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Discussion Starter #1
When my Dad leaves his Smartcar unrun in the driveway for a month, the battery is dead, requiring him to get AAA to jump it via the floor carpet removal.

#1) How can I tell if his battery is one of the defective ones that should be replaced for free by the dealer? I think he had some software upgrade for the shifting done, but not sure if that included the battery.

#2) Barring that, is there some other way of hooking up a float charger to the battery from the outside, without having to peel up the carpet and leave the door ajar or a cord fed through the door bottom to maintain the charge? Like is there some other charging location to which a charger could be hooked other than directly through the carpet to the battery? Maybe there's some hole through which I could feed the charger cord and leave the contacts hooked to the battery between chargings.

???
 

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Hi - good to see another Dayton owner! If the car's a 2008, need to check and see if it's had the 2.0 update (which usually involved a higher capacity battery.) If you can change from the "D" mode to manual shifting by pulling either of the paddles it has the update. If not, it needs the update.

Either way, these cars are always "on" - the computer needs power all the time. Most folks use a trickle charger (battery tender) if the car's not going to be driven for 3 to 4 weeks. :)

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f75/charging-studs-under-front-service-panel-26519/?highlight=battery+connectors+front

Check out the Dayton group on smartusainsider also: http://www.smartusainsider.com/group/daytonohiosmarts
 

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If he had the 2.0(shifting) update, they would have replaced the battery then if it qualified. The battery going dead is a result of a computer controlled car. The ECM will always pull a small current, even if the car is off. I know a couple of people on here have installed remote terminals to allow them to maintain the battery without removing the carpet, but that is a personal choice. One person put charging lugs under the front service flap, others have installed Battery Tenders next to the battery and left the cord hang out by the edge of the carpet.

My recommendation: Tell your Dad to start driving the car more, it's really fun!!!:D

:burnout:
 

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If it is not going to get used for a month or more, a Battery Tender is probably a good idea. You can hook it to the battery and leave it in place, only needing to plug in an extension cord to take care of things while it is waiting to be driven. Maybe put it on the shelf at the front of the passenger floor??
 

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Discussion Starter #6
so if i got one of those float chargers and had it ALWAYS wired to the battery, even if it wasn't plugged into the wall all the time, it wouldn't drain the battery, between times when I DID have it plugged in and charging?
 

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Get a small solar trickle charger and mount it on the dash with the wiring always connected to the battery. It will not help in a garage of course.
 

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where can i get one of these? i asssume that the smart part of it means it doesnt overcharge the battery, like a trickle charger would, right? Does this mean its a float charger with solar cells?
 

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A battery tender will not discharge the battery when it is plugged in, and will monitor the battery, only charging when it is needed. They are used on motorcycles and other uses where the battery is unused for months at a time. They also help the battery stay in condition as a battery sitting unused will tend to sulfate and will no longer work. I used one on my Gld Wing for the winter months and a battery would last me 5 years. (normally last 3 if you are lucky)

They are available at most auto parts stores, and I believe Walmart carries them too.
(Battery Tender is a brand name)
http://batterytender.com/
 

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Yes, it is just a solar cell bank that can be bought by the output size that you need. If it is usually sunny there, you could get by with a smaller cell pack. They have a diode to prevent backflow of voltage and otherwise provide a low level charge to the battery anytime the sun is up. Like a trickle charger they should not harm a battery.
Radio shack, Wal-Mart, and many others should have them, maybe in the marine / boating area. My son bought a diesel Jetta that had one with it from the factory that measured approx. 5 x 12 inches and it is enough to keep that larger battery charged if he parks it for a long time ( almost never ).
 

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Do a search for solar chargers. I paid 35 dollars for 2 of them. They can be wired to the battery and come with a long cord that also has a quick disconnect on them. Make sure you don't have anything plugged into the obd11 connector as this has power all the time and can kill a battery in a couple of days-mine did in 3 days.
 

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?

well he parks the car in the driveway, facing south into the house, so it wouldnt get a ton of sun. the three battery tender solar models provide 0.27, 0.54, and 0.83 amps of current. I'm wondering if these will provide enough winter current to make up for whatever draw the computer is when it's off. Do you know what that draw is? what do you think I should do, get one of these or?
 

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How far does he drive when he actually uses the car? Is it enough to ever actually put a good charge in the battery? I would think in a partially sunny area that far North in the winter, .83 might be the best bet.
 

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Well this week I installed battery #2 in my '08. I'll be the first to admit that mine is in the garage most of the time. I have 9k miles, but that is a series of 100 mile round trips to work, a couple 400 mile round trips to the dealer (in Knoxville) and one trip to Huntsville, not many local drives as I bought it to use when we retire in '13 and wanted it early to design the bed for our Kenworth tow rig. The first battery lasted 15 months and was stone dead. I thought I had it beat because I went to Sam's and bought an Optima AGM red top. At the time it was $139, plus tax. It seemed fine until earlier this year and once or twice it seemed a little weak - problem #1. So I bought a Battery Tender. I hate to leave electrical accessories on 24/7 so I would plug it in once in a while. That was problem #2. A couple weeks ago I was reading about towing smarts behind RV's and they mentioned battery disconnections that the factory recommends. So I went out and thought I'd try my car - it was stone dead - problem #3. I put the Battery Tender on and left it for a week. At the end of the week it was still stone dead - problem #4. Last Thursday I went to the Sam's I bought it at and they wanted the receipt to give me a prorated 29 month adjustment. I didn't have it, knew that they could check my card number and see the purchase, but they refused - that Sam's is off my list. Friday I went to my closer Sam's, wheeled the cart with the battery in and asked the guy to test it. He was more talk than action, but finally tested said it had less than 3 volts, but had to "take it out back to the big machine to do a complete test". After what seemed like forever I asked how long it would take and having looked around I didn't see Optima batteries on the shelf. He said they would bring it up and I asked - "you have one in stock, don't you?" Problem #5 - Sam's doesn't handle Optima anymore, but has this other brand substitute. I could see it was larger and the special ground cable I had made to reach the Optima would need to be remade and said - "have you ever seen a smart car, do you know where the battery goes". After a while he said he couldn't do anything and to take it to merchandise desk where they would give me an adjustment so I could buy one somewhere else. I went there, they said without paperwork they couldn't give me anything, so they called and then paged him three times. Finally he wandered up and verbally said to give me a full refund. That was better than I expected or deserved, but I got $153 back. Off to Advanced Auto where I bought a new Optima, but with tax I now spent $200. Today I was at CostCo where they had a red top for $129, but it looked like the last Optima so looks like the box stores have dropped them.

I installed the ground and the main B+ lead, it was obvious no current draw as there was no spark. But if I take the second B+ and touch it there is a pretty good spark and why this now has eaten two batteries. So now I am considering a constant duty solenoid to turn this off and on rather than a manual switch. I do wonder if anything (radio, computer, etc) will be damaged by leaving this off for months at a time? I know on my Detroit Diesel ECM, which is unhooked while I weld on the truck bed, it can be left for years because it has an internal battery. Does anyone know if this computer does?
 
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