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  1. #1
    Mitch
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    Flashing Battery Light?

    I've been driving my new MINI for just over a week now, and believe I may have my first "issue" with the car. Often, right after I start it, the battery idiot light flashes. The light goes out once the car is in motion and the flashing doesn't seem to reoccur at idle. It also only seems to happen after the car's been shut down for awhile, as in over night. IOW, the light doesn't flash if the car is restarted after the it's been parked for a few minutes or even hours.

    Has anyone else seen this, and/or know the cause?


  2. #2
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    This has been reported a few times. You might find some good threads on this problem if you search over on mini2.com.
    Sean Bartnik
    Springfield, MA
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  3. #3
    Mitch
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    Thanks -- I found a few threads on the topic, but no definitive answers as to the cause, or solutions. Based on the discussions, it seems pointless to bring the car into the dealer so long as the issue is intermittent.

    This begins to look like a classic case of a poor (high-resistance) connection somewhere in the ignition or charging system, but this would a very odd problem to have with a brand new car. It also doesn't seem to be a design flaw, per se, or nearly everyone would have it. Unfortunately the next most likely cause is a defective alternator, and that probably could not be verified until the unit failed. Still, I found only one instance of an alternator being replaced, which tends to discount that theory. Did I miss something?

  4. #4
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    No that\'s probably about it. The only other thing I could think of would be an insufficiently tensioned drive belt, which came to my mind when some of the folks said it happened after a rain or driving through a puddle.

    But I suspect this would indeed be difficult if not impossible to troubleshoot if it\'s not happening when the dealer happens to have the car in the shop.
    Sean Bartnik
    Springfield, MA
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  5. #5
    Mitch
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    I don't think the dealer would have much luck finding it even then and I'm sure not going to leave the car at the dealer over night just to have them tell me they saw the light flash but could not find a problem. Been down that road with service departments before -- in my experience, they can rarely find any problem that isn't represented by a failure mode or a service bulletin.

    Your thought about the alternator belt was a good one, but I can tell you the light continues to flash even after goosing the accelerator, which I would not expect if the belt was slipping. You need to actually drive the car for a minute or so for it to go out, and then it stays out even at idle, and even after the car is restarted after several hours.

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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    Yeah, in that way it doesn\'t sound like a loose belt, just some sort of weird electrical fault. Well, you\'re not alone in experiencing it so perhaps a service bulletin will be handed down one of these days.
    Sean Bartnik
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  7. #7
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    Mitch,

    My '03 Cooper does the same thing. It first happened to me after I had driven in a rainstorm. The next day I started my car to go to work and the battery light would flash randomly, then go out. I'd drive away and it would start up again. It would do this for roughly a minute or so then stop.

    I think there's moisture getting into the engine area and causing a short. Even when it doesn't rain but it's cold out (about 49-50F) the problem has occured. I'm in Southern California so it's pretty dry to begin with. Sometimes it has been really foggy out and I expect the battery light to flash but it doesn't. I haven't driven my car in the rain and have not had the problem since. But it never occurs once the car has warmed up.

    I am reluctant to take it to the dealer . . . this has to be a difficult problem to fix.

    - Scott

  8. #8
    Mitch
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    Another theory

    The only way I can imagine this being dampness-related is if a short is being created, which again would be a darned unusual condition to find in a new car. (I've had this happen in old cars with worn-out wiring, and I've even seen the drain on the charging system get worse with higher revs!) I'm in Southern California too, and even with our recent spate of damp weather, I doubt this is the cause -- we'd be hearing about it far more often from people in climates where it actually rains regularly. Everybody in England would have this problem daily!

    Another thought: I haven't fooled with voltage regulators in ages, but are they still operated by a series of leaf-switches? I'm thinking now about a funky voltage regulator not switching immediately and positively to the charge side when the engine is started.

    I like this theory because I have no way of knowing whether it's possible...!

  9. #9
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    Re: Another theory

    Voltage regulators are all solid-state nowadays.
    Sean Bartnik
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  10. #10
    Mitch
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    Re: Another theory

    I had a feeling you'd spoil that theory. But of course even solid-state electonics can get wonky.

  11. #11
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    True enough :-)

    Just because it\'s solid-state doesn\'t mean it works :-)
    Sean Bartnik
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  12. #12
    Greg
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    I have the exact same problem, and it does seem to be somewhat worse in wet conditions.

    My dealer diagnosed it as marginal diodes in the alternator and mine is going to be replaced next week. We'll see.

  13. #13
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    Re: True enough :-)

    I really believe it has something to do with water. When it first happened, I opened the hood to check things and noticed that the battery cover wasn't completely sealed. Where it wasn't sealed was to the right side where the wires enter the battery box. I figured that water got in through the gap and got in contact with the battery terminals...but the terminals are on the other side. The battery box lid or whatever it's called is a pretty tight fit, and I can't get it to completely seal. It's acceptable, but not perfect.

    - Scott

  14. #14
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    Re: True enough :-)

    Let's try this again:

    Battery

  15. #15
    Mitch
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    Re: True enough :-)

    Hold that thought. Do MCS owners ever experience the same issue? (Battery in the boot)

    It's not raining today (yet), and I just drove off without seeing the flashing battery light.

  16. #16
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    Re: True enough :-)

    I have heard of MCS owners who experience the issue. The MCS doesn\'t have the battery under the hood but does have the fuse/relay box there that the Cooper also has.
    Sean Bartnik
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  17. #17
    MINI USA Customer Relations
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    Re: Flashing Battery Light?

    Iím with MINI USA. Iím sorry to read about your problem with your battery light. We would be happy to assist you, but need some additional information. Please phone us at (866) ASK MINI.

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