Batteries, what do i do

Discussion in 'Top Tips & Tricks' started by AlHumphries, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. AlHumphries

    AlHumphries

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    So, i'm guessing there is probably a fair bit of talk about batteries in here. I'm not great at maintenance, very little time for such stuff. So, brand new MH Easter last year, haven't done anything except, drive, park, plug into mains or gennie but also a fair bit of wild camping with no gennie. What do i need to do to look after the batteries? Went to the MH this weekend actually and the main battery is flat as a pancake, ordered heavy duty jump leads so will jump it and bring it home for a few days this week to plug it into the mains.
     
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  2. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Batteries must be kept fully charged. Never leave in a prolonged discharged state or you might as well get the wallet out.
    If they are sealed maintenance free then the above is all.
    If open wet lead acid then you need to check electrolite levels.
     
  3. treetops1

    treetops1 Funster

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    You may have left something on Even your alarm will take juice out of your battery .lol
     
  4. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    Investing in some solar panels will help keep them topped up even at this time of year.
     
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  5. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Funster

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    Better off taking the battery home with you and bench charging it than fannying about with jump leads, few posts on here about jump starting upsetting the EMU :(
     
  6. Bartyfixedit

    Bartyfixedit Funster

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    If a battery is flat then it has suffered internal chemical changes.

    If you remove it from the vehicle and trickle charge it with a decent, correctly sized, charger you may recover it to useable, but probably never as good as new.

    If you jump start the vehicle and let the alternator do it's thing you will almost definitely destroy the battery. The chemical changes cause the plates in the battery to get a coating on them that increases surface resistance and causes the plates to buckle if charged too fast.
     
  7. AlHumphries

    AlHumphries

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    so what do you do when you park the MH up for the winter?, disconnect the battery?, what about the alarm and trakker?
     
  8. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    What I did/do Here.
     
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  9. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    We use ours all through the winter and the solar has kept everything charged even when it's been parked up for a while.
     
  10. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    I take it by main battery you are referring to the engine battery. On a modern vehicle they should not be left for more than 2 weeks at a push 3 weeks without charging. The engine electronics in standby , the radio, alarm all draw a small amount of current. A low current draw say 150 ma will take 25 A/H out of the battery in 7 days add to that the natural discharge of the battery you can see why they go flat fairly quickly. As you have completely flattened your battery it may recover to some extent but the chances as it will have considerably reduced it's life and I would replace it.
    Hymer state in their manuals do not leave the batteries without charging for more than 10 days.

    Like others have said a solar panel is probably the best option, fit and forget (never plug my van into the mains). If you install a solar set up, make sure it charges both leisure & engine batteries. An 80 watt panel will do the job and will give enough power for summer off grid camping.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  11. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    So can you all just clarify please...... I havn't done anything with my batteries over winter... I leave my van without using and just hope the solar panel keeps everything ticking over... Is this ok to do? Please don't give me a complicated technical answer as I won't understand it ...Many thanks. :)
     
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  12. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    That works for me as well. Never had a problem. (y)
     
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  13. PaulyP

    PaulyP Funster

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    My engine battery used to let me down when stood for a couple of weeks, had an 80 watt solar panel fitted which covers leisure and engine battery.
    Have left it for nearly 4 weeks and it starts first time, very rarely bother with EHU when in the drive.
     
  14. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    We are almost the same with an 80W panel. I do use EHU from time to time in winter, though, because buildings get in the way and mean that it can't always cope with keeping the starter battery charged as well as the leisure battery.
     
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  15. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    We have 200W of solar and a battery master. It's not let us down let but I'm going to get it from the storage place on Friday morning so I'll own up if it proves me wrong then :D(y)
     
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  16. funkyfunky

    funkyfunky Funster Life Member

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    Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance, Trickle charger or solar panel with auto regulator is the answer and must be used when not driven .
    Best wishes My Friend and enjoy.
     
  17. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    If you do have to leave the van unused for some time but still have reasonable access to it then keep an eye on the charge from time to time - very effective and cheap meters on Ebay etc. If the charge is OK then you can sleep at night, if it's not then you can catch it early and fix it.
     
  18. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Most vans in standard trim do not charge the vehicle battery from solar panels ( there are some with a split charge as standard but they are few )

    It is also the case that a LOT of vans do not charge the vehicle battery even when on hook up

    So the first thing to do is get a multimeter ( plenty of then around for less than a tenner if you have not got one ) and check the battery voltage off hook up
    Then plug in the EHU and check the battery again.
    If it has risen then you know it charges when on hook up.. so that is that side sorted.. If the voltage remains the same then see Note 1 below

    Next, solar panels.. it is even rarer for a standard solar panel set up to put anything in to the vehicle battery.. See note below :)

    Note below .... ( :) )

    I would suggest you get along to EddieVanBits and get your self a nice B to B splitter..

    Extremely easy to fit and can be done with very basic skills and basic tools

    What a B 2 B widget does.
    There are usually three wires coming from the wee box.
    One goes to earth, another to the live side of the vehicle battery and the last to the live side of the hab battery or batteries

    When the hab battery reaches a charged state the B 2 B unit will bleed off any excess and put it in to the vehicle battery.
    It will work no matter if you are on hook up or indeed relying on solar panels
     
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  19. Millibobs

    Millibobs Funster

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    I think the same as one of the other funsters , you need to fit a solar panel to keep all batteries topped up and healthy. Mine is only a 50 w one but has done the job for the last 10 years. Mind you I live in Spain and maybe in the UK you need more than this to be sure.
     
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  20. TheWM

    TheWM Read Only Funster

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    Does it (the B2B unit look like this?)

    I'm trying to work out whether my solar is keeping the starter battery topped up.
     

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