Alfa Romeo Stelvio Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so with all of the discussions concerning battery problems got me concerned so I have actually started being proactive looking at battery voltage which I have never done with a daily driver - yes the Alfa is my daily driver.

So I have done the following:

1. got my meter out and measured the sitting voltage - 12.1 (well that is bad)
2. used my pulse charger (granite digital) to charge the battery - (discharge cycles etc) can only get a standing charge to 12.4 after a couple of days (not good means I really need to do a deep charge to hope to restore the battery)

So it looks like I have a bad battery due to poor charging characteristics from the Alfa. So I wanted to see what the float voltage while driving and here is what I have discovered on my car.

First off expectation: Charging value of no less than 13.4 and up to 14.5 volts depending on the level of the battery charge.

Here is what I discovered

1. First off I know I started with a battery that was at 75% charge which is 12.4 volts
2, Car started and idling - voltage read at the 12v console outlet 12.6 average (low but hey I am at idle)
3. During driving and under acceleration or steady speed voltage stayed at 12.6v average (huh that is different than all other cars/boats I have owned)
4. So 12.6 is not enough to charge a battery or keep it at 12.6. So I wanted to know if the alternator ever put out more than 12.6 volts so I did the following
a. accelerated and coasted - always at 12.6
b. put my foot on the brake and the gas (yes I hate those drivers) and nothing changed still 12.6 whether just keeping speed or accelerating with the brake on
c. Braked and then accelerated and I would see a ramp up of the voltage until the car was given gas
d. Braked and held the brake down - would ramp up to 14.2 volts - ok that is at least proves that the alternator can put out 14.2 volts
e. Accelerated and then braked enough to engage the brakes and the voltage would go up to 14.2 and stay there as long as I did not give any gas
f. As soon as I hit the gas the voltage would go down to 12.6
g. Using ACC the voltage would never go over 12,6 even when ACC had to brake.
h. tried different speeds and the car would only charge after braking and would stay charging with foot off the gas and brake until I was only at idle rpm and barely moving

So I figure the following: Alfa has a clutch on the alternator and has a controller that determines when the alternator clutch will engage (similar to an AC compressor), Either that or I have a bad alternator or controller circuit (voltage regulator - that does not make sense to me) or something else. The battery is bad or going bad for sure and maybe that is the problem but I think I would see the same thing with a new battery.

So can someone else plug in a meter to the 12v outlet and see when your car actually has a charging voltage?

Oh and now my battery charge is at 12.3v after 55 miles of travel. I have never worried about a battery or even an alternator dying on any of my previous cars and I have owned plenty of "normal" vehicles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
I'm not tech savvy enough to be of great insight, but.... I had your experience (I think) with at 2018 ST1 with the Varta battery. I had the same readings you are having. I use a cheap meter plugged into the auxillary outlet in the middle console. I kept things going with trickle charging. About 9 months ago, I asked the dealer to swap the Varta for an AGM--I would pay. Instead, the dealer put in a Mopar enhanced battery under warranty (no cost to me). For reasons I can't explain, it took a little while, but the battery got stronger and more steady over a few weeks, as if the car or alternater had to figure out the new battery or adjust to it or tune it up. So now, at start up, I am consistently at 12.4 and while driving am consistently at 13+, 14+, 15+ volts in "real" time reading from the cheap meter. No problems, no fears. Either your alternator is not working right, or just go ahead and swap the battery--I still recommend an AGM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I definitely look like a new battery at least is in my near term future. With that said 12.4 is not a full charge on a 12 volt battery. Everything I have read says 12.8 for a AGM battery and 12.6 for a lead acid battery. I am actually using my granite digital pulse charger to read the voltage - it is an expensive voltage meter. I plan on putting a charging cable on the battery posts and run it to the inside of the car so I can get a reading at the battery. I am actually thinking the car needs a deep cycle marine battery with 850CCA. I have found one that fits the size. If it was a boat I would be putting a battery switch in with an extra battery! Which is exactly what I do on my boats. Nothing worse than to be stranded on the water or for that matter on a dark road late at night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
727 Posts
...... If it was a boat I would be putting a battery switch in with an extra battery! Which is exactly what I do on my boats. Nothing worse than to be stranded on the water or for that matter on a dark road late at night.
just get one of these LiPO battery booster packs for emergency use, they work great for emergency starting, and hold charge a long time

