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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 04-16-2011, 05:01 AM
ssj ssj is offline
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Trickle Charge Battery

I was advised by my SA to trickle charge my battery since I drive about 23 miles (largely stop and go on the freeway) each day and he felt it was not enough to charge the battery well. I had one blind spot detection sys malfunction and the SA felt this was related to low battery charge. In addition, he noted other warnings of the key fob (which I did not know about) which he thought were electrical due to low charge. My questions are as follows:

a) My battery charger at home has a 2/10/25 amp setting. Rather than trickle charge at the 2 amp setting, should I just charge it fully once a month or so? Are there advantages to trickle charging over the regular charge?
b) What kind of battery does the 2011 535xi have: wet, gel or AGM? I have to choose this setting on the charger.
c) Do you charge the battery via the connections under the hood used to jump start the car? I am not sure where the battery itself is located.

Thanks for your insight.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2011, 06:51 AM
kocsis kocsis is offline
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I use a Porsche trickle charger that plugs into the accessory jack (between the 2 front cupholders). That seems to work fine and is really easy.
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2011, 07:14 AM
tdepetra tdepetra is offline
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BMW (Deltran) Battery Tender is wonderful. Buy at dealer parts dept. We liked one so well we bought another for wife's car. Makes a $500 battery last forever. Check online user reviews.
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2011, 08:03 AM
Diver624 Diver624 is offline
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Porsche, Ferrari and a number of other manufacturers use Ctek chargers. Here's a link to their site. You can buy them all over the net. You can connect them a few different ways. If you use one of the accessory 12 volt connections just make sure it's live when you turn off the ignition, some only work when the engine is running which would obviously not work for charging. If none are live when the engine is off you'll have to connect it to the battery leads under the hood which is no big deal with the available quick connects. I store cars over the winter and have not had a problem, they're "smart" chargers so they charge, maintain, de-sulphate, etc. all automatically (pretty much connect and forget). http://smartercharger.com/
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Last edited by Diver624; 04-16-2011 at 08:32 AM.
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2011, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdepetra View Post
BMW (Deltran) Battery Tender is wonderful. Buy at dealer parts dept. We liked one so well we bought another for wife's car. Makes a $500 battery last forever. Check online user reviews.
+1 Deltran Battery Tender Plus
My SA told me the same thing. I don't drive much, and he said he's seen some pissed off owners after a year have to replace a $700 battery. I just bot this off amazon for 43 bucks, free shipping no tax.
This battery charger is much better than a trickle charger. It has a brain, and knows when to adjust itself , so you don't need to monitor it. You just hook it up to the posts under the hood and leave it alone. The battery is in the trunk, no need to gain access to it.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2011, 10:47 AM
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alandf alandf is offline
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I bought the charger from the parts department at the BMW dealer. About $60.
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2011, 02:34 PM
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jc_///m3 jc_///m3 is offline
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F10 team,
Any recommendations on preserving the battery charge is the car is stationary for weeks or months? On my E46 M3, disconnecting the battery is an easy task. Not so much with the F10. Trickle charger is not a feasible option because I do not have a garage with an electrical outlet.
Thanks.
-jc
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2011, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc_///m3 View Post
F10 team,
Any recommendations on preserving the battery charge is the car is stationary for weeks or months? On my E46 M3, disconnecting the battery is an easy task. Not so much with the F10. Trickle charger is not a feasible option because I do not have a garage with an electrical outlet.
Thanks.
-jc
You can attach a solar battery tender to it, if it has access to sunlight.
http://batterytender.com/solar.html
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2011, 03:19 PM
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I'll check that one out. Thanks TJ.
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2011, 04:12 PM
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The service manager at my dealership gave me a battery disconnect switch for when my F-10 is not being used for long periods (like winter in the northeastern US) . They are shipped with all M's and taken off before delivery to buyer. The switch is a Hella.
I still have to decide where to install it . Trunk I suppose,although there is enough cable to run from the battery to some where near the rear seats.
See attached photo- What do you think??
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2011, 06:50 PM
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Please see this comment on where to connect a trickle charger: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...2&postcount=14
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  #12  
Old 04-16-2011, 08:46 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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I hate to double-post, but here is my reply on the similar thread:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=530709
The BMW battery tender attaches to the under-hood terminals. I use one on my M3, which sat in the garage, unstarted, from 12/1/10 to 4/1/11. Tender works like a charm - the M3 started right up after its 6 month "nap" with no drama whatsoever.

