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Lessons learned from a dead 12 volt battery


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26 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   OhioEnergi1

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:57 PM

Got off work to find the keyless entry not working. MyFord Mobile wouldn't work either to unlock either. It would immediately log me out. Couldn't tell if it was just the site being down. Dragged out the manual key in the key fob to enter the car, but the car wouldn't start. The roof light would go on, but that's it. My husband drove in with his key, and still no go. Total darkness. Figured the battery was dead. No battery also means an inability to get to the trunk jumper cables. Fortunately he had a set. Next challenge was finding the 12 volt battery. The picture in the manual is not too helpful. Found the positive terminal, which has a cover on it. The negative is a post down and to the left with no cover. Jumped the car and it worked. Still had 18 miles in the high voltage battery.

I'm not very familiar with the ins and outs of cars, as you can probably tell, and this was from a dumb mistake that anyone can make with any car, but I've learned some lessons from this that I thought I'd share:

1) Headlights must stay on in "On" mode even if the car is off. I think I drained the battery by having left on the headlights. I usually have the lights on auto mode, but it was snowing this morning and I wanted to make sure that the lights were on despite the brightness of the morning, soI had the lights on. They must not turn off automatically like my old Camry. I guess I'll need to only use the auto headlight mode, as I'll probably not remember to turn it off.

2) Did I forget to turn off the car? I can't swear to it, but I don't think I got the warning beeps leaving the car with the keys, and I am positive I locked the car. Does anyone know if the car turns off automatically if you lock it with the key fob outside of the car?

3) when the battery is dead, so are all the electric controls, including to the trunk. Couldn't open the trunk. Fortunately the hood has a manual release and latch.

4) Now we know where the battery terminals are. It's good that it jump starts like a regular car. I'd suggest you identify these in the light sometime or carry a flashlight! This was actually the first time we looked under the hood in the 2 months we've had the car.
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#2 OFFLINE   macmic6

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:52 PM

That is good to know. I can imagine at sometime I will forget to shut it off. I think that Ford should think about an auto shutoff for that reason along with leaving the lights on. I hope that one of the administrators will give us some well needed info on these things tomorrow or the next day. 



#3 OFFLINE   ArizonaEnergi

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:25 PM

Have you read the dead battery thread over on the Hybrid forum?  Hopefully your problem was one of the items you listed, but maybe not.  http://fordcmaxhybri...ry-in-my-c-max/



#4 OFFLINE   Rob

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:16 AM


I'm not very familiar with the ins and outs of cars, as you can probably tell, and this was from a dumb mistake that anyone can make with any car, but I've learned some lessons from this that I thought I'd share:

1) Headlights must stay on in "On" mode even if the car is off. I think I drained the battery by having left on the headlights. I usually have the lights on auto mode, but it was snowing this morning and I wanted to make sure that the lights were on despite the brightness of the morning, soI had the lights on. They must not turn off automatically like my old Camry. I guess I'll need to only use the auto headlight mode, as I'll probably not remember to turn it off.

2) Did I forget to turn off the car? I can't swear to it, but I don't think I got the warning beeps leaving the car with the keys, and I am positive I locked the car. Does anyone know if the car turns off automatically if you lock it with the key fob outside of the car?

3) when the battery is dead, so are all the electric controls, including to the trunk. Couldn't open the trunk. Fortunately the hood has a manual release and latch.

4) Now we know where the battery terminals are. It's good that it jump starts like a regular car. I'd suggest you identify these in the light sometime or carry a flashlight! This was actually the first time we looked under the hood in the 2 months we've had the car.

 

1)  My headlights turn off (switch to parking lights) when the car is turned off.  There is a "home light" delay option that can keep the headlights on for awhile.  I'm not sure how long (mine must be set to turn off immediately).

 

2)  If the car was still running when you walk away with the key fob it doesn't merely give a warning chime, it honks the horn twice when the door is shut.  Annoying, but very noticeable.