Some info on the charging circuit:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I had a problem with the Varta Battery. I was told if the battery went down far enough below full charge (I don't know that point), the Alfa charging system would not bring it back to full charge. The dealer wanted 3 hours to give it a high am full charge. I don't remember what the actual charge was but it caused a "CHECK ENGINE" alarm. I have a 2018 Ti sport. They installed a MOPAR AGM and I have had no problems, although I have not checked the voltage after driving, i.e. in the garage. My problems originated because my cruise control would not work. That was caused by a low voltage at the battery, which shut down the start/stop feature. If the start/stop feature does not work, this causes the cruise control to stop working. By the way, I never had a problem starting even in a cold NH climate and the car outside. Many purchasers have had this problem because the cars sat on dealer lots for months, letting the charge get below where the in car Alfa charging system would bring it back to full charge. Unfortunately, Alfa has lost a number of customers over this Varta battery issue. I have had no other issues with my car, and it has been GREAT!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
just get one of these LiPO battery booster packs for emergency use, they work great for emergency starting, and hold charge a long time

Some info on the charging circuit:
jwq2. 2 years into the Stelvio and I am still amazed at the hidden (to me) tech. Didn't know there was such a thing as an intelligent generator. Not much info available for the non-engineer, but does this mean that the car computer and the generator analyze the battery? I wonder if this explains what I saw as a break in period for the new battery installed by the dealer. For what it's worth: Battery Power Online | Battery Management With an Intelligent Battery Sensor is Vital to the Success of Future Automotive Designs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
Same experience with Varta...failed me. Dealer installed an Interstate AGM. No issues since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
727 Posts
jwq2. 2 years into the Stelvio and I am still amazed at the hidden (to me) tech. Didn't know there was such a thing as an intelligent generator. Not much info available for the non-engineer, but does this mean that the car computer and the generator analyze the battery? I wonder if this explains what I saw as a break in period for the new battery installed by the dealer. For what it's worth: Battery Power Online | Battery Management With an Intelligent Battery Sensor is Vital to the Success of Future Automotive Designs
The generator can be electronically switched on/off by the control modules (PCM, body computer, ... ) to reduce the load when charging is not required, to reduce fuel consumption.
I believe charging is f.i. mainly switched on when required during braking action, as this is most efficient. See also info on the IBS :
Re battery break-in (which is actually calibration time for IBS), this should not take more then 1 or 2 days, see from IBS :

When the IBS is powered up for the first time or is powered after a power disconnection, it enters a
“recalibration” phase, where the IBS must recognize the type of battery and its characteristics and state. In
this phase the tolerances on the state functions (SOC, SOF) are greater than in normal working condition.
When IBS is disconnected from the battery, the device loses its stored memory. When power is restored,
the IBS starts a relearn process. Until the relearn process is complete, accurate battery state information is
unavailable to other vehicle systems. The IBS relearn process requires one start and at least 4 hours of
quiescent time (vehicle off, electrical system asleep). Remember, the relearn process is restarted every
time power is reconnected to the IBS. This has a major effect on the stop/start feature.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
The generator can be electronically switched on/off by the control modules (PCM, body computer, ... ) to reduce the load when charging is not required, to reduce fuel consumption.
I believe charging is f.i. mainly switched on when required during braking action, as this is most efficient. See also info on the IBS :
Re battery break-in (which is actually calibration time for IBS), this should not take more then 1 or 2 days, see from IBS :

When the IBS is powered up for the first time or is powered after a power disconnection, it enters a
“recalibration” phase, where the IBS must recognize the type of battery and its characteristics and state. In
this phase the tolerances on the state functions (SOC, SOF) are greater than in normal working condition.
When IBS is disconnected from the battery, the device loses its stored memory. When power is restored,
the IBS starts a relearn process. Until the relearn process is complete, accurate battery state information is
unavailable to other vehicle systems. The IBS relearn process requires one start and at least 4 hours of
quiescent time (vehicle off, electrical system asleep). Remember, the relearn process is restarted every
time power is reconnected to the IBS. This has a major effect on the stop/start feature.
jwq2. This amazing. Thanks for the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
The generator can be electronically switched on/off by the control modules (PCM, body computer, ... ) to reduce the load when charging is not required, to reduce fuel consumption.
I believe charging is f.i. mainly switched on when required during braking action, as this is most efficient. See also info on the IBS :
Re battery break-in (which is actually calibration time for IBS), this should not take more then 1 or 2 days, see from IBS :

