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.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018 at 2:55 PM
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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


    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 at 7:50 PM
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  9. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member


    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 at 10:09 PM
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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 at 1:50 AM
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