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Another Battery Draining Thread...But with a twist

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Old 02-25-14, 09:58 PM   #1
MoeSzyslak
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Default SOLVED: Another Battery Draining Thread...But with a twist

EDIT: Mystery solved, there was a Boomerang unit installed by one of the previous owners that was draining the battery as the back up battery that it had come with is no longer any good.


Dum Dum Dum....

So this is yet another battery dead/draining thread - only I come here armed with most of the common things answered, checked, and tested.

So my battery has died on me now twice. Both times it basically happened over night. I had the battery tested at my local auto parts store and they said that it has plenty of life left in it still. I've tested the alternator, and it does charge the battery OK and also (not many say to check this, but it is totally possible) it is not draining it.

With the battery and alternator out of the way as being "bad" I went on to look deeper for the problem. I performed a parasitic draw test and found that after my car had been sitting for 20-30 minutes (so all electronic systems are "asleep") my car has a draw of 0.27AMPs. That is about 0.22AMPs too much. I started to pull fuses one at a time to see what I could find...

This is where I get stuck, and guys I need your help here. In the fuse box that is right beside the battery, the fuse on the very left bottom (30AMP) is where the draw is coming from. Once I pulled that fuse, the draw fell to a 0.01AMPs, which is perfect. In the owners manual I believe it just says that it is "Audio" which to me doesn't explain a thing. Anyone have an idea or a wiring diagram for this?

Note, both of those are not my pictures, just one I found in the interwebs.

EDIT: Found a picture of the instruction manual, look at fuse #7.
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Old 02-25-14, 10:09 PM   #2
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To add to this... When I hooked the battery back up directly, and started the car to move it, everything still worked on my (factory) head unit including the HVAC, however there was no sound. Kind of leaning towards this being an amplifier?

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Old 02-26-14, 01:00 AM   #3
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Any warranty on the vehicle?
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Old 02-26-14, 05:05 AM   #4
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If so, I would have just dropped the car and the keys to the dealer and let them deal with it haha

Car is a 2006 IS250 AWD, warranty is out.
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Old 02-26-14, 05:25 AM   #5
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Does your car have Navigation and Bluetooth? I had a similar situation with my BMW where the Telecommunication Unit (Bluetooth) kept waking up every 30 minutes to search for phone/bluetooth device. I replaced the board and the problem went away. I am not sure how hou would check this on the Lexus. Also Try to LOCK your car and see if it will completely go into "Sleep Mode"?
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Old 02-26-14, 05:33 AM   #6
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Navi was the only thing that did not come on this car, bluetooth also was not part of it. It has everything else though.

Good idea on doing this test with a locked car as it was unlocked when I did this, though keys were not in proximity so I wasn't setting off the smart system. Literally everything was off and "asleep" except for this "Audio" fuse when I pulled it out.
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Old 02-26-14, 09:37 AM   #7
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What in the audio system still works when you pull the fuse? From your statement above I assume that the fuse you are pulling is the amplifier. I'd search out the location of the amplifier and backprobe the connections there to see what the draw is at the amp itself. Might be that the amp isn't sensing the car is turning off and remaining on. It may feel warm to the touch after sitting overnight with it being on. Try unplugging the amp and see if the battery stays charged overnight (Does it do this every day, or intermittently?) I spent 3 years chasing a similar issue in my wife's 300M and finally got it narrowed down to an AUX adapter that was in her car for iPod connection. Once I removed that it has been golden. Only drawback is now she only has the 6-disc changer to use and missed the iPod, but the M will only be with us until I find the IS to replace it
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Old 02-26-14, 02:04 PM   #8
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Are you the original owner of this vehicle? Any sign that there could have been an aftermarket alarm/radio/NAV/ipod dock/etc connected to the car?

^Good advice; check out under the right rear plastic panel in the trunk to locate the amp. Check the leads.

