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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried starting my Clarity this morning, but when I pressed the start button, I got error messages saying a lot of nonsense that eventually went away. I thought my 12 V battery was low, even though I do have dome lights. When I connect my regular 120V connector, the green light on the charging port lights up, but it won't stay green for long. I have tried the FOB and it gets the charge going, but then it quits.

Is is an issue of the 12 V battery being so low that nothing's working? I'll leave the car plugged in overnight, but I doubt it will fix things.
 

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I tried starting my Clarity this morning, but when I pressed the start button, I got error messages saying a lot of nonsense that eventually went away. I thought my 12 V battery was low, even though I do have dome lights. When I connect my regular 120V connector, the green light on the charging port lights up, but it won't stay green for long. I have tried the FOB and it gets the charge going, but then it quits.

Is is an issue of the 12 V battery being so low that nothing's working? I'll leave the car plugged in overnight, but I doubt it will fix things.
Very likely the 12V battery. Dome lights take very little juice. The computers and charging system need a good 12V source. Charging (and possibly replacing) your 12v battery will likely be required before you can charge your HV battery.
 

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I tried starting my Clarity this morning, but when I pressed the start button, I got error messages saying a lot of nonsense that eventually went away. I thought my 12 V battery was low, even though I do have dome lights. When I connect my regular 120V connector, the green light on the charging port lights up, but it won't stay green for long. I have tried the FOB and it gets the charge going, but then it quits.

Is is an issue of the 12 V battery being so low that nothing's working? I'll leave the car plugged in overnight, but I doubt it will fix things.
When you try and start the car, in spite of all the error messages does it still say "READY" on the display? If so then leave it in READY mode for about an hour because whenever you are in READY mode the HV battery will charge the 12V battery. Just check your EV miles to make sure you are not near zero, if you are that's okay but then don't leave the car unattended in an enclosed garage because when it reaches 0 EV miles then shortly afterwards the engine will start up to charge the HV battery.

After about an hour or so in READY mode, turn off the car and try charging again. If it now charges then you should be able to drive the car, some error messages may persist for the first mile or so but after that they should go away. Although you should then have the 12V battery checked out as soon as possible as it may need replacement as DucRider surmised.
 

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If it will not go into READY mode, then your next step will be as DucRider suggested which is to try and charge the 12V battery. If you have a battery maintainer (Battery Tender is a popular brand) then hook it up to the 12V. If you don't have one you may want to go buy one as they can come in handy for situations like this, or if you ever have to leave a car sitting for more than a couple of weeks you can keep the 12V battery charged. They cost around $50 but that will be less then a towing charge to a dealer. Okay you might have free towing but then you have to pay the dealer $$$ for whatever they do even if it's just charging the battery.

If the 12V battery is too low then a battery maintainer may not work, if so there are other next steps, but that's getting too far ahead we will wait to hear from you if it goes into READY mode and if you are able to revive it that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When you try and start the car, in spite of all the error messages does it still say "READY" on the display? If so then leave it in READY mode for about an hour because whenever you are in READY mode the HV battery will charge the 12V battery. Just check your EV miles to make sure you are not near zero, if you are that's okay but then don't leave the car unattended in an enclosed garage because when it reaches 0 EV miles then shortly afterwards the engine will start up to charge the HV battery.

After about an hour or so in READY mode, turn off the car and try charging again. If it now charges then you should be able to drive the car, some error messages may persist for the first mile or so but after that they should go away. Although you should then have the 12V battery checked out as soon as possible as it may need replacement as DucRider surmised.
No, unfortunately, it never gets to ready. It doesn't even do the startup chime even. I can get the ignition button to blink white and also to turn red, but nothing. When I press down the brake and the ignition button, nothing happens. I think the 12V battery is so low that it's not letting things like charging to even happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If it will not go into READY mode, then your next step will be as DucRider suggested which is to try and charge the 12V battery. If you have a battery maintainer (Battery Tender is a popular brand) then hook it up to the 12V. If you don't have one you may want to go buy one as they can come in handy for situations like this, or if you ever have to leave a car sitting for more than a couple of weeks you can keep the 12V battery charged. They cost around $50 but that will be less then a towing charge to a dealer. Okay you might have free towing but then you have to pay the dealer $$$ for whatever they do even if it's just charging the battery.

