Heavy Load or Crappy Battery?

Discussion in 'Chat' started by W5HRO, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Yesterday I pulled the 2011 Accord out in the driveway and put the GLK-350 in the garage and I preceded to clean out the Accord's interior along with using Amorall vinyl and leather wipes. While I was doing that I had the engine shut off with John Mayall's new CD "A Special Life" blasting through the sound system. After about an hour I went to start up the Accord and the battery was completely dead. Years ago you could do that without any problem so what's up?

    I know most factory batteries don't last that long, but the car is only 3 years old so I'm wondering if the audio system put too heavy of a load on it or if it was just the battery itself. I quickly threw a charger on it and it came back up just fine, but I'm wondering if the newer stock batteries have just gotten worse over the past few years.
  2. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member


    I'd be curious what the specifications are for a 2011 Honda Accord OEM battery? Modern cars typically start on the first crank and the batteries have thin plates providing high CCA and relatively low amp hour capacity. A deep cycle battery like for a trolling motor has thick plates to get the amp hour capacity up. I can imagine modern car engineers going to smaller and smaller batteries to reduce weight. Take the Ford F-150 for example, they are taking 700 pounds off the GVW, and 400 hundred of that is aluminum body panels replacing the heavier steel panels. Where does the other 300 pounds come from? All this effort to then drive around a couple of 350 pound middle age humans. :icon_shifty:

    Perhaps your battery was already only partially charged? The float voltage of a charged system is around 2.3 volts per cell or 13.8 for a 12V car battery. A lead acid cell is pretty much depleted at 1.75V / cell, or 10.5V for a 12V car battery. It would be interesting to just put on the headlights at night, with the engine off, and see what the voltage is. It should drop to ~ 12.6V fairly quickly, and then slowly drop. As it drops further, the pace quickens until it gets to 10.5V when it is pretty much dead.

    Remember those old movies with cars parked, lights on, radio playing (vibrator ps), and they never die. After a romantic parking session, the car always started. That's Hollywood for you. Those 6V systems didn't have a lot of reserve.

  3. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    To take things a step farther, when I went to turn the radio and CD player back on it was asking me to enter the security code. I had to drive to the dealer during my lunch time today to get the code to make everything work again. Apparently it's an anti-theft thing so stolen radios can't be used if you don't have the code. It's probably because of the satellite radio service.

    Make sure when you buy a new car that you have the dealer give you the code before leaving the lot. If your battery goes dead or you need to replace it you must enter the code again to gain access ::)
  4. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Forgot to add a bit to this one, about a week ago the XYL pulled up the the driveway and switched the light switch all the way to the left in the GLK-350. I had just switched it out of the automatic position "A" the day before. Unfortunately the off position "0" is straight up and down and all the way to the left is for the parking lights ::)

    Anyway, when I went outside the next morning I noticed one of the parking lights on the driver's side was just barely glowing and went "ah shit!" Another battery went dead, but this one was really bad because it blew the diodes in the battery charger trying to charge it back up. I then had to use the jumper cables first and repair the charger before hooking it back up again to finish.

    What's bad is all of the new cars have the automatic lights thing and its constantly loading down the battery. You can turn it off on some of them, but there are a few makes you cannot. That may be why the batteries are not lasting as long as they once did. I had turned it off to try and prolong it's life, but I forgot to tell the XYL.
  5. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    That newfangled stereo can't be pulling as much current as an old vibrator/tube set did... notorious for running down batteries. We have had better luck with dealer batteries than after market ones. We get about 7 years outta the Honda & Toyota batteries, which I think is excellent ! The Honda battery went into our '99 Accura, which is NOT a daily driver. The Toyota battery went into my 92 Toyota PU which was a daily driver.
    BTW, we got 12 years out of the main battery in our 2000 Honda Insight. It's the old lady's daily driver. (just a bunch of solder tabbed D cells in sleeves. I think it is 144 volts. ) $2200.00 from the dealer... At a lifetime average of 55MPG it more than paid for itself.

