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-   -   Battery or Alternator? (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=650653)

Nordic_Kat 10-08-2012 03:37 PM

Battery or Alternator?
 
Yes, I've already done the search, in fact I spent most of Sunday afternoon, while the E93 was stranded in the driveway with a battery charger attached reading two years worth of battery threads; so here goes:

Two or three times in the last 4 weeks the car has choked and sputtered a little while starting, but never has it had significant trouble turning over. I've never had any battery low warnings.

This weekend was car detailing weekend, so there were 4 consecutive starts which amounted to starting the car moving it either out of or into the garage then shutting it off. On the 5th time, when I was finished with my work and was ready to get in the car and run an errand, the car suddenly wouldn't start at all. BTW: I have done this type of pattern of starts and stops before and never had any ill effects.

When we hooked the car to the battery charger on the 6 amp setting the needle immediately pegged at 6 amps and it took about 3.5 hours to get the battery charged enough to start the car up and get it moved back into the garage. We then put the battery charger back on it, on the "trickle" setting and continued to let it charge for another hour until it indicated that it was at capacity. Interestingly, while the car was on the charger in the garage, just doing things like opening the doors, opening the trunk would cause the draw on the battery charger to spike again to 6 amps and then it would gradually return to 2 amps. When charged to capacity, we unplugged everything and let the car sit overnight. This morning, enough charge had dropped that the battery charger was again indicating 3.5-4 amps when attached to the car and plugged in.

At noon we took the car and made a short trip. When SO got back home with it he again checked it with the battery charger and again the charger spiked at 6 amps then slowly came back down to two amps.

THe car DOES NOT have Comfort Access so I wasn't draining the battery with the CA system this weekend. I also do not have i-drive, so no parasitic drain there.

As I am still in warranty, the car is scheduled for a visit to the dealership in the morning, but would appreciate hearing what input knowledgable 'festers might impart.

TIA

-Kat

DSXMachina 10-08-2012 05:16 PM

I'm thinking you have one bad cell in the battery. One bad apple is spoiling the whole barrel. Things happen, especially in the heat you seem to get down there in Houston. You will have a current draw test, and if you're lucky your dealer will have a newfangled device which can really test a battery without ever putting a load on it. They may even check the specific gravity of each cell but that alone never tells you for sure if a battery is good, though it will tell you for sure if your battery is bad.

soLrak 10-08-2012 05:20 PM

I had the same exact issue, but the car was hopefully still turning over and actually took it in this morning to my local Dealership. They ran some tests and the battery was in good shape (almost a 4 year old battery and still in good shape, kind of confused) They told me that the problem was the Radio system, it was drawing energy out of the battery, so they were going to replace it no charge.

I didn't quite understand why the radio, but yes it was the radio.

They told me that hopefully my car will be available tomorrow morning, since they have to reprogram the whole car for it. (that actually sucks, these cars needs to be reprogrammed if the OEM Stereo is replaced??).

Let's see. I keep you posted tomorrow.

pointandgo 10-08-2012 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7121346)
Yes, I've already done the search, in fact I spent most of Sunday afternoon, while the E93 was stranded in the driveway with a battery charger attached reading two years worth of battery threads; so here goes:

Two or three times in the last 4 weeks the car has choked and sputtered a little while starting, but never has it had significant trouble turning over. I've never had any battery low warnings.

This weekend was car detailing weekend, so there were 4 consecutive starts which amounted to starting the car moving it either out of or into the garage then shutting it off. On the 5th time, when I was finished with my work and was ready to get in the car and run an errand, the car suddenly wouldn't start at all. BTW: I have done this type of pattern of starts and stops before and never had any ill effects.

When we hooked the car to the battery charger on the 6 amp setting the needle immediately pegged at 6 amps and it took about 3.5 hours to get the battery charged enough to start the car up and get it moved back into the garage. We then put the battery charger back on it, on the "trickle" setting and continued to let it charge for another hour until it indicated that it was at capacity. Interestingly, while the car was on the charger in the garage, just doing things like opening the doors, opening the trunk would cause the draw on the battery charger to spike again to 6 amps and then it would gradually return to 2 amps. When charged to capacity, we unplugged everything and let the car sit overnight. This morning, enough charge had dropped that the battery charger was again indicating 3.5-4 amps when attached to the car and plugged in.

