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When I try to start my Elise, the starter just makes a clicking sound. After that, the tach needle briefly shows 4,000 rpm and the spedometer briefly shows 80 mph before both return to zero.

The battery is only 2 years old and lives on a maintainer. I can jump start it successfully.

I tightened the battery connections but nothing changed.

Does this suggest a bad battery? Any other thoughts?
 

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Sounds like you might need to check the maintainer or maybe it was not properly connected this last time. You will need a voltmeter. What does the voltage read while running after you jump it? It should read 14 volts or a little more. Turn it off, wait an hour, and read the voltage again. Then connect the maintainer and get another reading. Post the results and we will see what the forum thinks. Good luck.
 

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[...]Any other thoughts?
Maybe the car draws a current greater than the maintainer can supply? This would create a condition where the battery still drains in spite of being plugged in all the time. Can you check the current flow with a multimeter?

Also, last time I did a 'dead battery start' - i.e. cranking with insufficient voltage, my ECU lost the VIN.
 

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The battery is only 2 years old and lives on a maintainer.
What size battery do you have? Battery maintainers can kill batteries if left attached all the time. Smaller batteries (motorcycle sized) are more susceptible to this. With a constant current, even a very small one, there is the possibility of sulfication. I have killed my motorcycles battery be leaving it hooked up all winter. For the Elise, I attache the tended twice a week and disconnect when the charge indicator light goes green. The other option is to put the tended on a timer and give it an hour or two per day.
 

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I have lots of faith in Battery Tender, a "smart" charger. Most chargers do not have the chip to keep voltage in the correct range.

Does not need disconnecting.

Never overcharges.

Batteries, in fact, last longer.
 

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`08 Elise-SC-220
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Acquired my car in Dec. 2013 and replaced the battery in Feb. 2014. That battery has been on a Battery Tender - 800 (ma) ever since (except when I'm driving it! LOL!) No worries like glb said.
 

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I vote battery. IMHO, 3 years is what to expect from a battery service life, anything beyond 3 years is borrowed time. I've had batteries die at 3 years and 10 days, and others go 8 years.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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Was this an unusually small battery?

Which charger was used?
 

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So I'm having a problem similar to this, but the alarm system is also behaving badly. Did you experience anything with your alarm system?

I drove the car to meet someone to pick up a laptop. I always keep the car on a smart battery tender, and haven't had any problems. When I got back in the car, it wouldn't start, and the alarm would beep randomly.

Thanks,

-- Charlie
 

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When you say it wouldn't start was it turning over?
 

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No; it isn't even trying. This is a mostly stock 2008 (LETSLA kit, Larini exhaust, manufacturer supercharger installed by the dealer a year after purchase) I've had the battery on the tender since it was towed home, and I removed it a few minutes ago. Sometimes, I can get the LED array to illuminate in key position 1, but not always. Just a moment ago when I was fiddling with it, the alarm sounded, and the lights came on, without being on the tender. Going to see if I can get an OBD reading... couldn't do so before with the key in the run position.
 

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Pull your battery and get it load tested.
 

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Put a digital voltmeter on battery posts and report reading.

Often poor connections cause the problem. Clean posts, clamps, intermediate connection by battery, connectors at starter.

If you've no dv, get one asap for all your cars and home use too.
 

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Unbelievable. I rotated just the positive terminal lead 5 degrees, and it started right up. So I removed both leads and cleaned them. I baby the heck out of this car -- it never sees rain, and rarely sees hot days. If I'd wanted a delicate little princess, I'd have bought an Alfa Romeo 4C. I'll post a link to the half-dozen entirely different behaviours the car exhibited just because the terminals were a little dirty. Maybe this will save someone from a tow or un-needed stress. If the ECU is that sensitive to a change in wattage, why isn't there a gauge on the instrument panel? Do I really need to invest in a wireless battery sensor, like I'd put on a boat -- Wireless Battery Sensor, MTC ?? Anyway, thanks for the prompt responses, Catsailr27 and GLB. I was concerned that I'd need to have the car towed ~250 miles to Lotus of Pittsburgh (from Silver Spring, MD) to get an electrical mess sorted out.
 

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Unbelievable. I rotated just the positive terminal lead 5 degrees, and it started right up. So I removed both leads and cleaned them. I baby the heck out of this car -- it never sees rain, and rarely sees hot days. If I'd wanted a delicate little princess, I'd have bought an Alfa Romeo 4C. I'll post a link to the half-dozen entirely different behaviours the car exhibited just because the terminals were a little dirty. Maybe this will save someone from a tow or un-needed stress. If the ECU is that sensitive to a change in wattage, why isn't there a gauge on the instrument panel? Do I really need to invest in a wireless battery sensor, like I'd put on a boat -- Wireless Battery Sensor, MTC ?? Anyway, thanks for the prompt responses, Catsailr27 and GLB. I was concerned that I'd need to have the car towed ~250 miles to Lotus of Pittsburgh (from Silver Spring, MD) to get an electrical mess sorted out.
Sorry, but your post was stuck in the approval queue. You've obviously been here for a long time, but the software designed to protect the forum from spam doesn't work well. This isn't something the moderators control, as the "back end" of the site is handled by the site administrators.

It's ironic that you you acknowledge the prompt responses from Cat and glb, but you are then delayed from the site spam software. Again, sorry for delay.

San
 

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Glad we could help.

Was terminal dirty and loose?

Do you have DV?? All modern cars need them.

I also recommend a portable booster pack in every car. (Amazon)
 

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@csx I'm in Annapolis, not too far from you... What size battery do you have? Do you have a local mechanic or perform your own work? I found the stock battery terminals to be very flimsy and replaced them with good old standard lead terminals. Relatively easy with the proper tools... I know they're heavier but I accept it for their reliability from my past experience and these cars known battery issues... When my ECU "lost" the VIN, I went to Victory Lotus in Princeton, NJ to have it re-flashed. A little <3hr drive for me. Looks to be about the same from Silver Spring and over an hour closer than Pitts, with no traffic...
 

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Agreed. The stock terminals are trash. They don't even hold onto batteries that well. Maybe they held on to the stock battery fine, but other batteries I've tried, not so much.
 
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