Fiat 500 Forum banner
1 - 20 of 70 Posts

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Updated 1/13/23

If you’re stranded
, it sometimes works to turn off the headlights, wipers, & dome lights, leave the hatch closed & the left door latched only 1 click (to avoid “wake-up” signal), wait about 15 minutes for the starter battery to rest, & try again.

If it starts but just won't charge, first try the list at the top of POST #3 below.

If it won't even start, try these 6 tricks.
Details in post #5 below:

1. With the car asleep*, unplug the humidity sensor & leave it permanently unplugged until you sell the car.

2. If that doesn't work, make SURE there's at least 11.7V at the battery wires (in case there's a bad connection).

3. If that doesn't work, with the car asleep*, disconnect the negative terminal for 30 seconds, & reconnect. If that doesn't work, try a few minutes or half an hour or a few hours.

4. If that doesn't work, with it asleep*, disconnect the negative, then disconnect the HV, & leave them both disconnected for 30+ hours, then reconnect the HV** then reconnect the 12V.

5. If that still doesn't work, clear any error codes with AlfaOBD***, making sure to follow instructions such as turning the key from "stop" JUST to "mar" before connecting OBD, so it doesn't think the "engine" is on like it would normally be if you turned it to "avv".

6. If even that doesn't work, & there's no "clunk" when you open the left door, check the auto-saved OBD logs to see if the contactors are disabled. Enable the contactors with the $49 lifetime membership to AlfaOBD. Click to enlarge:
Product Rectangle Font Line Screenshot
Rectangle Slope Font Line Water


* Key off for 2+ minutes during which you don't open OR close either of the doors or the hatch (since any of those movements wake it up). So to disconnect anything, leave at least 1 door open for access.
** Food Gesture Screenshot Terrestrial plant Font

Full size version below, since it's JUST as easy to get the last 3 pics wrong, as it is to get them right:
Food Gesture Screenshot Terrestrial plant Font


*** Free "demo" version works fine for this, even with just a $16 eBay Konnwei KW902.
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
If it starts but just won’t charge:
  • Check the orange socket for cracks or bent or straightened pins.
  • Deactivate the charge timer in the car’s menu. It can default itself to “active”.
  • Reboot the charger via reset button, unplug/replug, or circuit-breaker off/on.
  • Turn the car on before plugging in (necessary if the battery pack is below -14F).
  • Try a different charger.
  • Hold down the button on the plug until it's all the way into the socket.
  • Plug into the OEM unit. It can reset some charge errors:
Product Font Communication Device Material property Gadget

Left 2013. 2019 on right.



After many reports of the above fixes working, one user's "dead" car was at a dealership for a month. He informed them about this list, & then the car worked :rolleyes:.

Another "dead" car's dealer said his $6k PIM was dead, he gave them this list & the car worked (with a "dead" PIM :unsure:).

Yet another user's "dead" car showed codes for faulty PIM & HV battery, but just clearing the codes fixed it.

Edit/Credit List:
7th edit 1/13/23: Shorter, hopefully more logical sequence, & added button hold during plugin, thanks to @bolomiester
6th edit 9/25/22: Replaced jumpstarting with BM2, & added late model OEM cord pic
5th edit 9/23/22: Onscreen code-clearing fineprint, thanks to @jedwards1654
4th edit 9/3/22: Press white HV fuse lock to open the black arm 90º, thanks to @rxd24
3rd edit 8/25/22: Black HV fuse lock WIDE open before HV fuse insertion
2nd edit 8/22/22: Contactor reset needs PAID version of AlfaOBD, & HV disconnect can require contactor reset after.
Edit 12/24/21: "Contactor Glitch" added, thanks to @MDMTahiti & @witmannerik (for confirming it worked)
Credit for different HV reconnect sequences to RatfinkHarley & BoggleMe on the other forum.

Sorry if I missed anyone (PM me if I did).
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Extra details to go with post #1 above. Click pics to enlarge:

1: The humidity sensor is just to the right of the rearview mirror & causes many false alarms, including ABS, RBS, ESC, HSA, PRND, SRS (airbag) etc. Put your middle fingers in each opening near the top & pull perpendicular from the glass:

Circuit component Machine Electronic engineering Electronic component Computer hardware


With a tiny screwdriver or round toothpick parallel to the glass, stick it straight into the black socket to wedge it open & remove the purple plug:
Gas Tints and shades Space Rectangle Metal

Even though you LEAVE it unplugged, the cover fits, with its left side hooked on & then the right side snapped upward perpendicular to the glass. Hook/snap points circled in pic above.

2: When you open the left door there should be a little "clunk" or "da-dunk" like this:

If not, the 12V starter battery isn’t connecting the High Voltage battery contactors, as needed to charge or start the car. IF you wait several seconds after opening the door, to hear the disconnect clunk, THEN there should also be a clunk:
  • When you turn the key on, & another clunk several seconds after you turn it off.
  • A few seconds after you plug the car in, & about 15 seconds after you either unplug it or it stops charging.
The starter battery terminals must be clean & tight, with 11.6V or more. Just like any gas car, a low 12V starter battery is the most common cause of failure, including contactor failure.

