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      01-31-2012, 03:49 PM   #45
Bill S
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Every BMW (& Merc & Audi!) I have had over the last 25+ years has been able to start after being left for several weeks without running. I have never been told that a car has to be run hundreds of miles every week to remain usable.

I cannot accept that the X3 is being hamstrung simply to satisfy legislation - it cannot be beyond designers abilities to include a simple software switch that could be used before storage/log term park/parking in extreme cold that would result in:
a/ the battery being fully charged/disable BER 60% mode.
b/ all ancillary circuits other than alarm being switched off when locked.

Surely that would solve the problem ... and if so that could be fixed now on all existing cars.
Would that not be simpler and cheaper for BMW than continuing to have call-outs to cars that will not start and replacing batteries that have failed due to being left with no charge?

This would seem to be a software design fault and software can be reprogrammed.

Last edited by Bill S; 01-31-2012 at 03:55 PM.
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      01-31-2012, 05:25 PM   #46
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the business traveler who must take multi-week trips would be one fairly common scenario for potential problems. another common scenario will be the vacationer who wishes to leave a car with what might be a half-charged battery in an airport parking lot for possibly 3 weeks.

an idrive software patch which allows you to disable many or most of the electrical drains might be more widely appreciated than it first appears if you only consider day to day use.
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      01-31-2012, 05:31 PM   #47
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My understanding of the Efficient Dynamics is that the alternator can be made to engage regardless of acceleration or deceleration if the battery charge goes below a pre-set level.

Two simple solutions:
1. Software change that leads to more agressive harvesting from the alternator for vehicles that have short trips registered very often. With the incredible amount of information stored in just the key fob, I am sure that this information is availalble to the ECU and that behaviour of ED could be made to accomodate different driving without stranding the owner.

2. Software change that leads to more agressive harvesting when temperatures are below some threshold like 0 degrees C or something. It is predictable when temperatures are this low that cold starts will occur and that more cranking amps are required from the battery. Easy change.

Obviously, the sacrifice of these two software changes is that some cars will see poorer fuel economy in real world conditions by up to 3%. Darn. Small price to pay to not have an unreliable battery system.

With all the engineering that goes into these cars and the testing in cooler climates, etc., there is no reason that fuel economy should be put ahead of not stranding the driver as a priority. Especially when it is pretty much as easy as writing some simple software to allow the car to adjust to specific conditions.
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      01-31-2012, 06:20 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus7 View Post
Of course, a software "switch" to disable all accessory loads, and to force the battery to a full charge could be implemented, but would probably never be used by 95% of the owners. It would require some foresight by an intelligent owner, since it would probably have to be put into the "full charge" mode a week or more before parking the car to insure a full charge (depending on driving patterns). It's also not quite as simple as just a software change, since some of the stored engine trim parameters are contained in volatile memory (one of the “always-on” electrical loads) and would be lost if power is removed triggering a period when the engine is re-adapting. Sure, they could switch to non-volatile memory, or they could put a switch in to disable the “ED” system entirely and go back to 2009 technology, but would then have to take a 3 to 5% “hit” on the corporate EPA economy figures which would be intolerable for a company the size of BMW.

Personally, since new, I’ve never left the X3 parked for more than a week without connecting a smart charger, and I do the same for all of my vehicles. It costs almost nothing and takes all of 1 minute to connect it, so for me, and I suspect the vast majority of owners, it’s a non-issue.

As always, the picture of owner "problems" presented on any Internet forum is extremely biased and is not at all representative of the vast majority of owner’s experience. I'd wager that MOST X3 owners will never have a problem starting their cars and will never be aware of any battery related issues.

I don’t think the fact that the battery is a weaker spot today than it used to be, should be neglected because it only affects a minority. People living in urban areas often don’t have access to garage with individual power outlets, so a trickle charger is not always the solution. And charging with an open hood isn’t an option always either.

At least in Europe, many new buyers with purchasing power fall into this category. And the same category tends to commute more frequent with mass transit than people living outside cities, i.e using the vehicle on weekends rather than daily etc. Of course BMW wants this segment as well.

There are a few things that could be done, that each of them or in combination, would provide more comfort for some owners. And of course the majority isn’t affected at all.

