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Hi everyone! It’s Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield here from Transport Evolved, and yes i’m not in my studio today or in front of that weird backdrop: I’m here sitting at my computer desk in my house! The reason why i’m making today’s video like this is because i need to make an ammendment to the following video. The video which follows was filmed about three or four weeks ago and deals with the 12-Volt lead acid battery replacement for our Nissan Leaf. Or rather, wife’s 2013 Nissan LEAF. As those who’ve watched the channel for the past month or so will know, we had an issue about a month or so ago when our leaf suddenly started running down its battery. We’d go downstairs in the morning to use the car, only to find a flat battery. Initially we thought that this was down to perhaps the charging system we were using. Then we thought it had something to do with the fact that the 12-volt battery was old, so we took the battery to be tested at a local battery store. But the testing came back and gave a result indicating the battery was fine. Despite this, it was still causing issues! So this video is about replacing that older battery pack with an Optima Yellow Top G51R — which is a sealed AGM battery — as opposed to the the flooded one that came with the car. Additionally, as a kind of coda to this video (which I may as well add to the video right here) I should note that there’s some suspicion among Nissan LEAF owners that the car wings telling telematics unit upgrade that nissan has been offering since the start of the year in the united states that allows you to go from A to G and data connection to a 3g data connection is causing problems with cars with 12 volt batteries that are not quite so in good health and is actually causing those batteries to drain quickly and causing issues that I don’t have any kind of evidence to back that up right now because I haven’t done any measurements myself all I can tell you is since putting the new 12 volt battery in the car has behaved itself but we have noticed it’s getting drained quite quickly so I’m actually topping it up once or twice a month to keep the battery fully charged but if you go to minus on me for other nissan leaf forums you’ll notice but lots of people who have had that telecommunications unit upgrade are now reporting problems of the 12-volt battery system so if you do have a Nissan Leaf you’ve got that upgrade and you’re having problems leave your thoughts in the comments below because i’d love to investigate this more fully enough talking from me i’m going to hand back to the me for about four weeks ago and a much better at much edited video than the introduction hi everyone it’s nikki gordon-bloomfield here from transport evolved it’s friday and i thought i would give you just a bit of an update on what’s been going on with our transport evolved staff car staff car nissan leaf the one I’m in right now we had some issues with the 12-volt battery which i did a video on like last week and after the video had finished I thought we were going to need to upgrade the battery and replace the battery I took it over to to a local battery specialist who and now there’s nothing wrong with the battery your car is fine you do not need to replace it and then the car behaved itself for about a week and then this week I came downstairs to a flat battery um same as last time I was able to jump start it again and then again I came down to another another broken uh well not broken another flat battery this morning by which point I’ve kind of made my mind up that there’s definitely something wrong with this car and it wasn’t plugged it into the charging station last night I purposely left it unplugged just see what would happen and this morning it was dead now I left it with a battery tender overnight charging the battery nothing that didn’t make any difference at all and in fact you just need to check my map please read with me Oh yeah it’s just just literally just down there on the left so I came downstairs this morning the card did appear to be okay until I try to turn it on it lit up like a Christmas tree lots of error messages I did some looking on forums and it seems that when the top up battery gets sick the Rev and it causes all kinds of errors to happen at least that’s what I’m hoping and because I’m about to go to my local auto zone where I am going to pop down some of my hard-earned cash on getting a replacement battery to put in to see if this will fix the issue now why do I think the 12 volts go on like it doesn’t the battery voltage just seemed to drop very very quickly which is not not great so let me pull inside i’ll see if i can get my battery sorted out and i will be right back I have spent large amounts of money on some some hardware that I hope will fix the problem with our Nissan Leaf so far everything seems to be okay connect to information sent the car is connecting to the Information Center which is good I’m just going down here and setting my units um because it goes from Fahrenheit it goes from Celsius it defaults to Fahrenheit if you disconnect the battery and I have to do that a lot lately my account has been activated on car wings which is good so it does seem to mean it does seem to suggest that we have got everything back that was taken away by by disconnecting the battery and putting a new one in we just have to wait now and find out if this was the problem or if I’ve just spent nearly 200 well more than two hundred dollars because i bought a battery charger I don’t have a one designed for use in the US so I’ve got a a 50 amp battery charger which can also be used to jumpstart the car should this happen again which I I figured was a smart move so I’ve got that and a new battery and I went for a I opted to kind of spend the high amount and get a an optima yellow top battery because they’ve got a really good reputation for use in v’s because they are dual use batteries so I’ve got one of those we’ll see what happens interestingly just as it did when we plugged it in to the battery tester last week the battery tester again said know that there’s nothing wrong here the car is fine nothing to see move along so if the battery is dead tomorrow morning when we go to use the car will know I guess that we we wasted a lot of money on a battery that we didn’t need but based on my experience with the rav4 EV which does exactly the same thing you know throws random errors and whatnot when the battery is at a low state of charge does very much suggest that we’re not going to have the issues that we we did have previously so we’re going to keep our fingers cross we’re going to hope that that is going to solve the issue and I’m recording this because I suppose at some point we will put an update up onto the transport evolve site this is not kind of a formal video this is just an update so thanks for watching I will keep you posted and until next time keep evolving