GL!
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Old 02-26-14, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A1cntrler View Post
What in the audio system still works when you pull the fuse? From your statement above I assume that the fuse you are pulling is the amplifier. I'd search out the location of the amplifier and backprobe the connections there to see what the draw is at the amp itself. Might be that the amp isn't sensing the car is turning off and remaining on. It may feel warm to the touch after sitting overnight with it being on. Try unplugging the amp and see if the battery stays charged overnight (Does it do this every day, or intermittently?) I spent 3 years chasing a similar issue in my wife's 300M and finally got it narrowed down to an AUX adapter that was in her car for iPod connection. Once I removed that it has been golden. Only drawback is now she only has the 6-disc changer to use and missed the iPod, but the M will only be with us until I find the IS to replace it
Great idea on unplugging the amp! What I am going to do is unplug the amp, put the fuse back in and see what that does to the draw. To answer your other question, literally everything works but there's no audio. When I turn the volume up or down nothing happens, it doesn't even display the volume level being changed on screen. But I can change radio stations, insert or eject CD's, etc. Car doesn't have AUX.

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Originally Posted by Gville350 View Post
Are you the original owner of this vehicle? Any sign that there could have been an aftermarket alarm/radio/NAV/ipod dock/etc connected to the car?

^Good advice; check out under the right rear plastic panel in the trunk to locate the amp. Check the leads.

GL!
No sir, I am third owner on this car, and its possible. I know the previous owner had the car lowered on springs briefly. Not sure if anything else was done. I did locate a weird switch under the dash that doesn't seem to be hooked up to anything. I will need to investigate this too. I do have a feeling that there may have been an aftermarket sub/amp in the trunk. The wiring at the back of the OEM stereo is untoched and looks all original. Haven't got to the AMP yet.

Will likely be a week until I update this thread as I am gone for a week starting tomorrow. Until then, this will remain a mystery.
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Old 02-27-14, 01:41 PM   #10
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^So you have removed the factory stereo/head unit and seen whether another was spliced in?

Yeah, definitely check out that "switch" and to where it leads!
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Old 02-27-14, 06:58 PM   #11
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I had a problem of my battery dying within 1 or 2 years. Last time it died and got a replacement, I ask the Lexus tech to check the current draw and he said it was fine. I got the car back and check and it was around 0.3A when the car is off if I remember correctly. I had let the car sit for a day without driving it, and it still starts up fine.

If you do the math for your car, even if it's doing the current current draw, it should still start the car:
0.22A * 20hours = 4.4 Ah. I'm not sure what the capacity of your battery is, but the 0.22A current draw is not what's causing your car to not start in the morning ...
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Old 03-09-14, 10:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gville350 View Post
^So you have removed the factory stereo/head unit and seen whether another was spliced in?

Yeah, definitely check out that "switch" and to where it leads!
Yup, removed the factory radio to see this and all looked clean and original without any splices anywhere.

Just got back from vacation today so going to do some more investigative work on this today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosurprise View Post
I had a problem of my battery dying within 1 or 2 years. Last time it died and got a replacement, I ask the Lexus tech to check the current draw and he said it was fine. I got the car back and check and it was around 0.3A when the car is off if I remember correctly. I had let the car sit for a day without driving it, and it still starts up fine.

If you do the math for your car, even if it's doing the current current draw, it should still start the car:
0.22A * 20hours = 4.4 Ah. I'm not sure what the capacity of your battery is, but the 0.22A current draw is not what's causing your car to not start in the morning ...
0.22A = 220 milliamperes, which is A LOT. Besides, my car's draw is 270 milliamperes (not a big difference, but it's there). There is a general rule of thumb that says that any luxury or non luxury car should not be drawing more than 50 milliamperes after all of it's systems had been asleep. 220 or 270 milliamperes is too much really. My battery is only at 65% capacity now as per test by local parts store. However, I also drive quite short distances to and from work, so it is quite likely that from the time that I start my car, the battery does not charge fully and thus has a more likelihood of being drained over night at 270 milliamperes.

I do not believe that my short distance driving is what is killing my battery however, since I've owned numerous other cars driving the same route and never had a problem until I bought this car.
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Old 03-09-14, 12:30 PM   #13
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Looks like I found the culprit... Seems that someone had "wired" in the past an aftermarket something to the audio system in the trunk directly off the amp. This is not OEM, nor does this look like it was installed and then un-installed right.

Took a picture of the Amp and then close ups of the wiring that was butchered by someone in the past.
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Old 03-09-14, 01:31 PM   #14
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Oh my... I wonder if he had installed an aftermarket powered sub in there such as an Infinity Basslink? I have one in my wife's 300M but when I installed it I made sure that I am going to be able to fix it before selling the car. I used some wire taps so that I didn't have to cut the wires to splice in, so when I remove it I just need to repair the insulation on the wire. Can't clearly tell from the pictures, but to me it looks like they've been cut/stripped back and twisted together.

