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Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
01-19-2018, 03:07 AM
Post: #1
Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
Hello,

All has been well with my tracker for the better part of a year, besides my NAPA brand distributor cap and rotor dying on me last week (heavy corrosion). Now that that is corrected I have a unrelated problem.

I use my tracker for some light snowclearing during the winter, I don't drive it on public roads at all. Because of this, I don't start and drive it for sometimes upwards of a week at a time. Ever since about 2 weeks ago my stereo is not working and every time I go to drive it the battery it flat dead, not even the door chime goes it's so dead. After even 24 hours it won't start, or will struggle to start.

I found this odd since the battery is less than a year old. So I checked it out and battery and charging system is working perfectly. Next I did the good old test lamp between the battery and ground test. It lit up good and bright with a fully charged battery.

I eventually tracked it down to the TAIL/DOME fuse. I tried to use my mastercraft multi-meter to get a measurement on the drain, but I can't get anything besides 0's. If I pull this fuse and leave it out, it will start right up after a cold 24 hours.

I also tested the wiring going to the stereo, I'm not getting any power on the battery wire. Funny enough the RADIO/CIGAR fuse is good (reading 1 ohm), I even tried a new one to be safe.

Is there something common I can check that will stop my radio from getting power with a good fuse, and drain the battery overnight? I can't find anything from searching and I'm hoping I don't have to go through wiring as it's not my strong suit.
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01-19-2018, 04:06 AM
Post: #2
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
what year, car?/ i have to work 10x harder lacking at least that? sorry.
the rotor and cap term corrosion is not a problem ,erosion is,
the term's are pure aluminum and are hit by 10,000 volt arcs as it spins, and lasts say 50k miles but that white frost seen there aluminum oxide is 100% normal, as does all bare aluminum does outside (humid),
is car packed outside or garaged? if outside I use Solar cell charger, and the battery can be parked in car, for months, no issues. years in fact,
or buy a smart float charger as all boat and motorcyclist use.

Parasitic drain kills all batteries dead and many can not recover, even 1 year old. )(upgrading to boat deep discharge batteries is one more cure, parked with no power, or unplug the batter or buy the battery disconnect lever or buy the magic unloader, that measure the battery 24/7 and disconnect the battery at 20 % loss of charge. endless solutions to parked cars long time.

the typical normal drain is about .010A, 10 mA (milliamps not 100)
10 to 50 can be seen on new cars.
your car (no spec or year stated, ) has 5 drains,
ECU
TCM
RADIO.
tail park lamps
dome lamp.
RWAL , rear wheel antilock brakes (1991 is classic do you have this thing)?
key warming buzzer.
Ill stop here, we have the schemetic if you had told year.... and matters big time.

"It lit up good and bright with a fully charged battery". you meant, remove ground lug and used tiny lamp from battery neg POST to battery cable net PULLED< that is crude ammeter is the oldest test in the world, even back to 1920 shops did this, and is valid today. or not, I am not clear on what you did there, sorry.

dome is ecu /.TCM and radio memory wires.
all 3 are memory NVRAM data retention power feed

use the DMM on amps scale, start high work low
and ammeter (wired ) goes in series with the load, or across the dome socket fuse pulled there. this is again series connected doing that fuse out
then the manual on all meters shows you that the leads + red must be moved to special jacks (forms and ammeter inside the meter)

Do not read ohms on any powered circuit ever. or the meter is useless.
the radio has up to 5 power wires, the more expensive the radio the more. for sure no idea here what radio you have, most sellers of new cars have 6 or more choices new. and more later endless.
main power,
memory power
dial power 1.
dimmer power
antenna power


why not pull the radio power connector jacks and see if the drain is elses.
0.010a is correct,. 0.100 amps not. or more,



i have a drain page covers this all ways from sunday.


http://www.fixkick.com/drain/drain.html


we know now that it has an illegal drain,
if the car has auto trans and is 4speed, and never the 3speed and never stick shift
then there is only 2 drains on dome. (and dome lamp stuck on, LOL)

the radio and the ecu. and DOME are it, 3 things, 4 if AT 4sp.

so remove the dome lamp, drain gone.
remove radio jack main conn. drain gone,
remove ecu jacks, drain gone
if AT remove TCM jack , drain gone.

the hard part for you is learning how to measure amps.

if you put the test leads in amps mode across any power source most meter either blow up,. or blow a fuse.
so never do that.
and ammeter is a shunt device, that is why.

it must be connected in series for the measuring device to see the voltage across a shunt.
there 10,000 meters made for 100 years now, so id need your meter name and model to me smarter.