At noon we took the car and made a short trip. When SO got back home with it he again checked it with the battery charger and again the charger spiked at 6 amps then slowly came back down to two amps.

THe car DOES NOT have Comfort Access so I wasn't draining the battery with the CA system this weekend. I also do not have i-drive, so no parasitic drain there.

As I am still in warranty, the car is scheduled for a visit to the dealership in the morning, but would appreciate hearing what input knowledgable 'festers might impart.

TIA

-Kat

I presume that your battery has a "window" and does it still show "green"??

Nordic_Kat 10-08-2012 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pointandgo (Post 7121885)
I presume that your battery has a "window" and does it still show "green"??

Yesterday in the day light with the battery charger attached it showed black.

After we charged it, but it was in the dark garage, I thought I might be able to discern green, but it certainly wasn't screaming green. It isn't showing yellow so I guess that's something positive.

Orient330iNYC 10-08-2012 08:46 PM

what is the battery voltage when its "fully" charged with no load?
whats the battery voltage with a decent load on it (car in radio readiness state)?

Nordic_Kat 10-08-2012 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orient330iNYC (Post 7121915)
what is the battery voltage when its "fully" charged with no load?
whats the battery voltage with a decent load on it (car in radio readiness state)?

Unknown.

We don't own a battery tester per se, and we didn't do any measurements with a multi-meter. Should we? Meaning to say, is there a way with a multimeter we might be able to ascertain via the battery connectors under the hood, the voltages unloaded and in radio ready mode?

Orient330iNYC 10-08-2012 09:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7121967)
Unknown.

We don't own a battery tester per se, and we didn't do any measurements with a multi-meter. Should we? Meaning to say, is there a way with a multimeter we might be able to ascertain via the battery connectors under the hood, the voltages unloaded and in radio ready mode?

quick multimeter test would be fine.
quick and dirty "no load" test would be to disable the hood pin switch *if present (just unplug the harness from the switch, closed state is open circuit), then lock the doors via remote, wait 20 minutes to let the dme put everything to sleep
check the voltage at the hood terminals after the battery is "fully charged" as per the charger. the sleeping electrical draw should be enough to wipe the surface charge out.
should be 12.6 give or take a tenth or two. note the voltage.

then fire up the electronics, i forgot what the load for a car in running mode (i think i said radio readiness mode, i should have said running mode, two pushes from sleep without starting the engine) is, but its pretty high. check the voltage again after a few minutes. should not drop much from the initial ready.

these are very blunt tests. if you see either low voltage on the fully charged battery, or a big drop when you put a load on, its almost certainly a bad cell in the battery.

as usual, DSX is almost certainly correct. :)

anE934fun 10-08-2012 09:38 PM

+1 on DSX's bad cell theory. I consulted the Magic 8 Ball and the answer is that a new battery is in your car's near future.

ctuna 10-08-2012 11:30 PM

You can read the voltage with this
 
http://e90.wetpaint.com/page/BC+hidden+menus
number 9 is voltage

Although a 20 dollar 3.5 digit multimeter is a good thing to have.
Also when you lock the car while charging the battery does the amperage
drop below 6 amps?

Also there is a glass eye on top of the battery that indicates its condition.
green=good, black not enough charge or marginal ,yellow bad

12.6 is a pretty well charged good battery . Under 12 volts is probably not OK
Mine is fairly new and will measure around 12.4 while its awake and 12.6 after sitting awhile with
the car locked and asleep.

gpburdell 10-09-2012 05:52 AM

Kat - have you ever changed the battery on your 09? If not, it's probably due for one. My experience is I get about four years out of a battery.

Okay so I've never had to check a BMW battery but I don't imagine they use a significantly different battery than the rest of the automotive world and I've dealt with plenty of batteries and alternators over the years.

Quick and simple check with a voltmeter: check the voltage across the battery terminals with the car off and with the car running. If the voltage with the car running is noticably higher, it's probably the battery at fault. Ideally you should see something in the 13 volt range with the car running. Off, you should see in the 12V range as ctuna mentions. This one can be deceptive though as a weak battery might show close to 12V with no load and the drop voltage quickly with a load.

