The battery on my Volvo keeps dying. How should I determine and fix the problem? Answered

I have a 1996 Volvo 850 GTL Wagon.  We drive it infrequently, averaging 2 trips per week.  If it isn't driven in 10 - 14 days, the battery will invariably be dead, and I'll need to jump start it, or charge it with a trickle charger overnight.   At first, I thought the battery was worn out even though it was wasn't quite to the end of its warranty period.  I replaced it, but this didn't solve the problem. Next, I thought our typically short trips weren't allowing the battery to fully charge, so I specifically changed my driving habits and used the trickle charger to top up the battery on a regular basis.  After doing this, the battery would measure in the 12.3 to 12.6 V range, but after two weeks without driving would be again be dead, measuring in the 11 V or lower range.  Even after needing a jump-start, the battery will start the car again after just 5 minutes of driving. I've measured the steady-state current draw from the battery after the car has been off for several minutes to several hours using both a clamp-on style ammeter (<0.1 amps; lowest the clamp-on could measure) and an inline current meter between the negative terminal and the negative terminal's clamp (40 mA). 40 mA seems reasonable from what I can find online, and shouldn't be enough to drain the battery over 2 weeks.   So, I have an 11-month old battery that won't hold a charge for two weeks, and I'm fairly confident there's no abnormal current draws from the car.  Should I replace the battery again and hope for the best?  Is there any truth (and references!) to claims that a lead-acid battery once drained too low can never recover? Updated with new information for the various suggestions below: After fully charging the battery, I disconnected it for 48 hours.  It remained at 12.6 volts over the entire period, and when I reconnected it, easily started the car. I don't suspect the alternator:  When the car is running, 5-6 amps flows into the battery and the voltage on the battery is 13.6 V; and if I drive the car once or twice a week, the battery never dies.  I do suspect something with the keyless remote.  I stopped using my keyless remote years ago because I found it too bulky to carry around -- I lock and unlock the car using the key in the door.  Christy still uses her keyless remote.  Recently, she was the last one to drive the car before we went out of town for 10 days.  When we got back, I was positive the battery would be dead, but it started the car without a problem.  So, I ran the experiment of leaving the car unlocked, locked with the key, and locked with the keyless remote.  After a few days, the battery would be dead when locked with they key, but not when locked with the keyless remote or left unlocked.  Frustratingly, I've checked the current draw in all three configurations, and it's 40 mA in each case (and stays that way for several minutes).  For now, I have a solution that keeps the battery from dying if I don't regularly drive the car, but I'd still like to understand what is going on. Updated with solution 2010-09-02 At the car's next regular service, the shop recognized the problem.  On cars of this type and age, the crimp on the positive terminal can fail turning the positive wire to the battery into a resistor rather than a wire.  This is diagnosed by measuring the charging voltage on the battery and giggling the wire (it will jump around, and not remain at the required 13.8 V), and by noticing that the wire itself is hot.  Volvo recently released a fix for this, and previously the shop had to remove the entire wiring harness, at great expense, to fix it.  So, my battery was never getting fully charged, and I've selected the best answer from among the suggestions that my measured charging voltage was too low.   

Question by ewilhelm   |  last reply


lithium vs lead acid for gokarts

For electric go karts, which one is better (for the money)? Lead acid is by far much much cheaper, but it is much much heavier. With a heavier battery you need a stronger frame, which weighs even more. With all of this weight you need an even stronger motor to push it all. With lithium you can build a lighter, cheaper frame, and power it with a weaker and cheaper motor and still obtain the same speeds. Lead Acid batteries take up about 1/3 the weight of a gokart with rider (1/3 being the driver, and the other third being chasis and motor and such). Reducing the weight by about a third (honestly, lithium, batteries weigh like nothing) could have huge performance improvements. So, does spending more money on batteries, and saving money on chasis and motor equal out to spending less on batteries and more on chasis and motor?

Topic by guyfrom7up   |  last reply


What to do with a 45 watt solar panel?

I have 2 solar panels 1 is (15w) and the other is (30w) they both produce around 3 amps together in good wether Anyone have some good ideas on what to power with it. it is charging up a 17ah battery

Question by Daniel Deacon   |  last reply


Replacing lead acid batteries in an electric bike battery pack.

