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Old 01-11-2010, 10:05 AM   #1
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Battery Drain

My Battery is draining so I read in forum to test each circuit with volt meter. My problem is all but one circuit seems to have voltage or maybe I'm testing wrong. I put the negative lead on ground and touch each fuse. I thought maybe I was touching wrong side of fuse but either side it doesn't matter shows voltage? All lights and whatnot are off inside. Can this be right?
thanks
James
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:35 AM   #2
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You have a ghost drain somewhere -- there is always some current flowing to things like the reefer control board and you CO2 detector but if the battery is coming down fast you have a bigger problem.

Voltage won't tell you much. You need to measure current with an ammeter. With everything shut off, you can measure in-line between the battery positive and the cable. There should be some small current flow but if there is something major, you will need to isolate each 12v circuit to find the culprit. The simplest first step would be to remove each fuse, one at a time and note the ammeter reading every time. When the current slows, you have at least an idea where to look.

If you are not familiar with 12v circuits, I think you need to find someone who is to chase it down.

Good luck

mike
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:57 AM   #3
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My Battery is draining so I read in forum to test each circuit with volt meter. My problem is all but one circuit seems to have voltage or maybe I'm testing wrong. I put the negative lead on ground and touch each fuse. I thought maybe I was touching wrong side of fuse but either side it doesn't matter shows voltage? All lights and whatnot are off inside. Can this be right?
thanks
James
James.

There is a master 40 or 50 amp fuse, in the negative line.

If I remember correctly, that fuse is in a open fuseholder, on the floor, next to the furnace, under the galley cabinet.

If that fuse is open, or gone, then nothing will work.

Andy
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:13 AM   #4
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This little gizmo has worked very well for checking drain...
Electronic Specialties 306B - 30 Amp Fuse Buddy Tester – ATC Blade

Have one for standard and mini blade...
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:21 AM   #5
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Use the ohm meter

It's often not easy to find an ammeter that will read high enough to troubleshoot a vehicle's DC circuit. Most multimeters only measure amps for very small current flows. Besides, an ammeter must be wired in series with the circuit being measured.

Almost every meter can measure resistance (ohms). This technique has worked for us.

Disconnect the battery terminals from the battery. Zero your ohmmeter and connect the leads between the positive and negative wires you took off the battery (Not the battery terminals!). If everything is really turned off, the ohmmeter should read infinity. If it reads less than that, something is providing a path to ground that will drain the battery. Isolate each circuit (disconnect wires, remove fuses, etc.) until the meter goes to infinity. The last thing you isolated will contain the leak.

Once you have it narrowed down to a specific circuit, follow the wires. Fix any place where the conductor in the wire can touch the metal frame of the trailer. You can test a wire hidden in a wall by connecting the ohm meter between the wire and the metal frame. Fix things until the meter reads infinity between the battery terminals, or until the remaining load is explained by something like a referigerator board that you expect to be there.

Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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My Battery is draining so I read in forum to test each circuit with volt meter. My problem is all but one circuit seems to have voltage or maybe I'm testing wrong. I put the negative lead on ground and touch each fuse. I thought maybe I was touching wrong side of fuse but either side it doesn't matter shows voltage? All lights and whatnot are off inside. Can this be right?
thanks
James
You have to pull each fuse first and then measure the voltage or current across the two places where the fuse was in order to find anything out this way. Some of today's volt meters are too sensitive for this to tell you much so a little test light works better. You can use a running light bulb in a cheap fixture with two wires. If it's bright you've found your problem for sure, if it barely glows, you might have found your problem, if it is completely dark then move on to another circuit.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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This is the way I have located a draw on automobiles.

The easy way is to disconnect the positive 40/50 amp main fuse at the main board. If there is a small spark as it disconnects, there is a draw. Next, remove each fuse in the other circuits one by one, each time doing the same test with the main fuse. When you no longer get that spark at the main fuse, you have just disconnected a circuit with a draw. Your refer and your radio most likely always have a draw.

If you have solar, I would disable it while testing, because, depending on how it is connected to the battery, it may be using the main fuse.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:16 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input from everyone I will put my electrician hat on and give it a another try. My battery drains significantly in just a few (6 or so) hours.
James
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:18 PM   #9
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You didn't mention how old your batteries are. If they are more than one or two years old, you may have a bad cell. In some instances, your battery(ies) can measure 12-13.5 volts, and still not be able to provide much current.

If you think that a bad battery is possible, I'd have an auto parts place or repair shop put a load tester on the fully charged battery to make sure it isn't defective.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:04 PM   #10
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James,

I have had the same problem as you....went through two Optima Blue Top batteries in about as many years. My radio draws power, but I also found out that the moisture control on my fridge draws power as well.
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