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The battery in my Smart is starting to die. Max is a 2011 and it's the original battery. Well once I got the car started of a morning it was fine for the rest of the day, as it was dying from the usual drain overnight. Well I had to "get by" for a couple of weeks until payday to buy a new battery . Most parts store wants $169to $175 with Napa being $111.:crying: Well it was remove the passenger side floor mat, pull up the carpet,unscrew the 2 retaining nuts and remove those with washers too,fight the styrofoam cover out of the footwell, then remove the red positive battery cover piece and connect a charger or a battery tender. Then the next morning reverse the whole procedure after starting the car. It got to be a real pain, not to mention the wear and tear on the styrofoam insert.
So I went to the garage and got me a couple of pieces of 12 gauge wire from an old wiring harness I had laying around, an old 20 amp circuit breaker, two aliigator clips, and a male/female 2 wire connector from the old wiring harness. I connected one wire to an alligator clip and connected it to the negative battery terminal. For the positive one I connected the circuit breaker to the alligator clip and then the other side of the circuit breaker I connected a red 12 gauge wire. Don't connect this hot wire to the battery until you are through with routing it or you'll have fireworks! I routed the wires from the battery behind the console, up past the gas pedal and out to the engine compartment through a large rubber grommet that beside the steering column in the firewall. I routed the wires just past the windshield washer fluid tank and connected the 2 wire male/female connector I salvaged from the old wiring harness. It doesn't matter which end of the connector you use to the battery wires, male or female end, but be sure you keep track of which wire is positive(red) or negative(black). To the free end of this connector I skined back the wire about 1/4" and soldered tinned the wires. Now when I want to charge the battery I just remove the service flap to it's holders, plug in my new connector and connect the alligator clips from my battery charger or battery tender to my tinned wires. Now be sure to not let the wires touch each other or ground out to metal on the car itself. I like to lay down a rag and put the connection to the charger on that. But this way you can charge your bettery and not have to tear the interior of the car up to get at the battery. When you're done just unhook your charger from the tinned wires, unplug your connector and store it in your glove box for the next time and re-install your service flap. Now you could substitute a fuse and fuse holder for the circuit breaker, but if you would accidently touch the hot wire to ground it will blow the fuse and you'll have to get back at the battery to replace the fuse. If you use the curcuit breaker it will break the circuit and then automatically reset itself in about a minute or so. Just be sure your circuit breaker is at the battery and not somewhere else down the line in the circuit because if the hot wire would get shorted it will smoke the wire, make lots of smoke and maybe catch your Smart on fire!>:D
Lonnie.
 

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Great idea but you may also want to change the battery with a high quality unit. These cars can get very confused on start-up if voltage drops below 9.6 V and will cause multiple OBD errors. This is not unique to smart, actually all cars with ECUs and CAN buses will exhibit the same issue.

Merry Christmas.
 

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I put jumper studs under the front bonnet I have a few pic in my gallery



I like the jumper studs and it's a great idea. I just don't have any room at all under my service flap because I squeezed a set of air horns and compressor under there.So the smallest option to me was using wire just big enough to carry maybe 12 to 20 amps from a battery charger in case I ran the battery dead. But I do like your idea better. Maybe later on I'll re-think my plan.
 

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Battery tenders come with pigtail harnesses to connect directly to the battery terminals and have a fool-proof plug. On my car, the pigtail from the battery comes out by the drink holders, on the passenger side. It is easy to connect the Battery Tender charge cord to this plug any time you think you need to. Of course this is only good for charge maintenance, not jumping. Smart should have put jumping studs up front, like SmartDigger did!
 

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Hey DreamCarOwner - not to change the subject but can you post the details of your air horn installation when you get a chance?
 

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Hey DreamCarOwner - not to change the subject but can you post the details of your air horn installation when you get a chance?
I'll try to get out to the driveway and get some pics later on today and try and post them this evening.
 

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Hey DreamCarOwner - not to change the subject but can you post the details of your air horn installation when you get a chance?
Here are pics of my simple air horn installation I did a while back. Now first off, there is no place to mount even tiny air horns like these from Harbor Freight unless you want to disassemble the front clip to hide them. I chose not to do that because if there is a problem with them I would again have to disassemble to repair, so my goal was accessibility.



