battery "toast"

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Old 04-26-13, 03:54 PM
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battery "toast"

A vehicle sitting in my driveway without being started or attempted to start in over a month in which the battery was otherwise in new condition and had previously been starting the car easily, somehow discharged on its own while sitting there. So I took the battery it to the auto parts shop where they have a good heavy-duty car battery charger to see about getting the battery charged back up. They told me later the battery was "toast", had absolutely no cold cranking amps (although there was 12 volts he said), could not take a charge, that something such as a "dead short" in the car's electrical system (I think he suggested possibly a diode in the alternator or maybe the starter solenoid, but hard to say could be anywhere) was a likely cause.
Any suggestions please on where/how what method can I begin to search out this apparent short in the system. thanks.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 04:26 PM
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How old is the battery......?
 
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Old 04-26-13, 04:28 PM
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Battery is maybe a year old, but hardly used, in basically new condition otherwise. Has taken charge fine in the past.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 04:51 PM
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I have to ask......has your weather been anything like ours which would mean the battery could have been frozen when it was tested???

If there was a parasitic current draw that drained the battery and froze the electrolyte it would show voltage but no capacity.
Make sure the battery is at room temperature then try to charge it.
If you have an automatic charger some will not begin charging the battery if the voltage is too low.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 05:28 PM
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has your weather been anything like ours which would mean the battery could have been frozen when it was tested?
No. weather has not been freezing and battery wasnt tested when frozen. it was at room temp when attempted to charge. its possible that the parasitic current draw as you mention drained the battery. dont know about whether the electrolyte froze. the parasitic current draw could have been occuring during freezing temps.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 05:48 PM
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Well...that's probably your answer. A discharged battery will freeze pretty quickly..not really that much fluid in them anyway. Happened to my wifes SUV when the trans failed and couldn't afford a repair. Sat for almost a year in VA. Started it every 3 weeks or so and ran it at high idle for 30 min...but it still froze sometime during the cold months. Once I pulled it I could see the bulged sides. They don't all do that, but mine did.

If the shop can't get it to charge..you'll need a new battery to continue troubleshooting.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 07:04 PM
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Okay, I found the receipt for the battery. I bought it in April last year. I took it where I bought it and they gave me a new one per its warrantee. So at least I have a new battery with which I can continue troubleshooting. Where do I start, is the question.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 07:09 PM
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All cars built in the last twenty years have computers and these computers almost all require a slight continuous current. Leaving a car sit for a month will definitely run the battery flat and that is one of the worst things you can do to a lead-acid battery. I certainly do think that your battery is irreparably damaged as a result of it sitting connected without benefit of recharging for a long time period.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 07:17 PM
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Should you keep "sitting" your battery, I'd recommend several steps:
1. get a float charger of BatteryTender
2. buy deep cycle battery. Optima. Get Yellow Top kind. Those are pretty much storage batteries with decent crank power.
3. How to Find A Car Battery Drain - YouTube
 
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Old 04-26-13, 07:22 PM
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Furd, so you think maybe there's not necessarily a "dead short" somewhere in the system that caused this irrepairable damage to the battery, but likely the problem occured just because I left the battery sitting connected for a long time? As a side note, the owner of the car said he thought the "security system" relays or fuses or something from what he remembered are what causes the drain, or has before in the past, so he normally kept them removed. It's a 93 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, loaded with all that kind of stuff.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 07:28 PM
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ukbryk,
I didn't intend on "sitting" the battery (it just happened that way), nor do I intend to in the future, although thanks for those helpful suggestions. I should've at least disconnected the battery, and maybe stored it out of the cold, if I knew it was sitting there unused like that for a long period.
Thanks for the link to the video; if I follow those instructions it should definitely at least help me determine if there's some excessive parasitic drain going on.
 

Last edited by sgull; 04-26-13 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-26-13, 07:49 PM
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Deep cycle batteries could make good starting batteries if cold weather tempertures don't go much below freezing.
In sub-zero weather the much lower cold cranking amps of a deep cycle compared to a starting battery would have you regularly needing a boost.

One size I looked at was a 24 series dual purpose deep cycle that had a rating of 400 cca while a starting battery of the same physical size had 700 cca.
You need to watch what some makers show for the crank rating of their dual purpose deep cycles in that they call it "marine cranking rating" which is taken at something like 20 degC or 68 degF.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 08:03 PM
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As a rule deep cycle batteries don't make good starting batteries due to their plate setup.
 
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Old 04-26-13, 08:42 PM
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This is the regular type battery that became "toast", and of which I got a warantee replacement. For my situation, the deep cycle type battery is not under consideration. CARQUEST - Product Information:Auto, Truck and SUV Batteries by East Penn 12 Volt Top Post Gp 34 OE Exact Fit Battery - 690 CCA - 70 Month Warranty, 1 each, s
 
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Old 04-26-13, 11:09 PM
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Furd, so you think maybe there's not necessarily a "dead short" somewhere in the system...
I don't know the meaning of the term "dead short" but I assume it to be something like a bolted short circuit. A bolted short circuit is the equivalent of bolting a conductor directly across the battery or other source of power. Such a short circuit allows thousands of amperes of current to flow and will destroy a battery, often explosively so or destroy the conductor at the very least.

