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Am I expecting too much from a battery conditioner? - Engine & Ancilliaries/Gearbox - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Mister_Tad

Am I expecting too much from a battery conditioner?

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I've had a 400 from new since July, 2000 miles on it as of today.

 

I had a failure to start today that I was hoping a battery conditioner (MXS 5.0) would prevent.

Today the car hadn't been driven in around a month, though a few nights ago I did start it and run it at a high idle for around 10 minutes expecting that I wouldn't be driving it for at least a few more weeks again. That was until my wife picked up a flat tyre this week and the semi-exotic replacement is taking a while to source, so the Lotus moved back into rotation.

 

So today I have to do the school run, pull it off the conditioner, starts first time no fuss, drive it 3mi to school, return to it after 15 mins and nothing. I can get in the car, infotainment and lights are fine, but no start.

Fortunately the wife wasn't far away and came to the rescue with a jump after 15 mins - all sorted.

 

I took the long way home to the tune of around 40 mins of moderate speed driving and now it's in the garage, off the conditioner so I can see if it starts tomorrow morning.

 

So the question, shouldn't having it on the conditioner for periods of non-running prevent issues like this? Should I have driven it for longer after an extended period of hibernation before expecting it to fire straight back up after sitting? Is it going to start tomorrow morning, or need to sit back on the conditioner? Is my battery hosed?

Answers on a postcard!

Edited by Mister_Tad

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Lotus are not known for their quality batteries in general, Murray’s replaced my year old ‘OEM’ battery on my 400 as the original one was as playing up and they felt in their experience it was better to nip any issues in the bud and replace!

 

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They do fall off a cliff when they go. Mine was fine one day, a little slow to fire up the next and dead as a door nail the day after.

 

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might depend on which conditioner

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I'm using a Ctek MXS 5.0 which seems to be pretty much the de-facto standard, so don't think that would be the issue.

 

I've just popped down to the garage and no start, the battery is also hot to the touch - I don't feel like that's normal, but then I don't touch my battery all that often either.

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A pretty easy load test that you can do is put a multimeter across the terminals on volts. No charger attached and see what the reading is. Get someone to turn on the lights and the interior fan to load the battery up and if it is shot, your volts will plummet on the meter pretty quickly.

If the battery is hot to touch, that could be from increased resistance in the battery. I am no electrician, but I would think from V=RI where V = voltage, R = resistance and I = current, if your battery is getting hot, I would think that is from increased resistance. If that is the case, then for the same voltage, 'I' will be decreased, so little amperage in the battery. What I have just written might be utter rubbish as well. :) 

The first thing I wrote will give you a good indication though.

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If your battery is hot to the touch, I would immediately unplug the charger to prevent a fire.  A hot battery probably lost fluid and the  plates are getting damaged.

My guess is your battery crapped out and the charger is trying to charge what it can't. So, your Ctek may be fine but your battery isn't. I'd wait for the battery to cool down and replace it. Better safe than sorry!

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I just checked the voltage and it's reading 12.45v off the conditioner after switching the car on, headlights etc - and won't start.

After another failed attempt to start it's reading 12.36v

 

I did do my research so expected the ropey OEM battery, surprised after 6 months though :/

Edited by Mister_Tad

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Swap a battery in from another car. That will answer your question pretty quickly. I do agree with Chad as well. Disconnect it from charging. You don't want it to catch fire or explode. Both are messy.

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It's off charge now, after making sure I've parked far enough from the garage wall to get in the passenger door in the event of a full drain...

 

I've ordered a jump starter pack, not just for this, but because it's one of those things I thought I should have anyway, so will give that a try when it turned up.

It started up like a champ after a jump from another car though, which should put it all down to the battery. I'll be giving the dealer a call in the morning to see what they say.

 

My week in motoring hasn't been the best...

ApSf7zq.jpg

 

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Edited by Mister_Tad

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Any recommendations for a replacement?

 

I'm disinclined to slot the same battery straight back in. I nearly swapped it straight from reading the forums, but thought that would be silly, excessive and paranoid ::lol:

Edited by Mister_Tad

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I can't help with battery replacement over by you, but I just wanted to mention that on a few Evoras over here, a couple guys messed up their ECUs while jump starting them. Apparently,  if you have the key in the ignition while hooking up to the good car, a voltage spike may do some serious damage and cause a "Comms failure".  Leaving the key out of the ignition UNTIL AFTER the jump car is hooked up can help prevent this. At least that's what they say they were told during repairs.

This may or may not apply to your 400. But, since its a simple thing to do, I thought I'd mention it.

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I’m my experience I would replace it , this is what Murray’s installed in my 400

 

4A4B8F9B-58A8-44B5-B98D-46DEA4A498B8.jpeg

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With your regular use of the conditioner you should not be having any problems.

