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cablvr 12-17-2008 04:21 PM

Dead Battery (incl. battery charging)
Our smart stays at a vacation home of ours, about 2.5 hours from the closest dealer (in Pittsburgh). Yesterday, I found our smart's battery was dead - the last time she was out was November 23. smartusa had roadside service out within 35 minutes and gave our smart a jump. I ran it around the block (about a mile), and then let it run in the driveway for about 20-30 minutes to charge the battery. This morning, the smart started without a problem. This afternoon - could not start it up. Little power in the battery (wipers moved slowly, clock continued to work, door locks would not operate, emergency blinkers dead as well as headlights). Called smartusa road service 2nd time - arrived within an hour - same guy. Jumped again. Drove around for 20 minutes and included a brief stop at Home Depot.

Road service suggested I take the car into the dealer - easier said than done. Elsewhere on this board it seems there may be an issue with leaving the headlights in the "auto" position resulting in an 18-20ma draw on the battery. This symptom has appeared in late 2008 & 2009 builds. Apparently the factory has (or will) corrected this problem which requires a software update. No dealer nearby, so I guess smartusa will be jumping my battery until Memorial Day when I take the smart to the NJ shore.

Sorry for the long thread. Moral to the story - keep the headlights in the manual off position until you can bring your smart into the dealer for a flash update.

Has anyone experienced a dead battery problem? Cause? Solution? Please let everyone know.

Dunerunner 12-17-2008 04:26 PM

I'm on vacation from retirement for two months and the smart is in the garage. To offset the problem you describe, I bought a battery minder and hard wired the pigtail to the battery. When I leave on a sanity break, I just fish out the pigtail and plug it in.

SuperGeek 12-17-2008 05:46 PM

If your battery drains too far it may cause permanent damage to the cells and wont hold a charge worth a darn anymore. Get Autozone or someone to do a load test on the battery itself and you may be better off just buying a 40 dollar battery until you get to the dealer because a damaged battery can in fact damage an alternator by making it work overtime. Then get them to replace it under warranty and you have a spare just in case it happens again. If you suspect a low battery, you can use a digital multimeter and test the voltage at the power port when the key is on and engine off. Under 11 volts is cause for concern. 12 to 13 is normal and 14 while engine is on.

bcope01 12-17-2008 07:18 PM

You battery may be ruined. Starting batteries (the kind in your Smart) do not handle being discharged completely very well, unlike a deep cycle battery that is designed for repeated discharge/recharge cycles. If it were me, I'd replace the battery since it no longer holds a full charge. Then be sure to not let the new battery fully discharge.

NuBiker 12-17-2008 07:39 PM

This time last year I owned 5 motorcycles and a car. I had four vehicles always on a Battery Tender Plus - that way, the batteries were charged up and ready to go. I am down to just one bike, and two cars now. Whatever vehicle is not being driven sits with the BT. The greatest thing since sliced bread !!

Dunerunner 12-17-2008 09:36 PM

The wonderful thing about the battery tender or battery minder (same type of technology) is that they charge at a very low (maintenance) rate that does not boil the electrolyte, there is minimal gassing, and little or no sulfation. Your battery actually improves with one of these connected.

Westfield 11 12-18-2008 09:11 AM

If the 2009 smart requires a Battery Tender to be used to prevent permanent damage to the alternator, shouldn't it be supplied as standard equipment? Or at least as a factory option with all the wiring factory installed....

Jim R 12-18-2008 09:46 AM

I use a simple float charger on several of the toys that don't get used much.It really helps to prevent damage to the batteries from being depleted.Here's a link to a great little unit.

Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

John_H 12-18-2008 01:35 PM

I'm away from my Smart for 3 weeks so I hooked up the gizmo to mine, too. It's not marketed as a battery charger - just a maintainer - but it got my discharged battery back up the first time (left the parking lights on) and will keep the Smart fresh and ready for when I return.

jwight 12-18-2008 02:06 PM


Originally Posted by Westfield 11 (Post 176542)
If the 2009 smart requires a Battery Tender to be used to prevent permanent damage to the alternator, shouldn't it be supplied as standard equipment? Or at least as a factory option with all the wiring factory installed....

I see your point, but batteries are not able to maintain a charge over time without renewal of some sort - either driving the car or hooking up to charger. This is the price of all those computer driven doo-dads that basically keep the car in "sleep mode" even with the key off. So, we either drive them or put them on a charger (or battery tender.) :)

PS - battery issue on

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