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  1. #1
    Al G's Avatar
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    Battery issue

     



    I've had a 57 Tbird for about 2 years and never a battery problem. This morning I went to start it and battery is dead. Put a meter on it and read about 8 volts. Now here's the strange part. I went to connect a battery charger, holding the negative cable in one hand not touching anything, connected the positive cable with the other hand and it sparked when making contact with the positive terminal. The charger was not plugged in. What would cause it to spark like that?

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    DennyW is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Take off the battery negative cable.
    Then, try the battery charger again. Does it still spark when touching the pos cable of the charger to the battery ?

    ps:
    https://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic-Battery-Drain
    Last edited by DennyW; 07-09-2018 at 08:38 AM.

  3. #3
    rspears's Avatar
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    Al, if the battery charger was not plugged in it seems to me that you just had a potential difference, +8V in the battery positive to 0V in at the charger, so you got a spark from the battery terminal to the lower potential charger cable - not really to "ground" but to the zero potential at the charger so there was electron flow.
    Roger
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  4. #4
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    Your charger has a significant amount of capacitance. The spark was the battery charging the capacitor
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
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    DennyW is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Depends on the type of charger he is using.

    Most have diodes, which direct things one way only.
    Example:

    Attachment 70138

  6. #6
    Al G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennyW View Post
    Take off the battery negative cable.
    Then, try the battery charger again. Does it still spark when touching the pos cable of the charger to the battery ?

    ps:
    https://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic-Battery-Drain
    It didn't spark with the negative battery cable disconnected. Then again it didn't spark later with both cables connected. Sounds like the capacitor charging is what was happening (it's an old charger). I never experienced that before and it surprised me.

    I need to get a better meter to search for the draw. Thanks for the link.

  7. #7
    jerry clayton's Avatar
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    Was the charger a smaller unit and setting on the car???????

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    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    The diagram shows an electrolytic capacitor in parallel with the output. It would charge instantaneously upon connection.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

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    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    It could have been a dome lamp left on maybe?
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    DennyW is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    (It would charge instantaneously upon connection) Yes, but, It would not discharge. Kind of like when you pull a prank, and charge up a ignition condensor, and hand it to someone, that would then get a discharge...

    He said: (I went to connect a battery charger, holding the negative cable in one hand not touching anything, connected the positive cable with the other hand and it sparked when making contact).

    That mean that on a 57 Tbird, if it had any thing like a clock, that could discharge, that most likely would be the case. The old caddies were like that also. Battery hooked up, and you touched the hooked up battery positive post, you would get a pulsating type shock form the battery. Anything with winding's, and hot all the time can cause this.

    ps:It could have been a dome lamp left on maybe?
    Yes, it could be. That would also explain the dead battery.
    Last edited by DennyW; 07-09-2018 at 01:32 PM.

  11. #11
    Al G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry clayton View Post
    Was the charger a smaller unit and setting on the car???????
    It was sitting on the plastic tile floor.

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    Al G's Avatar
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    I don't think anything was left on. Yes, it has a clock that only seems to work when the engine is running.

    Last time I started it was about a week ago. It restarted today after about 3 hours on the battery charger. For the short time I installed a battery disconnect today. That will work until I can chase down the problem. I also left it connected to a battery tender.

  13. #13
    DennyW is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Just a little more follow up. Age of battery. Even a newer battery can have problems. If one cell is not up to par, it will drain the other cells. And sitting for a week is one indicator of a possible battery problem.
    Think of it like this. Each cell on a 12 volt is 2.2 volts. If one cell drops to 2.0 volts for example, the others will try to even help it regain voltage.
    Easiest way to think of this is, you have six buckets full of water. All hooked together. so water can flow from the bottom to each other. But, one bucket, gets a small hole in it. The others all try to fill the one with the hole. Before long, they are all empty.
    Just a simple way to think about it. I've seen brand new batteries, that just had a problem in a short time.
    In my shop, the only brand I would sell was an interstate battery. They seem to really be built good, and hold up. I'm sure there are other brands, but that one is my own personal favorite. I mean, how can you beat a 3 year warranty, and no additional charge, or no pro rated rates. Free replacement. Hahaha. I sound like a salesman now... Hahaha.
    NTFDAY likes this.

  14. #14
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    You should of had to deal with the batteries on the Hobart generators that were modified to start the Caravel jets back in early 60s------

  15. #15
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    I agree with Denny, but I would take the battery back to where it was purchased and have it load tested. Anymore it's not uncommon to have a fairly new battery develop a weak or dead cell.
    DennyW likes this.
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