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johnH
hi folks,

i was wondering if you can help, i did a search but didn't yield much of a reply etc.

anyways i started the car on sunday morning and got the red battery light on the dash. looked in the owners manual and it says "ignition warning" get the car to a specialist.

well common sense kicked in and went into the diagnotic on the trip and looked at the battery voltage. straight after idle it says 11.6 ( i know it should be 12v) but when i drive it goes up to 13.4v and when i stop it idles at 12.6v

i managed to drive from whitby to darlington, do a few short runs then to gateshead and same on way back to whitby...the lights were on and so was the heaters and radio. no change to voltage when driving (13.4v)...

to me this rules out alternator. but i've been looking and got thinking about the little red wire that goes to the ecu? am i looking at the right place or shall i think battery is dieing?

p.s this light stays on, even before starting the car (normal)

thanks in advance folks.
H3lly
If you look at your battery there is a round hole on the top. If the battery is good it will be green, if bad red.
johnH
cheers for that... i will have a look over the next few days as i am at work and go to work whens its dark and leave when its dark with no chance of any daylight. will post up with results...

thanks again
johnH
ok i've just been out and had a look and took a multimeter with me. i could not find this little window you mentioned anywhere on the battery, nothing to lift to check apart from a carry handle...must be a budget "pain in rear end" one!

anyways on connecting the multimeter, the car sat overnight, with nothing on the battery sat at 11.9v-12v.

turned the car on the voltage dropped to 11.86v, revved it to 2000rpm, stopped revving checked again voltage now says 13.46v.

this to me shows the alternator is fine, that and the fact i managed to cover over 150miles, with lights, radio and heaters) goes to show the car is "living" of the alternator when driving. so its down to the harness or battery.

from deductive reasoning i would say its the battery, as the light comes on and stays on when turning the key to start the car. that and it has had a hard few months.

1) more than likely sat idle at a dealership for a few months being cranked to test engine every now and again.
2) sat for 11 hours straight, with hazards blinking, started first time though...in minus temps when the snow hit the moors and i had to abandon it.
3) i drained the battery flat when trying to start the car after a fuel filter replacement, had a few long runs since then to try and charge it back.

would you guys say the same? time to change battery?

thanks
H3lly
Have you checked the battery terminals for gunk, grime etc? might be worth cleaning them off and rubbing some sandpaper over them till the clean and shinny. The earth point for the battery might need cleaning too. If none of that helps maybe it's an intermittent weak cell in the battery.

This is the battery indicator thing I mentioned.
[img]http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TFH/Step-By-Step/FH03SEP_CARBAT_09.JPG[/img]
Here is a good guide on looking after the battery: [url="http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Car---Truck/Car-Maintenance/car-battery-care/Step-By-Step#step1"]link[/url].
johnH
thanks for the speedy reply...

the terminals are clean, no white powder to show a leak and no corrosion...they look relatively new, and so do the connections for the car.

also thanks for the pic, but nope it definately doesnt have one of those windows. will have a look at the link posted.

cheers again.
jeebowhite
Hi John,

Change the battery! sooner rather than later...

Once you flatten a battery, you tend to upset the acid levels inside, and then you get issues like this. Although the battery is giving correct output, the acid levels / holding current of the cells in the battery are likely to be reduced. the error may just be the battery whinging that its not healthy, hence your ability to drive with all electrics on and still plenty of life.

If im right, I think car batteries tend to have a resiliance built into them that indicates if the battery loses below a certain level of "health" then it warns you in the way you experience. I dont know what the tolerance is, I have always believed it to be 35% health remaining, but there is no evidence of that...

Change the battery, its worth the piece of mind... Even if you get a Halfords or Europarts battery, it may not have the happy healthy window, but for £94 from halfords my car is running like a dream, and I am laughing at Fords quote of £284 for an OEM one...
johnH
thanks jee...yeah i am going to get myself to a halfords, this monday (payday for forces). going to get myself a heavy duty one (link below). not going to be using the car until saturday morning, to get home where it will wait for a battery.

