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Well the mystery deepens - RCI have said that the vehicles are not charge locked so it seems like the black one has an issue which prevents charging but allows the car to drive. When I scan for errors it comes up with an inactive error of DF096 TRACTION BATTERY LOCK (among various others), which perhaps means it has been charge locked in the past but is not now??

I can only presume now that it is a technical issue with charging and not a charge lock, the fact that the car can move under its own power must help diagnose this, since charging uses most components, e.g. motor windings, etc but those must be fine.

There is an option to get some power into the battery pack to test the vehicle further - I can pretty cheaply buy a 357v dc power supply and put this across the battery. Its only 250w but would get the traction battery to about 50% (eventually) and mean that the vehicle can be fully tested. If I can't fix charging soon i'll attempt this, it may help narrow down what the issue is.

For now i'll go back to EV chap in Kent I think...
 

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Most certainly worth keeping an eye out for one with battered body that comes up cheaply even without a battery just for the spares to get both going and good again
 

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Hi, they go through coparts quite regularly, with a big smash and no battery (removed and sent back to Renault). I suspect the blue one will need major surgery from a damaged donor car, however 2 dead cars on the drive is enough for now (im not sure the wife could take it if another one turned up !)

I am working on the black one now as that seems to be the most healthy so hopefully I can identify exactly what has failed. Once that one is working i'll see what the blue one needs.

I have pulled off the active fault codes from the black car (this one "starts" and moves under its own power but wont charge) and sent them to my EV chap in Kent. The codes were all under EVC (basically the motor controller).

DF021 Charge Battery Interlocks.
DF018 Consistent multiplex signals fro CC/SL. The data supplied to the cruise control or speed limited are not correct.
DF126 Battery health status. Internal electronic fault.
DF113 Pulse Box. Signal incorrect.

Hopefully that means something to him!

Cheers.
 

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Could it be that an airbag deployment triggers the battery interlock?

My understanding was Renault would not allow a written off battery to be used in a Zoe due to concerns of safety, but it could be used in other forms such as stationary storage. DF126 does sound like the electronics in the battery could be damaged, which plays into Renault's fears.
 

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Is it possible that DF126 may also be a consequence of the battery having been sat in a fairly well discharged state for a time?

Nice to see someone tinkering and writing up what they find!
 

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Hi both,

The seller of the cars said the accident which wrote off the black one was minor - someone bashed the door and I believe fear of repair cost of a relatively early EV made the insurance company lean towards writing it off. If what he tells me is correct, the airbags didn't deploy and it was unlikely to cause issues inside the battery but I wont know for sure until I can pinpoint the issue.

The EV guy in Kent said the most interesting error is DF021 Charge Battery Interlocks

He advised to check the cable from charge point to the controller on top of the motor - looking at these charge points/cables on ebay there is a big orange cable with an orange connector at the motor end plus smaller black multiplug then at the charge point end there are 2 black plugs on either side of the charge point - i'll inspect these tonight.

I'm thinking this issue must be something fairly minor because the car works, just wont charge !

Thanks.
 

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"Charge battery interlocks" suggests something that can isolate the charger from the battery, perhaps? Sounds like it may be why the battery can't be charged.

Interesting thread, BTW, nice to read about someone digging around inside a popular EV and publicising what they find!
 

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Ok so a short update on this evenings work - the black car is fixed...

The EV guy in Kent said to check the cable/connectors between the charge point and motor controlller and he was basically spot on...

The cable and connectors looked ok but when I checked the charging point I thought the pins of the type 2 connector looked quite dirty. I put a baby wipe over a thin screwdriver and cleaned round all the pins - baby wipe came out black.

Plugged in the charger, it gave a message on the dash about making checks, then started to charge... unbelievable. So far it’s up to 11% and I’ve moved the car and plugged it in again and it seems to move and charge fine.

The dash still showed one of the generic Electrical Failure errors but I cleared the fault codes with my diagnostic reader and that has gone away.

I should probably double check for any active errors remaining but it’s too late now and the car works and all looks happy so that’s enough for tonight!

One more thing - can someone please take a picture of the clamp that holds the 12v battery in? The batteries on both cars have obviously been out before I got them and the clamp isn’t there. There are a few brackets in the boot of one car but I’ve got no idea if one of those is the battery clamps.

Thanks.
 