mastercraft multi-meter
what number? model is it. 052-0050-2 autoranging ?
read page


https://www.manualslib.com/manual/953499...052-2.html



set the dial to MA. (i do 10amp first just to be sure its not huge currents)
then black lead to COM jack lower right.
the red lead to MA jaCK LOWER LEFT, NOT v JACK upper right (its useless for amps)
now take the dome fuse out.
turn off the dome lamp if on (sorry for captain obvious that)
jab the 2 test leads on to the 2 dome fuse pins

if it reads zero the fuse in the meter blew (the jacks in the book tells you in a warning 10a fused)
if the meter reads .010 amps its good if over 0.050 amps bad, id say .030amps max (10 for each device, not counting dome lamp)

the come can use 100 to 1000 mA, depending on the lamp # they make LED dome lamp that is like .o20 A.after market.

if the tail lamps(called parking lamps today) are stuck on oops



old cars like to have issues.
1: wiring hacks, some one puts in aftermarket bs, like cruise controls or alarms . we look at all wiring and then go is this car hacked, takes me 1/2 hour to detect hacking,
non stock hacks are super easy to see, even with casual looking at harnesses.
even trailer hitch wiring hacks.
add endless list here.
but first get your ammeter working and show real numbers, and things get way easier ofter YEAR car

like this, 1995 sidekick 4wd, 4 door, 4 speed AT
see? all models vary and the 2door and 4doors run there own harnesses.

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01-19-2018, 08:16 AM
Post: #3
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
Hi,

I’ll try get a measurement tomorrow. The vehicle is a 1998 tracker, 2 door automatic (3spd) 4x4, base model and bone stock. I do have a trailer wiring harness, one of the ones that converts it from 5 way (separate signal light) to 4 way (signal combined with brake/tail). The only way I can get rid of the drain is to pull the tail/dome fuse (that’s the fuse that lights up my test light in the 1920s era test). Radio has no power going to it all, fuse is in and is good. Doesn’t drain the battery.
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01-23-2018, 01:02 AM (This post was last modified: 01-23-2018 01:19 AM by fixkick.)
Post: #4
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
no tcm, one less drain, key off
we are only at step 1, you know only the drain is on that branch.
i presume you used a passive test lamp. ? 2 connections, fuse dome out, and attached the lamps 2 wires, to the 2 dome fuse terminals.
how a test is done, matters, big time. if yes ,key off and the lamp glows and is real test lamp , not some LED lamp , then that is a huge drain.
and LED uses, .010mA , a lamp is 100mA, real incandecent, so if that glows, that means you have a huge drain. 100mA is huge, .010 is NORMAL.
10times normal or more.
my guess your ammeter blew up the fuse. its in side the case of the DMM, near the battery box some where, in many cases of DMM

this line below,I can not understand. (first part, its unplugged, that is the ONLY way to do that) the fuse is good, sure it is after all when good the illegal drain
happens, then the last 4 words, are contradictory of the first. why?
Radio has no power going to it all, fuse is in and is good. Doesn’t drain the battery.


my drain page covers all ways to isolate any illegal drains.
we pull connectors to find it.
all are in the front of the car, that is if that trailer box is in the rear, if you wired the trailer box to the combo switch in the steering cluster, all bets off.

in all good cases the trailer box adaptor is in the left rear, near the left rear tail light ,trailer harness , jack. the stock wiring is there.

if done well there is no power to the rear there,left rear, main harness runs left of body AT ALL, UNLESS You turn on head lamps or park to on (tail)
the combo switch on the stock car ends all power past it to the rear of the car, (not talking brakes, or reverse or blinks, only Tail.'

the key to find any drain, is to .
1:attach a charger to the battery. (why drain it now with long set of tests below)
dome fuse out now. (its tail too)
2:using a test lamp or ammeter measure the drain continuously) lets say you saw 100mA (0.10Amps) (100mA is lamp drain n most cases or more)
the meter or incandescent passive lamp is across the fuse pins,
if using a lamp test, it must not be a battery one,ever, only true lamps work or real Ampmeter (dmm)
3: next unplug the radio connector 100% this is the only way to prove the radio is not bad. the memory wire is hot all the time, and runs off the dome feed.
4: since car is stock nor can I see it, the trailer box is unplugged, i hope it has connector and not pig tail hashed into harness.
5:the ECU is next, left front speaker behind there is MR, ECU, I unplug it next. all connectors on car are locked, so have to push lever unluck and pull.
6: the car, is 1998, that is a very different car, the 1998 has G16 engine, and 98 ECU. the 1998 can have ABS antilock brakes, does it?
i will stop here and read the 98 schematics. does it have air bags

ever go to mitchells and read the schematics there, see dome fuse, see all loads?
be wise on any car, with a drain to find that first.


