Last night I came home from work around 5 PM and noticed that one of the
two Cats they're using for the gas main project in my neighborhood had its
hazard lights flashing. I tried the crew chief's cell phone, but it's his
work cell, and I guess he doesn't answer it after hours. I knew from
previous conversations that they are done at 3:30.
Later, around 9:30, when SWMBO and I were walking the dogs, we walked past
the Cat and I decided to try the door. It wasn't locked, so I climbed in
and turned the hazard lights off. The best I can guess is that they were on
for about 6 hours.
When I left for work this morning, both Cats were gone, so either they
jumped one with the other or the battery was fine.
Anybody know how long the battery in a Cat like that would last with the
hazard lights on?
My only experience was one time noticing a car with
the flashers on, about 7 or 8 in the evening. The
next morning, it was stone cold dead. I believe your
kindness saved them a dead battery. And very often
a starting battery completely discharged never comes
back to life truly. So, you may have saved them from
having to replace the battery next week. You are a
Not to discount the good Samaritan aspect of what was done, but those
things have two batteries. I believe that they are designed with long
standby while not having the engine running and having full lights
on. Emergency flashers really do not pull that much. The small batteries
in cars are their primary liability.
There are a ton of variables as well... how much amperage do the lights
draw, what percentage of the time are they on while flashing, charge on
the feed battery at the beginning, condition of the feed battery at the
beginning, battery temperature and likely others...
I agree with Nightcrawler on this one.
I was in my local battery shop when someone brought in a huge battery;
much larger than a car battery. Just out of interest I asked what it
was out of, and I was told it was from a Caterpiller Grader. They use
those a lot here in Winnipeg for clearing snow. The guy told me that
the grader doesn't just have one of those, but two of them. And, the
reason why they have two batteries is because they're often left at
construction sites overnight in the winter where there's no electricity
available for a block heater. So, they need both batteries to provide
the power needed to start their cold engines in the morning.
In fact, my understanding is that in Northern Ontario, they will often
collect wood and start a fire under the engine of the graders and
bulldozers to warm up the oil in the oil pan in order to start their
engines in the mornings in winter. I've never personally seen that
being done; I just heard that it is done.
On Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:29:54 AM UTC-5, nestork wrote:
Many years ago I worked in northern Wisconsin. One of my coworkers would arrive, start the oil draining while he disconnected his battery, and bring both inside the building. He was so skilled at these tasks they hardly added any time to his commute.
At the end of the shift he'd pour the warm oil back in, reconnect the warm battery, and start his car. Then often he'd jump the rest of us before he went home himself.
That's no longer necessary with the improvements in cars.
One of my coworkers would arrive, start the oil
draining while he disconnected his battery, and
bring both inside the building. He was so skilled
at these tasks they hardly added any time to his commute.
back in, reconnect the warm battery, and start
his car. Then often he'd jump the rest of us
before he went home himself.
ments in cars.
Sounds like a bit of extra work. But, it did
manage to get his car started when others would
When I lived in Philadelphia in the earlyh 70's, I had a 1964 Karman
Ghia. I did bring the battery in the house at night. I did not have a
problem at work because I parked on a hill and could get rolling and
pop the clutch.
would arrive, start the oil draining while he disconnected his battery, and
bring both inside the building. He was so skilled at these tasks they
hardly added any time to his commute.
warm battery, and start his car. Then often he'd jump the rest of us before
he went home himself.
The Karman Ghia body design was as far ahead for it's time as the VW beetle
wasn't. I'll bet that body style could easily be revived today - it really
was a standout. Did you have the easy open (with a knife) ragtop, the
hardshell removable top or the hardtop?
We lived in a small German town courtesy of the US Army.
Parked cars in some areas were required to have a taillight on all night. The German cars come with a low powered taillight and a separate switch. It easily works all night without draining the battery.
This has nothing to do with lights and batteries, but it is related in
terms of cars, Germany and the US Military.
I lived on the resort island of Sylt, Germany courtesy of the USCG. I
totaled a VW bug and it had to be disposed of. Since there was no junkyard
on the island, it had to be transported off of the island on the
auto-train. The metal and other salvageable parts were worth some money, so
a local handyman volunteered to take it off my hands - and off the island -
for nothing. I give him the car, he makes it disappear, we call it even.
We spent a full Saturday dismantling the bug and breaking it down into
parts that one person could carry, except for the engine of course. When we
were done, the entire car was put in the back of his tiny euro-style
pick-up truck and driven off base.
3 decades later and I still miss that car.
I know that semi-trailers will idle their engines all night long while
the driver is sleeping, but often that's because the engine is operating
the heating or air conditioning system in the sleeper behind the cab.
So, the truck is locked and the driver is right on site, albeit fast
But, I'd say it's kinda pushing your luck to leave heavy equipment
idling and unattended all night long, even in the bush. Those big
diesel engines make a lot of noise, and out in the bush where you don't
have any other noise, sound carries for miles. The sound of a
continuously idling diesel engine is going to attract the attention of
people inclined to steal equipment like that. It might still be there
in the morning, but if you make a habit of leaving it idling and
unattended at night, it's not going to be there in the morning for very
I imagine that the heavy equipment has some heavy duty engine heaters
that require an APU to fire up. I cannot fathom trying to fire up
an engine that was left overnight in sub-zero temps. I hear that any
equipment left for an amount of time out there needs to be towed and
heated up before they can be re-started.
Down here in the states some of the small internal combustion gen-sets
have heaters in their filter housings (1.5ft dia x 4.5ft) and circulate
the oil until a block temperature switch enables the start sequence.
They all have a pre-lube cycle, anyway, this is just another level of
protection in the event the grid kicks the plant offline for an extended
period of time, or if there is a step-up transformer/re-closure problem.
I suppose that if the equipment can be moved to a warmer location,
that'd be the way to go, but often the equipment can't really be moved.
For example, the diesel engines in a mining drag line or oil drilling
rig. You can't move the diesel engine in an oil drilling rig without
moving the rig, and it takes several days to set up the rig and take it
down. Having to do all that just because an engine won't start isn't
economic when you have to pay the crew a daily wage even when they're
In those cases, there are still ways to start cold diesel engines. I've
seen one case where you can set up quick connect fittings (like the kind
on compressed air lines) on the engine of a pick up truck and the engine
of a bull dozer (for example). You connect the pick-up truck's engine
to the bulldozer engine with hoses so that hot engine oil from the pick
up truck's engine flows through the engine of the bulldozer. After a
while, all of the oil in both engines is hot, and the bulldozer will be
much easier to start.
On really large diesel engines, like the diesel engine in a locomotive,
they will typically use an electrically powered coolant preheater. The
coolant preheater is entirely electric and both heats and pumps hot
coolant through the diesel engines's water jacket, thereby warming up
the entire engine. If the engine can't be brought to the preheater, the
preheater can be brought to the engine, but in that case you also need
to take along a gasoline powered generator to provide the electrical
power the preheater needs.
'Machinery-Heavy Equipment Engine Heating Products | HOTSTART'
Re: How long does it take hazard lights to kill a vehicle's battery?
This made me think of "Blade Runner" where Deckard is asked by the Replicant
"How long do I live?"
"4 years" and the Replicant says
"Longer than YOU!" and proceeds to try punching his lights out.
One of the greatest lines in all Sci Fi movie history.
On Thursday, November 21, 2013 5:44:53 PM UTC-5, Robert Green wrote:
I like the line in Drive Angry. One of the disposable bad guys tells Nicholas Cage he's going to sacrifice the baby and live forever. Cage's line is "if by forever you mean the next 5 seconds, you're right." Then Cage kills him.
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