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Recommendation from portable 12v charger?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Ian

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 09:59 PM

My 2013 Energi has had the 12v battery replaced more than once, and I just got that dreaded notification e-mail (car's battery is low!) again tonight ... but not soon enough. Dead car again. Lots of good info on these threads, so I've got some research to do.

In the meantime, I'd like to get a booster/charger to keep in the car so I don't have to call AAA for a jump next time. I've read it doesn't take much to jump it, so I don't want to spend more than necessary. What do you recommend?







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#2 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 05:54 AM

I bought one of these small battery packs but had no luck with it when the battery died with a bad Cell on my C-Max. I also had a dead battery on my Ranger and it was also not able to help. In both cases it was not able to raise the battery voltage at all. And yes this portable battery pack was fully charged at the time. So there are limits to ability of this solution to help. I did wonder if disconnecting the 12V car battery and using only this pack might have worked start the Cmax  but difficult access to the car battery would have been more effort than it was worth at the time.

 

https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

I had good luck using the Schumacher SSC-1500A-CA Ship 'N' Shore 15 Amp SpeedCharge Charger. This charger does have to be plugged in but was able to put enough charge in the Cmax and Ranger batteries to allow the vehicle to be started.  I originally bought this charger to condition the battery to help extend the battery life. This battery conditioning did not help my original battery's life. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

Tom



#3 OFFLINE   Perry Knopp

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:14 AM

 I noted my problems in another thread and after reading and researching here are my conclusions. No, these likely won't help if you have a dead cell battery. If your battery is good but has simply drained that is another issue.

 

 I appreciated the info on why it's so easy to quick boost one of these cars. The boost only has to throw a switch as opposed to crank the engine. If wrong, someone chime in. It makes sense to me. With a good battery (but low or dead) it doesn't take much power. With that being the case I'm looking at how long the battery will hold a charge more than the top cranking amps. If you want an all around one, you might consider otherwise. I already have a larger one.

 

 If I put it in my car and forget to top it off in a few months I still want there to be some charge there. 



#4 OFFLINE   Tom_NC_1

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:31 AM

 I noted my problems in another thread and after reading and researching here are my conclusions. No, these likely won't help if you have a dead cell battery. If your battery is good but has simply drained that is another issue.

 

 I appreciated the info on why it's so easy to quick boost one of these cars. The boost only has to throw a switch as opposed to crank the engine. If wrong, someone chime in. It makes sense to me. With a good battery (but low or dead) it doesn't take much power. With that being the case I'm looking at how long the battery will hold a charge more than the top cranking amps. If you want an all around one, you might consider otherwise. I already have a larger one.

 

 If I put it in my car and forget to top it off in a few months I still want there to be some charge there. 

 

Thanks for the reminder. My pack has been stored in the car for over 4 months. Pressed the test button and all 4 lights came on then one light went out. Plugged it in and had two solid lights and two flashing lights. It will be fully charged when all 4 lights are on solid.

 

Tom



#5 OFFLINE   Ian

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:11 AM

How can I diagnose a dead cell v. drained battery?

 

Since my original post (and until yesterday), the car has been starting fine and reading 14.3-6V in engineering test mode. I have a cheapo volt meter that would read ~12 with the car off and barely ticked down when starting the car. But ... yesterday I got a string of low-battery e-mails at 10:03, 10:04, and 10:05. I was out to try starting it by 10:10 at the latest with no luck. Cheapo volt meter says ~3V.

 

I have a jumper on order (Arteck Car Jump Starter). Will report back if I can leave the car put until it arrives.

 

The only clue I have about what could be the drain is an intermittent clicking sound from the passenger side of the center console, down low. Or maybe in the seat, like the seat heating element? Can I pull the passenger side seat heating fuse?



#6 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 07:21 PM

3v the battery is gone, you need another.   Hard to say about the clicking noise, if the battery is low you might hear clicking due to that, put a good 12v source on the car (another battery or a power supply) and see if the clicking is gone, might be.

 

-=>Raja.



#7 OFFLINE   ArizonaEnergi

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:07 AM

I bought a Li-Ion Battery Pack at Costco for this very reason and two months later used it when my Energi wouldn't start after driving 5 miles and taking a 1 hour bike ride.  Certainly saved a long wait for a jump from Ford.  I don't know how long the charge on these devices last but certainly a good idea to check them once a month.

 

Bought a new 12v battery a week later.



#8 OFFLINE   James2

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 02:17 PM

My 12 volt battery recently went out. I needed a few days to shop for one and find the best deal. I was able to drive the car by hacking a 7ah SLA battery and an old 12 volt power cord.

 

I was able to start the car by plugging a 7 ah SLA (Sealed Lead Acid battery) into the rear 12 volt accessory outlet ( aka cigarette lighter) to "jump" start the car. Worked very well. I made a cord to go from the battery to the 12 volt port from an old cord I had. ( pay close attention to polarity, the center pin on the 12v plug is positive)  I used a 15 amp fuse. I was able to leave the SLA plugged in while running errands and the car worked as normal.

 

I would suggest unplugging it while charging HVB or letting the car sit for more than a few hours. I left the SLA battery plugged in the 12 volt port while charging the HVB and the case swelled some, suggesting it was over charged. If left plugged in while the car is sitting, it may run down leaving you stranded. I always unplugged it if the car was to sit more than a few hours. 

