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Smart fires

Same here, very concerned about the car becoming ablaze!

We have a 2008 Passion, with A/C, Power Windows, Locks, Auto Headlight & Wiper Rain Sensor options, has about 60k. miles.

The Wiper & Headlight switches are left in their 'Auto' positions... Recently the Battery (2nd. since 2008) was replaced with a correct NAPA 7547 replacement.

Last week we discovered the new battery had discharged overnight; though had enough voltage to Remote unlock the door, but upon key 'start'... lots of clicking heard from the SAM, & Starter Solenoid!

So, used a Battery Charger to charge the NAPA... about 6 hours later it was 100% back up. Had a Battery Load Test & Alternator output test performed, both tested 100% good.

We turned 'off' the Auto Headlight & Wiper Sensor functions, & the battery power appears normal past few days... all of this may suggest the SAM 'Auto' function Relays & Circuits were staying 'hot' even AFTER the Ignition switch was turned 'Off' & Key removed...

Wonder if OEM bad soldering & micro solder joints on SAM-PCB are erupting from vibration & age...?

Has anyone reflowed SAM-PCB solder, & can share results?
 

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Some Canadian 450 owners have refurbished their SAM boards. Some 450s have corrosion in the SAM that causes all kinds of erratic behaviour.

The 451s don’t seem to suffer from corrosion, however they may have issues with solder longevity.
 

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2013 Brabus fire

Thank you MM.

Plan to remove SAM & inspect PCB around St. Patrick's Day as Kansas weather gets 'warmer'.

Am curious about 'lead-board' solder joints for standing' components on PCB (Relays, Fuse connects, etc.) & finding any pin/lead-board solder micro fractures, due to deficient soldering, age, corrosion, &/or vibration.
 

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Yikes, this is not good to read. I wonder if there is a correlation to location as well.

For example up here in Canada with our brine encrusted roads, or on the coasts where the vehicles are exposed to salt air. I can see how the SAM can be the weak link with everything electrical being run through it. Because of this I wonder if smarts that have had upgrades that put a higher draw on power through the SAM are more prone to fire. Though I suspect most stereo installers would run direct to the battery.

My 2010 would now be right on the cusp of this issue which really concerns me, right now it's out of commission because I blew my head gasket and I'm waiting to get it into the shop to drop the motor and do the repairs. When the car overheated I had actually thought it might be an electrical fire so I ripped out the cover over the battery and unplugged it. I do carry a halon fire extinguisher in the smart and I think I'll put a small wrench for the battery terminals in the glove box so it is easy to grab in case this happens. I've carried a fire extinguisher in every car I have ever owned and have had to use one once on my Celica when I started to have an electrical fire, smelt the wires burning/melting and put it out before it became a problem and a couple of times when I came across vehicles just on the verge of catching fire. In those cases dumping an extinguisher on the fire only slowed down the process as both were engine fires.

If this is an issue with cars aging which is entirely possible then I hope there is a recall and fix.
 

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Plan to remove SAM & inspect PCB around St. Patrick's Day as Kansas weather gets 'warmer'.

Am curious about 'lead-board' solder joints for standing' components on PCB (Relays, Fuse connects, etc.) & finding any pin/lead-board solder micro fractures, due to deficient soldering, age, corrosion, &/or vibration.

I wonder if any DIY preventative or repair attempt of the SAM, fuel system, etc., might later (in the event of a fire) be used to deny an insurance claim.

You can be sure that these toasted vehicles are subjected to scrutinization, and any home-based (non-expert) tampering could be construed as contributory.
 

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Steve makes a good point about DIY repairs and possible problems later down the road if something happens and there is an insurance claim. Also if you aren't that familiar with dealing with electronics repairs it might be safer to leave it.

From dealing with electronic repairs over the years I have a feeling that it could be also in the connectors. I've seen instances where the connector/plug assy was visibly starting to burn/melt when there was too much current flowing through the part. I have not looked at the smart's SAM though. But first thing I typically do before even taking a good look is sniff around the component to see if I detect any tell tale signs of burning, then look for visible clues such as discolouration of the circuit board and finally a careful look at the components for tell take signs of melting/burning.

Got curious and started looking for photos of a SAM so I could see what it was about and came across this thread on clubsmartcar which does seem to indicate that the plugs can be a weak link.

Sam Woes, And How To Cure Them. - How-To: 450 Model, 2005-2006, diesel - Club smart Car

But I think instead of doing the quick fix ie replacing a melted plug I would be a lot more interested in figuring out why the plug is melting as that would certainly be the first sign of more serious issues to come. Also if the plug side is burnt it's likely that the pin on the motherboard has also overheated and the soldier joint might be failing but the only way to find that out would be to open the SAM and look at the front and back of the board at that spot.
 

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Yeah, I would not attempt any SAM repairs unless that's a risk you're willing to take and you're skilled enough. That thing is crazy enough as it is.

Though, if you're handy and you disconnect the battery first, examining it shouldn't hurt.
 

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If replacing a melted plug on the SAM (I have done it in my 450), mount external relays for those circuits to get the high amperage out of the SAM.
Mike did you pull the SAM to see if the pin(s) on the board were ok? And definitely a great idea to run a relay to take the load off the SAM.
 

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Yes. On the 450, the bad circuits are for the electric lift pump for the diesel and also the headlights. Dropping the SAM, if not disconnecting it completely, helps because then you can see whether there is heat damage on the pins as well as the connector blocks.

The other thing I did is run a wire directly from the battery - with an inline fuse - to power the external relays, because the conventional approach is to use the SAM to get bulk power to the external relays, which to me seems to be asking for the same problem to occur on a different SAM circuit!
 

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Update (03/13/2018):

I purchased a SAM for $100, out of 2011 Passion, 23k. miles, was a vandalized theft recovery...

So, carefully split case, gently unfolded PCB, & microscoped all solder connects for 'standing' components on both board surfaces.

Surprisingly, all joints were 100% good, & wave solder flow @ SMD's was even, no oxidation evident.

Then, vapor degrease cleaned boards, masked 'Plug' connects & sprayed conformal coat to insulate & seal, bake 20min to set & make PCB waterproof...

Plan to swap out my '08 SAM, & perhaps gain some peace of mind :)
 

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Update (03/13/2018):

I purchased a SAM for $100, out of 2011 Passion, 23k. miles, was a vandalized theft recovery...

So, carefully split case, gently unfolded PCB, & microscoped all solder connects for 'standing' components on both board surfaces.

Surprisingly, all joints were 100% good, & wave solder flow @ SMD's was even, no oxidation evident.

Then, vapor degrease cleaned boards, masked 'Plug' connects & sprayed conformal coat to insulate & seal, bake 20min to set & make PCB waterproof...

Plan to swap out my '08 SAM, & perhaps gain some peace of mind :)
What does your 08' SAM look like? I know it's a small sample size (2) but it would be interesting to see if your 08's solders are any different than the 11's.
 

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Wish I knew. Hope to swap soon, & get a read on 08's SAM insides, Perhaps a great idea would be to commence gathering data here, & create a SAM Year/Condition catalog, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Here is an update: on April 18th MB and State Farm will meet where the car is located to investigate and try to determine the cause of the fire.
 
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