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    #16
    Hopefully that mechanic misread the meter, or his meter malfunctioned. I found out one of mine was bad, pissed me off. 45 minutes should be good if your revs were high enough. The cca should be marked on the top of your battery. Post it here for comparison. There is another descriptor besides cca, indicating amperage depth but I'm not remembering it.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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      #17
      Originally posted by Sugarcube View Post
      I was finally able to get to the van. I opened the door manually and moved the ramp around a little. As I did, it deployed without any power. It nearly came down on me. That darn snow. I had a hard time getting away fast enough. Anyway, so I went inside and started it up. I tried the buttons on the inside, and the ramp still wouldn’t work. I revved the engine a few times and tried again. It finally worked, but was very slow. So I left it running for a bit and tried again. It sounds normal, for now. I was going to take it for a drive, but the parking lot here is full of snow. I didn’t want to get stuck. I will wait and see how it is tomorrow. I am hoping to get it out to charge it up. I ran it today for 45 minutes. I hope that is enough. That’s what the mechanic said to do. I will do the same tomorrow. I don’t know what the 18.5 voltage means. Is that good or bad? I’m planning on calling the dealership on Monday. I am wondering if the battery they gave me isn’t strong enough.

      Don't drive or start the van any more until someone confirms the voltage.

      18.5 is way to high.

      It will fry your battery and can fry electronic parts in the van including but not limited to the ramp/door controller.

      What make and year van is it?

      Don't run the van.

      Jim
      Jim, MA, MMET
      Bridgewater, MA

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        #18
        I would be worthwhile to buy one of these. Cheap and they can tell you a lot. I do not leave mine in the cigarette lighter socket when not running vehicle.

        With car running, should read 14.x volts. Will vary a little especially if you have fan/heater/A-C running.

        Should read 12.x volts when car is off. May drop .1 or so over a period of time.

        http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...er++cigarette+
        Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

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          #19
          Hi Sugarcube,

          Sorry for your predicament. I also live in CT and am current experiencing battery issues with my adapted ride too. Having a pending snowstorm bearing down on us makes it that much worse. Unfortunately this may not be the best place to get automotive advice but I guess it's better than nothing. The problem is that everyone here is just guessing. What's worse is that we're guessing with limited knowledge about the patient because no one has actually seen it.

          With that said I'll offer my two cents since I do have a little automotive experience. Battery issues with vehicles that are driven sporadically are quite common but I'm guessing that your's most probably is being caused by something electrical drawing current from the battery when the vehicle is off. This is relatively easy to check and can be done quickly and for free at most auto parts stores assuming you can find a qualified attendant. Having an alternator over charging(18.5v) the electrical system is much rarer.

          Can't say for sure but this may have been the cause of the original battery failure which may have been misdiagnosed by the garage that replaced the battery in the first place. The fact that yours is an adapted vehicle with aftermarket electrical equipment leads even more credence to my suspicion. If you would to discuss it further you can email me at cnriordan@yahoo.com

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            #20
            Could the stuck ramp be causing the electrical draw? The switch may still be pulling current. Did you make sure that the switch is off, and maybe actually disconnect the wires to that until you can get it repaired? Assume that someone AB can help you manually retract the lift??

            (KLD)
            The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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              #21
              When I had a similar problem, it turned out the control module for the ramp etc was failing to consistently turn off when the van was off. Took a mechanic almost a week to isolate the source of the draw. Works fine after a new module was installed.
              Tom

              "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

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                #22
                Exactly an alternator should only be putting out around 13 - 13.5 volts to run the vehicle and recharge the battery.


                Originally posted by nonoise View Post
                The regulator which is in the alternator is malfunctioning burning out the battery:
                http://www.carparts.com/classroom/charging.htm
                ^^(A)^^

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                  #23
                  I wasn't able to get an appointment for today. I'm not sure when I will be able to get it in. We are expecting 30+ inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. All travel has been banned on the highways and roads after 9 pm tonight. Then more snow on Friday. We are in a state of emergency.

                  I took the van out today. I had to get some lab work and other things done. It started right up. The ramp and door are not working. I had to pull the ramp down and push it back up manually. When I push the buttons the door opens half way, then nothing. I'm frustrated. All I can do for now is keep starting it periodically, until I am able to drive it to the garage

                  I'm wondering if KLD may be right, maybe it is the ramp.

                  I went into Walmart today to see if I could find a volt meter, but they didn't have any. While I was there another customer came up and asked if I needed help. I guess I looked confused...lol. I was. Anyway, he was very nice. He told me to go to Advanced auto Parts and they would check it for me free of charge. I couldn't get there today. I had already made several stops, and I was just too tired to keep pushing and pulling the ramp. There's not much I can do about it right now anyway, regardless of the reading. I have a procedure coming up on Tuesday, so I am going to do all I can to get it fixed before then. I just hope it isn't going to be too costly. Thank you everyone.

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                    #24
                    The auto parts stores that will check your charging will only check the voltage. Since you were told it's 18V, it would be a sensible thing to determine. 18.xV is SO far from normal(~14V) that any nitwit with a voltmeter ought to be able to get it right. An alternator that is producing 18V will fry/destroy a battery in fairly short order. If it isn't overcharging (i.e.: battery voltage at high idle/2000RPM is 13-14,5V) then look for another cause.

