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Old 21-04-2020   #1
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The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Folks,

As there are so many questions posted here regarding the cause of messages such as "Stop/Start Unavailable", Engine Management Lights and yellow Warning Triangles on the dash, I thought I'd share my experience from yesterday morning and my low voltage moment. Hopefully it proves all the theories mentioned previously and shows that it's a simple fix overall.

So, car had been sat for 2 weeks (2014 EU6 4x4 TA) going nowhere and having completed only very short journeys for essential shopping the previous fortnight before that. To compound matters, I also have a hard-wired IQ inductive phone charger/holder permanently on standby, with its bright green LED showing (I know, but the feed I used was not switched as I suspected, which I elected to leave in place as it was getting dark by the time I noticed....).

I went to start it yesterday and it was VERY sluggish indeed, although it did fire up on both cylinders eventually. What followed was broadly OK running for about 30 seconds, followed by the dreaded "Stop/Start Unavailable" message, the Yellow Warning Triangle showing on the centre display and also the Engine Light burning brightly in front of me. Suspecting just the usual low voltage issue, I drove on expecting it sort sort itself out. However, 400m later the engine dropped a cylinder and became very sick indeed - Pandas really don't go well on a single cylinder.....

I switched off, removed key, opened and closed the drivers door and locked the car. Unlocked it and started it up and we had 2 cylinders running again, but the Stop/Start button light was showing, as well as the Yellow Triangle. Anyway, I drove to where I had to go and car was fine (only about 10 mins away). Restarted after dropping stuff off and when I got home I used my new, recently acquired ELM327 WiFi OBD transmitter and the excellent iOS version of MULTIECUSCAN software that I'd installed on my iPhone8.

4 important faults logged - 2x Cylinder Failure messages and 2x Generic Systems Fault messages - no mention of Low Voltage however. I cleared them both, checked the alternator output (soooo easy to use, log and monitor - excellent work MULTIECUSCAN peoples...!) and could see that it was pushing 14.1v at 2000rpm and that dropped to about 13.4 with the Heated Screens switched on. So all OK from a technical perspective. Cleared the faults and put the battery on a C-TEK conditioner/charger and left it over night. Good as gold this morning.

So, moral of this story is that the condition of the startup voltage available at the battery is absolutely critical for good running of your Pandas and 500's. In the olden days, all a flat battery needed was a jump start and everything was fine - so not the case with these new-fangled modern systems whatsoever. I am considering replacing the now 6 year old battery, although that is a little premature in my view, so I will see how things go with the C-TEK in place for the duration of the continued lockdown and then when we're released back into the wild in due course. New 60Ah / 550CCA batteries are over £120 typically, so let's not rush into buying something that isn't necessarily needed right now.

So there you have it, conclusive proof that what we already knew to be the cause, definitely is!
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Old 21-04-2020   #2
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Interesting post R1NGA, thanks very much.

Our 2012 Panda Dynamic Eco doesn't have much in the way of the modern "bells and whistles" (like stop/start etc), so I feel confident putting the battery charger on her for an overnight session once a week which keeps her in tip top condition.

I bought the Ibiza new and, apart from the well known turbo wastegate problem (new, modified turbo under warranty) it's really worked well. However just recently, for the last couple of months, It's come up with stop/start not working for the first couple of miles after a cold start. I'm a retired person so the usage has not changed much due to the virus lockdown. Often stands for 2 or 3 days without starting but then, typically, will do a 20 mile journey, I don't do "trips to the shops" with it (only done 18,000 miles in about 4.5 years). The battery is one of these "fancy" enhanced flooded battery types and quite expensive to renew so I'm not planning on doing anything rash but I do feel that putting the battery charger (CTEC Multi XS 7000) on now and again would be a good idea. I'm thinking that this may be an early indication of age in the battery.

However - and I've asked this question in a number of places, so apologies if you've come across it before - the Ibiza has battery sensing electronics which I believe can be damaged if you connect a jump battery directly to the battery terminals. I believe the sensing module is on the earth side, and I see a very strict instruction in the owner's handbook to only connect a jump battery + to + and - on the jump battery to engine block on the car (I've done this for years anyway to avoid sparks igniting battery gasses but now it would seem to be being recommended to avoid damage to the module.

So I'm thinking maybe the charger should be connected in the same way? What do you think folks?
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Old 21-04-2020   #3
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Thanks for the full story

Twinairs use so much tech to go 'phut..phut'
Its small wonder it ran sick..

