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Discussion Starter #1
Hello , I am new to the club ...So Hi every one !


I parked the Smartie for the winter outside, (No, I did not read manual about the 14 day thing ) removed the 12v battery and put her to bed for the winter.


Spring came and I installed the 12v Battery



Now I have a problem : it will not charge, and will not get to " Ready " !
dealer is 3 hours away !
Charger test good ..all green lights on !
I also tried unplugging the hv by removing the Red plug under the drivers side kick panel and reinstalling it . ( near your left baby toe if you were sitting in drivers seat)....

the dash looks as shown in the pictures below


Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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I notice from the display (they only put the "snowflake" freezing temperature warning on Canadian cars for some reason) that you live in Canada. I hope you say "Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver or other relatively balmy place and not, say, Saskatoon (especially this winter). Because if you Smart was left parked all winter in the latter region, It does not look good at all (the prognosis is not so good if you are in the warmer parts too)

You must keep the Smart car plugged in for charging at all times when the temperature is below -20C (and preferably warmer) Seven days or more left unplugged at -25C or colder can ruin the lithium cells in the HV battery pack. But, by removing the 12V battery, you disabled all the car's systems required to turn on the HV battery pack heater and the battery heater itself (it runs off the 12V syatem) even if you had plugged it in. Yes, I know, in very cold climates, people sometimes bring their car batteries indoors in winter (although a fully charged Pb-acid battery won't freeze until -60C). You must NEVER do this in the case of a Smart in cold temperatures. If Siberia-level -60C temperatures are possible, keep the battery warm with a plumbing-type heater strip. But otherwise it will be OK.

And so (hopefully I'm wrong) the HV battery in your Smart ED is probably ruined. Unless the car is on warranty and you can cajole them to honor the warranty, this usually means the car is a write-off.

You are not to blame for this sorry situation - it is the way Mercedes Benz's treats the consumer like an idiot and does not provide the technical information needed for an owner who has never owned an EV to understand how the car must be cared for in all kinds of situations the MB engineers might not have thought about.(especially in a climate far colder than Stuttgart).

(But I'm still hoping a big "neverrrmind!" will be on order regarding this dire post.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info .... Do you know if the car should charge with the warnings or will it not charge due to battery condition ?


Thanks Bruce
 

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The software will decide if it is safe to charge or not. What is the current state of charge?


If the car is a 2013 to 2015 model (the older 451 ED, not the new Smart EQ) you can buy one of these from a forum member that will allow you to download the battery pack self-diagnostics onto a laptop from the cars OBD port.


A unit for use with the newer model is under development and might be finished by now. Contact him.


This should be far cheaper than taking it to a dealer 3 hour away.


https://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f170/battery-test-units-available-152680/
 

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While we'd be more than happy to supply one and interested to see the data download from this particular car, it's not likely that the BMS Diagnostics box is going to give a lot of illuminating information. Because of the way it works, it is very likely to report the results of the last battery self-diagnosis (prior to the car being parked for the winter) and may therefore provide a falsely hopeful/positive report of status. It would be interesting to see that data download, followed (unfortunately) by a dealer reset/re-enabling the battery, followed by a drive cycle and battery re-self-test, followed by a second data download to see any changes that happened to the battery over the winter period of disuse.

We'd be happy to offer a money back (you pay shipping both ways) offer as we do to everyone, but I doubt that it's really going to tell you very much (and we don't have the necessary undocumented codes that the Smart dealer may have to re-enable the battery charging system, should that be needed [this is based on the experience of another member from Jordan, IIRC]).

I don't want any forum members to end up disappointed.
 

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Thanks, Jim. I forgot about the self-diagnosis being from a previous charge cycle. However, how does the drivetrain control system know to disable the car due to battery pack problems if it does not get self-diagnostic data - such as just the current cell voltages?


There are a lot of things I'd still like to know how the Smart is set up to work. For example, I did some research looking at other EV owner forums and the cars with large packs (Tesla and Bolt) will turn their pack heaters on (while also charging the 12V battery) at low temperatures even unplugged, until the pack becomes nearly depleted. Tesla and GM also place their advisories to plug the car in in cold temperatures in obscure places in the owners manual - impossible to find in the index. The "must keep plugged in" in those car's cases is -30C. This may not be practical with the small pack in the Smart.


As far as discussions in the forums themselves it is hard to get much information simply because the vast majority of EVs at this point tend to be operated in areas with mild to moderate winters with just a smattering of owners in Ottawa or Quebec, but few in the really frigid-winter areas. There is a certainly some misinformation around - such as a claim that the best way to store a laptop battery long term is half-discharged in a freezer, so cold can only be good for an EV battery which, whether true or not, neglects to point out that -30C (-22F) is a lot colder than a typical home freezer.


But providing a free trial unit to Bruce is a great idea. I'll look forward to the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was going to buy one anyways , as I though the same thing (cheaper than dealer ) . I am sure I will not be disappointed .
I will gladly share all info gathered.



Here is My e-mail [email protected]



I could not find your personal e-mail to make the purchase, ( as noted in one of your post's ) So if you could e-mail me with what you need from me we can move forward on this .


Now for the big question ; If I purchase a OBD code reader that does Smart Electric will it be able to rest the codes so I can Charge the Car ?
 

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Unfortunately, while a OBD (MB STAR System) may be available for the ED, I don't know of anyone in this forum who has ever found or used one for the Smart ED.