ENDLESS OPTIONS IN 98,, DRL GOT DRL, DAYLIGHT DRIVING LIGHTS IN CANADA, USA HAD SOME TOO.? my 98 shows no dome fuse feed here.
AIR BAGs?
ABS? got antilock brakes?
THE USA CAR has a new ecu and new DLC jack above right knee, that jack is 16pins D-shell and is OBD2 comms port and pin 16 runs off, bingo dome
if someone put a DEVICE in that jack(like the teen driver monitor (ins company mandated) or vast other options there) remove it now.


i do not have a fully fsm book on any 1998. id have to go to Mitchell's DIY and read. it.
https://www.eautorepair.net/Marketing/Default.asp


DLC, diag. link connector
see mine, 96 and up USA, mandated by USA EPA, is your car USA? madated in canada 1998 up. are you in canada? Tracker are sold all over N.America.
[Image: 1999.jpg]



once the meter shows say 100mA, we pull connectors all over the car, lacking a real matching schematic of car, there is no other way.
we also have clamp on DC ammeter (magnetic coupling) we can clamp ever dome wire in the car to find the wire that is failing.

i call that the amp clamp. per my dmm page

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01-23-2018, 01:31 AM
Post: #5
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
finding any short , the system is a tree
we only know what branch is shorted,(leaking or drained)
only that,

the tools to find it are here,
no tcm, one less drain, key off
we are only at step 1, you know only the drain is on that branch.
i presume you used a passive test lamp. ? 2 connections, fuse dome out, and attached the lamps 2 wires, to the 2 dome fuse terminals.
how a test is done, matters, big time. if yes ,key off and the lamp glows and is real test lamp , not some LED lamp , then that is a huge drain.
and LED uses, .010mA , a lamp is 100mA, real incandecent, so if that glows, that means you have a huge drain. 100mA is huge, .010 is NORMAL.
10times normal or more.
my guess your ammeter blew up the fuse. its in side the case of the DMM, near the battery box some where, in many cases of DMM

this line below,I can not understand. (first part, its unplugged, that is the ONLY way to do that) the fuse is good, sure it is after all when good the illegal drain
happens, then the last 4 words, are contradictory of the first. why?
Radio has no power going to it all, fuse is in and is good. Doesn’t drain the battery.


my drain page covers all ways to isolate any illegal drains.
we pull connectors to find it.
all are in the front of the car, that is if that trailer box is in the rear, if you wired the trailer box to the combo switch in the steering cluster, all bets off.

in all good cases the trailer box adaptor is in the left rear, near the left rear tail light ,trailer harness , jack. the stock wiring is there.

if done well there is no power to the rear there,left rear, main harness runs left of body AT ALL, UNLESS You turn on head lamps or park to on (tail)
the combo switch on the stock car ends all power past it to the rear of the car, (not talking brakes, or reverse or blinks, only Tail.'

the key to find any drain, is to .
1:attach a charger to the battery. (why drain it now with long set of tests below)
dome fuse out now. (its tail too)
2:using a test lamp or ammeter measure the drain continuously) lets say you saw 100mA (0.10Amps) (100mA is lamp drain n most cases or more)
the meter or incandescent passive lamp is across the fuse pins,
if using a lamp test, it must not be a battery one,ever, only true lamps work or real Ampmeter (dmm)
3: next unplug the radio connector 100% this is the only way to prove the radio is not bad. the memory wire is hot all the time, and runs off the dome feed.
4: since car is stock nor can I see it, the trailer box is unplugged, i hope it has connector and not pig tail hashed into harness.
5:the ECU is next, left front speaker behind there is MR, ECU, I unplug it next. all connectors on car are locked, so have to push lever unluck and pull.
6: the car, is 1998, that is a very different car, the 1998 has G16 engine, and 98 ECU. the 1998 can have ABS antilock brakes, does it?
i will stop here and read the 98 schematics. does it have air bags

ever go to mitchells and read the schematics there, see dome fuse, see all loads?
be wise on any car, with a drain to find that first.


ENDLESS OPTIONS IN 98,, DRL GOT DRL, DAYLIGHT DRIVING LIGHTS IN CANADA, USA HAD SOME TOO.? my 98 shows no dome fuse feed here.
AIR BAGs?
ABS? got antilock brakes?
THE USA CAR has a new ecu and new DLC jack above right knee, that jack is 16pins D-shell and is OBD2 comms port and pin 16 runs off, bingo dome
if someone put a DEVICE in that jack(like the teen driver monitor (ins company mandated) or vast other options there) remove it now.


i do not have a fully fsm book on any 1998. id have to go to Mitchell's DIY and read. it.
https://www.eautorepair.net/Marketing/Default.asp