 

here is a battery like I used https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Replacement-Beiter-DC-Power/dp/B004QBZA0E



#9 OFFLINE   tr7driver

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 06:45 AM

My car sat in my garage, unplugged with about 50% HVB, for the past 18 days.  When I used MFM to check on it last week, MFM told me my car was in "sleep mode" and needed to be awakened at the car before MFM could contact it????  When I got home, much to my surprise, It still had a good charge on the 12V battery and started right up.  Then MFM reported its status correctly. 



#10 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 10:09 AM

My car is in the garage, battery at 29%. I'm not going to be using it for 25 days. I connected a deep cycle 12 v battery to the power terminals under the hood to aid the small 12v battery to not get drained and damaged. I could have left it alone but thought I might risk damaging the 12v battery if it drains too low so that's my solution as I don't want to connect a charger and leave it topping off all the time.

Still original 12v battery by the way.

-=>Raja.

#11 OFFLINE   12mile

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 07:37 PM

So the 12v lead acid battery is charged from the high voltage traction battery by a DC to DC charger circuit.   Has the capacity of this DC to DC charger ever been identified?  It should be several hundred watts I would think.

 

The 120V inverter power is probably less than the capacity of the DC to DC charger or using the inverter would needlessly deplete the 12 v lead acid battery when in use. 

 

So anyone know the capacity of the DC to DC charger?



#12 OFFLINE   cr08

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:36 AM

Yes, the 12V battery is charged by the HVB any time the car is running and also while the EVSE is plugged in. Not too many indications I can find online regarding amperage but a few members on other forums indicate the C-Max and Fusion hybrid models are around 145 amps so basically around the output of a traditional alternator with the bonus of no idle speed output drop.

 

Basically think of the DC-DC converter like a traditional altnernator. While the car is running it's primary function is to provide power to all the 12V loads in the car and the secondary function is to top up the 12V battery to a given voltage. As long as you don't regularly run in accessory mode for extended periods or have always hot 12V loads plugged in while the car is off, you shouldn't ever run into 12V battery issues.



#13 OFFLINE   12mile

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 06:20 AM

cr08, thanks very much for your reply. 

 

145 amps may be correct but sounds a bit high.  145 amps X 12 volts = over 1500 watts.  It could be right but seems high.  I would hope FORD might provide the spec.  The Nisson Leaf DC to DC charger is about 1000 watts according to this very interesting youtube video on drawing some emergency house power from an EV:

 

 

It would seem that drawing 12v DC power from the 12 volt C-MAX battery should work if the car is in full power up mode (in park) as long as the power drawn is conservatively below the DC to DC charging capacity.   I am thinking 500 watts or less.

 

Another question is where/how to connect to the 12 volt battery.  The 12v battery is inconvenient to get to under the traction battery.  I started to replace mine and quickly decided to let FORD service do it.  It may be possible to use the "jump start" terminals but I don't really know if there is some unknown issue with that method. 



#14 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 07:05 AM

My neighbor has a generator.  I plug into his and then switch myself off the grid and plug into the outlet into the garage.  This will feed power into 1/2 the circuits in the house and I can just turn on lights or run the refrigerator as well as one of the furnaces (upstairs or downstairs).  If I need to run the other furnace I plug into the outlet in the kitchen and that powers the other half of the house.  I just have to make sure I run I don't run too many things to trip the generator system, but by running things in a round robin fashion I was able to keep my house warm and the refrigerator running for 3 days while we lost power due to a freak snow storm around halloween and broke trees that fell through power lines as they still had leaves on them.

 

I ended up burning 15 gallons of gas, I would put 5 gallons in his generator a day and he did the same so we kept it running 12 hours a day under load.  Worked like a champ.  My Cmax wouldn't have compared though its a good idea for small loads.  I have a 1200w inverter I could use if need be with the Cmax.

 

-=>Raja.



#15 OFFLINE   12mile

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:31 AM

Hi Raja,  Yep, generators and some creativity can really help during a longer duration power outage. 

 

What I am exploring is related to an emergency simulation where generators are not permitted.  The challenge is to setup and operate a radio for communications for about 24 hours without generators.   Solar and battery as preferred methods.  Usually this involves deep cycle batteries the most and some solar but having a sizable 12v power source that is portable is intriguing. I am not sure I will try it but just having this thought experiment is useful.  It could/should work in a pinch.  I would probably use the traction battery just to keep the primary deep cycle battery some support if it got weak.



#16 OFFLINE   cr08

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 09:14 AM

Actually upon further reading of that post I found earlier, the 145 amp reference did come from an official Ford workshop manual. This is the post I found referencing it:

 

http://fordcmaxhybri...ehicle/?p=17478

 

Basically sounds like that is 'best conditions, up to' but I imagine normal everyday usage would be close, likely in the 100-120 amp range given most OEM alternators come in around this rating and the C-Max 12v systems are nearly identical to an equivalent ICE vehicle outside of a few additional modules.

 

Your plan to do 500W or less should definitely be no problem. Keep the car in run mode and go nuts.



#17 OFFLINE   12mile

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 01:41 PM

cr08,  thanks for the link.  That is the info I needed.  It even clears up the issue of where to connect to the system. 

 

Great help!  Thanks










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