Benaywood

Covid battery drain and dash illumination gone bonkers..

Recommended Posts

Hi, 

I hope someone can give me some hopeful news... My Battery finally drained this week, it had done the same a week or so ago and I recharged fine, then this week it had drained by Thurs so I've just recharged. The car started fine but the dash illuminations were not so well...

The speedo is not visible/illuminated and there seems to be a cycle of the other lights (parking brake, indicators and VSC) flashing periodically.. What have I done?  It was fine after charging last week (though maybe it was a little 'dead-er' this time.  It seems to be able to drive, and central locking works.

Can anyone give me the benefit of their wisdom?..

 

Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

alternator playing up  ?  serpentine belt gone ?

Malc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a multi meter I would first check the Battery voltage. Have you tried taking the Battery negative back off for a few minutes to see if things reset? Then it’s onto the fuses one or two of which are known to sometimes fail on Battery reconnection. The main one to check is the alternator fuse in the engine compartment. If it is blown come back as it’s not the normal pull out type.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't be surprised if it's just the Battery needs replacing. With all the tech onboard they do like a good Battery. Happened to me before, put a new one in and it all went back to normal. Borrow one maybe, just to try?

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh crikey, thanks chaps. Maybe more serious maybe than I thought.  I lack the skills to easily check but  can try and have a good look with a 'handy neighbour'. To provide additional info I should have at the start, the car has not been used, just run for a while each week and had been doing Ok with it's weekly idle.  Now after my recharge the lights that remain on/flashing are the washer fluid warning (flashing), the gear selector light and a warning light in the bottom left (I think parking brake). Everything else (indicators, wipers, air con, central locking are fine, except the washer jet doesn't work or sound like it's trying to work..  Confusing times..  I'll try the Battery negative trick under supervision of a grown up and let you know.  Much appreciated.

Ben

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On most cars Idle is not fast enough to charge the Battery significantly. It needs to either be taken for a good 30-40 mile drive once per week, or else connected to a Battery tender when not in use. This holds for most more modern cars too as they all have so many electronic doodads and widgets that even when off they use a little Battery power.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, yes I think I have let it go too far and something needs resetting. I charged it yesterday, started it fine and it's deader than a Dodo today already..  My neighbour suggested essentially resetting the whole system to clear the weird fault it's developed?  I'm not far from Japex though and they may be getting a visit once all this madness is over..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Benaywood said:

Thanks, yes I think I have let it go too far and something needs resetting. I charged it yesterday, started it fine and it's deader than a Dodo today already..  My neighbour suggested essentially resetting the whole system to clear the weird fault it's developed?  I'm not far from Japex though and they may be getting a visit once all this madness is over..

Hi Benaywood

Lead acid batteries don't survive being flattened too many times.  If you are going to leave your car stood for any lenght of time buy a float charger and leave it connected.  This will keep your Battery in good condition.
You will probably flatten your bat in about two weeks if you leave the car standing - if your Battery is not fully charged/old/or it is cold this will be shorter.

Good luck

Bren

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bren,  yes I rather think that's the case.  Annoying as it was only a year old, I don't have a drive so can't keep it on a trickle charge and keep the Battery in I'm afraid. I'm thinking I'll need to get my hands on a Battery quickly as I think there may be a rather large surge in demand as all these cars are croaking in to life again..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/6/2020 at 6:25 PM, Benaywood said:

the car has not been used, just run for a while each week and had been doing Ok with it's weekly idle

I agree with Lex-eleven, probably Battery gone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Benaywood said:

Thanks Bren,  yes I rather think that's the case.  Annoying as it was only a year old, I don't have a drive so can't keep it on a trickle charge and keep the battery in I'm afraid. I'm thinking I'll need to get my hands on a battery quickly as I think there may be a rather large surge in demand as all these cars are croaking in to life again..

 

Unusual to have just a one year warranty on a car Battery, most seem to have 3-5 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, brendangeorge said:

buy a float charger and leave it connected.  This will keep your battery in good condition

I've been told in the past that disconnecting the negative lead will stop a car Battery from going flat if it's left standing, is there any truth in that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Greer said:

I've been told in the past that disconnecting the negative lead will stop a car battery from going flat if it's left standing, is there any truth in that?

I too have heard that Alan and I`ve witnessed 2 people drive away in their cars after re-attaching the negative lead.

I wonder what Herbies view is ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Greer said:

I've been told in the past that disconnecting the negative lead will stop a car battery from going flat if it's left standing, is there any truth in that?

 

2 hours ago, royoftherovers said:

I too have heard that Alan and I`ve witnessed 2 people drive away in their cars after re-attaching the negative lead.

I wonder what Herbies view is ?

It's not really true but it will slow the process down.

When the Battery is connected as normal there will always be a small current drain because things such as the alarm, the radio presets, the clock and other stuff needs to be kept alive.

If you disconnect the Battery then you stop that drain, but all batteries will self-discharge anyway, even sat on the shelf in the shop and connected to nothing. The rate of self-discharge is obviously lower but given enough time the Battery will still flatten itself.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Herbie said:

 

It's not really true but it will slow the process down.

When the battery is connected as normal there will always be a small current drain because things such as the alarm, the radio presets, the clock and other stuff needs to be kept alive.

If you disconnect the battery then you stop that drain, but all batteries will self-discharge anyway, even sat on the shelf in the shop and connected to nothing. The rate of self-discharge is obviously lower but given enough time the battery will still flatten itself.

Thanks Herbie.

