Range falling

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evanmjones
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:24 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Range falling

Postby evanmjones » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:31 am

Hi,

Last year I never saw the orange 'low battery' light at all and regularly took the van around 50 miles, squeaking home with the energy meter in the red but no orange light. Late February, travelling back from Newport, the light came on for the first time with the meter reading 30%. A couple of weeks later (Newport again) it did the same thing at about the same level.

On both occasions I'd only partially recharged the van before setting out so I didn't have an accurate odometer reading. A couple of days ago I made the same journey but from a full charge. Light came on with energy meter at nearly 40% and after 30 miles travel.

After three journys to Newport being the only time the light came on I suppose I could conclude that the van hated Newport. Seemed unlikely so yesterday, after a full charge, I drove it around until the light came on. Which it did at 33 miles, showing a little under 30% on the meter.

I'm guessing that this all means that I have battery trouble. Can I ask for any sage advice on how best to proceed with checking further?

Many thanks,

Evan

cianof
Posts: 196
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:28 pm

Re: Range falling

Postby cianof » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:27 pm

Hey Evan,

What's the mileage on the van?

What year are your battery packs? (There should be a sticker on the side of the pack under the bonnet.)

I've had that light come on once before, when the van hadn't been used in a few weeks.

evanmjones
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:24 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Re: Range falling

Postby evanmjones » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:37 pm

Van has done 21,000. Batteries dated 18/01/01.

Been in regular use.

Thanks!

cianof
Posts: 196
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:28 pm

Re: Range falling

Postby cianof » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:34 pm

I have a higher mileage (35,200) but newer batteries (2003).

Check the pack voltage after a full charge and when the battery is run down.

Maybe a balancing charge or a maintenance might help. Are the batteries due a watering?

If these don't fix the problem, it could be a bad cell causing the problem.

You can measure the voltage of each pack by measuring across the fuse terminals with a multimeter.
You can then divide measured voltage by the number of cells in each pack to get the average voltage of the cells in that pack.
A pack with an average cell voltage lower than the other packs could indicate that there's a problem cell in that pack.

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ChrisB
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Location: Hampshire on the Southcoast
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Re: Range falling

Postby ChrisB » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:16 pm

evanmjones wrote: Light came on with energy meter at nearly 40% and after 30 miles travel.

Which it did at 33 miles, showing a little under 30% on the meter.

I'm guessing that this all means that I have battery trouble. Can I ask for any sage advice on how best to proceed with checking further?


evanmjones wrote:Van has done 21,000. Batteries dated 18/01/01.

Been in regular use.

Thanks!


mmmmmm Does sound like battery issues 40% @ 30miles does sort of point to this.

Has this happened all of a sudden, how close are you too a watering, have you noticed the eco meter higher than normal, have you changed your driving pattern un-knowingly ??

Might be worth just checking the obviouse stuff like sticky brakes and or hand brake.

I'm running a set of 2001 and 2002 batteries with 30k on them, touch wood no major issues although the cold weather does hit them a bit and I've had issues of just 37miles on a charge before now once the temp drops off below 5C and its only now that we're back in double figures temp wise that I'm back up to 50miles.

As cianof says, get some voltages off each of the packs once the eco re-charge light comes on, that should pick out the pack with the issue in it, and from past problems I wonder if it will be in the center pack the issue :?:

I'd like to think a set of 2001's should go further than 21k before issues, that figure is what I would expect from a pre 2000 set :?

ChrisB
I reject reality and substitute my own !!!!!!

Andy B
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:15 pm
Location: Annan, Scotland

Re: Range falling

Postby Andy B » Tue May 04, 2010 7:29 am

Same problem, range has now dropped to around 30 miles.
Had the van (53 reg) for 16 months but noticed the range was poor this winter, I knew the batteries were due for watering and thought once that was done and the weather got warmer the range might pick up, no such luck.

Van at 72% charge.

