1. #1
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    rmoore's Avatar
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    Default Killing that Remote Battery

    Question from an Ohio fire rescue member concerning battery shutdown procedures when the battery is not under the hood.
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    Mr. Moore,
    I recently finished reading your book, " Vehicle Rescue and Extrication" and must tell you that I enjoyed it very much, and also learned many new things as well.

    My question is this: many new vehicles have remote battery terminals under the hood instead of the actual battery. The battery itself is located elsewhere in the vehicle. You stated in your book that if you gain access under the hood and cut/disconnect these remote terminals, you have shut down the vehicles electrical system. Is this applicable to all vehicles with remote terminals, or just a select few? Might you explain to me how this is? Does it interrupt the circuit, or am I missing the "big picture" here?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to assist me with my questions.
    - - - - - - -
    Reply:
    The terminals under the hood are used in vehicle designs where the remote battery locations are not readily accessible to the vehicle owner. This includes the front wheelwell location, front bumper location and all the inside the vehicle, under the seat designs. For owner convenience, these designs have remote jumper cable terminals somewhere in the engine compartment. To jump start a dead battery, you raise the hood, connect to these large screw posts, and energize the vehicle. You don't have to get to the actual battery to get your car running again.

    These screw posts are where rescuers can shutdown the electrical system remotely without ever actually accessing the battery. Double cut or disconnect the cables attached to the posts and you've killed the power from that point throughout the rest of the vehicle. The hot cable from the actual hidden battery to the jumper cable post in the engine compartment is still hot but nothing else is.

    If the battery is not under the hood but is inside the trunk, manufacturers feel that a jumper cable could easily be connected to the battery directly by opening the trunk. Therefore, battery trunk locations may not have a remote terminal system under the hood. It's a model by model, manufacturer by manufacturer thing.

    Image below is how remote terminals should be dealt with. Negative cable double cut or disconnected and then the hot cable double cut or disconnected.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

  2. #2
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    Default

    We had an MVA involving a "Midi" vehicle. Not sure what the exact make of the car was as I arrived on scene late and just before the vehicle was removed. I asked why no one had disconnected the battery, as that is our SOP. They claimed they could not find the actual battery, but did find the remote battery connection and disconnected both cables. I asked how the headlights would still be functioning at that time as they were still on sitting on the flatbed tow truck. Got a bunch of blank looks back. Does anyone have any information about those type of cars?

  3. #3
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    There are several models in various makes on the US market where cutting the remote + cable will NOT render the power circuit dead.In the next few weeks as these vehicles pass thru my shop I will try to identify them.The GM lumina series,certain Pontiacs come to mind.The reason for this is they have redundant powers on these vehicles.A few circuits are powered off the starter cable,the rest off the remote terminal.So always be on the alert even if you THINK you have the supply cut,you MIGHT not.It is virually impossible to remember all the little quirks modern machinery has;I work on them every day and they still get ahead of me.Double check EVERYTHING!T.C.

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    Dont you still want to locate the battery as soon as possible to check for damage to the cells themselves that can short/catch on fire?

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