The BMW tender is reasonably priced with your BMWCCA discount. You can find a cheaper tender without the Roundel on it, but I am more comfortable using a BMW part - presumably, it gives them less "wiggle room" to deny a claim if my battery dies or the tender fries an electronic module. If I had a Brand X tender connected for 6 months, I am sure that BMWUSA would tell me to take a hike.
For 50-60 bucks (less when you figure you can sell the tender on eBay when you're done with the car), why would you even bother with a disconnect switch? Having to reprogram the seats, mirrors, climate, pre-sets, EQ, etc. every spring would drive me NUTS!
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Last edited by quackbury; 04-16-2011 at 08:48 PM.
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  #13  
Old 04-16-2011, 10:19 PM
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Uh- I don't have a garage. When I use the BMW battery tender I have to run an extension cord from my house to the driveway.
That is why the kill switch may work for me
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2011, 04:31 PM
mrcamp mrcamp is offline
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I just ordered the Deltran Battery Tender Plus on amazon as well. I drive my car only on the weekends. Picked it up 4 weeks ago. The status in the Idrive is showing all OK. But, based in the info I am getting here, it sounds like I may need to use this to charge my battery sometimes. May be once a month or so?
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2011, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcamp View Post
I just ordered the Deltran Battery Tender Plus on amazon as well. I drive my car only on the weekends. Picked it up 4 weeks ago. The status in the Idrive is showing all OK. But, based in the info I am getting here, it sounds like I may need to use this to charge my battery sometimes. May be once a month or so?
If you look at the charger they sell on the BMW store online, it looks exactly like the Deltran Battery Tender Plus. I would just attach the clips after your done on the weekend, and leave it on there, the charger is smart enough not to overcharge the battery.
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2011, 05:04 PM
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...on Amazon at $47.99 w/ free shipping. I might as well admit it. My office is 1.4mi from my home and I like to ride my bike to work in the good weather = bad for my battery.
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2011, 05:46 PM
cynerjist cynerjist is offline
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I was recently looking into the same issue and spoke with several people and here is what I found.

The F10 uses an AGM battery. Using a trickle charger <= 2 amp like the rebadged BMW model charger or the original Deltran is not good for AGM batteries.

AGM batteries need an AGM capable charger, such as in my case the Schumacher XC103. Using maintenance mode or trickle charging an AGM can decrease its performance. AGM capable chargers, like mine, can do 2amp, 5amp, and 12-30 amp mode. The 5 amp mode is the lowest recommended way to maintain charge on the AGM battery with the rating installed in the F10.

I am not a battery expert, but did spend some time on the issue. The BMW charger is perfect for non-AGM maintenance free type batteries on older model vehicles. A look at the charger will indicate it's not state of the art, though that is hardly a reason to dismiss it. Rather, the AGM capable chargers have settings for sensing the battery charge and you can choose slow mode if you are worried about pumping that much into your battery. The fast mode is fine for occasional needs where the battery has dropped to 50% or so. Which is another thing. My battery read 12.34 volts and was 61% charged according to built-in tester on XC103. I used fast mode to bring it up to capacity in under 2 hours. Point being, if you are a battery newb like me, sticking the multimeter on the battery to check voltage is pretty stupid way to understand battery charge.

The BMW trickle charger will serve many people's needs, I'm sure. But the XC103 is about $75 on amazon and has superior capabilities to deal with standard, agm, gel cell, and deep charge variants. It offers 4 battery types, 3 charging speeds, and engine start mode. It also has a battery depletion test functionality and an alternator performance measurement capability. If you are in the market, you might consider something similar to this charger.
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2011, 05:56 PM
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The battery tender plus 12 V claims to correctly maintain AGM as well.
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  #19  
Old 05-03-2011, 06:11 PM
cynerjist cynerjist is offline
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Good point, let me clarify. It certainly will if the battery is in the neighborhood of full charge. If it is say 80% not hard to accomplish, trickle charging can eventually lead to reduced battery capacity. The way I understood it is if you plan to trickle regularly, BMW unit is fine. If you prefer to go a few weeks without charging, better to buy a bigger charger and use the slow setting instead of maintenance to avoid decreasing charge battery holds. It is about knowledge and preference I guess in that if you know what your doing it is fine. I prefer to give it 5 amps as needed. Trickle charging this at 1.25A could be your Saturday if battery low.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynerjist View Post
Good point, let me clarify. It certainly will if the battery is in the neighborhood of full charge. If it is say 80% not hard to accomplish, trickle charging can eventually lead to reduced battery capacity. The way I understood it is if you plan to trickle regularly, BMW unit is fine. If you prefer to go a few weeks without charging, better to buy a bigger charger and use the slow setting instead of maintenance to avoid decreasing charge battery holds. It is about knowledge and preference I guess in that if you know what your doing it is fine. I prefer to give it 5 amps as needed. Trickle charging this at 1.25A could be your Saturday if battery low.
How do you know what size and type of battery the F10 has? And are the batteries different for different engines?
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:05 PM
ssj ssj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJPark01 View Post
How do you know what size and type of battery the F10 has? And are the batteries different for different engines?
My SA told me that it currently is AGM. But if I had to change it, it would be replaced with a gel battery.
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  #22  
Old 05-03-2011, 07:32 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynerjist View Post
I was recently looking into the same issue and spoke with several people and here is what I found.

