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Old 12-24-2008, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is it a Battery problem? Lots of questions.

Tuesday, I had a final exam at Stony Brook. Getting there was a challenge.

Even though there had been snow and the temperature was 20 degrees (F), I decided to take the Lotus Elise. However, it wouldn't start. The engine didn't even turn over. It just went click-click-click. I hadn't driven it in about a week and figured that the cold weather limited the battery's output.

So I took my beater, a 1993 Geo Prizm. As I drove it, I remarked that its handling was terrible. Maybe I was getting spoiled by driving the Elise. Nope. Both rear tires were about 10 psi.

Brief comparison between the two cars. The radio reception was much better in the Geo Prizm. The Geo Prizm held just fine through all the curves. However, I didn't feel any G's pushing me sideways through the turns. The steering didn't have any feedback. I didn't even feel the drain covers, which are an annoyance in the Elise. We know you can feel any pebble you drive over in an Elise. Of course, the acceleration stank.

So I took the final and think I did fine.

I tried to start the Elise today since it was warmer. After a few minutes of the click-click-clicks, there was a sound like a groan from behind me. It lasted about 4 sec. That was the end of the click-click-clicks. Now the engine start button didn't even light.

This is a 2006 model with about 6,000 miles on it. Could it be the battery? I'd like to try jump starting it tomorrow. Is that a bad idea? Anything special about jump starting an Elise? How do I get the battery cover off? I'd hate to spend a couple hundred to have the car towed from Queens to Park Ave. Lotus if I can take care of it myself.

Down the road, I'd like to use a trickle charger but I live in an apartment building. I don't know of any outlets outside. Nor are there any outlets in the garage where I park. Any ideas? Maybe I could remove the battery from the car and charge it in my apartment? How hard is it to remove the battery?
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kaliuzhkin View Post
Tuesday, I had a final exam at Stony Brook. Getting there was a challenge.

Even though there had been snow and the temperature was 20 degrees (F), I decided to take the Lotus Elise. However, it wouldn't start. The engine didn't even turn over. It just went click-click-click. I hadn't driven it in about a week and figured that the cold weather limited the battery's output.

So I took my beater, a 1993 Geo Prizm. As I drove it, I remarked that its handling was terrible. Maybe I was getting spoiled by driving the Elise. Nope. Both rear tires were about 10 psi.

Brief comparison between the two cars. The radio reception was much better in the Geo Prizm. The Geo Prizm held just fine through all the curves. However, I didn't feel any G's pushing me sideways through the turns. The steering didn't have any feedback. I didn't even feel the drain covers, which are an annoyance in the Elise. We know you can feel any pebble you drive over in an Elise. Of course, the acceleration stank.

So I took the final and think I did fine.

I tried to start the Elise today since it was warmer. After a few minutes of the click-click-clicks, there was a sound like a groan from behind me. It lasted about 4 sec. That was the end of the click-click-clicks. Now the engine start button didn't even light.

This is a 2006 model with about 6,000 miles on it. Could it be the battery? I'd like to try jump starting it tomorrow. Is that a bad idea? Anything special about jump starting an Elise? How do I get the battery cover off? I'd hate to spend a couple hundred to have the car towed from Queens to Park Ave. Lotus if I can take care of it myself.

Down the road, I'd like to use a trickle charger but I live in an apartment building. I don't know of any outlets outside. Nor are there any outlets in the garage where I park. Any ideas? Maybe I could remove the battery from the car and charge it in my apartment? How hard is it to remove the battery?

These cars are known for draining their batteries if the cars are not run for a week or more. Your cold weather could worsen the problem.

Do the usual double check of the cables to the battery. You likely will want to find a way to use a trickle charger if you can.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lotusforsale View Post
These cars are known for draining their batteries if the cars are not run for a week or more. Your cold weather could worsen the problem.

Do the usual double check of the cables to the battery. You likely will want to find a way to use a trickle charger if you can.
+1

To take the battery cover off, remove the carpet in the boot, lift the bottom lip of the cover up slightly, and slide the cover laterally toward the center of the boot. It's not easy to get jumper cables onto the battery terminals, since they're on the outboard side of the battery...

You may want to consider getting a battery cutoff switch. It will eliminate parasitic battery drain but unfortunately disable your alarm, power door locks, and your favorite radio stations. You might still have problems in very low temperatures, since the lead acid battery's capacity is reduced.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Actually cold weather discharges the battery slower than warm weather
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Actually cold weather discharges the battery slower than warm weather
Why Do Batteries Discharge More Quickly in Cold Weather?

Interesting.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As mentioned, check the connections but it sounds like a drained battery.

If you don't have an outlet for a trickle charger, you can get a battery jump device. One you can charge in the apartment and bring out to jump the car. But it sounds like you may need a new battery.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Actually cold weather discharges the battery slower than warm weather
Agreed, but their capacity is lower when colder, so an old or partially charged battery will have an even harder time cranking a car over in cold weather than in warm...
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sometimes jump starting blows an engine bay fuse. Bring it in the warm house and charge it If the battery voltage is below about 7V a "smart"charger will not charge it. A battery maintainer will not charge a depleted battery. The parasitic drain with the alarm off is 16ma.
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Old 12-25-2008, 04:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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your original battery was likely made in 2005, it's time for a new one.
you've had the classic "battery getting older" failure.
for the price of a tow, you could install a new one each year, or, get a spare one and rotate them as required, with the battery minder in your abode.
the possible cost of an error when jumping could be pretty high.
since mine's essentially a DD, i installed an optima bigger battery with the attendant weight penalty.
my lotus starts faster than it ever did!
good luck, sam
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you decide you need a new battery, take a look at this
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f129...cations-64071/
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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So lets say:

1- you took the battery out, took it home
2- used the trickle charger
3- when its nice and ready you take it back

What kind of alarm issues will you encounter?
I have 05 and I am scared something like this is
going to happen to me, and I really don't want to wake
up everyone in the building as I try to disable the alarm, or reconfigure the keys, etc...