If the 12V battery is too low then a battery maintainer may not work, if so there are other next steps, but that's getting too far ahead we will wait to hear from you if it goes into READY mode and if you are able to revive it that way.
I do have an emergency battery jumper kit from my old days when my Civic would die. I'm charging it overnight and will get back to the forum on whether I'm able to jump start the Clarity. Of all the warnings the system gives, one excellent warning would be that the 12V battery is malfunctioning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I tried starting my Clarity this morning, but when I pressed the start button, I got error messages saying a lot of nonsense that eventually went away. I thought my 12 V battery was low, even though I do have dome lights. When I connect my regular 120V connector, the green light on the charging port lights up, but it won't stay green for long. I have tried the FOB and it gets the charge going, but then it quits.

Is is an issue of the 12 V battery being so low that nothing's working? I'll leave the car plugged in overnight, but I doubt it will fix things.
Leaving the car plugged in for more than 12 hours didn't change the situation, as I suspected it would, given the feedback about the 12V battery being the culprit.

Later today I will try jumping the Clarity with my emergency battery jumper, which is now fully charged.

Another clue that it's the 12V battery is that now I can't even open the trunk.
 

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If you need to get into your trunk there is a keyhole behind the left passenger headrest which you insert the physical key into. The physical key is located inside the key fob, there is a little slider on the back of the fob that you move which releases the key.

You are correct that just plugging in won't do anything. Unless the green light appears on the charge cable box, and a green light appears inside the charge door, then the charge cable is doing nothing. When those green lights are on then AC power is flowing through the cable. Power only flows through the cable while actively charging or while running climate. All other times the green lights will be off and no AC power will be flowing through the cable.

My experience with jump starting my Prius (my previous car) was that if the 12V battery was just slightly discharged I could use my small lithium jump start battery. Sometimes that wouldn't work and I had to use my larger (and heavier) lead acid jump start battery. In a few rare cases even that wouldn't work and I had to use actual jumper cables. But I only used jumper cables if I really had to be somewhere because using jumper cables has some risk associated with it. Obviously incorrect connection being one of them, but even when connected correctly there is a slight chance of damaging sensitive electronics. So if I had time I would just use my Battery Tender to get the battery charged again. So if your jump start battery doesn't work, as I mentioned you may want to look at getting a Battery Tender or similar (don't get a cheap charger).

But circling back to the dealer, keep in mind that the 12V battery is covered under the 36 month/36,000 mile warranty, so if you think the 12V needs replacement you probably are best going to the dealer. If the battery is so dead that it can't even be charged, but you don't want to have the car towed, you could remove the battery and take it in, although I'm not sure the dealer would honor the warranty if you just walk in there with a 12V battery. So your best bet if you can't get things going on your own is probably to call Honda's roadside assistance which is included in the 36 month/36,000 mile warranty. They may even be able to get the car started. The number for Honda roadside assistance is 866-372-5139
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you need to get into your trunk there is a keyhole behind the left passenger headrest which you insert the physical key into. The physical key is located inside the key fob, there is a little slider on the back of the fob that you move which releases the key.

You are correct that just plugging in won't do anything. Unless the green light appears on the charge cable box, and a green light appears inside the charge door, then the charge cable is doing nothing. When those green lights are on then AC power is flowing through the cable. Power only flows through the cable while actively charging or while running climate. All other times the green lights will be off and no AC power will be flowing through the cable.

My experience with jump starting my Prius (my previous car) was that if the 12V battery was just slightly discharged I could use my small lithium jump start battery. Sometimes that wouldn't work and I had to use my larger (and heavier) lead acid jump start battery. In a few rare cases even that wouldn't work and I had to use actual jumper cables. But I only used jumper cables if I really had to be somewhere because using jumper cables has some risk associated with it. Obviously incorrect connection being one of them, but even when connected correctly there is a slight chance of damaging sensitive electronics. So if I had time I would just use my Battery Tender to get the battery charged again. So if your jump start battery doesn't work, as I mentioned you may want to look at getting a Battery Tender or similar (don't get a cheap charger).

