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F07 Gran Turismo (2010 - Current)
The 5 Series Gran Turismo -- now available in the USA as a 535i, 550i and 550i xDrive model.

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  #1  
Old 09-30-2013, 01:24 PM
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ErnestHouse ErnestHouse is offline
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Question What are people using for trickle chargers?

My car is still in production ... are there leads built in somewhere for trickle charging or do you have to rip apart the trunk to hook up a charger. Just what equipment are people using?
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2013, 01:31 PM
rogueshot rogueshot is offline
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Ive always been a fan of the battery tender series. My porsche stays hooked up to one all winter while in the garage.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2013, 03:49 PM
hungryninja hungryninja is offline
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It's been 15 years since my family has had a BMW. Back in the 90s, my mom's 7-series would not start anytime our family left the car unattended for a few weeks, such as for a 1-2 wk vacation. So it got to the point where we needed to ask a neighbor to "car-sit" for us and come drive the car every once in awhile in order to keep the battery charged.

Back then, there were no internet forums that I had access to, so I had no way to comb the internet and find others with the same issue. And as a high school kid, I was stuck between worshiping all of the amazing BMW McLaren supercars and in dis-belief that we had to put up with a BMW in our garage that needed the help of our neighbor's Honda to get jump started after being gone a fortnight.

Now, 15 years later, I have finally climbed the ladder to a point that I am comfortable buying my own BMW. It is so surprising to see that this type of situation is something that is still a very real issue. And it looks like it's not only for BMWs, since I see Mercedes selling their own trickle charger as a product offered directly from the manufacturer!

I live in an apartment complex, so I guess I will have to look for the nearest outlet to my assigned parking space in anticipation that I will need to use a trickle charger. Or just get used to parking my car with the front end out so that I can easily get to the leads when I need to ask the neighbors for a jump!

Last edited by hungryninja; 09-30-2013 at 03:52 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2013, 04:16 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I have one of these that I use when I'm not going to be driving the car for awhile http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-C7-24-Vo...words=bosch+c7 you can find it for less.

Ideally, though, you'd run a cable to the battery with a plug so you don't have the extra 20' or so of wire between the charger plugged in the posts in the engine compartment and the battery in the back.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:37 PM
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ErnestHouse ErnestHouse is offline
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That's part of my question. Does anyone make a rig that you install once on the battery in the trunk and easily plug into the trickle charger?
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2013, 05:45 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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The Bosch one would satisfy that requirement...charging the cord has a plug in it and they sell a mating cord with ring terminals on the end you'd attach to the battery. It's long enough to bring out of the area where the battery is and the plug is keyed and the hot lead is insulated.

I have that optional cord, but never hooked it up. I may someday. With the voltage drop (not all that much) between the engine compartment and the battery, the charger doesn't always recognize it is an AGM type battery.
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  #7  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:06 PM
avidude avidude is offline
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There are battery terminals for jump starting under the hood. You could connect a battery tender there. But unless your car is going to sit for months you shouldn't need it. I have left my 550GT for 3+ weeks several times and have had no issues starting. Nice fast crank and quick start each time. Same with my 2008.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
The Bosch one would satisfy that requirement...charging the cord has a plug in it and they sell a mating cord with ring terminals on the end you'd attach to the battery.
The cables I see talk about a C3 or a C7 battery.
http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-C35AC0-C...=pd_sim_auto_4
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:38 PM
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I just clip the cables to the leads when I go away. I have no problem leaving the hood up in my garage.

I use a Deltran.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2013, 07:07 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErnestHouse View Post
The cables I see talk about a C3 or a C7 battery.
http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-C35AC0-C...=pd_sim_auto_4
Yes, that's what I have, but have never installed...I use the clamps that come with it in the engine compartment. But, as I said, it does not always recognize that it's an AGM battery. I think it is because of the long cable back to the trunk. Using that set, directly to the battery should overcome that issue. The underhood cables are fine for jumping someone else and typical charging, but an AGM battery's fully charged voltage is slightly different than a standard battery...I do not think it fully recharges the battery (almost, but not quite). Hooking direct to the battery should make a difference if you were looking for absolutely full charge.

Mine might get a lot more use should I buy an i3 in the spring!
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2013, 08:02 PM
Fish23 Fish23 is offline
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What are people using for trickle chargers?

