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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 02-06-2013, 02:56 PM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Low Battery Icon

After I got the "low battery" icon last Sunday, and after reading Kat's thread, I ordered the CTEK 3300. It arrived today and is charging my battery. It has been on for 2 hours and the indicator is still showing orange (low battery voltage). It will be interesting to see how many hours it takes before it switches to the maintenance mode.

My driving cycle is similar to Kat's except that I don't even drive the car every day.

One question: Are the OEM batteries in the 335s AGM? The CTEK 3300 has a higher charging rate for AGM batteries, which I am not using.

Last edited by RBinDC; 02-06-2013 at 03:38 PM. Reason: added a question.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2013, 04:18 PM
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SilverX3 SilverX3 is offline
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get new battery... battery life is about 4-6 years MAX

I had mine replaced with after market.... OEM is too expensive
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:22 PM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Originally Posted by SilverX3 View Post
get new battery... battery life is about 4-6 years MAX

I had mine replaced with after market.... OEM is too expensive
New Battery? I took delivery of the car only 28 months ago! When I took the car in last month for its annual oil change the battery got a green check mark. If I need a new battery seems to me that BMW should pay for it under the warrantee.

Last edited by RBinDC; 02-06-2013 at 04:28 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBinDC View Post
After I got the "low battery" icon last Sunday, and after reading Kat's thread, I ordered the CTEK 3300. It arrived today and is charging my battery. It has been on for 2 hours and the indicator is still showing orange (low battery voltage). It will be interesting to see how many hours it takes before it switches to the maintenance mode.

My driving cycle is similar to Kat's except that I don't even drive the car every day.

One question: Are the OEM batteries in the 335s AGM? The CTEK 3300 has a higher charging rate for AGM batteries, which I am not using.
I was told by a BMW parts counter employee that there are two different battery's in an E90 at least - the white ones are lead acid and the black ones are AGM. I just replaced my 2009 after 4 years - that is about as long as a battery lasts in Minnesota.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2013, 05:55 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Hey RB!

Long time no see. My battery was right at 36 months when it failed. Incidentally, never did my E93 give me a "low battery" warning light. My dealership did replace it under warranty but only after keeping the car twice for "extended" diagnostics and me being very up front with them about the combination of short drive cycles and "bad driver behaviour" in opening and closing the driver's door numerous times without a "drive-off". Since the new battery install, I've been pretty religious about putting it on the tender on Sunday afternoons following my car washing rituals. According to reading I've done, it is pretty easy to tell if the battery is AGM by what the top of it looks like, whether its flat or not - iirc. I've never done the investigation as it's a total pain in the *$$ to tear apart the trunk liner to get to the E93's battery, but per the paperwork on the replacement, the battery in the E93 is the 2nd most powerful battery used in current BMWs. I'm not an expert, but I can't see a reason why a 335i E92 might need a stronger battery than an E93- 328i or 335i or 335is, considering all the electronics needed by the e93 for the top, trunk and nav, etc .

I would like to know too if these are AGM batteries as so far, I've been using the standard car mode with my CTEK unit. I figured that was the lesser error.

As many of the veteran 'festers explained to me, once the battery goes into failure mode, getting it back is a long shot. BMW pretty much corroborated that when they replaced mine. Incidentally, my dad had the same thing happen on a similar type battery in his ATV he uses for snow removal. He forgot to disconnect it, and it drained and would no longer hold a charge because it had gotten lower than its magic threshold. All this is more than enough evidence for me to be rigorous with keeping the charge at optimum with the CTEK unit.

Please keep us posted.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:02 PM
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ps: I just reread the part of your post about having the CTEK connected for 2 hours and still showing orange. FWIW: This weekend, after doing my 1.75 hour car wash routine, following a short week of short hop drives, ie the longest the car ran was 2X25 minutes in a two week interval, it took greater than 4 hours for my battery to come back to 'green' on the CTEK. I hooked it up at about 4pm and at 8pm I was still orange.

The CTEK desufuration cycle takes a long time.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:22 PM
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do a battery test.... easy to DIY
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2013, 05:25 PM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
ps: I just reread the part of your post about having the CTEK connected for 2 hours and still showing orange. FWIW: This weekend, after doing my 1.75 hour car wash routine, following a short week of short hop drives, ie the longest the car ran was 2X25 minutes in a two week interval, it took greater than 4 hours for my battery to come back to 'green' on the CTEK. I hooked it up at about 4pm and at 8pm I was still orange.