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_780251_langId_-1_categoryId_165762

i will let you know how it gets on. 284!!!!! if they said that to me, they will just get the dial tone haha.
artscot79
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1298388369' post='115319']
thanks jee...yeah i am going to get myself to a halfords, this monday (payday for forces). going to get myself a heavy duty one (link below). not going to be using the car until saturday morning, to get home where it will wait for a battery.

[url="http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_780251_langId_-1_categoryId_165762"]http://www.halfords....tegoryId_165762[/url]

i will let you know how it gets on. £284!!!!! if they said that to me, they will just get the dial tone haha.
[/quote]

if its not a silver calcium or double calcium battery its likely fried and has dead cells bosch one seems fine as long as its double calcium or silver calcium its fine sounds to me like the cells are faulty perhaps 1 or 2 of them
johnH
thanks artscot, thats 3 users that have said its battery and its got me sold....apparently the silver bosch batteries use silver calcium, so it should be ok, there are plenty of reviews saying they used it in a ford focus and its brilliant.

thanks for you advice folks, i will keep you posted and hopefully this will help others in future.
johnH
info on silver battery range for those interested:
http://www.boschautoparts.co.uk/pfDeta.asp?id=104
jeebowhite
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1298388369' post='115319']
thanks jee...yeah i am going to get myself to a halfords, this monday (payday for forces). going to get myself a heavy duty one (link below). not going to be using the car until saturday morning, to get home where it will wait for a battery.

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_780251_langId_-1_categoryId_165762

i will let you know how it gets on. 284!!!!! if they said that to me, they will just get the dial tone haha.
[/quote]

I was going to get that battery but they were out of stock, Since I needed the car there and then I got the 94.00 one.

As for your comment on the dialtone, they got a laugh first, and then they got the dial tone...

Its a common problem on used cars, the batteries tend to last 3-5 years on average! there just isnt anything else in the power cycle that would cause the battery light to come on, its either battery or alternator in my experience!

As I have said before, even if its not the battery, its damn worth replacing it and keeping the old as a spare, but im pretty confident you replacing it will make the car smile and it will be happy again :)
johnH
well the car is 4 years old coming up 5 so it would make sense, from what you said and what sites say about the 5 year lifecycle and the general fault seems to indicate battery...but as you said cant harm to replace it. atleast its simple things and relatively cheap and easy.
IMW
Is the ECU capable of detecting a failing battery and raising an error code?
artscot79
[quote name='IMW' timestamp='1298415535' post='115426']
Is the ECU capable of detecting a failing battery and raising an error code?
[/quote]

if its a faulty cell then no it wont show a code you just get the battery light coming on for no reason most garages will check it free of charge anyway but a tell tale sign can be the voltage drops when charging since you should see 14.4-14.9 volts on the dash display with no load with load it should drop and when you accelerate it should rise ive noticed with a fair few faulty batteries it wont rise above a set limit
Dan62

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johnH
hi, thanks for the reponses. i was thinking it could of been either battery, alternator or the harnesses for the smart charge (apparently its common).

but i figured if the alternator on the car is knackered, i wouldnt of been able to cover that amount of miles without the car stalling out due to loss of electrical power.

i also figured that the alternator would not of compensated for the loss of voltage, if the smart charge system was faulty.

and from deductive reasoning it leaves battery. it also makes sense to say the battery as when you turn the ignition to position 2, the battery light comes on (normal), turn it position 3 to start engine and it stays on without flickering etc (not normal).

i hope that makes sense
Dan62

\

johnH
i'd agree with you on that one - "technology is great until it goes wrong"

well its as quite a few people have said, it wont harm to change the battery. and i always find its the simple things that need rectifying which normally sorts the complicated out.