That battery price seems very high though
Seem to recall @werdna payed @50% of that

Charlie .
My TA punto is on its 2012 factory battery covered 52 k but only used for trips @1 week in 4.. probably kill it now though..
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Old 21-04-2020   #4
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
So I'm thinking maybe the charger should be connected in the same way? What do you think folks?
I am sure that the advice for jump-starting is very well placed - shock loads and peak current and voltage spikes can be huge when 500+ amps of incorrectly connected battery terminals are concerned, so I too avoid jumping from car to car and indeed carry one of those small LiPo packet jumpers that work remarkably well.

The C-TEKs are very good and maintain batteries in a much more gentle way. Right now it's simply connected to the battery terminals and I doubt it will cause a problem, as they are designed for modern vehicles. I may be proven wrong, but for now the proper voltage in the battery itself is paying dividends that overshadow any electronics concern at this moment :-)
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Old 21-04-2020   #5
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Oh - how long has MES been available for iOS? As a Mac user I looked early on when I got the 2013 Panda and saw it was Windows only and have never looked back . Iíll go and explore.

Edit: I have explored and see three reviews in past three months, all of whom say iit doesnít work. What they donít say is how new/old their cars are ó did I read somewhere else MES may not fully function on the very latest Fiat models?
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Last edited by Herts Hillhopper; 21-04-2020 at 15:15.
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Old 21-04-2020   #6
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Quote Originally Posted by Herts Hillhopper View Post
Oh - how long has MES been available for iOS? As a Mac user I looked early on when I got the 2013 Panda and saw it was Windows only and have never looked back . Iíll go and explore.

Edit: I have explored and see three reviews in past three months, all of whom say iit doesnít work. What they donít say is how new/old their cars are ó did I read somewhere else MES may not fully function on the very latest Fiat models?
I think it's only the 500x that has the SGW module allthough I expect the new hybrid 500 will have this
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Old 21-04-2020   #7
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Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
Interesting post R1NGA.... However - and I've asked this question in a number of places, so apologies if you've come across it before - the Ibiza has battery sensing electronics which I believe can be damaged if you connect a jump battery directly to the battery terminals. I believe the sensing module is on the earth side, and I see a very strict instruction in the owner's handbook to only connect a jump battery + to + and - on the jump battery to engine block on the car (I've done this for years anyway to avoid sparks igniting battery gasses but now it would seem to be being recommended to avoid damage to the module.

So I'm thinking maybe the charger should be connected in the same way? What do you think folks?
The instruction book for the Panda show this:
Release the quick-release connector on the negative lead where it joins the voltage sensor connected to the battery. Note though that this leaves the voltage sensor in place, clamped direct onto the battery negative post. Connect the battery charger to the metal part the quick-release unclipped from (part marked D in the diagrams). That way, the system is aware that the battery is being charged -as it would be with the alternator charging it. (See photo of manual page). I would expect similar advice for your Ibiza.

The advice to not connect jump leads is more (entirely?) to prevent any spark igniting hydrogen gas released from the battery - there being a suggestion that more is released from a struggling, under-charged unit.
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Last edited by Herts Hillhopper; 21-04-2020 at 18:18.
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Old 21-04-2020   #8
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Thanks Pete - seems odd to disconnect the rest of the electrical systems when trickle charging, but maybe there's concern for some other delicate componentry somewhere. The end result is the same I guess.

iOS version of MES has been around for a while but I'd not taken the plunge until I read about v1.5 being announced on the MES site - it's now up to v1.7 and also supports iPAD too. Looks like they're investing time and effort in it now, so that bodes well. https://www.multiecuscan.net

I took a bit of a plunge with the ELM327 WiFi adapter as there are quite a few on the market, but the thing arrived, is small and neat (about the size of a cigarette packet) and I can have it in the car all the time when out and about. This is the ELM unit I bought;

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Seems to work well. Only issue is that the Licence for iOS MES is another £50, so you need to be keen. But I am very please with the purchase so far.
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Old 22-04-2020   #9
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

I've contacted Mike at Gendan and he has only offered a Windows solution. I use Linux Mint 19.3 & Android so I'm basically stuffed.
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Old 05-08-2020   #10
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Question Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Quote Originally Posted by R1NGA View Post
Folks,

As there are so many questions posted here regarding the cause of messages such as "Stop/Start Unavailable", Engine Management Lights and yellow Warning Triangles on the dash, I thought I'd share my experience from yesterday morning and my low voltage moment. Hopefully it proves all the theories mentioned previously and shows that it's a simple fix overall.

So, car had been sat for 2 weeks (2014 EU6 4x4 TA) going nowhere and having completed only very short journeys for essential shopping the previous fortnight before that. To compound matters, I also have a hard-wired IQ inductive phone charger/holder permanently on standby, with its bright green LED showing (I know, but the feed I used was not switched as I suspected, which I elected to leave in place as it was getting dark by the time I noticed....).

