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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tried to start my 2015 500e today, it was showing a 50% charge earlier but got a "service electric vehicle system" message and the battery meter showed zero and it went into "turtle mode". I had to get it towed from the parking lot to my house. I reset the system by disconnecting the battery, but still the same issue when reconnected. - 0% battery, internal electrical system works (stereo, etc) , and "electric vehicle system warning light" light is on. The internal electronics still run so don't know if it's the 12v battery, the car only has 10,000 kms on it but it is the original battery and haven't used it much during COVID. I'm in Canada so don't have anyone who can service the car. Any suggestions would be welcome on how to approach the problem? Replace the 12V battery?
 

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6 years for a car's 12V is pushing it, regardless of miles, but if it "starts" ("ready" shown on speedo) it doesn't seem to be the primary issue. However it wouldn't hurt to remove it & take it for a free load test at a parts store. You can also get a pretty good indication from a volt gauge, which I now consider a mandatory item, due to 500Es often failing to give warning of 12V failure. A portable one works fine but I'm too lazy for that. Click to enlarge the $19 one I got from BatteryTender.com & did a super-lazy 1-time connection so now it's just "press to test":
20210114_154017.jpg

HV battery showing 0% seems a bit strange. I might be tempted to run it through all the HV disconnect sequences:

Clearing Warning Messages/Error Codes (updated 5/8/21)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I’ll give the battery test a try. The car doesn’t enter “ready” mode. It goes to “turtle” mode, but interior power works, radio, windows, etc.
 

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I get turtle mode at I think 6%, but it still drives. If you turn the key 2 clicks clockwise & it will shift out of park when you press the brake, the 12V seems to be at least barely adequate. If not, then almost certainly your 12V needs replacement.
 

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A few more tests:

- See if the contactors "clunk" when you open the left door. If not, it's likely the 12V.

- See if it will charge.

- Put the left window down, make sure the headlight switch & both dome light switches are off, & let it rest for 5 minutes with everything closed except that window. Then WITHOUT opening anything, reach in the open window & try to start it.

If it does start when you do that, but not when you don't, you need a new 12V battery (unless it's been parked unplugged a couple weeks).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A few more tests:

- See if the contactors "clunk" when you open the left door. If not, it's likely the 12V.

- See if it will charge.

- Put the left window down, make sure the headlight switch & both dome light switches are off, & let it rest for 5 minutes with everything closed except that window. Then WITHOUT opening anything, reach in the open window & try to start it.

If it does start when you do that, but not when you don't, you need a new 12V battery (unless it's been parked unplugged a couple weeks).
Doesn’t charge, first and last orange lights flash and says it doesn’t see the plug.
it has been parked and unplugged quite a bit these last months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A few more tests:

- See if the contactors "clunk" when you open the left door. If not, it's likely the 12V.

- See if it will charge.

- Put the left window down, make sure the headlight switch & both dome light switches are off, & let it rest for 5 minutes with everything closed except that window. Then WITHOUT opening anything, reach in the open window & try to start it.

If it does start when you do that, but not when you don't, you need a new 12V battery (unless it's been parked unplugged a couple weeks).
Haven’t replaced the 12v before. What battery do you recommend?
 

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It's sounding more like a low 12V, but just recharging or jumpstarting it might be all it really needs for now: Once jumped & the key is turned even just one click OR it's actively charging, the HV battery charges the 12V non-stop. The 12V is only NOT being charged when it's parked unplugged, or the HV is at 100%, so with regular use it doesn't have much time to go low, & even a pretty badly aged unit will still function.
 

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Recommendation is difficult, because on one hand its ELECTRICAL function is very gentle, compared to a gas car, but on the other hand it's sometimes killed in as little as 22 months by being exposed to HEAT for a much longer time per mile, from the adjacent onboard charger.

IF you're good at keeping the distilled water levels above the tops of the plates, supposedly a cheaper old-fashioned "flooded" model with removable caps is more heat tolerant than a more expensive AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat).




