How to Troubleshoot a GEM Car

by Timothea Xi
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Chrysler's Global Electric Motorcars division of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, or NEVs, has become a forerunner in just 12 years in the low-speed electric vehicle market, producing six models for use at universities, planned communities, industrial complexes, airports and resorts. A GEM car is powered by a 72-volt-battery system, which supplies power to a custom controller and the electric-drive motor. An onboard charger plugs in to any regular outlet and recharges the batteries for eight to 14 hours, depending on the model. If you encounter problems charging your GEM, follow these guidelines.

GEM Charging Troubleshooting

Step 1

Fault LED Flashing: If your charger's fault light flashes, look for the number of times it flashes to determine the type of fault. Before proceeding, check the battery connections first.

For charger 0606-00423, one flash on your light-emitting diode, or LED, can mean high battery voltage. There is some type of battery failure, an open circuit or another source of power charging the battery. Disconnect those other connections and check the battery's condition. The charger will restart automatically when this fault has been cleared.

Step 2

Two flashes on your charger LED can signal low battery voltage. In some models, two flashes signal "battery voltage out of range," meaning that the voltage could be either too high or too low. This signal means that the battery has failed or there is no battery connected.

Check connections and confirm the nominal battery voltage, which can be found in the first two digits of the four-digit model name of the battery. That voltage should be the same as the charger voltage. Once this is corrected, the fault will clear automatically.

Step 3

Three flashes indicate that the battery failed to charge during the allotted time. This could happen if your battery's capacity is larger than designated by the algorithm.

Conduct the checks of the previous steps, checking the battery for damage or low water; if the battery is good, check the connections to the power source and to the charger; confirm that nominal battery voltage matches the charger's voltage. You must manually clear this fault by unplugging the cord, waiting 30 seconds and replugging.

Step 4

Five flashes alert you to overheating of the charger during operation. You must manually correct the fault by powering down, waiting 30 seconds and restoring power. The charger will resume charging once the temperature has fallen. Assist this by placing the charger in a cooler location, rinsing the charger with low pressure and disengaging any mud that may be blocking the vents of the charger.

Step 5

If the AC LED is on and the charger won't charge, check your battery again. Your battery must be connected and in good condition for the charger to begin charging. Check nominal voltage and see that this is not higher or lower than the charger's voltage. Either case will result in the charger not starting.

Software revisions could affect the charger minimum-voltage starting threshold. Refer to the back of your product manual for the software revision and make the appropriate adjustment.

Step 6

A strong sulfur odor or excessive watering requirements of the battery may warn of a battery overcharging or a high battery temperature. Make sure that the battery pack is not too small and that the voltage is the same as the charger voltage. Make sure that the battery charge algorithm is correct. If it is a new battery, the algorithm may have to be changed. Follow the instructions in your owner's manual as to how to do this.

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