Help! My battery/alternator are not keeping up with my electricals!

Discussion in 'Polaris Slingshot Discussions' started by kagai, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. kagai

    kagai Active Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm a rookie with electrical stuff - so please dumb this down for me :)

    What do I need to do to fix this problem?

    I think I went a little overboard with my electrical mods.

    A couple nights ago, I went to drive it, and it was completely dead even though I make a point of remote-starting it every couple days or so (and it runs for 15 minutes when I do so).

    So, I decided to stick it on a battery tender and left it charging for the rest of the evening and early morning.

    Then I cranked it up in the morning and it worked - so I thought I was good until I drove about a mile and the SS slowly started shutting things down, Clarion first, then the gauge lights, and then finally it completely died.

    Got it towed to the dealer, and he mentioned that I have way too many electricals, and it doesn't matter that most of them were not turned on, they're still drawing power, and the alternator is working hard to feed them power, while also trying to recharge the battery - but it's not keeping up.

    List of after-market electrical-related stuff added:

    Alpha Automatic Transmission conversion
    Alpha variable exhaust (with wireless remote)
    Alpha Front LED grill
    Drone-Mobile Alarm system with remote start
    Corbin Heated seats
    Clarion Receiver (hooked up to a Front and Rear Camera)
    White LED strips that are bundled with a bottom front carbon fiber splitter
    White LED upper brow headlights
    Two additional inner headlights (Canadian conversion)
    Six Angel Eyes LEDs for all the six headlights
    Underglow TricLED kit with bluetooth adapter
    Front and back lighted Hood decals
    Third Brake-light LED strip at the rear hump
    Side-Mirror turn signal lights
    Glove-box light
    Garmin GPS mount (hardwired to power)
    Curb Alert

    I'll add to the list if I remember anything else.

    So - I know they all have very specific power consumption, but if you were in my shoes - what would you do in order to ensure that you never have to worry about power-draw, cost not being a factor?

    I want a dummy-proof solid solution - I don't want to be worried about counting my amps, especially on a long road trip - I like things easy.

    I don't care if I have to get a ridiculously high output alternator - but I also need to make sure it works on my Slingshot, so recommendations on precisely what brand to get would help. The dealer tech is also doing some research on that.
     
  2. Orangeman

    Orangeman ...............................

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    .

    Starting it every couple days is hurting more than helping ..... in off season keep it on a tender .... even better a tender on a timer that only comes on a couple hours a day..... don't run it unless you are going to drive it.

    IMO your alarm has pulled your battery down and you have killed it (especially if you have a '16+ with the small battery)

    To solve your problem replace your battery and treat it right ..... if you are in the habit of running everything at once or when the Slingshot is not running then upgrade to an Optima ..... your alternator makes more than enough power ....

    .
     
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  3. kagai

    kagai Active Member

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    Forgot to mention, I do have an Optima - the blue one. Other than the headlights and Clarion which come on automatically, I wasn't running anything else - at least not in the last week.

    So, cranking it up every couple days and idling- not good?
     
  4. Orangeman

    Orangeman ...............................

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    Then everything still applies other than get an Optima ..... ;)

    You have a parasitic drain problem ... and starting it when low without driving it so it can recover just puts a huge extra strain on the battery .....

    Need to find everything that is pulling power when off (other than the alarm and remote start receiver which is always on and "listening") and fix them or install a master switch to cut all power for storage ....

    Not good for the battery or the motor ......

    .
     
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  5. kagai

    kagai Active Member

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    Thanks for the info - I'll save the remote-starting for only when I need to pre-warm the SS engine before I need to hit the road.

    Will ask the dealer guy if he can check for what is causing the power-drain when the battery is off. Cutting off the power completely when shut down is not something I want to consider right now - I like monitoring my Slingshot from the drone app :)

    So - in your opinion, I don't need a higher capacity alternator?
     
  6. Orangeman

    Orangeman ...............................

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    And there probably in-lies the root of your problem, possibly most of it if that feature draws enough constant power ... second suspect would be your LED Bluetooth controller ... several others have had problems with constant power draw from these .......

    Nope .... and even attempting to do so would cause you more headaches since your alternator regulation is controlled by the ECU ....

    Lot of others have much higher power requirements than you and are fine when running ...... those with big sound systems and lots of other stuff just run dual batteries for the infrequent surges and big bass hits ........

    .
     
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  7. kagai

    kagai Active Member

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    Good info!