- A software switch for BER (e.g with iDrive), as mentioned
- A software switch for “minimal battery discharge” (e.g. car has to be opened manually, maybe only alarm working), as mentioned
- To be able to see the already existing battery percentage indicator on the X3 instrument panel (e.g with iDrive), that currently only shows in transport mode. This way you don’t have to buy a separate voltage meter and translate the current value depending on temp etc to a battery percentage (as provided by Lotus)
- To be able to buy an optional solar panel roof top that would serve as an trickle charger. More $$$ for BMW + happier clients. Doesn’t Toyota have this for some models?
- Persistent memory for vital vehicle data, so it's not lost if battery dies
- etc

There is no such thing as a “bad” driving pattern, only different. And the vehicles should be, and probably will be in the future, flexible enough to cater for different driving pattern segments. After all, isn’t that what clever market economy is about? Thanks

Last edited by Niti; 01-31-2012 at 06:36 PM.
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      01-31-2012, 08:15 PM   #49
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Battery charger suggestions

It strikes me that we have here is a BMW X3 (F25) "survivors" group information website. The number of discussions in the past 18 months or so that have alerted me to the problems I could anticipate following delivery of my 2011 X3 is significant. For example, when my April 2011 delivered X3 began to experience the "oil sensor failure" warning I was able to print some of these threads, take the printouts to my dealer, and get the vehicle's software re-programmed. But, Lotus, or should we better call you " Moses", can you lead us to the best trickle charger for those of us lucky enough to have a garage with an electrical outlet? I followed all you prior advice on the digital electrical meter, jack point pads, jacks, wheels, winter tires, flashlights, windshield washer fluid, windshield cleaners, etc.. Can you share with us the make and model number of the best charger based upon your experiences? By the way, in that elegant wheel-changing instruction set, one photo seemed to show a metal-plated garage floor. Quite the solution, but is it affordable? The only thing which puzzles me as a native "Badger Stater" is why you continue to live in the mountains of Illinois?
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      01-31-2012, 11:40 PM   #50
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Chargers

Once again, many thanks Lotus for this information, and for the secret of your garage floor. I am working in Washington, DC for our Uncle, so maybe I can get you moved somewhere with real mountains.
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      02-01-2012, 01:04 AM   #51
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Interesting to see differing views from US & Europe.

Many houses in European cities were built well before cars needed garages and the mews have all been converted to housing. Cars live parked on the side of a road so charging is not an option.

Also 6 weeks vacation is often a minimum in Europe and much of that goes with a long-haul flight. Major airport carparks can rival the size of runways.

That could be a big market loss for BMW when customers realise their cars won't start when they return.
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      02-04-2012, 01:54 PM   #52
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I was a bit concerned reading this thread whilst on holiday knowing my X3 would be parked in an airport car park outside for over a week in temperatures about -3C to 3C but I'm happy to report no warnings and no problems at all starting. A two to three week holiday would still be a concern but I'll sleep a little easier on the night before returning next time. Would be nice to be able to check when you park and know how long you have before you get issues.

It would have been embarrassing if the BMW had let me down as this week because whilst it was parked at Gatwick at 0C, we were driving round in a VW Golf with 130,000 miles on the clock when we went skiing in the Tatras and it was left parked for 4 days and started first time no problems when the temperature was -20C and had dropped to -28C at one point.
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      02-04-2012, 05:42 PM   #53
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no worries sfax, there would likely be a hyundai in the lot to give your bimmer a boost.
Quote:
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I was a bit concerned reading this thread whilst on holiday knowing my X3 would be parked in an airport car park outside for over a week in temperatures about -3C to 3C but I'm happy to report no warnings and no problems at all starting. A two to three week holiday would still be a concern but I'll sleep a little easier on the night before returning next time. Would be nice to be able to check when you park and know how long you have before you get issues.

It would have been embarrassing if the BMW had let me down as this week because whilst it was parked at Gatwick at 0C, we were driving round in a VW Golf with 130,000 miles on the clock when we went skiing in the Tatras and it was left parked for 4 days and started first time no problems when the temperature was -20C and had dropped to -28C at one point.
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      02-05-2012, 06:26 AM   #54
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Quote:
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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.
I have not received my X3 yet.

But on Finnish BMW forum there are no topics related to this issue. Non.

If this was a problem here, I bet there would be debate.

In here last night was -25 Celsius to -41 Celsius.

I will keep you updated when I have my X3 delivered.
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      02-05-2012, 07:14 AM   #55
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I have not received my X3 yet.

But on Finnish BMW forum there are no topics related to this issue. Non.

If this was a problem here, I bet there would be debate.

In here last night was -25 Celsius to -41 Celsius.

I will keep you updated when I have my X3 delivered.
That's reassuring Rodion. Thanks for posting and will look forward to your report when you get your X3. -41C! OMG! I was really struggling to function in -25C last week!
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      02-05-2012, 08:08 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodion View Post
I have not received my X3 yet.

But on Finnish BMW forum there are no topics related to this issue. Non.

If this was a problem here, I bet there would be debate.

In here last night was -25 Celsius to -41 Celsius.

