Dead 12v in my FEH.

Discussion in 'Ford Hybrids' started by 08EscapeHybrid, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Yes, you should balance the battery. Those are pretty significant deviations.
     
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  2. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Ok. Thanks. I did some more reading/video watching --- discharge/balancing is underway ....

    (guess I ought to do my "checks and balances" more often than once every 6 years)
     
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  3. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Heh... You're talking to a guy that pushes oil changes out quite a bit... though I use synthetic, and I use enough oil to add a couple quarts between changes... :)

    Anyway, you should check it at least a couple times a year (summer/winter) and balance with any deviation over .05V.

    Can you link the balancer?
     
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  4. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    That will definitely be interesting to see. I never really thought about lithiums for cranking applications.

    Shame to hear about Optimas. When I sold my Mustang last year, it still had the same Red Top my Pa put in it in 2000. The battery didn't live an easy life but still cranked that 302 beautifully at sixteen years of age.
     
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  5. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    It looked like it was going to balance pretty close at the "bottom" of the discharge/balance. I let it go down to 12.8v -- manual warns to never go below 9v. But at the end of the charge/balance I've still got one cell pair out of whack --- 3.6v, 3.31v, 3.31v, 3.31v. Maybe I should have discharged to a lower voltage, .. or maybe it can just fix one problem at a time, and I need to run the battery through the discharge/balance-charge/balance cycle again. (or maybe that cell pair is un-balanceable)

    I think my charger is an older version that may have been discontinued (200-002) -- replaced by the 200-104(?) (double what I paid). The 200-002 is in the BMS charger instructions video.

    https://www.ballistic-batteries.com/product_info.php?cPath=143&products_id=430
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
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  6. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    According to the FedEx tracking, my battery should arrive on Monday.
     
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  7. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Carcus,

    Ouch. They've taken a $15 Chinese Imax B6 knock off, supplied a balance cable (which may be proprietary if they've gone non-standard, or it's just longer than most), added their label, marked it up 10X. If you peel off the label, you'll likely see the original branding. If you got lucky, they used a genuine $40 SkyRC Imax B6, but those aren't made anymore.

    BTW... he's wrong on the "INPUT VOL ERROR" cause. The issue is the voltage of the power source has dropped below the set point. The unit can be adjusted to as low as 10V input. The power supply they provided is likely insufficient to power the unit. That unit can charge at 50W of power, but they've likely only included a 30W power supply, or they didn't bother to set the input level to a lower voltage. I suspect that's why they've gone with the AC unit as they don't have to provide a separate power supply, and they don't generate that error. Those cost about $28.

    Anyway, what you're describing doesn't make sense. Did you follow the BALANCE charge instructions in that video at 13:01? A discharge is generally not necessary unless the battery is truly full. A proper balance charge actually charges through the balance port to charge the individual cells, BUT IIRC, only 200mA can be shunted through the balance ports.

    BTW, concerning discharging, the unit is limited to the lesser of 1A of current or 5W of discharge power. You may have noticed that the discharge was probably in the 0.3-0.4A range. That will take an absurdly long time to discharge your battery. Best to just stick it in the bike, turn on the ignition and turn on the high beam for 15 minutes, or until the battery reads 11V.

    I recommend you do the 15 minute in-bike discharge and then repeat the BALANCE charge at 0.4A instead of 2.0A. 0.4A will drive the total voltage higher at a lower rate, allowing more balancing to occur through the balance port.
     
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  8. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    S Keith,

    thanks for the info and You are correct -- I pulled the label off and it is a Imax B6. (guess I paid $80 instead of $15.95 for them to include the 5 pin cable)

    The AC adapter that came with it is labelled at 60W. HQ-60W-12v, input: 100-240Vac 0.6A 50-60Hz, output: 12V 5A, all made in china, of course.

