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It is true that Fluke meters are very good but a cheap Chinese meter is fine for making voltage measurements on a car. I have known two people who had meters explode in their hands when testing on 480 volt equipment and they would only use Fluke thereafter.
 

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After My new to me Spider S4 laid idle for 5 days my new 30 day old battery didn't have enough crank power to start. Very low dim lights. I checked to see if I left anything on and found nothing. While I was using it more on a daily bacis it would start up anywhere every time. Gave it a jump and started right away, tried starting this morning dead again. The few receipts I have from the previous owner shows that the alternator was rebuilt 3 years ago. Any suggestions or advice for trouble shooting would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and Frustrated,
Chuck
Just checking... Are you pulling the key out of the ignition or just leaving it in? Some people leave the keys in if it’s parked in a secure garage & this will keep a relay energized and cause excessive drain. When you pull out the key the relay opens. I always pull the key and just leave it resting next to the ignition.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I leave the key in the ignition when parked in my garage. I didn't know by leaving it in will keep a relay energized and drain the battery. I should have my meter delivered by tomorrow to start the trouble shooting. Thanks for all the great tips and procedures. I'll advise on the out come.
Chuck
 

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That is most probably the issue. This generation Bosch electronics keeps one of the relays energized which draws more amps than with the key out of the car. Same situation happens in older BMWs from the same era. Pull the key out and the battery shouldn't have the same issue. Keep in mind that if you drained this battery good it might not keep a full charge anymore and might need replacement.
Good Luck!
 

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I found that 'leave key in' thing hard to believe, so I went out to my S4 and tested it

my results: Euro S4 with the key left in the ignition has no draw.

tests:
0,02amp nominal draw, normal for radio and clock (doors shut and timer allowed to turn off)
put key in IGN, still 0.02amp draw
turn key to first notch, still 0.02amp draw.

otoh, leave a door open (even though the footwell lights are not on) and draw jumps to 0.20 amps....that will drain a battery after a time no problem

NB: it is possible that USA S4s are different, because you have the seatbelt warning buzzer stuff.....perhaps there 'the key left in IGN' does allow for a drop on top of the nominal 0.02amps
one of you guys is going to have to test that:)
 

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Now you have me doubting myself! I just remember having dead batteries on our ‘89 325 which has a similar Bosch Motronic system and my ‘91 Spider had if I left the key in. I have just made it a habit to remove the keys and have some comfort hearing the steering lock “click.”
I will re-test this next time I’m with both the both cars .. still have both though the ‘91 was replaced by a ‘94 Spider.
 

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I agree, I always remove the keys even if it is in the garage.....if it gets stolen and the ins. company finds out the car door was open with the key in the IGN, they won't pay your claim....garage or no garage.
they'd call it gross negligence.
 
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