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Batteries & Contactors Aren't Really "Failing" ?
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Thread: Batteries & Contactors Aren't Really "Failing" ?

  1. #1
    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    Batteries & Contactors Aren't Really "Failing" ?

    EVERY report that I can recall of 500e so-called "battery pack failure" happened suddenly overnight. Could they each just be a recently-discovered glitch?

    Consider how the battery dies in your phone or laptop: Very gradual capacity loss over years.

    The "dead" cars all drove home fine, then were suddenly "dead" in the morning with no vital contactor "clunk" to connect the battery pack. They were eventually towed to a dealer where diagnostics showed a fault in the battery pack which contains the contactors.

    Now 2 more users have reported complete failures with no "clunk" so their cars wouldn't start OR charge. Instead of towing them to a dealer, they re-enabled the contactors with AlfaOBD & the cars work fine: http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showt...ith-AlfaOBD-!!

    What do you all think?
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    Sudden lithium-ion death apparently requires overheating or overvoltage, but those are both prevented by our cars' cooling & charging systems, which keep it cool & limit the voltage to less than 90% of true full capacity.

    Even IF they were killed by heat, that would be LESS likely to happen charging at night when it's colder. But I don't recall ANY reports of total failure after daytime charging.

    Even sudden overnight failure of the contactors seems extremely unlikely. They're electromagnetically-actuated switches, like a gas car's starter solenoid. If I recall correctly, they typically start to take 2 key cycles before working, then 3 or more cycles for a while, before finally failing. Not functioning perfectly to drive home, & the next morning suddenly failing completely.

    I do remember ONE report, from EUROPE, where I think a car stopped when a cell died while driving, due to damage by extended storage unplugged during transport. Of course that's an unusual case, similar to the report of cell damage from parking for I think about a year plugged into a charger that lost power due to a GFCI breaker tripping.


    There are also many reports of the 12V starter battery gradually losing capacity until it's finally insufficient to activate the contactors. That FEELS "sudden" but in reality it just went from initially having WAY more capacity than needed, very gradually dropping to a lot more than needed, then a little more than needed, etc. You don't notice until it finally drops below the needed capacity, since unfortunately our cars' 12V warning usually comes too late.

    Anybody have any thoughts on this? (agree, disagree, doubt, question?)
    Last edited by ElectricTireShredder; 12-25-2021 at 01:33 AM.
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

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    Peter_K (01-02-2022)

  4. #3
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    Same problem, no clunk. I used AlfaOBD to re-enable the contactors and the car charges and runs.
    I have had a service electrical system light as long as I have owned the car - 40,000k ago. Used AlfaOBD for the first time today.
    AlfaOBD reported no present faults, so I cleared the old ones before re-enabling the contactors.
    Didn't disconnect the humidity sensor on the principle of minimizing change if things were working.
    When the car started, it showed no error codes.
    However, after key off, and then re-start, the service electrical system light lit again.
    I will reexamine error codes tomorrow. I did save the log history today. Only weirdity in it is that at some time the vehicle isolation resistance was 0.02Megohms. However, as there were no present faults, I ignored that and reset all the fault history.

    Bought the car second hand in Vancouver in 2017 from a dealer who was bringing in used 500es in convoys from the states. There are quite a few of them about. I really like the 500e, but find Fiat's total lack of service in Canada an insult. Luckily, very little has gone wrong with it, aside from the weird error messages, and the necessity to reboot it a few times. This time, rebooting didn't work, but re-enabling the contactors using AlfaOBD seems have done the trick.

    Thanks for the tip....

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    ElectricTireShredder (01-02-2022)

  6. #4
    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    THANK YOU!

    Thank you for the report, & especially for the humidity sensor note, because now we know that it MIGHT have caused the contactor disable AND we know that OBD reset was definitely what corrected it.

    So now within only 11 days there have been 3 reports of sudden complete failure due to contactor malfunction, corrected by OBD reset. Hopefully there will be more reports & I'll gain more confidence in my subject line.