    The battery had a resting voltage of 13.7v per my voltmeter, so my thought (based mainly off of the 3 paragraphs in the instruction manual on "Life discharge") was that the battery was too full to balance charge. So I balance discharged to 12.8 v (I'm too scared, unknowledgeable to go lower) and then balance charged back to full which lasts for about 2 hours (imax B6 runs for about 2 hours and beeps/stops at 13.65v) and I once again (this is the second time, now) ended up with 3.6v, 3.31v,3.31v,3.31v. All cell pairs were almost perfectly matched for a lot of the process but then went back to the imbalance towards the end of the up-charge.

    I am going to call Ballistic tech help when they're open on Monday and see what they have to say and combine that with your advice on my next step, ... although I am tempted to just put the charger back in the box, put the battery back in the bike and continue on in blissful ignorance, --- that has worked out for 6 years. (lol)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
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  9. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    add,...

    I guess I was confused on the discharge function. It is discharge only with no balancing. It is very slow.
     
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  10. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Yes, discharge just takes the whole battery to a set voltage, but you can monitor the balance ports.

    Maybe he was using a different power supply in the video. You can check settings. The option wording is kinda intuitive. I can't remember what it is, but you can change the input voltage to 10V, which means the unit will continue to operate the input voltage is 10V. The 12V PS may sag voltage-wise under maximum charger draw and trip the charger's cut-off. Normally, the charger throttles itself. 5A is the max, but 5A @ 14V is 70W, so it will taper the current to 50W/14V = 3.6A

    The blissful ignorance is not recommended. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Continued operation in the imbalanced state will either hasten its demise or cause a meltdown.

    You answered my next question... they were balanced during the charge process but diverged near the end. That likely means there's an internal resistance disparity within the cells, i.e., the three cells react the same way to a given charge, but the one reacts differently. That suggests it's approaching end-of-life, BUT it could just be that the 2A charge rate outpaced the balancing ability. My 0.4A recommendation should do the trick.

    It would be VERY useful to know what's happening during a discharge, i.e., put it back in the bike and connect the balancer. Load the battery with the bike (headlamp) and then initiate a discharge to 9V (so it doesn't shut off prematurely)... INC to see what the cells are doing during a discharge...

    If they maintain the same relationship, #1 high and 2-4 low, then it's a balance issue. If they invert, then it's end-of-life.
     
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  11. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Awesome. Sorry for the thread-jack.
     
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  12. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    So I kept discharging with the Imax b6, took a few hours, then got a cell low error at around 10 to 11 volts,( cell # 3 dropped). Slow balance charged at .4A -- basically the same result as previous 2 times, Cells stay together up to 3.3v each then #1 goes up to 3.6. Other 3 stay at 3.3v.

    Talked to Ballistic tech help, he says if the at rest voltage cell voltage (i.e. wait a couple hours after charging) stays in that range -- then don't worry about it. He says battery probably nearing the end, but as long as I don't jump it/ use an inappropriate charger there is nothing to worry about, it will die a natural death. (i.e. no melt down).

    So I guess if I want to run it to the end, I'll probably need to carry the imax charger with me for the "I hope this works to get home charge" when the battery does eventually fail, as I'm not anticipating much warning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  13. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... are you saying that it took you 3 hours to discharge to 10-11V after having fully charged it?

    Did you happen to record the mAh extracted?

    3 hours at .4A is 1.2Ah, which is about 25% of the capacity of the battery meaning your weakest cell is limiting the capacity of the battery to 25% of rated.

    Did you record the mAh input during the charge?

    Having the charger with you won't help when the battery craps out. When it craps out, it's going to be dead as a door nail, and it shouldn't be charged. 6 years is a good run. I'd say it's time to say goodbye.

    EDIT: On further reflection, it almost sounds like the balance charger isn't working as it should.

