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Ferrari California Battery Life?!?!

Discussion in 'California/Portofino/Roma' started by BlueSteel, Oct 16, 2017.

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  1. BlueSteel

    BlueSteel Rookie

    Oct 16, 2017
    11
    Since the start of the year my wife and I decided to leave UK and travel around Europe in the California. Every 2-5 weeks we drive on to explore another destination.

    This has caused numerous problems with the battery, as often we will be parked in hotel/public car parks or street parking outside a rented apartment etc etc None of which have access to an electrical outlet to put the car on charge.

    Sometimes as exploring the local cities/towns etc is not ideal in a car, we may leave the car unused for up to a week.

    Since the start of the trip I've called Ferrari Assist multiple times and am now on my third replacement battery, because the Ferrari simply can't survive more than 5-7 days without being plugged in.

    I've had 2 separate Ferrari garages look at the battery and test for electrical drains etc and both have said "We can find no problem. This is just how Ferrari's work. Use the Ferrari charger when parked".

    For a $200,000 car this is a ridiculous design flaw.

    Being the supposed GT of Ferrari's you'd think the battery would last more than 5-7 days unplugged?! It makes the car unusable unless you've got a secure garage with an electrical outlet available.


    What is your experience?
     
  2. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
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    Hi...It is not secret that the battery/tender combo is a weakness of the F-car experience. I would say, however, that your experience seems atypical from what I have read on this forum, and what I have experienced. Some questions, if I may:

    1) How does your Cali perform under normal circumstances when you are home, and it is on tender? Any warning signs?

    2) Does your Cali fire up instantly, no error messages on the TFT? See below. These are some of the ones I got before replacing the original battery.

    3) If you leave it off tender for 5 - 7 days, then put it on tender, say for a day or so, does it behave upon start up? I can leave mine unattached for a week (I do that when I travel as our house is 100+ years old, and I don't trust the electrics!), and then put it back on tender, it'll go back to "green" in a couple of hours, and then starts with no problems. This was not case with the old, original battery. It'd take a day or so to go green.

    4) Do you have HELE? It is my understanding that HELE (start/stop) places extra demands on the battery.

    5) Have you replaced the battery or just had it looked at?

    Sorry for the semi-random Q& Image Unavailable, Please Login A, I hope it's somewhat helpful.

    T

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  3. BlueSteel

    BlueSteel Rookie

    Oct 16, 2017
    11
    Normal circumstances the car is great. If it turns on, it's perfect. Only twice as the car cut out whilst driving (that was a scary incident - once on a bend in the swiss alps!) but after that incident Ferrari replaced the fuel pump system and something to do with the start/stop system.

    On occasion I get a "start&stop failure". On a couple of occasions I have had "alternator failure". However I have mentioned this to the Ferrari garages and both have stated there is no problem with the car.

    I make sure to drive it now at least once a week on a significant drive to charge the battery up again, as finding parking whilst traveling that has a power outlet is near impossible. Often when we drive to another destination the drive can be 3-5 hours. After which the car starts perfectly for the next few days.

    You are correct, the HELE system does put extra strain on the battery, so perhaps that is why your car can survive a few days longer than mine.

    Advice to any future Ferrari owner... DO NOT get the stop/start feature!

    It's on it's third replacement battery now! I've found that if a battery is completely drained, even after it's recharged it's effectively useless. I had a dead battery recharged at a Ferrari garage and after leaving it parked for just 3 days the whole car was dead. Replacement batteries seem to do the job getting the car back to normal.


    Overall the car works fine providing it's not been left for 5 days. If the car hasn't been driven for 5-6 days when going to start it, there's about a 50/50 chance it'll turn on, and if it does you can really hear the engine struggling to start up. After 7 days it's almost guaranteed it won't be able to start and will require a booster.

    I absolutely love driving the car, but I must say this huge design flaw has seriously put me off ever getting another Ferrari.
     
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  4. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    Yeah, this doesn't sound normal. I don't blame you for being hesitant to add an F-car.

    T
     
  5. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
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    I believe HELE means you have an AGM battery. They are even more sensitive than standard car batteries to being charged with low voltage. Is it possible the included tender you were given was the incorrect one and thus, have been under charging the battery all this time? I also wonder if its possible if the shops who have been replacing the battery have mistakenly used a standard battery? Answers to these questions are worth exploring.

    I would also say this was exactly my experience with two different brands' cars- no matter what I did, the battery just wouldn't last and I was convinced there was something wrong with the car. It also has a start/stop system and uses an AGM battery. I went through a few replacement batteries, all replaced under warranty. Its hard to believe, but this manufacturer had sourced a batch of poorly made batteries- they all had bad cells. And during this time period, I also had the same problem with my wife's car- from yet another marque. And we went through several batteries. Your description is almost an exact description of what happened to us- because of the bad cells, we actually had a fraction of the battery.

