12V battery went "bad" after VCM recall?

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dvakata

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
5
2019 LEAF with no issues for last 4 years and I decided to give it a go for latest recall Nissan sent me. Recall R23A6 R23A6 - 2018-2023 Leaf Vcm

So dealer did a SW update overnight (server wasn't available). After that 12V aux battery no longer holding charge. I went back to dealer, they did a test and suggest battery is up for replacement - PERFORMED AVR TEST. BATTERY TEST FAILED. 280CCA/410CCA

Is it common to have battery failed after just 4 years? Sounds very strange to me that it failed immediately after this recall.
 
Welcome. If you live in a Hot or Cold climate, then four years isn't unusual. It would be a little soon if your climate is mild. I agree that they may have managed to run the battery down during the update, but that may be hard to prove.
 
LeftieBiker said:
Welcome. If you live in a Hot or Cold climate, then four years isn't unusual. It would be a little soon if your climate is mild. I agree that they may have managed to run the battery down during the update, but that may be hard to prove.

Hard to prove and also a death blow to an aging SLA unfortunately. :(
If you plan on keeping your Leaf until the wheels falls off, consider going the AGM or LiFeP04 route. More expensive, but a lot less issues with battery life and 12V car computer issues if the SLA has a low sagging voltage during extreme temperature times.
 
LeftieBiker said:
Welcome. If you live in a Hot or Cold climate, then four years isn't unusual. It would be a little soon if your climate is mild. I agree that they may have managed to run the battery down during the update, but that may be hard to prove.

Toronto. And thats where I'm surprised, my Mercedes ML 2012 still running on original battery, while all electric Nissan need a new, aux, but still, battery. Questioned design
 
knightmb said:
LeftieBiker said:
Welcome. If you live in a Hot or Cold climate, then four years isn't unusual. It would be a little soon if your climate is mild. I agree that they may have managed to run the battery down during the update, but that may be hard to prove.

Hard to prove and also a death blow to an aging SLA unfortunately. :(
If you plan on keeping your Leaf until the wheels falls off, consider going the AGM or LiFeP04 route. More expensive, but a lot less issues with battery life and 12V car computer issues if the SLA has a low sagging voltage during extreme temperature times.

I was no choice to pick replacement battery option from dealership (Nissan charge $360CAD BTW) to avoid future "we only update sw" claims from dealership. Now we will see how it goes
 
Not unusual at all. EVs do not maintain an optimal state for lead acid which has led to issues covering nearly every manufacturer. Your 12 volt prefers to be fully charged as much as possible; something that NEVER happens in the LEAF automatically. There are steps you can take to boost (pun intended) your odds of a longer 12 volt battery life.

https://daveinolywa.blogspot.com/2021/04/charge-your-leaf-every-day.html
 
dvakata said:
LeftieBiker said:
Welcome. If you live in a Hot or Cold climate, then four years isn't unusual. It would be a little soon if your climate is mild. I agree that they may have managed to run the battery down during the update, but that may be hard to prove.

Toronto. And thats where I'm surprised, my Mercedes ML 2012 still running on original battery, while all electric Nissan need a new, aux, but still, battery. Questioned design

My original 2013 12V Leaf battery lasted 7+ years.
 
I have has exactly the same issue and now am having the replacement battery replaced again after just another 4 months. Did you ever get anywhere with it in terms of a solution? Nissan now claim that the battery failed and are also now detecting numerous other faults on the diagnostics. None of this happened prior to the recall and we had 4+ years other issue free driving.
 
There is no good reason for a 12 volt failure in 4 years. The exact same FLA grp 51 is in my Kubota diesel tractor, It is at least 5 years old (that is how long I've owned it, and have no idea how old the battery was when I bought the tractor used) and started the diesel at -6F. 4 months, and I doubt the battery is at fault, someone isn't diagnosing but treating symptoms.
There is also no reason a DC to DC converter can't properly charge a FLA battery. It just needs the correct charge profile.
With the correct profile it should be able to recharge better than the simple alternator fixed voltage setting of the Kubota charging system.
Before I retired I "lived above" a large deep cycle battery pack that got heavily cycled each night and were still in excellent shape after 7 years.
 
