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Old 01-24-2021, 01:23 PM   #1
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Transit 2020 AWD EcoBoost parasitic current

My Transit Parasitic current draw.

As I have been working on the new camper, I have noticed excessive battery drain on my new 2020 AWD Transit. I did take it into the ford dealer once and they found nothing wrong but did replace my batteries. It is hard to tell if the problem was always there, because admittingly it doesn't get driven much.

I first just put a monitor on the battery to monitor the voltage. Victron makes a relatively cheap monitor temperature and voltage with Bluetooth.



It worked well I could read it from inside the house and keep tabs on the voltage. It's real purpose is to pair with a Victron Solar controller to report battery voltage and temp back to the controller. As expected the drop was much more than I would have expected. So on to phase two

Phase two I decided to at current monitoring into the mix, for this I used phidget Single Board computer (Much like Arduino), a voltage sensor and current sensor. The Phidget SBC has the capability of being attached via WIFI, so I could now check from my office. I wrote a quick program to read the sensors and display the information, but also to record and log the data.



The current sensor I am using is a 0-50 amps 1% accurate sensor. I have not yet calibrated in the van, so it's accuracy could be in question, but I was looking for trends not just a momentary current reading.

Anyhow over a 16 and 1/2 hour log , the voltage dropped from 12.8 to 12.27 volts. More importantly this was the chart I got after looking through the log data. For the record, the data is reported and logged every 1/2 second. So while the current spikes you see are not extremely long, they are very repetitive, in fact in very 1 hour and 34 mins. You might notice one spike out of sequence, that is where I made sure the van was locked up for night.



and a close up



Well I need to do a little more work on verifying the accuracy at the low current draw, but there is no doubt the spikes are there.

-greg
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:12 PM   #2
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I too have noticed a significant parasitic draw on the engine batteries of our 2019 Transit 350. Our van is not a daily driver, either, and will sit for ~10-12 days between excursions. The first time I checked the battery charge status after 15 days in our driveway, it showed 12.31 V /50% SOC. I haven’t measured current draw yet but am planning to install a battery monitor similar to what you have done. Apparently, with the Ford onboard computer system, many monitoring components continue to use considerable amounts power during periods when the van is not “in use.” Our LiFePO4 house batteries continue to hold their charge nicely with the house system turned off during these periods. I purposely did not connect the starter and house battery systems together except for a one way DC-DC charger via the alternator. It is tempting to try and disable some of this “unnecessary” monitoring using FORScan, but not having any sophistication in understanding the onboard computer, I am going to pass on this option. Every 10-14 days I am using a trickle charger to charge and top off the dual starter batteries and I carry a charged Audew jump starter in the van, just in case. (As posted on this forum: )
I will be interested to learn from you about the sources of these ongoing current leaks.
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Old 02-05-2021, 12:54 PM   #3
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After looking more closely at my data it became clear that current spike while of interest, were not the main problem, the high idle current draw was actually worse then what I was showing. To be clear the draws were outside of the values that I would consider parasitic loads. I actually matched the current draw with other meters and added the ability of my program to count amp-hour data. This would enable me to sink the amp-hours with the voltage of the battery bank.

After taking it for a half-hour drive last week, I found that the system had returned to what I expect is more normal. I added a temperature probe to my setup, to see if I could determine if temp had any significant cause in this problem.

The last thing I added to my setup was the ability to turn on/off the charger (Small Victron 15-amp charger). One thing you may notice is that the current probe does not include current coming in from the charger.

This morning I woke and found a high constant current draw on the program. When I checked the van I found that my headlights were on. I turned them off by cycling the "lock button" on the key fob. A few minutes later they came back on, so I turned on the power supply. This was in hope of stopping the cycle, which it did. This was also something I had previously seen. The important thing now is that I have data to provide to Ford when I take the van back in. My plan going forward will be to remove the connection of my AMP Research PowerSteps from the equation, although I have little concern that they are having a impact. But I would prefer to remove any question from Ford the next time I take it in. The last time they had it for 4 days and said they couldn't find anything.

This is what I believe normal parasitic load probably looks like.



This is the data showing the data collected as the Headlights decided to come on by themselves overnight. Obviously the headlights coming on can be a large current drain.


If interested here are the changes made to my data collection program.



And the here is what the setup[ actually looks like.





-greg
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Old 02-05-2021, 02:19 PM   #4
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Now that's pretty amazing, and odd as far as the headlights go.
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