The factory single horn is mounted low in the front between the center and the drivers side headlight. I connected the air compressor to a battery charger to see how many amps it pulled and was surprised it was in the 25 to 30 amp range, so you can't just hook it to the original horn wire because it draws too much. But what I did do was use the original wire to the horn to trigger the relay. Then to power the horns through the relay I used a 30 amp curcuit breaker and 10 gauge wire and connected the circuit breaker right to the positive battery terminal.



Now I used cheap strapping with the holes in it that you can get at any hardware store.I drilled into the air duct edge on the lip to mount one end of the straps using 1/4 bolt and nut that was about an inch long. The smaller horn just fit nicely where I mounted it. Now the larger horn has to set at an angle so that you can still get to the master cylinder for filling. I was able to double brace the larger horn by removing one of the existing cowl bolts and use it, and just use a zip tie on the other end to the horn.



The conpressor fit nicely beside the windshield washer tank and I used a small 90 degree L bracket to mount it. You can see where I mounted the relay by the radiator fill tank. I opted to solder connections instead of using spade connectors. The open plug between the windshield washer tank and radiator fill tank is the connector for the battery tender.
 

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2011 with a bad battery? you might have some phantom current draw. my battery is 2009 and is fine and i live in a colder climate (chicago area).
 

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I put a Deltran Battery Tender on my Smart too.
I cut the spade lugs that connect to the battery into a "C" shape, using a Dremel cutoff wheel.
Once installed, I can use any one of their charging or tender devices on my Smart...
I use this...
022-0150-DL-WH

Note that if the voltage is below 3 volts, the amber light starts blinking, and you need to find a new battery...
 

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I know the Smart has a pretty hefty battery draw. I've been procrastination about connecting an amp gauge inline to the battery to just see how many amps or milliamps it is drawing out of the battery when not running. Now I am guilty of a few things. I added a barrage of LED's to the dome light circuit. I put a 9 LED bulb in the dome light, 4 in the cargo area, 6 outside under the car(more on that in another story), two on the doors, one on the ignition switch and 2 in each footwell. I figured that's alot, but comparing how much the original bulb draws compared to the tiny bit each LED draws I thought it was okay. 26 LEDs total is probably over what the incadescent bulb draws. I live in the country and when it gets dark it's dark, and where I park "Max" when he is outside it is dark. I walk with a cane and it sure is nice to hit the unlock button and have the area "around" the car light up to get to and from it. But I was concerned with the phantom glow of the LED's since they glow with the 4 or 5 volts that the SAM allows in the dome light circuit even when it's off. But we talked about this in another post. The incadescent bulb recieves the same voltage, but 4 or 5 volts isn't enough to light the bulb, but it will light the led's slightly. Then of course the SAM itself draws power always listening for a signal from your FOB.I'm sure the radio draws a little because it will turn on for a period of time without the key being on. Then I added a rear view mirror backup up camera (yes it's crazy on a smart, but I can't turn around enough to see to back up properly) and it is connected to power all the time which I presume is miniscule. Then the pod clock runs all the time and draws a little. But I have loaded on the options and I need to go down and check the total draw. Even if it totals 2 or 3 amps total the battery should last a couple of days without running the battery dead. I could see it going dead in a month of sitting or even maybe 3 weeks but I really think the battery is losing capacity because even after I drive it to town it still turns over slowly and struggles. It just a case of me checking battery voltages to pinpoint whether it's my negligence of too much battery draw (LEDS and phantom glow) or a failing battery. You will notice that if you try to start your Smart with a low battery and you have the door open, the SAM instantly turns your dome light off to try and help the situation. But you know Max smiles whether his battery is dead or not and the computer stores a code when the battery dies. There's no escape from technology!
 