I work in an auto parts store. The average end of life of a flooded battery is 3 yrs and starts to degrade after 2 years. People that get more than 4 years are living on borrowed time.
 
You may work in an autoparts store, but that doesn't mean you know FLA batteries and how to care for them. People replace batteries often when they are not the problem, then when that doesn't solve it they take it somewhere.
3 years is pitiful, most industrial cells get 20, and a FLA in a car should get 7-10 (I have personnaly got 12 out of one) and a heavy truck that travels more than a car, 3 min and 7 is likely the end of life.
Vibration and high temp are the big killers, followed by deep discharge and poor charging regimen.
Either you are selling crap batteries or you have a lot of "it will not start, must be the battery" type customers.
I've got 3 group 51's in my stable at the moment, and the one in my Leaf, age is unknown as is the one in the tractor. I have owned the tractor over 6 years, the one in the Saab is over 4 and may be over 5 I don't remember exactly when I installed.
I lived for year with large deep cycle pack (600AH+) that were discharged 60-50% SOC every night and recharged every day running down the road in a semi (Very hard life, heat (battery box was right behind the engine) and vibration, and they did fine.
There are crap batteries on the market, and I don't buy any FLA that the cell caps can't be removed and water checked. I buy from a US supplier that sells mostly to industrial users.
 
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The common JCI and similar only last reliably in an ICE vehicle ~ 3 yrs. That's why there aren't warrantees longer than 3 yrs.

Other statistics reveal that in 1962, a starter battery lasted 34 months; technical improvements increased the life expectancy in 2000 to 41 months. In 2010, BCI reported an average age of 55 months for starter batteries, with the cooler North attaining 59 months and the warmer South 47 months. Colloquial evidence in 2015 revealed that a battery kept in the trunk of a car lasted one year longer than if positioned in the engine compartment.

The life of a battery also depends on the activity, and the service life is shortened if the battery is stressed with frequent discharge. Cranking the engine a few times a day poses little stress on a starter battery, but this changes in the start-stop operation of a micro-hybrid. The micro-hybrid turns the internal combustion engine (ICE) off at red traffic lights and restarts it when the traffic flows again, resulting in about 2,000 micro-cycles per year. Data obtained from car manufacturers shows a capacity drop to about 60 percent after 2 years of use. To increase cycle life, automakers use specialty AGM and other systems(See BU-211: Alternate Battery Systems)

The 2005 failure-mode study was carried out by Douglas, East Penn., Exide Technologies and Johnson Controls. The sample battery pool included 2681 batteries tested between 2003 and 2004. The highlights include:
  • Battery life on average was 50 months. This is an improvement from earlier years that only had 41 months (2000) and 34 months (1962). Improved materials are prolonging battery life.
  • Northern and southern areas in North America deliver different life spans. Batteries in warmer climates die sooner than in cooler regions. See Figure 2.
  • Shorted cells and grid failures are the leading causes of battery failures in this survey.

That said,
Flooded lead acid batteries are one of the most reliable systems and are well suited for hot climates. With good maintenance these batteries last up to 20 years. The disadvantages are the need for watering and good ventilation.

https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu-806a-how-heat-and-loading-affect-battery-life
 
All I can say, is my real world experience is different. I learned my battery maintenance working on industrial battery powered machines, and carried that over to my vehicles.
One and only new vehicle I bought, was a '94 Explorer and ran the OEM battery until '06, when it failed when a cell shorted from sluffed material. Fired up one day and not a "click" on the next.
Any battery I had that only lasted 3 years, that maker would never see another dollar of mine.
When running deep cycle batteries in my semi tractors, I worked them hard, used multi stage charging protocol recharging and never had a one fail prematurely. In fact I pulled them out and are still in service for an inverter based back-up supply for my house.
ICE cars today are going more and more for ECM controlled alternators, rather than the old constant voltage regulators, either internal or external. It isn't for the batteries benefit, but to shed load, and it is causing problems.
The same company that made the multi-stage regulator I used on my semi's also make DC to DC chargers as well. Both had several charge protocols to match the battery chemistry in use.
FLA with all their drawbacks are still the mainstay for ICE starting and long slow dis charge where high current output isn't needed.
 
