Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

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azurekep
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:36 am

sport wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:12 am
just frank wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:32 am
Not clear why I should be so worried about jump starting an undercharged battery...batteries make hydrogen when they are fully charged, and only traces otherwise.

Protecting your eyes during the operation is an easy and sensible precaution...but already represents an abundance of caution over a very minute risk.
The reason is the sparks and hydrogen is an inherently dangerous situation. Also, as you say, eye protection is easy and sensible. Since it is your eyesight we are talking about, there is no reason to tempt fate. Granted the likelihood is small. However, people win lotteries against overwhelming odds. A battery explosion is probably more likely. I believe Larry Swedroe used to say "Don't confuse the unlikely with the impossible." He was not talking about batteries, but the principle is the same.
I had read that about 450 battery explosions occur each year. I don't remember the circumstances under which the battery exploded or the date of the article, but I didn't want to be that 451st guy.

It sounds like the risk is minimal, but precautions are still worthwhile. Beyond the eye protection, maybe one can leave the hood open awhile to let the hydrogen gas dissipate. That may confer only a psychological advantage, but for someone like myself who rarely needs to jump-start a car, having a security blanket makes the process less nerve-wracking. Cars and car batteries are "consumer products" with the full faith of Government/Corporation rules and regulations (haha/yeah right) providing guarantees, so realistically we shouldn't have to be worried about car explosions.

I have one further question about jump-starting. When I bought the JumpNCarry portable jump-starter, I only vaguely knew that the cables were shortish. I think I saw a picture of the unit perched somewhere on the front of the car while the battery was being jumped. I wasn't sure that was a good idea since the unit is not that stable and falls over easily. I was curious what the recommendation would be for positioning the jumper unit. I put it on the ground beside the car on top of a plastic box that was available but though the box seemed sturdy enough, it's height was such that I had to stretch the cable to the terminal and I'm not sure I got the tightest connection.

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:47 pm

There are forums dedicated to literally every make and model car (see Google). It's more appropriate to ask this type of question on one of those forums.

researcher
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by researcher » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:00 pm

azurekep wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:36 am
I have one further question about jump-starting... I was curious what the recommendation would be for positioning the jumper unit.
After reviewing all of your posts, your thought processes, the questions you’ve asked, the concerns you’ve expressed…

I think it’s in your best interests to completely avoid any type of automotive maintenance or repair.

Get a AAA membership and find a trusted mechanic. Let them deal with everything auto-related beyond fuel fill-ups.

Wakefield1
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by Wakefield1 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:12 pm

I remember some claim of laying a damp cloth or blanket on top of the battery at least covering the vent/caps area(in hope that it would act as a flame arrestor) before connecting to it but I don't know if that claim was from a professional
I usually blow across the top of a battery a couple times before connecting to it but that might just be superstition on my part
Best to have the eyewear on [as a previous poster said a damaged battery can actually spark internally]
I still think danger of igniting gases around the battery is lowest when the final connection is to ground and at the engine or some other part of the car that is in electrical contact to the ground terminal of the battery. There will almost always be a spark when connecting two batteries or automobile electric systems since the voltages are not likely to be exactly the same and a running car usually has a volt or two higher across its battery because the alternator and voltage regulator usually maintain a slightly higher than resting battery voltage. (for instance 13.8 volts)
Interestingly a fully charged car battery with no load on it will usually be a bit more than 12 volts (more like 12 and a half)
I believe a battery can actually have a tiny bit of resemblance to (what was the name of that thing on Apollo 13-Fuel Cell?) where oxygen and hydrogen were actually reacted together to form water and release energy in the form of electricity

azurekep
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:06 pm

ArmchairArchitect wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:47 pm
There are forums dedicated to literally every make and model car (see Google). It's more appropriate to ask this type of question on one of those forums.
I feel I get much better info keeping it generic. I've tried car forums before and the responses on BHs are better.

azurekep
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:11 pm

researcher wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:00 pm
azurekep wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:36 am
I have one further question about jump-starting... I was curious what the recommendation would be for positioning the jumper unit.
After reviewing all of your posts, your thought processes, the questions you’ve asked, the concerns you’ve expressed…

I think it’s in your best interests to completely avoid any type of automotive maintenance or repair.