I will keep you updated when I have my X3 delivered.
Greetings from Helsinki, Finland! I got my X3 in July 2011 and I have a "half-warm garage" where it is now -4C (outside -20C).

I haven't had problems with the battery before today. I was away on vacation for almost two weeks and drove my car yesterday for the first time after my vacation. I had no problems, but when I parked at my destination after driving for 30kms today I got the charge battery message. Car started without a problem though and I drove for another 60kms to recharge the battery. When I parked at home I again got the charge battery message.

I found that 5-series (F10) owners seem to be having similar problems when it is really cold here in Finland. Luckily the weather seems to be turning for warmer so I hopefully these errors will disappear.
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      02-08-2012, 11:47 AM   #57
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There is an Issue with the 2011 X3's. It's apparently a "Relay" that when it gets cold causes all these Battery issue. Our 2011 X3 has been at the dealership for almost a month. BMW has isolated the problem, just don't know how to fix it. The are in talks with the Engineers from Germany. They have 6 other X3's in our Edmonton, Alberta dealership with the same issue. I was told by my Service advisor that this is a Global Issue and not just North American.
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      02-08-2012, 06:51 PM   #58
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It's too bad BMW didn't do cold weather testing before going into production...
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      02-09-2012, 04:47 AM   #59
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What is the problem?

The battery needs heat before start and while driving, otherwise it does not charge up.

Solution: heat the battery while driving and when engine is pre heated.

Commercial solution already exists: http://www.arcticheat.fi/arcticbatteryheater.htm

Googletranslate version into English: http://translate.google.com/translat...er.htm&act=url

Please tell this to your BMW service and I hope someone tips München engineers that solution is already available.
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      02-09-2012, 09:47 AM   #60
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It sounds like BMW needs a software tweak if you ask me.

Sometimes the KISS principal is the best. The solution is simple if not as efficient... the car should default to a traditional charging system when charge or ambient temperature drops below a given threshold.

Rodion, perhaps you have a point about heating the battery. The traditional location for the battery is under the hood (bonnet) where the engine heat may contribute to a better charging state. I wonder if other vehicles with trunk mounted batteries have this problem?
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      02-09-2012, 11:36 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbjgh View Post
It sounds like BMW needs a software tweak if you ask me.

Sometimes the KISS principal is the best. The solution is simple if not as efficient... the car should default to a traditional charging system when charge or ambient temperature drops below a given threshold.

Rodion, perhaps you have a point about heating the battery. The traditional location for the battery is under the hood (bonnet) where the engine heat may contribute to a better charging state. I wonder if other vehicles with trunk mounted batteries have this problem?
Yes, the E9X range. I believe the combination of IBS (which is irony at its highest) and efficient dynamics has a lot to answer for with regards to the battery issues or to put it better, perceived battery issues.

I now have a CTEK 7000 series charger for my garage which I use occaisonally.
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      02-09-2012, 12:36 PM   #62
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Just been updated by my Service advisor, the car is ready (almost 1 month in Dealership Service Dapatment). Solution: Replaced the power distribution box.
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      02-09-2012, 12:46 PM   #63
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Just been updated by my Service advisor, the car is ready (almost 1 month in Dealership Service Dapatment). Solution: Replaced the power distribution box.
I know this is off topic but when they gave you the service sheet of the work they performed, did they do anything else? When it was below -25'C, the car didn't start. I then got it towed to Edmonton BMW and was lucky as I the first one to bring my X3 there. When I got the BMW back last week (took them 2 weeks to get the part to fix it), they did things in addtion to replacing the relay thingy/power distribution box.
I'll take a picture of the service sheet when I get the chance.
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      02-09-2012, 12:52 PM   #64
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hopefully this power distribution box is the silver bullet to getting this issue licked.
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      02-09-2012, 11:08 PM   #65
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I know this is off topic but when they gave you the service sheet of the work they performed, did they do anything else? When it was below -25'C, the car didn't start. I then got it towed to Edmonton BMW and was lucky as I the first one to bring my X3 there. When I got the BMW back last week (took them 2 weeks to get the part to fix it), they did things in addtion to replacing the relay thingy/power distribution box.
I'll take a picture of the service sheet when I get the chance.
For the correction it shows:

Perform diagnosis for no start. Check faults. Many stored for voltage issues. Check battery, Ok. Check circuit/supply power to DME found main circuit relay faults. Access and perform diagnosis. Relay not switching. Replace power distribution box. Clear faults. Retest system. PUMA submitted to BMW Canada of the concern created.

Parts: Power Distribution Box
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      02-09-2012, 11:35 PM   #66
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Is Power Distribution Box BMW-Speak for Fuse Box?
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