    One last thing to try... discharge again... balance charge until they START to diverge then switch to a regular charge at 2A, but leave the balance cable connected to monitor the cells... see what happens to the cell voltages then...
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  14. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    I did not see a mAh reading on the Imax, but it may be in the display utilizing the"DEC" button, .. I was only cycling between the two screens on the INC button (further complicated by a pre-programmed 120 minute cutoff). Certainly would have been useful to know/ keep track of. What remaining capacity would be a too little for use of the battery I wonder? If there is no worry about "meltdown" then it's just a "now I'm stranded/can't jump" risk .... so that's about 50/50 that I'll be home when it happens o_O (probably keep using it local, wouldn't take it on a road trip). Guess that's the "advantage" of lead-acid. At least it lets you know when it's dying, and you can limp it along for a little while (jump/charge) until it's convenient to buy a replacement.

    /I suppose if I had checked capacity every 6 mos. and kept a battery log, then I would know what the capacity trend was and have a better idea of when to say when.

    I've got the battery back in the bike, but I'll pull it back out and try to balance it (and, if I can, check capacity) one more time per your recommendation.

    Not sure what the replacement battery will be on this bike. I'm debating on just going back with a lead-acid and installing a quick connect battery tender "dongle" like most every other battery conscious motor cycle owner does. I suppose one could stretch a lead-acid out for 5+ years if willing to plug the bike in all the time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  15. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    If you can stand carrying a few extra pounds every where you go, you might consider having a backup li-ion "car jump start" device. I bought the Bolt model a couple years ago when it was popular and I wanted a backup for the Subaru I had for a year. :)...but that's another story. There are many such li-ion battery devices these days rated to provide reasonable CCA, and they're just handy devices otherwise for charging other battery-powered devices.

    Long way of saying you can have some insurance if you want to just run your battery till it goes dead at an inopportune time and place.

    Edit: just run the backup battery device in place of your battery if the dead main battery interferes... limp mode.

    Edit #2: and in limp mode, you'd probably have to disable the alternator as the "car starters" are not made to stay hooked up with the alternator going for very long...
     
  16. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    During the discharge process, when the current, voltage and running time is displayed, there is a number at the bottom that is counting up. That's the mAh count. This number is also present on the charge screen. Generally, at the end of either operation, if there isn't an error, this total remains displayed.

    Given that you don't ride the bike much, I'm not sure I'd give it 50/50... it will probably start at home but screw you after a ride... :)

    Pb actually deteriorates in a similar manner... capacity just continually erodes away over time until it starts to get a little on the weak side during cranking... then a cell drops out, and you're dead in the water without a jump.

    Make sure you get a quality tender and check voltage at least once/month (they generally float around 13.5V). I have seen instances where those cheap Harbor Freight units will crap out on the power side (AC adapter fails, or the thing just quits), and then the little LED on the box ends up draining the battery flat.
     
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  17. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Ok. Thanks Bill. I saw one of those on the Ballistic sight, but it's not cheap and does add some complication to the whole scenario .... Might be a good idea if I did remote camping as much for the phone as for the bike.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  18. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Ah, .. that's what that number is!:rolleyes: My first 120 minute discharge I do have a photo, it was 799 so I guess that makes sense. Did not take a photo when the low cell error shut it down. But I think it was at least an hour into the second run, so something between 1.2Ah and 1.6Ah is probably the capacity (?).

    Argh, delete and add ...
    Went back and looked at the time stamps on my photos, It's likely there was 5+ hours of discharging, so capacity may be in the 2 Ah range. Guess I'll have to go through the whole process again and keep a written log if I really want to know.

    /battery is rated at 4.6 Ah.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  19. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    You're welcome. I took a look at the one on the Ballistic web site. Yes, that's pricey. In that price range, you should be able to get one powerful enough to start a large gas or diesel engine. Couple examples I've seen of those in the $90 range on Amazon. I'm guessing in the $50-$60 range for something smaller. For cell phone backup, that's really sub-$20 for a 10-20Ah usb charger, and for camping, some even have tiny solar panels (that will only be enough solar to recharge one tiny battery in a full or two day of sun. :))
     
  20. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    Is it in yet? :D
     

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