    My gut feeling is, aside from there being something wrong with your car, it really could just be bad luck with a bad battery supplier to Ferrari. Maybe at the next time you are able to change the battery ask the technician to go and personally pick out a fresh battery from a different supplier. My problems were solved in both instances by the time I was on the 4th and 3rd batteries respectively.
     
  6. BlueSteel

    BlueSteel Rookie

    Oct 16, 2017
    11
    Very interesting! Thanks Caeruleus, I shall inspect the battery and see if it's an AGM battery and should there be future problems will definitely follow your advice.
     
  7. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
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    If a non-AGM battery is mistakenly used in a HELE car the battery will be totally discharged and die within about 2 weeks of regular use. Furthermore, at least some Calis came incorrectly equipped with the standard battery tender which will not fully recharge the battery, so the battery will progressively get weaker and weaker even if the tender is religiously used.

    My 2013 Cali30 is a HELE car and this is exactly what happened to my car. The dealer replaced the original AGM battery with the standard lead acid battery and it would die within about 2 weeks. The correct battery tender will feature a mode selection button that allows you to select a "snowflake" mode which is rated to charge at 14.7 volts (while still at 25 degrees Celsius) instead of the regular 14.3 volts. This is in effect a cold weather charging voltage. HELE cars are very rare in Canada so my dealer and I had to learn the hard way.

    My car also had a defective STOP/START ignition module inside the steering wheel, caused by a faulty electrical connection. You may want to tell your dealer to check for that. This caused intermittent ignition failures.

    I wrote extensively on Fchat about all these experiences. It took almost 2 years to diagnose and fix my car while still under warranty. Thankfully my car is fine after those problems were sorted.
     
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  8. BlueSteel

    BlueSteel Rookie

    Oct 16, 2017
    11
    VERY interesting. Everything you've mentioned is something I will absolutely investigate.

    Thanks for your advice! It is tremendously helpful.
     
  9. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    4th,

    Can you post a pic of your battery tender? My Cali has HELE and I have no snowflake on my charger.

    Image Unavailable, Please Login

    T
     
  10. AD211

    AD211 Karting

    Aug 19, 2017
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    Tom,
    You seem to drive yours a good bit. Do you keep it on the charger? How often do you need to drive to avoid using the charger? As a side note, where is the charger? (Sorry for the newbie level questions, only had it 4 days...)



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  11. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    Yes. Unless I'm driving it consecutive days, it is on tender.

    I think you can go 3 or 4 days without tempting the Ferrari gods. I've had it off for a week, while traveling, but then put it back on for at least a day before driving.

    I think it largely depends on the health of your battery. When I started a thread some time back, folks suggested a week or more. I have noted that it seems to need to be on tender more so in cold weather than warm. Since I installed new battery in spring, less issues - odd warnings on the TFT upon startup, taking an extra beat or two before firing up.

    I think if you drive it once every 3 or 4 days, should be no issue, assuming healthy battery. I'm a worry wart, so I'd advise keeping it on tender if you can.

    The tender should be in a red bag in the boot/trunk.

    Most importantly, congrats on the new Cali. Don't stress, depending on what you've driven before, spend some time getting to know it, get used to the driving dynamics, etc. Boardwalk Ferrari was great, they went with me on a short shake-down drive when it first arrived, and I didn't even buy it from them.

    T
     
  12. AD211

    AD211 Karting

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    Oh, I’m loving it. Went through a tank of gas on the first day. What am I used to driving? A Suburban so this is a thrill. We’re heading out of town Thur-Sun so from what I’m reading I’d better not try a tender first time out if we’re not here so I’ll look into it next week. Didn’t see anything in the boot though. I’ll go deeper on this.


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  13. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    ^ Drive conservatively at the outset, get used to the Cali, and enjoy the heck out of it.

    I only remove my Cali from tender when I'm away because our house is 100+ years old, and although we just did a whole house renovation, including electrics, I don't want to think about what might happen if there's a thunderstorm, lightning strike, etc. And, Cali is on the tender. I do plug the tender in to a surge protector, thence a wall socket.

    Congrats again. Post up pics when you can.
    T
     
  14. AD211

    AD211 Karting

    Aug 19, 2017
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    Pics are coming tomorrow I hope if I can get home before dark. She’s Nero inside and out so I thought I’d nickname her Black Beauty but with all the chatter I’ve read on this forum, Black Booty may be more appropriate.


