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Old 03-17-2011, 02:05 AM
marvins_dad's Avatar
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Default Aftermarket Head Unit draining battery?

Hey guys, help me out here...

I followed the how to install to the T - except I have a harness that had the K-wire delete (no leads for the K-wire). Soldered and shrink wrapped. The harness and antenna were from Crutchfield.
How to install an aftermaket stereo

I installed an Alpine IDA-X305S


For about a month I had no issues...then suddenly the battery started getting drained by something.
Last week I took it to the dealership and we determined that the passenger door microswitch was malfunctioning and causing a 70 milliamp drain...replacing this brought the drain on the battery while the car was shut off to an acceptable level.

3 days later I have a drained battery again....
So - back to the dealership this Tuesday and they are focusing on the Alpine. 100 milliamps were being pulled at the batter and they pulled a few items off and pulled the fuse to the radio and are at a steady 1 milliamp drain (up to 30 is acceptable). I believe they put everything back except for the radio fuse at the panel and we only see 1 milliamp.
***why they didn't see this last week when it was in is baffeling to us (the service manager and myself) - so they are watching it for the next day or so to see if something else jumps on...or off.

SO....my big question to the ORG is...
1 - what the hell is going on? Why would it not be a problem one day and the next show up?
2 - when the car is off the radio is not able to be turned on, so why would it be pulling any power from the battery over a reasonable amount to keep the clock running? What would that acceptable amount be?
3 - Monsoon - IS the radio still running through the monsoon amplifier...and if so, what tells it to turn off? Could the monsoon amp be the cause of the drain and not the head unit?
4 - how can I remedy this without having to install a kill switch in the dash for the non-switched power going to the radio?

They suggest that the Alpine is faulty and therefore causing the drain, but I can't think that I would be the only person that gets a faulty unit that does something like this.

5 - Will upgrading the battery help maintain even if there is a low level drain of 100 milliamps between cranking?

I need to look a the wiring diagram that I have posted a hundred times for folks to see how the harness is taking everything back to the monsoon and how the monsoon knows how to turn off and turn on, but if someone beats me to this or knows the answer, please chime in.

Thanks ORG - hopefully someone has had this issue and knows a solution, I really love my new radio and would hate to have to bastardize it to keep it running...or never know if I will be able to start my car.
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:47 AM
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Could it be the Monsoon Amp either overheating or not turning off properly?

Battery drain problem found - TDIClub Forums

This dude had a fix, but not sure if this is really the cause. Will need to call Boardwalk and have them check to see if the Monsoon Amp gets warm or is drawing power when all the fuses are back in.
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:08 PM
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You might want to look at getting a battery tender before you destroy your battery. I have one of these at home for my corvette.

Automotive Battery Chargers | Battery Chargers by BatteryMINDers.com

It suffers from a battery drain issue as well and the fact I only drive it once a week to once a month doesn’t help either.

I also have this model at home too.
Amazon.com: Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger: Automotive

Cheaper @ $25 versus $60 for the BatteryMinder. The biggest difference between the 2 is amps (.75 for the BatteryTender jr and 1.0 for the BatteryMinder) and the BatteryMinder desulfates while the BatteryTender jr only charges and maintains
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:12 AM
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is it possible that you hooked up the yellow and red together so you can listen to the radio when you turn the car off?

just trying to think outside the box here, otherwise i am curious if you had a monsoon in there before?
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:05 AM
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LOL - I definitely had a Monsoon in there before - for 9 years! LOL

I didn't combine any wires - didn't do anything tricky, straight wired it by the book. I cannot turn on the radio with the car is turned off.

I found someone with a similar problem and in interesting solution...but not sure how he figured it out. Looks like he is a regular on TDI club, so hoping he answers my questions.

Thought I would share it here and maybe a guru among us can give me answers to my questions quicker than there...
Battery drain problem found - TDIClub Forums

BTW - just got the car back after 1+week of sitting at the dealership for diagnostics, they ended up figuring out that the battery wasn't keeping a charge after all the jumps I was making. But that doesn't fix the small drain problem they found earlier in the week that pointed at the head unit or the amp. When I got my car back they still had the monsoon amp disconnected and I don't think they knew that - so there is a strong possibility that the drain is still there and hope that there is a way to do something like the TDI club guy did and wire in my remote-on from my sub amp to make sure that the monsoon is turning on and off with the radio and not staying on after the car is turned off.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:44 PM
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The radio will keep a slight draw on the battery with the car off. It needs a tiny bit of power to keep your settings (radio stations, time, etc). I know this because when I got a new head unit, Circuit City put it in and hooked it up wrong...every time I turned the car on, all settings were wiped out. The tiny draw is normal, but I couldn't tell you how big of one it is. I'd be more inclined to think its your amp.
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Old 03-27-2011, 06:52 AM
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How old is the battery? They can self discharge if they develop internal shorts.
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:34 PM
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Interesting.

After leaving my NB at the dealer for a week, they finally determined that it was my radio head unit that was draining my battery. Or so they say. After reading the TDI Forum post, I'm starting to think it may be the amp instead.

They were quite willing to sell me a new head unit for $500 ("special manager's discount" from the $1000 in the parts book!), but now I suspect they might have put it in and sent my core back, only to discover a week later that that wasn't the problem. But maybe I've just gotten cynical in my old age?
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:47 PM
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If you have a monsoon system, locate the amp behind the back panel-drivers side near the tail light (there is a photo somewhere I took of the location)
Once your car has been off for a few hours...go back and feel the amp...if it is hot, then it is still drawing the power and it is the source of your leak. I believe that ECS Tuning has a few refurbs on sale (or at least at the time I had my issues) for about $100-125.
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:50 PM
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Amp location and link for how to get in there to get it out....

Monsoon factory sound system

Access to monsoon amp
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:18 AM
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100 milliamp draw is huge. definitely not normal. however ive seen in from these radios, hence my suggestions previously against the deck. its rare, but it does happen.

other thoughts are, your alpine probably is producing 18-22 watts rms, which is the input for the monsoon amp, it could just be to powerful an input for ur particular amp. causing it to overheat, once it overheats who knows how it will behave (the original deck at most produced 11 watts rms)

the turn on lead for the monsoon amp should be the blue white wire off the back of the deck. beleive its called the rem lead on an alpine unit.

also. if you didnt clear out the extra plastic that houses the radio on the inside of the panel.....then i bet your radio gets awfully hot....hell even if you did it still gets warm. perhaps warm enough to melt something in the deck itself and cause the drain.

hope you find the issue. i hate those annoying ghosts. wish i could help more
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:15 AM
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Default where to measure current draw?

OK, I got the stuck CD out and am hopeful that it was the CD that was keeping the player "alive" and drawing current.

But I'm not sure where to measure the draw to verify that. In line with one of the battery terminals? Through the radio's fuse?

Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:04 AM
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Are you sure that you got the remote turn on wire going back to the amp? Thats the only thing I can think of that would do that. If you dn't you may want to install a heavy duty power switch to turn your amp on and off.
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