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Old 07-16-2011, 12:42 PM   #21
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In street rods it is common for the last 50 years to have electric solenoid switches for the trunk release and it is also common to have the battery in the trunk. It is also common to have a cable (emergency) release for cases of dead batteries. (Hobby cars can sit idle for a long time resulting in discharged battery.) However, with a factory made car that extra cost of a redundant release means profit that does not go back to the company.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:19 PM   #22
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Be very carefull if you do this! Most multimeters have a 400mA fused current measuring setting and a 10 amp unfused setting. Not so bad if your fuse blows (400mA is not a lot) but could get exciting if you attempt to supply 600 amps to the starter through the typical 22 gauge multimeter leads.

If you are pulling 600 amps with everything shut off you have a SERIOUS problem and you do not need a multimeter to find it. Best call the local fire department and then your insurance company.

Virtually all vehicles pull some load when stored. Most items that can cause a battery to drain down over the course of a day or two are on a fused circuit. If you remove one fuse/disconnect one cicuit at a time and you no longer draw current, there is something down stream drawing current. At that time you can determine if this a normal draw or if something unintended is drawing current.

The multimeter can also be used to measure voltage drop besides measuring current draw. Look for a short or something inadvertently left on if you have a voltage drop greater than 0.2 volts.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:27 PM   #23
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If you are pulling 600 amps with everything shut off you have a SERIOUS problem and you do not need a multimeter to find it. Best call the local fire department and then your insurance company.

Virtually all vehicles pull some load when stored. Most items that can cause a battery to drain down over the course of a day or two are on a fused circuit. If you remove one fuse/disconnect one cicuit at a time and you no longer draw current, there is something down stream drawing current. At that time you can determine if this a normal draw or if something unintended is drawing current.

The multimeter can also be used to measure voltage drop besides measuring current draw. Look for a short or something inadvertently left on if you have a voltage drop greater than 0.2 volts.
True about the 600 amps but I was more thinking of someone on here hooking up their DVM in series with the battery lead while their spouse is in the car playing with stuff and they happen to crank it.

It would be much safer to measure the voltage drop across a fixed length of known gauge copper wire. Then you can calculate what the resistance of this wire should be from tables on the web (will be close anyway) and you can compute the current draw that way. IE, 0.1V drop across a 0.05 ohm section of cable means you are pulling 2 amps (I=V/R).
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:37 PM   #24
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True about the 600 amps but I was more thinking of someone on here hooking up their DVM in series with the battery lead while their spouse is in the car playing with stuff and they happen to crank it.

).

Society can not keep stupid people from during stupid things. That is why we have so much legal jargon in print with every product we buy.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:05 PM   #25
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If a person suspected they had a current draw with their car shut down they could disconnect the negative battery cable from their battery and bridge the open circuit with their multimeter.
Or you could use a clamp-on ammeter. When I was working, I used a top-of-the-line clamp-on. When I retired, The meter retired with me.

During my career I worked with large industrial batteries. From my experience, I will not be driving a hybrid or electric car anytime soon.

Nothing can spoil your day like finding several gallons of battery acid on the floor leaked from lead-acid batteries and the sealed batteries have been known to go into thermal runaway, which is a slow-motion explosion.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:49 AM   #26
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Since I don't have a Prius, I don't really know... but wouldn't there be a lot more intermittent and constant loads on the 12V aux battery than you mentioned?
Like lights, both inside and outside including brake lights, and power windows, cabin HVAC fan, door locks (like a hatch release ), ABS pump, electric fuel pump (usually a big draw) for the fuel injection, etc?
When the car's shut down the 12V battery powers the alarm system (which can't be disarmed or shut off), the cabin lights, the door locks, and the back hatch. Shutting down the car also shuts off the things we might forget, like headlights. If you shut down the car you can't even use the power windows.

Once the car boots up, though, all the electrical loads are powered by the main battery through the motor generator or the inverter. And of course the internal-combustion engine comes on from time to time to help recharge the main battery.

I'm being told on PriusChat that the Prius 12V battery-charging system is pretty rudimentary (just a constant voltage) and slow. So I might've discharged it through a combination of short trips and leaving the back hatch open. But no problems since, and this morning I gave it a solid 60-minute round trip to White Plains Beach. As long as the surf is good then I shouldn't have this problem...
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:15 PM   #27
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I think I would a battery minder to keep on top of things, but you would think that 3 days would not kill a battery if there wasn't a drain somewhere. it's good to hear about all the little quirks in the newer green car, so I know what to watch for.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:25 PM   #28
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Frank's Murano and especially my Venza would not be easy to jump start if the battery died while at home in a driveway, for all the reasons discussed.