Even after a parts store does a load test with good results, the voltage can still be too low, so you have to check it. Grab each end of the black plastic motor cover & yank it straight up like you’re lifting a laundry basket full of wet clothes. It’s almost unbreakable, but completely useless, so I leave mine in my garage closet.
Automotive tire Vehicle Engineering Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

Left to right: $10 Amazon "multimeter", $22 BatteryTender.com gauge, "BM2".

A 500e will often start (but sometimes with errors) even when the battery is WAY too "dead" to start a gas car, & it sometimes won't even jumpstart when it's SO dead it won't even start a 500e, which can happen without warning after normal use for only 2 years, so after that you should get your own Bluetooth alarm, such as the "BM2" in the last pic. Just search "bm2" on Amazon. Also available at eBay or Walmart.

My 500e only starts reliably with the 12V battery at 20% or more, so I would set the alarm to 30%, & when it sounded, I'd start checking regularly. I'd start battery shopping when it started getting close to the 11.7V needed to start it reliably. That is so low that even AAA often can't jumpstart it unless they have old-fashioned cables AND disconnect the dead battery. So carrying a portable jumpstarter may not save you.

3: Disconnecting the 12V for 30 seconds worked for me, but when that failed for someone else, & so did a few minutes, & a half hour, & 3 hours, 30 hours worked. Ideally, disconnect the NEGATIVE, since it’s more robust, & it won’t short out the 10mm wrench (or even pliers, in a pinch) on any surrounding metal. Retighten it until you can’t twist it off of the post by hand.

4: Someone reported that disconnecting the 12V & HV failed, but they tried different sequences & one of them worked, HOWEVER it's most likely they just got the reconnect wrong at first, & got it right on the retry. Make SURE to first ALWAYS have the car asleep* for any disconnection, & check car function after each one before you continue:
  • Disconnect 12V, disconnect HV, reconnect 12V, reconnect HV.
  • Disconnect HV, disconnect 12V 30+ seconds, reconnect 12V, reconnect HV.
  • Disconnect HV 30+ seconds & reconnect. Disconnect 12V 30+ seconds & reconnect.
* I thought that only the left door woke it up, since it's the only one that awakens the HV systems (contactor clunk), HOWEVER the other door and even the hatch can awaken the 12V systems (instrument screen lights up).

5: Both the free AlfaOBD "demo" app & the $49 lifetime-membership version are available on the Google Play Store. If you only have an iPhone/iPad, try a laptop/tablet, or ask your friends if they have an old Android, or get one for $30 on Amazon. No service needed, just download the app on WiFi. A $16 eBay ELM327 KONNWEI KW902 will connect it to the car:
Product Rectangle Font Line Screenshot

"Clear Faults" sometimes requires clearing 2 or more separate control units, 2 or more times each, before it stays clear:
Product Font Screenshot Red Rectangle

If you don't have OBD, codes will often clear with the key off for 3 minutes. Repeat if needed, up to 10 times, but usually ONCE works for me, & the most I've ever needed is 3 times, off for 1.5min, but other users report needing 3 min, 5-10 times.

6: The contactor disable glitch seems totally random. It's VERY rare compared to a dead battery, but it's equally debilitating (won't start OR charge). After connecting as in #5 above, do this:
Rectangle Slope Font Line Water
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I just bought a 2014 500 e. It worked fine with good range. Drove to the store today with 50% charge at the store. When I tried to start it after half hour it was totally dead. Showed 0% and the turtle was there. "Service charging system" came on. Plugged it into charging statio that was right there. The two side orange lights came on, but now effect. Can this be the 12v?
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Maybe. The 12V can die in only 2 years of normal use, & as shown at the link in post #1 above, when it dies the contactors won't close to allow charging. Also in that link: the onboard charge timer can also prevent charging.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
422 Posts
I just bought a 2014 500 e. It worked fine with good range. Drove to the store today with 50% charge at the store. When I tried to start it after half hour it was totally dead. Showed 0% and the turtle was there. "Service charging system" came on. Plugged it into charging statio that was right there. The two side orange lights came on, but now effect. Can this be the 12v?
The zero percent indicates the contactors didn't close. Most likely due to a bad 12 volt battery. Car won't charge unless the contactors are closed. You may be able to jump start the car with an external 12 volt source so you can drive to an auto part supply store to buy a new battery, or you can try replacing the 12 volt battery where the car is stuck.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
The zero percent indicates the contactors didn't close. Most likely due to a bad 12 volt battery. Car won't charge unless the contactors are closed. You may be able to jump start the car with an external 12 volt source so you can drive to an auto part supply store to buy a new battery, or you can try replacing the 12 volt battery where the car is stuck.
Thanks a lot. I changed the 12 v and now everything is working
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
12.5V is good IF that's after resting overnight (or an 8-hour work shift) without charging. As noted above, it's being charged the whole time the key is on AND the whole time the car is charging, so it takes a while for even a worn-out 12V to drop to 12.5V. My teeny, tiny 1/10-size 12V takes several days to drop to 12.5V, but as long as we don't let them drop below 11.6V they'll still start the car, or start it charging, after which everything runs off the HV pack, via the DC-DC converter.