Personally I have a volt gauge, a little portable jumpstarter, AND I'm never away from a wall outlet for more than about a week. So I was able to downsize to the tiny heat-resistant GEL construction 4Lb 6Ah $35 motorbike battery shown in the pic above from MightyMaxBattery.com with reusable $18 "XS Power Adaptor" from Amazon.

If I was away from an outlet for 3 weeks I'd probably get their 18Ah version, or just put the disconnect switch back on (blue knob in the pic below), that I used for my experimental even smaller 3Ah AGM that I got tired of switching off every time I was going to be parked away from an outlet for more than a few days:
After.jpg
 

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If I hadn't already acquired a jumpstarter & voltage gauge, I could justify the cost of an Antigravity "restart" (built-in jumpstarter) which also eliminates the need for a voltage gauge to monitor its condition.

I'd still likely downsize considerably though, since even their very smallest motorbike model would last about 6 days. After that it just disconnects itself until you open the door with the metal key, pop the hood, & push the "restart" button.
 

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Tried to start my 2015 500e today, it was showing a 50% charge earlier but got a "service electric vehicle system" message and the battery meter showed zero and it went into "turtle mode". I had to get it towed from the parking lot to my house. I reset the system by disconnecting the battery, but still the same issue when reconnected. - 0% battery, internal electrical system works (stereo, etc) , and "electric vehicle system warning light" light is on. The internal electronics still run so don't know if it's the 12v battery, the car only has 10,000 kms on it but it is the original battery and haven't used it much during COVID. I'm in Canada so don't have anyone who can service the car. Any suggestions would be welcome on how to approach the problem? Replace the 12V battery?
Did you check for any outstanding recalls on the car? There is definitely one specific to the 12V battery draining the HV battery below a safe level.
One thread on it is here: U69 Recall Campaign, anyone done it?

You can check for recalls by entering your VIN here: Recalls | NHTSA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If I hadn't already acquired a jumpstarter & voltage gauge, I could justify the cost of an Antigravity "restart" (built-in jumpstarter) which also eliminates the need for a voltage gauge to monitor its condition.

I'd still likely downsize considerably though, since even their very smallest motorbike model would last about 6 days. After that it just disconnects itself until you open the door with the metal key, pop the hood, & push the "restart" button.
I just have a more general question as I've never changed the OEM 12V. Does it require a special type of 12v car battery for EVs or can I use a car battery purchased from a car parts store?
 

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You can use a car battery purchased from a car parts store. The OEM is identical to the gas 500.

My own tiny battery proves that any auto/motorbike 12V will work as long as it fits in the space & can be connected.
 

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Tried to start my 2015 500e today, it was showing a 50% charge earlier but got a "service electric vehicle system" message and the battery meter showed zero and it went into "turtle mode". I had to get it towed from the parking lot to my house. I reset the system by disconnecting the battery, but still the same issue when reconnected. - 0% battery, internal electrical system works (stereo, etc) , and "electric vehicle system warning light" light is on. The internal electronics still run so don't know if it's the 12v battery, the car only has 10,000 kms on it but it is the original battery and haven't used it much during COVID. I'm in Canada so don't have anyone who can service the car. Any suggestions would be welcome on how to approach the problem? Replace the 12V battery?
Your 12 volt battery is too old if it was installed at the factory in 2015. Get a new 12 volt battery.
 

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You're making me worry about my 2013's OE battery!
The 12 volt battery runs the lights, dash, computer and so on. The lithium battery runs the motor. The 12 volt is the heart of the power behind your computer. The lithium battery should be just fine. I have a 2014 and it's a dynamo and always charges to 100% without fail. That's with 64+K on the odometer. The 12 volt should be replaced every three years, minimum.
 

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I VERY strongly agree with your sentiment (it's a dynamo, lithium battery should be fine, 12V can die fast), however:

Only when it's unplugged with the key OFF does the 12V battery power the lights, dash, alarm & so on.

The whole rest of the time, even on "ACC" or while charging, the lights, dash, computer & so on are all run by the DC-DC converter which is powered by the lithium HV drive battery.