#5 OFFLINE   OhioEnergi1

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the link to the C Max Hybrid forum thread, which was very helpful. Apparently these 12V dead batteries are not new for the C Max. It doesn't sound like other Energi owners here, though, have had a problem. The headlights apparently do automatically shut off, at least in the C Max Hybrid, so maybe that's not it. The hybrid thread isn't very reassuring, as this could happen again. Someone had to have an instrument panel replaced. Ford is buying back another person's car. I'm going to look into the compact portable jump starters.



#6 OFFLINE   ArizonaEnergi

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 03:21 PM

Only one other Energi owner, I believe, has reported a battery problem.  If you think yours is having one of these mystery failures, you might want to add yours to the survey over on the Hybrid forum.  Good luck, and I hope it doesn't reoccur for you.

 

I saw this starter recommended in the other thread and think its the one I would buy as it uses a Li-Ion battery that will keep a charge (but note mixed reviews!).  http://www.amazon.co...r jump starter


Edited by ArizonaEnergi, 26 March 2013 - 03:34 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   OhioEnergi1

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:18 AM

ArizonaEnergi, Thank you!

 

Ford Customer Service was quite helpful:

The problem was likely due to short distance driving all in EV mode.

The headlights do go off automatically (I thought I had left them on and discharged the batter).
The hybrid mode charges the 12V battery faster, but the EV mode does charge.
Ford is aware of the problem and will be coming up with a new update soon that will cause faster charging of the 12V battery
If you leave on accesesory mode, accessories connected (e.g. cell phone, GPS, etc), this will discharge the 12V.
 
I have been driving all short distances over the last week or more (only 8 mile round trip commute), and the Engine enabled mode for system health hasn't come on much if at all during this time. Then I had headlights on and probably left them on leaving the car. That could have tipped it over the edge.
 
Now I've enabled MyFord Mobile to text, email me notifications if the 12V battery voltage is low.
 
I'm also going to get one of those jump starters, but want to buy one locally, as they are Hazmat (?) items, and you can't return them by mail. There apparently have been reports that someone got a defective one and couldn't return it. even through Amazon.


#8 OFFLINE   ArizonaEnergi

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:25 AM

I looked further into the Stanley Simple Start Battery Booster as I got to thinking it was low-cost enough to might be a good insurance to have in case of a battery discharge.  Well, I found the manual and it appears to not be suitable for the Arizona climate, at least to have in the car, you know, where it needs to be if you expect to use it.  It's too bad, because I like the Li-Ion battery and the price, and think it would do the job for the C-Max.

 

"Do not leave this lithium-ion battery powered unit in direct sunlight, or use or store the unit inside cars
in hot weather. Doing so may cause the battery to generate heat, rupture, or ignite. Using the battery
in this manner may also result in a loss of performance and a shortened life expectancy."

"Store this unit at temperatures between 5°C and 20°C (41°F and 68°F)."


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#9 OFFLINE   OhioEnergi1

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:59 PM

Apparently there are sealed lead acid jump starters out there that can be kept in the car. Freezing could be a problem, but probably not in your climate.

#10 OFFLINE   jloss

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for the link to the C Max Hybrid forum thread, which was very helpful. Apparently these 12V dead batteries are not new for the C Max. It doesn't sound like other Energi owners here, though, have had a problem. The headlights apparently do automatically shut off, at least in the C Max Hybrid, so maybe that's not it. The hybrid thread isn't very reassuring, as this could happen again. Someone had to have an instrument panel replaced. Ford is buying back another person's car. I'm going to look into the compact portable jump starters.


I'm a new E owner andI had the "dead car" issue happen after my second day! Dealer said it was a defective "computer module". It will be a week to get the car back. Not a good experience.

#11 OFFLINE   astrand1

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:19 PM

Well first off the computer will shut off any lights left on after I think it's 15 minutes. I've had the doors open that long when cleaning a d the dome lights do go off. The 12v power point in the armrest is only powered when the car is on or the radio acc is on so you can't drain it leaving something plugged in. Also if you leave your lights in the auto position they will come on by them selves if you turn on the wipers. If you have the auto rain wipers then they have to be on constant for the lights to come on. Just a couple tips. :)

#12 OFFLINE   OhioEnergi1

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:38 PM

I'm a new E owner andI had the "dead car" issue happen after my second day! Dealer said it was a defective "computer module". It will be a week to get the car back. Not a good experience.