Hi folks. Several years ago I replaced the batteries in my ex's bike, when I dismantled what I assumed to be the battery pack in it's original state it contained six 6v (16ah if I recall correctly) batteries, I bought identical batteries & wired them into the box exactly as it had been before & unsurprisingly it worked perfectly. The bike is now mine and as I said that was several years ago, the bike has seen a lot of use since & the pack has been discharged & recharged sometimes several times a week ever since, the bike is now lacking power, hills it used to climb with ease are now becoming a struggle & the bike is generally not as fast as it use to be so I have been looking around for another set of batteries planning to replace them once again. When I started looking around the web for suitable replacements for my model of bike every site I found with deals for a battery set lists not six 6v but three 12v, dimension wise they are not a problem as the three batteries will fit quite nicely into the box but I have to admit I was a little surprised. I will be honest I'm not as well versed on things like electric bikes as I would like to be & frankly the whole thing is a bit of a mystery to me, ask me for a table a workbench a garden swing or a shed & I'm your man, I can rebuild computers & set up networks without a problem and there are plenty of other things that I'm very good at but with this stuff I need advice. My question is simply this, is there any advantage or disadvantage for that matter to using three 12v 15Ah rather than six 6v 16ah batteries. I would prefer answers in plain simple layman's terms rather than lots of technical jargon, if it helps the bike is a Thompson Euro Classic with a 36v lead acid battery pack and rear hub motor, admittedly a bit of a dinosaur in electric bike terms but it still gets me around well enough I'd just like to get a bit more power out of it. Thanks in advance for any help. NG.

Topic by Nostalgic Guy   |  last reply


Swapping out a lead acid electric bike battery for a Lithium Ion one.

Hi folks. I have a fairly old but still quite serviceable Thompson Euro Classic electric bike that runs on a 36v lead acid electric battery pack with a brushless motor. I've just been offered a 36v lithium ion bike battery that I would love to use but I'm not too sure if it would be the right choice, my main reason for the change is simply weight consideration, the current battery pack comprises of three 12v batteries and weighs in at a hefty 28lb the replacement weighs a little under 4lb, this would very obviously make quite a difference in the bikes 87lb overall weight. However weight isn't the only consideration, I would like to extend the range of my bike and with a little work and some suitable wiring and a couple of switches I could quite easily use the battery as a second power source for longer rides, I fitted a large plastic  tool box onto a rear carrier when I first bought the bike which would easily accommodate the battery or I could possibly even add an external carrier for it behind the seat, the current battery is good for around fifteen to twenty miles depending on how many hills I hit & how much I feel like pedalling, I hoping that an additional battery would double the range meaning I could rely on it to visit nearby towns without having to worry about finding somewhere I can give the battery a booster charge. My main worry is about damage to the motor, I know very little about electric bike motors and having read so many stories about these batteries suffering from overheating problems and even catching fire I am more than a little concerned I could damage to my only transport, I usually ride motorcycles but thanks to a couple of health issues I'm currently grounded so apart from walking which can be pretty limiting this bike is my only way to get around without spending a fortune on public transport I'm looking for advice from people who know about electric bikes and their motors who could give me some simple advice in layman's terms on how to proceed, please don't blind me with all sorts of technical jargon as it really wouldn't help, I'm not stupid it just isn't my field of expertise. Thanks in advance for your help. NG.

Topic by Nostalgic Guy   |  last reply


how to know if a battery is charging? Answered

I want to know if my lead acidic battery is charging.can i use a volt meter to know that ?and how?

Question by tarz_00   |  last reply


I want to run my 12 volt power tools ( ridgid ) using a 12 volt lead acid battery

I have been doing this for years and I finally found this line of tools that is small and compact and the battery fits in the handle and it has tons of power  the lithium ion 12 v ridgid drill and job max line. I tried to wire up the tools contacts to the small lead acid batteries I normally use and even a full size car battery but it failed to power tool because there is this small contact that the tool is requiring which the lithium battery has but obviously the lead acid does not.  I do this for heavy duty use such as continual sawing and sanding and things like that.  any suggestions I really need to make this work as I run a mobile business.  I am looking for a solution to over riding the need for that extra contact and I am fully aware that I will void the warranty as many of you may be thinking. Please help 

Question by captainj954   |  last reply


Can I charge and use 18650's simultaneously or better charged first, block from solar, then use with the power inverter?