The F10 uses an AGM battery. Using a trickle charger <= 2 amp like the rebadged BMW model charger or the original Deltran is not good for AGM batteries.

AGM batteries need an AGM capable charger, such as in my case the Schumacher XC103. Using maintenance mode or trickle charging an AGM can decrease its performance. AGM capable chargers, like mine, can do 2amp, 5amp, and 12-30 amp mode. The 5 amp mode is the lowest recommended way to maintain charge on the AGM battery with the rating installed in the F10.

I am not a battery expert, but did spend some time on the issue. The BMW charger is perfect for non-AGM maintenance free type batteries on older model vehicles. A look at the charger will indicate it's not state of the art, though that is hardly a reason to dismiss it. Rather, the AGM capable chargers have settings for sensing the battery charge and you can choose slow mode if you are worried about pumping that much into your battery. The fast mode is fine for occasional needs where the battery has dropped to 50% or so. Which is another thing. My battery read 12.34 volts and was 61% charged according to built-in tester on XC103. I used fast mode to bring it up to capacity in under 2 hours. Point being, if you are a battery newb like me, sticking the multimeter on the battery to check voltage is pretty stupid way to understand battery charge.

The BMW trickle charger will serve many people's needs, I'm sure. But the XC103 is about $75 on amazon and has superior capabilities to deal with standard, agm, gel cell, and deep charge variants. It offers 4 battery types, 3 charging speeds, and engine start mode. It also has a battery depletion test functionality and an alternator performance measurement capability. If you are in the market, you might consider something similar to this charger.
Very interesting post. Can you provide some links to your research?
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2011 535xi M Sport TiAg / Black, ZPP, ZP2, ZCV, ZCW, ZDA, 2TB, 6NR, 465, 5DL, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Prior BMW's
2011 X5 35D
2008 ///M3 Vert
2008 X5 3.0
2007 X5 3.0
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2006 550iA SP
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  #23  
Old 05-03-2011, 08:09 PM
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I got the BMW Advanced Battery Charging System, the one with the alligator clips, not the one that plugs into the dash socket.

When I leave my car at home on trips, I plug it in, and whether the trip is one, two, three, or four weeks long, it keeps it charged, and is not a trickle system.
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Last edited by Kamdog; 05-03-2011 at 08:11 PM.
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  #24  
Old 05-03-2011, 08:47 PM
Quacker Quacker is offline
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The Battery Tender is not a trickle charger.
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  #25  
Old 05-03-2011, 09:12 PM
cynerjist cynerjist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
Very interesting post. Can you provide some links to your research?
Thanks for being kind. I read my post and want to clear up one thing first.

The low amp charger output / high capacity AGM battery combination is the potential problem.

The BMW Advanced Battery Charger or the Deltran are not trickle chargers.
I misstated that mentally lumping them in with trickle chargers because the amps (1.25A) they put out is low, which is bad for the battery albeit in a very different way than a trickle.

Those models are excellent if your battery is only slightly depleted (maintenance) or as another member states to keep his battery floating for when he is ready to drive the car again.

My post pertains to similarly situated individuals with short commutes that turn the engine off to finish a phone call or pick up a kid and have some electronics running. The battery becomes more than slightly depleted over time. Let's say in two weeks I can get my capacity down to 78%.

So, the question is why is the low current (1.25A) not good for a somewhat depleted high capacity AGM battery even if you have an intelligent charger? That is the question I can answer tomorrow. Thanks
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