if it turns out its not the battery then, a harness from ford for the smart charge is apparently around 30. if that doesn't work, then its alternator but in the mean time of buying a new battery and harness im possibly being a little proactive in preventing a fault from occuring, if that makes sense haha. sure im spending money but atleast its not the 150 for a new alternator straight off haha
jeebowhite
The ford alternators are a sham! mine died after only 47000, my father in law had racked up nearly 80000 before his went, but yes, the smart charge is a very common failure, apparently if that goes it can wipe out a lot of the powerboard. When I asked about the battery at Ford, and asked what else it could be, he said the Gem board(?) could be taken out if the smart charge fails, and the bill could rack nearly £500...

a £94 battery fixed it - Ha!

Moral of the story... dont let Ford try to diagnose over the phone as they will ensure you have kittens!
johnH
hahah i think thats the same for all dealers lol i know for a fact peugeot will say we will need 90 just to diagnose it....blah blah blah. and while its there claim that there is something seriously wrong with the car, when there isnt...money grabbing *insert word here* lol
johnH
just had it to a garage who did a free check for me, apparently the light will not come on if it was the battery. but they suspect the alternator as they tested it and it appears when you rev the engine the alternator frees itself and acts normal...so it sounds like a new alternator...why does this have to be so awkward....
artscot79
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1298555698' post='115669']
just had it to a garage who did a free check for me, apparently the light will not come on if it was the battery. but they suspect the alternator as they tested it and it appears when you rev the engine the alternator frees itself and acts normal...so it sounds like a new alternator...why does this have to be so awkward....
[/quote]

dont understand what they mean by free itself the alternator when under electrical load will show a lower voltage ie 13.5v when you rev the car it should increase up to say 14.4-14.9v with no electrical load it should read 14.4v -14.9v smart charge charges the battery at a higher voltage based on lots of issues the voltage with a high load on sitting idling will not jump up to 14.4 on its own as the alternator is not spinning fast enough so accelerating spins it faster and it charges ide look for a second opinion particularly if its not a ford garage as most garages dont know anything about smart charge the light doesnt come on if its the battery but can give a flicker showing a low voltage as its not charging fully with a faulty cel. the alternator voltage should be 14.4-14.9 with no load mate so if as you say its 13.4v all the time then summats wrong with the alternator
johnH
thanks, yeah it was a small garage just outside of whitby but know there stuff, been recommended loads around here... im still thinking battery to be honest with you... i couldnt check the load bit as i was by myself. but im going to get a battery anyways to see if that helps and if it works...bonus..if not alternator it is...just hoping it isnt haha

how much do ford charge nowadays for a full diag on this?

thanks again
jeebowhite
when my alternator went, it was a 60 diagnostics fee, and then about 360 for the new alternator, and fitting!
johnH
oh! i think i will just go and get diagnosed by them for 60, see what they offer me in terms of new alternator (if its that) and fitting....if its that much i will just buy a new myself and fit it myself. goes to show that dealerships are in fact should be called stealership daylight robbery...

i was told that i can have the alternator refurbished for 90. this was over the phone...is this a good idea?
jeebowhite
Refurbished over the phone, theres a new one ;) sounds like they may hold up a video call and talk you through it! lol

I probably wouldnt get it refurbed unless you get a guarantee with it, but overall, you may as well go and buy one from a scrappy instead of refurbing it, probably cheaper in fact and you could get it for a car with less age / miles!
johnH
haha sorry i meant they told me over the phone that the unit can have a chance of being refurbed. i was doing a lot of reading regarding the ford smart charge last night. found some piccys of the harness being corroded etc and the random faults that causes. so im going to take the harness out and do some further tests to see if its bodged. i also read that the battery having faults could also cause this fault as it is part of the smart charge system (obviously) and as it is because the light stays on people on the ford transit forum say battery.

i have a elm327 coming, might hook that up and see what that says...if anything.
johnH
sorry to be a pain the behind...but ive done some reading up.