Hi all, I have been into DIY Solar / Wind for a while. Everything been working great until I planned to replace my lead acid batteries for the 3.6V LG HG2 3000mAh 18650's. With the lead acid I could power my house anytime during day (using solar panels) or night off-grid with ease. So, I bought a lot of 200 18650's and spot welded them in 4S50P. Balanced them, and all that good stuff (time consuming, and a learning experience). Installed a BMS on it too, have a 30 Amp charge controller for 4x100W solar panels which I reserved for this project. Now, I have been searching for a while if these 18650's can be used anytime (connected to solar panels and with the power inverter feeding the house at the same time) ... with no success.

Question by LuisE47   |  last reply


hybrid go kart?

We r making hybrid go kart with 1 hp motor for hybrid go kart challenge which battery pack will be good choice 1.Lead acid 2.Ni metal hydride because of cost constraint we can't use li ion so if u know any other good batteries with low cost plz tell info: 48v 150 amps initial current energy efficient

Question by vpsingh92   |  last reply


Battery Pack or Car Battery - Biking

To all of you night bikers out there, do you power your lights with a battery pack of NiMh or Li-Ion battery packs, or do you use a lead-acid car battery? The weight of the car battery kind of turns me away from it, but I don't want to have to recharge my batteries every day. I'm looking to power LEDs and maybe halogens. Thanks!

Topic by Bran   |  last reply


how to limit dc current at 80A? Answered

Dear Sir,               I have a 48V 100Ah Lead Acid battery pack from which I have to power a electric drive train. I want to limit the current drawn from the battery to 80A & also short-circuit protection feature. Ipreferred MCB for this purpose but it  dint work out well. So I need an alternative for MCB, on searching over the internet I found that DC current limiter may do the job in my condition &. I am newbie in this field. Please guide me through the circuitry which may help me out. Best Regards, Rohit Patel.

Question by rohit1491   |  last reply


Modifying my scooter for charging a battery?

I have a Scooter and now i have added a battery within it. I charge the battery externally, but lately i have seen that the lights that i keep on in the night (halogens lights) tend to fade away after 30 min or so and gone. Now i want to charge the battery while on the move. I tried doing so through the coils that were in the scooter by adding a rectifier circuit it works but the head light goes dim, and this idea didn't work out for me. But now i am planning to buy an external alternator and modify my scooter to charge the battery. Is it possible and if so what is the type of alternator i should use and the Amp ratings. My battery is a lead Acid Battery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_kxy2XLDxQ Thanks in advance

Question by raikut   |  last reply


Circuit for electric vehicle? Regenerative braking / free-wheeling?

I'm working on a circuit for an electric trike I plan to build for the local EV challenge competition. I plan to incorporate regenerative "free-wheeling" to recharge the batteries on the down hill sections. S1 closed and S2 open to accelerate the vehicle. S1 open and S2 closed to recharge the batteries while freewheeling down hill. Batteries: sealed lead acid batteries 12V or 24V (depending on motor) Motor: brushed DC motor Would this kind of circuit work? Is it possible to recharge SLA batteries in such a way? Any help and/or suggestions is appreciated. PS. I know it would also be possible to implement regen braking using a full H-bridge, but i think we would be doing more freewheeling than braking on the race track.

Question by mulan2015   |  last reply


Keeping my equipment warm

Recently i went to take pictures in the middle of the night at Subfreezing temperatures and the front of my lens formed ice. so i need to keep the lens warm, there are many solutions but the one i thought would be fun to use is the use of a heating element. I found resistance heating wire, i would like to make an object that could fit around my lens and keep it warm. to prevent overheating i will use a microcontroller with temperature sensors to cut of the supply of electricity at a certain temperature. i just want to keep the lens at more than 5 degrees centigrade. I think my 12v lead acid battery will be enough for this kind of project. My question is how to do it, how much heating wire should i use? how much heat will it make? what wire should i use? Will it work? Any other ideas are welcome.