Can somebody provide a bit more steps for dummies here
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
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As long as the alarm if turned off when you remove the battery there will be no alarm problems.
Michael
Quote:
Originally Posted by cemaykan View Post
So lets say:

1- you took the battery out, took it home
2- used the trickle charger
3- when its nice and ready you take it back

What kind of alarm issues will you encounter?
I have 05 and I am scared something like this is
going to happen to me, and I really don't want to wake
up everyone in the building as I try to disable the alarm, or reconfigure the keys, etc...

Can somebody provide a bit more steps for dummies here
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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As long as the alarm if turned off when you remove the battery there will be no alarm problems.
Michael
Thanks, Follow up question: what if the battery is soooOOoo dead you can't even turn off the alarm...

I personally think the alarm, the immobilizer flashing red light is so annoying, there should be a factory option not to get any of that, it makes life 2 complicated
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Old 12-25-2008, 06:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Due to a low battery, if you can't turn the alarm off, when you disconnect the battery the alarm will switch over to the back-up battery in the siren and sound. I would get another battery with jumper cables or a charger to apply 12V so that you can turn off the alarm, then you can remove the battery..
Michael
Quote:
Originally Posted by cemaykan View Post
Thanks, Follow up question: what if the battery is soooOOoo dead you can't even turn off the alarm...

I personally think the alarm, the immobilizer flashing red light is so annoying, there should be a factory option not to get any of that, it makes life 2 complicated
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Old 12-25-2008, 08:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheViper View Post
Due to a low battery, if you can't turn the alarm off, when you disconnect the battery the alarm will switch over to the back-up battery in the siren and sound. I would get another battery with jumper cables or a charger to apply 12V so that you can turn off the alarm, then you can remove the battery..
Michael
The battery still has enough juice to respond to the fob. I.e. I can lock and unlock the doors.

What happened causing that groaning sound right behind the driver? After that sound, the start engine button stopped lighting up and there's no more click-click-click.
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:10 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Starter engaged but not enough power to turn the engine (causing groan) but that drained the power to a level where the solenoid no longer clicks.
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:24 AM   #17 (permalink)
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+1
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Starter engaged but not enough power to turn the engine (causing groan) but that drained the power to a level where the solenoid no longer clicks.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Now some more questions:

1. What is a solenoid? How does it functionally fit into the starting scheme? A link to an explanation / tutorial would be good.

2. Are my conclusions correct? I want a device with an internal battery that charges on household AC current and attaches to the Lotus battery by the cigarette lighter. The reason I'm reluctant to hook up to the Lotus battery directly is that it seems difficult to access the battery terminals, and I had a jump-starting experience which terrified me. The battery exploded. The reason was that the fellow had installed the battery himself and didn't think red or black mattered so he had the black cables on positive (+) and the red cables on negative (-). He didn't tell me. Boom.

I did a web search and concluded Duracell Emergency Car Starter with Flashlight, Model# 854-0007-07 | Portable Jump Starters | Northern Tool + Equipment would do the job. Once its charged up, I can take it to the Lotus, plug it into the cigarette lighter and over a period of hours or days, charge the car's battery.

I went to Strauss auto parts. They have mostly Black and Decker electrical products.
They have battery car chargers, which run off of an internal rechargeable battery. However, all of the ones with cigarette lighter output might damage the car. Some were for "jump starting" or 10A charging. Those are unsafe because too powerful for use with the cigarette lighter, and there was no self-regulation of the charge. Thus, if you leave it on too long, it might damage the electrical system. The closest I found was a "battery booster" but again, it shouldn't be left on for more than 15minutes.

Of the strict battery chargers, they require an AC outlet and don't self-adjust so as to avoid damaging the car battery. The only one that doesn't is the Smart Float Mode maintainer.

So I bought two devices. The Wagan Tech 400W Power Dome charges its internal battery from AC. Then I plug the B&D Smart Float Mode maintainer into it, plug the battery charger output into the Lotus cigarette lighter, and let it charge for hours or days. If that doesn't work (say, because the Lotus battery is too low), I can use the Wagan device directly on the Lotus battery to jump start it.
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:05 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The Starter motor spins and gets pushed into a gear that drives cranks (turns over) your engine. The solenoid is like a large relay. It is what you hear clicking if you don't have enough juice to fully actuate the solenoid.


A solenoid is a device that turns electrical current into linear motion.


I used a Wagan that plugged into the cig lighter on my Elise and was pretty happy with it.
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Old 12-28-2008, 04:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Success

Success! First I jump started the Elise with the Black & Decker Power Dome. wagan.com > power supplies > 2354detail Then I had an excuse to drive around on highways at 4,000+ rpm so as to put a charge on the battery. Then I plugged a 2Amp charger into the cig lighter, powered by the Power Dome. The battery is now being gently charged.

Thanks everyone who had insight and suggestions.
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