David1 10-09-2012 07:03 AM

Dead battery

andrew b 10-09-2012 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gpburdell (Post 7122306)
Kat - have you ever changed the battery on your 09? If not, it's probably due for one. My experience is I get about four years out of a battery.

Okay so I've never had to check a BMW battery but I don't imagine they use a significantly different battery than the rest of the automotive world and I've dealt with plenty of batteries and alternators over the years.

Quick and simple check with a voltmeter: check the voltage across the battery terminals with the car off and with the car running. If the voltage with the car running is noticably higher, it's probably the battery at fault. Ideally you should see something in the 13 volt range with the car running. Off, you should see in the 12V range as ctuna mentions. This one can be deceptive though as a weak battery might show close to 12V with no load and the drop voltage quickly with a load.

My Escort radar detector is set to display voltage when it's not alerting. Quite handy. Running, I see around 14.3v, with the engine off it's right around 12.6.

Alpine300ZHP 10-09-2012 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7121900)
Yesterday in the day light with the battery charger attached it showed black.

After we charged it, but it was in the dark garage, I thought I might be able to discern green, but it certainly wasn't screaming green. It isn't showing yellow so I guess that's something positive.

Your situation happened to me on my E60 and it ended up being the battery. The dealer might say the battery is still holding a charge, but the reality is that it is "going" bad. To avoid being stranded I would go ahead and replace it now. These cars do not get more than 2-4 years on a battery and the less you drive the car the faster they wear out. My problems went away when I replaced the battery and had it "registered" by the dealer. I chose an aftermarket with same specs as the BMW battery. No problems for a year before I sold that car for the F10 I drive now.

The X Men 10-09-2012 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7121346)
When charged to capacity, we unplugged everything and let the car sit overnight. This morning, enough charge had dropped that the battery charger was again indicating 3.5-4 amps when attached to the car and plugged in.

When you said you unplugged everything, do you mean that you discount the battery from the terminals? If yes, that would indicate you might have a bad battery.
If you mean you unplugged your cell phone, ipod or other devices and the battery still drained, you might have some sort of constant draw from an electrical circuit when the car is off.

CALWATERBOY 10-09-2012 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7121346)
When we hooked the car to the battery charger on the 6 amp setting the needle immediately pegged at 6 amps and it took about 3.5 hours to get the battery charged enough to start the car up and get it moved back into the garage. We then put the battery charger back on it, on the "trickle" setting and continued to let it charge for another hour until it indicated that it was at capacity. Interestingly, while the car was on the charger in the garage, just doing things like opening the doors, opening the trunk would cause the draw on the battery charger to spike again to 6 amps and then it would gradually return to 2 amps. When charged to capacity, we unplugged everything and let the car sit overnight. This morning, enough charge had dropped that the battery charger was again indicating 3.5-4 amps when attached to the car and plugged in.


Your battery has lost its Mojo!


To charge, or not to charge: that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of doubtful voltage,
Or battery purchase against a sea of troubles,
And by installing end them?

To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand start attempts
That cars are heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To crank, dropped amperage;
To start: perchance a dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in those cranks of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off these faintly sparking coils.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a4i62totwn...akespeare1.jpg

.

Nordic_Kat 10-09-2012 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY (Post 7122534)
Your battery has lost its Mojo!


To charge, or not to charge: that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of doubtful voltage,
Or battery purchase against a sea of troubles,
And by installing end them?

To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand start attempts
That cars are heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To crank, dropped amperage;
To start: perchance a dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in those cranks of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off these faintly sparking coils.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a4i62totwn...akespeare1.jpg

.

BRAVO performance! :clap:

Lost its Mojo, indeed!!

This morning when the SA put the key in the reader it came up with NO reading for the battery voltage.

Per the discussion before I left the dealership, battery replacement will be covered by warranty as long as no "driver induced" fault codes are present. Have not heard anything back as yet from the SA. However, the car started beautifully this morning - no hesitation or hint that it is ailing.

laser 10-09-2012 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7122883)
Per the discussion before I left the dealership, battery replacement will be covered by warranty as long as no "driver induced" fault codes are present.