Today Frank awakened to find the battery on his Murano was deader than a doornail, with no room to get my Venza anywhere close to jumpstart it. His back is out, and I may lift weights but I'm not strong enough to push the Murano by myself. We went to Autozone and got one of these Duralast jump-starters. If this works we will save the cost of a tow, and it will pay for itself in one usage. Wish us luck!

It has to charge for a while before we can use it, but I am hoping this will do the trick.

I am so glad this thread got us to thinking about batteries and what our options might be.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:17 PM   #29
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It has to charge for a while before we can use it, but I am hoping this will do the trick...
My neighbour has one of those and we use it in a pinch to jump start our Escape because we park it at the end of the garage when we go south. It works great and does many starts before needing a charge.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:31 PM   #30
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It worked beautifully, kcowan! Started up instantly. This device is SO worth the money ($89.99+tax for the larger capacity that will jump-start a big SUV). Apparently it will hold its charge for 3 years, or one can leave it plugged in if desired.

IMO this is a "must have" for those of us with newer vehicles in which so many functions depend on the battery. It has already paid for itself and made a difficult situation so easy to handle.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:40 PM   #31
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It worked beautifully, kcowan! Started up instantly. This device is SO worth the money ($89.99+tax for the larger capacity that will jump-start a big SUV). Apparently it will hold its charge for 3 years, or one can leave it plugged in if desired.

IMO this is a "must have" for those of us with newer vehicles in which so many functions depend on the battery. It has already paid for itself and made a difficult situation so easy to handle.

I did not have the brand you mentioned, but another... I found that it held its charge for about 3 months at most... and then you might not get a jump off of it...

Does it come with an air pump? Mine did... wish I had it the other day when I had a nail in the tire and it was to low to drive... had to change the tire



OK... looked it up... from Autozone description...

Features & Benefits
Jump starting power for your vehicle: 950 peak amps. 28 in. flexible cables with sure-grip clamps. Light-weight and portable for convenient use. Built-in charger that connects with any extension cord to charge internal battery. Cord not included. Stores up to 3 months without charging. Sealed battery means no dangerous acid leaks or spills. Easy to read LED indicators: indicates charged or charging, and state of internal battery. Sure-grip, jaw clamps: allows for quick and solid connections for top and side post batteries.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:48 PM   #32
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Does it come with an air pump? Mine did... wish I had it the other day when I had a nail in the tire and it was to low to drive... had to change the tire
That's terrific, Texas Proud! Actually we already have an air pump for the tires, that we had to purchase after Katrina due to all the roofing nails in the streets. Our air pump can be operated off the jump-starter so that is an added bonus.

It recharged after the one use in just a few minutes.

Texas Proud, you're right. Frank just re-read the instructions (before you posted the above, actually), and apparently it says 3 months, not 3 years. Oops! Still, that is a nice long time. While I was correcting my post, you edited yours as well to copy/paste material from the link I provided, to point out my error. GMTA

The point is, I am very pleased with the Duralast jump-starter and at $89.99, I think everyone with a new-ish car that depends on the battery so much (and especially everyone who posted on this thread and didn't mention such a device) ought to have one.

Something not in the description you gave above, is that apparently it has an internal circuit breaker.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:15 PM   #33
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That's terrific, Texas Proud! Actually we already have an air pump for the tires, that we had to purchase after Katrina due to all the roofing nails in the streets. Our air pump can be operated off the jump-starter so that is an added bonus.

It recharged after the one use in just a few minutes.

Texas Proud, you're right. Frank just re-read the instructions (before you posted the above, actually), and apparently it says 3 months, not 3 years. Oops! Still, that is a nice long time. While I was correcting my post, you edited yours as well to copy/paste material from the link I provided, to point out my error. GMTA

The point is, I am very pleased with the Duralast jump-starter and at $89.99, I think everyone with a new-ish car that depends on the battery so much (and especially everyone who posted on this thread and didn't mention such a device) ought to have one.

Something not in the description you copy/pasted from the link I gave, is that apparently it has an internal circuit breaker.

But I would want one that stays in the car.... like the spare tire... it is no good to have one back home when you are 20 miles away and your battery is dead... and I will tell you from experience that taking it out and recharging it every 3 months (for 3 cars no less) is not a foregone conclusion...