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I know the Smart has a pretty hefty battery draw. I've been procrastination about connecting an amp gauge inline to the battery to just see how many amps or milliamps it is drawing out of the battery when not running. Now I am guilty of a few things. I added a barrage of LED's to the dome light circuit. I put a 9 LED bulb in the dome light, 4 in the cargo area, 6 outside under the car(more on that in another story), two on the doors, one on the ignition switch and 2 in each footwell. I figured that's alot, but comparing how much the original bulb draws compared to the tiny bit each LED draws I thought it was okay. 26 LEDs total is probably over what the incadescent bulb draws. I live in the country and when it gets dark it's dark, and where I park "Max" when he is outside it is dark. I walk with a cane and it sure is nice to hit the unlock button and have the area "around" the car light up to get to and from it. But I was concerned with the phantom glow of the LED's since they glow with the 4 or 5 volts that the SAM allows in the dome light circuit even when it's off. But we talked about this in another post. The incadescent bulb recieves the same voltage, but 4 or 5 volts isn't enough to light the bulb, but it will light the led's slightly. Then of course the SAM itself draws power always listening for a signal from your FOB.I'm sure the radio draws a little because it will turn on for a period of time without the key being on. Then I added a rear view mirror backup up camera (yes it's crazy on a smart, but I can't turn around enough to see to back up properly) and it is connected to power all the time which I presume is miniscule. Then the pod clock runs all the time and draws a little. But I have loaded on the options and I need to go down and check the total draw. Even if it totals 2 or 3 amps total the battery should last a couple of days without running the battery dead. I could see it going dead in a month of sitting or even maybe 3 weeks but I really think the battery is losing capacity because even after I drive it to town it still turns over slowly and struggles. It just a case of me checking battery voltages to pinpoint whether it's my negligence of too much battery draw (LEDS and phantom glow) or a failing battery. You will notice that if you try to start your Smart with a low battery and you have the door open, the SAM instantly turns your dome light off to try and help the situation. But you know Max smiles whether his battery is dead or not and the computer stores a code when the battery dies. There's no escape from technology!
Yikes! I don't know where to start.

I don't know where you got the 4 or 5 volts on the dome light circuit. There should be no current flowing until the circuit is grounded by the SAM or a door switch. If you lights are glowing then something is wrong.

The battery draw on the car after all modules are in sleep mode should be no more than 40 milli-amps on non-alarm vehicles and no more than 50 milli-amps on vehicles with the factory alarm system. It should take about 6 minutes to put all modules in sleep mode after everything is powered down the the open doors locked with the dash locking switch.

Oh, and while you are at it, how about insulating those wires under the front access panel that are riding against the sharp edge of the metal horn bracket. I find that electrically offensive, but I'll get over it. :D
 

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Yikes! I don't know where to start.

I don't know where you got the 4 or 5 volts on the dome light circuit. There should be no current flowing until the circuit is grounded by the SAM or a door switch. If you lights are glowing then something is wrong.

The battery draw on the car after all modules are in sleep mode should be no more than 40 milli-amps on non-alarm vehicles and no more than 50 milli-amps on vehicles with the factory alarm system. It should take about 6 minutes to put all modules in sleep mode after everything is powered down the the open doors locked with the dash locking switch.

Oh, and while you are at it, how about insulating those wires under the front access panel that are riding against the sharp edge of the metal horn bracket. I find that electrically offensive, but I'll get over it. :D
Rusted Wrench my assumption of there being 4 to 5 volts active in the dome light circuit comes from an SCOA post. It says:

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Jim - I made some measurements myself and I think I now know what your measurements were:
Off voltage at lamp terminals with lamp removed: 12V.
Off voltage at lamp terminals with lamp in place: 4.94V.
Off current with lamp removed: 0.16mA.

I'm guessing you measured the on current by turning the light off and putting your current probes (low resistance shunt) on the center switch contact and one of the outside conductors on the dome frame.

In the case of the incandescent bulb, the off current I measure is close to yours at 0.143mA; the on current is beyond the 200mA scale of my cheap multimeter.


And this other post on the dome light circuit from a later SCOA post:
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solder a 20 ohm 5W resistor across the socket to load the leakage and it'll go out. stuff it up in there somewhere but don't let it short to ground, of course.

The LEDs are a virtual open until there's about 2.1V across them. Any leakage over that will make them glow. Obviously, our series switching transistor has the wrong bias or is so cheap it leaks....