Main voltage - 165.4

Front top - 25.5 - 6.38
Centre - 64.8 - 5.89
Rear - 38.7 - 6.16
Front bottom - 38.4 - 6.4 (by subtraction)

What do you think, faulty cells in the centre pack?

arsharpe
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:53 pm
Location: Hampshire, Basingstoke
Contact:

Re: Range falling

Postby arsharpe » Tue May 04, 2010 9:04 am

The rear pack doesn't look good either or is it a typo. The volts and average don't add up, i.e. you have 6.3 cells in the rear pack ;-)

On our 106 all the cells in the rear pack were within 0.02v of other.

If you can correct the figures and also supply the fully charged figures (after a couple of hours rest) we can try and be more accurate.

I have some spare if you want to buy them - but we are at the other end of the country :-(

Maybe EVan who is in Fife (not evanmjones in this thread) may have some spare.

How many miles has it done ?

evanmjones
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:24 pm
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Re: Range falling

Postby evanmjones » Tue May 04, 2010 9:54 am

Checked mine to see whether the batteries were due watering, they were, 650 a/h since last watering. So did a maintenance charge and refilled the batteries. Amount of water used was about 17-18 litres with no one battery drinking noticably more.

Took the van for a test drive yesterday. Nothing extraordinary, just a potter around Cardiff. The eco light came on after 10 miles with 80% showing on the energy dial. So something is very sadly awry.

I guess the next stage is to look at the voltages of each of the packs. Does anyone have a dummies guide to the location of all the pack fuses, the pack they relate to, and the number of cells in that pack?

Thanks!

Evan

Andy B
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:15 pm
Location: Annan, Scotland

Re: Range falling

Postby Andy B » Tue May 04, 2010 3:02 pm

Oops, copied the wrong figures, unfortunately the rear pack seems down as well :(

Van at 72% charge.

Main voltage - 165.4

Front top - 25.5 - 6.38
Centre - 64.8 - 5.89
Rear - 36.7 - 6.12
Front bottom - 38.4 - 6.4 (by subtraction)


Van at 100% charge after sitting for two hours.

Main voltage - 178.6

Front top - 27.3 - 6.83
Centre - 70.8 - 6.47
Rear - 39.4 - 6.57
Front bottom - 41.1 - 6.85 (by subtraction)

The van has done 25K, I drive in the green and keep it watered at around 500Hours, I suppose it could have been treated harshly by council workers before I got it :x

Evan, Grumpy-b describes how to test in this post
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2092&p=15560#p15560

Grumpy-b
Posts: 991
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:06 pm

Re: Range falling

Postby Grumpy-b » Tue May 04, 2010 3:26 pm

To Andy B
I would suggest that you have one cell gone in the centre pack. If you get it out check all the watering tubes and coolant tubes have no leaks, and no splits. That means looking all over them. I have seen a number of watering tubes with splits in the ends. They are moulded tubes and the rubber seems to contract at the mould join, then they split.this does however tend to give water out of the case centre hole a while after watering has been carried out. Kinks can limit coolant flow, can give heat build up can go pop.. To get the centre pack out you have to disconnect the rear coolant hoses so why not drop that one as well. I think you may find more than one cell with a slightly reduced voltage which can be a real pain to detect in usage, Do the checks when the batteries are at least half used. It makes the duff cells more obvious. If im unsure on a cells state then I do a very brief (few seconds)load test on each cell with a 12v starter motor, to give some decent load. the battery voltage will drop and the duff ones more so, they also take longer to recover.
If you can get access to a nice flat piece of concrete, two trolley jacks and a hand pallet truck. Rear box out checked cells replaced and back in in about an hour. Middle one at the same event, also about an hour. No heroics, no crushed body parts, and early for tea.
What you can do is to put the middle box back in with the Decent cells and leave the rear`one with the duffers. Its then only one box to drop to sort them out when you have your replacements.

Grumpy-b


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