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      10-07-2011, 12:43 PM   #23
Dukat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the thrill View Post
Was you vehicle possibly left in "transport mode"? This will happen if it was. I remember reading other posts from a few others on this. When the dealer preps the car for delivery, they are supposed to take it out of tranport mode. This will cause battery issues if they forgot to.
Is there a simple way to check to see if it's in Transport Mode?
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      10-07-2011, 12:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the thrill View Post
Was you vehicle possibly left in "transport mode"? This will happen if it was. I remember reading other posts from a few others on this. When the dealer preps the car for delivery, they are supposed to take it out of tranport mode. This will cause battery issues if they forgot to.
IIRC, the vehicle runs poorly if left in transit mode. I doubt that it is the reason. But, who knows?
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      10-07-2011, 05:39 PM   #25
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Your vehicle should work fine under those conditions. Any other suggestion from the dealer including the need to use a trickle charger is complete crap. Get them to fix it and start documenting to lemon it if they don't.
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      10-08-2011, 12:01 PM   #26
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More dealer BS.

My X3 is four months old, but it is my second vehicle and doesn't get used daily. Depending on my needs and whims, there are weeks when I might only drive it once. I live less than 10 miles from work (it's a 10-minute drive in the morning, and 15-20 at night). I have not had any battery issues.
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      10-10-2011, 08:48 AM   #27
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As mentioned in a previous thread, I have a particular problem leaving my X3 for prolonged periods in airport carparks.
I now think I have the answer.

I purchased a 4.3W 240mA solar charger.
It arrived very quickly from the supplier but the breakout box from China took rather longer so was unable to test it.

In comparison with Lotus7's useful data, with the solar unit attached, the Time 0:00 voltage (as door is locked) is 12.44 V.
It rises to 12.67 V after 15 minutes and 12.7 V after 30 minutes.
This is on a very dull overcast October day at Latitude 56 with the panel laid horizontally on the dash so by no means the optimal position (I was trying to simulate the valet parking result!)

If stuck to the window in sunlight (even at my Lat. and less than 2 hours before sunset) it was charging the battery at 12.81 V even when at an angle to the sun - see photo below.

That seems to meet the need.

The unit itself is fairly neat and plugs into the ODB socket so is constantly connected. The plug is elongated so is easily connected and disconnected.
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      10-10-2011, 09:57 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus7 View Post
Sounds like you're in good shape. 12.81 V. is enough to insure that current is flowing into the battery instead of out of it. Hopefully, the total charging current during the day will exceed the integrated discharge current at night when it's dark. It will be interesting to see what the battery voltage is after the car has been parked for an extended period.

Did you measure the 12.81 Volts with the panel actually connected to the USB port? Your photo appears to have the meter connected to the breakout box only (with no load). With the connection to the USB port, the solar panel will have to generate enough current to overcome the constant discharge load before it will begin to actually charge the battery.
The breakout box includes a splitter & was connected between the solar panel & the car OBD-II port - sorry - not so clear on the photos above. So the voltage is the actual battery terminal voltage with the solar panel attached. Car voltage earlier that day was just 12.3V with door open and no panel.
Unfortunately I won't get the voltage after the long term parking - the valet will have driven to the airport pickup. Hopefully I will have got a Equus 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor while in the US so will get a reading which should tell me if the charge is well down but I have no way of telling just how & where it was parked or what the panel orientation was (or even if the valet had connected it!).

I am leaving this Fri. so won't get a chance to test further until Dec/Jan - then much will depend upon weather. Given the UK "press" reports I may be needing the X3 & winter wheels!
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      10-23-2011, 06:35 AM   #29
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Battery Issues

My X3 started playing up at the beginning of September.
It is now is Switzerland, having broken down on holiday. They diagnosed a short cct on the cct from the battery to the bonnet, replaced a faulty component, but haven't yet given it the all clear!
Six weeks of not knowing whether the car will start or not!
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      01-30-2012, 05:04 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill S View Post
The breakout box includes a splitter & was connected between the solar panel & the car OBD-II port - sorry - not so clear on the photos above. So the voltage is the actual battery terminal voltage with the solar panel attached. Car voltage earlier that day was just 12.3V with door open and no panel.
Unfortunately I won't get the voltage after the long term parking - the valet will have driven to the airport pickup. Hopefully I will have got a Equus 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor while in the US so will get a reading which should tell me if the charge is well down but I have no way of telling just how & where it was parked or what the panel orientation was (or even if the valet had connected it!).

