Batteries/Fridge Problem - urgent please!

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by pinkie, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. pinkie

    pinkie Funster

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    Guys,

    I really need help with this.

    I'm renting out my bongo and having problems with the leisure battery and fridge, this has happened twice now, and as a camper rental start-up, I can't afford for this to happen.

    Right, I have a vitrifrigo C42L fridge installed and both a starter and leisure battery.

    2nd visit to the auto-electrician who confirmed it is working despite me not being able to get it on. He recharged the leisure battery apparently. He also put a split charge from the starter battery (???) so it wouldn't be drained I think.

    The van went out again the other day for a week's hire and the fridge was on and working. I have contacted the hirer and they have said it hasn't worked all the time they have had the van, and even on hook-up it won't come on.

    Does anyone have any idea of what is going wrong here? I'm at a total loss and need to get this sorted out, otherwise my new business is at stake.

    If the leisure battery is just draining quickly (and I only bought it last month!) why isn't it getting recharged?

    Anyone that knows me, will realise the whole battery/electrical stuff confuses me at the best of times;) so I really need help, what is the best way to solve this?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I don't know your fridge but a quick google says it is a compressor fridge like you get in your average home kitchen. This means it will work if the fridge isn't level, which was my first suspicion.

    The spec I found suggests it will use "0.25 (Kw/24h)" which is a slightly odd way of stating it but I take that to mean it will consume a shade under an amp on average. At that sort of consumption it will flatten a typical leisure battery in around 2 days and a lot less if other electric loads are being used. Of course if on EHU or there is plenty of solar then the battery should stay charged up.

    But if they say it isn't working on EHU then there is probably still an electrical problem. I can't help much further I'm afraid without knowing more. I suggest you need to get your electrician back and get him to check the charging system is working and test the fridge yourself before you let it out on hire next. :)

    Your worst case is the actual fridge has thrown in the towel, but getting the electrics looked at first is a good first step. If the fridge is getting power but not working then you need to find a fridge expert.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  3. pinkie

    pinkie Funster

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    Thanks DBK.

    Apparently both times it has gone out for hire, I have tested it and it is working, i've put milk/biccies in for hirers, so have put it on in the early morning, and delivered it to hirers, both times it seems to have stopped working for some reason and the leisure battery has flattened, it seems almost immediately, in a couple of hours!

    As it is a budget rental, am I better getting a 12v compressor coolbox instead? I really need a speedy solution to this without breaking the bank!

    I have one for the 3rd van (currently getting ready to rent out.)
     
  4. 1_man_and_his_dob(lo)

    1_man_and_his_dob(lo) Funster

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    The 1st time this happened.....did the hirers also try to use hook-up, or was the fridge just run off the leisure battery?

    The state of the leisure battery shouldn't matter when on hook-up, which makes me wonder whether they plugged the van in and forgot to switch on the electrics properly, resulting in the leisure battery being flattened. The other thing that crossed my mind was a blown fuse, but the electrician would have reported that.
     
  5. pinkie

    pinkie Funster

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    Hi Neil,


    no, they actually said that they couldn't use anything at all, so not sure what the problem was.

    they went up to mull and other islands, so not sure whether they were hooking up or not to be honest.

    they didn't complain and said they had a great trip, until i asked for some money off their deposit for the half tank of fuel they came back with........then weirdly all the complaints started!

    including the fact that the socket wasn't working, which makes me think they didn't hook up.

    these latest hirers, i can't understand what the problem is though as the fridge was working, and they have hooked up........i am only trying to make a living!!!! lols
     
  6. Stroppy Bird

    Stroppy Bird Funster

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    I'm with @1_man_and_his_dob(lo) on this and wonder if they have switched the electrics on properly?

    On my bongo I had the same fridge and could only really get a day and a bit out of it if not on hook up.

    To use EHU on it you plugged in and then the power control unit had a switch that was either car-off-van which translates as vehicle battery-off-habitation battery. To get the leisure battery to charge and therefore the fridge to continually run off it you had to make sure that 'van' was selected. Does your bongo have the same power unit (it was a pms3)? and if so do the hirers know to set it to this?

