Starting electrical problem

Yesterday my wife got in her car and it wouldn't start. She had someone jump her and drove the car home. When she got in the garage, she turned off and tried to start it and we discovered that the car's electrical
system was completely dead -- no lights or sounds at all. I started investigating and checked the main fuse under the hood - not blown. I removed the + terminal and cleaned and reconnected. Car started up just fine. Sent her on her way to church.
15 minutes later she calls and the car just stopped running. I went and did the same thing and it started up again. Switched cars and drove it home with a stop at O-Reilly. Wouldn't start after pulling into parking space. Had them do an electrical test. Battery and alternator working as they should. After he tested the battery, the car started up again for the alternator test.
Drove it home. Discovered that I could go through a couple of start stop and then on the next sart I here a click under the hood and the electrical is dead. I left the terminal loose and pulled it off and put it back on. The car starts. The above procedure consistently ends in the same results.
I'm thinking there must be a relay that is sticking and removing the current causes the relay to release. Not sure where that would be.
Does this sound familiar to anyone and can you let me know how to solve it?
THanks in advance for any help that can be given.
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what kind of car? make,model,year,auto or stick,that is all ESSENTIAL information anyone would need to even begin research.
also,did you try to GOOGLE your problem?
BTW,at the next failure,you might try measuring the voltage on the battery cable with a DMM BEFORE you pull the connector and "reset". maybe you have a cracked battery post or other internal battery intermittent.
--
Jim Yanik
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Doh! Got so wrapped up in the story, I forgot about the car.
03 Accord Coupe w/ V6.
The battery is a diehard that's less than a year old.
After this post this morning, I took the car to my mechanic and -- of course -- the car worked fine and I couldn't reproduce the problem. 10 minutes ago, I went to start the car and there goes the click and the dead electrical system.
Hope you have an answer.
On 2012-03-29 18:35:20 +0000, Jim Yanik said:

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after doing a GOOGLE search,it could be a bad battery CABLE or part of the wiring harness,since you aren't getting power to your lights or other stuff. you'll have to wait until it fails again,and then start measuring with a voltmeter(DMM;digital multimeter)to see if you're getting voltage to the OTHER end of the main battery cables. like voltage at the main fuse box and to the starter. Don't overlook the negative (ground) cable or ground wiring. you might just have a loose or corroded ground wire.(or worse,more than one bad ground)
perhaps when you remove the battery connector,you re-establish a connection in the cable. In one guy's post,he had a corroded cable. another guy,it sounded like he had a bad ignition switch,but that would not affect your lights.
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Jim Yanik
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another hint; you can use one of your jumper cables to connect directly to the negative battery post and then the other end to various points on the frame or engine to see if that completes the ground and then your lights work and/or your engine starts. then you know you have a bad negative battery cable or ground connection.
--
Jim Yanik
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On 2012-03-30 01:09:38 +0000, Jim Yanik said:

Found the problem -- slightly loose and corroded negative terminal connection. A good cleaning solved the problem. Thanks to all who responded to my request.
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Somewhere on teh intarwebs MG wrote:

[snip]
Yep. Simple stuff.
I see there's concern over kids and the internet, not having to learn anything (or troubleshooting skills) as they just Google it. There's a book called "The Dumbest Generation" and it makes scary reading. In a world where most answers are at your ingertips why bother thinking? It makes a case for shutting down the internet, or at least restricting it until folks have learnt basic skills.
Seems it's not just the kids, although they're not likely as polite as Peter. :-/
--
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On 4/4/2012 3:12 AM, ~misfit~ wrote:

Sad, but true. Most kids are totally clueless without having access to Google and Wikipedia. This generation could not restart civilisation if a major EMP disaster wiped out all things electric.
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Somewhere on teh intarwebs cameo wrote:

Yep. As draconian as it seems, if I had my way the internet would be reserved for adults - a rite of passage if you like, getting your first internet access. By then they've learned how to learn, as well as having learned a bunch of stuff that will see them do well in later life.
I dread the day when all of us oldies who were bought up without computers are gone and all of the forums will be full of morons with no cognitive skills (not to mention the streets!). Heh! Not that I'll be here but it doesn't bode well for humanity.
To get slightly back on topic, I think that my Honda City would be OK after an EMP. It has capacitor-discharge ignition but there are no micro-processors involved there. Not even a transistor.
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On 2012-04-04 23:47:52 +0000, ~misfit~ said:

Well thanks for the politeness compliment. BUT --
I'm not a kid (not sure if you were thinking I was) and I'm in my 60s. I'm a pretty good problem detective but this one threw me -- thus the request for opinions. The answer may have been simple but the clues were not. Had the car simply gone dead and stayed that way, I would have looked closer at the battery. But since the removing and replacing the positive cable momentarily solved the problem, I looked into the electrical system (the positive side) instead of the other direction (negative).
When the situation would occur, I would do the cable thing and open the car door to see if the lights worked. The last time I opened the door with no lights, I slammed the door and suddenly the lights came on. That was the giveaway and I checked the negative cable and sure enough, there was the problem.
I have to whole-heartily agree that the current generation is nearly devoid of logic and intuition, not to mention too lazy to attempt to solve a problem. My 24-year-old daughter complains constantly because I ask too many questions in trying to solve problems. How else would you do that? Google it I suppose.
I recently freelanced at an ad agency (yes at 64 I can sill beat the pants of most of the young ones) and the creative director was telling about how he had been through several young artists that refused to do some of the grunt work involved and several were asked to pick up the phone and discuss stock photo licensing requirements. They wouldn't do it because they didn't feel comfortable talking on the phone with those people. I guess they should have TEXTED the stock photo place.
Again I thank those that responded to my request and it's good to know that there are folks around here that one can turn to when info is needed.
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