Mysterious dead battery in 2000 Honda Accord

Last weekend my wife reported that the battery was dead in our 2000 Honda Accord V6.
I charged battery overnight; started fine after I put it back in.
Looked for drains with a multimeter; after a few minutes, current went down to 12 mA, which AFAICT means there's no way it could empty the battery. (Car had been parked at most a couple days, and it's pretty warm here.)
After getting some reasonable replies in a different thread here, I took it to Advance Auto Parts and had it tested for free. Everything checked out fine.
Anyone have any ideas? I know that electrical issues can be notoriously hard to diagnose. Is it possible there's something about the alternator or the rest of the car's electrical system that the test at Advance would have missed? (The test is broken down into a few parts (battery, starter, charging system), all reporting normal.)
Also, if there was something seriously wrong with the alternator or battery, I assume I'd be getting dead batteries more frequently. We had a dead battery quite a while back, probably due to cab light being left on. After that, last spring the alternator went bad. Had that replaced. A couple weeks after that, left it at the airport for about 5 days; dead when we got back. Had it jumped. It's been fine until last weekend. THat's a pretty big gap (early May to mid August).
TIA
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How old is the battery?? Anything near 4-5 years old and it's time for a new one.
with the car running put the multimeter on the battery to see what your alternator is charging at. It should be above 13.5vdc or so.
does the car get driven on a regular basis?
A jump start may get you going, but your alternator won't fully charge your battery. You need to slow charge the battery with a charger.. alternators only quick charge batteries.
Chas
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It's from 2009. Checked out at the auto parts place (load test).

Not every day, but at least 3 times a week. Given how warm it is outside, I find it hard to believe that there's not enough driving going on to charge the battery.

Yeah, that's what I did this weekend. Took the battery out (no garage here), placed it on a charger and set the charger to 2 A.

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On 8/17/2010 4:38 PM, m6onz5a wrote:

    That is a crock! What are you a battery salesman?

    After that comment, it's apparent that you are not a battery salesman. :^)
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1. Your wife left the dome light on and didn't tell you.
2. Your teenage daughter has been making out with her boyfriend in the car in the garage with the radio on full blast to hide the noise.
3. Something intermittent is coming on, like a faulty latch that sometimes doesn't close the glovebox completely.

A popular failure mode is for the alternator diodes to fail and the battery to discharge through the alternator when the car is parked. But if this had been the case, you'd have seen it on the ammeter. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Aug 17, 4:40pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

Ammeter? I think the newest vehicle I've seen with one of those was an 80's Dodge pickup truck...
nate
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On Aug 17, 4:40pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

Could be, but she swears she didn't. She'd be aware of that because one of us did that before.

Girls too young for that.
:-)

Yeah, that's what I'm worried about cuz it sounds like a b*tch to diagnose.

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news:00c6b230-32f0-4793-992f-

Yeah, that's what I'm worried about cuz it sounds like a b*tch to diagnose.
*** They can indeed be a bitch to diagnose. And I think this is the likely problem.
Common offenders are (1)lights, as in glove box, trunk compartment, dome, etc that are not always going off. (2) Brake light switch intermittently activating and depleting the battery. (3) Any of many relays in the car activating at their own will. (Mine was a seat belt retractor relay in a Regal.. Nearly NEVER found that scoundrel) There are others. In odd circumstances the battery and or alternator can mimic these symtoms.
Since it is likely intermittent, it is 100% good some 90+% of the time. Sometimes a maximum indicating VOM, set on amps scale, can help. Or, you can start removing fuses one at the time overnight and see if you can pick out the misbehaving circuit.
My condolescenses
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If your ammeter has a min-max or some sort of recorder, leave it on overnight. If it stays at 12 ma, it's either the battery or an intermittent problem.
All of the advice above is good. You can check some of those things easily - pull the glove box door out slightly - it it takes very little movement to turn on the light, that's probably it. You can apply that principle to most of the other possibilities. I doubt that car still used door jamb switches, but that would be another thing to check.
It might also work to put a test light in line with the battery cable to help you see when the various switches trip.
Also, do you park the car in a garage and leave the keys in the ignition? That has been an issue on some vehicles.
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How about this: charge if overnight again at 2A. Make *sure* it registers more than 12v and then leave it *unconnected* in the garage for a full day and then test it again. At least that eliminates the battery one way or the other.
--
(setq (chuck nil) car(chuck) )

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If you can pop the filler caps off, see if it is dry. Could be all the electrolyte has evaporated or leaked out some how.
If it is dry, add enough distilled water to get to the bottom of the filler holes.
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if it is dry,chances are the plates are sulfated and you need a new battery.Every time I've refilled a low or dry battery,it didn't last very long.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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woger151 wrote:

Batteries in Houston, Texas last about 3 1/2 years.
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That is pretty much the experience I have had with them. Maybe a few more years but not too much. The heat, the abuse, etc just seem to limit them.
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 19:43:55 -0500, hls wrote:

Here in New England, batteries from Sears, AutoZone, etc seem to last ~5 years or so,
I bought a genuine Toyota battery for my old Corolla in 1999. It drove until 2004, sat for 2 years and then the battery was pulled and put in my Mazda in Dec 2006. I just replaced it two weeks ago.
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That would seem to be very good performance for a battery that was left unattended for a couple of years. I rather doubt that most would give this type of service, granted the same conditions.
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 07:28:03 -0500, hls wrote:

I should have bought another. Made by Exide, I believe.
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Hachiroku ハチロク wrote:

Exide, (Willard), batteries used to have an excellent reputation. I've just not seen them around for a few years and suspect todays Exide may not resemble those of yesteryear.
Other battery brands that I have found with good longevity include those from the old Wester Auto, Sears Die Hard and current "gold" AutoZone.
But, my Honda guru sells Interstate and I get a break. We'll see as I have never been particularly impressed with this brand.
(Anything Paul Harvey plugged, watch out!)
JT
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Have either of you guys tried Continentals? They make them right across the border for the Texas market and they handle the high temperatures a lot better than typical car batteries. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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september.org:

Heat is the Number One enemy of car batteries. Vibration is #2. hold-down brackets are important.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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