My dealer now installs a BMW tender called Power Tender on all 2012 cars and newer. It lists for $199.00 (CDN) on the sticker. It is a unit that is installed in the rear of the vehicle (out of sight) with a long power cord that can extend out of the trunk to be hooked (via extension cord) to an outlet.

This was started after numerous complaints about dead batteries (especially in frigid temperatures in winter). In addition to compromised battery performance due to cold temperature, drivers were not driving far enough or fast enough to keep the battery properly charged with the Regenerative Braking System. Thus, the Power Tender is added. This condition is less of a problem in warmer climates but gradual discharge over long periods of vehicle inactivity is an issue everywhere.

I bought a simple Battery Charger ($40 on sale) that charges at 2/4/6 Amps and shuts off when the battery is full. Itvsits in the space at the fromt left side of the engine bay near where there is a red +ve battery terminal and a nut on a stud mounted on the frame. I can close the hopd on the cord which I connect to an extension cord that plugs into an outlet near my front door. It worked throughout last winter.


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Last edited by Fish23; 09-30-2013 at 08:08 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2013, 08:13 PM
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Kamdog Kamdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish23 View Post
My dealer now installs a BMW tender called Power Tender on all 2012 cars and newer. It lists for $199.00 (CDN) on the sticker. It is a unit that is installed in the rear of the vehicle (out of sight) with a long power cord that can extend out of the trunk to be hooked (via extension cord) to an outlet.

This was started after numerous complaints about dead batteries (especially in frigid temperatures in winter). In addition to compromised battery performance due to cold temperature, drivers were not driving far enough or fast enough to keep the battery properly charged with the Regenerative Braking System. Thus, the Power Tender is added. This condition is less of a problem in warmer climates but gradual discharge over long periods of vehicle inactivity is an issue everywhere.

I bought a simple Battery Charger ($40 on sale) that charges at 2/4/6 Amps and shuts off when the battery is full. Itvsits in the space at the fromt left side of the engine bay near where there is a red +ve battery terminal and a nut on a stud mounted on the frame. I can close the hopd on the cord which I connect to an extension cord that plugs into an outlet near my front door. It worked throughout last winter.


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I have the BMW tender, it is made by Deltran. I had a coupon for BMW parts, and that is why I bought it there, but it is identical to the Deltran, which is less than half of the price you quoted.
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2013, 10:51 AM
Fish23 Fish23 is offline
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Kam,

The cost I quoted is before delivery. After the delivery the cost is about $40 more than the sticker. That is why I went for simple charger from an Auto Supply place.

Again, for the very cold weather only with a short trip to work in the dark with the lights on, I have also left an inexpensive solar trickle charger on my dash and hooked that up for daytime charging when at work, just to be on the safe side for the trip home.

I also was out of the country for the month of June and left the plug-in trickle charger connected, again to be on the safe side. Having had the two non-starting episodes after a 3-4 mile trip that I have described in other threads, and having my battery replaced under warranty, I am taking no chances based on where I live in the Great White North (Canada)
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  #14  
Old 10-01-2013, 11:09 AM
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Kamdog Kamdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish23 View Post
Kam,

The cost I quoted is before delivery. After the delivery the cost is about $40 more than the sticker. That is why I went for simple charger from an Auto Supply place.

Again, for the very cold weather only with a short trip to work in the dark with the lights on, I have also left an inexpensive solar trickle charger on my dash and hooked that up for daytime charging when at work, just to be on the safe side for the trip home.

I also was out of the country for the month of June and left the plug-in trickle charger connected, again to be on the safe side. Having had the two non-starting episodes after a 3-4 mile trip that I have described in other threads, and having my battery replaced under warranty, I am taking no chances based on where I live in the Great White North (Canada)

But there is no reason a simple trickle charger should cost $200, even if it is Canadian dollars, which is practically at par value. A Deltran Battery Tender Plus is less than $50 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender...s=deltran+plus
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Last edited by Kamdog; 10-01-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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  #15  
Old 10-01-2013, 11:33 AM
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daders daders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamdog View Post
But there is no reason a simple trickle charger should cost $200, even if it is Canadian dollars, which is practically at par value. A Deltran Battery Tender Plus is less than $50 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender...s=deltran+plus
+1 don't the dealer kool-aid! Crazy how much things get marked up, but somebody has to pay for that loaner fleet...

