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Old 10-23-2007, 12:26 AM   #1
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I parked my van for about a week or so and when I went to start it the battery was dead. This was the first time I did this without keeping a batteyminder on it. I charged it up and checked the current draw and found it to be about 250ma. It is a group 24 battery. I do have a Black Widow alarm system that I know draws some power. Does this seem like a normal battery draw and time for the barrery to go down?
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Old 10-23-2007, 02:26 AM   #2
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From what I've read 100mA or less is normal so 250mA is high. That is 6 amp hrs per day. I think my chassis battery is 60ah so a 250mAh draw would probably make it unusable after 5 days.

Your chassis battery should last longer than one week when parked.

I had a similar problem. (mine would last maybe 3 weeks - 2004 Chevy) I never did get to measure the current draw. I read in the Chevy owners manual that it was expected to go flat in 4 weeks. They recommended disconnecting the battery if you were not using the vehicle for weeks at a time. I considered mine to be a little on the high side of normal and didn't look into it further but decided to keep a Battery Minder on it when parked.

Radio presets, alarms, keyless entry, built-in compasses etc. all draw current as you know.

I guess these vans are really meant to be driven frequently.

If you could disconnect the alarm and measure the current draw again you'd know if it was the major cause of the problem.
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Old 10-23-2007, 02:43 AM   #3
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Interesting link for more info on how to diagnose the problem: ... c-draw.htm


and here's even more info:

The term Ignition-Off Draw (IOD) identifies a normal condition where power is being drained from the battery with the ignition switch in the OFF position. A normal vehicle electrical system will draw from five to thirty-five milliamperes (0.005 to 0.035 ampere) with the ignition switch in the OFF position, and all non-ignition controlled circuits in proper working order. Up to thirty-five milliamperes are needed to enable the memory functions for the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) , digital clock, electronically tuned radio, and other modules which may vary with the vehicle equipment.

A vehicle that has not been operated for approximately twenty days, may discharge the battery to an inadequate level. When a vehicle will not be used for twenty days or more (stored), remove the IOD fuse from the Power Distribution Center (PDC) . This will reduce battery discharging.

Excessive IOD can be caused by:

Electrical items left ON.
Faulty or improperly adjusted switches.
Faulty or shorted electronic modules and components.
An internally shorted generator.
Intermittent shorts in the wiring.
If the IOD is over thirty-five milliamperes , the problem must be found and corrected before replacing a battery. In most cases, the battery can be charged and returned to service after the excessive IOD condition has been corrected.

Verify that all electrical accessories are OFF. Turn OFF all lamps, remove the ignition key, and close all doors. If the vehicle is equipped with an illuminated entry system or an electronically tuned radio, allow the electronic timer function of these systems to automatically shut off (time out). This may take up to three minutes . See the Electronic Module Ignition-Off Draw Table for
more information.

If equipped, determine that the underhood lamp is operating properly, then disconnect the lamp wire harness connector or remove the lamp bulb.

Disconnect the battery negative cable.

Set an electronic digital multi-meter to its highest amperage scale. Connect the multi-meter between the disconnected battery negative cable terminal clamp and the battery negative terminal post. Make sure that the doors remain closed so that the illuminated entry system is not activated. The multi-meter amperage reading may remain high for up to three minutes , or may not give any reading at all while set in the highest amperage scale, depending upon the electrical equipment in the vehicle. The multi-meter leads must be securely clamped to the battery negative cable terminal clamp and the battery negative terminal post. If continuity between the battery negative terminal post and the negative cable terminal clamp is lost during any part of the IOD test, the electronic timer function will be activated and all of the tests will have to be repeated.

After about three minutes , the high-amperage IOD reading on the multi-meter should become very low or nonexistent, depending upon the electrical equipment in the vehicle. If the amperage reading remains high, remove and replace each fuse or circuit breaker in the Power Distribution Center (PDC) and then in the Junction Block (JB) , one at a time until the amperage reading becomes very low, or nonexistent. Refer to the appropriate wiring information for complete PDC and JB fuse, circuit breaker, and circuit identification. This will isolate each circuit and identify the circuit that is the source of the high-amperage IOD. If the amperage reading remains high after removing and replacing each fuse and circuit breaker, disconnect the wire harness from the generator. If the amperage reading now becomes very low or nonexistent, refer to Charging System for the proper charging system diagnosis and testing procedures. After the high-amperage IOD has been corrected, switch the multi-meter to progressively lower amperage scales and, if necessary, repeat the fuse and circuit breaker remove-and-replace process to identify and correct all sources of excessive IOD. It is now safe to select the lowest milliampere scale of the multi-meter to check the low-amperage IOD. CAUTION: Do not open any doors, or turn ON any electrical accessories with the lowest milliampere scale selected, or the multi-meter may be damaged.

Observe the multi-meter reading. The low-amperage IOD should not exceed thirty-five milliamperes (0.035 ampere) . If the current draw exceeds thirty-five milliamperes , isolate each circuit using the fuse and circuit breaker remove-and-replace process in Step 5. The multi-meter reading will drop to within the acceptable limit when the source of the excessive current draw is disconnected. Repair this circuit as required; whether a wiring short, incorrect switch adjustment, or a component failure is at fault.
They consider 35 mA to be normal. Much lower than the 100ma I mentioned in the previous post.
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
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My father has a GMC Suburban and has this problem. When checked, it has a draw of about 250ma. From what all the dealers have said, this is normal. The vehicle computer and stereo are what is drawing the current. When you think about it, it's real stupid having a 1/4 amp draw off the battery. My father has gone through so many batteries, I can't count them. He only uses the truck for long trips so it sits quite a bit. My brother got a good solar panel and plugged it into the cigarette lighter to keep the battery alive and it works great.
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