So no, it is NOT a "short circuit" that destroyed your battery but a continuous drain beyond the lowest allowable voltage of the battery. The exact same thing could occur from leaving the headlight switch on for a few days, the dome light on for a couple of weeks or the security system on for a month. Regular automobile batteries are made for starting the engine and after that the generator (alternator) supplies all of the electrical power needed by the ignition system and accessories. Modern cars do need to be run at least once every week or ten days to keep the battery in good condition. The alternative is some kind of trickle charger or battery maintainer as others have suggested.
 
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Old 04-27-13, 06:56 AM
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Well, then simply figure drain and buy BatteryTender. No big money and you can use it on and off. Who knows, maybe it's a rare car that does nothing but sits in garage growing in value. All we knew, it was "sitted". Any answer is only as good as question asked.



A vehicle sitting in my driveway without being started or attempted to start in over a month

Battery is maybe a year old, but hardly used, in basically new condition otherwise.


Easy to make assumptions, buddy. Chill, no need to get upset over this.
 
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Old 04-27-13, 06:59 AM
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Can I use my deep-cycle battery as a starting battery?
deep-cycle batteries can be used for engine starting but starting batteries should not be used for deep-cycle applications. A deep-cycle battery may have less cranking amps per pound than a starting battery, but in most cases a deep-cycle battery is still more than adequate for the purpose of starting an engine.

Trojan Battery Company
 
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Old 04-27-13, 07:26 AM
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Sorry Igor.......I didn't mean to start a debate.

There is no question that deep cycle batteries can make an excellent starting battery but there is one characteristic that needs to be allowed for.
A deep cycle battery has solid plates or plates with minimal perforations to allow long discharge.
A starting battery has fully perforated plates to allow for high cranking amps.

In very cold climates like where I and the OP live battery selection is all about cold cranking (CCA).
The difference in the example I used comparing 400 CCA in a 24 deep cycle and 700 CCA in a 24 starting battery is huge.
At -30F even a vehicle plugged in sometimes struggles to turn over........get lost in a tool store for half a day in -30 temps and your vehicle likely would not start.
 
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Old 04-27-13, 08:22 AM
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In the back of my mind I had the assumption if the battery did happen to need recharging after sitting for a month (I think maybe even over a month) as it did, that it would be no big deal I'd just take it in to get recharged, so I just kind of left it alone. Also, I had the sneaking suspicion several times that I should get out there and at least run the car now and then to avoid the battery dying, but neglected to do so.
Furd, thanks for your explanation post #15. With a more clear understanding of what/why this happened it should most definitely help me to avoid such a situation in the future.
 
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Old 04-27-13, 08:45 AM
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All we knew, it was "sitted". Any answer is only as good as question asked.
Easy to make assumptions, buddy. Chill, no need to get upset over this.
To what/whose "assumptions" are you referring? Perhaps some clarification is in order. I'm not familiar with the term/lingo "sitted" in regard to a battery. I guess it means sitting there unused, or maybe it means stored. Not that it probably even matters much. But hey I'm certainly not "getting upset over this". Didn't mean to be causing friction here just asking about a dead battery. Thanks (again) for the comments/advice otherwise though, especially that youtube video link you provided.
 
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Old 04-28-13, 08:26 AM
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My Two Cents.

Thinking out of the "Box."

Deep cycle batteries are almost always used in boats. As a result, for the purposes of engine starting what's the difference? An engine is an engine. However, there should be no need to use a deep cycle battery in a land usage only vehicle.

Possible battery drain may be as simple as an under engine compartment hood light, glove box light, sun visor light or truck light that does not turn off. Very often found to be the culprit years ago when I worked in the auto repair industry.

And way back then a common ploy before regulations where in place and honesty was the norm, to charge the customer for all sorts of unnecessary never done diagnostic procedures and repair costs all of which were not needed....

 
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Old 04-28-13, 08:56 AM
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Additionally.

Not uncommon to have at least two deep cycle batteries on a boat. Reasoning is, when boat arrives at the location, the engine is turned off. Captain then should use the battery switch to disconnect the starting battery (anyone of the two batteries) from the accessory battery. Thus leaving one battery for starting the engine. NEVER run down both batteries. Always disconnect one of the two in order to have one fully charged battery for engine restarting.

Not uncommon for several electrical draw accessories to be running while boat engine is turned off. Left on always is the ship to shore radio. Accessories left on or running or also connected may include a bait tank pump, lights, bilge pump(s) and a few others that presently escape my mind...

RV trailers, some of which, use the same systems. A means to separate one battery from the other. Very handy when dry camping. Especially when there is NO access to power outlet or generator, etc. Run one battery down but allow both to recharge via the tow vehicles charging system while in tow....



BTW:
Battery toast??? Never heard of it. ???
Bet 'ya it tastes terrible. ...
 
  #23  
Old 04-28-13, 01:11 PM
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There are differences between a true deep cycle battery and a "marine" battery. The deep cycle battery is designed to output a relatively low current continuously for a long period of time before needing to be recharged. The marine battery is a compromise between a "starting and ignition" (common car battery) and a true deep cycle battery in that it can both output a high current for the starter motor for a short period of time AND also output a low current for an extended period of time.

As in all compromises there are drawbacks. Using a deep cycle battery for starting service WILL severely limit the life of that battery. Using a marine battery for only long term low current flows will give a lower lifetime than using a true deep cycle battery. You really need to buy the battery with the intended usage in mind.
 
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