Troubleshooting Guide & Testing
Click on question below to expand answer.
What must I know before using this guide?
A: Before referring to this guide, please be sure you have read the owners manual and other included literature and have installed the unit according to this manual. Also, make sure you are using the correct model of the PriorityStart! for the correct application.
Very Important: Make sure you you have completed the provided "testing procedures". If you need to call for additional technical help, we will inquire if this testing was done. These procedures can be downloaded here. This basic test will make sure that the unit is working properly on a mechanical level and on an electronic level. Generally, if you can get through this simple test two or more times without incident, your unit is not defective. However, if after going through these procedures without incident and you are still finding a problem then there might be a conflict between the PriorityStart! and the application it is on or the vehicle is simply at fault. More often than not, these matters can be resolved by reading the below information.
Please Keep in Mind:
• Over 50% of all units returned for warranty are not actually defective.
• By doing these "testing procedures", you may save yourself time and money.
If your question is not covered here, additional technical information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here. If you would still like to return the unit, even after consulting this guide, please refer to our warranty page.
Notice to customers using newer generation models with LED power indicators: The RED light shows that the unit has disconnected. The GREEN light shows it to be in a connected position. This is a significant troubleshooting tool. For example, if it is displayed as red--do not assume your battery is dead. However, if the LED light is not lit with any color or looks weaker than normal (i.e. not as bright), this means your battery may be depleted or going bad. (This does not yet apply to all models).
Q: Are there any basic principles that I should know that may affect the operation of the PriorityStart!?
A: Before troubleshooting any situation mentioned in this guide, listed below are some basic principles that should be checked first before you continue any further:
• Check all connections on the unit and on the battery posts. The PriorityStart! requires a very secure and tight connection.
• Make sure there is no corrosion. Make sure the battery posts are thoroughly clean.
• Note the history of the battery. If a battery is older--or even if it is new and has been depleted fully only one time--it may never hold a charge as well as it once did; and this can create further problems for you.
• If your situation allows--you may choose to test the unit in question on an alternative vehicle (using the same testing procedures provided). This will usually specify where the problem lies: Either (a) the unit or (b) the vehicle.
Q: What type of batteries do the units fit?
A: Any 12-Volt battery (universal for top post or side mount). Available in a 12-Volt marine application (wing-nut application). Also available in a 24-Volt unit.
Q: Are there any electrical accessories that should not be used with the PriorityStart!?
A: Some electrical accessories that draw a high amount of current (especially if it is running for a continuous amount of time such as high amp alternators [e.g. 200 amp or higher], lift-gates, winches or other similar accessories) may damage the PriorityStart! unit if it is wired directly on its top post. (Call technical support if questions on this.) The unit is not meant for such applications. These high drawing accessories should be placed on the least path of resistance--that is, wired directly to the battery. You may still use the PriorityStart! in this situation, but remember: Anything that is left directly on the battery will not be protected (thereby disconnected) by the unit. Units found damaged from such use can void the warranty. Please note: The PriorityStart! is rated for 250 continuous amps.
Q: Running the unit on a Dual Battery system:
A: On Dual Battery Installations, one PriorityStart! unit will handle dual batteries. Since there are a number of variables to the proper installation please contact BLI direct for assistance at (509) 467-4203. In some cases, especially in regards to diesel trucks, cable alterations will be needed. Additionally, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with details on your application. You may look at a general setup on our downloads page, but still may need to contact us with additional details.
Q: How do I jump-start if I need to? What kind of effect can it have on my battery or alternator? Can I do it with the PriorityStart! attached? What about trickle chargers?
A: BLI does not recommend jump-starting for any battery. Jump-starting a unit with a dead battery, and letting the alternator charge the battery is extremely hard on alternators. While charging, or jump-starting, a battery that has been completely discharged will seemingly revive it--please note that permanent damage has been done. A battery subjected to this abuse may load-test satisfactorily; however, much of its original capacity is lost forever. Repeated episodes of this nature will result in a battery which will start the engine, once jump-started, but will FAIL to hold a charge after even a few minutes of nominal drain. Additionally, overcharging, excessive heat and vibration are also battery killers.
If you are charging the battery using a battery charger (i.e. trickle charger), please consult your vehicle's owner manual on battery charging. Be sure to connect any cables from the charger directly to the battery posts (NOT the top post on PriorityStart!). Also, as a precautionary step, please temporarily remove the ground wire (on the PriorityStart!) from the negative terminal of your battery.
Q: Will I lose the radio and clock settings when the PriorityStart! disconnects?
A: Yes, unless your vehicle has temporary or back-up memory, it will be lost and needs to be reset.
Q: The cables do not fit tightly or can not reach the PriorityStart!.
