Check the 12-volt battery no matter what the powetrain

June 17, 2024
Check the 12-volt battery no matter what the powetrain

Regardless of the powertrain in a vehicle, the 12 volt battery still has a vital role to play. This is why it is important for garages to test, support and think battery, irrespective of why a vehicle has visited a workshop. 

This is the message from leading supplier Ecobat Battery which stresses that both the state of charge (SOC) and state of health (SOH) need to be assessed.

While the SOC can be simply determined with a voltage measurement, to make a reliable statement about the SOH requires a complex test procedure, which among other things, considers the CCA, the residual capacity (Ah) and the charge acceptance (CA).

Just as vehicle technology has continued to develop over the years, batteries such as AGM (absorbent glass mat) and EFB (enhanced flooded battery) have also developed. Therefore, to obtain reliable test results, especially in regard to the SOH, it is essential to use modern test devices that are adapted for these new battery technologies.

For example the EBT 780, supplied by Ecobat Battery, will provide the user with a headline result to allow them to decide the correct way to proceed.

As diagnostic procedures are now a fundamental part of vehicle servicing, some of which include software updates that can take several hours and are therefore often scheduled to run overnight, maintaining the correct voltage in the electrical system is vital to perform these functions successfully. This therefore requires the active support of the battery, not only during battery replacement, but also when running diagnostic processes.

Maintaining the correct voltage during extensive periods of troubleshooting is very important, as it helps technicians to correctly identify the underlying fault. This is because during diagnostic procedures, the engine is switched off, but power is still drawn from the battery.

When carrying out prolonged diagnosis the vehicle’s control units and other electrical equipment can discharge the battery to such an extent that the on-board system voltage falls below the permissible voltage limit of the control units and a corresponding entry is made in the fault memory, and data can be lost (steering angle sensor, end positions of the electric window lifters etc.).

Amazingly, despite the recent shift from combustion engines to hybrid and electric powered vehicles, failure of the 12-volt battery remains the most common cause of breakdowns. This is because, whether an electric vehicle (EV) incorporates a combustion engine with a 48-volt or 350-volt battery in hybrid form, or uses a 400-volt plus battery as a fully battery powered variant, a ‘traditional’ 12-volt battery is also fitted, and this is generally the cause of the breakdown.

I12 volt systems are common on both hybrids and EVs powering the lighting system, central locking, alarm, and other security features. It also powers the vehicle’s onboard computer and diagnostic systems and plays a role in starting the main high voltage (HV) battery pack.

The real issue appears when the EV is reaching the point where it has to ‘choose’ between its range and supporting the 12-volt system, at which point the charge to the 12-volt battery is reduced, or even cut. This can leave it discharged and unable to operate its vehicle support functions, resulting in battery failure.

Although the VMs work hard to update their systems when they find these issues, Ecobat says, in the meantime they provide a welcome opportunity for the aftermarket and accessing the state of the 12 volt battery should always be a priority. 

For more information please visit Ecobat Battery at:
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