All I can say, is my real world experience is different. I learned my battery maintenance working on industrial battery powered machines, and carried that over to my vehicles.
One and only new vehicle I bought, was a '94 Explorer and ran the OEM battery until '06, when it failed when a cell shorted from sluffed material. Fired up one day and not a "click" on the next.
Any battery I had that only lasted 3 years, that maker would never see another dollar of mine.
When running deep cycle batteries in my semi tractors, I worked them hard, used multi stage charging protocol recharging and never had a one fail prematurely. In fact I pulled them out and are still in service for an inverter based back-up supply for my house.
ICE cars today are going more and more for ECM controlled alternators, rather than the old constant voltage regulators, either internal or external. It isn't for the batteries benefit, but to shed load, and it is causing problems.
The same company that made the multi-stage regulator I used on my semi's also make DC to DC chargers as well. Both had several charge protocols to match the battery chemistry in use.
FLA with all their drawbacks are still the mainstay for ICE starting and long slow dis charge where high current output isn't needed.
I agree, FLA work great for ICE vehicles and have for nearly a century now, but it's a very specific use case. The FLA doesn't need to worry about voltage sag, it just needs to output enough power to turn the starter for a few seconds so that the ICE engine can crank. Once that is achieved, the ICE engine immediately returns the power used back to the battery and holds the voltage high the entire time. That's exactly how a FLA can work for so long.

The problem across the EV industry is that this technology isn't 100% compatible with how EVs work. The EV isn't going to pull a thousand watts of power to start and it's not going to keep the voltage high on the SLA non-stop like the ICE does. The EV only needs a much smaller amount of power to start, but the voltage can not sag low at the same. SLA batteries don't live long being used this way. As many members (including myself) have been doing for years is to toss the SLA once it dies and replacement with battery technology that isn't so dependent on keeping a high voltage.

True that a Lithium-ion based (or AGM) 12V system would add some extra cost to any EV, but it seems there is some weird lock-in the SLA being used instead. I would imagine the SLA industry is having some background influence on that. :unsure:
 
I was running FLA in deep cycle service, AH capacities above 600, That is akin to what the EV use is, but the 12 volt Leaf is on a smaller scale. FLA can do fine it that service also.
FLA need long recharge times on batteries that have been subject to a long slow discharge. I haven't put a scope on what Nissan does for charging in the Leaf, but there is no reason it couldn't be handled like my large pack was. Bulk charge was at 14.9 v, depending on discharge it might be there for 7hr before tapering off and eventually down to float voltage.
Shouldn't be much of a draw on the 12 volt other than pre-heating on the timer, when operating the 12 volt should be carried by the DC to DC converter.
I guess if I cared enough, I'd put a logger on the 12 volt, but as long as it is working (and seams to be) why get your undies in a twist over it.
I have a whole lot of experience with FLA in all kinds of service, and it seams to pay off, as my batteries last longer than what people are reporting here, both in starting service and in power (Deep cycle ) type service.
 
You know how to take proper care of a FLA as well as myself, but for some reason the EV industry does not. If you were charging up a depleted FLA, would you stop it at 13.0V and call it done? Of course not, none of us would, but for some reason that's how the EVs do it (Nissan included). So just imagine the capacity damage of doing this to a FLA day after day. That's why a lot of members here resort to installing quick connect cables on the 12V battery so they can plug in a maintainer to keep the FLA from suffering an early death.

It might take a lot of digging, but I know some members here over the years have put data loggers on the 12V to record how often the Leaf charges the 12V, how much for how long, etc. I remember it was really piss poor on the Gen 1 Leaf, got better on the Gen 2 because Nissan just simply charges more often for longer periods of time. Even with the improvements on the Gen 2 charging algorithm, my wife's 2018 still killed it's factory FLA after only 3 years. Granted, maybe the factory battery was a just cheap junk like the tires that come on a new Leaf 🤣

The only batteries that I've seen members have the best luck with as far as battery life has been LiFePO4 and AGM batteries. The poor charging algorithm seems to work best with the LiFePO4 since those batteries actually last longer operating in the middle of their capacity followed by AGM which can tolerate the lower charging due to having a better retention of capacity and just better design to protect against capacity damage compared to a FLA.

