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Old 12-21-2015, 01:56 AM   #1
BennyLava
 
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Parasitic draw kills battery

Hi all. I am having an issue with my wife's 2003 nissan altima. Its the 2.5L 4cyl. The battery dies overnight and the car won't start in the morning. I took the battery to 3 different stores, and all 3 said its a good battery. I even made one use their big machine, which I assume actually load tests the battery. I have tried several of the nissan forums, but it is difficult to get anyone to reply, or the forums are dead. Not sure which. So since its a basic problem, and not really manufacturer specific, I figured I'd post it here. Over the years I've noticed we got some real smart people here so its worth a shot.

At this point, I guess the problem I'm having, is either I'm confused, or my multimeter is. So I hooked the multimeter up to the negative battery terminal, in order to see how many amps were being wasted.

As you can see in pic 1, I have a parasitic amp draw of .252 amps. Also known as, 252 milliamps. But if you look at the second pic, I changed the setting to milliamps. Now somehow its saying that I've only got a parasitic draw of 2.52 milliamps. It would seem that the meter is confused about where to place the decimal point. Typically you're not supposed to have a parasitic draw over 50 milliamps. So clearly 252 milliamps, is about 200 too many. So that could be killing the battery overnight.

But on the other setting, the milliamps setting, the meter is saying that its WAY below 50 milliamps, and the draw is in fact only 2.52 milliamps. So which is it? Am I doing it wrong?





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Old 12-21-2015, 07:22 AM   #2
CTScott
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The meter shows 252 mA in A mode and 2.52 mA in uA mode.

2.52 mA would be very low for parasitic drain, so I would think that the 252mA is correct. That is definitely higher than you would like. The Yaris has over 100 mA of parasitic drain, which results in the battery being fully discharged in less than a month.

That though should not be enough to fully drain the battery overnight, unless the battery is indeed bad. Try measuring the battery voltage at night and then again in the morning to see how much it discharges overnight. It may be that the evaportive emissions test runs for longer than it should, or something like that.
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Old 12-21-2015, 07:58 AM   #3
bairjo
 

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Maybe this video will help you out....


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...dkkAz1-pfh-hHg
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Old 12-21-2015, 09:24 AM   #4
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You could hook up a battery buddy trickle charger on an extension cord. Or disconnect the battery every night. They make switches for that.

Or try to figger out why the drain is so high.

How did you hook the meter up Id like to test mine!
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Last edited by bronsin; 12-21-2015 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:24 PM   #5
BennyLava
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTScott View Post
The meter shows 252 mA in A mode and 2.52 mA in uA mode.
Why would it be showing micro amps? That's where I'm confused. Its actually set on milliamps in that pic, as you can see I circled it in red. And how would 2.52 microamps, = .252 amps? If it were actually reading microamps, it would say 0.00000252 uA. Which the meter can't do, so maybe that's what I'm seeing. However, that still wouldn't explain why it would be showing microamps, instead of mA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTScott View Post
2.52 mA would be very low for parasitic drain, so I would think that the 252mA is correct. That is definitely higher than you would like. The Yaris has over 100 mA of parasitic drain, which results in the battery being fully discharged in less than a month.

That though should not be enough to fully drain the battery overnight, unless the battery is indeed bad. Try measuring the battery voltage at night and then again in the morning to see how much it discharges overnight. It may be that the evaportive emissions test runs for longer than it should, or something like that.
Yeah measuring battery voltage was my next idea. But wouldn't it be best, to take the battery out of the car, and put it on my workbench when I do this? The workbench is made of wood.

From what you're saying, even with a 252 mA drain, this battery should still last more than a week. Not less than one night. Hmm...

As a side note, the "parking lights" function, stays on for a whopping 10 minutes after you leave the car. As if to indicate some kind of problem. Of course, this small amount of time is not enough to kill the battery. But it does make you wonder why its doing it. To clarify, the parking lights are the the orange lights in the headlights, and the tail lights. Some people call them the driving lights or the daytime running lights. But I really don't know if this is even related to the battery drain.

Last edited by BennyLava; 12-21-2015 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12-21-2015, 05:46 PM   #6
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judging by your picture, i'm not sure if you connected the tester in series to the wiring.
Voltage is measured by putting it across the terminals, but Current should be measured by putting the terminals within the circuit.

In any case, you can put a 12V bulb between the (-) Terminal and the (-) wires, it should tell you if there's parasitic load if it lights up bright enough.
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:04 AM   #7
BennyLava
 
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Yeah it might be hard to tell from those pics, but its done correctly. All you do is put the meter in series with the battery, via the negative terminal. You're running the negative, through the meter. This is the method I use:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF1gijj03_0

Anyway as I said I did find the power draw, or at least the main one. Good ol Nissan, decided to call the fuse "spare", in their infinite wisdom. But I found out what it does, by driving the car. Somehow it has something to do with the transmission. With the fuse pulled, you no longer see any selector light when you use the shifter. Its an automatic transmission, to be clear.

That system is drawing 2 full amps. Anyway, here's the diagram on the IPDM, with the offending fuse. Does anyone know what system this fuse actually goes to?

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Old 12-23-2015, 07:36 AM   #8
BennyLava
 
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Found out its related to the TCM. The transmission control module is on that fuse. Only thing is, I'm something of an electrical noob, so I have to admit that I'm not sure how to go about tracing down the problem.

And good job Nissan. Call the TCM fuse "spare". You should see some of the labels for the fuses in the interior fuse compartment. 2 of them say "electronic parts". Think I may be done with nissan after this, and just stick to Toyota and Honda forever.
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