Topic by markosloizou   |  last reply


Voltages for 7AH, SLA batteries

So I've read all on the web about the voltages of a lead acid battery, and according to sites like This One the battery should be full at 12.69v or so. The only thing is I'm getting 13.02v on one SLA, and 13.08v on another. One of the batteries is brand new, and the other is out of a UPS. Are these batteries badly overcharged, or am I just really ignorant and can't find a simple site listing SLA voltages :) The batteries were not connected to anything for about 12 hours before I took the readings, and I have tested the multimeter I used, and it is accurate.If it helps, the battery says:Constant voltage charge(25C)- Cycle use: 14.5-14.9V- Standby use: 13.6-13.8V- Initial current: 2.1AAny advice / help would be greatly appreciated!PS) The main project is powering a computer with these batteries. I've done that so far and it draws only around 1.8A, so hopefully it could last for quite long! (~5 hours or so)

Topic by cb22   |  last reply


Electric Motor Tricycle 6V4.5Ah

I bought a riding toy for my son and it's cool, but it doesn't have enough power sometimes.  It's fast enough in the house, but it gets stuck outside.  The plastic wheels tend to slip on rough surfaces and inclines, but I can address that issue at the wheels/tires to some degree.  However, the battery that came with it is a 6V4.5AH/20HR sealed lead-acid rechargeable battery (It has F1 contacts, so unless I change or adapt the wires/connectors, I think I need to stick with a battery that has these).  The AC-DC adapter has 6V DC 500mA output, but I think I could get a UNIVERSAL AC DC ADAPTER {1.5V 3V 4.5V 6V 9V 12V 500mA} that would work with a new battery. I'm hoping that I can increase the power noticeably but safely.  One constraint is the width of the battery area inside the "engine" compartment.  It fits the present battery (1.75 x 2.75 x 4), but I'll have to mod the compartment to fit a replacement that's more than slightly bigger. I've seen some 12V4.5AH batteries online, but most are larger in every dimension. Am I even on the right track thinking a higher voltage battery is what I need?  Could I use an NiMH or Li battery/batteries instead? What's the easiest, safest, cheapest route for this mod? Thanks, Dan

Topic by danhorowitz   |  last reply


Make supercapacitors from graphite in a DVD burner

The outline is that you can deposit graphite oxide (a cheap bulk material) onto a film of PET (the plastic used in Coke bottles), hit it with a commodity infra-red laser (such as the one in a $30 LightScribe DVD burner) and end up with a form of activated carbon material that can be used as the electrode in an electrolytic capacitor.  Add some aluminium foil, separator membrane and electrolyte and you've got cheap, robust energy storage.  The headline numbers are a few hundred milliFarads per cubic centimetre at a few volts, which works out to 1.36kWh per cubic metre of stacked capacitors.  It's still about 50 times less energy per volume than lead acid batteries, but you could store as much energy as your house will need overnight in the size of a garden shed or a set of bunk beds.  They charge/discharge in seconds and retain >95% capacity at 10,000 cycles so seem suitable for storage to even out intermittent energy generation from, for example, solar or wind power. I'm really thinking about cost here- unless I'm missing something fundamental it doesn't seem like producing these on a high volume roll-to-roll process would be excessively difficult, and the cycle life means the replacement time would be many years even in heavy usage.  Could you get sufficient kWh per dollar to make these a viable storage mechanism for home-scale renewables? There's a more informative article here.

Topic by PKM   |  last reply


The Newman Motor Challenge !