it appears if it was a harness fault, the light would go off and come back on after 20-30secs and would be intermittant at times.

if it was the alternator i strongly beleive that the car would of died by now and not being able to cover over 300 miles now.

so that leaves the battery...does that sound reasonable or am i blowing smoke.

i was reading somewhere that when i was doing the tests with the multimeter i saw the voltage which did look low, but apparently the car loves amps, so when i got my results they were practically not good enough ie. good voltage pants amps. is this true?
jeebowhite
Could be the case, if the acid in the battery is "damaged" for lack of a better word (i.e. if it has been flattened, or is aged) then it wont be as healthy as in its younger years. If I remember right from my schooling days, Voltage is the current, and the speed at which it moves, the ampage is the "oomph" behind it.

Either way, I think you can safely rule out the alternator. Other than that, I would suggest if you dont want to dive into buying a battery, swap it with a friends, see if there foco starts to get the errors and yours behaves!

Im 99.9% confident that when you buy a new battery, your foco will be happy once again!
johnH
you were right about my fuel filter in the past and on other faults ive read up on so i have no reason to doubt you jee....top dog. going to get a battery regardless on monday morn and will let you know...

thanks again for all the advice folks.
jeebowhite
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1298754078' post='116011']
you were right about my fuel filter in the past and on other faults ive read up on so i have no reason to doubt you jee....top dog. going to get a battery regardless on monday morn and will let you know...

thanks again for all the advice folks.
[/quote]

Yikes! keeping fingers crossed I don't disappoint ;)
johnH
fitted new battery but....the light stayed on....going to take it for a long run, just to make sure the battery is fully charged. but in the mean time i have ordered a new alternator for 126 and should be delivered tomorrow.

if the light goes off, ill send the alternator back, unopened to the retailer and will get a refund. will also check the smart charge wires to make sure they are ok, before fitting the new alternator.

im going to be damned if its one of those things where the dealer needs to reset the system!
artscot79
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1298891138' post='116259']
fitted new battery but....the light stayed on....going to take it for a long run, just to make sure the battery is fully charged. but in the mean time i have ordered a new alternator for 126 and should be delivered tomorrow.

if the light goes off, ill send the alternator back, unopened to the retailer and will get a refund. will also check the smart charge wires to make sure they are ok, before fitting the new alternator.

im going to be damned if its one of those things where the dealer needs to reset the system!
[/quote]

if it was the battery then it will take say 10 starts of the engine with a good battery before the light goes out
johnH
ah cool, ill keep a look out...cheers artscot.
jeebowhite
Not seen that before, but will be very disappointed in myself if its not the battery! fingers crossed it is just a run in period it needs...
johnH
battery light has stayed on and i have a load of runs....the life of being a techy on 24./7 call, took it to auto electrician who said its the alternator... got my self a brand new alternator for 126 (80 for alternator, delivery and tax included). im going to go for it and install it over the next few days...im wondering if anyone will be interested in a noddy guide (with pictures) on how to do this for future ref?
jeebowhite
Guides are always helpful! and it will save a lot of wondering later for anyone else! I could have done with this about 6 months ago!
artscot79
[quote name='jeebowhite' timestamp='1299161755' post='116728']
Guides are always helpful! and it will save a lot of wondering later for anyone else! I could have done with this about 6 months ago!
[/quote]

rather dissapointed also it was the alternator on the up side the battery would likely be knackered with a faulty cell anyway if not i suppose you have a spare and pics are always good mate
johnH
right i looked at it and figured to the hell with it...phoned up the local garage and they fitted the alternator for 30 and gave me the old...

but guess what?





the light remains on. they had a look and claimed it was the main harness but just advised me to take it to dealer as they could do the work and it may not do anything, very honest of him. this is becoming a major pain in the arse.

so well this sums it up its the harness!!!!!! has to be!!!