                    I think KLD may have hit the jackpot. It would be very likely for such a device as your automatic ramp system to continue to draw current if it doesn't fully return to an end-point and trip it's limit switch; it is also likely that the current/power draw would be significant. I doubt the parts store would have the inductive ammeter required to do this measurement. Just FYI, the upper limit for acceptable parasitic draw (which is mainly for the memories of the various micro-computers, etc in a vehicle) is 40-50uA (.04A) after they go to sleep which may take as much as 15 minutes, (prior to sleeping, they may draw as much as 300uA/.3A-still not much. All your running lights on will be ~10A) A reasonably competent auto tech should have no problem checking for excessive parasitic drains, either with a clamp-on inductive meter, or by disconnecting your battery and inserting an ammeter into the circuit (you may loose radio and clock memories; if the radio has an anti-theft code, know what it is and how to recover the radio!) The elephant in the room is "competent"! I have run a repair shop 43 years and good help is so hard to find! (www.philscars.com)
                    It's possible that there is something other than your equipment that is discharging your battery (glovebox light stays on, etc), but measuring parasitic current draw will determine if there is a problem.
                    If the charging rate is OK, the battery is new, and the parasitic draw is reasonable, then we are moving into a category of problems known as "uncaused events"! (call a clergyman or a paranormalist)
                    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
                    NW NJ

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                      #25
                      Just because a battery (or any part) is "new" doesn't necessarily mean it's good. I've experienced this many times with automotive repairs--defective part right out of the box. If I'm reading the initial post correctly, all the problems started when the battery was replaced. Batteries self discharge just sitting on the shelf, it's possible the new battery sat on the shelf for a long time.

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                        #26
                        I hear you!!
                        We're a two wheeler couple and have had similar issues for decades. Just a tidbit for future reference, as it won't help you now. Every Winter we would remote start our vans when not using for several days, or a week, to charge the batteries. They would still go dead. Finally an AAA tow truck driver who came out to charge van said letting it run in the driveway is not enough of a charge, said it must be driven for at least a half hour. Once we started that, no dead batteries for past 5 years.

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                          #27
                          Here's a inexpensive, simple device that'll keep your battery from going dead if you plan on not driving for awhile: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page...y%20disconnect

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by Joe-MN View Post
                            I would be worthwhile to buy one of these. Cheap and they can tell you a lot. I do not leave mine in the cigarette lighter socket when not running vehicle.

                            With car running, should read 14.x volts. Will vary a little especially if you have fan/heater/A-C running.

                            Should read 12.x volts when car is off. May drop .1 or so over a period of time.




                            http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...er++cigarette+
                            I bought this item from Amazon. It came today and I tried it out. It reads 14.5 when running and 13.1 when it is not running. Are those numbers normal?

                            The ramp is still not working. A friend told me to look for a reset button for the ramp system. I looked and can't find one. It was hard for me to get into a position where I could see. I am going to try again in the am.

                            I have been starting the van with the remote and letting it run. I have been doing three cycles (15 min) per day. So far that has been working. I am going to keep doing that until I can get it in for repairs. I don't like driving it and wondering all the time whether or not I am going to get stuck, either inside the van, or if I go someplace, I may not be able to get back in. I have jumper cables in the van in case the battery loses power again.

                            Thanks again everyone

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                              #29
                              Originally posted by Sugarcube View Post
                              I bought this item from Amazon. It came today and I tried it out. It reads 14.5 when running and 13.1 when it is not running. Are those numbers normal?

                              The ramp is still not working. A friend told me to look for a reset button for the ramp system. I looked and can't find one. It was hard for me to get into a position where I could see. I am going to try again in the am.

                              I have been starting the van with the remote and letting it run. I have been doing three cycles (15 min) per day. So far that has been working. I am going to keep doing that until I can get it in for repairs. I don't like driving it and wondering all the time whether or not I am going to get stuck, either inside the van, or if I go someplace, I may not be able to get back in. I have jumper cables in the van in case the battery loses power again.

                              Thanks again everyone
                              14.5 will be okay for now running. That earlier 18.5 appears to have been bogus, you are lucky. 13.1 would indicate a fully charged just after the motor has shut down. It should drop to around 12.6. From this distance, it is sounding like your new battery and charging system is fine. As has been mentioned your issue seems to have to do with the wiring of the ramp. Wish I could look at it for you, I love to solve those type problems.
                              I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Sugarcube,

                                First off: I am no expert, mechanical, electrical or otherwise. Second, these voltmeter are cheap, and therefore there is going to be some variability between meters and vehicles.

                                On the voltmeter from Amazon. What nonoise said is good info. With the van off, the voltage should drop to around 12.5 +/- (it may take a while, like an hour or more). It should then stay in the range, perhaps dropping 0.1 over several days, or more. If you could check what the voltmeter reading after say 12 or 24 hours of not running the van, that could be helpful.

                                I may have missed it, but does the ramp/door have a separate fuse? If so, pull it when the van is not being used.

                                A thought I just had, since you are in CT and it is cold, could ice, frozen snow be jamming anything ( I am assuming you are parking outside)? If you know of an underground garage that is above freezing, getting the van in there for a few hours could thaw it out, if that is the problem.

                                Report back
                                Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

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