Am I showing my ignorance?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by maryanne, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. maryanne

    maryanne Funster

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    I have noticed recently that the leisure battery in my motorhome becomes completely flat when not in use. Is this normal? I have to plug into the mains to rectify it. I have a solar trickle charger but it doesn't seem to make much difference, perhaps I haven't got it plugged in properly(?) I have checked all the electrical items that could be using the power are off, the MH is just standing on a driveway in the lee of the house. Any comments would be appreciated, even those having a giggle at me!
     
  2. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    All batteries will discharge if left standing for a period of time. It could be a knackered battery if it's happening quickly or there could be another explanation.

    A little more info would help:

    What is the battery capacity and how old is it? What is the capacity of the solar panel? This time of the year the solar won't be doing much. Are you sure there is nothing draining it? Is the control panel left switched on? If so that will be using a small current. If you have an alarm what battery is that connected to?

    It won't to any harm to leave it permanently connected to the mains but it's worth finding out what's happening.
     
  3. DonA4000

    DonA4000 Funster

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    I have 170amp leisure batteries and 110amp starter battery and my 100w solar panel with a mttp regulator is managing to keep them fully charged over the winter storage.
     
  4. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    The most effective way to diagnose the issue is to buy a cheapish multimeter and perform a parasitic drain test. Just substitute the leisure battery for the car battery in this video.
    A multimeter is a handy thing to have in the MH toolbox as you can also check the alternator for charging capability.

     
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  5. GWAYGWAY

    GWAYGWAY Funster

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    I have a small alternator tester for Lidl for about £4 and it has two leads to check the battery whilst the engine is running to tell meif the alternator is working, The same tool across the leisure battery tells me if the solar is working but I have to remove the EHU lead or turn of the mains to get a true figure. I do leave my van on EHU all the time at home, keeps it topped up and I am able to work inside with mains power..
     
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  6. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    I agree with @GWAYGWAY plug in your mains cable when at home to keep your batteries topped up.
     
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  7. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    A solar trickle charger (as in one of those little ones you leave in the windscreen) won't do much, especially in the winter months. Our leisure battery is permanently topped up from the 85W panel on the roof, and if it gets through February without going flat we're doing alright. I drive the MH around for about half an hour once a month in winter just to keep things as they should be.

    In our camper the blown air heater fan is independent of the control panel, so if it's left on by mistake it can drain the battery. Multimeters are definitely the way to go if you want to test current and see what's going on.
     
  8. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    What van do you have and what Power supply.. Some of the new one's like Sargent units in Autotrails and Swifts have a constant drain.. Mine is 0.2 amps.. Not a lot but that would mount up over time and soon flatten the battery.
    If your solar trickle charger is one of those plug in the cigarette socket and put on dash board then it's almost a waste of time.
     
  9. Movinon

    Movinon Funster

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    My vehicle battery would slowly go flat even though my 100W solar panel was supposed to be keeping it topped up. Another dealer lie. I fitted a battery master and now both leisure and vehicle batteries maintain a full charge even during the winter.
     
  10. RowleyBirkinQC

    RowleyBirkinQC Funster

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    When we got our AT we got hit by the reversing camera running down the leisure battery when vehicle not in use, have to remember to turn it off by the switch in the cupboard with the Sargent charger/electrics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  11. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    How is your solar trickle charger connected? If it is through a cigar lighter socket is it one which is live when the ignition is turned off? If not it won't work. You can test by plugging something into the socket like a phone charger. However, if the panel isn't in full sun during the day it isn't going to do a lot of good anyway.

    If you are keeping the MH at home I suggest plugging in the EHU. For convenience it shouldn't cost much to have a socket fitted to the wall beside the MH if there is something like a mains socket to take a feed from on the inside of the house. It will need at least an isolating switch fitted in the house but it shouldn't be difficult to do.
     
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  12. gus-lopez

    gus-lopez Funster

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    Must be something wrong with the installation as it should easily cope.
     
  13. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    I think he ment that the solar wasn't connected to both batteries till he changed it(y):)
     
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  14. Movinon

    Movinon Funster

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    If I understand you correctly you are saying that the vehicle battery should be have been adequately charged by the solar panel? Not if the vehicle battery was never connected to the solar panel, or the leisure battery, in the first place. I was specifically assured by the dealer about the battery setup prior to purchase. Unfortunately on this matter, and others, the dealer was talking through his arse. As it would cost me more in travel costs to return the van to the dealer I had a battery master fitted locally.
     
  15. maryanne

    maryanne Funster

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    Many thanks to you all though I'm not sure I understand all your replies! Please tell me - what is a battery master? where would I get one and what would it cost?
     
  16. Movinon

    Movinon Funster

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    A battery master is a small electronic box which tops up the vehicle battery from the leisure battery. Vanbitz and other motorhome repair centres will fit them. Cost around £80.
     
  17. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    A battery master wouldn't be of any help to you in the situation you describe in your OP. As has been posted it keeps your vehicle battery topped up from the leisure battery if you have adequate solar which it sounds like you don't.
     
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  18. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    But in the OP it said parked in lee of the house so may be shaded if so it won't be doing anything!
     
  19. Motorhome Man

    Motorhome Man Funster

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    Hi Maryanne by the sound of things you have a faulty battery. If your motorhome is fitted with a panel that has battery monitoring.You could try charging the battery from the internal charger on EHU for a couple of days, the voltage reading on the monitor should read over 13 volts which will let you know that the onboard charger is working ok. Then turn the charger off for a couple of days and re check voltage reading if this is below 12 volts then your battery has had it. This is assuming no appliances, lights are causing the drain. If no battery monitor use a meter to measure voltage across battery terminals. Hope this helps. Luke
     
  20. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    Not necessarily (y)

    Take the example from earlier in the thread of a Sargent power supply, common on British vans. That has a constant 0.2A drain even when on standby with nothing actually switched on.

    Say you have a 100AH battery so have 50AH before it's flat.

    0.2A x 24 = 4.8A per day so you have about 10 days before the battery is flat if you aren't putting anything back in.
     
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