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  15. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    ^Black Booty!
    T
     
  16. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
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    #16 4th_gear, Oct 17, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    It appears you have the wrong charger, a US 3300, which was actually what came with my car from the factory. It is the WRONG battery tender for your HELE car.


    Here is a photo of my current Cali30 chargers. I own several battery tenders, including one for my pickup truck and 2 for my Cali30. Notice the multimode capability and mode select button as well as the SNOWFLAKE indicator.


    The MultiUS 7002 was a present from my dealer - when they realized my car came with the wrong charger they got me a new one from a local supplier, free of charge. I have it permanently fixed to the garage wall. I bought the MUS 4.3 for use on the road and in case my dealer needed to use it when my car is in for service. Aside from being AGM-battery chargers, both have other useful features and charge much faster than the one you have, which of course is ALSO destroying your batteries.

    I'm surprised your dealer doesn't understand STOP/START car requirements because I believe STOP/START is now on every new Euro-spec car. It should be common knowledge by now. AGM batteries will be destroyed if not charged with the proper battery tenders. STOP/START cars cannot use lead acid batteries because of the frequent engine restart requirements. They cannot carry a big enough charge capacity and more importantly, they cannot recharge fast enough while on the road.

    I suspect your replacement batteries are also just lead acid batteries - i.e. WRONG BATTERIES. While they cost 1/2 the price of AGM batteries they will die in about 2 weeks of regular STOP/START driving.

    BTW, there is a special conditioning procedure to perform when replacing an AGM battery in a HELE car, the dealer is supposed to perform it. Make sure that is done and explained to you or else you will have problems even if they give you an AGM battery replacement. ......I wrote extensively about it on this forum a couple of years ago.
     
  17. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    ^ Thanks. Gotta look into this.

    Do you plug yours in to cigarette lighter or to the charger port in the boot?

    T
     
  18. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
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    ...extra notes about lead acid batteries and AGM batteries with regard to HELE (stop/start).

    One of the reasons why AGM batteries are necessary for HELE is the relatively high internal resistance in lead acid batteries compared to AGM batteries. High internal resistance also creates heat, which destroys batteries as well as result in poor charging performance. OTOH, AGM batteries have low internal resistance and remain cool even with frequent discharge-recharge cycles. They last much longer - normally spec'd for 3 years of stop/start service. There is now even better technology for STOP/START but they are not mainstream yet.

    The CTEK manuals specifically state the SNOWFLAKE mode is also the requisite AGM battery charging mode. I have spoken with OPTIMA Battery tech support and they tell me their AGM batteries MUST BE charged at 14.7V (25°C) and not the regular 14.3V - it's NOT an option.
     
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  19. BlueSteel

    BlueSteel Rookie

    Oct 16, 2017
    11
    I have the Ferrari Genuine Battery Charger and it does not have a snowflake icon. The user manual states it is good for both standard and AGM batteries.

    I have investigated further and indeed my car has the wrong battery! It has been replaced with a standard Bosch battery (S4 011), when it should be replaced with the AGM version (S6 011 AGM)! Sounds like this could be the problem.

    I'll have to send it in yet again to get the battery changed!! Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  20. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

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    ^Fingers crossed that solves the problem. I confirmed this morning that my battery is AGM.

    Blue Steel...Can you shoot a pic of the back of your charger. Is it a CTEK 3200?

    Thanks 4th, for all the info, you're the Battery Guru!

    T


    T
     
  21. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
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    Sounds like you're getting somewhere! Good news! And excellent knowledge from 4th_gear!

    For what its worth, I always get a brand new CTek 7002 (US, I think 7000 for the rest of the world, not sure on the difference) for a new car. When it comes to Ferraris and other sports cars, since my schedule can be unpredictable, after a drive, I almost always plug the car in. This way I don't have to come back and remember.

    When I've had to replace the OEM battery, for example on my F430 simply due to age, my mechanic has recommended going with AGM. So far no problems. I got 8 years out of the OEM battery that came with my 599 by changing to the 7002 tender. I think they better cope with power outages and brown outs and also have better surge protection. Also the 7002 has better battery conditioning modes- I think if it realizes it hasn't been touched for some time, it will actually condition the battery for you- you can read more on their website as I am not sure I can accurately describe the process. One thing I do in the winter when the cars are not being driven often, I will go out and have a look at them and make sure all the tenders are all set correctly.
     
  22. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
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    It looks like you have the Ferrari 70002821 (Gran Turismo) Battery Charger. I'm not sure of the official name for this charger but "70002821" and "Gran Turismo" are printed on the cover of the yellow Ferrari box.