Get a AAA membership and find a trusted mechanic. Let them deal with everything auto-related beyond fuel fill-ups.
You're probably right. :D

But that's a non-starter. I'm helping out others who could use some free help. I usually figure out things on my own...eventually.

As for portable jump starters, last I heard they're a personal consumer product. :)

I actually bought one of these units based on an earlier thread. :)

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of how-to info on them. Everyone's familiar with jumper cables, but these portable units are more recent. The short cord length poses problems....

As per your other (and others') comments, I admit I've asked a lot of questions beyond the simple issue of getting a car started. But the level of knowledge here is very detailed. Hard to pass up an opportunity to get advice from people who have worked in the battery industry and/or have experienced battery hazards first-hand. Top-notch information as far as I'm concerned.

Wakefield1
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by Wakefield1 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:10 pm

Also on the subject of jumper cables: I have seen people trying unsuccessfully trying to start cars with what turned out to be 10 or 12 gauge cable,those are worthless except for carrying charging current assuming that the disabled battery is even able to hold a charge well enough to start a car. Even my cheap 6 gauge cables started most of those cars. A pro might have 4 gauge cables or even something much heavier such as welders' cable. I think 0 gauge or even (is it "double ought" 00?) And talking copper,not Aluminum. Quality clamps and proper attachment of the clamps are also something to look for. Also as the cables get longer the voltage drop gets larger for a given gauge. A pro grade set of cables ready made costs a lot of money but then again,my old 6 gauge set works very well unless trying to jump a Diesel which might be putting your car at risk since it is almost like a dead short on your small battery compared to the dual battery or single battery that weighs over 100 lbs. in the Diesel.

MindBogler
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by MindBogler » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:18 pm

azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:35 pm
UPDATE:

Problem was indeed a dead battery. Thanks all for your help. It takes a village. :D

Battery is only 9 months old so that's concerning. But it checked out as still good.
There may be something causing a parasitic power drain. You can buy a multimeter and use it to measure the amp draw while the vehicle is off. The way you would do this is to disconnect the positive battery terminal, set your multimeter to the amp/current setting and complete the circuit: connect one of the meter terminals to the positive cable and the other to the battery's positive terminal. Under normal conditions there should be hardly any current draw, perhaps a few milliamps. Take this measurement and then post back with your results. If there is an abnormal drain the process is to go into the fuse box and do the same thing, circuit by circuit until you find the leg that is contributing. Then you have to go through each device on that circuit individually. Its not hard, per se, but it can be very time consuming.

researcher
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by researcher » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:27 pm

azurekep wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:11 pm
But that's a non-starter. I'm helping out others who could use some free help. I usually figure out things on my own...eventually.
But if you had a AAA membership, it would have provided your friend/relative with the "free help" you seek to provide.
And AAA could have resolved the issue in a matter of minutes, versus you taking several days to get the car started.
Plus, you had to have a mechanic had to come out and jump the car anyways.
As for portable jump starters...Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of how-to info on them. Everyone's familiar with jumper cables, but these portable units are more recent. The short cord length poses problems....
The reasons for this is that portable jump starters are so simple they don't require a lot of how-to info.
Set it somewhere in the engine bay where it won't fall over, connect to the battery terminals, wait 5 minutes, start the car, disconnect.
The cords are short because there is no need to set the battery pack 20 feet away from the car!

azurekep
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:39 pm

MindBogler wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:18 pm
azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:35 pm
UPDATE:

Problem was indeed a dead battery. Thanks all for your help. It takes a village. :D