    The easy way to check is to ask them if the socket is working when on EHU.
     
  7. BwB

    BwB Funster Life Member

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    I've had one of these fridges in the past and they will run for around 5 days off a 95Ah battery (if nothing else is using the battery). They use a very good Danfoss compressor so I wouldn't think the fridge is your problem. Maybe something else is taking a draw off the leisure battery (using a lot of current). These types of vehicles are usually used every day so the split charge should be putting something back into the leisure during every trip. I'm assuming your van has a battery charger for when on hook-up? I don't think there is much you're going to be able to do without getting your hands (your autoelectrician hands) on the vehicle. Maybe you can arrange something with a garage local to them for a quick check over?
     
  8. Doctor Dave

    Doctor Dave Funster

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    I'm sure you go through everything when you hand over the vans to hirers, if you don't already it would be a good plan to give them all the details on paper as well. That might save you a few problems as well as saving the hirers a few.

    (If you already do all of this then ignore this post.)

    Dave
     
  9. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    Before hirers take van away I assume you run through everything with them to ensure they know what to do? So thinking logically it must be something they are not doing properly that is stopping the fridge working or they have blown a fuse somewhere.
    As it was working when they left your depot.
     
  10. pinkie

    pinkie Funster

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    Bwb,

    they are travelling a lot, and not really getting any mobile signal, they seemed pretty cool about it (no pun intended!) and I gave them a partial refund and offered to pay for anything they needed to buy such as a coolbox.

    Well the van comes back first thing thursday, so I guess get it back to the auto electrician before it goes out again friday.

    Helpful to know that the fridge is decent and should last 5 days. The battery is 125 I think.

    There is nothing else that is using the battery apart from van internal lights, that's what is stumping me.

    Everyone hiring the van is doing a lot of mileage, so perhaps it is a problem that the leisure battery isn't getting charged for some reason?

    Back to the auto-electrician I guess.

    Thanks for all your responses.
     
  11. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Thought fridges only work off battery when the engine is running
     
  12. Stroppy Bird

    Stroppy Bird Funster

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    It's a compressor fridge which tend to run off the 12v system as opposed to absorption ones.
     
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  13. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    don't really know how your fridge will work, but is the coincidence that you have seen it working, then drive it to them, when it seemed to fail

    It is normal that the fridge should swap to 12V when the engine is running, but then stop when the engine is turned off, unless it has automatic selection it would need to be turned manually back to gas
     
  14. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    I suppose Bongos have gas on board for cooking so yes logically it would switch to gas but I think this is a different type of fridge as it has compressor.
     
  15. 1_man_and_his_dob(lo)

    1_man_and_his_dob(lo) Funster

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    It's a compressor, so while on the road it'll be running continuously off the 12V battery which should be getting topped-up by the split-charge relay. Assuming the switches are all in the right place and no fuses have gone.
     
  16. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    compressor fridges work from the 12v leisure side it sounds like the leisure battery is failing you may find the charging system is not putting enough in
    are the cables big enough on the split charge system do you have a battery charger for when on hook up what type of lighting is in the van, florescents can eat power what else is in the van using power? how is the water heated how is the van heated?
     
  17. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I don't think that will be a cheap solution and it will take up space on the floor. I've got a Waeco CDF 26 which uses around 12 Ah per day depending on the ambient temperature. From the spec of your fridge it will use around 21 Ah per day so you can divide that into 50% of whatever your leisure battery capacity is to get an estimate of how long it would be safe to use it off EHU. But do remember if your leisure battery has been completely discharged several times it may have been damaged.
     
  18. pinkie

    pinkie Funster

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    ok, that's helpful to know.

    there is no water heater or heating.

    basically it is just 2 front small ceiling lights.

    perhaps a new battery is the answer, after all wiring etc, has been rechecked.

    thanks for all your pointers guys. i think it might well point to the leisure battery being knackered now, that seems the most obvious solution.
     
  19. pinkie

    pinkie Funster

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    ah stroppy bird, yep there is the same unit on my one, i explain this fully to the hirers and also have a photo of it with written instructions so it is all straightforward.
     
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