The 12V simply powers the contactors that connect the HV to the converter. Before turning the key the 12V also sometimes momentarily powers the brake pump, the "buzz" sound you sometimes hear when you open the left door.

Absolutely the 12 volt should be replaced after a maximum of three years UNLESS you use one of the 2 options below. My own 12V (& others') lasted over 5 years, & I hate to waste materials OR money by replacing things prematurely, so here are 2 other options:

- Carry a little portable jumpstarter at all times after your 12V is only TWO years old, minimum, since at least one owner's failed without warning in only 22 months*. Then replace the12V as soon as you need to use your jumpstarter.

- An even cheaper option is to monitor the resting voltage periodically after 2 years*, preferably after parking unplugged overnight or at work & then resting 5 minutes after opening the door to pop the hood. I'm too lazy to carry/use a portable gauge, so I got this $21 one at BatteryTender.com (click to enlarge). If you were more energetic you could do a better connection that my hack job, &/or run the wires to a convenient place in the cabin:
20210114_154017.jpg

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DON'T BE STRANDED!: Starter Battery Dies With NO...
 

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I VERY strongly agree with your sentiment (it's a dynamo, lithium battery should be fine, 12V can die fast), however:

Only when it's unplugged with the key OFF does the 12V battery power the lights, dash, alarm & so on.

The whole rest of the time, even on "ACC" or while charging, the lights, dash, computer & so on are all run by the DC-DC converter which is powered by the lithium HV drive battery.

The 12V simply powers the contactors that connect the HV to the converter. Before turning the key the 12V also sometimes momentarily powers the brake pump, the "buzz" sound you sometimes hear when you open the left door.

Absolutely the 12 volt should be replaced after a maximum of three years UNLESS you use one of the 2 options below. My own 12V (& others') lasted over 5 years, & I hate to waste materials OR money by replacing things prematurely, so here are 2 other options:

- Carry a little portable jumpstarter at all times after your 12V is only TWO years old, minimum, since at least one owner's failed without warning in only 22 months*. Then replace the12V as soon as you need to use your jumpstarter.

- An even cheaper option is to monitor the resting voltage periodically after 2 years*, preferably after parking unplugged overnight or at work & then resting 5 minutes after opening the door to pop the hood. I'm too lazy to carry/use a portable gauge, so I got this $21 one at BatteryTender.com (click to enlarge). If you were more energetic you could do a better connection that my hack job, &/or run the wires to a convenient place in the cabin:
View attachment 110546

*
DON'T BE STRANDED!: Starter Battery Dies With NO...
The 12 volt charging system on this car is not the same as a fuel powered car. You can disagree all you like. Three years and the 12 volt battery is done on electric cars, regardless of who makes it. The only exception is the Volt, which is no longer made and full of recalls. If you can buy a 500e cheap enough, it's worth it as long as the four recalls have been done and the 12 volt battery isn't worn out. And, 12 volt batteries do a **** of a lot more on electrics that on fueled cars. The end.
 

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Again, I agree with many of your sentiments above, but saying "the end" doesn't make you correct, or avoid being corrected:

My own 500e 12V battery was still going strong over 5 years after I purchased it. Same for at least a few others reporting here. Others report less though, as low as 22 months. Unfortunately the 500e often doesn't give a warning before failure, but fortunately there are at least 2 ways to prevent getting stranded (in post 18 above).

My own 500e had 4 recalls AND 2 "campaigns", the latter including the rather important U69. Every owner should check their own vin at Lookup FCA Vehicle Recalls by VIN | Official Mopar® Site but you can always get them done right after purchase, at any FCA cealer

The 500e 12V charging pattern I described is much better than a fuel powered car, for a lead-acid battery. On top of that, it does LESS on a 500e than a fueled car, since it never has to crank an engine. There may be more electronics running when the car is on, but all that power comes from the HV battery, via the DC-DC converter. When parked unplugged with the key out, the drain is only about 22 milliamps with the alarm armed, & about 16 milliamps with it off.
 
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