Breakaway electrical system for car

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crcook84

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I got myself a new car recently. It’s got much better gas mileage. Unfortunately, I’m in the interesting position where I’m not driving it enough, causing the alternator not to be able to keep the battery charged. (We plugged it in that evening and, when we checked it the next day, it was a little over half charged. So, I don't think the alternator is an issue as much as the car is designed to be driven more often.) So, I got a trickle charger wired into my battery so that the battery would stay charge overnight. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to unplug it in the morning. Does anyone know of a break-away electrical system I could use so that I didn’t have to worry about unplugging my car in the morning and easily plug it back in when I get home at night?
 

valis

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How little are you driving it? I've left my car alone for several months, started right up. It may be battery issues.
 

crcook84

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How little are you driving it? I've left my car alone for several months, started right up. It may be battery issues.
I drive roughly 10 miles each day for work (my job is 5 miles away), 5 days a week. I don't do all that much driving on my days off. Furthermore, even though my car is used, I got it from a Chevrolet car dealer. I imagine they would have made sure the battery was good before reselling it.
 

valis

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I would seriously take that to a local shop and have them check the battery. Autozone does it for free, I believe, but even a local mom and pop gas station will have a charger. It certainly sounds like that battery is shot.
 

zx10guy

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I really think it depends on the car. Late model BMWs for instance are literally rolling computers. I know if I leave the car on without the engine running with the stereo powered at moderate sound levels, I will get a low battery warning after about 30 to 45 minutes.

The standard procedure for doing software updates to any of the systems is to put the car on a trickle charger. The amount of time to flash the new software will cause the battery to drain down and corrupt the flash process.

But a battery check won't hurt along with doing an alternator check if you're somewhat handy in working on cars. A quick and dirty way to test the alternator without doing a full bench test is to put a volt meter across the battery terminals with the car running. You should see between 13 to 14V. Anything less, means the alternator is not providing enough power.
 
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