Running on empty — 15 Comments

  1. I can’t help with your personal problems – I feel like that myself from time to time. However vehicle electrics is something I do have a fair bit of experience with. I’ve no idea what sort of car you drive, but this time of year is famous for flat batteries. Pproblems with alternators and their drive belts will usually go unnoticed during summer, but now they have to work hard. You really need a decent voltmeter to check the battery voltage when it’s been standing overnight, then again once the engine is running. Switch on all the lights and turn the heater fan on maximum, then see if the voltage stays above 14, and if not how fast the engine needs to run before it does.

      • Old Person Buggy?  I suppose it is.  It is actually serviced every year and is in great nick .  I haven’t even had a high tide lately.

      • Oh, well, that explains it! I’ll bet his battery is never more than 50% charged, which is why it won’t turn the engine over. A jump start, followed by 10 minutes running will appear to sort things out. But unless it is fully recharged, the same thing will happen again…

    • Holy fuck! €74.95?  And I might need ten of ’em?  The charger I bought was under €50 and it’s a heavy duty one.  So much for “green energy”!!

    • I was going to suggest something like this, however there’s no need for one quite so big. A 5 watt panel would do so long as it’s properly sighted and can see the sun for as long as possible during the day. But beware – on many cars the fag lighter socket is not permanently live. There’s absolutely no point plugging any charger into it if you have to (insert) and turn the key to connect it to the battery!

      • Even with one panel I’d still pay well over what I actually paid.  Granted I have to pay for the juice to use the charger but that isn’t much.

  2. I have one on my camper van/ motorhome and it keeps the thing juiced up during the winter months. Why do ya want ten chargers? Do you have a serious collection of motors in the basement or what?

    • My horticulture in the attic needs a lot of juice.  The last charger was a low powered yoke so the car seems to need a bit of a kick.

  3. A couple of planks positioned to create a slope off the side of the bed, roll out and down after awakening should get you going 🙂

    • That’s not a bad idea.  Just so long as the dog doesn’t take advantage and play slides on it all night.

  4. You might want to head to whatever auto repair place you frequent and have them load test the battery and check for anything that may be draining your battery when the motor isn’t running just to say you did. It’s good to check every couple of years anyway.

    I’m pretty much in the same boat as you are when it comes to infrequent use of our vehicles (and short trips when we do use them) but healthy car batteries in a healthy electrical system shouldn’t be losing their charge overnight or even over a week of non-use–even during the cold weather. I expect the engine to crank slower during the cold weather but it should crank and start. Even the best car batteries are only good for 5 years and all that.

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