Kat, BMW SAs have special training to look you in the eye and ask innocently "is this a daily driver".

For some reason they don't like to pay out on battery failures and try to blame the customer for listening to their radio while waxing their cars. :dunno:

I've had to be firm but have had battery replaced under warranty in a previous BMW after enduring the list of accusations that I didn't drive enough.

Nordic_Kat 10-09-2012 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by laser (Post 7122901)
Kat, BMW SAs have special training to look you in the eye and ask innocently "is this a daily driver".

For some reason they don't like to pay out on battery failures and try to blame the customer for listening to their radio while waxing their cars. :dunno:

I've had to be firm but have had battery replaced under warranty in a previous BMW after enduring the list of accusations that I didn't drive enough.

But it is a daily driver, just not for hours at a time. I appreciate your point though. We shall see what transpires.

gpburdell 10-09-2012 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrew b (Post 7122471)
My Escort radar detector is set to display voltage when it's not alerting. Quite handy. Running, I see around 14.3v, with the engine off it's right around 12.6.

Alternator's fine if you're seeing 14.3V so it's likely the battery dying. Cool multitasker. :)

I see it's at the shop, do report back. My recently aquired CPO is an early 2010 and they replaced the battery as part of the CPO (three years old) as it tested weak. FWIW.

Nordic_Kat 10-09-2012 06:37 PM

Update:
 
The E93 is currently spending the night in the service bay at the dealership hooked up to an EEG to monitor its behavior when it wakes up overnight to pulse check itself, and record if it doesn't go back to sleep. So far the only code they have is "unfavorable condition" and the alternator and battery both seem to be fine. They are at this point taking the "good" battery report with caution knowing that we trickle charged it on Sunday.

At first I thought I was being a bit obsessive when I bought a Bentley Manual. I'm now really glad I did, because while I may not use it to fix anything; there is a tremendous amount of information contained inside which makes understanding the process much easier. For example, I just learned that the car will do 3 pulse checks every six hours. This now explains why the occasional buzz or hum happens hours after the car has been turned off.

pointandgo 10-09-2012 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY (Post 7122534)
Your battery has lost its Mojo!


To charge, or not to charge: that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of doubtful voltage,
Or battery purchase against a sea of troubles,
And by installing end them?

To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand start attempts
That cars are heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To crank, dropped amperage;
To start: perchance a dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in those cranks of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off these faintly sparking coils.


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a4i62totwn...akespeare1.jpg

.

Well done, CWB...well done!

fun2drive 10-09-2012 08:19 PM

Kat:
There is little doubt it is your battery.
I think you will be fine again for a while then suffer the same problems eventually getting the dealer to replace the battery. Mine is now 5 years 8 months but with a battery tender on it all the time and it is a part time DD with 54K miles.
I fully expect to have to replace mine in the next few months.

Looking forward to hearing what the dealer will be saying regarding this. I think ours is an AGM and I have sourced one for my install. I see Tischer has them for a good price.
Good luck.

CALWATERBOY 10-09-2012 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pointandgo (Post 7123936)
Well done, CWB...well done!


Why thanks P&G - - Will's an inspired guy....

And thank YOU, Ms Kat - praise from the praise worthy.

.

cwinter 10-10-2012 09:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat (Post 7123770)
The E93 is currently spending the night in the service bay at the dealership hooked up to an EEG to monitor its behavior when it wakes up overnight to pulse check itself, and record if it doesn't go back to sleep. So far the only code they have is "unfavorable condition" and the alternator and battery both seem to be fine. They are at this point taking the "good" battery report with caution knowing that we trickle charged it on Sunday.

At first I thought I was being a bit obsessive when I bought a Bentley Manual. I'm now really glad I did, because while I may not use it to fix anything; there is a tremendous amount of information contained inside which makes understanding the process much easier. For example, I just learned that the car will do 3 pulse checks every six hours. This now explains why the occasional buzz or hum happens hours after the car has been turned off.

Freeeaky...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sLydZCqxPT...-dvd-cover.jpg


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