As an aside I finally learned the difference between the two units and why it's important for someone who is forgetful (like me) to have a battery tender and not a trickle charger.
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  #16  
Old 10-01-2013, 11:40 AM
Fish23 Fish23 is offline
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I absolutely agree and had it been reasonably priced I would have jumped in. I suspect that it is the BMW 'markup" plus the labour to install it permanently. It was too much for me so the $40 unit will do for me. It is a bit like Wheel sets that are very expensive compared to rims and tires of equal or better quality available from Tire Rack. Even my salesman told me that he suggests Tire Rack to customers who balk at the cost of winter tires and don't want to drive in winter without them.

I once asked about the BMW GPS accessory for my wife's non-iDrive 2010 335xi and inquired if the Garmin GPS that I had recently bought at Costco could be installed instead. I was told that the Parts and Service department had tried that for another customer and could not get it to work after spending a great deal of time on it. Curious, I later phoned Garmin HQ in Kansas City to learn that the units that it provides to BMW have a proprietary connection for BMW only. No wonder the COSTCO unit could not be made to work. I reported that to my dealer's Parts department so they a least knew why they couldn't get it to work and were not incompetent.

My GPS example makes me wonder if there is something special or unique about the 'BMW power tender' to justify a higher price (though they are relatively simple devices and I cannot imagine what the difference would be besides the logo and the price.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:29 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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The GT (and probably other some models with the clutch on the alternator) has an AGM battery. Not all chargers understand or can recognize them. This type of battery becomes fully charged at a different voltage than other types (higher). So, whatever you choose, if you want the battery to be fully charged, needs to either have a switch, or to automatically detect that it is an AGM type battery otherwise, it will not fully charge the battery.

From what I've found, even though I'm sure it is small, the voltage drop through the long cable from the rear to the engine compartment is enough for the autodetect logic in the charger I have to not always recognize it is an AGM battery. One of these days, I'll hook up the cable in the rear directly and see if it makes a difference, but there are a bunch of fasteners to remove to gain access to the compartment.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
The GT (and probably other some models with the clutch on the alternator) has an AGM battery. Not all chargers understand or can recognize them. This type of battery becomes fully charged at a different voltage than other types (higher). So, whatever you choose, if you want the battery to be fully charged, needs to either have a switch, or to automatically detect that it is an AGM type battery otherwise, it will not fully charge the battery.

From what I've found, even though I'm sure it is small, the voltage drop through the long cable from the rear to the engine compartment is enough for the autodetect logic in the charger I have to not always recognize it is an AGM battery. One of these days, I'll hook up the cable in the rear directly and see if it makes a difference, but there are a bunch of fasteners to remove to gain access to the compartment.
My BMW charger, made by Deltran, has the exact same specs as the Deltran, and they both do AGM. As far as I can tell, the onlydifference is the label, and an instruction sheet that uses BMWs to show where to clip the leads.
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:05 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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When I bought my trickle charger, I also bought the optional direct wired, plug-in, fused cable for it. That thing has fairly small ring terminals on it, and I'm not sure it will fit on the battery posts bolts. Without tearing the trunk apart to look, does anyone have a clue what diameter those bolts are?

An update on the Bosch C7 charger operation...when I bought the thing, I didn't know the car had an AGM battery, so read through the instructions, and didn't look back. I'm sure I tried it, but it didn't stick, as to how to switch it to AGM mode, not realize at the time it was required to fully charge the battery. Well, I called them, and they talked me through it...it DOES go into AGM mode, but does NOT do it automatically (as I thought)...once hooked up and plugged in, you have to hit the mode switch a couple of times until the AGM mode indication turns on. It seemed that when I hit the mode switch after charging the thing to turn it off, it just turned off, and didn't switch modes. It may be that it will only swap modes when first connected, then hitting the switch again works differently than after it thinks the battery is charged, where it appears to just turn the thing off. The difference is the actual voltage it uses to charge and sense the capacity...an AGM battery is fully charged once it has about 0.3vdc greater voltage level than a 'normal' lead acid battery. Those last three tenths of a volt constitute a fairly significant amount of energy.

Anyway, it does work, and seems to work well. I may still hook up the extra cable I have directly to the battery in the back, rather than the engine compartment terminals, but I believe, the gauge wire used is big enough so there should not be enough voltage drop at the charge current to make much of any difference.

Last edited by jadnashuanh; 12-06-2013 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Update on Bosch C7 operation
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