A: Lack of Space - The positive cable attached to the PriorityStart! can be easily replaced with a longer (or higher gage) cable. Simply pull back the boot and loosen the bolt. The ground wire can also be lengthened as well with a different wire or a soldered-on extension. These changes will not affect operation of the PriorityStart!. Additionally, you may place the unit facing any direction if it makes installation more convenient. Loose Fittings - If the cable coming from the starter, or even the positive cable going from the PriorityStart! to the battery post, is loose in any way, you can either (a) change the connections and/or posts on the PriorityStart! with one found at a local auto parts store that is a tighter fit, or you may call our offices and request a metal " shim ". A shim is flexible piece of metal that can fit around a smaller-styled post that allows the connections to fit securely.
Q: There is a noise coming from the PriorityStart!, is this normal?
A: Yes. The PriorityStart! is a mechanically driven device. Inside is a gear-driven system powered by a small motor. During the first installation of the unit, you should hear the PriorityStart! engage. The unit is usually purchased in the disconnected position. During installation, it will force a connection. Each engagement or disengagement may last 3-4 seconds.
Q: My battery is dead. The PriorityStart! did not disconnect.
A: Very Important: Make sure the battery is actually depleted. Many mistake the battery for being dead, when in fact, the PriorityStart! has disconnected at the appropriate disconnect threshold. When the unit disconnects, all power in the vehicle will turn off and it may appear that the battery is depleted--when in actuality, it is waiting for a voltage change of at least 0.2mV (microvolt) in order to reconnect (or reactivate). You can verify this by measuring the voltage directly from the battery terminals with a simple volt-meter. If you do not have a volt-meter, you may wish to temporarily remove the unit from your battery and try to start the vehicle without the unit. If your battery does not appear to have been discharged, see the next question: "Unit will not reconnect". Otherwise, continue reading:
It is important to note that the PriorityStart! only draws between 9-12 milliamperes--an extremely small amount. Therefore, it can not be the cause of any discharge of the battery if the unit is being used per instructions.
The first diagnostic step in this situation is always to follow the recommended testing procedures mentioned earlier. It will simply tell you if the unit is functioning properly and disconnecting when the voltage level drops. Please continue reading after this test has been completed. If the unit appears to be working correctly so far, the following information contains possible reasons why the battery was found discharged:
If you have installed the PriorityStart! on a battery that has been damaged--or is just too old--you are still at risk of a dead battery. In our experience, we have found that this is the most common reason why a battery will be found discharged--even with a PriorityStart! attached. Remember: The PriorityStart! isolates the battery from the electrical load--thus preventing an electrical draw from discharging the battery. It is not designed to put life back into a bad battery (that may discharge on its own). In this case, the unit will still disconnect at the proper threshold--but there will not be any starting power left when it is reconnected by the user. You may test this out by slightly altering the test procedures found above: Once the unit disconnects at 11.7 volts, do not reconnect the unit. Rather, leave it disconnected and monitor the battery's voltage at periodic intervals (e.g. every hour, overnight, etc.). If the voltage is continuing to drop--even after the PriorityStart! has disconnected off the electrical system, then the battery is discharging on its own.
Make sure that any electrical accessories that you wish to have monitored by the PriorityStart! are attached directly to the top post on it. Specifically, any wires attached to the positive side of your battery terminal before the PriorityStart! was installed should now be attached to the top of the unit. The PriorityStart! cannot monitor what is not on it. You can still be at risk of a dead battery if this instruction is not followed! [Note: It is important to remember that the PriorityStart! will still disconnect at the proper voltage level--even if these instructions are not followed--however, it will only stop the problematic electrical drain if the accessory, terminal blocks, or any other part of the electrical system is wired directly through the unit itself.]
Circuits within the PriorityStart! could be recognizing a condition being created by an after-market accessory. We use a special "engine run" circuit inside of the unit. It is a safety feature that keeps the PriorityStart! from disconnecting a battery on a running vehicle. It will NOT disconnect the battery when the engine is running, even though the battery voltage level may drop below the factory-set safe threshold. Circuits within this product recognize an "engine run" condition by sensing electrical "noise" created by fuel injectors, fuel pump, fan motors, etc., and will not disconnect the vehicle battery. However, you may have an after-market accessory that can be emitting false "engine run". In order to correct this, you may need to purchase the ProMax unit which has a special electronic filtering ability. If you are able to identify what accessory is interfering--you may want to take note of this for future reference.
The PriorityStart! is not meant as a solution for vehicles in long-term storage. You will note that in the provided literature it states that we recommend a car to be started every 60-90 days and ran for about 15 minutes. Although, the PriorityStart! will still disconnect at the appropriate threshold--many batteries can not handle being left for months (or even just weeks) at a time and may discharge on its own. This is a completely natural occurrence for most batteries.
On occasion, there are some aftermarket accessories that "store" a small amount of power. In this situation, the device may self-activate therefore causing the unit to read this as a voltage-change--thus reconnecting the unit on its own. It is important to identify what accessory is causing this to happen so that you can take the appropriate action. If this situation occurs repeatedly over a short time, the battery may be become discharged.
