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Old 08-17-2008, 11:59 AM   #1
steelerfan
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Trying to jump my car, sparks when i connect negative

Hey Guys,
Well i get back from vacation only to find my battery is dead. I just installed the factory alarm before i left & had BMW service active it (as well as the second key fob, disable DRL & software updates from a recall).

When i connect the negative terminal to what i assume is the ground terminal to the left of the positive terminal in the engine bay, the negative sparks. Maybe i have the wrong negative terminal all though i highly doubt it b/c it's the same bolt as the positive terminal & that would be a really bad trick by BMW.

Any thoughts on the sparks!!!!!

Any thoughts on why my battery went dead after the new service? The only thing i could think would be the OEM alarm. I don't drive my car daily anyway, it sat for over a week. Any thoughts????
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:04 PM   #2
NorCal Einstein
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Have you ever jump started a car before?
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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did u leave any lights on by mistake, or was a door not shut fully?
or u could have a short somewhere in the car.
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Old 08-17-2008, 03:20 PM   #4
steelerfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Einstein View Post
Have you ever jump started a car before?
Yeap, I have jump started many cars before, just the first time jumping the beamer


I know the battery is completely dead b/c when i first got in the car to crank it up & take it for a ride, I noticed the window didn't roll up. Also, the trunk celenoid (i'm a terrible speller) will not open the trunk b/c it doesn't have any power, even though i put the key in the trunk. Kind of a smal problem considering the battery is in the trunk . i guess i could crawl in through the back seat & pull the release lever in the trunk. Sorry guys, not too familiar w/ the car, just bought it less than a month ago.

I only had a few minutes before my soccer game, sorry i wasn't more descriptive. I had to take a different car but i found this post before i tried to jump the car:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...tery+dead+jump

Any ideas????? I don't like the sparking. I am jumping this off w/ a 97 accord. Not sure if it matters but in the post listed above someone mentioned don't do it w/ a certain type of battery.

I am thinking about using one of the strut bolts as an alternate ground b/c that one bolt that i think is the ground bolt sure does spark up w/ i have everything hooked up.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:13 PM   #5
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well..... when in doubt, read the instructions on the jumper cables It states in caps & bold, don't hook the negative cable to the negative terminal, actually use engine or chassis ground. Like i mentioned, i used one of the strut bolts. It sparked temporarily....

As Bimmerboii mentioned, there was probably an interior light left on or my drivers side door wasn't shut fully, hence the spark when i connected the negative cable.

One of my buddies was feading my cat this past week & he hadn't checked out the car yet since i bought it. I bet he was looking at the interior & just didn't shut the door fully. I will ask him when i get a chance. I also noticed the right side map light was burnt out so maybe that was on. Oh well, thanks for your help guys.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NorCal Einstein View Post
Have you ever jump started a car before?
hahaha. +100.

sparks are normal when jumping as long as you have neg to neg and positive to positive.
the sparks will disapear once you connect it fully for a second
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Old 08-17-2008, 05:10 PM   #7
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I mean batteries spark all the time after one of the leads is connected to it whether it be the positive or the negative it doesn't really matter, im sure some of you have seen it spark a little bit when putting on or removing jumper cables....unless the sparks your talking about are huge then possibly shorting out somewhere along the path or your putting the leads on the wrong terminals.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by steelerfan View Post
I am thinking about using one of the strut bolts as an alternate ground b/c that one bolt that i think is the ground bolt sure does spark up w/ i have everything hooked up.
If you're talking about it sparking when you make the last connection (i.e. you've gone + to + with one cable, you've connected one end of the other cable to the - on the live battery, and you get the spark just at the instant you connect the last -) then that's normal and nothing to worry about. Just make sure the clamp takes a good bite the first time so you're not moving it around, disconnecting and reconnecting a bunch of times.

That sparking is the exact reason why it's recommended to hook the jumper cables to the terminals of the live battery and the + of the dead battery, but hook the last cable to a ground on the dead battery's car away from the battery. Batteries produce hydrogen gas as they discharge, and if the gas leaks out of the battery, it will be densest near the battery. You connect the last cable to the - terminal of the battery, the spark ignites the hydrogen gas and BOOM! If you connect to a chassis ground away from the battery, then you're away from the hydrogen gas and the spark won't be a problem.

Since your battery is in the trunk and your jumper posts are under the hood, you should be using the jumper posts. The sparking when you make the last connection should be kept to a minimum by making a solid connection the first time. But a little sparking is ok and normal.

If you're talking about it continuing to spark after you've make the connection, or spitting out sparks when you turn the key to try to start your car, then STOP. Right now. Don't do anything else and have it towed back to the dealer. There's a bigger electrical issue and (sorry for being so blunt) if you're asking this question about sparking when jump starting, the problem is beyond your ability to diagnose or fix.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses guys. The last connection I was making was the negative to the drained battery side as per the instructions. I have jumped several cars in the past, I just never remembered the sparks before.

I have installed several car audio systems in previous cars & it reminded me of when you reconnect the positive terminal the sparks you get. Like I said I just didn't remember sparks from connecting the ground when i jumped cars in the past.

Man i had some fun driving the car to charge up the battery, took it on a good curvy road behind my house, i missed her last week

After I got back in the garage, cut the car off it cracked back up. So hopefully a light was left on. I will probably drive it tomorrow night to my softball game so we will see!
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:40 AM   #10
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Man i had some fun driving the car to charge up the battery, took it on a good curvy road behind my house, i missed her last week
If the battery was dead then what you are doing is a good way to kill your alternator. Alternators weren't made to charge batteries from dead, it puts too much strain on them.

Just charge the battery with a proper battery charger then go for a drive.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:52 AM   #11
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There is a positive terminal to be used for jumping. It's under a plastic cover labeled + on the inner fender wall. I've never seen a negative terminal? Negitive cable is connected to the engine somewhere. I use the hoist bracket. If you are putting both cables to positive = SPARKS!
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:24 PM   #12
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Bump

I had to bump this old thread because this also happened to me and I was wondering if the OP ever solved the problem.

After initially discovering that my battery was dead, I was thrown for a loop because I just installed a new alternator and a new battery. I tried to jump the car using the terminals under the hood. Just as the OP experienced, I got a spark when connecting the NEGATIVE terminals. I was able to jump it directly from the battery in the trunk but am concerned that something is sending a positive charge through the chassis causing this. There is an obvious electrical problem but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone help?
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:45 PM   #13
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nah, its normal, the initial current when connecting the battery is very high. I was plugging and unplugging my battery and it would spark.
spark is nothing abnormal.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:17 PM   #14
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Sparks are normal even when jumping correctly

The sparking is the result of the voltage difference between one side to the other when making contact. This causes current to flow. Like a mini-welding set-up.
If you have a problem now, please restate it clearly. I'm not understanding whether the new battery and alternator cured your problem, or you still have abnormal behavior? If the new parts are still leading to a dead battery, you have a current drain that is too high when your car is at rest.

What did your new alternator cost you? From where?



Quote:
Originally Posted by roblowsta View Post
I had to bump this old thread because this also happened to me and I was wondering if the OP ever solved the problem.

After initially discovering that my battery was dead, I was thrown for a loop because I just installed a new alternator and a new battery. I tried to jump the car using the terminals under the hood. Just as the OP experienced, I got a spark when connecting the NEGATIVE terminals. I was able to jump it directly from the battery in the trunk but am concerned that something is sending a positive charge through the chassis causing this. There is an obvious electrical problem but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone help?
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