HOWEVER, even a 12V that's ready to die will show over 14V when the key is on because that's the charging voltage being supplied to it by the DC-DC converter.

My 2013 had AN "original" battery that was still going strong in 2020, but for all I know it had been replaced with an OEM unit right before I bought it in 2015, however even 5 years is pretty good for a lead-acid battery.

Since the 500e's 12V is VERY gently used ELECTRICALLY, the reason they often die so fast must be heat from the adjacent onboard charger & PIM right below that. So it will last longer in cold climates or if you try to charge at cool times/places. Mine may have lasted so well because I do that AND leave the hood open whenever practical, plus I added a chunk of styrofoam insulation:
Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive design
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Given that there are many EVs where the 12V is an issue, my hunch is that lead acid batteries actually are better off with the enormous power drain when crancking the starter and then large currents to recharge, rather than the low power required for board computer and lights, and trickle charge… but that’s just my theory 🤓
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You might want to take a look at batteryuniversity.com

For ANY battery chemistry:
  • Deeper discharge like starting a gas car reduces life expectancy more than shallow discharge like starting a 500e.
  • Large current like starting & recharging in a gas car reduces life expectancy more than low current like a 500e.
  • Heat reduces life expectancy.

Most people do most of their charging on L2, which takes about an hour or more for every hour of driving, which DOUBLES the length of time that the 12V is exposed to heat from onboard charger, PIM, & motor/radiator. That is unless you insulate it &/or charge when/where it's cold &/or leave the hood open when charging.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
You might want to take a look at batteryuniversity.com

For ANY battery chemistry:
  • Deeper discharge like starting a gas car reduces life expectancy more than shallow discharge like starting a 500e.
  • Large current like starting & recharging in a gas car reduces life expectancy more than low current like a 500e.
  • Heat reduces life expectancy.

Most people do most of their charging on L2, which takes about an hour or more for every hour of driving, which DOUBLES the length of time that the 12V is exposed to heat from onboard charger, PIM, & motor/radiator. That is unless you insulate it &/or charge when/where it's cold &/or leave the hood open when charging.
You might want to take a look at batteryuniversity.com

For ANY battery chemistry:
  • Deeper discharge like starting a gas car reduces life expectancy more than shallow discharge like starting a 500e.
  • Large current like starting & recharging in a gas car reduces life expectancy more than low current like a 500e.
  • Heat reduces life expectancy.

Most people do most of their charging on L2, which takes about an hour or more for every hour of driving, which DOUBLES the length of time that the 12V is exposed to heat from onboard charger, PIM, & motor/radiator. That is unless you insulate it &/or charge when/where it's cold &/or leave the hood open when charging.
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Wow! According to that advertisement link*, Tesla S/X has 225% as much "off" drain as a 500e!

That would mean our 12V batteries have only 0.0044 times as much cycle loading (0.02A compared to 5A). Another way to put that is parking a Tesla for one day would drain its 12v as much as parking a 500e for 22 days!

& my statement above still stands:

Since the 500e's 12V is VERY gently used ELECTRICALLY, the reason they often die so fast must be heat from the adjacent onboard charger & PIM right below that.

* The link has other statements that are just plain wrong though.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Wow! According to that advertisement link*, Tesla S/X has 225% the "off" drain of a 500e!

That would mean our 12V batteries have 0.0044 times the cycle loading (0.02A compared to 5A). Another way to put it is that parking a Tesla for one day would drain its 12v as much as parking a 500e for 22 days!

& my statement above still stands:

Since the 500e's 12V is VERY gently used ELECTRICALLY, the reason they often die so fast must be heat from the adjacent onboard charger & PIM right below that.

* The link has other statements that are just plain wrong though.
Not an expert but many ICE cars are a lot warmer under the hood?
 

· Registered
2013 FIAT 500e
Joined
·
5,112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, ICE cars are likely warmer under the hood, but nowhere near as long. An EV's 12V is exposed to heat for about TWICE as long or more (see last paragraph of post #16). & it's pretty warm. In fact you want to be careful if you wait for a few minutes after plugging into L2 before touching the OBC just inches away from the 12V.

& it's actually exposed to heat SIX times as long or more, if you use a standard wall outlet like many people do, including me: 1 hour's drive takes about 5 hours to charge (while I sleep or work).
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top