    In other auto news... My son gave me his 30 year old Mercedes 300D which I am now running on waste vegetable oil @ $0.16/gal. No mods to the car, although I may put a in-line fuel heater and injector heater in this winter. Those will probably warrant installing an 85 amp alternator. It has a huge battery in it. Don't know the spec...
  6. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Had to replace the battery in the GLK-350 yesterday upon returning home from work. I guess after the recent drain down to nothing it was just too old to keep going. It crapped out yesterday morning in the driveway.

    Anyway, my main gripe is where they put the dam thing. It's located against the firewall on the passenger side and you have to lean way over to remove it. The airshock hinge on that side for the hood is in the way too so you also have to twist around when leaning leaning over both to pull it out. I don't know what the engineers were thinking, but it's got to be one of the stupidest places to put a battery. There's probably even worse places to put it, but this one is pretty bad. The entire load must be moved with nothing but arm strength. It would have been easier removing the hood first ::)
  7. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    Same location as mine...and it's the biggest auto battery I have ever seen. 30 years ago, the MB engineers were wise enough to put a double latch system on the hood. It raises to "normal height, then you can depress latches and it raises to a vertical position. Very convenient for changing the battery . :icon_thumbup:
  8. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Unfortunately the new MB's don't have those type of latch hinges anymore, at least the 2010 GLK-350's don't. Looks like they left the batteries in the same place and just said screw replacing them :icon_thumbdown:

    P.S. You are right about the size of the batteries. It was huge and very heavy and I even put in a bigger one with more cranking amps. There are 2 different sizes. I paid $200 at the local auto parts store discounted, $300+ full retail at MB.
  9. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    Wow, if you only got 3+ years out of an original battery that's not good. But, with lead-acid technology I guess that's about it. The auto parts stores do sell the "Optima" line of auto batteries. But, I believe they are also lead-acid . They just use gel or AGM technology for carrying the electrolyte.

    I installed a solar back-up system for a friend in 2007. I used AGM batteries in that system (4KW) because of the advertised 7 year life and I could mount them on their side. They have performed flawlessly for the past 7 years. Oops, I guess I'll be changing those soon.

    I have in storage some NIFE block cell 100+ AH Ni-Cd. I originally bought them so I could power dynamotors. They were 6 years old when I got them and I've had them for 20 years. Still going strong in vehicle starting service. The manufacturer stated 20+ year service life. I think the cases will deteriorate before the internals go bad. They are very robust and can be run dry, overcharged, left sitting without charge & survive all sorts of weather extremes without damage. They were originally $1200+ each & came out of an AT & T MW site. I think I have enough to make 110VDC @ 100AH or 28VDC@ 400 AH. I paid $200 total for 2 pallets full, from a client of mine who was in the diesel generator business. We'll see how good they are when I bring them to the shack to power some Dynamotors next year...
  10. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Here's the deal, its a 2010, but the battery I pulled out had a sticker on it that read Nov/11 which I assume meant November 2011. It was also the smaller size model. I could tell the battery had already been changed because the nuts on the cables had a wrench applied to them before. You could tell by looking at them. The question is why did someone change it out after only a year or less? The vehicle came from Arizona and we got it in June with only 26K miles on it.

    I know the XYL draining it down all the way recently with the parking lights shortened its life, but I'm wondering if the auto-lights thing or something else is an issue.
  11. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    The dealers see these problems all the time. One of my sons was a service writer at a Mazda dealer for a couple of years. He said that when a car pulled onto the lot he could almost guess what the complaint would be.
    I don't know if you take your cars to the dealer for service, but if this is a common issue they should know about it.

    We've had a little Honda Hybrid since 2000. It got to "bucking" when driving around 30 MPH. I went on the Honda forums and saw that it was a common problem with and intermittent pot in the EGR sensor. I replaced the sensor in about 15-20 minutes. Problem solved. Should have been a re-called item...