I have neighbours in Spain who disconnect the Negative lead for 3 or 4 months and their car fires up without any problem.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, royoftherovers said:

Thanks Herbie.

I have neighbours in Spain who disconnect the Negative lead for 3 or 4 months and their car fires up without any problem.

As a guide self-discharge rate on a lead-acid Battery is around 5% per month at room temperatures (less if colder, more if hotter). You don't really want it to discharge more than 50% to avoid risk of damage, so up to 10 months is possible although at that point you will need to charge it before it would start a vehicle.

AGM batteries are better at this, maybe losing 2 to 3% per month.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ColinBarber said:

As a guide self-discharge rate on a lead-acid battery is around 5% per month at room temperatures (less if colder, more if hotter). You don't really want it to discharge more than 50% to avoid risk of damage, so up to 10 months is possible although at that point you will need to charge it before it would start a vehicle.

AGM batteries are better at this, maybe losing 2 to 3% per month.

Many thanks Colin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/8/2020 at 9:43 PM, Greer said:

I've been told in the past that disconnecting the negative lead will stop a car battery from going flat if it's left standing, is there any truth in that?

Hi if I were going to disconnect a lead I would disconnect the posative because the negative is the earth which is the reference.  Disconnecting any lead will break the circuit - however as somebody noted (ROTR I think) the Battery will discharge because of its internal resistance.  Disconnecting the Battery on a modern car, if you are going to take it out of use, is not a great idea.  I've never used one but a solar charger may work - I am not sure how good they are if put inside behind the windscreen but should work because glass filters UV and solar panels don't use much of it.

The thing to remember about lead acid batteries is their usable life is a function of the depth they are discharged to and the number of cycles you put them through.  This is because the anode wears down with each cycle.  Car batteries are designed to deliver a lof of current (cold cranking amps if you are American or cold test current if you speak English 🙂 - cold because the bat will perform least well when cold) typically circa 500 amps for a short period of time.  After starting it will be topped up ready for the next time.  It will work for years if discharged to a shallow depth each time.  You can usually find a manufacturers data sheet with the curves on it to if your are interested - you use these when deciding what Battery to use.
I have a little experience of this stuff being an electrical engineer.
The bottom line is charge keep you Battery connected and fully charged - if you do a lot of short runs charge the Battery from an external charger once in a while.  Despite being a big V8 it should only take a coupe of cranks to start a 400/430 - if it takes more sort it out.

The best of luck.

Bren

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, brendangeorge said:

Hi if I were going to disconnect a lead I would disconnect the posative because the negative is the earth which is the reference.

Not sure what you mean by being the "reference" Brendan?

1 hour ago, brendangeorge said:

Hi if I were going to disconnect a lead I would disconnect the posative

No offence meant but that is really bad advice from a safety perspective.

If the spanner slips and makes contact with any earthed point whilst still in contact with the positive clamp, it will cause a short circuit with lots of sparks, explosion risk, burns risk and even possibly weld the spanner in place - and I have seen that happen.

This is why you should always disconnect the negative terminal first - and once that's off, why would you need to disconnect the positive terminal anyway?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/8/2020 at 7:35 PM, Greer said:

the car has not been used, just run for a while each week and had been doing Ok with it's weekly idle

I think it's you doing that what is draining the bat.......please read below, espeially................ 6. Excessive Short Drives....................https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/the-top-5-things-that-will-drain-your-battery

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just stick a new Battery in

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New Battery seems to have cured it, it was less than a year old but got a good price on a new one and they checked to make sure all lights were back to normal.  I was advised that there was fault code showing  a 'lazy oxygen sensor' (I need to have things simplified for me so they may know exact technical term) and they've suggested putting some premium fuel and giving it a thorough blast to clean out the cobwebs!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Benaywood said:

New battery seems to have cured it, it was less than a year old

Surely it should have been replaced under warranty then shouldn't it?

Many batteries come with 3 or 4 year warranties these days but even if your's didn't then there's a 12-month manufacturer's warranty on almost anything, not to mention statutory rights etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It probably should be under warranty, under normal circumstances I might make more of an effort to chase but given I'd repeatedly let it run flat, I got it in Wales, and the current 'situation' I think I'll write it off.  I have to say I rather enjoyed 'opening the taps' last night on the recommendation of my mechanic though so that makes up for the loss a little and it's nice to have it all back functioning perfectly again..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Herbie said:

Surely it should have been replaced under warranty then shouldn't it?

Many batteries come with 3 or 4 year warranties these days but even if your's didn't then there's a 12-month manufacturer's warranty on almost anything, not to mention statutory rights etc.

Car Battery warranties are borderline useless. They will always claim it was overcharged or allowed to be discharged below a level where damage has occurred. The only way to get success is to purchase via a good retailer who will swap it for you.

Halfords state the following isn't covered - which is basically everything bar an obvious manufacturing defect that would show up within months not years:

What isn't covered by the guarantee? 

The following may cause your Battery to become damaged. As these issues are not manufacturing defects, they aren't covered by the guarantee: 

  • Sulphation: This tends to happen if your vehicle isn't driven for extended periods. 
  • Deep cycling: This can happen if the vehicle's engine is started very frequently or electrical consumers are left on for extended periods between journeys. 
  • Overcharging: This is usually caused by a fault in the vehicle's charging system. 
  • Physical damage: This can be caused by incorrect handling or storage. 
  • Incorrect application: Make sure you're using the Battery that Halfords recommends for your vehicle! 
  • Wear and tear caused by misuse
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.