I am leaving this Fri. so won't get a chance to test further until Dec/Jan - then much will depend upon weather. Given the UK "press" reports I may be needing the X3 & winter wheels!
Hi Bill,

Do you have any update on how the solar panel worked out?
Thanks
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      01-30-2012, 05:53 PM   #31
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seems to me like there must be something wrong with these cars that will be the subject of TSB or something. There is no way that the electrical system is designed so that people have to go to these ridiculous lengths (solar panels, trickle charges, etc) just for their cars to start reliably.

Something has to be wrong here. I can leave my E90 parked for 3 weeks or 4weeks and I never worry about it starting when I get back. It fires right up with no hesitation.

If I bought a car and the dealer told me this was normal, I'd tell him to take it back and refund my money.
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      01-30-2012, 07:16 PM   #32
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Lotus7,
You are such an incredible resource to this forum, you are like the battery we all would like to have in our vehicles - always full of power.

I am very grateful that you choose the X3, which will allow me to learn so much more on my vehicle

I have read all your posts on the subject, and I am amazed that you always have some nice angle to add that makes all new post valueful. Many thanks really! And of course thanks to all questions that provokes those answers!
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      01-30-2012, 07:19 PM   #33
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Battery status

Lotus - Do you leave the digital voltage meter you have recommended in a different post in the X3's ashtray outlet continuously or should it be removed when the vehicle is turned off and parked?
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      01-30-2012, 09:34 PM   #34
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Boy! This issue just doesn't go away.
To my surprise, about two weeks ago, went to the garage to get our 2.8 X3. It was dead as a doornail. No lights, no response from the key, nothing. Access was only from the conventional lock on the drivers door. I put a multimeter on the underhood terminals and it read 3volts. The car had been used daily prior, albeit local errands only. No indication of any issues. No battery warnings at all. A call to the dealer brought roadside assist. The tech was able to start the X3 immediately with a jump. I drove it for 25-30 minutes and its been fine ever since. Now, after a check up two days later at the dealer, it was pronounced OK and the cause was a phone charger left in the console outlet!! The SA claims that although the outlets turn off they can be "woking up" or awakened if something is plugged in. Now I'm not sure what to believe. Anyone?
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      01-30-2012, 10:00 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus7 View Post
I do put the voltmeter in on longer trips to monitor the operation of the "ED" system mainly for amusement.
Hello Lotus,
I was always interested in the Energy Recovery from the ED Efficient Dynamics system, when it operates and how much. So I would like to try out the voltmeter system as you do.
Is it easy to recognize when the system recovers energy? What is a typical voltage when driving with and without energy recovery?
And for a more difficult question: how much power do you guess is generated by the system during energy recovery braking?
Thanks for the help.
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      01-30-2012, 10:20 PM   #36
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Thanks for the reply Lotus. All the doors were locked. The dealer had the car all day and supposedly deep charged it. For the life of me I can't imagine what happened. maybe it was an electronic gremlin that kept the circuit on all night. I'd really like to understand. I'm not sure all these dealers are lying with the same story. They must believe it themselves. They don't seem to be getting any other clues either.
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      01-31-2012, 06:46 AM   #37
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Solar charger.
This seemed to work - certainly I left the X3 at the airport for 2 months and it started first time even though covered in ice. I had asked them to leave it with the panel plugged in and exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately I have no proof that the valet service did not boost start it the day before. I had a 250 mile run to home before I could get Lotus7's voltmeter unpacked & connected so would have expected that to fully charge.

When at the dealers, I discussed battery problems - their story was that there are a lot of battery problems
They then came out with the story that the X3 needed to be run 40 miles a day to keep the battery fully charged! While I cannot accept the validity of that statement, I do wonder if BMW are suggesting to service managers that they warn customers about future battery problems - this could get expensive for BMW. I got the impression that they were attempting to lay the blame on the customer's driving profile.

My own opinion is that if a 5 mile commute is not enough to keep the car serviceable, then the car is not fit for purpose! I live about 20 miles from the nearest anything so very rarely go for less than a 40 miles excursion - yet service manager was trying to suggest that my profile was of short runs!

As mentioned I did get one of those voltage monitors used by Lotus7 - nice!
I can see that the voltage readout does vary quite considerably while driving - from 13.4V to 14.8V. On engine braking it seems to vary between 14.62V and 14.80V - the lower voltages occasionally occur while under power.
It would be interesting to know what, if anything, these voltages mean - do they give any indication about the state of charge?

