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  #1  
Old 03-14-2021, 12:25 PM
Dgamble's Avatar
Dgamble Dgamble is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 872
Default RV-12 battery issues

I was contacted by the owner-not-builder of S/N #26. It's equipped with a Dynon D-180 with a Garmin 496 GPS - it's all pretty standard except for a standalone ADSB box.

He has had the airplane for four years and has gone through 3 batteries. In comparison, I have had my plane for 8 years and the original battery is still going strong.

He has gotten to the point where he needs to keep a battery tender on it. It seems to be incapable of holding much of a charge.

My best guess is that something in the airplane is drawing power even when the plane is shut down, but I can't find anything that would support that belief.

There are three wires coming off of the positive terminal on the battery: the bigger cable for the main power, a smaller cable that goes to the connector for the battery tender, and a thin fused wire that goes off into a jumble of other wires, so I don't know what's its purpose is, so I'm a bit suspicious of it.

He has also been told by a mechanic that it's normal to need a new battery every year. I'm a lot of suspicious about that theory.

Any ideas?
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Grove City, OH

RV-6 N466PG Purchased already flying - SOLD!

The Book: The PapaGolf Chronicles

Built RV-12
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The above web blogs and any links provided thereto are not instructional or advisory in nature. They merely seek to share my experiences in building and flying Van's RV airplanes.
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2021, 12:51 PM
seagull seagull is online now
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Highland, CA
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Remove the terminal from the battery, put an amp meter inline. You can use a cheap Harbor Freight meter set on the 10 amp scale works just fine. With the plane “off” you can monitor any current consumed. If you turn on the master have all the high power consuming things, landing light, starter, etc off or you will blow the fuse inside the meter. You should not see any amps used with the master off.

It doesn’t take much drain to kill a battery. A 50 mah, discharge over a weeks time will bring your battery down 50%.
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Last edited by seagull : 03-14-2021 at 12:55 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2021, 01:17 PM
DHeal DHeal is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Windsor, California
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As Seagull suggested, hook up a multimeter to look for any devices or circuits stealing current when the Master is OFF. If there is some "dark current" flowing, disconnect (e.g., remove fuse, etc.) individual circuits one at a time until the dark current goes away -- that is your suspect device/circuit. There are numerous videos detailing this procedure on YouTube under "Parasitic Draw". The PC-680 should easily last 5 years or more. I am not a big fan of full-time trickle chargers or maintainers. Regularly flying the aircraft is by far the best way to keep your battery happy.
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EAA #23982 (circa 1965) - EAA Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor; CFI - A&I
RV-12 E-LSA #120496 (SV w/ AP and ADS-B 2020) - N124DH flying since March 2014 - 1,250+ hours (as of Jan 2023)!
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Last edited by DHeal : 03-14-2021 at 01:20 PM.
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2021, 01:51 PM
gasman gasman is offline
 
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David Heal - Windsor, CA (near Santa Rosa)
EAA #23982 (circa 1965) - EAA Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor; CFI - A&I
RV-12 E-LSA #120496 (SV w/ AP and ADS-B 2020) - N124DH flying since March 2014 - 1,000+ hours (as of Feb 2021)!

David, you keep up that pace and you should meet your TBO about the same time as your 12..........
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2021, 02:11 PM
skydiverlv skydiverlv is offline
 
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Location: kansas
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On the D180 versions I believe the fused circuit off the battery fed the 12v accessory plugin. I will look at the early electrical schematic to verify. Possible he has something plugged into the port?
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2021, 02:17 PM
skydiverlv skydiverlv is offline
 
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Confirmed the fused circuit is for the 12v accessory power port..
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2021, 03:01 PM
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Dgamble Dgamble is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydiverlv View Post
Confirmed the fused circuit is for the 12v accessory power port..
That's the first place I'll look. Thanks for the tip.
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Dave Gamble
Grove City, OH

RV-6 N466PG Purchased already flying - SOLD!

The Book: The PapaGolf Chronicles

Built RV-12
http://www.schmetterlingaviation.com

The Book: Schmetterling Aviation

The above web blogs and any links provided thereto are not instructional or advisory in nature. They merely seek to share my experiences in building and flying Van's RV airplanes.
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2021, 03:03 PM
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Dgamble Dgamble is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMiller View Post
On the D180 version the wire with the fuse goes to the 12 volt socket between the seats. As youíve noticed this is an un-switched feed so itís the only place you can get a parasitic load. Does he have anything plugged into this socket?

The only other possibility I can think of is regulator output. One telltale sign is getting low voltage alarms out of the D180 when you throttle back.
I'll check that if I ever manage to get it started. I know it's at least the second regulator that's been in it.
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Dave Gamble
Grove City, OH

RV-6 N466PG Purchased already flying - SOLD!

The Book: The PapaGolf Chronicles

Built RV-12
http://www.schmetterlingaviation.com

The Book: Schmetterling Aviation

The above web blogs and any links provided thereto are not instructional or advisory in nature. They merely seek to share my experiences in building and flying Van's RV airplanes.
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2021, 04:01 PM
bobg56 bobg56 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Peachtree City, GA
Posts: 278
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I kept a USB dual port plugged into that receptical between the seats, I then noticed a blue light on the USB staying on so I stopped leaving it plugged in...
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2021, 04:42 PM
NinerBikes NinerBikes is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Granada Hills
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I always, upon getting back to the hangar, run my engine up to 3000 rpm with brakes on, and watch until the amp meter drops to a 2 amp charge rate with everything turned off except Main A and B. Then I reduce the throttle to idle, switch off B, then A, then main switch.

That tends to leave the battery near a very fully topped off charge state while in storage waiting for the next flight.

I also tend to get the motor started when cold, and idle it for warm up at 2400 to 2500 rpm to maintain a positive 13.7 to 13.8V charge voltage and amperage showing positive. Anything less, and the battery tends to discharge while waiting for warm up temps to do run up.

It's very important to store an AGM lead acid battery fully charged and topped off, to maximize it's service life and prevent sulfation of the cells. The Voltage put out by the Ducati Voltage regulator would probably do a much better job of it if it put out 14.4 V instead of just 14.0 or 14.1V. The John Deere version is probably a lot better about this.
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Last edited by NinerBikes : 03-14-2021 at 04:45 PM.
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