i check the resistance of the red wire only, only had time for that before i went to work, by disconnecting the harness from the alternator and removing, if i remember correctly, fuse 31 and checked resistance. resistance showing 00.06, which is good, wire is ok...

this, from reading other forums (transit and connect) the blue wire from alternator to ecu, is well the bad boy. so on sunday afters, going to get it up on the ramps disconnect the harness and carry out resistance checks on all, and visually check them and re-wire as nessessary.

another note i did ring ford, jennings ford, asked how much a diagnosis is....85 with VAT (102!!!!!!) i swiftly put phone down! why pay someone to tell me what is wrong, what i already know, and to do a job i can do?!?

sorry for not being able to get a guide for the alternator, but i can possibly get a noddy guide for checking the resistance and rectifying issues with the harness. anything that helps others, i say.
artscot79
[quote name='johnH' timestamp='1299272128' post='116930']
right i looked at it and figured to the hell with it...phoned up the local garage and they fitted the alternator for 30 and gave me the old...

but guess what?





the light remains on. they had a look and claimed it was the main harness but just advised me to take it to dealer as they could do the work and it may not do anything, very honest of him. this is becoming a major pain in the arse.

so well this sums it up its the harness!!!!!! has to be!!!

i check the resistance of the red wire only, only had time for that before i went to work, by disconnecting the harness from the alternator and removing, if i remember correctly, fuse 31 and checked resistance. resistance showing 00.06, which is good, wire is ok...

this, from reading other forums (transit and connect) the blue wire from alternator to ecu, is well the bad boy. so on sunday afters, going to get it up on the ramps disconnect the harness and carry out resistance checks on all, and visually check them and re-wire as nessessary.

another note i did ring ford, jennings ford, asked how much a diagnosis is....85 with VAT (102!!!!!!) i swiftly put phone down! why pay someone to tell me what is wrong, what i already know, and to do a job i can do?!?

sorry for not being able to get a guide for the alternator, but i can possibly get a noddy guide for checking the resistance and rectifying issues with the harness. anything that helps others, i say.
[/quote]

my local ford is 70 inc vat for a diagnostics jennings are extortionate for many things so its the smart charge harness thats causing the issues
johnH
just out of curiosity are arnold clarke any better?
johnH
Checked the harness again from the alternator right the way to the point the main harness goes down to the passenger front wheel, no breaks and good resistance. This leaves me to believe that the fault may have to be cleared from ford before the light goes out. If this is the case I am going to buy myself a ford wds diagnostic tool, no way am I going to keep paying ford 102 to diagnose a fault
jeebowhite
Very good idea, out of curiosity how much does the WDS cost?

A shame all round about the battery, and also the alternator - I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we were all hoping it was just going to be a battery issue! I just hope your WDS allows you to reset and the issue does disappear once and for all!
johnH
the wds is going to cost 390 and its a clone of the dealership tool...so it can do everything and anything :P

thanks jee.
jeebowhite
So we know where to come when we get an error then! shame your all the way up where I used to live and not where I do now :(
johnH
you never know i could be down your way at anytime...i do mega miles all the time...just a few weeks ago i had to drive to headley court for an hour lol whitby to near london lol
jeebowhite
Presuming I still have the car when you next venture this way (as I am damned sure if I do it will need to be scanned!) might have to meet up ;) muchos cheapos compared to the dealer! in fact, paying you by the hour and fuel would probably still work out cheaper! lol
johnH
more than likely will be cheaper. costs about 40-50 (bout to go to a lottery win amount - price of fuel) to fill my tank and i get around 500 miles if i take it easy. so a journey down to south coast and back to newcastle should be doable haha.
johnH
right an update on this topic haha.

phoned up jennings ford gateshead and booked the car in for monday morning. same price as before for diagnostic, but he informed me that if they diagnose and find a fault and they fix it the diagnosis will be free! which to be fair can be a life saver haha especially if the repair is something simple and cheap lol but being a dealer i can almost guarentee they will bend me over a table and well....haha


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