battery discharging overnight? 2003 c5 petrol
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Thread: battery discharging overnight? 2003 c5 petrol

  1. #1
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    Default battery discharging overnight? 2003 c5 petrol

    The battery was a bit flat as it was a bit hard to start the other day, but she still started unassisted and I drove to around 200kms to Brisbane and back on saturday. I thought that would be ok to charge the battery up again. Didn't drive on Sunday but turned her over last night and started ok again. This morning the battery is dead, nothing at all. The battery has an indicator inside it and it says the battery is still good.....

    Is it just a bad battery or can something in the electronics trip causing power to get drained over night?

    I also never received the immobilizer card from the previous owner and they seem to have lost it. Any way I can get this info back in case I need to re-initialize?

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    A failing alternator is one possible cause of battery flattening, there are a bunch of other permanently "hot" connections, too.

    The secure code is obtainable on a fee basis, try Martin at "citroencodes" on the internet if the local dealer won't supply it for nix or sub-$30.

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    Gareth
    you don't by any chance have a tow bar and a brake controller fitted do you? If so it may be the brake controller causing lights to come on during the night and flattening the battery.
    Early on when we used to tow an Avan camper with the C5 we needed a brake controller and had a Tenshonka one fitted. It was only when my daughter came over one night that she noticed the brake lights were on. After much investigating we came to the conclusion that it was the brake controller causing spurious signals and sometimes setting the brake lights on. Not all the time mind, intermittently = I hate intermittent faults. When removed no more problems (we had moved to a Euro caravan by then with overide brakes so the brake controller was no longer needed). We never did discover if it was the interaction with the C5 or faulty instalation.
    If this doesn't help you it may help someone else.
    Good luck
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    No tow bar Peter, but thanks for the suggestion.
    For now I've borrowed a battery charger and will charge to 100%. I'll start the car, let it run for a bit. Then turn it off and see what the charge is in the morning. Hopefully its still near full.

    Apart from a new battery, is there any way to test the alternator as addo mentioned? Don't want to buy a new battery only for a bad alternator to drain it overnight again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by garethb View Post
    No tow bar Peter, but thanks for the suggestion.
    For now I've borrowed a battery charger and will charge to 100%. I'll start the car, let it run for a bit. Then turn it off and see what the charge is in the morning. Hopefully its still near full.

    Apart from a new battery, is there any way to test the alternator as addo mentioned? Don't want to buy a new battery only for a bad alternator to drain it overnight again!
    Well, the fastest test is to check voltage output. Charge the battery as you have, check the voltage, then start the car. Check the voltage again. At rest, you should see 12.5-.7 volts. On a fast idle (1000rpm +) you should see at a minimum 13.7 volts. 14.5 or so is ideal. If you can't get a full reading from the battery at rest, suspect your battery. If you can't get a running voltage, suspect your alternator. To be really thorough, you need to have the battery load tested.

    As Adam mentioned, there are also several battery fed circuits that can kill a battery rapidly. A courtesy light staying on, for instance. If you have an aftermarket stereo with a large amplifier, that can introduce a large drain.

    You can run a drain test with a voltmeter (analog here is better than digital).. Set the meter for VDC. Remove the negative cable, and place the positive lead of the meter on the battery cable end. Connect the negative voltmeter lead to the negative battery post. Now the fun begins: pull fuses ("hot" circuits first) and pay attention to your meter after each pull. If the readings stop after that fuse, you have an idea where the fault lay. Don't ignore relays- pull them too. This test is fiddly and very time consuming, so hopefully you won't need to go far to find your fault.
    The measure of your character isn't what you do when people are watching- it's what you do when they aren't watching.

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    Hi gareth,
    A quick course in auto electrics by email too! A c5 does not have a code to lose. Only one for the keys. Disconnecting the battery will not lose anything, but the windows will need resetiing and possibly some auto things may be odd for a while.

    However first you should check the battery terminal connections. Clean and tight is the norm. Green fungus, dirty or loose etc will restrict charging and starting. Also any auto battery place will do the charging check while you wait, free probably. If its OK then they can load check the battery if it has been charged and is not flat.

    You could get a meter or a multimeter that reads to 20volts DC and check its voltage. Cheap at Jaycar or Repco etc. The battery should read about 12.5 Volts or more at rest if its ok (30minutes after any use). Less than 12.2 and its seriously not charged.
    Start engine and the voltage should go up to 13 + almost straight away. Rev the engine and it should climb towards 14 as it charges and peak at 14.4 or so. (More is a problem).

    IF THE ALTERNATOR IS NOT CHARGING THEN THE VOLTAGE WILL NOT RISE to the 14.4 value. A lessor value is not enough but it may take a while (30-60 mins) to charge the battery to the full voltage if it is flat.

    Check and report for more tips. There are lots of things to go wrong and drain the battery but not very likely usually. The computer turns everything off after 20 minutes if you leave them on.
    jaahn
    Hotrodelectric put in a reply when I was typing. Read that also.
    However with a C5 if you do not know what to do DON"T. Ask for backup first. It has more relays and fuses that you think and plenty hidden also. Everything is computer controlled by a relay.
    Last edited by jaahn; 8th September 2014 at 09:37 PM.

