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On being a hybrid — 17 Comments

  1. Sounds to me like the problem isn’t so much a ‘drain’but the charging isn’t happening as it should. Might just be a quick and easy fix…might. Worst case you might have to visit the Approved Motor Vehicle Recycling, Women’s Refugee and Equal Opportunities Centre or whatever it’s called nowadays for a ‘new’ alternator.

    • It seems to be charging all right.  I have had it hooked up for several hours now and it has been declaring “Fully charged” for quite a while.  Have to drop down to the village shortly, so we’ll see……

      • You learn never to trust battery chargers -they can be frightful liars-even the professional grade ones. But I wasn’t suggesting the battery wouldn’t take a charge (because it obviously can). When I said “charging isn’t happening as it should” I was referring to the charge coming up the snake-thingy from the turning thingy-dat-looks-like-a-windmill . 

  2. Simple way to check is to remove the negative battery lead when you leave it, and only re-connect it when you next want to use it. If it now starts reliably – even when your pattern of use and driving is unchanged – then it ‘ain’t the battery OR the alternator. In fact, look (and listen) carefully when removing the lead – a discharge sufficient to run the battery down over 24 hrs or so would create a small spark.

    • MD, that is GOOD advice….only downside then is that when he goes out to the car to reconnect the neg and then drive to the shops and a possibly dodgy battery (that hasn’t recharged properly during the journey) has been sitting there, perhaps for several days, in the heat of those mild Irish winters he can get some much needed exercise plodding up and down the mountain after having put the battery back on to charge (no doubt a  charger with all the throbbing power of a Hornby train set transformer).

       

      • “The day after? Fucking flat as a pancake again” Means it’s unlikely he will be in the situation you describe. If something IS slowly discharging the battery, the alternator is working, and the car starts O.K. a run “down to the shops” will usually put enough juice back to mask the problem for a while. Corroded light terminals aren’t likely to be the cause as they are not live when the car is parked (assuming it’s not left out on the road?). But any permanently live equipment that has dirty/corroded connections is a risk – our host doesn’t say what sort of car he owns, but almost anything made in the last 20 years is going to have an engine management system, and some parts may not be ignition switched, and therefore a possible source of the mysterious battery drain. Others are a courtesy light in the boot (or glove box?), or even the rectifier pack in the alternator – one dodgy diode won’t stop it charging, but can put an unwanted “load” on the battery, and this component is always connected directly to the battery. The only sure fire way is a low range (ideally 0-2amps) ammeter in series with one battery lead to see if there is current flowing when it shouldn’t – but ONLY with all lights off, and the key removed from the ignition, unless you want to destroy said meter! If there is current flowing, then systematically remove each fuse in turn. And if that fails to identify the culprit it HAS to be something which is permanently live…

  3. It’s a very common problem with older motorcycles. Those things invariably have wires that are exposed to the elements. Water gets in and corrodes a connection that then can simply run the lot to earth.

    Couple of years back you had water ingress into your boot. It’s a long shot, however I’d suggest you take a look at the connectors to your rear lights and see if there’s any sort of nastiness in that area.

    If there is, then it’s a fairly simple sort. Wire brush, wet and dry sandpaper until all the oxidisation is gone, then wd40 the lot.

    Yet another reason why I’d be wary of this area is you’ll be using your lights far more in the winter, so start with both tail lights and those that illuminate your number plate.

    • I am impressed!  That post about the water in the boot was ages ago, though it ranks very high in Google so a lot of others must have the same problem.  My fix at the time – a lavish plastering of Vaseline around the leaky spot – worked well and is still holding.

  4. My first thoughts would be the rectifier/regulator which nowadays are built into the alternator. But GD mentioned that the battery was fairly new, which made me think – when purchased, was the battery commissioned properly. A battery which is put straight into use without going through the ritual of soaking, initial charge and standing will never achieve full charge, and will slowly decline resulting in an early demise. An AGM battery will die suddenly in comparison and have a useful life averaging 4 years. Just another thing to look at.

    A lot also depends on the charger nowadays, an AGM battery needs tighter control on the charging voltage/current than the older wet type.

    TBD – don’t knock modern chargers, they may be smaller but some can knock out twice the current, due to the power supply being ‘switch mode’. This method switches the charging current on/off at high frequency, so the output is only ‘on’ for half the time. This runs much cooler, so doesn’t need a transformer the size of Battersea power station.

  5. Or of course it could all be down to God hating him because he makes Baby Jesus cry.

    I will be interested to hear what Spanner says the problem is.

     

     

    • Pondered this one. Methinks his missus is correct. She’s thinking emergencies,  the need for quick responses, maybe their sprogs or grand sprogs too.

      And you can imagine the whinging and palaver the old git lays on her every time he’s got to hook the old rattle trap – and the anxiety that they may not get back.

  6. This is how the sandal wearing, leftie greenie brigade will face many a morning as their electric cars start to age or when they forget to charge them up each night.

      • That’s assuming that it’s a clear, sunny and windy day. If it’s gloomy and still, they won’t be going anywhere. Which although unfortunate for the tree-huggers, will at least have the upside of giving the rest of us a good laugh as we chug past in our internal combustion engined cars.

  7. Heh!  Thanks for all the suggestions.

    I took the car out for a run yesterday and it ran perfectly [but then I had recently charged the battery again].  I’m not that worried about emergency situations or getting stuck while out as I always carry my emergency defibrillator which I also keep charged at all times.  That yoke was one of my best purchases in a long time!

    Today I removed the battery altogether, cleaned the terminals and hooked it up for a very long soak on the trickle-charger.  Incidentally, I looked for a spark when disconnecting – nothing.  I’ll leave it for a good 24 hours or more and hope that said emergency doesn’t arise [if it does, it only takes a minute to replace everything].

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