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Thread: Quiescent current test?

  1. #1
    VIP-Member GSiFan's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra GSi 3.2 V6

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    Question Quiescent current test?

    How can I test whether or not my car has excessive current draw when switched off, locked and parked? My battery has not been able to start the engine twice now - first yesterday and then this morning.

    I put the car on a voltmeter at the local friendly garage near work and it is charging at 14.4-14.5 volts, headlamps on or off - nice and steady. Occasionally, the lights dim or brighten slightly - interior and exterior.

    I am wondering whether or not to chance a new battery (hasn't been changed since I've had the car - 5 1/2 years! ) or whether it might be the alternator has a diode pack that has gone bad and is allowing current to "leak" back from the battery whilst the car is parked.

    Any ideas? I might try leaving the battery disconnected overnight tonight. But I am getting fed up jump starting the Vectra in the mornings!

    Paul
    2003 Vauxhall Vectra GSi 3.2 V6

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    Regular Member Ben50n's Avatar
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    The obvious method is to disconnect the battery, therefore absolutely no current drain.

    You can check for current drain by disconnecting one battery terminal then place a low powered bulb between the battery terminal and the battery lead. If you have a current drain, the bulb will light up.

    Obviously there will be some power drain to keep the clock going etc, but that will probably not be enough to light up the bulb.

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    Regular Member lee gsi's Avatar
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    If you have access to a multi meter you can use that.

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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    double post - why?

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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    Firstly lock the car, but with the bonnet sensor plunger taped down and the bonnet open. I would measure it by:-

    After a few minutes connect a multi meter between the earth lead and the battery negative post and disconnect the earth lead without disturbing the multi meter leads between earth lead and battery post. This is to stop any effects of fully disconnecting the battery and then connecting the multimeter.

    The meter will read the 'fully powered down' current draw. It should be very low, but I cannot remember what the actual number should be. Clearly there will be some current, as the alarm etc still needs some power.

    If the current draw is higher than about an amp, then start removing fuses / relays in the main box next to the battery until you find the one that puts the current to almost zero. If one does make a big difference, then you know the circuit.

    It may be that your battery is indeed knackered and the 'cold' weather is just making it even worse.

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    Regular Member lee gsi's Avatar
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    A sleeping car should be about 0.20 - 0.40 Amps (Ie 20 - 40mA)

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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee gsi View Post
    A sleeping car should be about 0.20 - 0.40 Amps (Ie 20 - 40mA)
    0.2 - 0.4 would be 200 - 400 mA

    Which is the typo?

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    Regular Member lee gsi's Avatar
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    Sorry should be between 200mA and 500mA

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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    I was going to guess at 500 mA max, but didn't want to mislead if it was wrong.

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    VIP-Member GSiFan's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for your replies, guys. I've just been out and about in the Vectra and it's been fine. However, the engine has not been switched off for more than a couple of hours since I got in from work.

    I shall do your quiescent current test tomorrow, Ste. Thanks for that.

    I'll post my results tomorrow. Not sure when exactly. I'm off to the garage to get my digital multi-meter to take with me to work.

    Paul
    2003 Vauxhall Vectra GSi 3.2 V6

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