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Loss from a damp battery?

Just adding to the list that a damp / sweating battery can cause current drain. Usually that's associated with older batteries though. At least that's something that can be resolved with appropriate cleaning.

I did notice that after the temp finally got above freezing yesterday my battery was really wet from condensation. I wondered if just having a wet surface (condensation w/o some acid mixed in) would have any measurable current?
 

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Finding the source ?

Ok, I see how the solar charger idea is relevant to the "battle" with lost energy.

I would contend that finding / understanding the source of the mystery would go a long way as to how dealt with it. As was mentioned in an earlier post... hooking up an ammeter with some sort of recording device... would tell the tale. We would need to be able to correlate amp draw with a device or function though. I'm sure Subaru has this down pat (but I suspect they are not going to share with us).
 

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Ok, I see how the solar charger idea is relevant to the "battle" with lost energy.

I would contend that finding / understanding the source of the mystery would go a long way as to how dealt with it. As was mentioned in an earlier post... hooking up an ammeter with some sort of recording device... would tell the tale. We would need to be able to correlate amp draw with a device or function though. I'm sure Subaru has this down pat (but I suspect they are not going to share with us).

Once a baseline gets measured, variables can be tested:

Access system rules (remote enabled/disabled)
LTE signal strength for telematics system
Individual fuses temporarily removed to map out which branch circuits are the worst offenders

It's not a small amount of work, which is why it would be awesome for Subaru to release something.

Here's an example of a totalizing ammeter I use in the beach house.

It can measure charge and discharge over time, keeping track of the battery state. It doesn't keep a record of the individual samples however, just a constantly updated running average. This means it wouldn't help correlate when a given draw occurred though it would serve to confirm if one had occurred since the last reading. I haven't seen a true recording ammeter outside of expensive lab test equipment.

Anybody know of one?
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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10,854 Posts
4. Get a solar-powered maintainer when OB is parked at the airport or in sun for several days. Please share links, model numbers, and reviews.
I had one of these for my Chevy pick up truck. Not because the battery was at fault but because it would regularly go up to a month without being started. I put 1200 miles on it in two years.

The model I got was from harbor freight and pretty cheap. Plugged into cigarette lighter. I would recommend it if one wants to go this route.
 

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2017 2.5i Outback Limited w/ES
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VW used to provide solar panels to dealers to use on the lot, back when their cars had always on 12v cig sockets.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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The model I got was from harbor freight and pretty cheap. Plugged into cigarette lighter. I would recommend it if one wants to go this route.
I have used that solar charger and recommend it. Two comments:

1) It won't work plugging it into an Outback's 12 V power socket, because the socket isn't connected to the battery when the car is parked with the key removed.

2) The output of the Harbor Freight solar charger (nominally 12 V) is unregulated, and when lightly loaded in bright sunlight its output voltage will be considerably higher. (Harbor Freight's questionable documentation says up to 24 VAC [sic].) One winter I left one of these connected to a '93 Dodge Caravan that was not being driven, and by spring the battery was almost completely dry due to long-term overcharging.

FWIW, this solar panel is surprisingly efficient at low light levels. It will produce usable output just lying on the workbench in my well-lighted shop.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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I have used that solar charger and recommend it. Two comments:

1) It won't work plugging it into an Outback's 12 V power socket, because the socket isn't connected to the battery when the car is parked with the key removed.

2) The output of the Harbor Freight solar charger (nominally 12 V) is unregulated, and when lightly loaded in bright sunlight its output voltage will be considerably higher. (Harbor Freight's questionable documentation says up to 24 VAC [sic].) One winter I left one of these connected to a '93 Dodge Caravan that was not being driven, and by spring the battery was almost completely dry due to long-term overcharging.

FWIW, this solar panel is surprisingly efficient at low light levels. It will produce usable output just lying on the workbench in my well-lighted shop.
Could you run the rear outlet to always be on? Then you could mount it in the trunk window between the C and D pillar and it wouldn't even be in your vision. :grin2::grin2:
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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Discussion Starter #29
Could you run the rear outlet to always be on? Then you could mount it in the trunk window between the C and D pillar and it wouldn't even be in your vision. :grin2::grin2:
That seems like a half serious question. So, I will treat like it is...

I would go through the OBD2 port. You will probably have to search for the proper adapter to mate the OBD2 plug with the solar maintainer cord. Or you could make an adapter if you are handy with soldering.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Took a couple of steps that might indirectly help combat dark current drain. I had a block heater installed today and that should make the engine turn over and start easier in really cold weather even if the battery is less than fully charged. While it was at the dealer they also did the TSB 11-174-17R update. Still not sure exactly what that changes but every little bit helps I guess.

Next up is to hard-wire a cord for a battery maintainer that will be convenient to hook up whenever the car may be sitting for a longer period or even just occasionally when I think it might be a good idea.
 