Battery is only 9 months old so that's concerning. But it checked out as still good.
There may be something causing a parasitic power drain. You can buy a multimeter and use it to measure the amp draw while the vehicle is off. The way you would do this is to disconnect the positive battery terminal, set your multimeter to the amp/current setting and complete the circuit: connect one of the meter terminals to the positive cable and the other to the battery's positive terminal. Under normal conditions there should be hardly any current draw, perhaps a few milliamps. Take this measurement and then post back with your results. If there is an abnormal drain the process is to go into the fuse box and do the same thing, circuit by circuit until you find the leg that is contributing. Then you have to go through each device on that circuit individually. Its not hard, per se, but it can be very time consuming.
That is certainly something I can try in the future (once I get another multimeter.)

As a backup, it's good to know the warranty is still being respected. The gas station guy said next time this happened, they'd just go ahead and replace the battery (assuming it still fell within the warranty period.)

FWIW, the guy who did the jump said something about the clock. Something about it "sticking". I'm not sure how, or even if, the clock might have been involved, but he seemed to think it important enough to comment on.

azurekep
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Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by azurekep » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:49 pm

researcher wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:27 pm
But if you had a AAA membership, it would have provided your friend/relative with the "free help" you seek to provide.
Then I wouldn't have learned anything. ;)
And AAA could have resolved the issue in a matter of minutes, versus you taking several days to get the car started.
You know the story....when you have AAA, you never use it. When you let it expire, suddenly you need it. :)
Plus, you had to have a mechanic had to come out and jump the car anyways.
It was cheap.
The reasons for this is that portable jump starters are so simple they don't require a lot of how-to info.
Set it somewhere in the engine bay where it won't fall over, connect to the battery terminals, wait 5 minutes, start the car, disconnect.
The cords are short because there is no need to set the battery pack 20 feet away from the car!
Probably the fact that the car was hemmed in with little clearance caused some frustration on my part. With the minimal clearance and the poor lighting (the overhead light was out), I was not having a good time. The poor light also hampered my ability to find unpainted metal.

Next time around, I'd bring a camera along so I could look at the engine compartment on a photo in more relaxed surroundings. And also predetermine where the jumper unit should be placed.

Consider this rookie error.

I hope to do better next time. :beer

sport
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Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Vehicle Toubleshooting (multiple issues)

Post by sport » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:29 pm

MindBogler wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:18 pm
azurekep wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:35 pm
UPDATE:

Problem was indeed a dead battery. Thanks all for your help. It takes a village. :D

Battery is only 9 months old so that's concerning. But it checked out as still good.
There may be something causing a parasitic power drain. You can buy a multimeter and use it to measure the amp draw while the vehicle is off. The way you would do this is to disconnect the positive battery terminal, set your multimeter to the amp/current setting and complete the circuit: connect one of the meter terminals to the positive cable and the other to the battery's positive terminal. Under normal conditions there should be hardly any current draw, perhaps a few milliamps. Take this measurement and then post back with your results. If there is an abnormal drain the process is to go into the fuse box and do the same thing, circuit by circuit until you find the leg that is contributing. Then you have to go through each device on that circuit individually. Its not hard, per se, but it can be very time consuming.
NO NO NO!!! This is not the safe way to do this. Actually, it can be very dangerous. The safe way is to disconnect the negative cable, not the positive. The reason for this is if your wrench touches any metal part of the car while it is in contact with the positive terminal, you will have a "dead short" and you may have hundreds of amps going through your wrench with lots of sparks and bits of flying molten metal. If the current is high enough to cause an internal failure in the battery, then a battery explosion can also happen. This can happen when disconnecting the cable, and/or when reconnecting it. This is also why the negative cable should be disconnected first when removing a battery and connected last when installing a new one (or reinstalling the old one). Batteries seem to be safe objects as they just sit there with no moving parts. However, there is a lot of stored energy which can be dangerous if released suddenly. It is important to follow proper procedures.

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