When the IBS is powered up for the first time or is powered after a power disconnection, it enters a
“recalibration” phase, where the IBS must recognize the type of battery and its characteristics and state. In
this phase the tolerances on the state functions (SOC, SOF) are greater than in normal working condition.
When IBS is disconnected from the battery, the device loses its stored memory. When power is restored,
the IBS starts a relearn process. Until the relearn process is complete, accurate battery state information is
unavailable to other vehicle systems. The IBS relearn process requires one start and at least 4 hours of
quiescent time (vehicle off, electrical system asleep). Remember, the relearn process is restarted every
time power is reconnected to the IBS. This has a major effect on the stop/start feature.
jwq2, I need to add that I appreciate your distillation of engineer jargon. I read the pdf and the engineers that put the stuff together don't quite get that the tech speak can be a bit of an understanding barrier. I am still very interested, just don't get it in an engineering sense. For reasons I won't explain, I'm not stupid, but could not get through calculus. But I am still amazed by calculus and a concept and the doors it opens up to others, but I remain outside looking in. So it is with the new cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
184 Posts
The generator can be electronically switched on/off by the control modules (PCM, body computer, ... ) to reduce the load when charging is not required, to reduce fuel consumption.
I believe charging is f.i. mainly switched on when required during braking action, as this is most efficient. See also info on the IBS :
I believe this feature is the main reason for the "engine brake" feeling once you get off the gas with the Stelvio. I notice it most at slower speeds. I wonder if some of the battery, and also brake, issues that some have pop up, are due to some of these newer features working against certain driving styles. For instance, if your driving style is on the gas then on brake with little to no coasting most of the time, will that result in the alternator not charging the battery enough ? Just a thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
478 Posts
I have pretty constant charging issues because I learned to drive on momentum cars so drive my Stelvio like one. Because I’m rarely standing on the brakes my alternator doesn’t do anything.

I’ve just accepted that I need to tender every couple weeks and always defeat stop/start. I should stop being cheap and just put a fit for purpose AGM battery in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hoosbeach

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Ok so with all of the discussions concerning battery problems got me concerned so I have actually started being proactive looking at battery voltage which I have never done with a daily driver - yes the Alfa is my daily driver.

So I have done the following:

1. got my meter out and measured the sitting voltage - 12.1 (well that is bad)
2. used my pulse charger (granite digital) to charge the battery - (discharge cycles etc) can only get a standing charge to 12.4 after a couple of days (not good means I really need to do a deep charge to hope to restore the battery)

So it looks like I have a bad battery due to poor charging characteristics from the Alfa. So I wanted to see what the float voltage while driving and here is what I have discovered on my car.

First off expectation: Charging value of no less than 13.4 and up to 14.5 volts depending on the level of the battery charge.

Here is what I discovered

1. First off I know I started with a battery that was at 75% charge which is 12.4 volts
2, Car started and idling - voltage read at the 12v console outlet 12.6 average (low but hey I am at idle)
3. During driving and under acceleration or steady speed voltage stayed at 12.6v average (huh that is different than all other cars/boats I have owned)
4. So 12.6 is not enough to charge a battery or keep it at 12.6. So I wanted to know if the alternator ever put out more than 12.6 volts so I did the following
a. accelerated and coasted - always at 12.6
b. put my foot on the brake and the gas (yes I hate those drivers) and nothing changed still 12.6 whether just keeping speed or accelerating with the brake on
c. Braked and then accelerated and I would see a ramp up of the voltage until the car was given gas
d. Braked and held the brake down - would ramp up to 14.2 volts - ok that is at least proves that the alternator can put out 14.2 volts
e. Accelerated and then braked enough to engage the brakes and the voltage would go up to 14.2 and stay there as long as I did not give any gas
f. As soon as I hit the gas the voltage would go down to 12.6
g. Using ACC the voltage would never go over 12,6 even when ACC had to brake.
h. tried different speeds and the car would only charge after braking and would stay charging with foot off the gas and brake until I was only at idle rpm and barely moving

So I figure the following: Alfa has a clutch on the alternator and has a controller that determines when the alternator clutch will engage (similar to an AC compressor), Either that or I have a bad alternator or controller circuit (voltage regulator - that does not make sense to me) or something else. The battery is bad or going bad for sure and maybe that is the problem but I think I would see the same thing with a new battery.