It wasn't my intent to mislead anybody. I haven't checked it out for myself yet, but I intend to because I'm curious. My take on it is that you can wire a resistor acrossed the circuit and stop the glow, but the voltage leak is still gonna be there because it is from the electronic switching of the SAM which is triggered by the door switches which do ground out the circuit if I understand it right. Like this post.........

Old 06-16-2011, 08:23 AM
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Garage
Smartdigger is correct. The interior light on the smart is negative switched. Since it is controlled by the SAM, there isn't a physical "switch" or relay to turn it off, it's done via a solid state circuit. There is a slight amount of voltage bleed across the circuit. This is what is causing your LED to glow. I had this trouble with the original LED I used in mine I switched to one here: Super Bright LEDs ? Festoon Light Bulbs . Look for part number 3710-CWHP6. It is a festoon type light mounted to a circuit board that prevents this from happening. Been using mine for almost 3 years, and it never glows.
Hope this helps.


I've tried to research the heck out of this because I know it's an issue with Smart dome lights and the LED's. I'm sure that you are correct that the systems go to sleep after a few minutes, but my dome circuit glows all night long and that current will still be flowing whether I have an incadescent bulb in there or LED's. And I would guess that it doesn't matter if I have 1 LED or 100 LED's that current is still there flowing. So my bottom line was that it was draining the battery in the dome circuit since the car was new and I added LED's and ran it for months with no problem and now that the weather has gotten cold I suspect the battery is failing.
And by the way thanks for alerting me to thise wires rubbing on my horn bracket. I will certainly fix that, I never even caught that. I must be getting OLD and CARELESS ! Thanks Rusted Wrench
 

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Rusted Wrench my assumption of there being 4 to 5 volts active in the dome light circuit comes from an SCOA post.
Aw, you can't believe anything written on this forum. :D


I've tried to research the heck out of this because I know it's an issue with Smart dome lights and the LED's. I'm sure that you are correct that the systems go to sleep after a few minutes, but my dome circuit glows all night long and that current will still be flowing whether I have an incadescent bulb in there or LED's. And I would guess that it doesn't matter if I have 1 LED or 100 LED's that current is still there flowing. So my bottom line was that it was draining the battery in the dome circuit since the car was new and I added LED's and ran it for months with no problem and now that the weather has gotten cold I suspect the battery is failing.
And by the way thanks for alerting me to thise wires rubbing on my horn bracket. I will certainly fix that, I never even caught that. I must be getting OLD and CARELESS ! Thanks Rusted Wrench
I suspect the readings posted are on cars with added farkles or faulty whatits. On my car the voltage across the incandescent bulb is 0.03 milli-volts at rest. The current in series with the bulb is 0.15 milli-amps at rest.

If you add more lights of any kind in parallel with the dome light you are lowering the resistance of the circuit. Lower resistance means increased current flow. That is what Mr. Ohm wrote in his law and I believe him. The increased current flow is probably causing the switching device in the SAM to conduct and you get a larger voltage drop across the dome light circuit because more current is flowing. That is why they call it electrickery.

Just thinking out loud here. I could be full of sludge. And yet, my car works fine. :burnout:
 

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I don't know where you got the 4 or 5 volts on the dome light circuit. There should be no current flowing until the circuit is grounded by the SAM or a door switch. If you lights are glowing then something is wrong.
The OP said his LED lights are glowing. That's pretty common with LED lights that are being driven from electronic switches like those in the SAM (like FET's) as the leakage is enough to make an LED (but not an incandescent) bulb glow. My LED dome light glows enough to be plainly visible in the dark, but not noticeably in even a little light.

I agree that if your incandescent bulb is glowing when "off", you've got a problem.
 