Condolences, but a software fix is supposed to come out soon. So we can keep track of the problem energi owners have with this, please do the poll on the hybrid forum. It sounds like you're the 4th. Link is on ArizonaEnergi's post above.

#13 OFFLINE   cmaxmd

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:31 AM

One comment to the original poster: I doubt you left the car on.  If you had done that, you'd find the hv battery and gas tank empty after probably a couple weeks.



#14 OFFLINE   viajero

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:03 PM

3) when the battery is dead, so are all the electric controls, including to the trunk. Couldn't open the trunk. Fortunately the hood has a manual release and latch.

 

I'm glad you posted this.  I moved my jumper cables from the rear cargo net to under the rear seat so I can get to them with the mechanical key if I need to jump start.



#15 OFFLINE   OhioEnergi1

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 11:37 AM

Just got my energi back from the service dept. Apparently the problem was a bad batch of batteries. Mine was the 3rd or 4th at in there with this problem. The battery had about 6.4v due to a bad cell. Most of my other electrical problems, like my gas door not closing, may have been due to this. They replaced the battery and re-flashed the system. Hopefully this takes care of it. I'll hold off on getting the portable jump starter. I think if it goes dead again, I will try to get to the jumper cables by putting the back seats down and getting to that back compartment from the inside.

#16 OFFLINE   67gtcougar

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:02 AM

My battery was dead yesterday, but I was able to get it going after plugging in the charging cable.  Today it was worse.  This time I had to jump start the car in my garage.  The jumper cables had to be stretched to make it reach the terminals.  We have had the car 3 months, and this is the first real problem. 



#17 OFFLINE   honemch

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:18 AM

Curious if your car has the bad circuit board I have read about.



#18 OFFLINE   67gtcougar

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

Once I found my multimeter, I was able to start checking the 12 Volt battery voltage.  When my wife returned from an errand, the voltage read about 12.8 volts, but if I opened the hatch it would drop to about 12.4 volts.  After I plugged it in to 240, it climbed quickly to 13.3 then eventually hit about 14.3 volts.  Later I tested it again after my wife returned with the car.  This time the voltage showed 12.6 Volts with the driver's door open, and about 12.9 with it closed.  After plugging in the 240 volt charging cable, it seemed to actually drop a little.  After the last drive, I wasn't able to get a voltage reading until about 1/2 hour after the car notified me that it was completely charged.  The charging station was still active and the voltage read 14.3 volts.  I had to open the door to unlatch the hood, and the light ring lit up all the way, but didn't turn off when I closed the door.   I wonder if the battery problem is causing the car to keep the charging circuit going.  ... 

 

... Finally, sometime between 35-45 minutes the charging station switched off.  The battery now is sitting at 13.05 volts.  I will check the voltage later tonight, then again in the morning.

 

Update:  This morning the voltage was at 12.9 volts, and everything appeared normal.


Edited by 67gtcougar, 06 May 2013 - 05:24 AM.


#19 OFFLINE   chryssa

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:29 AM

Whew, y'all are scaring me!  I'm getting impatient and not-so-thrilled with my salesman - placed an order March 27 and have yet to see an order confirmation, DORA or VIN.  On the other hand maybe the longer I wait the more glitches will be worked out.

 

@Honemch - do you remember where you read about the bad circuit board?



#20 OFFLINE   honemch

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:17 AM

Whew, y'all are scaring me!  I'm getting impatient and not-so-thrilled with my salesman - placed an order March 27 and have yet to see an order confirmation, DORA or VIN.  On the other hand maybe the longer I wait the more glitches will be worked out.

 

@Honemch - do you remember where you read about the bad circuit board?

 

Found this one... http://fordcmaxenerg...2-dayscar-dies/

 

I think there is another somewhere










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