Friday, August 10, 2012

Luna’s Draining Issue

As previously reported here, Luna was finally made roadworthy and legal right before we left for our convention vacation. Ever since our return the weather has threatened thunderstorms, so Victoria hasn't had a chance to get her out on the road. Yesterday afternoon she had some errands to run, and it wasn't raining, so she decided to take Luna. She removed the tarp, put the top down, rolled down the windows, climbed behind the wheel, and turned the key. Guess what? Nothing happened. Dead battery.

I got home soon after, just after the sprinkles started, and Victoria and I pushed her car into the garage. I had her hook up the charger while I got out the equipment necessary to figure out what’s draining the battery, if anything. I disconnected the negative battery cable and wired a taillight bulb between the negative terminal and the negative cable end. Across this connection, as the above diagram shows, I hooked up my multimeter. If the drain is strong enough (like a short), the lightbulb will illuminate and the meter will read something around battery voltage. With lesser drains, the bulb might glow, and with tiny drains, the bulb won’t light up, but the meter will read a voltage above zero. With everything turned off, but one of the doors left open so the courtesy lights were on, the bulb started to dimly glow and the meter read about 0.8 Volts. As soon as I closed and the courtesy lights went off, the bulb went dark, but the meter still read something around 0.2 Volts. Okay, there’s something demanding electricity. I climbed back in the car, reached under the dash, and pulled the Dome/Tail/Stop light fuse thus killing that circuit. The meter display now showed 0.0. Okay, something in the circuit was the cause. I reinserted the fuse and heard some noises coming from under the front passenger seats. I peered under the seat and discovered a CD changer. I found the power wire to the changer, removed the in-line fuse, and, with the door closed, took another look at the meter – 0.0 V. Drain found, drain stopped.

Since I’m on the subject of tunes, I’ll share the interesting (to me) radio Luna currently has residing in her dash. It’s an AMC (yes, American Motors) AM/FM/CB unit that Victoria thinks is really cool, but sadly, isn’t working at the moment. There are speakers in the door that we initially assumed were connected to the radio, but now I’m thinking they’re actually connected to the aforementioned CD player.

Regarding the CD player, I did a little more looking around and found the controller for the player in the glovebox, but noticed the caddy was not in the changer. Not that it really matters since Victoria is way past using CDs. What she needs is an working jack for her iPod. Maybe I’ll be able to somehow add a 3mm jack and use the player as an amp to boost the volume into the door speakers. If not, then maybe I can get the radio to work and tap into the CB mic as the input. For the time being, though, she’ll need to be satisfied with the experience of top-down motoring and the increased assault on the senses that go along with it.

This weekend we’ll be taking on the task of installing the new convertible top. The “we’ll” will hopefully include the lovely Loriann, whose assistance in installing Heidi’s top a few years back was invaluable. Victoria also helped with that install, but all she remembers was getting hit in the head with something. I promised her I’d be more careful this time. Please say a prayer that we’re all still on speaking terms by weekend’s end.

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