So can someone else plug in a meter to the 12v outlet and see when your car actually has a charging voltage?

Oh and now my battery charge is at 12.3v after 55 miles of travel. I have never worried about a battery or even an alternator dying on any of my previous cars and I have owned plenty of "normal" vehicles.
Hi my barttery voltage is 12,5 (stelvio 2019, 3000 km) Alfa Romeo dealer said there is no problem with the battery, wich is ridiculous! So maybe the solution is to buy a new one from different brand!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
405 Posts
Greetings @Hoosbeach . Agree with your conclusions. My battery output, as measured at the cigarette lighter level, is ~14.5 V fully charged. Consistent. It does not take much to get back to that level after cold starts. Less time during the day, longer at night when other electric demands are on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok so took a 550 mile trip yesterday and fully charged the battery to 12.6 volts. Great trip to see my 78 yo Aunt get remarried and see the family. Just read the battery level and it is at 12.2 volts. Definitely need to get a replacement battery. Will contact dealer and see what happens. If it was out of warranty I would be replacing with an Interstate AGM today. I had a battery charging issue on a boat (luckily got back in but that engine sure ran poorly) and as every one has said Low battery creates havoc on ANY modern vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
582 Posts
Ok so took a 550 mile trip yesterday and fully charged the battery to 12.6 volts. Great trip to see my 78 yo Aunt get remarried and see the family. Just read the battery level and it is at 12.2 volts. Definitely need to get a replacement battery. Will contact dealer and see what happens. If it was out of warranty I would be replacing with an Interstate AGM today. I had a battery charging issue on a boat (luckily got back in but that engine sure ran poorly) and as every one has said Low battery creates havoc on ANY modern vehicle.
Hello Hoosebeach,
Please let us know via private message if you decide to have your dealer look into this. If we can be of any assistance, we'd be glad to help.
Laura
AlfaRomeoCares
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Took the car in Monday with a low charge picked it up after simple test said the battery was good. I did get a start with the battery at 12.6 and the car purred when I started it. Did not hold the charge and will be taking it back on Friday. With the battery at 12.2 to 12.4 the car has a dieseling sound at idle/ startup and my sensors seem erratic with the collision avoidance getting disabled and beeps for no reason. They are going to do a full check on the car and I really just hope for a new battery. After reading through more battery threads and firmware version concerns it is really starting to make me unhappy that Alfa does not have an upgrade policy for the firmware and just change the battery. My dealer has been very helpful so far and I hope I have a great outcome on Friday. Did get an oil change for $110 so I am happy about that.

I said this before, that if the battery was not under warranty I would be driving with the Interstate AGM battery right now.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
562 Posts
Even though my Stelvio was new enough that the battery was under warranty I bought an Interstate and put it in myself. The cost of the Interstate battery was small compared with the time and expense of a 3 hour round trip to the dealer plus however long it would take to convince them to replace the Varta battery since the Varta was still apparently doing OK.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@Tom Yeah I am just stuck on the principal of the warranty. Car in today for the warranty work on the battery. They put a charge on it and then ran a check all fine... but just for the moment. Battery was bad but since it charged in less than two hours it passes the warranty test. Took it back and within 6 hours battery again at 12.2 volts. Weather finally getting cold so I expect a new battery soon

silver lining. Got to drive a Giulia for a few miles and it was nice difference from my Stelvio. I want one of each... with AGM batteries!!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
562 Posts
silver lining. Got to drive a Giulia for a few miles and it was nice difference from my Stelvio. I want one of each... with AGM batteries!!
My last service visit was to upgrade the software for the infotainment system. Apparently a 3 hour process. They gave me a new Guilia loaner with only 16 miles. It was fun learning the similarities and differences. This was only my second service visit. The first was the 10,000 mile service.

First thing, when I got in it was raining and I tried to activate the rear wiper. Duh, no rear wiper for a Guilia. The lighter weight and smaller body made it noticeably more nimble. The clearance between the top of my head and the roof was less than a 1/2". Partially due to the smaller body, and partially due to the sun roof. I could intermittently feel the hair on the top of my head rubbing against the roof. The seat is a lot closer to the floor, and also a lot closer to the ground. The latter was especially noticeable when I got out of it after putting 60 miles on it. My first Alfa was a 1969 Spider, so it's not like the low to the ground is new to me. But I'm not quite as nimble myself 50 years later.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top