Battery Problem

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by malheg, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. malheg

    malheg Funster

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    Help,
    We have been on site now for 3x months in the Algarve.
    We are on EHU but my 12x month old leisure battery in not holding a charge, this is shown on a block display. Also the motor battery is also showing loss of charge.
    My solar panel tops them thro' the day and if I run the engine for 20x mins they both show 100% on the display. But as soon as the light is on the battery looses charge.
    The van is approx. 5xyrs and fully serviced.
    Anyone any ideas.
    Thanks
    Malc :Sad:
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    20 minutes charge on the engine is not charging to 100%......its only a surface charge and a very light loading, ie: the aforementioned light, will soon remove it.

    You may be taking more out than the solar is putting back in and need to charge properly with a mains charger over quite a few hours to properly recharge the battery.

    Just notice you say you are on hookup....is the onboard battery charger turned on and working ?

    When on hookup you dont actually use battery power, you use charger/power supply power which will always show as around 13v.
    The battery is there to provide extra power if you exceed the chargers output...charger ampage =15amp and you are using 20amps the battery makes up the shortfall of 5amps......sort of a buffer supply...then recharges when you reduce the load below the chargers output.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  3. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Isn't the battery charged when on EHU.

    Martin
     
  4. knokinonabit

    knokinonabit Funster

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    Shouldn't the fact that they are on EHU, assuming that the on board charger is working, keep the batteries topped up anyway ?
     
  5. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    even on hook up you will be using your batteries unless your all on 240v if your using more power than your putting back they will discharge
    it will depend on the output of your charger against the amount of power your drawinghas your charger packed up or got switched of ?
     
  6. sleep e carr

    sleep e carr

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    Give it a good run

    Hi I have trouble with mine like that took it off the site for few hours a give it a dam good run, no more trouble after that.
    If drops again give it another run.

    Hope this helps George
     
  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    after rereading the post i realised that and edited my post to suit. :Blush::Doh:
     
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  8. Mastercamper

    Mastercamper Read Only Funster

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    This is a common problem.
    It is not generally realised that to fully recharge a discharged leisure battery by driving, would, if my memory serves me ,require a journey of between 300 and 700 miles. Probably enough diesel used, to cover the cost of 2 new leisure batteries!

    It is also not generally realised that leisure batteries are very different from starter batteries. This is because they are designed to follow a discharge and re-charge regime. Because this type of use is quite damaging to the plates, (it is a cause of sulphation deposits) the plates are generally thicker, and are spaced slightly further apart, to nullify this effect, hence the extra cost etc.

    It is also not generally realised that because of the above conditions, leisure batteries, to ensure long life and to absorb maximum charge rate, need a special charging regime.
    3 stages of charge are required :-

    Initial excite charge which will ram in a higher voltage to enliven the battery,

    Followed by a bulk charge to actually enable the battery to store the charge,

    Followed by a constant pulse charge at lower voltage to cope with load discharge, or even natural discharge when not under load.

    So called smart or intelligent starters are needed to create the conditions within the battery to ensure its efficiency and hopefully a longer life and also its ability to hold a charge for a longer period,.

    I am not convinced that all built in chargers are really up to this job. Standard automotive battery chargers certainly aren`t, as they are incapable of providing the 3 charge rates described, they can never fully charge a leisure battery

    I have to tread warily here, because in a previous incarnation I used to supply leisure battery chargers as part of my business.
    I am now retired and do not want to overstep the conditions of MHF membership, and be considered a trader, which presently I am not.. However I still retain most of the knowledge built up over the years, which I am happy to pass on should you wish me to. Suffice it to say that the problems described at the start of this thread are exactly what I would expect to encounter if not using a smart charger.

    In prolonged use such as described the batteries will show quicker signs of failure, than would be the case if a proper charging regime with a smart charger was to be employed.

    Hope that this helps.
     
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  9. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    David. What make of battery would you recommend please?
     
  10. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    This puzzles me! If you are on EHU (assuming you don't use the electricity all of the day except, for example, just having the fridge on) then the unused EHU power should be more than sufficient to top up the leisure battery and engine battery meaning that the solar panel should be surplus to requirements. This is on the assumption that your engine and leisure batteries are correctly wired to allow them to be charged when you're on EHU.

    My thoughts:

    1. Are you sure that your engine and/or leisure batteries DO DEFINITELY get charged on EHU?
    2. Why do you make reference to the solar panel charging them when on EHU?
    3. How LONG is it since you took your MH out for a run and what distance was covered?

