hard for me to believe that I could have Several Phantom things going on but I guess anything is possible, just not likely more than on..

I am still trying to come up with a warning system once she starts drawing more than a 1/4 of a amp, its triggers.
I did find my old alarm system I had in my Van that worked a pager, but its a goner. I am sure the circuitry is so old in it that it had capacitors in it..

Now that I am not using the truck every day like used too, I will start testing the battery voltage each morning and evening just to see what is going on too.
Thanks for all the tips too !!!
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:24 AM   #11
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

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Originally Posted by 68C15 View Post
It's possible the ignition switch is causing a draw after a while being unused. I have trouble explaining it but I can see it in my mind.

Put ammeter between cable and battery then check it every couple hours. If/when you see it above 20mA wiggle key to exercise the sliding contact in switch and see if draw goes away.

I check parasitic draw by using a digital meter and check voltage drop at fuses. I have a chart at work showing acceptable readings for each fuse rating.
Thanks for jumping in here :-)
I had replaced the ignition switch and thought I had found my issue in it as it would not work in accessory mode. I ended up having replace the key switching part as well..
In doing that, I noticed that I had been leaving the Cruise control on too. I thought maybe the switch was leaking some how across and firing up the cruise control so like you said, replaced everything plus always rock and wiggle things testing with amps. My DMM does do 20 amps too.

Never considered voltage drop at different fuses. Most of what I am looking for is the amp draw that sucks the voltage down. Not sure in my mind how that might tie into this. But interested in hearing more.

I know I have forgotten a Lot of things I have tried and replaced over the years. Most of the time, I tend to test everything before it gets installed and then of course, looking for Any changes in what is going on.
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:00 PM   #12
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You can find a random draw

Did you not catch the part about using the DVM min/max setting?

Apparently not......

You connect your DVM like normal for current and set it for Min/max then leave it over night. Next day see what the min and max was.

Now you get it?
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Old 05-13-2018, 04:47 PM   #13
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Re: You can find a random draw

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Originally Posted by speedygonzales View Post
Did you not catch the part about using the DVM min/max setting?

Apparently not......

You connect your DVM like normal for current and set it for Min/max then leave it over night. Next day see what the min and max was.

Now you get it?
You are right, I missed that. Mine goes up to 20 amps and does do the Min Max so good idea, I can find out at least what it is drawing. Going to set that up tonight too
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:18 PM   #14
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We're waiting curiously.

Alright we're here waiting patiently if you're right or I'm right. Not like it's a competition though.
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:54 PM   #15
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Re: We're waiting curiously.

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Alright we're here waiting patiently if you're right or I'm right. Not like it's a competition though.
Sorry, got to do it again...I should have replaced the battery in the DMM.
I looked at it this morning and went, Uh oh? then replace the battery and it came back on and was fine....I hate 9 volt batteries and that is what it uses. Will pick a fresh one today.

Whatever is coming on or doing the draw, we will see how much over night. I will also take the other DMM and get battery volt measurement on it too.
I did check it but left the little 1.2 amp float charger on it for the last few days. When I did test it before we did that alt test to ground, to battery etc, I did have that charger on and it showed 13.37 volts before the test.
Now it has sat two days and even With that float charger on it when I pulled the battery cable from the post, and hooked up the amp meter last night.
Now this morning, the voltage across the battery is 12.21 volts..

OK, got a New 9 volt Duracell and will put that in for the next three days readings.
Trying to think (that is getting more difficult the older I get :-) if I should get a reading each morning to see if it spiked and reset or ?

OH..Forgot this meter. Not sure who made it for Tandy corp (like Sears, they don't make there own stuff either) that year but have tested it next to my high end fluke and its dead even.
Anyway, this thing did the Data collection and Data out. Problem is, its still the old Sub D 9 pin plug to were it hooks up the computer.
I just found the book on it so looking at what it can do. I see its Also 20 amps on the Amp test side. I see the cable is in the kit as well, powered up so will put a fresh battery in that one too.
More later, have some chores the good wife is asking me to do. A good woman is like a Good Harley, take care of them, they take care of you, pretty easy rule :-)

NO WAY...This is the meter I was telling you about. I have had it sense it was new and used it for something I needed the data for but that was just too many years ago, still works and still accurate in the test that I did with it.
This might come in handy too :-)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilm1qe8I5ZI

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Old 05-15-2018, 11:22 AM   #16
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Using a meter should not be as hard as pulling hen's teeth

Luckily the users manual for your meter is still available here:

https://www.baldengineer.com/wp-cont...ers-manual.pdf

It is not necessary (as it should not be) to have to use the serial port to get the min/max readings.

Page 34 tells you to use the "FUNCTION" button to get the max reading.

You're welcome.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:37 PM   #17
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Re: Using a meter should not be as hard as pulling hen's teeth

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Originally Posted by speedygonzales View Post
Luckily the users manual for your meter is still available here:

https://www.baldengineer.com/wp-cont...ers-manual.pdf

It is not necessary (as it should not be) to have to use the serial port to get the min/max readings.

Page 34 tells you to use the "FUNCTION" button to get the max reading.

You're welcome.
Thank you !!!.
Yes, I got the whole kit with the manual and was reading it this morning because I "Thought" that if you were in Max mode that it would hold "on" as its does Date collection, but no. It says 10 minute auto shut off :-/..

So, this morning it was Off. I pressed the power button, it Flashed 0.04 and then just came on to the normal screen. This was about 7:30 this morning.
I was in and out and about 8:15?, it was still on. More than 10 minutes so??
Just went back out and checked it again at 9:25 and its still on ???....
I guess I will just keep a eye on it.
I put it on last night at about 9pm and by morning, it was off.