But circling back to the dealer, keep in mind that the 12V battery is covered under the 36 month/36,000 mile warranty, so if you think the 12V needs replacement you probably are best going to the dealer. If the battery is so dead that it can't even be charged, but you don't want to have the car towed, you could remove the battery and take it in, although I'm not sure the dealer would honor the warranty if you just walk in there with a 12V battery. So your best bet if you can't get things going on your own is probably to call Honda's roadside assistance which is included in the 36 month/36,000 mile warranty. They may even be able to get the car started. The number for Honda roadside assistance is 866-372-5139
I just happened to get off the phone with the number for Honda: 800-999-1009. They confirmed that the battery was under 10-year or 100K miles, whichever comes first, warranty.

I will definitely call Honda Roadside assistance as soon as I get some free time this afternoon.

Thank you so much for the follow up.
 

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I just happened to get off the phone with the number for Honda: 800-999-1009. They confirmed that the battery was under 10-year or 100K miles, whichever comes first, warranty.

I will definitely call Honda Roadside assistance as soon as I get some free time this afternoon.

Thank you so much for the follow up.
They apparently misunderstood your problem, according to the Honda website only the HV battery is covered for 10 years (8 years in non ZEV states), the 12V battery is only covered for 3 years/36K. Also the Honda website says that depending on the state where the car was purchased the HV battery is either covered for 10 year/150K or 8 year/100K, so it seems they mixed that part up also.

But anyway hope it all works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They apparently misunderstood your problem, according to the Honda website only the HV battery is covered for 10 years (8 years in non ZEV states), the 12V battery is only covered for 3 years/36K. Also the Honda website says that depending on the state where the car was purchased the HV battery is either covered for 10 year/150K or 8 year/100K, so it seems they mixed that part up also.

But anyway hope it all works out.
Thank you. The problem is not yet solved...

I called Honda roadside assistance and they dispatched a AAA contract driver. The driver jump started the Clarity so that it would get to the Ready screen. So far, so good. Then the driver pointed out that the FOB had a low battery. So, I went back into the house and got the extra FOB. Everything with the key culprit discarded seemed to be good. However, when I tried to put the car on reverse or on drive, I got an error saying:
"Gear Unavailable. Try Again After Awhile" (sic).

While not back to square one, the 12 V battery woke up enough so that the Clarity will now charge. I'm leaving it charging for a few hours and see if I can then drive the car. I'm assuming that a full charge will be equivalent to "awhile."

My next trip will be to the dealer where I will request politely that they put in a new 12 V battery at no charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Very likely the 12V battery. Dome lights take very little juice. The computers and charging system need a good 12V source. Charging (and possibly replacing) your 12v battery will likely be required before you can charge your HV battery.
Unfortunately even after 12+ hours of charging the car batteries seem to be ok, but the car will not go into gear.
Even though I'm getting the "Ready to Drive" splashscreen, the car will not go into gear. I keep getting the error "Gear Unavailable. Try Again After Awhile". I thought the FOB might be the problem, but I used the other FOB and no luck.

I'm going to have the Clarity towed to the dealer.
 

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Unfortunately even after 12+ hours of charging the car batteries seem to be ok, but the car will not go into gear.
Even though I'm getting the "Ready to Drive" splashscreen, the car will not go into gear. I keep getting the error "Gear Unavailable. Try Again After Awhile". I thought the FOB might be the problem, but I used the other FOB and no luck.

I'm going to have the Clarity towed to the dealer.
You might try one more thing - 12V reboot which is a simple procedure, you just disconnect the negative terminal on the 12V battery for a few minutes then reconnect it. This has solved numerous odd problems and in fact on another forum someone had your identical situation including the "Gear Unavailable" message and that fixed it and they were able to drive to the dealer for battery service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
You might try one more thing - 12V reboot which is a simple procedure, you just disconnect the negative terminal on the 12V battery for a few minutes then reconnect it. This has solved numerous odd problems and in fact on another forum someone had your identical situation including the "Gear Unavailable" message and that fixed it and they were able to drive to the dealer for battery service.
Ok, I will try disconnecting the negative terminal, give it a few minutes and then reconnect. Before doing that I will read what that other posting says.

I live on a city street where there's parking on both sides. The tow truck driver that came to my house couldn't navigate the driveway with the cars parked out front. Since the car can't be put into neutral, he told me that the car would need to be dragged to be put on the flat-bed. I have no idea how they would then proceed to deliver the car as the wheels would be stuck on park. Since he couldn't position the flat bed he told me that I needed to tell Honda Roadside Assistance to send a smaller flat bed or a wheel lift truck. I sincerely doubt that anyone could maneuver the car and tow it without causing some damage to the car.