    Running the engine for 20 mins is going to do nothing for your batteries, as has already been mentioned. It appears that you have totally discharged your leisure battery and possibly your engine battery so they will take a lot of power from the EHU to get them back to full now, if indeed you can - if they have been discharged too much or for too long you may have to look to get new ones I'm afraid.

    In the short term, if everything IS wired as it should be and your batteries DO normally charge from the EHU, I'd be tempted to run everything off gas and not use the electricity for anything for a couple of days if you can (or as little as possible - no TV watching, sitting reading with the lights on etc) and allow the as much of the EHU power as possible to go into charging the batteries back up fully.
     
  11. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I know you said it is about 5 years old, but have you had it that long? I am wondering whether the battery charging issue is a new problem or whether it has been there for some time.
    This is a real shot in the dark and I'm not an auto-electrical expert, but I wonder whether the solar panel is causing the problem. It depends on how it was connected to the batteries. Obviously the cables must run from the panel to the regulator, but then some installers connect the regulator straight to the leisure battery. I know nothing about Weinsberg and the make of charger they fit, but I know that Hymer use Schaudt systems and some versions of the famous Electrobloc charger have to have solar panels connected via a dedicated Schaudt regulator that is connected to the charger, not the batteries. Failure to do this can lead the charger to function incorrectly. My hypothesis is that if your solar regulator is connected directly to the leisure battery, the charger's sensing circuitry may 'see' the daytime battery voltage as somewhere above 13V (from the panel) and assume the battery is nearly charged - so it doesn't try to fully charge the battery even though you are connected to 230V. If you then use 12V power during the hours of darkness, the battery may never get charged because the solar panel is 'fooling' the charger during daylight. The solution in this case would be to connect the panel via an appropriate regulator to the onboard charging system. I realise yours may not be a Schaudt system, but perhaps a similar situation applies?

    There is a high probability that this is completely off the mark and I'm talking rubbish, but I'm sure I read of a similar situation somewhere recently - possibly in another thread on 'Fun' - although that was related to a solar panel's output 'fooling' an alternator into thinking the battery was charged.
     
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  12. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Not all campers automatically charge their engine battery when on EHU - mine doesn't (2005 CI). I have to connect my home-built split relay charger gizmo to make that happen.
     
  13. Mastercamper

    Mastercamper Read Only Funster

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    I have no particular leaning to either make or type of leisure battery, either wet ( lead acid, or gel they should all be ok). Gel has the advantage that it does not leak. This can be a consideration if it is situated within the habitation area. Or if you (God forbid) end up with your wheels in the air. :Eeek:
    I would however, stress that the most important procedure is to use a good automatic 3 stage charger, and never allow your battery to become completely discharged.
    Do you have a leisure battery problem at the moment?
     
  14. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    I am looking to buy two 110Ah batteries and am bewildered by the range.
     
  15. Mastercamper

    Mastercamper Read Only Funster

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    I am not qualified to promote any particular brand of battery. Generally speaking any reputable brand covering the type that you are seeking, should do the job. but please follow a proper charging regime.
     
  16. malheg

    malheg Funster

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    Battery

    No, I am EHU but the battery is not holding a charge.
    Malc
     
  17. malheg

    malheg Funster

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    Battery

    Thanks
    We have been on site for 2x months, but due to the awning and other stuff tied to the van, not practical to move.
    But next week travelling to the other side of Spain so it will give the battery charger a good run.
    Thanks for the reply
    Malc
     
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  18. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    How is your solar panel wired? Direct to the batteries or through your charger? As has already been said I suspect that it has not been wired correctly and is providing just enough voltage to fool your mains charger into thinking the battery is full, but not enough to actually charge the batteries. I suggest you disconnect your solar panel and see if your batteries get charged by the EHU alone (as they should).

    If that does not work then there is a problem with your battery, or your charger or both.
     
  19. Phill D

    Phill D

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    or if its easier cover the solar panel with a thick towel for a few hours.... should be same effect as disconnecting it, no power from its cells.
     
  20. LARRY99

    LARRY99 Funster Life Member

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    Hi,
    Lets go back to basics, I,m assuming this is a wet cell battery? Does it have removable tops? Is the water level ( distilled) correct for all cells ? Can you use a hydrometer or get someone to check all cells with a hydrometer ?if so what are the readings for each cell , please only check after covering the solar panel and disconnect the EHU, and disconnect the negative battery lead ,, hope this helps

    If it,s not a wet cell disregard all the above :thumb:
     
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