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Hi there,

I will probably keep the black one to replace my i-miev. I love driving the i-miev, it is really quirky, has plenty of torque for such a light car and its a real talking point but the range is very limited. The battery is 16kwh total (less than that usable) so the range is 45-55 miles which means we use it less than we could if it had more range. The Zoe being 22Kwh usable (26Kwh total) and better designed is double the range and can charge faster at home (i-miev is 3.6Kwh max AC or 47kwh max DC rapid).

I've attached some pictures in case anyone is interested - I set my type 2 to a slow charge rate as the battery had been discharged for a while, hence overnight it wasn't even half full but thats what I expected. Had a little drive this morning (on a private lane of course) and it all looks OK.

Time to order some new tyres, find a couple of missing bits and book an MOT !!!

Thanks.
 

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Ok so a short update on this evenings work - the black car is fixed...

The EV guy in Kent said to check the cable/connectors between the charge point and motor controlller and he was basically spot on...

The cable and connectors looked ok but when I checked the charging point I thought the pins of the type 2 connector looked quite dirty. I put a baby wipe over a thin screwdriver and cleaned round all the pins - baby wipe came out black.

Plugged in the charger, it gave a message on the dash about making checks, then started to charge... unbelievable. So far it’s up to 11% and I’ve moved the car and plugged it in again and it seems to move and charge fine.

The dash still showed one of the generic Electrical Failure errors but I cleared the fault codes with my diagnostic reader and that has gone away.

I should probably double check for any active errors remaining but it’s too late now and the car works and all looks happy so that’s enough for tonight!

One more thing - can someone please take a picture of the clamp that holds the 12v battery in? The batteries on both cars have obviously been out before I got them and the clamp isn’t there. There are a few brackets in the boot of one car but I’ve got no idea if one of those is the battery clamps.

Thanks.
Hello

Which diagnostic reader did you use?

thanks
 

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Hi all,

Other than wiggling cables literally all i've done is clean the pins in the charge point and they were filthy so im sure that was not helping. Charging seems reliable now. As the charging point is upward facing perhaps it collects dirt easier that others. The inside of the cars were filthy and the guy kindly left me half a wheelie bin of his crap in one boot as well so I guess it pays to keep your Zoe(s) clean !!

I used the icarsoft rt v1.0 - I used an icarsoft for the i-miev and it did the job, they seem to give you more specific errors than some other diagnostic readers - downside is one device doesnt cover all brands but I think thats fair enough, they have clearly spent time getting the diagnostics more specific.

My icarsoft rt v1.0 actually has an issue, it likes to restart itself after about 10 button presses - very annoying but I got the fault codes off in the end. It seems to do the job but must have some kind of issue - i've complained to the place I bought it.

While i'm waiting for tyres etc to arrive i'll pull the fault codes off the blue one, might as well try and work out what we've got there. That one doesnt drive or charge - it has about 50% battery charge but won't come to ready. I expect a lot more work will be required on that one.

Thanks
 

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Hi all,

So I’ve found that Charging is not always successful - from rechecking the connectors from the charge point there is one black one in the top middle of the “engine”, reseating this seems to make it happy to charge again. I’ll add a picture of this connector when I get a minute.

So we likely have a poor connection here also, I’ve not quite worked out if it’s the wire or connector or what, but it all looks ok. I may swap the charge port and wires from the blue car, to see if that issue goes away.

Thanks
 

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Fascinating. I didn't even know you could get write offs legally back on the road, seems it's a fairly common thing, learn something every day

Nice bargain there if it works reliably! And always nice to see people other than main dealers working on them, as that gives a bit of hope later on when extended warranties reach their maximum. Some of those internal parts sound horrendous to get to i.e. "pretty much disassemble whole front of car" for the couple of repairs I've had.
 

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Fascinating. I didn't even know you could get write offs legally back on the road, seems it's a fairly common thing, learn something every day
Yeah - depends on the category of writeoff: What is an insurance write-off? Your Guide to Cat A, B, S (C) & N (D) | RAC Drive
I had my car written off, bought it back from the insurance company, got it repaired to make it totally safe, leaving some minor cosmetic damage and drove it for another 4 years. The money the insurance company gave me was more than the cost of repairs + buying the car back so I was quids in. Just note that you then can't part-exchange the car and will struggle to sell it on again later, as the writoff will appear in any checks done, so its value is fairly low.
 
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