This "Gear Unavailable..." issue presents many challenges in terms of getting the car towed.

================
So I went ahead and disconnected the negative terminal, waited at least a minute and reconnected the negative terminal. This time, when I pressed the ignition, the car started and gave lots of warnings but, as written elsewhere, these warnings are to be expected. However, most importantly, I was able to put the car in reverse and go back a couple of feet.

To recapitulate:
  1. car was in normal state, but was running on gas when parked overnight;
  2. car would not start after having been parked, there was some electricity in the 12 V battery, but apparently not enough to get the car moving;
  3. given the low 12 V battery, the car could not be charged (no green light when plugged in);
  4. a jump start from AAA did not get the car started, but it did get the 12 V battery to allow for charging of the car;
    1. car was charged for more than 12 hours until App said that it was fully charged;
  5. even with a fully charged car, the car would not engage, giving a "Gear Unavailable. Try Again After Awhile", error;
  6. disconnecting the negative terminal from the 12 V battery, waiting a minute, and reconnecting the negative terminal did an apparent reboot;
  7. after the reboot of the system (which resulted in many system warnings), the car could be put in gear.
I believe that if I had disconnected and reconnected the battery after step 2, maybe the reboot would have allowed the car to be charged, obviating the need for a jump start.
 

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Ok, I will try disconnecting the negative terminal, give it a few minutes and then reconnect. Before doing that I will read what that other posting says.

I live on a city street where there's parking on both sides. The tow truck driver that came to my house couldn't navigate the driveway with the cars parked out front. Since the car can't be put into neutral, he told me that the car would need to be dragged to be put on the flat-bed. I have no idea how they would then proceed to deliver the car as the wheels would be stuck on park. Since he couldn't position the flat bed he told me that I needed to tell Honda Roadside Assistance to send a smaller flat bed or a wheel lift truck. I sincerely doubt that anyone could maneuver the car and tow it without causing some damage to the car.

This "Gear Unavailable..." issue presents many challenges in terms of getting the car towed.
After you do the 12V reboot, the first time you start the car it will display a bunch of ominous warning messages about TPMS and a few others, that is normal and those messages go away after less than a mile of driving.

You will also find a few things have reset but nothing major, for example it will probably show a different EV range estimate than you were getting, that's because it has to build up driving history again, after a few trips your EV range estimate should be back to where it was.

All of this also happens when a 12V battery is replaced, since obviously during the swap the car will be without 12V power for some number of minutes.
 

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I didn't see your edit until after I posted my message, that's great that it is drivable again.

As for doing the 12V reboot after step #2, I don't think it would have cleared the charging issue, that seemed to be caused by low voltage on the 12V, as confirmed by the fact that the jump start by AAA enabled charging.

If you have the 12V tested at the dealer don't be surprised if it passes and they won't replace it under warranty. Look at it from their point of view, people drain their 12V batteries all the time and the dealer is probably not going to take your word for it that you didn't do anything to cause it, even if you didn't. Then again if the battery really is defective then it will probably fail their charge test. But if it passes and they won't replace it, then it's up to you whether you spend your own money to replace the battery. Normally just one deep discharge won't kill a battery, although it will shorten its overall life somewhat.

Clarity is pretty good about shutting things off after a while to protect the 12V. For example I have sometimes left my trunk open for several hours, but it shuts off the trunk light after a while. However interior dome lights stay on indefinitely as far as I know, although being LED they don't use a whole lot of power. Pressing the start button without pressing the brake pedal puts the car into Accessory mode, which will run the infotainment screen and radio but that's about it. ACC mode runs off of the 12V battery, however you normally won't totally drain the 12V in Accessory mode because it will shut off after about thirty minutes.

However - one more press of the power button without pressing the brake pedal puts the car into ON mode. In this mode everything on the dash lights up, power windows work, fan blower works (no heat or AC though). However the READY light will not be illuminated and the car cannot be driven. The dangerous thing about ON mode is that there is no timeout, if you accidentally leave it in ON mode it will eventually drain the 12V battery.
 