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    And some of those relays are pitifully small, surface mounted devices that can't cope.

    If the BSI forgets its identity, you need the secure code.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    And some of those relays are pitifully small, surface mounted devices that can't cope.

    If the BSI forgets its identity, you need the secure code.
    How old is the battery? national average is 3.5 years... The indicator only reads one cell so isnt indicative of overall condition...



    dino

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    Thanks, some very good tips! I'll give it a go with the multimeter tonight. Been looking for an excuse to get one of these past the misses

    3.5yrs for a battery! didn't realize it was that little. I've had the car just under a year. Previous owner said battery was fairly new, but I guess that could mean anything.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    It only means they remember paying for it. :-/

    A load test on the battery will reveal its health, this is free at many stores like Battery World if you take in the battery loose and after 24H on a charger.
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    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    I have had dirty or 'corroded by time' battery terminals cause this sort of issue. Try giving all the connectors a good clean with some fine grade wet and dry paper.

    Ken W

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    Better to use amps for a drain test. Disconnect the positive battery lead and connect the multimeter in series between the battery terminal and the lead. Start with the highest amp setting first, and work your way down if you don't get a reading. The car should only drain a matter of milliamps for its radio memory etc.


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    I had a similar problem years ago, the boot light microswitch failed "on" with the boot closed so you could not see it, took ages to find.

    I completely concur with the above suggestions, but in particular using the amps setting on the multi meter to read the drain in real time. Watch out with the meter settings, many require you to plug the leads into a different socket to get a 10A max reading & 10A is where you should start.

    Regards

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    Thanks Ken. I'm leaning towards battery or something else. Charged to somewhere between 75%-100% last night and started fine. Came back in the morning and dead again. This would rule out dirty terminals? Also rule out alternator?

    I'll try with the multimeter tonight. Will only move to the relay test mentioned by HotRodElectric if I can rule out the battery as the cause. Will post results later tonight. Thanks for the all the help!

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    Why not repeat the above test but disconnect the battery overnight & then see if it starts in the morning ? if not, then you will know the battery is stuffed, if it does....the search begins for the leak .

    Richard

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    Definitely a battery issue! Glad it wasn't something else.

    After about 6 hours charging last night, battery read 11.5 volts (battery charger said between 50% and 75% charged). So I'm guessing that's normal for not fully charged? That was enough to start the car, and when started at night, jumped to 14.3 when at 1k revs (lights on, door open, air-con running) and stayed at around that for 3 mins. Turned that car off and disconnected the battery. Tested the battery in the morning and it had dropped about 1.5-2 overnight while not connected to anything and wouldn't start when I connected again. I'm going to see if it's dropped again when I get home as its still not connected but I take that to mean a bad battery?

    By the way, thanks for all the info. I really learnt a lot out of the replies in this thread!

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Yessir, that's a bad battery. 14.3 is a little low on alternator, but not bad. I'm a mildly surprised you didn't start seeing odd glitches in the body control module. Usually with battery voltage that low, some really weird things happen. Wally doing his Daffy Duck Dance, for instance.
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    To be honest, I did see weird things going on. But from all my readings I thought weird things were normal and expected in this car. What makes Citroens 'special'.......
    I started getting passenger airbag faults, all different kind of brake errors, there was also another one, might have been immobilizer fault. But a restart would make them go away. I just put it in the forgetaboutit bag with the antipollution fault I've kept getting on and off since day 1

    Thanks again guys!

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    Wife's Mondeo had this problem and I had to reset the electric window memory settings, and a few other things to do with the climate control temperature settings. If you find any issues, Google them; worked for me. Especially those obscure things like holding one button down for 2 secs, and another for 4 secs, while scratching your arse for eight seconds.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey View Post
    Wife's Mondeo had this problem and I had to reset the electric window memory settings, and a few other things to do with the climate control temperature settings. If you find any issues, Google them; worked for me. Especially those obscure things like holding one button down for 2 secs, and another for 4 secs, while scratching your arse for eight seconds.
    That sounds suspiciously like the reset procedure for a Lincoln Town Car

    Be grateful. I understand the reset procedure for a later Mercedes E-Klasse involves swinging a shaved ocelot overhead while incanting "The power of Gottlieb compels you!!"

    Working on some GM injection systems, the PCM reset tool looked all the world like an 8-pound sledge hammer.....
    The measure of your character isn't what you do when people are watching- it's what you do when they aren't watching.

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    I've just been in the same place with my Renault R8 (thankfully few electronics). Battery replacement fixed all. With hindsight, a few symptoms from cranking speed, firing as key was released (voltage spiked as starter stopped but motor still turning) etc.

    Good it is fixed!
    JohnW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotrodelectric View Post
    That sounds suspiciously like the reset procedure for a Lincoln Town Car

    Be grateful. I understand the reset procedure for a later Mercedes E-Klasse involves swinging a shaved ocelot overhead while incanting "The power of Gottlieb compels you!!"

    Working on some GM injection systems, the PCM reset tool looked all the world like an 8-pound sledge hammer.....
    All of which should, very explicitly, make it clear that this is nothing to do with French cars, but CARS with modern electronic systems that, oddly enough () need the correct voltage. Who'd have thought it.....
    JohnW

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