    In just over 5 years I think I may have only seen about a half-dozen reports of "battery pack failure" all with contactor malfunction, so it won't take many more DIY reports for me to think the other "failures" would have been fixed by OBD reset.
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

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    Further Problems with my 500e - quite serious I think.
    After enabling the contactors with AlfaOBD the my car charged normally, and showed ready on the dash after cycling through some error messages re service charging system and Tire Pressure system. Nothing new. The car appeared normal and could be driven. I parked it in our driveway.
    Coldish weather here (-5C), and slush and salt on the roads. I had driven it about 30 k before all this happened with considerable salty slush on the highway.
    Next morning my daughter took the car out the driveway. As she went over the track for the gate, there was a bang. Didn't know what it was, and the car still seemed normal. Couldn't find anything wrong walking around the vehicle, so assumed it was a piece of ice flying up from a tire. Drove the car using about 25% of charge. All seemed OK.
    However, now the car drives, but won't charge. So State of Charge 75%.
    A dump of the AlfaOBD files shows an error indicating the battery charger fuse has blown, and a new error for battery pack isolation failure has appeared. I have the car parked now, 12V and HV batteries disconnected.
    I think I may have had a short from the HV to ground, possibly caused by salt water and the jiggle when the car drove over the gate track.
    Anyone have any idea where the "battery charger fuse" (error P0E2E) is. I would like to check if it is blown, and to start looking for something burnt. The good news is that the vehicle Clunks are there, and the vehicle drives OK, although only using the remaining charge in the HV battery.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<extract from AlfaOBD log below>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
    ___________________
    Reading present faults for: Battery Pack Control Module (BPCM)

    Present faults reported:


    2022-01-03 9:10:50 PM
    Present faults found.
    P0AA6
    P0E2E
    ___________________
    Error code: P0AA6
    Hybrid Battery Voltage System Isolation Fault


    Last test completed unsuccessfully
    Error present
    Failure warning lamp 'ON': Requested


    Error code: P0E2E
    Battery Charger Fuse

  8. #6
    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    This new topic might get more helpful input if posted on its own separate thread.

    Meanwhile, this is the only fuse I can find listed in the manuals with anything like "charger" (actually "charging") in the name, with the same location & designation in 2013 & 2019, so likely the same for all years between:

    2013 Charger Fuse.jpg20-NINETEEN Charger Fuse.jpg
    Last edited by ElectricTireShredder; 01-05-2022 at 12:08 AM.
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

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    Peter_K (01-05-2022)

  10. #7
    Moderato map's Avatar
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    Apparently there was a software change affecting 2013-15 models. https://chrysler.oemdtc.com/tag/p0aa6
    https://chrysler.oemdtc.com/338/flas...2015-fiat-500e

    The car thinks the HV batt is not isolated from the frame of the car. This can happen with an insulation break or water in the battery case... or apparently due to factory software problems.

    The fix is listed with the NHTSA. https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/20...57936-7326.pdf
    Last edited by map; 01-05-2022 at 12:33 AM.

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    ElectricTireShredder (01-05-2022)

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    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    Again, maybe better in a new thread, but @map brings up a good point to check for recalls/"campaigns", which must be performed free, apparently by any FCA dealership (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, etc.). That is #1 on my list here:

    http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showt...l=1#post872576

    The #3 item there might not help in this case, but it certainly won't hurt: Leave the humidity sensor unplugged.
    Last edited by ElectricTireShredder; 01-05-2022 at 05:01 AM.
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

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    Peter_K (01-05-2022)

  14. #9
    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    I really hope @Peter_K got his other issue worked out, & if not I'd be happy to try to help if he starts another thread for it, but meanwhile, back on topic:

    THE FOURTH CONFIRMING REPORT was just posted on the other forum by "abenusa":

    "Went out to my car to go to work, and... my car would not start. Not clunk from the contactors.... did the Enable/Disable HV Battery Contactors..... And surprise! I hear the clunk!

    Car has worked fine now for several days."
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

  15. #10
    Senior Member ElectricTireShredder's Avatar
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    I asked abenusa about the humidity sensor & he replied: "I disconnected the humidity sensor shortly after I brought the car two years ago."

    So now we know for sure that it's not caused by the humidity sensor.

    That's too bad, in a way, since it means we can't avoid the contactor disable glitch by simply unplugging the sensor.
    2013 500e has been my only car since 2015.

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