It may not be as simple thing as resetting codes. If it is fault that protects a potentially dangerous battery pack (such as one that was discharged flat), you probably won't be able to do that.

What does your SOC gauge indicate?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SOC reads zero on the analog dial and just flashes / blinks with the scale showing full /empty depending on what flash it is on ...like turning a light on and off
 

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As an engineer, I'm not quite sure how to read the marketing material about leaving the battery too flat and too cold for too long. The 14-day warning is dire, but I suspect is more dire than is real as they're seeking simplicity and clarity over precision in a manual like that.

Here's the other thread from the member in Jordan who was asking about what to do with a totally flat traction battery. That didn't give a ton of information and he's not been back on the forum since then.

And another one with a member who has not been back since either.

If anyone does have access to the technical information on the OBD codes or CAN messages that the dealer tool uses to perform service actions on the Smart, my email is myfirstname at mylastname dotcom and I'll see if I can work them into the tool. As they say in Crimestoppers, "you can remain anonymous..." :D

In this particular case, if there is a protection mechanism that only the dealer can reset, you might be out of luck unless you can tow it (flatbed or rear wheels up) and even then, what do you do if you get to the dealer and they tell you the battery is irreversibly damaged? Now your car is 3 hours from home and it's even less convenient to plot your next steps.
 

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Bruce, What year model car is this? It is the old 451 or the new 453?

And Jim, my owners manual says 7 days at -25C will damage the battery. But yes, I'm sure they insert a degree of conservatism in that recommendation. Also, owners manual wording is heavily influenced by lawyers to protect then from claims...

As far as the engineering behind the temperature recommendations I've messed with off-the-shelf large lithium cells in my home-modded electric motorcycles, and the research I've read generally describes the electrolyte design (ethelyene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate propylene carbonate and ethyl-methyl carbonate) as a balancing act between best performance and a sufficiently low freezing point. As far as I know, the most common mix used in automotive Li-ion cells has a freezing point of not much lower than -30C. So there is probably not a lot of conservatism in the recommendation. Also, the actually discharge performance degrades significantly starting at -20C. The charging efficiency is even worse. As far as I know, all lithium cells still need to be at least 0C to charge at a usable rate. That is why battery heaters are an essential part of all EV's outside of warm-side-of-subtropical climates.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
model is 451 2014


The average outside temp( night time ) was -15c with two nights at -26 this was during Feb . the other months Dec , Jan where about -9 c night time average . I did not know about the battery heater Thanks ! When I get this thing up and running I will just drive it during the Winter and use the Trusty Subaru on bad Snowy Days...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well you all see what I am up against ... A 3 hour Gilligan Island tour ...then wait a couple of days for them to do their thing and then bring it home ! I would half to take a couple of days off work !


What does everyone think about towing the car, in Neutral, at a slow speed to get the "juices flowing " sort of like forced regen drive. I have heard of people doing this with Nissan Leaf to charge their battery when they ran out of range ?
I used to do this with my Honda insight ( use the ICE while sightly touching brake would force re gen drive into action and charge the battery)
 

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If you're going to do it, do it in drive, not neutral. Neutral is electrically disconnected between battery and motor.

I would guess that whatever Smart did to disable charging from the wall if the battery was totally flat, that they'd do the same to disable charging via regen and your plan won't work. (That's a guess, of course.)

If you do decide to do it (and whether I would or wouldn't would depend heavily on my mood that day), put a driver in the trailing ED, tow it forward in drive, and watch to see if you are getting any regen. If you do this, you want to regen extremely slowly, probably just enough to get the pack off of zero, and then switch to a wall-outlet charge.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My mood today is TRY it.... But it changes hourly ....We are on the same page , Regen slow and just enough so I could put it on charge , was my though as well .

Maybe I'll try this week as my options run out .
 

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I'm skeptical of the "tow start" myself.

But at least the winter temperatures were not too bad. The incursions below -25 were limited. I was afraid that you lived out west where last half of the winter was really brutal. I'm getting optimistic that the car can be brought back to life with a software reset.

Maybe you can find a mobile MB/Smart mechanic with a STAR syatem to come to you?

BTW, the Smart ED does well in snow with good winter tires. Its rear engine design with the battery pack pretty far to the rear too really helps the traction. With winter tires only on the rear wheels, it climbs my 20 percent sloping driveway on snow almost as well as the Subaru Outback does without winter tires. The range can be really lousy on colder winter days though - just half the summer range due to the battery pack heater heating such a small battery pack as well as the interior heater.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Good to know about the snow ! It came with a set of nice snowies , (front and back).
I will look for a local mb mech with a portable OBD / MBSTAR , but their is really only 2 shops in the area that deal with MB.
That said I my luck out !
 

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I hope you can get it running. The problem is, if the car's software detects some parameter (such as a temperature limit) it might "declare" the battery pack "dead" even to though it is still fine. The MB dealer service department will simply tell you: "the battery is dead and we can do nothing about it" - even if the battery cells themselves are physically fine.

There is an enormous amount of hyper-cautiousness around MB's treatment of the battery pack - it was designed as much by loss-prevention lawyers as engineers.

Is the battery diagnostic tool on the way from Jim S.?

- Paul D.
 

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Bruce - Jim and I both answered your private e-mail about the test unit. Just want to make sure you saw them.

Len
2014 EV Coupe 17,500 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 10,500 miles
 
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