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Thank you Rusted wrench for your input, you are right. I am mystified about it yet. I was having trouble with it starting even after sitting overnight. So I slow charged the battery for a day and a half and it started but still slowly. At night I put a 2 amp charger on it so it would start the next day, and for the rest of the day it started okay but I could tell it was rolling over slower than usual. Well over christmas break I didn't drive it. It just sat for 5 days. Well today I got the garage cleaned out from my trailer building project so I went to it and I was sure the battery was dead. I took the service flap off to access my battery wires I had installed and just for ****s and giggles I hit the fob to unlock the door and it unlocked and the lights flashed brightly. I got in and hit the key and it started up just like always. I'm pissed because I just bought a new battery for it, just hadn't got it in yet. Go figure. Gremlins? Supernatural phenomenom? Stupidity? (I've got that covered). But I'm gonna drop the engine down and pull the head to have the machine shop put new valves and guides in it, so I might as well put in that new battery and give my old worn out 36,000 mile Smart some new life. I'm gonna documnent and take video and pictures and figure out questions we have like how many hose clamps are on the hoses to the heater core and radiator, you know important stuff like that ! I'm sure before I'm done I'll be asking you questions. You're my go to mechanic! Thanks for all your help ! Lonnie.
 

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Here are pics of my simple air horn installation I did a while back. Now first off, there is no place to mount even tiny air horns like these from Harbor Freight unless you want to disassemble the front clip to hide them. I chose not to do that because if there is a problem with them I would again have to disassemble to repair, so my goal was accessibility.



The factory single horn is mounted low in the front between the center and the drivers side headlight. I connected the air compressor to a battery charger to see how many amps it pulled and was surprised it was in the 25 to 30 amp range, so you can't just hook it to the original horn wire because it draws too much. But what I did do was use the original wire to the horn to trigger the relay. Then to power the horns through the relay I used a 30 amp curcuit breaker and 10 gauge wire and connected the circuit breaker right to the positive battery terminal.



Now I used cheap strapping with the holes in it that you can get at any hardware store.I drilled into the air duct edge on the lip to mount one end of the straps using 1/4 bolt and nut that was about an inch long. The smaller horn just fit nicely where I mounted it. Now the larger horn has to set at an angle so that you can still get to the master cylinder for filling. I was able to double brace the larger horn by removing one of the existing cowl bolts and use it, and just use a zip tie on the other end to the horn.



The conpressor fit nicely beside the windshield washer tank and I used a small 90 degree L bracket to mount it. You can see where I mounted the relay by the radiator fill tank. I opted to solder connections instead of using spade connectors. The open plug between the windshield washer tank and radiator fill tank is the connector for the battery tender.
DreamCarOwner - thanks for posting this information - very helpful. I was looking at the compact electric horns but had the very concern you mentioned - but I was also wondering the feasibility of mounting horns in that tight space. You did an awesome job with the organization! Many thanks!
 

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Battery tenders come with pigtail harnesses to connect directly to the battery terminals and have a fool-proof plug. On my car, the pigtail from the battery comes out by the drink holders, on the passenger side. It is easy to connect the Battery Tender charge cord to this plug any time you think you need to. Of course this is only good for charge maintenance, not jumping. Smart should have put jumping studs up front, like SmartDigger did!
I use this too except mine BARELY sticks out the right side carpet near the passenger door. I have to use caution to carefully connect the Schumacher maintainer, (which included this pigtail, purchased from Walmart for about $20), otherwise the connector might slip under the carpet. I don't think mine came with a cap. No issues so far with shorting...

I leave a slight opening of the passenger window to run the cord. (Probably best to do this indoors or covered...)
 

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You can buy a cheap battery tender at Harbor Freight. Alot of the time they are on sale for $5-$7. I have two for the motorhome(engine & coach batteries), one for the boat,one for the four wheeler, one for the riding lawn mower and now one for the smart. They work well and are reliable. But the drawback is they come with alligator type clamps on then like a small battery charger does.

So I elected to remove the clamps and solder on a connector. I really like the posts that SmartDigger added to his Smart. If I had done that I could connect the battery tender AND use the jump start box if I needed it. I guess if the battery was low and not dead I could just push start it because I do live on a hill. I used to have a 1966 Rambler classic that was an automatic and you could push start it because it had a rear pump in the transmission. I know our tranny is a little slow shifting, but we have the best of both worlds, manual gears and a clutch versus a torque converter for fuel economy and still shift itself if you're lazy, not in the mood, or don't know how to shift. Heck as little as the engine is they could've just put a compression release on it and put a kickstarter on it that folds out from under the rear bumper.
 
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