With the voltmeter only connected while the circuits are "active" it is difficult to get an actual static (unloaded) voltage - looks like I'm going to have to make up an OBD2-connector for the voltmeter.

Last edited by Bill S; 01-31-2012 at 06:53 AM. Reason: added link
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      01-31-2012, 09:34 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus7 View Post
Your 2006 E90 does not have the BMW "Efficient Dynamics" feature that can allow the battery to sit in a partially charged state as a normal condition. Your E90 probably has a lower "standby" current draw than a new F25. With a fully charged battery, a F25 can probably remain parked and locked for 4 to 5 weeks maximum (about the same as your E90 with a new battery), but, depending on the driving pattern a F25 may be parked with a battery that is only half charged.

Under those conditions (see MANY previous posts that detail the situation), the F25 may have trouble starting at something like 21 days of being parked.

As government mandated fuel efficiency requirements become more stringent, you can expect to see more vehicles using a BMW "ED" type system for energy efficiency as well as smaller, lighter batteries. Both of which will contribute to reduced "standby" time periods. Better get used to it.

And I take your point: the problem could be the government. God knows that haven't got anything right for a long time.

My sister's new Jaguar requires an external battery charger when ever it's parked for more than (3) weeks and it's perfectly normal for that car and it doesn't even have "ED".

It's just a sign of the times which are a'changin. What worked in 2006 doesn't work in 2012. There is nothing "wrong" and there will be no TSBs. It's just the way things are designed in the F25, and will be incorporated in most other brands soon. BMW has been the undisputed leader in implementing new energy saving technology, so you see it here first. It's the price you pay for "progress", and not everyone likes change.

Just like the Stop/Start technology in many new BMW models or the rumored electric supercharger in the next generation M3 models, not everyone is happy with the changes initially, but somehow we get used to it and soon it's the "norm".

Just wait until the (US) corporate 35.5 mpg regulations go into effect in 2016. Then the changes and compromises we have today will seem trivial.

Addendum: I re-read this post and feel it reads as "a little preachy". I don't want to sound that way and am not supporting any philosophical point of view. One of my other vehicles, and possible my favorite is based on 1960's engineering (or even earlier) and has no power steering, no power brakes, no radio, no roll-up windows and no door locks. However it was designed when 95 octane gasoline (in the U.S.) cost exactly 31 cents per gallon.

Those days are gone forever (RIP) and we better get used to it.
Lotus, I am a mechanical engineer and have been a die-hard BMW guy since I was 4 years old, so I definatey understand the mechancial and electrical systems at play here.

My point is that whatever is going on here, it ain't right. One gentleman here was saying that there was 7 X3's at the Edmonton BMW dealership (not a crazy volume dealer) just north of us after a cold snap. That is totally ridiculous and makes it clear to me that something is amiss with this model, at minimum, and possibly with our beloved BMW.

The point of "The Ultimate Driving Machine" is to be able to drive it. Looking at that many X3's parked tells me there must be some sort of issue here that we aren't seeing... a bad relay design or something that is causing this that isn't normal. This may just be me hoping that it is a problem that can be fixed rather than shoddy design by the company I love.

My E90 with a 6+ year old battery has more reliable start performance than these brand new vehicles. That is incomprehensible.

Maybe Mercedes-Benz is still paying attention to the basics before getting too cute with these electrical systems?

I am concerned because I have been seriously looking at the new F25 and the new F30 but if I can't be confident that they will be reliable, I will have to turn to something else and that will hurt me.

And I take your point: The problem could well be the rules imposed by the government coming too fast. God knows they haven't got anything right in a long time.
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      01-31-2012, 10:59 AM   #39
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Whilst I understand the points made on the causality of this problem (increasingly active electronics) I do not personally agree that these also justify it.

As technology moves on and we come to expect more and more advanced functionality from our cars shouldn't we expect equal measures of innovation to ensure that the basics (like the battery not going flat) keep up?

Engineers can design an Internet connected navigation system that one can command via an iPhone app but they can't design in a big enough / good enough battery to keep the vehicle alive as long as its predecessors?

I would not accept a flat battery after going on holiday for 2-3 weeks or through simply driving to the station and back each morning. I've never had to and I do not expect ever too.

What am I missing...?
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      01-31-2012, 11:06 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnw View Post
Whilst I understand the points made on the causality of this problem (increasingly active electronics) I do not personally agree that these also justify it.