The CTEK desufuration cycle takes a long time.
Well, so far the battery has been on the charged a cumulative total of 10 hours and it is still showing orange. (I only charge it during the daylight hours as it is parked outside). According to the CTEK booklet a 70ah battery can take up to 20 hours to fully charge so I am not (yet) worried. One more day of charging and if it doesn't switch to the maintenance mode I am taking it to the dealer.

The battery never ran dead and always cranked the engine over strongly so maybe I'll be OK.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:00 AM
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When I got my charger it was an overnight / 24 hour plus first time to get the battery back up to full charge.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2013, 08:10 AM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Originally Posted by laser View Post
When I got my charger it was an overnight / 24 hour plus first time to get the battery back up to full charge.
That's comforting. The car is on the CTEK again today.

Thanks for the input.

Last edited by RBinDC; 02-08-2013 at 08:11 AM.
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2013, 07:34 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by RBinDC View Post
That's comforting. The car is on the CTEK again today.

Thanks for the input.

Won't start now?
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  #12  
Old 02-09-2013, 09:14 AM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Won't start now?
I have no problem starting the car. Engine cranks over strongly - if a half-second crank can even be called a "crank." Even so, the battery is not fully charged because the CTEK still on the charge cycle even after 18 hours (spread over three days).

I disconnect the CTEK when it gets dark because I am running an extension cord out my front door and across a public sidewalk.
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  #13  
Old 02-09-2013, 09:19 AM
Tom K. Tom K. is offline
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After running and then parking the car, you might try keeping the ignition ("radio readiness" in BMWspeak) on - with or without the radio audio enabled.

If no "Low Battery Voltage" warning appears within about 90 seconds, you should be OK. If it does appear, then the problem could be the battery or, perhaps, the IBS.

Tom
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  #14  
Old 02-09-2013, 12:24 PM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K. View Post
After running and then parking the car, you might try keeping the ignition ("radio readiness" in BMWspeak) on - with or without the radio audio enabled.

If no "Low Battery Voltage" warning appears within about 90 seconds, you should be OK. If it does appear, then the problem could be the battery or, perhaps, the IBS.

Tom
By "radio readiness" I assume you mean that the "start/stop" button stays illuminated.

When I first got the low battery voltage warning it occurred shortly after I shut down the engine but had not removed the key fob, which I think means it was in "radio readiness."

Thanks Tom. I'll try that tonite.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:47 AM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
Hey RB!
My battery was right at 36 months when it failed. Incidentally, never did my E93 give me a "low battery" warning light. My dealership did replace it under warranty but only after keeping the car twice for "extended" diagnostics and me being very up front with them about the combination of short drive cycles and "bad driver behaviour" in opening and closing the driver's door numerous times without a "drive-off".

As many of the veteran 'festers explained to me, once the battery goes into failure mode, getting it back is a long shot. BMW pretty much corroborated that when they replaced mine.
Please keep us posted.
This makes me wonder how high the rpm needs to go for the alternator to begin charging the battery. I would think that as long as the engine is running the battery is being charged since the alternator puts out around 14.5 volts.

I drive the car in the city between 1500 and 2000 rpm. And until the oil temp needle comes off the peg I hold the rpm below about 3000 rpm while going through the gears. I this driving pattern causing my battery to drain? It seems crazy to waste fuel in order to keep the battery charged.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:48 AM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K. View Post
After running and then parking the car, you might try keeping the ignition ("radio readiness" in BMWspeak) on - with or without the radio audio enabled.

If no "Low Battery Voltage" warning appears within about 90 seconds, you should be OK. If it does appear, then the problem could be the battery or, perhaps, the IBS.

Tom
I ran the test last night and the "low battery voltage" icon never came on. However, this is after I have had the car on the CTEK for 22 hours over three days - and it is still charging the battery (orange light on).

Last edited by RBinDC; 02-10-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:10 AM
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MP3_E46 MP3_E46 is offline
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FWIW: my E93's battery is fine now even with a 3.7 mile surface street commute.