    This is a single charging mode battery tender with an output of (VDC/A) 14.4/4.3CTEK Model 1065. The Ferrari owner's manual does say this charger is suitable for charging AGM batteries but this claim should be taken with care - I will explain below. OTOH, the MUS 4.3 which I have is also a CTEK Model 1065 but it features 4 charging modes: 14.4/0.8 (motorbike), 14.4/4.3 (car), 14.7/4.3 (snowflake cold weather, AGM/Optima gel) and 15.8/1.5 (recondition).

    It is a bit misleading to assume the charging output, for instance 14.4VDC / 4.3Amps to be static because it's not. 14.4VDC/4.3A is just the MAXIMUM output.

    I can't spend the time to explain to you everything I know about battery charging and chargers and to be frank, I am not a trained expert and have only learned from experience and various occasions when I had to research the topic over the last 30 years. Battery charging was already a major issue when I owned BMWs, before I bought my Cali30.

    The battery charging process occurs in multiple phases, depending on the initial state of charge of the battery. Not all chargers can handle all phases of the charging process and the cheap ones will only keep batteries topped up (float) and cannot recharge a discharged battery. Battery chargers will change the charging voltage as it proceeds from one charging phase to another. Battery chargers will also vary the charging voltage according to ambient temperatures. So when I stated lead acid batteries charge at 14.3V and AGM batteries charge at 14.7V, those voltages assume ambient temperature of 25°C (77°F). As temperatures drop, voltage requirements increase and vice versa. Here is a handy chart provided by a company that makes AGM batteries for commercial applications.


    Notice it shows 14.7V for charging at 25°C but only 13.8V to supply a float charge at 25°C and 14.4V to supply a float charge (final charge phase) at 0°C (Winter conditions). An AGM battery will also charge at between 14.34V and 14.55V if temperatures range between 40°C and 30°C (Summer conditions in southern US locations).

    The Ferrari charger is rated at 14.4V max output so it will not actually charge unless you have hot Summer conditions but it will supply a float charge all the way to freezing conditions (poorly insulated Winter garage).

    Like I said, I'm not a trained expert but I was trained as a research scientist and my research instincts tell me the Ferrari charger is only designed to reliably supply a float charge to AGM batteries and SOMETIMES also be able to recharge a deeply discharged AGM battery if ambient conditions are hot enough, like in the US South. So Ferrari was technically not lying when it says in the owner's manual that "...the Ferrari Battery Charger is suitable for charging all types of 12V lead-acid batteries...AGM...". It just didn't elaborate that it meant "float charge". BTW, AGM batteries are also considered a special type of lead-acid battery.

    Ferrari and other car manufacturers ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF PROVIDING full-feature BATTERY CHARGERS - THEY PROVIDE BATTERY TENDERS. They are not in the business of rescuing drivers from abusing their cars by not driving them or not connecting them up to battery tenders.

    Therefore, the OP's Ferrari charger is really only reliable for supplying a float charge. Ferrari owners are expected to maintain their cars properly and not totally discharge their car batteries. If you want a charger that will recharge a discharged battery even at 25°C you need a proper CTEK-branded charger like the MUS 4.3 or better like the 7002. However, try not to exceed 12 amps capability as that is too much of a good thing for lead-acid batteries.

    I hope these explanations start you off on the right foot. Google for other information and try to look at matters from Ferrari's understanding of the topic, not necessarily from where you initial point of view may be.
     
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  23. AD211

    AD211 Karting

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    So, if you live in the southern US what type of tender should I buy? I did not receive one with my used 2010. The battery was replaced last year. I have not looked at what kind it is yet though.


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  24. 4th_gear

    4th_gear F1 Rookie
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    If you believe my analysis then the Ferrari charger is NOT SUITABLE for charging a discharged battery but should be FINE supplying a FLOAT CHARGE as a battery tender. So if you do need to do the former, the Ferrari Charger is not for you.

    IMO, the CTEK MUS 5.0 is a good bet, inexpensive, compact, lots of features and good performer. This appears to be the updated replacement for the MUS 4.3 and will do everything you need - HOWEVER, you STILL need to obtain a special Ferrari connector to fit the charging port on the passenger side of the trunk interior. You can only get these from Ferrari when you buy a battery tender - I don't know if there is a SKU for the connector itself. While you can install a battery terminal eyelet connector to the battery, it is much better to use the Ferrari connector because it disables ignition while the car is tethered to the charger so you can't accidentally drive off... with your charger in tow!

    There was a fellow Fchatter, Warren Kumari, who made these connector cables for a few car owners on Fchat. Here's a link to his webpage on the connector. He may have some for sale..
     
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  25. AD211

    AD211 Karting

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    Great! I’ll check it out and contact him as well.


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