63 thoughts on “Staff Car Update: Nissan LEAF 12-Volt Battery Upgrade (Optima YellowTop G51R)

  1. lol Nikki. Don't need 50 amp charger for that tiny 12 volt AGM, 5-7 amps should do just fine. I charge 400 AH battery bank with 20 amp charger. 50 amps ? really ?

  2. 4 years is pretty good for a factory battery. And since lead acid batteries weren't really designed for the charge duty cycles that an EV can put on them (Tesla in particular) I think it's just a matter of time before they use something other than traditional lead acid batteries for the 12 volt system or they learn to adjust the BMS to properly maintain lead acid batteries.

  3. I don't know why EV makers put an ICE car battery on their vehicles when a deep cycle battery is what is required. A standard car battery is rated in Ah but also has a Cold Cranking Amps rating and this is what is tested to see if the battery is OK. It may be able to turn the engine over but not hold sufficient charge for a long term low current drain.

  4. My Mitsubishi i-MiEV drained the 12 Volt battery (30Ah) over a week because I forgot to disconnect the OVMSv2 from the OBD port (for charging status via 3G).
    The requirements for the battery are not that harsh, it doesn't need a particularly large CCA rating in that respect. It should be beefy enough to handle the DC/DC in the car, the Mitsu has a 80A DC/DC, and the Leaf has something similar. This also comes on if you charge the car or drive (for the lights, radio and other accessories).

    For emergency charging a simple 12 Volt 10 Amp charger is enough to get it jump started, as soon as you "start" the car, the onboard DC/DC will take over and push > 50A into the 12V battery.

    If you have a Leaf with the small solar panel you should negate some of the parasitic draw in the daytime, unless you have a garage and it's become useless.

  5. Is the issue only limited to USA due to the changes that has happened or is it also effecting other countries due to the cars fitted with 3G etal from factory fitted?

  6. Hi Nikki a little tip when handling a car battery, rubberized gloves help reduce the risk of shock during the installation and deinstallation process. Also this is easier in general on your hands.

  7. Peter Seddon1 hour ago
    I don't know why EV makers put an ICE car battery on their vehicles when a deep cycle battery is what is required. A standard car battery is rated in Ah but also has a Cold Cranking Amps rating and this is what is tested to see if the battery is OK. It may be able to turn the engine over but not hold sufficient charge for a long term low current drain.
    you are so correct same a solar battery.

  8. I have a MY15 Leaf and finally got the cellular radio upgrade (free for MY15) about a month back. So far there have been no problems, but my 12v battery is a couple of years newer.

  9. I own A 2012 LEAF SL,in which I chose to replace the 12 volt battery. I upgraded to the newer telematics unit and to a Duralast Gold from AutoZone and it has worked perfectly. The Optima was too rich for my blood and since all I have in the car is a 500 watt subwoofer, and not a competition grade sound system. the Duralast was almost half the cost of the Optima and works perfectly, I highly recommend it.

  10. "Give Back" to the owners of ICE vehicles — jump start them at EVERY opportunity. (You can let them fall into thinking that the owners of electrified vehicles are "the Salt of the Earth;" but you are really only providing them what they consider a desperately needed Service, out of a depraved desire to keep your own 12 Volt battery in good health. {What a 'damnable' charge spot poaching ICE owner "beliebs" iz not Your Responsibility — as long as they all have a good Opinion of EVers; however unwarranted that may be}.)
    Sigh. It is "In the Cards;" people who happen to be in a minority, have to Smile more Brightly; and Try Harder.