Q: Unit will not reconnect:
A: The PriorityStart! must have a direct load draw (or change) in order to reconnect. In many vehicles, turning the key in the ignition is not enough for the unit to reconnect--or it simply may not be seen due to the presence of an electrical relay--or other complicated wiring. The unit requires at least a 0.2mV (millivolt) electrical load change in order to reconnect. A decal is included in the paperwork with the unit, with instructions of either pushing your foot on the brake pedal, or operating the headlight switch.
In rare cases, the headlights or brake pedal may not be providing the required "direct load draw"--thus not reconnecting the PriorityStart!. There are other options. One incident [with a Ford Winstar] showed activating the cigarette lighter triggered the device to reconnect. In another incident [on a 2006 Chevy Impala] the power seating activated the PriorityStart!. (Remember to try both driver and passenger side seating). Fleet Customers: We found by using a spotlight--if installed, the PriorityStart! will almost always activate. If the cigarette lighter, power seating, spotlights, or any other accessory does not work--continue reading:
The Ground Wire Trick: It is possible to force a reconnection by removing the ground wire (black wire on PriorityStart!) off of the negative terminal of your battery and immediately placing it back on. [Please note: When following the above, do not disconnect any other connection other than the ground wire. Additionally, do not do attach and re-attach the ground wire repeatedly]. Any interruption with this wire, will force the unit to reconnect immediately--you will notice the gears/motor activating inside for approximately 2-3 seconds. This confirms that the PriorityStart! is working properly; however, it seems the unit is not detecting the direct voltage draw direct to the battery that is required for an automatic reconnect. Please call customer service at (509) 467-4203. If nothing happens after re-attaching the ground wire to the negative post, and you have already confirmed that the battery voltage is at a normal level--yet the car still will not start: please call customer service at (509) 467-4203. Otherwise continue reading:
You may choose to install an aftermarket ON [OFF] push-button switch. A 1.5A switch could be wired between the ground wire and negative cable as a redundant means of reconnection under the dash allowing the driver to simply push the switch to reconnect. More information and a provided schematic is located here.
Q: The engine shutdown while the vehicle was running:
A: The PriorityStart! has built-in "engine run" protection to prevent this from happening. If this situation ever occurs, it usually has nothing to do with the way the unit operates, but rather with faulty or loose cabling, a bad alternator, a broken belt, or a weak battery.
It should be noted: "Even when the engine is running, if the battery voltage drops below 9 volts, the engine is at risk of stalling" (BCI; Battery Council International). Again, this condition has nothing to do with the operation of the PriorityStart!. Rather, It is a condition created by a marginal battery, or too heavy of a load draw on the operating battery and alternator.
Q: The motor inside the unit continues to run without stopping:
A: This situation may occur if the PriorityStart! has been (a) overexposed to excessive heat or current, (b) improper jump-starting, or (c) if any positive cable is unintentionally grounded [possibly causing an electrical arc]. These events will contribute to this situation as the internal workings may have been damaged. As this is usually not a manufacturers defect--it is not covered under warranty. (i.e. "The warranty does not extend to any ...failure caused by misuse, abuse, improper installation, use of the product with equipment for which it was not intended.").
You may contact us for a return as we can internally identify the possible cause. The warranty status will be determined only after this point.
Q: PriorityStart! keeps disconnecting and reconnecting repeatedly:
A: If there are any live accessories wired directly to the battery terminals (effectively bypassing the PriorityStart!), it may cause the unit to reconnect on its own as the unit might be picking up a voltage change. Remember: The unit is constantly looking for a voltage change intentionally activated by the user in order to reconnect. (The unit requires at least a 0.2mV (millivolt) electrical load change in order to reconnect.) In these situations, something has effectively bypassed the unit causing this electronic interference to act as a reconnection device.
Ideally, the entire electrical system should be ran through the top post of the PriorityStart!. Anything attached to the top post will be shut off completely and would be unable to cause this type of "live" interference. Additionally, you would want to identify what accessory has been left live as this may cause a future problem.
On occasion, there are some aftermarket accessories that "store" a small amount of power. In this situation, the device may self-activate causing the unit to read this as a voltage change--thus reconnecting the unit on its own. It is important to identify what accessory if causing this to happen so that you can take the appropriate action. If no live accessory is found, you may contact us as (509) 467-4203 and we will provide you further instruction.
Q: Is my PriorityStart! still covered under the manufacturer's warranty? If so, how do I return it?
A: There is a 12-month manufacturer's limited warranty on all PriorityStart! units. Only units found with a manufacturers' defect are able to be repaired or replaced. As the warranty states:
"The warranty does not extend to any defect, malfunction, or failure caused by misuse, abuse, improper installation, use of the product with equipment for which it was not intended, or unauthorized alterations or repair."
To check if your unit is under warranty, please see our warranty lookup tool.
• Call or E-mail to Receive R.G.A. Number (or click here).
• Dated Proof of Purchase mandatory if not bought directly from BLI.
• All customers are responsible for freight expense [Customer to BLI]
• Returns may take 4-6 weeks to process
• Repair/Replacement occurs after defective unit returned