Me personally, I switched to LiFePO4 on my original 2013 Leaf back in 2015 and it is still working today, just has been transplanted to my 2020 Leaf after I did a trade in years back. That makes it close to +9 years old now. It's been the longest lasting automotive 12V battery I've ever owned (because the rest of them were either FLA or AGM) other than the 12V batteries for my solar power array which has LiFePO4 that are +14 years old now.
 
BUT, a Leaf battery doesn't get discharged like a Deep Cycle, and it doesn't have to provide a large current to crank, The hardest service it "sees" if someone uses the cabin pre-heater with the car not plugged in, so doesn't require long recharges like a deep cycle and doesn't have to replace from a short but high current draw.
I have no problem if you want to switch battery chemistry, but I think it is a stretch to say Nissan doesn't remember how to re charge a battery.
A data logger is one way, or a simple voltmeter and ammeter at the battery will tell the story.
SLA are less than ideal, to maintain the "seal" and retain the water, the charge cycle is less than ideal for the battery chemistry. You trade "user friendly" for overall life. FLA can be allowed to charge higher and gas more. That said, however, I found my hard used FLA didn't require water (mfg suggested weekly checks) more than yearly, but I checked whenever I had the cab raised for other maintenance
I haven't logged or looked at the charge profile because as of now I don't see a problem with how mine is doing. If that changes I will.
Key off loads are not different then those seen by other types of cars.
The way my system worked on the trucks, it looked at the time it took to raise the battery voltage to 0.3 volts below set point voltage, then used that to est battery discharge depth and adjusted the time at "bulk charge" according to that. It then would set a taper to finish charge based on the bulk charge profile, and then went to float charge.
Bulk was done at 14.9 for FLA but less for other profiles, I don't remember the other set point for finish, but float was 13.3.
If very little is drawn from the battery very little needs to be put back in. The reason my trucks used 14.9 for bulk recharge wasn't because it was required, but because it would cut recharge times 10x from a fixed set-point charge profile. The Leaf, with its relatively undemanding 12 volt needs, doesn't need a high current/high voltage recharge profile.
By all means, if you want use the battery of your choice do so, but don't say it is required and NIssan doesn't know how to charge a 12 volt and all Group 51 batterys fail in 2-3 years, that just is not the case, and I have several in service and at least 2 are well beyond the 3 year mark and still doing well.
 
Me personally, I switched to LiFePO4
I am also thinking of replacing my cheap lead acid (NOT FLA) with a LiFePO4. Which one did you purchase?
I ask because some of them have their BMS's cut out when the voltage reaches 14.6v, but will not reconnect until the input is removed.
This is NOT good because when the "ignition" is shut off, the battery is disconnected and the car cannot be "restarted".
I tried this with a Power Queen 50Ah battery and the BMS did not reconnect unless the battery was completely disconnected.
Not all the BMS's operate like this, hence the question to you!
Thanks!
 
I am also thinking of replacing my cheap lead acid (NOT FLA) with a LiFePO4. Which one did you purchase?
I ask because some of them have their BMS's cut out when the voltage reaches 14.6v, but will not reconnect until the input is removed.
This is NOT good because when the "ignition" is shut off, the battery is disconnected and the car cannot be "restarted".
I tried this with a Power Queen 50Ah battery and the BMS did not reconnect unless the battery was completely disconnected.
Not all the BMS's operate like this, hence the question to you!
Thanks!
The one I purchased was from a company that is no longer in business (Stark Power). 😢
I had purchased (2) because I wanted a backup in case my "experiment" failed early. I ended up just using the other one in my wife's Leaf after her SLA died. I'm actually in the same boat, if I wanted to purchase one "today", I wouldn't know which was the best brand as I still have not had to replace the original. 😨

