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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 10-08-2012, 02:37 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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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
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2012, 04:16 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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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.
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2012, 04:20 PM
soLrak soLrak is offline
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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.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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"??
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  #5  
Old 10-08-2012, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointandgo View Post
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.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:46 PM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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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)?
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orient330iNYC View Post
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?
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  #8  
Old 10-08-2012, 08:37 PM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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.
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Last edited by Orient330iNYC; 10-08-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2012, 08:38 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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+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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:18 AM
Alpine300ZHP Alpine300ZHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:52 AM
gpburdell gpburdell is offline
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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.

Last edited by gpburdell; 10-09-2012 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:00 AM
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andrew b andrew b is offline
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:02 AM
gpburdell gpburdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew b View Post
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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:37 PM
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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.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:52 AM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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...

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Old 10-09-2012, 06:03 AM
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:26 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:31 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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.




.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 10-09-2012 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:51 AM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
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.




.
BRAVO performance!

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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
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.

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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:11 AM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laser View Post
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.

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.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:48 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
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.




.
Well done, CWB...well done!
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'67 Pontiac Firebird 'cabrio' (1st car - "the leaker")
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:36 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointandgo View Post
Well done, CWB...well done!

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

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

.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 10-09-2012 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:19 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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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.
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  #25  
Old 10-10-2012, 06:36 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
BMWCCA 149159
Location: Panhandle of Florida
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,621
Mein Auto: 335 vert//M3/4/ 13Outback
Kat:
I use only Battery Tenders on all my rides, 3 BMWs, others vehicles and on and on.
I use them and other like CTEK I think that is right because they do measure the voltage and have a good algorithm for not overcharging the battery and keeping it topped off to a full charge.
As proof I have my M3/4 which doesn't get driven much with a Batteries Plus battery from 2004. It is just fine. My E93 is 5 1/2 years old, my two diesel truck batteries were over 6 years old each and were just your run of the mill Durolast when I changed them out for Optimas.

I have the Sear battery charger and that is good for a good amp charge but not trickle charge. The ones Walmart sells too I tried and they lasted about one season so in the long run I use the battery tender and have for a long time now since about 2002.

CTEK is another company making quality chargers and the BMW model is also an intelligent charger. By the way I never buy the full size battery tender because my cars and trucks sit for days to weeks and the battery tender junior is cheaper and does the job just fine. I have 5 of these and none have failed and all are currently working charging my vehicles.

Hope that helps and didn't want to come on too strong for the battery tenders but any of those intelligent charging models is the way to go. On my BMWs and diesel truck I leave the battery tender junior in the engine bay and just run a cord to the bay. Has had no ill effects in my BMW M3 bay for the last 10 years so a little heat doesn't seem to hurt them...

Last edited by fun2drive; 10-10-2012 at 06:39 PM.
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