Not sure what this is going to tell us other than how much the draw is. That might help narrow down what the total draw phantom draw might be..
This thing just needs to DO it and Keep doing it so I can start eliminating things.
This Was Constant too. Every three days, dead battery, nothing has changed as it still does it. I even went and got one of those pocket Jumper things that I carry in the truck. It will jump a diesel pickup several times, plus still the Long jumper cables from Costco that have been under the seat since back in year 2000 or so.

Going to try it again. Still searching for some device that will trigger a relay that can trigger a pager or something to warn me when its happening.

Will keep you posted.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:32 PM   #18
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

Well?
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:49 PM   #19
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

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Well?
Still have not found a device that can show me the Peak voltage or Amperage drawn.
I put the 1.2 trickle charger back on it as I was needing to use the truck and well, now that his holding the battery up.

I keep the hood unlatched and each morning I have been testing the voltage across the battery and its always 13. something.

I kind of dropped the ball so to speak on the looking for some sort of gauge/device that will stay on and show me the peak. After several hours in front of the one eyed monster, I felt my eyes were going to start bleeding.

You would sure think that Someone has had to come onto a issue like this and some device (with reasonable costs involved) that would do this test.

My thinking now is that if I can see a specific draw, I might be able to pin down something in the system that draws that much voltage and amperage and possible eliminate it to see if the problem goes away.
I even had the instrument panel out again were I could see more of the wiring and did find yet another ground that I cleaned and re-attached.

I am at a loss at the moment on what to do other than keep searching for a device to show me peak voltage.

I am sure I posted this some place here on the forum but back in the day when I was younger and didn't have that mild stroke, I was able to bread board and create circuits with using the different IC's. I know this can be done but have struggled with that several times now only to fail.

Just some device that can trigger above the standard parasitic draw and set off some sort of buzzer, horn (on separate power) and I could come running and start yarding out fuses and unplugging things. I do have a camera that I can setup with the Audio that will trigger and send the text to my phone, which is always on too.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:23 PM   #20
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What happened to the meter?

So does the meter shut off during the evening before you can get a chance to check it?

According to your user manual, the meter shuts off after 10 minutes of non use.

Why don't you just get a meter that won't shut off and look at the max reading when you get up?

I don't understand why this has to be an exercise in futility. It's really pretty simple. Set the meter up and check the max reading the next morning.

Here is a stupid question probably. I noticed you said it's a low rider. Does it have an active compressor that comes on when the pressure is low at any time? See where I'm going with this?
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:30 PM   #21
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Re: What happened to the meter?

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So does the meter shut off during the evening before you can get a chance to check it?
Most of the meters shut off in about 10 minutes (flukes) but that one Radio Shack one will last some times up to a couple of hours. That is the one I put on to watch. Problem, once it shuts off, it does not save its data :-(.
So far, have not found it drawing more than just the 2 milliamps. its parked between my office in the house and shop, spend most of my time in the shop, hood is up and meter is on it and I just keep punching the meter back On to check when walking by it. I must be checking it 15 to 20 times a day.

Getting ready for a appraisal so getting out place in order for that Refi is taking up a bunch of time so have not been looking fore a Amp/Volt Peak device.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:13 PM   #22
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

A few gremlins I have fixed on these over the years.

Cd player stuck trying to eject a disc, cycling over and over.

Power seat wiring and or switch sticking.

Power door lock actuator hanging up.

Engine and key off release alt belt, rotate pulley while holding the metal end of a screwdriver near the shaft coming out of the alternator and see if it suddenly becomes a magnet.

You mentioned puling fuses, did you also pull the tin resettable breakers?

A good laser thermometer can detect temp change in wiring drawing power.

Not hard to disconnect the computer to rule it out.

Disconnect harnesses one at a time to rule out a group at a time.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:54 PM   #23
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Re: "Phantom" Parasitic Draw.

He swears something comes on by itself and draws a bunch of power but every time he looks at current draw it's gone.

He wanted to use something to record long term current draw. I told him to use a meter set to min/max.

He claims he can't find a meter that stays on for a long enough period of time.

I told him he won't have any such device doing a random power draw.

That's were it stands as of now.

Incidentally my Fluke 87 does NOT turn off during min/max mode. The auto OFF function is disabled during min/max operation.

Power-On Option: Disable Automatic Power-off
Automatic Power-off extends the life of the battery by
turning part of the meter off if neither the rotary switch
nor a pushbutton is operated for half an hour.
(Automatic Power-off is not allowed in the MIN MAX
Recording or Data Output modes.)
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:51 AM   #24
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Ummmm so?

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedygonzales View Post
Here is a stupid question probably. I noticed you said it's a low rider. Does it have an active compressor that comes on when the pressure is low at any time? See where I'm going with this?
Any answer to this?
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:57 PM   #25
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One last thing I remembered about meters and measuring current.

Meters are protected by fuses. Usually 2 of them. One for the high current circuit and one for the lower current readings. The bad thing is most people have blown the fuses and don't even realize it.

Mechanics are good for this. They either read a current way to high for the meter or use the wrong scale to begin with.

Here's the deal with a blown fuse. You don't realize it unless either you're testing the meter for a reading or you go to see a known current but it doesn't show it.

But if you're looking for low or no current, the blown fuse gives the impression that there is no current draw when there may actually be.

The fact that you saw very low (almost zero) begs the question of

DID YOU CHECK YOUR METERS FUSES?

Don't use the excuse that it showed you 2 Milliamps. Even an un connected meter floats.

What I created for my shop is a 12 Ω resistor so when I put it across a 12v battery, it will read 1 amp. So if my meter shows 1 amp then the fuse is good.

I highly suggest you check your fuse. As I mentioned several times there is no way in hell you have a current draw that comes on randomly. So it makes perfect sense that you have a constant current draw but can't see it cause the meter won't show it.
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