Acceptable battery drain with engine off?

I have a 97 Accord (285K) that won't hold a charge more than a day. Clearly it needs to be replaced. The alternator is putting out 14.4v.
I looked at the battery drain with the engine off (doors closed, all lights off) and my multimeter shows 50ma. I'm wondering if this is a normal and acceptable drain. Note: I have an aftermarket car alarm, aftermarket head unit and aftermarket 4-channel audio amplifier. Thanks
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techman41973 wrote:

Just for giggles, try unplugging all that stuff for a couple days, and measure the current draw again, and see if it holds a charge.
--
aem sends...

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On Sat, 3 Oct 2009 21:08:16 -0700 (PDT), techman41973

I think that's an acceptable level. I have the same problem with a 92 Explorer. Every time I check it there seems to be no unusual drain on the battery yet something keeps killing it. I've had two batteries and two alternators in it and everything checks out OK. Maddening.
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Ashton Crusher wrote:

The girlie has a Corrado that did this for years. Finally the supercharger died and when I took the alternator off I took it to my FLAPS for testing. They said it had a bad diode in it despite every repair garage she took it to telling her that she just needed a new battery (every year or so.)
I didn't live with her back when she was actively driving this car otherwise I would have done a current draw test on it myself.
I've always heard the 20 mA is acceptable but more is not, but I also suspect that newer cars have more key off current draw due to all the electronic junk in your average newer car...
nate
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wrote:

50 might be high but it's not enough to run a battery down in only a few days. My other cars can sit for three weeks+ and the battery will be perfectly fine. The explorer will drop below 12.3 volts in only a few days yet there is never more then 30ma when I check it. I'd like to put a recording amp or volt meter on it but I can't find a cheap one.
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Ashton Crusher wrote:

Its easy enough to figure out. Assume an 80 amp-hour battery. Then the life of the battery at a 50 mA draw is 80/.050 hours, or 66 days.
Now, the battery will still probably need about half its capacity in order to start the car and recharge without suffering permanent damage, but that's still on the order of a month.
Even if its only a battery that's good for 40 amp-hours, that should provide 2 weeks of solid life.
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I don't remember the name brand or the specific type of battery, but I once read somewhere the battery has a built in shut off feature that is suppose to keep enough cranking power to start a car. cuhulin
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No, Cuhu. That is not normally the case. C'mon, man...you know better than that.
You CAN buy an electronic component that will shut the battery off when a certain level of discharge is reached.. But that is not the case with standard systems and batteries.
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hls wrote:

http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5108848/description.html
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hls wrote:

That was a feature on one of the DieHards Sears sold. It had a circuit built in that would shut down the battery if it got low. Haven't seen one in years though. There are a few vehicles that have this built in now. And the add-on item works pretty well. You could always do what I did with my fire response rig. It has three batteries with built in jump and shore power! But I really HATE going out to a dead battery. Or the "good samaritan" who shuts off the engine with all the lights still working.
--
Steve W.

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Last September when I bought my 1983 Dodge van, a day or two later the van wouldn't start, old battery.I bought a new battery at the Autozone auto parts store.When I have that van parked in my driveway, I always remove the battery and bring it in my house.The battery in my 1978 Dodge van is about six years old, or older, I leave that battery in that van with one of the battery cables disconnected, except when I start the van and let it run for a while a few times each week.I only have insurance on my 1983 Dodge van, that is the van I drive nowadays. cuhulin
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Yes I remember this one. I havent seen one either, hence my statement that it is not normally the case.
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Sounds like an interment ground, about the only why to find it is to either be trouble shooting when it fails or 1st disconnect the fully charged battery and see if it still fails after a few days, if so rig up a fused jumper with about a .1 amp slow blow fuse and use it to selectively connect each circuit to the power until the fuse fails, you then have found to defective circuit. Remember to remove, or bypass the fuse jumper before doing anything that would cause a drain. ***************** Thank You snipped-for-privacy@msbx.net
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Ashton, I think you have heard my story of the 89 Regal that would run down every night, even with a new battery. I finally started down the circuit tree, removing wires or fuses.
If I removed the battery cable, the battery held up, but simple checking of the residual current gave no clue.
Finally I found it. A relay for the automatic seatbelt tensioning system was activating intermittently through the night, and it ran the battery flat. Fixed!
But finding it was no piece of cake.
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I'm thinking I must have something like that. I replaced the two relays that commonly are an issue but it still does it. To keep from getting stranded I put a battery saver gizmo on it. When the battery drops to 12.3 volts it kicks off and disconnects the battery.
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How old is the battery? If it's more than 4 years old it's probably time for a new one.
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techman41973 wrote:

Where I live, batteries only last 3 years. How old is the battery and what is your climate?
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50mA isn't a whole lot of current. If 50 mA drains the battery down after 24 hours, you have effectively a 1.2 AH battery there, which is a couple orders of magnitude less than you should be seeing on a normal car battery.
So either there's some self-discharge on the battery itself, or there is some kind of intermittent drain that you didn't see when you checked on the meter because it doesn't happen all the time. --scott
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Scott is right on. 50 milliamperes is reasonable.
The easiest way, IMO, to be sure is to start with a freshly charged system, clean battery terminals, and insert a maximum reading VOM in series with the battery. (Not expensive. I bought one to work on my Reatta with a similar problem.).
You should be sure that all systems have gone dormant before you start the test period. (Some systems can draw a few amps until they time out and shut down)
When you come back the next day, you will find out exactly how much the maximum current draw was over the time period.
If you dont find large current draw during your test period, it is probably time to get a new battery.
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disconnect the alarm, (pull the fuses) and you should have around 2ma or less that was what i was told was accepable. is you have more keep pulling fuses until you find the circuit that is drawing the power nutz
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