Bad battery life in 97 Accord

I purchased my 97 Accord EXR (2.2L VTEC) about 5 years ago with 80,000 KM on it. It now has 185,000 KM on it and the car has been great except for the fact that I have had to replace 3 batteries and 2 altenators in
that time. This doesn't seem normal to me. Does anyone know what could be prematurely killing my battery? I understand that a bad battery could very well reduce the life of the altenator so I believe I should probably concentrate on the battery. TIA.
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Have you done many jump starts on the batteries it's had?
Running a battery down will exponetially reduce its life.
Also, if you have done many jump starts on the batteries, then subsequently relied on the car's alternator to charge them, this will reduce the alternator's life. Alternators are not designed to do more than routinely trickle charge the battery.
Also, look at the battery and alternator discussion at http://tegger.com/hondafaq/faq.html
http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id13.html may have some ideas for you, too.

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| Alternators | are not designed to do more than routinely trickle charge | the battery. Honda's spec for my F20A says alternator can produce 80 amp : trickle charge my foot. If your crap is true, then using car with high beam on, i.e. drawing more amps fr alternator should kill alternator ( mine has powered high beam for 10 hr since 1990, & is as good as new ).

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10% of the peak alternator capacity for the pair. http://tinyurl.com/3k724
The alternator damage comes from the way alternators are rated. Alternators won't put out more than the rated current even into a short circuit as long as the excitation voltage is normal. That rating is designed to match the diode capacity, since even a few seconds of overcurrent will short the diodes. Your 80 amp alternator will safely put out 80 amps for a minute, maybe two... beyond that the wire resistance will overheat the stator and cook the insulation. I canna' change the laws of physics: it would require a minimum of 10 AWG windings to carry 80A continuously and there just isn't room for that and there sure isn't room for the ventilation it would demand. As the alternator gets hotter the diodes will also be at risk. By that point your battery will be losing water from the extreme charge rate - if it is a "maintenance free" battery it will vent and be permanently damaged.
Modern high current alternators provide much better performance than the old 35 amp workhorses - an important consideration with all the electronics and accessories. The trick is that you must not demand that sort of current for more than a minute or two or you will be replacing a lot of alternators and batteries. The old alternators had better cooling (larger units and more space around them) and would put out rated capacity all day. The newer ones are very nice, but don't mistreat them by using them as battery chargers. They won't put up with it, and neither will your battery.
Mike
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E

Nice explanation! Well-written, too.
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I purchased my 97 Accord EXR (2.2L VTEC) about 5 years ago with 80,000 KM on it. It now has 185,000 KM on it and the car has been great except for the fact that I have had to replace 3 batteries and 2 altenators in that time. This doesn't seem normal to me. Does anyone know what could be prematurely killing my battery? I understand that a bad battery could very well reduce the life of the altenator so I believe I should probably concentrate on the battery. TIA.
I had this same problem with a Chevy Monza. It took over a year but I finally traced the problem to a problem with a major electrical wire that was shorting out since it was not spliced together properly. After I spliced the wire properly, the problem was solved. I seem to recall that it was the wire in that connected the starter to the alternator. The wire was able to carry electricity but not as much as was required for the alternator to work properly. As a result, the alternator would stop working and the battery would eventually go dead. Your problem may be caused by something else but you should check the wiring. Jason
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fairly common gotcha is the light in the glove box. If the light doesn't reliably go out when the glove box door is closed it secretely sabotages you.
Mike
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Homer Simpson wrote:

I had a similar problem with a '96 Volvo which I finally traced to the glove box light staying on. This was draining the battery down every time the car was off. Lead acid batteries do not take well to being deeply discharged repeatedly.
I didn't finally figure out what was going on until leaving the car at the airport for two weeks resulted in a dead flat battery which didn't want to come back to life. That caused me to hook up a current meter to the battery and start pulling fuses until I found the circuit with the current draw. Beefed up the glove box switch striker plate, installed a new battery and has been working properly for years since.
One little light doesn't use much power, but when left on for days at a time it does the trick.
You might have some similar vampire soaking up power when the vehicle is off.
John
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