For the sake of around £85 for a premium replacement - I'd be changing the battery.

And I agree - modern cars dont like jump starting. (Neither the giver, nor thr receiver). Approach with caution.

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Plenty of other threads on replacement batteries, both standard and uprated. Have a search. I expect you will end up getting one from Tayna. My C-Teks  also can’t seem to keep batteries alive forever, so have same experience as you. Maybe get your dealer to fit to avoid any resulting dash lights (mine was airbag)

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8 hours ago, 2011 Chrome Orange said:

I can't help with battery replacement over by you, but I just wanted to mention that on a few Evoras over here, a couple guys messed up their ECUs while jump starting them. Apparently,  if you have the key in the ignition while hooking up to the good car, a voltage spike may do some serious damage and cause a "Comms failure".  Leaving the key out of the ignition UNTIL AFTER the jump car is hooked up can help prevent this. At least that's what they say they were told during repairs.

This may or may not apply to your 400. But, since its a simple thing to do, I thought I'd mention it.

I made sure to read the manual on jumping, half expecting there to be some sort of quirk that resulted in the car catching fire if you did it wrong - no mention of this!

Fortunately the keys were safely stowed in my pocket until starting.

 

59 minutes ago, mik said:

With your regular use of the conditioner you should not be having any problems.

For the sake of around £85 for a premium replacement - I'd be changing the battery.

And I agree - modern cars dont like jump starting. (Neither the giver, nor thr receiver). Approach with caution.

Last car I jumped was a mate's early 2000s Punto... I wasn't even sure it was even a thing any more. I don't even know where the battery in my BMW is, I assume it's under the boot floor somewhere.

Beats being stuck though.

 

31 minutes ago, LotusLeftLotusRight said:

Plenty of other threads on replacement batteries, both standard and uprated. Have a search. I expect you will end up getting one from Tayna. My C-Teks  also can’t seem to keep batteries alive forever, so have same experience as you. Maybe get your dealer to fit to avoid any resulting dash lights (mine was airbag)

 

Have settled on a Bosch S5 or Varta Silver, which may or may not be the same batteries. I'll give the dealer a call in an hour and see what they say. It boggles the mind that in an £80,000+ vehicle, there wasn't room for an extra tenner on a premium battery.

Thanks for the tip gents (and ladies?? No, who am I kidding)

Edited by Mister_Tad

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The exact same thing happened to me when I got my car, and the c-tek couldn't keep it alive. I replaced the battery with a varta silver and have not had a issue since. That was a year ago. I do keep the c-tek plugged in though as it's not a daily.

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The Varta Silver is a good battery. My Launch Edition NA has one fitted that's nearly 3.5 years old and is on a conditioner (an Airflow, which is the OEM version of the Lotus battery conditioner LOTAC05139) when not in use. Like previous posters I've had no issues at all, especially as my Evora isn't a daily driver and did less than 1000 miles last year due to the arrival of my daughter.

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What you're describing certainly seems unusual in just about every way.  Given it's a 400 with 2000 miles, I'm guessing you're under warranty, and it'd be worth a chat with your service center.  They might even warranty your battery at this point.  It's possible there is an electrical fault which is causing a parasitic draw that is as heavy/heavier than your battery tender can handle.

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On 1/14/2018 at 12:33, mik said:

<snip>BAT-tery


I might print this out and stick it on my battery hatch, for levity in the event of any future battery related issues :D

 

I spoke to the dealer and they asked "is it the Varta blue" in a tone which conveyed the subtext "is it that piece of trash Varta blue" - they called Lotus and despite acknowledging that they no longer use that particular battery, and me inferring "they no longer use that battery because it's known to be trash". Lotus aren't in any way interested, the dealer offered a replacement at a fair price and to fit it for no charge, but I already decided if it was getting replaced, what I was going to replace it with, anyway.

 

So I've ordered a Bosch S5, £90 out but more irritated about the fact that I'm pretty sure if I had this problem on a new Dacia they would agree that's it's not quite right and replace it free of charge. I understand that I'm not dealing with Porsche or BMW here, but this is a bit lax IMO. Oh well, the joys of vehicle ownership!

 

I'm content with fitting it myself, will just head over to the dealer if the lights don't clear after. Have two out of three back on the road for now, hopefully with tomorrow's battery will be back up to three.

Edited by Mister_Tad

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On a side note. I am sure if you jump start a car that has a dead battery, the alternator on the car cannot bring a battery from dead. Could be wrong though.

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New battery in the car now (Bosch S5) and all is well.

 

I still have the orange spanner in the dash, but fitted the battery yesterday afternoon and haven't driven it yet - expecting this to clear after a short drive.

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I had an airbag light appear shortly after the battery replacement, Bell & Colvill cleared it but was suggested its common for an error to be thrown on battery replacement!

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