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Anyway, back to the topic of this thread. I'm going to get on the other side of the fence and accept that maybe a battery tender might be useful more often than I thought. I'm not going to plug it in on a daily basis, but I am going to hard-wire a cord and run it out through the front grill, probably along with the cord for the block heater I am having installed in a couple of weeks. Then when I am not going to drive the car for a couple of days or more I will plug in the battery tender.
Well, just over a year later and I finally took a few minutes to hard-wire a connection for a battery maintainer while I had the Outback thawing out in my shop. While I had originally planned to run a longer wire out through the front grille I decided to stay with the shorter one for now. For the few times I will probably use this I don't mind having to open the hood to connect it.


In the first pic I just have the wire laying out in the open so it can be seen. When I'm not using it the end will have a cap on it and will be tucked out of the way. The arrow on the right points to an inline fuse so it is safe if the wire gets damaged somehow and shorts against something.




The second pic just shows it plugged in tonight to try it out. The battery was pretty much charged up already so it didn't take long to switch from charging to the maintaining mode. I have the maintainer inside the garage with a 25ft extension cable that plugs into the connector I hard-wired to the battery.


 

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I have a Battery Tender hard wired on all my cars like in Danver's pics also including a small Class C R.V. Occasionally, I'll plug in the B.T. to trickle charge over night especially in winters here in the PNW when overnight temps run into the low to mid 20's. Just takes a couple minutes to plug and un-plug when using. One thing I've noticed is battery in my 18 O.B. loses water faster than expected. About every month, I check water level and top off.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Connecting spring clips takes about 5 seconds longer. So, I am not understanding the value of hardwiring the plug connector to the battery.
 

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Connecting spring clips takes about 5 seconds longer. So, I am not understanding the value of hardwiring the plug connector to the battery.
Then it would be silly for you to do it now wouldn't it?

On my Outback it also serves to power the awesome underhood lights I installed. Multitasking for the win!

473753


Beyond that my Astro Van has the stupid GM side-post battery and the positive terminal is tucked back under the fender where it would be tough to clamp a clip.
My ATVs all have the battery under the seat or hidden away elsewhere so dismantling would be necessary to get directly to the battery. For my plow truck the connector sticks out through the grill so I don't have to mess with opening the hood when I am done plowing to connect the maintainer. At times having to find the hood latch could be quite an adventure.

473754
 

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Are there a lot of vehicles that require you to replace the battery and carry a jumper battery just to get where you are going. I am thinking someone at SOA needs to address the issue. I have owned a LOT of vehicles in my 75 yrs and this is a first for me. if nothing else just copy how others are making cars.
 

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Are there a lot of vehicles that require you to replace the battery and carry a jumper battery just to get where you are going. I am thinking someone at SOA needs to address the issue. I have owned a LOT of vehicles in my 75 yrs and this is a first for me. if nothing else just copy how others are making cars.
Over the last three years I have seen a lot of cars in the parking lot where I work needing a jump to get started. My Outback has not been one of them. I put in a bigger battery because I don't like the specs of the original. I carry a jump pack to be prepared. I don't expect to need it for my own car unless I do something stupid like leaving something on.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Are there a lot of vehicles that require you to replace the battery and carry a jumper battery just to get where you are going. I am thinking someone at SOA needs to address the issue. I have owned a LOT of vehicles in my 75 yrs and this is a first for me. if nothing else just copy how others are making cars.
The problem is not as bad as it looks. Most people (including myself) have never had battery issues on their Outback. Some people (like me) just like discussing electronics and various contraptions.
 

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I'm currently battling a dark current draw on my GMC Sierra pickup so it isn't just an Outback thing. I just recently started driving the truck again after it had been parked for quite a while. I had periodically put a battery maintainer on it while it was sitting, and made sure the battery was fully charged before I put it back on the road. The battery is an Interstate that is about two years old. I drove the truck for about a week and didn't notice any issues. Then I went to use it after it had sat about 24 hours and the battery was dead. I jumped it and drove it to town, leaving it running while I was stopped, and back home. I put my maintainer on it until it was charged again. The next day it was too low to start the truck again.

I decided to test for current draw with everything shut down, though at that time I was actually suspecting I maybe had a bad battery. One of my cheap analog multimeters was handy so I grabbed that, set it at the 500ma setting and checked the current. Promptly either fried the multimeter or most likely blew the internal fuse. Hmmm, maybe there is a current draw issue here. ?

In the second round I found my digital multimeter and found I have a 2.5amp draw with everything shut off. So yeah, 2500ma might have been a little much for the 500ma setting on my analog meter.
I suspect it might be related to the aftermarket remote start but it will take some testing. All I did so far was to pull two inline fuses right at the remote box under the dash but that didn't make any difference in the current draw. I guess the next step is to just start pulling fuses one at a time until I find out what circuit is the culprit. Unfortunately the high temp today is 3F with 10-20mph winds and the truck is sitting outside. I have a snowmobile and a quad in various states of disassembly in my shop so the truck is just going to have to sit for a little while.
 

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I had the Subaru OEM battery for 5 years, replaced it with a Dekka one and it has always started the car. If you are leaving your car sitting for a while, put a tender on it.
 
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