As technology moves on and we come to expect more and more advanced functionality from our cars shouldn't we expect equal measures of innovation to ensure that the basics (like the battery not going flat) keep up?

Engineers can design an Internet connected navigation system that one can command via an iPhone app but they can't design in a big enough / good enough battery to keep the vehicle alive as long as its predecessors?

I would not accept a flat battery after going on holiday for 2-3 weeks or through simply driving to the station and back each morning. I've never had to and I do not expect ever too.

What am I missing...?
100% agree. The point of technology is to advance. Why should we care about all of this gadgetry if the fuckin' car won't start. Its just unacceptable.
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      01-31-2012, 01:28 PM   #41
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Add me to the list with battery issues - left it out on the two coldest days of the winter and it didn't want to start the next day, but did, but it didn't want to...and got all kinds of error messages about shutting down electronics. We now have a new battery. This is actually the 2nd BMW that we had to get a new battery for (the old 335xi needed a new battery also, but after three years).
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      01-31-2012, 02:16 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus7 View Post
I’m also an engineer who has modified and scratch-built race cars and fully understand your position. I’m not defending the situation, only presenting the reality of the status quo.

With very few exceptions, for most people, passenger cars today are "appliances" and are built to a price point with features that will fulfill most of the needs of most of the target buyers. Most buyers will typically be running their cars each day or at least every other day. People who park their cars for (3) weeks are unfortunately not the majority, and for those owners BMW and most other manufacturers including MB sell battery maintainers, and lecture their owners about driving more.

This forum has been peppered with owner's posts who have received advice from their dealer’s service advisers that the cars should be driven a minimum of 10, 20 or even (recently posted) 40 miles per day to keep the battery charged. As ridiculous as that is, it reflects the dealers and possibly the manufacturer’s position about the minority of drivers who don’t drive their vehicles often.

Considering the increasing fuel economy and safety hoops that production manufacturers must jump through to have the right to sell a car, it’s surprising that they do as well as they do.

If a particular characteristic of a BMW car or any other manufactured “appliance” doesn’t meet your expectations, you can always communicate your dissatisfaction to the maker, or vote with your checkbook. However, given the current environment that caters to drivers who are not car enthusiasts and who generally don’t even like cars, I’m pessimistic that the concerns of a minority like “us” will be taken seriously.

Having observed the direction that automobile manufacturing has taken over the last four decades; I tend to take a “half-empty glass” point of view. I don’t think most manufactures really care about the tiny minority of car enthusiasts. A handful of performance car makers try to convey images of catering to “car guys”, but as is painfully apparent, all they REALLY want to do is increase their market share, and if that means winning over Toyota and Honda econo-box owners, so be it.

Please “don’t shoot the messenger”.
The funny thing is that people who have no interest in cars typically have limited understanding of cars and are exactly the ones who say "I didn't pay a lot of money for a luxury car to have it not work."

The type of customer you are talking about as the majority today is exactly the type that I believe will have the least amount of patience and understanding for this type of wimpy battery stuff.
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      01-31-2012, 02:20 PM   #43
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Any battery issues with our Central/Northern European forum members currently experiencing temperatures down to -30C? I know we have a few members from these regions so would be good to get your experience to add to the mix.
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      01-31-2012, 03:10 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epiphone3 View Post
The funny thing is that people who have no interest in cars typically have limited understanding of cars and are exactly the ones who say "I didn't pay a lot of money for a luxury car to have it not work."

The type of customer you are talking about as the majority today is exactly the type that I believe will have the least amount of patience and understanding for this type of wimpy battery stuff.
Yes but...there are very few of them who either park up for long periods or only use their X3 for many very short journeys. So neither BMW nor anyone else builds cars for them.

The first manufacturer who fitted an electric clock into the dash - I'm guessing in the late 60's - started the rot. Since then we consumers have demanded more and more gadgets - who would buy a car today without a battery-draining remote?

When neither oil prices or CO2 were an issue manufacturers just fitted bigger batteries. Unsubtle. Heavy. More expensive. No-one cared.

Today we want good fuel economy, all the toys, and manufacturers are in business to make profit. So we get batteries and systems that meet the needs of the vast majority.

For the few it affects - get a charger. inexpensive. Simple.

Or maybe ( and I'm sure Lotus 7 will know) why not fit a battery with a bigger capacity? Make sure voltage and internal resistance are the same but add amp hours. My X3 is sill awaited so I can't see whether there is any space under the trunk floor to fit a bigger battery. But it would mitigate the problem.
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