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2013 FIAT 500e
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Click pics if needed to enlarge.

CONTENTS:

1. Charge Failure ONLY
2. Contactor “Clunk” A) 12V Starter Battery B) Disable Glitch
3. Humidity Sensor
4. Fault Clear
5. 12V Reboot
6. Main Battery Reboot

1: If it starts but won’t charge: (if it won't even start, skip to #2 below)
  • Check the J1772 socket AND plug for damage & bent or corroded connectors.
  • Deactivate the charge timer in the car’s menu. It can default itself to “active”.
  • Plug into the OEM unit*. It can reset some charge errors.
  • Reboot the charger via reset button, unplug/replug, or circuit-breaker off/on.
  • Try a different charger.
  • Turn the car on before plugging in (necessary if the battery pack is below -14F)
  • Turn the car off for 3 minutes & back on.
If none of that works, skip to #3 below.

*
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2: If you hear a little "clunk" or "da-dunk" when you open the left door skip to #3 (otherwise, do NOT skip this step!)

If not, continue here: No clunk means 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.
A) If the starter battery terminals are clean & tight, with 11.6V or more, skip to “B” (otherwise do NOT skip this step!)

If not, continue here: Just like any gas car, a low 12V starter battery is the most common cause of failure, including inactive contactors. Even when it's technically "dead" by gas car standards, a 500e will often start but sometimes with errors, & the 12V can fully die without warning after normal use for only 2 years, so after that it’s good to have a little $50 portable jumpstarter:
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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. After the 12V is 2 years old, check it periodically, to avoid failure. If you’re stranded, it sometimes works if you leave the door latched only 1 click (to avoid “wake-up” signal), turn off the headlights, wipers, & dome lights, wait about 15 minutes & try again.
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Left, Amazon "multitester", starting at $10.
Right, $22 BatteryTender.com gauge.

B) Enable the contactors with the $50* AlfaOBD app from Google Play Store. The contactor disable glitch seems like it could be from aftermarket EVSEs** or a low 12V, & is VERY rare compared to “A” above.

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 $15 on Amazon. No service needed, just download the app on WiFi. A $17 eBay ELM327 KONNWEI KW902 will connect it to the car:
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*1 user reported the free "demo" app worked, but then 2 others reported it didn't.
**Avoidable by using the OEM EVSE, which fully recharges overnight from ZERO%, with an easy-DIY $13 adapter in a 240V outlet like an aftermarket L2 uses.

3: If the humidity sensor is left unplugged, skip to #4 (otherwise do NOT skip this step!)

If not, continue here: It’s just at 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:
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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.

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.

4: "Clear Faults" AFTER steps 2 & 3 above, with OBD or multiple key cycles. With OBD it sometimes requires clearing 2 or more separate control units, 2 or more times each, before it stays clear:
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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 just 1.5min for the screen to go fully black (not just really dark grey), but other users report needing 3 min, 5-10 times.

5: Reboot via 12V disconnect AFTER steps 2 & 3 above, & after the key is off for 3-min. Disconnecting it for 30 seconds worked for me, but when that failed for someone else, & so did 30 minutes, 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.

6: Reboot via HV disconnect AFTER steps 2 & 3 above: (orange plug under rear seat bottom)
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a) With the car in "ready" mode if possible, open the hood & left door & don't open or close anything else* for the entire process, to avoid "wake up" signal.
b) Remove the key, wait 3+ minutes for "sleep" mode.
c) Disconnect HV, disconnect 12V 30+ seconds, connect HV, connect 12V.
IF that doesn't work, there are at least 3 other sequences to try, but for ANY of them make SURE to first ALWAYS do steps A & B above, & check car function after each one before you continue:
c2) Disconnect HV 30+ seconds & reconnect. Disconnect 12V 30+ seconds & reconnect.
c3) Disconnect 12V, disconnect HV 30+ seconds & reconnect, connect 12V.
c4) Disconnect HV, disconnect 12V 30+ seconds & reconnect, reconnect HV.

* 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).

I posted this when a fellow user's "dead" car was at a DEALERSHIP for a MONTH, he informed them about one of these procedures that requires a few taps on a free phone app connected to a $17 dongle, & THAT is what got the car running :rolleyes: .
 

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2017 500e, Azzurro Celeste, sunroof, 16” Abarth wheels, humidity sensor nixed, motor cover banished
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Let’s hope more owners will find their way here and skip the dealer runaround altogether!

We need a moderator to pin this one so people can find it easily.
 

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2013 FIAT 500e
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
To pin this thread to the top of the list, where it does seem a bit more appropriate than the current one from nearly 8 years ago, someone would likely have to figure out how to contact a moderator directly & ask them.

Meanwhile, I'm really, truly 100% serious about other users who might rather pay $200 or more to have it fixed at their home by a KNOWLEDGABLE dealership's towtruck driver.

I already have the volt-meter, $17 dongle, free app, & pliers, that are all sometimes required. If not, even I might choose to just pay a dealer's towtruck driver, in order to avoid the need to try up to 6 different things, which can include several key on/off cycles, plug/unplug cycles, using the meter &/or app, lifting the rear seat-cushion, and finding & using a round toothpick!

But of course even all of that is better than the current situation of a little glitch requiring towing to a dealership for a month before they decide that it must need a new battery pack, when in reality it just needs a few taps on a free phone app connected to a $17 dongle.
 

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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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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:
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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 🤓
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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?
 

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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).
 
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