    For the LED bluetooth controller (for the underglow) - that's something I only used ONCE - to change the LED to a soft yellowish glow, instead of the default flashing lights - and I do have a hard switch on my dash to turn off the underglow power (although I'll have to check if it also turns off the BT controller). I never have it on when driving. Only had the SS in my possession after all the mods, for less than a month - and have only turned on the underglow lights like two or three times.

    After adjusting the light settings with my app - I don't foresee needing the BT controller again, unless I decide on a different setting maybe a few months from now- so there's no need to keep it always on. Do you know if there's a way to turn off the BT controller, while keeping the underglow lights powered?
     
  8. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg Well-Known Member

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    @Orangeman is heading you down the correct path.

    First off, do not misunderstand what the dealer told you. All the electrical devices in the world like lights are not going to drain on your power unless they are on. It is the alarm and and that remote starter that is likely your culprit. And watch out big time for anything Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a notorious electricity eater.

    Is that Garmin GPS always on and you are using it as a tracking device? If so, another culprit.

    Looking at this model for example: RSD-3S Smartphone Remote Start System for Most Vehicles | DroneMobile it's got current drain written all over it. May not be a big deal when you have a large car battery but the SS battery is not a car battery.

    Finding your culprit is easy. Do whatever you have to do to completely turn off all electrical devices and then check amperage draw. Record that value. It should be almost nothing, just enough to keep things like your radio presets powered on on a stock head unit and such.

    After ignition is off for 10 minutes Polaris states parasitic drain should be 10-15mA. Not much.

    Then one by one start up each device and recheck current draw. I'd bet your remote start/alarm/GPS are the culprits. If your battery is draining down in two days and you have a known good battery, this is almost certainly the case.

    There are plenty of good articles and you tube videos on how to check draw. It's pretty simple. The following is one of them:

    BatteryStuff Articles | How to Test a Battery for Parasitic Drain

    The Polaris service manual also goes over this starting at page 12.16.

    Now, you are saying you are not willing to live without these devices. You have two choices. Assuming everything electrical was done correctly you either 1) Increase your battery reserve (are you willing to give up space in say a behind the seat storage compartment to install a heavy cycle tandem battery - these are often called Marine Duty batteries) or 2) Start shutting off these juice sucking devices.
     
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  9. kagai

    kagai Active Member

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    Forgot to ask - considering the stuff I have, how long would you estimate my Optima would last, without driving the SS? I mean, I'm going to avoid the whole cranking-up every couple days strategy, but I'm curious about how many days can I let it be, and still come back to a functional battery that can crank up and drive my SS without issues? A week? Two weeks?

    I also just noticed that the Drone app tells me the voltage of the battery - which is very useful info - so how low of a voltage would be of concern for me? I wanna keep tabs on it and see what my daily rate of drain is, if I don't touch the SS at all.

    The battery tender is not ideal for me, as I'm in a shared parking garage for a high-rise - and I don't want to be constantly running a cable to one of the open sockets around.
     
  10. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on how much current draw is present.

    Read this. It's easy to calculate how long your battery will last based on Amp hours draw vs Amp hours battery capacity. It's not any different than asking how long a rechargeable flashlight will run if you just turn it on and leave it on. Its the Amp hours draw of the light bulb calculated against the Amp hours reserve of the battery.

    Battery Calculations – Battery Life Span – Current Draw & Amp Hour Rating « Street Musician – Guitar Blog

    It takes X amount of Amps to turn the starter over. When you hear the click-click of death your battery is discharged below that threshold. (Don't over complicate it - many do) it's really just electrical mathematics.
     
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  11. kagai

    kagai Active Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    The Garmin GPS is not always on. I only plug it in when I need directions - but otherwise, I just have a cover-plate attached on it when not in use.

    Alarm system is the RSD-3400 AS - alarm and remote-start, which is definitely always on.

    I can easily kill off the BT controller, if I knew how. When I get my SS back, I'll check the BT controller in the hood, to see if it has a power-off button - it might be that simple, not sure - but I would want it to only turn off the BT controller, and for me to still be able to turn on and off the underglows with my dash button. I think the BT controller only serves to change the light settings - I hope turning it off doesn't mean no power to the underglow LEDs.

    Tandem battery - I'll read up on that - but not sure I wanna sacrifice a storage compartment for that ... :(
     
  12. Orangeman

    Orangeman ...............................

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