I can give you info about my BMS behavior, because these do have BMS that do the same thing you mentioned. They prevent over-charge and over-discharge. The BMS cut-off only prevents the battery from being over-charged but it does not "lock" the battery up in anyway because if the voltage drops back down below 14.6V everything returns to normal. What happens to the Leaf you may ask? The Leaf has an open voltage of 15V, but there is always "something" on that system using power so it never gets that high. The BMS works just fine on my LiFEPO4 for over-charge protection. The over-discharge protection is another story. The the BMS for my LiFEPO4, it will shut-off the battery at 10 V and won't come back until you feed some power back in to wake up the battery. This usually isn't an issue in the Leaf except when you accidentally run down the battery via the accessories. The Leaf will only engage the DC-DC when the battery voltage is 10.5 V to begin charging back up, but if the voltage falls to fast (say trying to turn on the traction battery to power that DC-DC inverter), the BMS will shut off the battery and your Leaf completely loses power like you just unplugged the 12V battery. I've never had this happen to me, but my wife has a bad habit of doing this by running accessories on the 12V battery way too long without putting it in "drive" mode that will use the traction battery to power everything instead. Luckily for me, I don't have to disconnect the battery, just use a trickle charger to feed power back in and the battery will happily reset back to normal.

You bring up a issue that I was not aware of though for battery BMS, having to hard reset after an over-voltage or over-discharge event. Seems you would have to contact the manufacture first to get an idea of the behavior for this as it seems they all vary. From my experience for the past decade, all the BMS that I've used with LiFePO4 have behaved the same for me. The brands I've used vary from Energizer to Duracell LiFePO4, but not any Amazon brands for example.
 
The one I purchased was from a company that is no longer in business (Stark Power). 😢
I had purchased (2) because I wanted a backup in case my "experiment" failed early. I ended up just using the other one in my wife's Leaf after her SLA died. I'm actually in the same boat, if I wanted to purchase one "today", I wouldn't know which was the best brand as I still have not had to replace the original. 😨

I can give you info about my BMS behavior, because these do have BMS that do the same thing you mentioned. They prevent over-charge and over-discharge. The BMS cut-off only prevents the battery from being over-charged but it does not "lock" the battery up in anyway because if the voltage drops back down below 14.6V everything returns to normal. What happens to the Leaf you may ask? The Leaf has an open voltage of 15V, but there is always "something" on that system using power so it never gets that high. The BMS works just fine on my LiFEPO4 for over-charge protection. The over-discharge protection is another story. The the BMS for my LiFEPO4, it will shut-off the battery at 10 V and won't come back until you feed some power back in to wake up the battery. This usually isn't an issue in the Leaf except when you accidentally run down the battery via the accessories. The Leaf will only engage the DC-DC when the battery voltage is 10.5 V to begin charging back up, but if the voltage falls to fast (say trying to turn on the traction battery to power that DC-DC inverter), the BMS will shut off the battery and your Leaf completely loses power like you just unplugged the 12V battery. I've never had this happen to me, but my wife has a bad habit of doing this by running accessories on the 12V battery way too long without putting it in "drive" mode that will use the traction battery to power everything instead. Luckily for me, I don't have to disconnect the battery, just use a trickle charger to feed power back in and the battery will happily reset back to normal.

You bring up a issue that I was not aware of though for battery BMS, having to hard reset after an over-voltage or over-discharge event. Seems you would have to contact the manufacture first to get an idea of the behavior for this as it seems they all vary. From my experience for the past decade, all the BMS that I've used with LiFePO4 have behaved the same for me. The brands I've used vary from Energizer to Duracell LiFePO4, but not any Amazon brands for example.
Thank you for the quick reply!!! I appreciate the info!

Your battery's BMS behavior is what I need also, but the PowerQueen's BMS did not do this, like I indicated.

The PowerQueen is a very good battery with good support and I use several of them on my UPS's, but I also use a LiFePO4 charger that does not overvolt them so they don't shut down.

The Leaf however does get and slightly exceed the overvolt threshold, so the PowerQueen's BMS shuts down, which is ok, BUT the BMS does NOT "reset" unless the terminal voltage is set to zero... THIS is why I was asking about your battery, and I thank you for the info!

"The BMS cut-off only prevents the battery from being over-charged but it does not "lock" the battery up in anyway because if the voltage drops back down below 14.6V" ..... I logged the terminal voltage at the battery, and when the Leaf changes to "high charge" (my term) when the wipers are run or the battery is in charge mode, the over-charge voltage for the LiFePO4's BMS is triggered and dis-connects the battery, which is fine and good, BUT like I said, this brand of BMS does not re-connect until 0 volts... BAD!!!

I will research this further for a battery with a BMS that will function in this configuration.
Thank you.
 
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