I was recently approached by someone claiming the old Newman Motor wouldn't be good for anything.Well, I was a little bit offended by this as I already had my little toy version of it as kid.At that time though it really was just a toy for me.Critics still say the Newman Motor is nothing more than some interesting machine.And even the biggest followers will admit it is not a free energy machine, just a very efficient one.I experimented with, what some call fringe science, now for about 30 years.And it all started with math and my interest in unusual ways of dealing with problems.So what's behind the challenge?The original design was suprisingly simple as you can see in the above Wiki link.Just a spinning magnet in a (split) coil.What you don't find anywhere though is real details on the how to.Sure, you need to have some sort of contact linked to the rotation and timing is critical but what does it all do?You can build a drt simple model in a few hours with stuff you might have around already.Quite a few Youtubers are happy to share their creations.The actual challenge is to come up with what Newman really did inside his drum.And also why I think it is not the full potential his machine had.Build a simple Newman motor and check for how long you can let it run on a charge super capacitor.Then sit back and read some of the other magnet stuff I wrote.After that come up with a better design ;)I started to create some 3D models that need testing once I find more free time - should take some leave one day..But for those with little patience and an interest in the Newman Motor I decided to share my current idea:For some it might be really confusing although they know motors and magnetic fields.Those just playing with magnets might have it easier for once as they can pretend they followed my thoughts ;)The original design used two coils and a rotating magnet.If you consider how the magnet creates an electromagntic field in the coils then you have to wonder right away how it can spin.And most designs will indeed need a push start to get going!You can't have electricity produced without the magnet spinning and you can't make it spin without electricity!The current from the battery or capacitor can only flow at the short moment of contact on the axle.This moment needs to be timed "mechanical" as we don't want to waste any power on not required electronics.If you ever bothered to check the timing of a Newman Motor then you realised the collapsing electromagnetic field at the moment of contact actually is in reverse to what the manget has in that position.Unlike any normal motor it means the magnet produces most of the power the coil needs to make the rotor spin!So far for the well known facts, now for my fiction:I would like to call my version the Aussie Newman Motor as all things downunder are just different ;)Here are my current desing mods, that I freely share so everyone can benefit form many years of experimenting to save a lot of time.1. Instead of two coils a not-really-bifilar coil is centered on the axle.The coil is created like two stacked relay coild that have no bobbin and a "dint" to allow the axle to pass through.Without the big gap of the original less of the magnetic field strenght is lost and the coil is far closer to a homogenous magnet.2. The timing done by salvaging a simple DC motor's contacts and brushes.This allows for far higher currents and if the salvaged motor had enough poles also for a very short "burst".3. The axle contact is made with a cleaned steel bearing.After cleaning very conductive copper based lubricant is used in tiny amounts to prevent corrosion and provide a lower resistance.The clear benefit is that with the new timing system a lot more current can flow.Initial tests with a mock up model showed an increase in run time from the capacitor of about 15% already.With proper bearings and a salvaged DC motor I hope to reach 18 to 20% more than the original design.Now why the DC motor if a reed contact or hall effect sensor would be even faster and with less resistence?Neither can handle really high currents without additional electronics ;)Plus of course I wanted to leave the door open for the Aussie Newman Motor 2020.You might now say "Why bother if the above improvements are already so great?".If you followed my elsewhere for a while then you know the Newman Motor is only 2D but I prefer 3D or more harmony if you like.Right now the imagination of people re-inventing Newman's machine is limited.They try to get on the horse from behind - literally.Fancy electronics, machined parts and so on.But they never go 3D ;)You got it? :)There is only two coils!!The magnet rotates, same as the contact on the axle.One set of coils for each contact the salvaged DC motor has.Each set aligend to the corresponding contact.And now you will ask "How do you plan to connect that to a single DC power source?Well, that is why it will be the 2020 model - my time for tinkering is sadly limited because I still need to work to support myself.But if you consider that the original as a good model can run for over 10 minutes on a supercapcitor then ask yourself how long it could run on 4 or even 8 coil sets.And although there is no such thing as "free energy": There will be still space for more coils.Or other coils to just provide electricity that does not power the motor.Critics will now see their chance and state that if we add a load to these additional coils then this will cause a strain on the system.Of course they are correct here.If, however, the load is mechanical then the motor needs to supply basically the same additional energy.Plus all mechanical losses.The question is: How much mechanical load can we add before the motor is down to the same efficiency of a very efficient DC motor? ;)And what if our Aussie Newman 2020 would actually violate the laws of physics?We can calculate how much electrical energy would be required so a given motor produces a fixed amount of torque.Or we can just measure it, the beauty of science...We can do the same in reverse of course.Let's say a mechanical pump would require 500RPM and 100Nm of torque to pump 100 liters per minute.Then we could calculate what sized motor we need to drive the thing and how much power the motor would need.So again: What if the Aussie Newman 2020 would require far less than what science makes us think and still does this job on a simple 12V lead acid batty of 4Ah?Just saying... ;)I hope to have a presentable and working 2 coil system by May, so stay tuned!In case you are faster or even beter then of course feel free to show off your results or to post a link to your Instructable so everyone can verify it.

Topic by Downunder35m   |  last reply