  11. I always enjoy your informative videos Nicky! Have you done one on a Chevy Volt? (or are you strictly into total EV?). I've been trying to buy one but my local dealer can't seem to source one with all the options I want and don't want. I'm convinced that the manufacturers are building very limited runs of all new electric-related vehicles since the tech is changing so rapidly that the next year expectations of range etc. will be so much higher that any current unsold stock would be hard to get rid of. I'm guessing that is the reason that there's a lot of interest in purchasing cars, yet no supply (at least here on Vancouver Island, Canada)

  12. Omg never work on a battery without disconnecting the neg first, even the little mounts should be done after both sides are disconnected. Aalways reconnect the neg last. This is giving me anxiety. Luckily you have a tiny spanner but it could still short if you touched the chassis. Specially moving that quickly XD

  13. 50A Charger on that little tiny battery? It's going to melt 🙂
    I can recommend CTEK 7A smart charger. Been using mine successfully for years on all my cars and I love it. If I were to buy another one I would go for the 5A version, it's just as capable and easier on the battery.

  14. Had a similar thing with my Prius. Battery when tested was fine, reading the right voltage but as soon as a proper tester/load was applied the voltage would sag. Put in a deep cycle agm battery and after 5 years it is still fine. Errors on the dash when starting but then the car would be ok before the battery was replaced.

  15. That's exactly what I said that you should put in the car a AGM battery or lithium ion I an automotive technician and yes sometimes you test a battery and then the test is good but the battery is bad usually I recharge the old battery completely and let it sit out of the car for at least a week and see if the voltage drops faster than normal you should check in the morning at what Voltage the battery is without the key on or anything else on you should have at least 12.5 to 12.7 volt if it's Lower than that then you should have someone test the parasitic draw of the system and check if the DC to DC convertor is working normally and it's charging the battery fully with all accessories on in the car with the car in run position.

  16. Yep, a weak battery will make any car go wackadoo. I had the cell upgrade done 2 months ago. No problems so far.

  17. I'd be concerned there was a short/faulty ground, or, the voltage regulator is taking a dump. Of course, there could be a intermittent short inside the battery between the plates, those old style batt's tend to fail at or around the four year mark. Ive had AGM "red top" style batts last over a decade in my vehicle.

  18. I recol you using the the 12v with an dc ac inverter to supply power to your house in a mains fauler didn't you say that the li-io charges the 12v batt at 1kw so whay did your 12v batt not hold charge .

  19. would be helpfull to do a draw test on the battery. need a meter with an amp clamp (or a good mechanic, or a good AAA guy). you should not see more than .5 amp draw on battery as the car is sitting. if it's more than this you have a problem. you may be covering up a problem with the car by putting in a new higher cca battery than the original. I have an 11 leaf #807 64k, original 12v battery and have had the telematics up date and no problems. I even let it sit for 12 days last month while I was in Las vegas. no problems on return. if you find a draw would be worth showing the results to the Nissan dealer, and have them check the work they did and maybe remove the fuse that runs the telematics unit and see if the draw goes away. just my thoughts. thanks Jay

  20. Had to replace my lead acid battery and also used the yellow top; I don't have the telecom upgrade…really don't even miss it since we live a pretty simple life. In my car using the yellow top without the upgrade, I have had no problems over a period of about six months. I'm waiting for my Tesla 3 and I've bought my last Nissan…I can't go with a company that has blown their lead in EVs as badly as Nissan has…they still are trying to manage EVs using ICEV policies…won't work Nissan. You need to develop policies that work for your EV customers not policies that work against them. Choosing an outdated telecom system on day one shows one example of how little they understand EVs and how they differ….sad that they may be selling a Telecom upgrade that draws down the battery…just sad.

  21. A couple of thoughts/questions:

    (1) Does your LEAF have the small solar panel on the rear spoiler? It's supposed to help keep the 12v battery charged. If your car spends a lot of time under cover I suppose it's effectiveness will be limited.
    (2) I am not sure the Optima battery is the best choice. I had one in my Ford Escape Hybrid and was not terribly satisfied, it only lasted a little over 3 years (note the warranty is 3 years). Part of the problem may be that AGM batteries like a higher charge voltage than flooded cell batteries. If the charging circuit in the car isn't giving it the voltage it needs it will not get a full charge.

    We're still on the original 12v battery in our 2011 LEAF SL. It does have the solar panel, and it's always parked outdoors. So far, so good. Then again, my 3G telematics unit still isn't working 100 percent, so maybe I'm lucky in that respect?

