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Discussion Starter #1
I have completed a "search" of the forum threads, to assist me in determining why the new battery in my 1999 2.0 NB will drain to the point I have to jump start it or put a charger on the battery after about two days of setting idle. After reading the threads, I see that the radio could be the culprit. So I had a friend of mine, who is a mechanic, conduct a search for battery drain in the NB. Sure enough, he learned that the radio, even though it is off, will drain the battery to a point that after two days, I will need to recharge it.

From the forum, I see someone suggested locking the doors at night, as this should put the system in a sleep mode. So I had the mechanic check this out. Though locking the doors does reduce the amount of drain, it would still drain the battery after about three days.

So my question - why do the VW factory radios drain the battery, even when they are off?

What have others done to remedy the problem? Short of installing a simple shut off switch in line with the radio fuse, so as to "kill" the drain, what other options are available? I know I could remove the fuse, but then when I want the radio on, I would have to put the fuse back in. Thus my reason for suggesting some type of shut off switch?

Frustrating!
 

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5/23/10 <3
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If the radio is draining the battery that badly, it needs to be fixed. I've let my car sit for a week or more and no need for a jump.
 

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If your battery is draining in two days, I'd say there must be a problem somewhere. I've gone a week with no trouble, even with the doors unlocked.

Even so, I think the battery drain in the NB is relatively high and it will normally drain the battery faster than other cars that I have owned. It might be part of the reason why batteries don't last very long in these cars. Starter batteries are not meant to have constant drains on them.
 

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We had the original (non-Monsoon) radio in our '05 NBC. I concluded it was doing exactly what you describe, draining the battery in two to three days (when the car sat over the weekend, it would consistently be dead on Monday morning). I concluded it was the radio by removing it and letting the car sit for four days. At the end of that "test", it fired right up and didn't sound like the battery was weak when it was cranking the starter.

I replaced it with a $100 Pioneer head unit (with USB iPod input) that I bought online from Crutchfield. The nice thing about Crutchfield is that if you buy an expensive enough head unit, they throw in all of the adapters needed (including the VW specific antenna adapter). The plastic dash kit they sent wasn't the best, but it was "free" with the radio purchase, so I'm not complaining.

My daughter likes the new head unit much better than the original, mostly due to the built in iPod interface.


As "Supercharged98" asked, do you have the "Monsoon" system or the non-Monsoon system? If it's "Monsoon", it's most likely the amplifier not turning off, which is a known issue with them. But if you don't, it's surely the radio itself, just like mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good question, Supercharged98 and Jeff2 - do I have the "Monsoon" radio? I searched the forum for how to determine if a monsoon or non-monsoon radio. Form those that I selected, I was not able to make a determination. I attempted to locate the amp per bme's forum dated 01-08-2013 entitled "Monsoon or not". I flipped down the rear panel that gains access to the taillight wiring, and could not see nor feel any type of amp. Am I looking in the right area?
 

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If your NB is '99 you do not have a Monsoon radio; I believe that the Monsoon did not start until 2001.

Have you checked your ignition switch? It feeds power to everything, including the radio and if you do not hear a "click" or "clack" sound when pull out the key, the ignition switch is still "On" in accessory mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks D2Beetle for the information on the monsoon radio.

Next time I pull the key from the ignition, I will listen more closely.
 

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I may be late in this but, the radio is maintaining it's memory for presets and the clock. Fix would be to reroute power directly through the ignition and forget about the memory of the clock. Newer radios have NiCad batteries that recharge and then regulates the charge of the battery. I am doing this soon due to the same issue.

Reroute power through the fuse panel.
 

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I may be late in this but, the radio is maintaining it's memory for presets and the clock. Fix would be to reroute power directly through the ignition and forget about the memory of the clock. Newer radios have NiCad batteries that recharge and then regulates the charge of the battery. I am doing this soon due to the same issue.

Reroute power through the fuse panel.
This fix will work, but if you regularly use the preset stations on the AM/FM radio of your car, it may become annoying if the radio keeps forgetting the radio presets.

The other reason we replaced ours was the factory (in dash) CD player didn't work when we got the car. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the drain may have had something to do with this.
 

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Here the the TSB Number (for all models except Routan) with the Parasitic Draw Testing Instructions ... 27 08 04 August 28, 2008 2016076
 

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Here the the TSB Number (for all models except Routan) with the Parasitic Draw Testing Instructions ... 27 08 04 August 28, 2008 2016076
I found a PDF copy of the above TSB here:

http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/2paulm/2010-03-10_225232_TSB.pdf

The thing I couldn't figure out was how to gain access to the fuse panel while the car is in "sleep mode". This is because on our '05 NBC, the fuse box is accessed when the door is open, but opening the door will cause the car to "wake up".

This is why I pulled the radio out of the dash and let the car sit for four days to see if that was the cause of the drain. As I said earlier, I suspected the radio because the CD player was broken (would not play or eject). I suspect that the failure of the CD eject mechanism was causing the radio to not go into "sleep mode" as many newer radios will allow you to eject the CD for a minute or so after turning off the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is a follow-up to my 03/14/13 posting on "Battery Drain". I have since have had a "parasite amp draw test" done on the 1999 VW NB. From previous comments, the 1999 VW NB does NOT have a Monsom Sound System. It does, however, have a CD player unit located in the "trunk" of the car.
The test revealed that indeed there is a draw coming from the radio. Pulling the fuse radio did lessen the draw, however, it was none the less there. I did pull the radio fuse, and have been driving it without the fuse in place. I thought maybe I had solved my problem until yesterday morning when I again had to jump start the battery due to drain after the car sat idle for 2-3 days..
In reading the postings, I see that the CD player could be a culprit. However, if I have the radio fuse removed, would not this "kill" the CD player too?
I am open to any and all suggestions. This is a great forum!
 

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If the CD player is in the trunk of the car, I wonder if it's on a different fuse than the head unit in the dash. I wouldn't know as our NBC only had the in dash head unit (no trunk mounted CD player).
 

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There are two fuses for the radio: 37 and 42, for switched and unswitched power. The CD changer uses the same two fuses.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Red99, Is #37 & #42 for a 1999 VW NB with 2.0 L engine? Without checking, I think my radio fuse was # 14?

Thanks for the CD player unit info on the fuse.
 

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I have a '99 2.0 also. (The best of the NB's for reliability, in my opinion!) I was going by the info for my car. Fuse #14 is for the interior lights. This is also a common source for parasitic drain, however.
 
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