I went to start it yesterday and it was VERY sluggish indeed, although it did fire up on both cylinders eventually. What followed was broadly OK running for about 30 seconds, followed by the dreaded "Stop/Start Unavailable" message, the Yellow Warning Triangle showing on the centre display and also the Engine Light burning brightly in front of me. Suspecting just the usual low voltage issue, I drove on expecting it sort sort itself out. However, 400m later the engine dropped a cylinder and became very sick indeed - Pandas really don't go well on a single cylinder.....

I switched off, removed key, opened and closed the drivers door and locked the car. Unlocked it and started it up and we had 2 cylinders running again, but the Stop/Start button light was showing, as well as the Yellow Triangle. Anyway, I drove to where I had to go and car was fine (only about 10 mins away). Restarted after dropping stuff off and when I got home I used my new, recently acquired ELM327 WiFi OBD transmitter and the excellent iOS version of MULTIECUSCAN software that I'd installed on my iPhone8.

4 important faults logged - 2x Cylinder Failure messages and 2x Generic Systems Fault messages - no mention of Low Voltage however. I cleared them both, checked the alternator output (soooo easy to use, log and monitor - excellent work MULTIECUSCAN peoples...!) and could see that it was pushing 14.1v at 2000rpm and that dropped to about 13.4 with the Heated Screens switched on. So all OK from a technical perspective. Cleared the faults and put the battery on a C-TEK conditioner/charger and left it over night. Good as gold this morning.

So, moral of this story is that the condition of the startup voltage available at the battery is absolutely critical for good running of your Pandas and 500's. In the olden days, all a flat battery needed was a jump start and everything was fine - so not the case with these new-fangled modern systems whatsoever. I am considering replacing the now 6 year old battery, although that is a little premature in my view, so I will see how things go with the C-TEK in place for the duration of the continued lockdown and then when we're released back into the wild in due course. New 60Ah / 550CCA batteries are over £120 typically, so let's not rush into buying something that isn't necessarily needed right now.

So there you have it, conclusive proof that what we already knew to be the cause, definitely is!
Can anyone explain, why would it run on only one cylinder because of a old battery? I have the start / stop light on mine - I am going to try a new battery.
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Old 05-08-2020   #11
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This is interesting, our 2014 TA Trekking has been exhibiting some weird things since the weekend. The Stop start just works when it feels like it. The TPMS flashed up showing check tyre pressures whilst my wife was on the way to work. She checked it over at work, all tyres correct pressure, she reset it and all OK. Today the BlueandMe activated itself whilst she was driving asking to connect or cancel, we have never paired it with anything. Again canceled so will await the next oddity. It is on its original battery. Gets driven 40 miles a day every other week when she is on shift it then has a week of little or no driving. Will connect up my ctek charger and see if it makes a difference.
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Old 05-08-2020   #12
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

Quote Originally Posted by R1NGA View Post
seems odd to disconnect the rest of the electrical systems when trickle charging, but maybe there's concern for some other delicate componentry somewhere. The end result is the same I guess.
Hi RINGA. I got very hung up over the possibility of doing damage to my 2016 Ibiza by charging the battery, especially with regard to the battery condition monitoring device on the negative terminal.

It all came to a head when I hadn't used the car for some time because of the lock down and I noticed the static battery voltage was down a little and the stop start - which I tend to disable at every start up - was coming up unavailable so I wanted to connect the charger (it's a ctek multi XS 7000) to boost the battery back up without damaging anything.

I had a number of very interesting communications with both SEAT and Ctek. Ctek in particular were very helpful and informative - they've left me with a very positive impression of their company.

Most of the info came up in this, quite lengthy, thread: https://www.fiatforum.com/leisure-lo...y-sensors.html. If you didn't read it at the time you may find something of use to you in it?

All the best
Jock
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Old 30-08-2020   #13
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

I changed the battery, filters and spark plugs - and I still get the start stop triangle - and I have the running on one cylinder problem. Any suggestions?
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Old 30-08-2020   #14
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Re: The Consequences of Low Voltage....

I think we blame low voltage too quickly. Remember once started the system volts will rise as the alternator is charging the battery. Once started the voltage should rise rapidly to 14.4v and above initially till the battery is charged then it should stabilise between 13.8 and 14.4v.
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Old 30-08-2020   #15
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Quote Originally Posted by Mads Gorm View Post
I changed the battery, filters and spark plugs - and I still get the start stop triangle - and I have the running on one cylinder problem. Any suggestions?

Hi

More info please

Thats several issues.. and potentially 20 fixes.

How long on old plugs..

What oil is in it.. were the serice items reset correctly on last change.. how long ago?
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