All of mine died after about 2 or so years... they will not hold a charge. I could see that the charge they kept was less and less... it became more of a pain to keep them... they now are in the garage waiting to be disposed of properly... we just pay our insurance company for roadside assistance (which my wife had used a few times)...
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:20 PM   #34
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I keep one of those jump starters in the trunk. I lost another to one of the many people who kept borrowing it.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:24 PM   #35
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From the initial post in this thread,
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Yet another fun fact about a Prius with a dead 12V battery-- when the car's out of electricity, it won't unlatch the (electrically-interlocked) back hatch to enable access to the tool area in the spare-tire well. Guess where most drivers keep the jumper cables.
If you had a jump starter plugged in in your garage, you wouldn't need the jumper cables. It comes with its own. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:35 PM   #36
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But I would want one that stays in the car.... like the spare tire... it is no good to have one back home when you are 20 miles away and your battery is dead... and I will tell you from experience that taking it out and recharging it every 3 months (for 3 cars no less) is not a foregone conclusion...

All of mine died after about 2 or so years... they will not hold a charge. I could see that the charge they kept was less and less... it became more of a pain to keep them... they now are in the garage waiting to be disposed of properly... we just pay our insurance company for roadside assistance (which my wife had used a few times)...
I think you are looking for a solution that won't require calling a friend to help you jump your car, or to give you a ride home to get your jump starter. Sorry that a jump starter is not the right solution for that problem. Roadside assistance sounds like a better fit.

In our case, we have been looking for an easy way to jump-start a car at home, where often people park in a garage or other place in which the car is not easily accessible for jump starting. The older I get, the less appealing it is to try to push a car uphill singlehandedly (even if the steering doesn't lock without the battery).
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:38 PM   #37
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Here is what ya need - 25 foot long two gauge cables. Long enough to reach the front of a car and heavy enough to start it.

Amazon.com: Coleman Cable 08862 25-Foot Ultra-Heavy-Duty Truck and Auto Battery Booster Cables, 2-Gauge: Automotive

Now if you can just store them where they are available when the battery is dead.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:03 PM   #38
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Here is what ya need - 25 foot long two gauge cables. Long enough to reach the front of a car and heavy enough to start it.

Amazon.com: Coleman Cable 08862 25-Foot Ultra-Heavy-Duty Truck and Auto Battery Booster Cables, 2-Gauge: Automotive

Now if you can just store them where they are available when the battery is dead.
I guess I could find a place to store them (somewhere accessible with no battery) in my Venza, but storage at home would definitely be a challenge! I don't have a big house, and no garage (just a very very narrow driveway where I park my Venza, between my house and the fence). But that does look like a solution that would work and if I have the same troubles with the jumpstarter that Texas Proud had, I might even try it.

In the meantime, I think I'll just stick with the new jump-starter, that was cheaper than those cables anyway. That is so cool to learn about them on that link, though. Never knew they made jumper cables that long.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:14 PM   #39
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I think you are looking for a solution that won't require calling a friend to help you jump your car, or to give you a ride home to get your jump starter. Sorry that a jump starter is not the right solution for that problem. Roadside assistance sounds like a better fit.

In our case, we have been looking for an easy way to jump-start a car at home, where often people park in a garage or other place in which the car is not easily accessible for jump starting. The older I get, the less appealing it is to try to push a car uphill singlehandedly (even if the steering doesn't lock without the battery).
Yes, that is what I wanted but was disappointed.... (well, except for the one time that I actually did use it and it worked)... the amount of time spent to keep them charged etc. compared to the number of times I have needed a jump just does not make sense....

I would much rather have one of these at home (which I do not, I have a 10 amp charger)...

Schumacher/50/10/2 Amp start-automatic battery charger with engine starter (SE-5212A) | Battery Charger | AutoZone.com

I also have jumper cables that are stupid proof.... they are the one where you connect to the jump car and the dead car and electronics make sure that the charge goes to the correct place... problem is that they do not go the full length of the car (found that out when I had to jump my mother)... here is a link...

Amazon.com: Michelin 5100 Smart Jumper Cables with Surge Protection: Automotive
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #40
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Here is what ya need - 25 foot long two gauge cables. Long enough to reach the front of a car and heavy enough to start it.

Amazon.com: Coleman Cable 08862 25-Foot Ultra-Heavy-Duty Truck and Auto Battery Booster Cables, 2-Gauge: Automotive

Now if you can just store them where they are available when the battery is dead.

Wish the Michelin cables were a bit longer... only need a couple more feet..
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