  22. Next step would be to have a lithium 12v battery with decent battery management unlike the old acid batteries. But simply sticking a modern battery instead of acid isn't enough big thing missing is smart management systems for this battery strange that no one has done this

  23. Why not just get another Nissan Battery. They do cover some of the cost.
    Months Customer Pay In Service Percentage
    0–24 0%
    25–32 25%
    33–50 50%
    51–84 75%

    My 2015 12v battery died just after 23 months. I got one for free. NO matter what you replace it with, it will have issues unless you keep the battery topped off yourself. The car is not very "nice" to the 12v battery and it does not keep it topped off, so the battery suffers a untimely death.

  24. I can't think of a more B.S. post than this one. She misses the point and does not know what she is talking about…

  25. @transportevolved I think the issue might be to do with leaving your smartphone connected to the car with Bluetooth. When you park the car and walk away, some cars don't disconnect the Bluetooth link and will keep searching for the phone and this will drain the battery. I don't know the exact details of how fast the battery will drain or how much demand there is from a Bluetooth link but I have heard of this before (not isolated to the Leaf). Hope this helps.

  26. Not sure if this was her issue, but some of the navigation systems on older Nissan Leaf's will continue to open and close the screen when the car is off which will drain the 12 volt battery. Especially if the car hasn't been driven in over 24 hours and you still have the factory battery. I had this issue.

    Cheap fixes besides replacing the navigation system or screen are take apart the screen and disconnect the cable that connects to the circuit board that the tilt button is embedded on. Just sucks because you can't use the tilt button to put a cd or change the map day night background. Another cheap fix is buy a new 12 volt and just make sure you drive the car or turn it on every day. A somewhat cheap but risky attempt to fix this issue, is buy a used/salvaged navigation unit on eBay just hope that the unit doesn't have the same issue with the malfunctioning tilt button and disconnect that screen and attach it to your navigation system base. It's possible to take off the tilt screen without removing the entire navigation unit from the dash.

  27. Hello there! I bought a 2014 Nissan Leaf in June, had the telematics unit upgraded to work with the 3G system, and guess what? My battery died! Now the 12 volt battery was already 3 years old, so I assumed it just wore out. However, having just replaced it with a new battery (and the car has been working fine for the last 4 days), I am now wondering if the new battery is going to drain quickly. I did not go to a dealership or mechanic to replace the battery – I just bought a new battery at the local AutoZone store, and my neighbor was kind enough to install the battery for me (he is handy – I am not). Please let me know if you find out anything about your theory linking the telematics upgrade to the battery going flat. I am interested in knowing what is going on!

  28. Well, my 2011 Nissan Leaf got a 2017 battery and upgrade in Telematics last January  2017 with zero issues as to the 12 volt battery which is ORIGINAL. Still going strong.  In my experience when 12 volt batteries cannot hold a charge the issue is internal as in one or more cells have gone bad. They WILL TEST OK as to charge but have less power to start an ICE car. It seems the low charge also affects EV start mode. Doing math, in 2017 a 2013 12 volt battery is 4 years old, an average life cycle for many brands. Sadly, over 100 years of lead acid battery development, I would guess due to lack of interest, there is no advanced tech to test the condition of each cell in a car battery. To the best of my knowledge, the NIssan Leaf does not have a history of technical issues with the 12 volt battery as this battery is charged when the car is plugged in, via the tiny solar panel (yes, I admit, it is most window dressing as the current generated is tiny, or via the main battery when the car is running. Well, no matter what, come Oct/Nov I do plan to have this battery replaced. Just to be OK.

  29. My 2011 LEAF still has its original battery. Will probably need one soon. Just bought a small backup battery jumper with about 500 peak amps to keep handy when the time comes. Cheers. p.s. My 2010 Prius also still has the original 12v battery.

  30. Hi. My 2011 Leaf 12 volt battery lasted long enough and I finally changed it, as a precaution, 3 weeks ago. I simply went to the Nissan dealership and purchased a replacement unit. Got home and changed it then returned the old one for a core credit. Six years running without issues but as winter approaches I decided it was time for a new one. Very easy job. I believe Nissan 12 batteries are made by Hitachi and that is good enough for me. Thanks.