DLC, diag. link connector
see mine, 96 and up USA, mandated by USA EPA, is your car USA? madated in canada 1998 up. are you in canada? Tracker are sold all over N.America.
[Image: 1999.jpg]



once the meter shows say 100mA, we pull connectors all over the car, lacking a real matching schematic of car, there is no other way.
we also have clamp on DC ammeter (magnetic coupling) we can clamp ever dome wire in the car to find the wire that is failing.

i call that the amp clamp. per my dmm page
recap , techniques>

with test lamp (passive, no battery in lamp ,no LEDs) and a schematic, all there is to do is pull connectors on all dome feed branches and twigs
for sure all main controllers first
radio connectors or funny new radio AMP upgrades.
ecu,connector pulled.
tcm ,4sp only, skip
abs?
airbags possibly
things added to car from day one, ? all things removed, now to see if they are bad.
DLC toys unplugged.in (teen nanny ,etc, to the 100th degree here endless OBD2 toys exist, now. )
all body harnesses on the car have connectors, many are hidden. but pulling them isolates shorts or drains to the problem.
front to rear connectors are on left side.


do not force connectors all have locks and suzuki nor GM sells spares !!!!

this is not hard, I had to do this on huge ships, endlessly hard. wild stories and even magic tools to tell me number of meters to a short, (TDR)
the best place to be is FSM hand , or mitchells pages, the full schematics will tell you where DOME goes.
with that tiny fact, what connectors need to pulled.

it is that simple. on cars.

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01-23-2018, 01:38 AM
Post: #6
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
posting from near The Yucatán Peninsula, at sea.GRIN,
we inspect the all harnesses first, for hacking.
or past collision damage for sure harness damage not correctly repaired
is the dome lamp off? sorry step one skipped above.
things seen ,not stock or hacking evidence
in most cases its a bad radio.,.. why not just unplug it first.
if drain goes to 0.010 (10 times less) the RADIO IS TOAST, gonE , THROW IT IN THE TRASH, upgrade for $99 at walfart.
the old radio's memory ,may be blown to H3LL or its caps there shorting.... all very very very common this OLD
station memory uses NVRAM technology + dome power to work.
just a guess, that... 1 cause of many.

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01-23-2018, 01:40 AM
Post: #7
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
did you mean
radio unplugged, no more drain....?????? if yes the cause is obvious

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01-23-2018, 01:41 AM
Post: #8
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
normal drain is below 0.010 amps, 10mA. or less. for one radio. most are in UA range micro amps. tiny.

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01-23-2018, 08:34 AM (This post was last modified: 01-23-2018 11:55 PM by Perry.)
Post: #9
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
Hello, thanks for taking the time to respond. It is a 1998 base model tracker. No options whatsoever. It does have DRLs but the speedo is in miles so I think it’s a USA car. No abs brakes. It has been in an accident before. And it’s had more than one owner over the last 20 years so wiring probably does have some hacks. Nothing overly noticeable though.

One day the radio stopped working. I pulled it and there is no power going to the radio at all. I check the radio fuse and it’s good, try a new fuse for good measure and still no radio. This is the same time the drain started killing the battery in about 24 hours. Before this it would last weeks. I tried to the test light method to track down the drain to the dome/tail fuse.

So right now the radio is removed from the vehicle, but it still drains when the dome/tail fuse is inserted.

Battery lasts 96 hours no problem with this fuse pulled.


You were right, the little fuse in my meter was gone. I replaced it and (.902) with the meter on “2m” is the measurements I got when I put the the dome tail fuse back in. I think this means 900ma? Or 0.9amps? Which is a massive drain correct? When I take the dome/tail fuse back out the drain is 0ma. Please note this measurement is taken with key out, all doors closed, dome light bulb removed and radio removed.

I also tried the trick where you sit in the garage in the dark and look for glowing. I found nothing at all, even finding the light switch was pretty damn hard in the pitch dark lol.


I hope this gives you a better picture.


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01-24-2018, 08:17 AM (This post was last modified: 01-24-2018 08:25 AM by Perry.)
Post: #10
RE: Parasitic drain and no radio, not sure where to turn.
So I found all the things that run off the dome/tail fuse for this vehicle. I use a website called workshop-manuals. It has a great selection but is very hard to navigate as it's all HTML rather than pdf. here is the link to the page with the fuse feeds.

Here's what it says:

TAIL DOME FUSE (15A)

- Data Link Connector-On Board Diagnostics II (DLC-OBD II)
- Dome Lamp
- Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) don't think I have this, ABS only? I don't have abs
- Headlamp Relay 2
- Ignition Key Warning Switch
- Powertrain Control Module (PCM) Only 4spd auto correct? I have 3spd.
- Radio
- Spot Lamp (Not Used)

Sadly is doesn't say where they all are but it gives me a place to start disconnecting and seeing if i can single it out.

I don't see how it's possible to unplug the DLC, it's wired right in above my left knee like you said. I'll try on the rest.
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