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Excel Hybrid 12V Battery Prone To Discharge


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#1 jonesbach

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:15 AM

I took delivery of my hybrid in January and initially had no problems.  However, a month ago the 12V battery went totally flat when not used for 2 days.  I monitored the battery voltage for a few days, but even with a 40mile journey it failed to recover, averaged 12.3-12.5V, and it had to be used daily to achieve that.  The charging circuit looks OK as it is providing 14.5V.  I took it to the dealer who ( over the period of 36hrs. that they had the car) were unable to reproduce the problem and suggested I recharge the battery.  Not very helpful!

 

Since getting the car back I've tried to isolate the issue, and discovered that the high(er) drain on the battery seems to result from the Smart Entry when

      (1) it is near a Wifi transmitter(overcame that by moving the car),

      (2) in the rain when the door handles are wet over a long period.

 

I don't believe there is a fault in this circuit, but that it is applying extra load on the battery and either the 12V system is not up to requirements or the 12V battery is faulty.  The first seems unlikely, but the dealer claims the battery is OK(although he has not tested it when disconnected from the vehicle)

 

Has anyone experienced a similar problem or can anyone suggest anything else that would discharge the battery(I have shut off all interior lights)



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#2 Peter Sale

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:55 AM

That doesn't sound good at all and not fit for purpose. I often don't use mine for a few days or go a long journey and wouldn't be happy if it suffered like that.

 

Other than trying another dealer (some are better than others and more determined) there may be a couple of things left to check although I am sure you have.

 

Do the sun visors have lights for the mirrors ?. I have known that cause problems.

 

On the Honest John forum I have seen, but not necessarily agreed with, the comment that you should turn the radio off at the on/off switch rather than doing this via the ignition. Seems strange to me but then you have to cover everything.

 

I previously had a 1.8 Yaris SR with smart entry and know that the key used to go through a fair amount of batteries but there was never an issue with the car. Had my Auris for two months now and had not better tempt fate.

 

My suspicion is that your battery has a faulty cell which the dealer is failing to diagnose. My Gen 2 Prius suffered from this but that was due to age. Voltage would show healthy at first and then drop as you watched it - down to about 9V. Fortunately I got it changed before it let me down.

 

Best of luck, will be interested to hear how you get on.



#3 Aceshigh84

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 04:07 PM

It does say in the handbook about getting the door handles wet (i.e. when washing) as it activates the central locking and folding mirrors - could it be that when you were noticing the battery drain, if it had been raining all night for example, your car would have been constantly unlocking (& then auto locking again after 30 seconds) thus draining the battery.

It is possible to disable the smart entry - at least to troubleshoot, but I suppose that now summer is finally here you may not notice it any more?

#4 jonesbach

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 06:44 PM

Thanks Peter, Acehigh84,

I'll double check the interior lights and the thought of changing my dealer, even if it means a 30 mile journey, has occurred to me.

 

Re. door locks.  It's possible I forgot to lock on the occasion I had the complete discharge, though I have been in the habit of checking that the door mirrors have folded.  I am waiting for the rain to return(I can't believe I said that) so that I can make a final check and then give it to the dealer with something he can get his teeth into.

 

Initially I was disinclined to blame the battery, but everything is pointing that way and as time goes on I believe the discharge rate is increasing.  The technician who tested the battery wasn't exactly enamoured of the electronic tester he had.  I'm a little suspicious that he tested with the battery connected to the car, I would have thought this would change his measured internal resistance and any charge rate test the equipment applied.  Does anyone know how it should be done.

 



#5 kithmo

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:05 PM

The rain on the door handles problem should only occur if the key is within 2.3 ft of the door, more than that and the key is out of range to unlock the doors.

Do you have any other wireless gadgets near the car, such as cordless phones etc ?



#6 MLW2233

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 11:26 AM

This is a tricky one as you could spend ages and a lot of money on diagnostics. A cheaper option would be to get a Bosch Silver 4 year guarantee battery from Europarts. Click and collect on the web and get a 25% discount at the moment. About £50 and at least you have discounted a dodgy battery. Charge it for about 4-5  hours at home first, and its easy to fit. How old is the present one?

I had all the usual 4 year iffy dashboard lights problem and locking problems on my Gen 2. The new Bosch solved everything. The central locking is a good diagnostic tool, as when the battery is in top condition, you get a very strong chunk chunk noise when locking it and setting the alarm on the key. A dodgy battery gives a soft slue slue noise, barely audible.



#7 zygot

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:57 PM

I had a Toyota Prius T Spirit which developed a problem with the 12v battery. The car would take several attempts to get into the ready mode. Took the car back to the dealer which was still under warranty. The car performed perfectly whilst in the garage. They stated that no fault could be found. It happened again with another visit to the garage where I was informed that unless they witnessed the fault they would not do anything about it. I contacted the AA who told me that the battery was discharging with not enough power to trip the starting relays. The trip to the garage was enough to charge the battery up for the time it was in the garage and should have been tested under load. I gave all this information to the Toyota garage and their reply was ' we do not take into account third party opinions'. Needless to say when I now get a survey asking my comments on the servicing of my car I always reply I did not witness the service so I cannot comment.

#8 jonesbach

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 04:28 PM

Kithmo,

Perhaps I should downplay the effect of rain on door handles as when I made the association I can't be absolutely sure I wasn't still getting wireless interference and yes there are other radio sources not that far away.  However, if they are affecting the car then I would expect more complaints shortly as I doubt I'm the only one in that situation.

MLW2233, zygot,

The thought of forking out for a new battery has crossed my mind, but it does go against the grain given the cars age.  It would save the agro that zygot reports, and I expect I'll get the same.  It's almost as if the dealer expects the car to be perfect and can't believe you can have a problem.

 

I'm still not certain it is the battery.  I would expect its effect to be steady and perhaps slowly deteriorating.  Over the last week that is how it was, but yesterday I did the same 40 mile trip as earlier in the week and today the voltage had recovered to 12.7V, something I haven't seen since I put it on charge.



#9 MLW2233

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 11:21 AM

Every time you go to the garage, the battery charges up, and all looks fine to the mechanic. I have had absolutely duff batteries in old student cars that after a 3 mile run are perfect.....until the next morning. It is the ability to hold a charge that really defines a 'good' battery. I have had batteries with 9 volts and plates not working, that will jump start and go for miles until you switch off and then nothing, totally dead. Given the stress that this entails, £50 may get your life back.

How old is the battery? Even if it is new, it may have been iffy when it left the factory.



#10 MLW2233

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 11:24 AM

Just a thought. Plan B is to go to a proper auto-electrician and ask him to find the current leakage. In my experience these chaps are usually very specialized, fairly cheap, know their stuff, and do not like to say, 'sorry, I've no idea what is wrong'. They know electrics. Garages just replace bits these days.



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