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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the situation.

I own a 2007 Ford Focus. I purchased it used. It has 40,125 miles on it. And I have been driving it for around six months. So far I really, really, like this car.

Today I drive to work and my car starts normally. I did however notice that the battery light was on, but I attributed this to me leaving my cellphone charger and my cellphone in the car charging over night. I do forget to bring it in sometimes.

I drive the 20 miles to work, just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. Park, work my ten hours, and then get done. I go out, try to start my car, and nothing. The vehicle didn't turn over, and no audible noises or solenoid clicks. The was some power to the dashboard, as the odometer backlighting came on and the instrument panel indicators, such as the battery light, oil, etc all flashed briefly.

I figured this was merely a dead battery, and that I perhaps left my lights on. Which I didn't. My cellphone was off the charger, but my charger was still plugged into the socket. I removed that from the socket, turned the radio off and shut off the fan and AC in the car. Got a jump start from a co-worker. Car started up immediately, and ran perfectly fine all the way home. No stuttering or stalling. I figured that it was just a fluke and I left my door slightly ajar with the interior light on that drained the battery.

Park the car at home. Sits for several hours. I figure on a whim that I better check to see if it still starts before I hit the hay and go out to try starting it again. Again. Nothing. Turn the key all the lights go out in the vehicle and no noise or solenoid clicking.

This time I get a jump start from my roommate. Somehow he got the cables hooked up backwards and almost burns up his cables trying to start my car. I lept out and threw them off my battery as fast as possible. I start going through all the fuses to see if any are blown. None were. All the relays seemed fine. Let the cables cool off, I hook them up, right. Turn the ignition, car starts up immediately.

Take the cables off, and the car stays running. I get in, drivers door open, and notice that it's idling a little on the slow side. I rev it up a little, to about 2000 rpm, and the cabin light starts flickering, all the instrument panel lights start flashing randomly. At this point I shut the car off. Waited a few seconds and attempted a restart. Nothing. Won't turn over, and now there is a funny buzzing noise coming from the area of the fuse box panel on the inside of the car behind the CD holder whenever I turn the ignition switch.


Other than the obvious messup of getting the cables on backwards, does anyone have any ideas what could be the original source of the dead battery, odd behavior?
 

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You've taken what might have just been a battery / alternator issue and turned it into the problem from hell?

The buzzing might be a fried relay?

Getting the cables backwards when jumping a battery is a basic mistake nobody wants to make...about all you could do is take it to someone who works automotive electrical issues and have them try and diagnose it?

You might luck out and find that Ford prepared the car for this kind of mistake...if you are lucky.
 

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I would start by having the battery tested. If it has not been holding a charge that can be a good start. Also check the battery connections a loose battery or ground can cause the lights to flicker. When the battery is dead the relays can buzz and make noise because there is not enough power to keep the relay coil charged, so it turns on and off really fast. that should get you started in figuring this out.
 

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This started with a "battery" light that was on, and then it was ignored....

When the light is on, the system is NOT charging adequately for some reason, and the battery will eventually discharge with all the attendant symptoms of low voltage while the car still runs at all...

Charge THEN test the battery, test operating voltage at the battery car off first, then while running, maybe get a free charging system check (at autozone for example) & let us know the results....

MANY of the electrical issues we see result from poor connections due to corrosion, so checking the battery terminals, connections, and all the ground connections you can get at ALWAYS helps....

Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This started with a "battery" light that was on, and then it was ignored....

When the light is on, the system is NOT charging adequately for some reason, and the battery will eventually discharge with all the attendant symptoms of low voltage while the car still runs at all...

Charge THEN test the battery, test operating voltage at the battery car off first, then while running, maybe get a free charging system check (at autozone for example) & let us know the results....

MANY of the electrical issues we see result from poor connections due to corrosion, so checking the battery terminals, connections, and all the ground connections you can get at ALWAYS helps....

Luck!
I only noticed the battery light being on the morning I drove it to work. So it's not something I've been ignoring.

I got a meter from the shop and I checked the voltage on the battery, and it was 6.7 volts after sitting over night. Definitely dying/dead. Taking the car in tomorrow to a dealership where my step-brother works, he's going to run a reader and see if I have any codes from the computer to diagnose. Possible that one cell is dried up. There's slight bulging on the sides.

Checked the connections from the alternator to the battery, nothing appeared out of the ordinary. No apparent corrosion or signs of arcing. The battery terminals are pristine. No corrosion or signs of arcing/loose fitting. There are a few points on the frame that appear to be grounding points, which are slightly rusty/corroded. I loosened them and brushed the hardware off with a steel brush and re-tightened.

Jump started the car and tested the current flow across the battery terminal connections and I get 14.46 amps. Car ran normal with no battery, under nothing but alternator power. Revved engine up to 3K with no battery, didn't get any of the electrical flickering or instrument panel craziness.

Bought a new battery. Installed fine. Car starts normally, no lights or apparent electrical problems yet. Check engine light is on, which I take to mean there is a code that needs to be read/reset.

The buzzing noise is also gone from behind the dash.

So far the only casualties seem to be a pair of jumper cables and what looks like a factory original battery.
 

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Communications in this medium can easily be misunderstood, by "ignored", I was referring to the discussion that had taken place to that point, where the initial trouble symptom hadn't been discussed...

Glad it's fixed, car batteries USED to be pretty robust - with failures generally limited to slowly loosing capacity. Over the past 5 to 10 yrs. I've seen MANY more instances where the cheaper made batteries we get these days ACT like smaller & lighter Motorcycle batteries - PARTICULARLY by shorting out internally as plates disintegrate, giving you a SUDDEN issue where the car won't run. In some cases EVEN with a jumper battery attached, because the original deteriorated battery absorbs all the current available leaving none to operate the vehicle....

Cheers!
 

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So far the only casualties seem to be a pair of jumper cables and what looks like a factory original battery.
If it fried the cables...all I can say is lucky...lucky...lucky. Or they were light weight cables.... All's well that ends well.
 
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