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Old 26th December 2012, 17:42   #1
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Default Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Hey guys,

The problem started recently with my Zen 2002 model (Petrol/CNG), the battery doesn't recharge while the car is being used and discharges itself dead if the terminal cables are not removed after use. I've shown it two mechanics and both have confirmed the alternator is fine and its probably because of some electrical problem. Replaced the old battery with a new one but the problem persists.

One more problem is the wipers kick-in while the car is in use even when the switch is turned off. I have disabled the wipers as of now. Same with the roof lamp, lights up randomly but only when switched on unlike the wiper.


Any solutions ? Anyone else faced a similar problem ?


Hope this is the right sub and thanks for any help in advance.
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Old 26th December 2012, 18:22   #2
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

You need to take the car to a garage with a competent electrician. Definitely there seems to be some kind of discharge/shorting happening. Most likely with wiper from the symptoms you mention. Do not ignore it, since these are fire hazards.

Check one circuit at a time, lights, indicators, wiper, ac etc to pinpoint the issue.

Roof light might be just a loose door switch, still good idea to get it checked for any shorting.
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Old 26th December 2012, 18:34   #3
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Some of the things that remain alive even when the car is switched off are the ECU, the music system and the security system (auto cop). Check if they are heating up, they might be losing power due to faulty/blownout electronics. I am assuming that you have already checked that no bulbs are glowing when the vehicle is parked.
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Old 26th December 2012, 18:37   #4
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Electrical leak, or earthing. Do check all the doors and switches in there if they are fine, I have had instances where the door switches beading fell out and although the hood light got switched off the switch was still leaking power somehow.

Apart from this the battery cable under the hood could be checked yourself if there seems be a cut somewhere, but my guess is the folks would have already checked it first.
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Old 26th December 2012, 18:56   #5
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjacob View Post
the battery doesn't recharge while the car is being used and discharges itself dead if the terminal cables are not removed after use.

One more problem is the wipers kick-in while the car is in use even when the switch is turned off. I have disabled the wipers as of now. Same with the roof lamp, lights up randomly but only when switched on unlike the wiper..

For Battery Discharging: Get the rectifier checked/replaced. This is inside the alternator (it's a small rectangular black cube with 9 pins sticking out of it). This was a common failure in Zen's



For Crazy Wipers:
Have you installed aftermarket Central Locking and/or Music System by any chance. Following the method of elimination (if you have those extras fitted) disconnect the accessories one at a time and see of the problem persists.

This is a very common problem when any after market c.locking / stereo system wiring starts acting up (due to ageing) and it plays up the stock electricals. It may even cause the car to stall sometimes.

Last edited by arjab : 26th December 2012 at 18:58. Reason: text added
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Old 26th December 2012, 19:17   #6
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Looks like some wires somewhere (harness possibly) are shorting. Best to go to a authorised service center
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Old 26th December 2012, 19:35   #7
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
You need to take the car to a garage with a competent electrician.
Indeed but first I'd like to learn what you guys have to say just in case I can fix it myself before taking it to a car electrician or at least knowing what the problem is so that I can avoid getting fleeced by the mechs.

Quote:
Roof light might be just a loose door switch, still good idea to get it checked for any shorting.
I checked the switches before getting it checked again by the mech, those knobs are very much doing good in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post

Electrical leak, or earthing.

Apart from this the battery cable under the hood could be checked yourself if there seems be a cut somewhere, but my guess is the folks would have already checked it first.
I'll keep that in mind, might be the earthing, sometimes its those little things we always tend to overlook. Will get the electrician to try things with a spare cable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
For Battery Discharging: Get the rectifier checked/replaced. This is inside the alternator (it's a small rectangular black cube with 9 pins sticking out of it). This was a common failure in Zen's
They've checked it and the common conclusion is the alternator is working fine but still will get it done again along with a thorough examination of the rectifier.


Quote:
For Crazy Wipers:
Have you installed aftermarket Central Locking and/or Music System by any chance. Following the method of elimination (if you have those extras fitted) disconnect the accessories one at a time and see of the problem persists.
None at all, this thing doesn't have a head unit, not even an FM modulator, no central locking either. This is as stock as it gets, this is my grand father's marathon mule or 'lambhi race ka godda', he likes to call it, done over 2lakh kms. I'm a bit hesitant to take it to Maruti because we got our hands burned the last time.
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Old 26th December 2012, 19:48   #8
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjacob View Post
Indeed but first I'd like to learn what you guys have to say just in case I can fix it myself before taking it to a car electrician or at least knowing what the problem is so that I can avoid getting fleeced by the mechs.
Might not be a simple DIY since wiring is usually running all over the car and most often hidden away. Once you isolate the circuit which is causing the issue it might be easier. If you have a multimeter you can figure out if there is any discharge while the car is switched off. Then by taking out the fuses you can check which circuit is the trouble maker.

