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Old 10-06-2006, 07:04 AM   #1
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Power Loss

I seem to have a power loss somewhere as my univolt is charging but when I disconnect power my battery (its good) goes dead after 4 or 5 days without using anything.
I am no electrician but was hoping not to have to take to a service center.
What is the best way to diagnose, fix. Not sure where to start. I assume its just a matter of a short(s) right?
thanks for any information.
James
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Old 10-06-2006, 08:59 AM   #2
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There's always some parasitic load on a battery. How do you "disconnect power?" Do you have a master cutoff switch?

Some ideas would be to search the forums on 'battery isolation', 'battery cutoff', or 'battery cut-off'. More info on your setup would be helpful.
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Old 10-06-2006, 09:15 AM   #3
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After you charge the battery and disconnect shore power do this:
Pull the negative battery lead from the battery. When you touch the lead to the battery terminal do you see any spark? If you do, you have something that is using power. Things that can pull your battery down are smoke, CO and propane detectors. If you have no spark measure the voltage of the battery. Leave the battery lead disconnected and check it several times over the next few days. You might just have a bad battery. Good luck and let us know what you find.
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Old 10-06-2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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thanks bob and richard,
I will search the forums as I seem to have bad luck when doing so but I will use your search phrases.
Just disconnected the city power and left the battery connected, don't have a master cut-off. Do most?
I will also try these suggestions this weekend and post a follow-up.
Will probably take to a service center and let them check out all wiring for a small fortune I'm sure.
James
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Old 10-06-2006, 12:47 PM   #5
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There just is a lot of parasitic load if all you've done is disconnect shore power. It wouldn't take much to install a marine cutoff switch -- earlier I looked at West Marine and couldn't find it. It's in the threads you can find on the above search phrases. The Forums' search function isn't as great as other online searches where you can almost ask a question in a sentence. Use the fewest words to describe your quest.

I don't really think you have a problem if the test Richard suggest works for you. I'd leave the battery disconnected until you can research the cutoff switch better -- a lot of owners have had to do this.
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:12 PM   #6
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If you don't have one already, pick up a small cheapy Volt-Ohm meter at the hardware store or home center. Make sure it has an Amp function.
After you disconnect the negative cable hook up the meter to read amps. (Read the instructions. You can toast a small meter if not careful.) If there is a draw of over a 1/2 amp you've got trouble. Time to start disconecting things to find the draw.
If you're down to under 100ma then it's likely the battery is giving up the ghost and should be tested.

Good luck,
Tom.
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:24 PM   #7
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Do you have a hydrometer? it is a float device to measure the specific gravity of each cell of the battery. If you do not have one then you can obtain one at any parts store. This will tell you the specific charge of each cell and thereby let you know whether all are charged equally or if one is lower than the others then you may have a weak cell and this would indicate the need to replace the battery.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I work for a battery company and if I cannot answer your battery question I have a warehouse manager who can.

Good luck,
Bill
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Old 10-06-2006, 03:47 PM   #8
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Vent Before Doing This

Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster
After you charge the battery and disconnect shore power do this:
Pull the negative battery lead from the battery. When you touch the lead to the battery terminal do you see any spark? If you do, you have something that is using power. Things that can pull your battery down are smoke, CO and propane detectors. If you have no spark measure the voltage of the battery. Leave the battery lead disconnected and check it several times over the next few days. You might just have a bad battery. Good luck and let us know what you find.
I would highly recommend you VENT the battery storage area befor you make any spark in a confined space with an automotive battery. All batteries off-gass hydrogen gas in there normal process to produce electricity, this can build up in a confined space, especially after charging (OR OVER CHARGING). The spark you produce could be a big flash.

That said, I have used this technique before on cars with the hood up and lots of ventilation. BE SAFE
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Old 10-06-2006, 03:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clancy_boy
I would highly recommend you VENT the battery storage area befor you make any spark in a confined space with an automotive battery. All batteries off-gass hydrogen gas in there normal process to produce electricity, this can build up in a confined space, especially after charging (OR OVER CHARGING). The spark you produce could be a big flash.

That said, I have used this technique before on cars with the hood up and lots of ventilation. BE SAFE
That is a very good point, safety first!
Another safety tip is always remove the negative lead first and install the positive first. When I was in the Air Force they taught us, remove negative and install positive. If you do not follow this proceedure you could weld a wrench to the frame.
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Old 10-09-2006, 08:27 AM   #10
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Spark

Yes I do get a very small spark with the (-) cable, I do know of one short on my interior light that I will fix, also one of the lights at the control panel never goes off, its the water level. I will get a cut off switch for the battery is there one type that is better than the other as northern tool has a lever type that bolts to the positive where you just flip the lever to connect/disconnect.
thanks
James
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