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If you have the 12V tested at the dealer don't be surprised if it passes and they won't replace it under warranty. Look at it from their point of view, people drain their 12V batteries all the time and the dealer is probably not going to take your word for it that you didn't do anything to cause it, even if you didn't. Then again if the battery really is defective then it will probably fail their charge test. But if it passes and they won't replace it, then it's up to you whether you spend your own money to replace the battery. Normally just one deep discharge won't kill a battery, although it will shorten its overall life somewhat.
Most dealerships don't have the proper test equipment for AGM batteries. Their equipment is a static test, which is easy to pass. The dynamic testing needed for a modern car's 12V battery requires special equipment.
 

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Most dealerships don't have the proper test equipment for AGM batteries. Their equipment is a static test, which is easy to pass. The dynamic testing needed for a modern car's 12V battery requires special equipment.
I have heard of people getting their Clarity 12V replaced under warranty. I don't know the circumstances, whether the dealer confirmed that the battery needed replacement or they just accepted the owner's description of the problem that they were having.

I was just pointing out that just because a 12V battery ran down one time and now seems to be working fine, the dealer may not be inclined to replace it. Some people take it to a shop that has the equipment to properly test the battery, some just go ahead and replace the battery proactively especially if it is already a few years old. But most people just keep going with it as long as it is still working. That's probably not all that risky if the battery is only a couple of years old and you live in a warmer climate. The 12V battery on a hybrid doesn't have to work that hard since it just has to power up the electronics, but still it is wise to keep a portable jump starter in the trunk to avoid having to sit for an hour or more waiting for AAA. Of course you also need to remember how to open the trunk when the battery is dead. Then again most lithium jump starters are small enough to keep in the glove box or center console.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I didn't see your edit until after I posted my message, that's great that it is drivable again.

As for doing the 12V reboot after step #2, I don't think it would have cleared the charging issue, that seemed to be caused by low voltage on the 12V, as confirmed by the fact that the jump start by AAA enabled charging.

If you have the 12V tested at the dealer don't be surprised if it passes and they won't replace it under warranty. Look at it from their point of view, people drain their 12V batteries all the time and the dealer is probably not going to take your word for it that you didn't do anything to cause it, even if you didn't. Then again if the battery really is defective then it will probably fail their charge test. But if it passes and they won't replace it, then it's up to you whether you spend your own money to replace the battery. Normally just one deep discharge won't kill a battery, although it will shorten its overall life somewhat.

Clarity is pretty good about shutting things off after a while to protect the 12V. For example I have sometimes left my trunk open for several hours, but it shuts off the trunk light after a while. However interior dome lights stay on indefinitely as far as I know, although being LED they don't use a whole lot of power. Pressing the start button without pressing the brake pedal puts the car into Accessory mode, which will run the infotainment screen and radio but that's about it. ACC mode runs off of the 12V battery, however you normally won't totally drain the 12V in Accessory mode because it will shut off after about thirty minutes.

However - one more press of the power button without pressing the brake pedal puts the car into ON mode. In this mode everything on the dash lights up, power windows work, fan blower works (no heat or AC though). However the READY light will not be illuminated and the car cannot be driven. The dangerous thing about ON mode is that there is no timeout, if you accidentally leave it in ON mode it will eventually drain the 12V battery.
I was able to drive the Clarity to Honda dealer and they just gave me back the car. They said the battery passed technical test (297 CCA out of a rating of 310 CCA). I'm not sure if this is the static test or the more involved dynamic test for AGM batteries mentioned by Obermd.

They of course strongly hinted that I must have left a light on for this to happen, but I'm almost 100% certain that that is not the case. I suspect a glitch in the Clarity computer. If this happens again, I will of course demand a battery replacement, but for now I'll drive it as is.

Thank you all for the feedback. I really appreciate it.
 

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Most dealerships don't have the proper test equipment for AGM batteries. Their equipment is a static test, which is easy to pass. The dynamic testing needed for a modern car's 12V battery requires special equipment.
And also based on what you are saying that would give those dealers an excuse to not replace the 12V if they don't want to. I suspect that a lot of the battery replacements are when the dealer accepts the customer's account of what happened, especially if it tossed up all kinds of way-out error messages. Seems common for people to get all kinds of messages when there is a problem with the Clarity 12V battery, but I don't know if that indicates an actual problem with the battery or if it will do that even with a healthy battery and you leave the dome light on or whatever.
 
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