I still suggest taking to to a good dealer or workshop with competent electrician who knows a zens circuit.
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Old 26th December 2012, 20:02   #9
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Might not be a simple DIY since wiring is usually running all over the car and most often hidden away. Once you isolate the circuit which is causing the issue it might be easier. If you have a multimeter you can figure out if there is any discharge while the car is switched off. Then by taking out the fuses you can check which circuit is the trouble maker.

I still suggest taking to to a good dealer or workshop with competent electrician who knows a zens circuit.
You are right. If it were DIY simple then I'm sure the mechs who had checked the car the first time would have fixed the problem but they insisted that I take it to an electrician. Thanks for the help, Jaggu.

I will post an update of things once I get it fixed.
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Old 26th December 2012, 21:16   #10
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Note from Mod: There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the board experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 27th December 2012 at 18:40.
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Old 27th December 2012, 12:45   #11
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

With all electricals switched off, you should see a volt reading of 13.5 or more at idling.

Alternators can be repaired, you will have to take it to a local mechanic shop.

Last edited by GTO : 27th December 2012 at 18:40. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 27th December 2012, 12:53   #12
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Looks like an alternator problem . Repairing a Zen alternator is an expensive issue and not reliable as well .

If its confirmed as an alternator issue , always better to replace it if you intend to keep the car for some more time.
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Old 27th December 2012, 12:56   #13
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Default re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjacob View Post
Indeed but first I'd like to learn what you guys have to say just in case I can fix it myself before taking it to a car electrician or at least knowing what the problem is so that I can avoid getting fleeced by the mechs.
You can atleast debug the problem yourself, if not fix it.

You can invest in a multimeter, costs around rs200.

These steps shall help you isolate the problem,

1. Switch off the engine.
2. Connect a multimeter between the battery terminals and measure the voltage.
3. remove one fuse at a time to see if there is any change in the voltage reading.
4. Any increase in voltage when a fuse is removed , will help you isolate the circuit that has been short.
5. Fuse for the alternator is kept separately at engine bay.
6. In your case, you can start with wiper motor fuse.

this is again a guess work,
Hope this helps you.
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Old 27th December 2012, 13:54   #14
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Default Re: Maruti Zen - Battery not charging while the car is running, discharges completely

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjacob View Post
Hey guys,

The problem started recently with my Zen 2002 model (Petrol/CNG), the battery doesn't recharge while the car is being used and discharges itself dead if the terminal cables are not removed after use. I've shown it two mechanics and both have confirmed the alternator is fine and its probably because of some electrical problem. Replaced the old battery with a new one but the problem persists..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Might not be a simple DIY since wiring is usually running all over the car and most often hidden away. Once you isolate the circuit which is causing the issue it might be easier. If you have a multimeter you can figure out if there is any discharge while the car is switched off. Then by taking out the fuses you can check which circuit is the trouble maker.

I still suggest taking to to a good dealer or workshop with competent electrician who knows a zens circuit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by T1000 View Post
You can atleast debug the problem yourself, if not fix it.

You can invest in a multimeter, costs around rs200.

These steps shall help you isolate the problem...

Hello tjacob,

Was there any work done on the car? Was the dashboard opened? As Jaggu suggested, one should look at isolating the circuits as a start, to understand what exactly the cause is. An experienced car electrician should not charge you more than 200-300 bucks for checking on this problem.

Maybe, i was lucky when i ran into an exact akin problem a year ago. Few electricians, whom i showed the car to (primary inspection), opined that the problem is with the Central Locking and one, even disconnected the same to check without any success. However, my dad had a strong feeling about the battery having lived it's course and so, we put in a new one. That was the last time, we complained about the random discharge

That said, you have already tried doing that so, going for an electrician's advice is the only way to proceed. All the best buddy
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Old 27th December 2012, 14:10   #15
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Default Re: Battery not charging when the engine is running. Discharges completely

Check the Alternator first to ensure that it is functioning and also the voltage regulator. Any competent electricians' or a battery service dealer would have the test equipment.
The brushes may need replacement if worn out.
If OK start with checking of the wiring for short circuiting. As the battery is not discharging if terminals are removed points to wiring shorts.
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