Any Zig battery charging experts on-line?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by GeriatricWanderer, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Back in Sarfend for a while, then back to RSA.
    I mostly use aires, with and without hook up so unusually for me I'm on a campsite with EHU. Not one of my favourite places but when needs must! Talk about a Sardine Campsite!
    Anyway, my leisure battery was down to 11.7 when I hooked up. The only thing I have running is the Zig charger and the fridge. It's sunny and warm but not excessively so. The fridge set to medium.
    The fridge is running as per normal but the battery level is sitill stting at 11.7 and even stays there when I turn the fridge off.
    All fuses checked and OK. Mains power works on other appliances when used.
    The battery charges fine when driving.

    110 ah battery, 12 months old.

    I can't measure it but the supply is supposed to be 10A BUT, I've just counted and including the extensions and multi sockets and two way branches, there are 23 units feeding off this one hook up post!

    Could that be the source of my problem as it's all been running well for the past 4 weeks?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    If you are positive that the 240v supply is On and no fuses blown, no tripped MCBs, it looks like the charger has given up the ghost..

    can you measure at the battery with the charger Off and then On.. it should have an output around 13.8vdc ?

    The site supply voltage could be low.. probably is, but it would need to be extremely low to affect the charger output.. can you measure it ?
     
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  3. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Thanks Jim.
    Yép, 240 definitely on (eg mains kettle works fine)
    Have checked all fuses and they're OK
    With charger on I get a reading of 11.4 and with charger off 10.9 so there is a trickle but not the usual 13.somthing I normally get which is why I thought the supply might be the problem.
    I have a free standing charger buried somewhere in the depths here somewhere so I'll dig that out and see what numbers that gives. That should show me if my on board charger has had it's day.
    Not the end of the world.

    .....ps The Zig cover panel is warm to the touch. Not as hot as it usually gets but something's going on in there!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    can you check the mains supply voltage.. sounds like that may well be the problem.. chargers generally either work.. or they don't
     
  5. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Other than sticking two fingers into a socket and measuring how much it hurt, no, I don't carry that sort of kit.
    My free standing charger is now hooked up and I'm at least getting a 12+v reading. I'll watch it for an hour or so and see where it goes.
    In the meantime I'll just have to sit back, have another coffee and enjoy this Provencal weather, though it is a little cooler today.
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    sorry.. I thought you had a multimeter.. if the free standing is working ok, it does rather suggest the Zig as kaput

    don't recommend the two finger method.. :LOL:
     
  7. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    With the amount of connections to one hook up I wouldn't be surprised it the voltage is way down around 180-190v and probably the reason it's not charging. Get a multimeter from the local supermarket only about €5 and then at least you will feel better if you know the mains is low.
    The charging in older Zig units was very basic just a constant voltage source of 13.8v and with their simple circuitry if input is below 220v they won't give full output, that's why leisure batteries never use to last much more than 2 or 3 years.
     
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  8. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Find your other charger or buy one otherwise you are going to fork out for a new hab battery this week.

    And next week.

    And next week.
     
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  9. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    I know little more than zilch about electricity but I do know to respect it so I'm always wary of poking anything into sockets.

    I do have a multimeter but I know so much about them it's dangerous.
    I assumed mine, pic, was only for 12v only which is all I've ever used it for!
    Can you see from the pic is that the case or would it also give me a 240v reading, if so, what do I set it for.
    I told you what I know is dangerous!

    I'm now getting 12.45 off my leisure with the free standing charger running and nothing else.

    IMG_20160614_112823.jpg
     
  10. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Top of the dial 500 plus squiggle is up to 500V AV. Just make sure you only touching plastic when you prod around.

    If the kettle boils, your supply is OK.

    Looks like you've saved your battery :LOL:
     
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  11. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    The kettle will boil regardless of voltage being low it will just take longer, where as the charger won't work.
     
  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Maybe.

    It's quite common for mains gear to be rated at 120-240V. It all depends on what is inside the ZIG.
     
  13. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    That is modern stuff with switch mode power supplies, an older Zig unit will just have a transformer & simple constant voltage charging circuit as I explained in post #7.
     
  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    So you did.
     
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  15. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Thanks guys, Jim, Brian and Lenny in particular.
    Based on your combined expertise and my on the spot observations of a charge that will not go above 12.4 on either the 13 year old Zig or my brand new free standing charger, that I've come to the conclusion that either I do have a low power supply here and it's limiting how high it can pump up the battery or, what I thought was a very good battery is in fact due for the last rites.
    I'll be on the move again tomorrow for a decent run and I'll see what contribution my alternator can make.

    It's little niggles like this that make life on the road so interesting. Seized wheel bearings in Dijon is another matter altogether.
     
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  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Regretfully you can kill a LA battery so easily. A while ago I fitted a new battery to my bike, I left something switched on when I put it away for a while and when I came back it was dead. Nothing I tried would revive it. So for out for another :(

    Right now you can start your engine and see what volts appear on the battery, the alternator should easily put well over 13V across it even if it's on it's last legs. Get measuring.

    For that matter is your meter good ? Measure some handy battery, say out of a torch.
     
  17. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Ahem, It's just after 2 PM, France, crowded campsite, I'm the only one with a GB sticker, most other vans contain loudly snoring occupants and Les Anglais are not too popular in certain quarters and you want me to start up my motor and run it to see what reading I get? Yeh right :)
    It'll keep 'til I drive out in the morning

    I have two meters, one I rigged up from eBay bits so I could see the reading without having to plug anything in, and the other is the multimeter pictured. Both give almost identical readings.
    However, the search is on for a possible battery replacement - just in case:)
     
  18. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Just a bit of an update.

    Now on another hook-up.
    Now showing 13.4v.
    That's a lot better though not as high as I would like to so perhaps my battery is not as good as I thought.
    But, it seems that the previous hook-up I had was "low pressure" or whatever the technical term is.
    I think perhaps the clue was that The Zig face panel is usually quite hot whereas on the previous hook-up it was only warm.

    You (I), never stop learning.
     
  19. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    So now that's sorted - I hope?
    Now a new but related question, what's the recommended method when plugged into EHU - always switch on the charger to top up the level regardless of what it is or, check the level and only put charger on if below a certain level?
    Run down and then charge up or keep topped up?
    I know these batteries require some nursing to keep them at their best.
     
  20. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Not being a smart charger it's difficult to give advice..

    If your using the van I'd keep it switched on all the time.. .. but also keep an eye on the battery.. It would also depend on whether it was summer or winter.. In winter you need a lot of 12v power to run lights, heating fan etc.. so on all the time... in summer, very little..

    In storage only put it on for a couple of days per month..

    or fit a modern smart charger.. plug in and forget.. not so expensive these days..
     
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