  31. You're in Oregon as I can tell. I thought it's pretty silly to have 12 volt lead acid for 100% EV car. As of your computerize charging system from your EV battery to lead acid battery as you're driving. The extra weight toward EV car to having a heavy lead acid battery. For LiFeO4 Lithium-iron Phosphate, is very pricey but one battery will most likely lasted throughout life of your car. LifeO4 battery is 4 times lighter than Lead Acid plus LiFeO4 is both for starter and deep cycles battery. You needed a volt meter for you to tell if your battery is charging or not to avoid from you'll being stranded.

  32. I caught my leaf draining itself. One of the charge lights kept blinking as if it were charging. Just thought I'd throw that out there to see if anyone else has seen the same thing.

  33. Why did you opt for the Yellow top Optima over the Blue Top Optima? Seems that the Blue Top battery would be much better suited for the EV application. Starter batteries depend on more and thinner cell wafers to get more "cranking amps" but there is no high drain application of a starter cranking a cold engine. In this instance a thicker plated deep cycle battery such as the blue top would be a better choice. Deep cycle batteries are much more tolerate of the charge discharge cycles and EV puts them through. In any case good choice of brands. The Optima battery being a spiral wound dry cell is MUCH more tolerant of being discharged and recovering. I had one attached to my home solar PV array and the cheap charge controller I had it hooked to gave up the ghost and discharged it below 10 volts (which is death for standard SLA battery), I trickled it back up to 14 volts and put it in my car and it functions like it never happened. Just keep in mind with the Optimas they are a sealed dry battery so always charge them slow if you rambo a bunch of amps into them trying to speed charge them and cause the water to vent off there is no practical way to replenish that water. That will kill any battery including an Optima DEAD. I really recommend the Optima brand charger or a smart charger that is designed for AGM batteries if you are going to charge the Optima in the future. Its worth the money.

  34. I had the up grade and that is when I the battery started being dead it only when I up date my status and it says weak cell phone repsions

  35. Got to love the nerd girls… wearing star wars tee and talking FLA and AGM batteries… ha ha. My Nissan Leaf SV has sudden 12v battery death… 2 times in a year. No telling when it will happen. I charge it up and it is good to go.

  36. Nikki: OK.. it's now 18 mos since that (expensive!) OPTIMA D51 12V battery got installed. How has the LEAF (the battery) performed since having it installed? Can we have an update please. Headed into winter now (November 2018) and wondering if it's a good idea to install a fresh 'brute' of a battery for the winter. (Thinking all-the-while that a deep-cycle 12V might be in order). comments needed please….

  37. If the battery tested fine, but you still find it getting discharged, I think the logical next step is to check for parasitic draw.
    Putting a new battery may stop the symptoms, but the cause is still there.

  38. I was thinking of using 2 6 volt battery’s(using the car as a camper in the near future)
    In hopes of having cabin electronics work longer,
    Just not sure if that would mess with the cars electronics

  39. I noticed how sensitive my Leaf is to 12v battery corrosion. The positive terminal only gets a slight coating of corrosion before I notice the change of control responses. Nissan didn't exactly make cleaning the terminals easy. For over one hundred years mechanics knew that leaving a post grip overnight in a common cup of tap water will clean all the oil-free corrosion. I noticed there are some copper leads on the positive terminal grips. I assume these are wired straight into the regulator to the Leaf's electronics. Sadly I am unable to make 100% looking corrosion free positive terminal grip – thanks Nissan engineers, I hope you're not chosen to design naval equipment. With great grimace I must place the dirty grip back on the nice clean shiny battery post. I will give it a health dowsing of Radio Shack's electronic cleaner. Knowing it is utterly ridiculous to hope for the best knowing that what I've done is the best I could do under this design flaw. The car is suppose to go back to Nissan as they like to check it out. I will tell them to replace the battery post grips – and I've decided not to be nice about it: so THERE!

  40. I had the Telematics upgrade done 3 years ago when I purchased a new main battery to replace the 2011 unit. No problems with the 12 volt battery draining. When the 12 Volt battery was approaching 7 years it was creating random messages on the dashboard. Battery was replaced with another Nissan battery and zero issues have occurred. Coincidences are known as Red Herrings. As to placing non Nissan batteries into an EV, well, all I can say is that the Nissan 12 volt ones have worked extremely well for me. The car charges the 12 volt when plugged in, or if needed, from the main battery. A good working battery should not cause any problems at all. Oh, I priced other batteries and Nissan’s was the same or much less. Do not assume it will be the higher priced one. 3 years, close to 20,000 miles; zero issues. Thanks

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