I wonder if the switch you found up front turned the aftermarket amp off/on?

If you're willing to try and fix it yourself, search YouTube on how to correctly solder wire splices. If you have a HarborFreight nearby, you can pick up a soldering iron pretty cheap along with some shrink-tubing. Slide the tubing over the wire before splicing it together, solder the connection, slide the shrink tube down over the splice and heat the tube and it will seal/protect the bare wire splice.

If you're not comfortable doing this yourself just about and car audio shop (Not like Best Buy, but an independent type) should be able to handle the job. I've had electrical problems and found stuff like you in the past. Felt confident that I had found it and fixed it only to have to go back and try to find something else. Hopefully this is it. Make sure the wires match up. I see a few solid red ones that he hopefully connected to the correct sold red on the connector side..

Best of luck!
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Old 03-09-14, 04:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by A1cntrler View Post
Oh my... I wonder if he had installed an aftermarket powered sub in there such as an Infinity Basslink? I have one in my wife's 300M but when I installed it I made sure that I am going to be able to fix it before selling the car. I used some wire taps so that I didn't have to cut the wires to splice in, so when I remove it I just need to repair the insulation on the wire. Can't clearly tell from the pictures, but to me it looks like they've been cut/stripped back and twisted together.

I wonder if the switch you found up front turned the aftermarket amp off/on?

If you're willing to try and fix it yourself, search YouTube on how to correctly solder wire splices. If you have a HarborFreight nearby, you can pick up a soldering iron pretty cheap along with some shrink-tubing. Slide the tubing over the wire before splicing it together, solder the connection, slide the shrink tube down over the splice and heat the tube and it will seal/protect the bare wire splice.

If you're not comfortable doing this yourself just about and car audio shop (Not like Best Buy, but an independent type) should be able to handle the job. I've had electrical problems and found stuff like you in the past. Felt confident that I had found it and fixed it only to have to go back and try to find something else. Hopefully this is it. Make sure the wires match up. I see a few solid red ones that he hopefully connected to the correct sold red on the connector side..

Best of luck!
Thanks for all the feedback. I wonder the same about the on/off switch to the sub as the wire lead into the trunk and was not hooked up to anything. I removed it all and the switch.

Then I went on to tear apart the wiring that had been done on the rear amp and found that the wires were not spliced, luckily. Part of the insulation was partly stripped on two of the wires which appeared to be sound. I cleaned it all up and wrapped it back up in tape properly this time. To be honest, the mess wasn't as bad as it appeared as the only butchering really was in the way the connections were taped up.

After cleaning some of it off, I noticed a rather non factory looking connection that was leading into the area between the quarter panel and trunk bracing. The wiring looked clean but not quite OEM so I decided to stick my head on there to see where that wire went as this was on the passenger side, and the gas cap is on the driver. Found a black box glued to the quarter panel, which doesn't seem OEM to me at all... Realizing that the glue was barely holding this thing I pulled on the wire and it came out; actually, two black boxes came out. Looking it all over, I found an antenna like wire sticking out of one of them which made me nearly ***** a brick thinking what sort of tracker/James Bond crap was installed onto my car.

Unwrapping the tape I found one to be a larger capacity batter, like a back up unit. Not knowing what this was I went on to unwrap the second box to find that it was a Boomerang unit. For those of you not knowing that a Boomerang is, it is a GPS tracker that tracks the location of your car in a case where it is stolen.

Having a multimeter hooked up to the battery, I am seeing a non stop draw of 0.160AMP. I went on to cut the battery from the circut that was on the Boomerang and saw the draw go down to 0.070AMP which is considerate but still high considering the magic number I am looking for >0.050AMP. Once I cut the Boomerang off the circuit, the draw went down to 0.010 AMP. Cleaned up all the connections and hooked the amplified back up - no change in draw. Super! I found the cause of the problem.

In almost every single advice column/video I read about looking for parasitic draws it said to look out for aftermarket stereo set ups and aftermarket alarms.

In terms of my level of comfort on this, I had no problem getting to this. I have a pretty strong background working with cars (as a hobby). My other car is a 1968 Firebird; and I've also in the past owned numerous Subaru's; one of which I've actually built pretty much from scratch.
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