For anyone with this issue I recommend: disconnect the -ve terminal and run a CTEK in recondition mode (voltage goes to 15.7V IIRC so disconnect a battery terminal to protect car electronics). After driving for a couple of weeks the car should figure out the battery can hold more charge. If it does not and still shows the low battery light install a new battery. Our (unregistered) new battery took over a week until the car figured out it was there and the low battery light stop showing + CTEK showed it was fully charged at the end of the week. Finally my DCAN cable arrived and it was registered. Two weeks ago I left the ignition on for over two hours while coding with DRLs on - no low battery light The cars no longer runs rough when cold either.

Attached shows my hillbilly amp hour testing of a CTEK reconditioned 'dead' OEM battery. It has ~43Ah of stated 90Ah remaining so would likely have lasted a couple more years. That battery 'died' in under 10K miles/ three years; likely the original owner didn't use the car for an extended period which is an easy way to sulphate a battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBinDC View Post
I have had the car on the CTEK for 22 hours over three days - and it is still charging the battery (orange light on).
Our original battery seemed to drain almost immediately after a few days driving. With hindsight I should have verified the charge after a single commute. Unless cash strapped BMW owners should really buy the CTEK 7002 which puts out twice the amps and has a recondition mode. A CTEK should last a lifetime so it makes sense to get the good one that can fully charge the worst battery overnight.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:25 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by RBinDC View Post
This makes me wonder how high the rpm needs to go for the alternator to begin charging the battery. I would think that as long as the engine is running the battery is being charged since the alternator puts out around 14.5 volts.

I drive the car in the city between 1500 and 2000 rpm. And until the oil temp needle comes off the peg I hold the rpm below about 3000 rpm while going through the gears. I this driving pattern causing my battery to drain? It seems crazy to waste fuel in order to keep the battery charged.


Send in the multimeter; measure.


Bonus! That info's fresh! Only 6 weeks old and fully, completely, entirely available via Search.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by RBinDC View Post
New Battery? I took delivery of the car only 28 months ago! When I took the car in last month for its annual oil change the battery got a green check mark. If I need a new battery seems to me that BMW should pay for it under the warrantee.
My battery died after 7 month of ownership (car was pick up in Munich) - so, don't be surprise.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:30 PM
RBinDC RBinDC is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post


Send in the multimeter; measure.


Bonus! That info's fresh! Only 6 weeks old and fully, completely, entirely available via Search.
I checked the battery voltage with my old analog multimeter and got a reading of 12.5 volts.

Then I connected the CTEK in normal auto mode and checked the voltage again and got 13.3 volts. Switching to the cold weather/AGM mode did not change the voltage.

Now I'm wondering if this CTEK is defective and not putting out enough voltage. The booklet states that it charges the battery at 14.4 volts in normal auto mode and 14.7 in the AGM mode. This could be why the battery is taking so long to charge.

I called CTEK support and told them the problem. They said that my battery only requires 13.3 volts to charge it, whereas an AGM requires higher voltage. They said to leave it connected for up to 72 hours then call them back if the battery is not fully charged. This sounds like I'm getting the runaround. The CTEK booklet specifically states that it puts out 14.4 volts in the normal auto mode. Something is wrong here.

Last edited by RBinDC; 02-11-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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  #21  
Old 02-11-2013, 12:59 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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I don't know if your charger is defective, but my first charge took a solid straight 24 hours (no less), and at AGM mode no less. I never had a warning, I just suspected that I should charge my car at one point in time. Ever since, the longest charge so far that I can confirm is maybe about 8 hours, often less than that. BTW, I don't have iDrive, don't always use DRLs, only sometimes use the radio, always put the car immediately to sleep upon exiting, and I roll out the car into my driveway in neutral without even starting the car. I'm on original battery, and I see no reason why it cannot last for many years longer. Keeping the battery near a full capacity charge will let it live longer. Also, if it's taking this long to get to a full charge for you, I personally see that as a great sign, as to me this probably means you still have so much usable battery capacity left, and in the winter no less. If it hit max capacity very quickly, to me this would indicate a battery near its end. Disclaimer: I am generally clueless with things automotive. That said, if it took me 24 hrs at AGM, and you're doing 8hr spurts at normal mode, I wouldn't be surprised if you needed at least a couple more sessions if I was to assume our batteries were in identical condition.
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