battery problems

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by robrace, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. robrace

    robrace Funster

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    Got friends with a 2012 Autotrail Apache632 which doe'snt get much use!Told them to run it regulary!I always take my motorhome for a blast every week or two.Anyway every time they go to use it the batterys are flat! 4 weeks ago I got a call for help as no power at all.I took my meter round and found that the vehicle battery had nothing at all so we took it out and he took it to our local battery man(warwick battery's)He confirmed that it had it!so he came back with a new battery which I fitted.Yesterday got a call no power at all in the camper!Hooked up to the mains and the leisure side came on.Control and my meter showed about 2 volts on vehicle battery so put charger on overnight and now 12.7volts.but can't figure out why both battery's were flat.nothing appears to be left on.Only drain should be the alarm.I always switch my leisure side off on the control panel when we not using the van and I have suggested he should do the same but that shouldn't effect the vehicle battery!Any suggestions?He and his wife have just been away on their narrow boat and had a flat battery!!I asked if he managed to get a push start!!
     
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  2. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    I have a 2010 Auto Trail Savannah and my response is based on this. My MoHo has an alarm which runs off the vehicle battery and anything else that the cab uses when everything is switched off! There is definitely a small drain. So even if you are on electric hookup your cab battery won't get a charge unless you select to charge it as follows:-

    Above the hab door are the controls. There is a button to switch the charging between charging the vehicle battery or the hab batteries. You need to alternate this button every week/10 days to keep both batteries charged up.

    The alternative is to buy a battery master from Jim's Shop on here or from the Manufacturer VanBitz who is a member on here and gives 10% discount to fun forum members. With the battery master you select to charge your hab batteries and it siphons off sufficient charge to keep the cab battery charged at the same time as charging your hab batteries. If you buy it from Eddie at Van Bitz he will probably be able to tell you how to wire it into the Sargent control unit wiring!

    If you can't keep the van on an electric hookup then you need to have a decent solar panel installed - 100 watt - which AutoTrail Sargent control units are already wired for with a solar controller built in. Even then you have to be sure that the panel is in the sun as opposed to shade and the light levels in the winter may not be sufficient to keep things charged up.

    I keep mine always on a hookup but I can keep mine at home! I hope that this helps. As yours is 2012 it probably has the Sargent 500 control module whereas mine is the earlier Sargent 325 but it will be similar.
     
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  3. robrace

    robrace Funster

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    Thanks for reply.I have suggested in the past he keeps his mains lead hooked up on the drive but didn't think you could charge the vehicle battery from it.I am still perplexed as to what is calling the drain from both ends!!
     
  4. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    If the hab batteries are getting the same treatment as the previous cab battery then I doubt that they retain much ability to hold a charge! A battery is flat at 12 volts and likely dead at 10 or so they say on here so after a few discharges below 12 volts the batteries will soon get knackered.

    There are plenty of resources and threads about batteries on here if you want more views on this

    After charging the battery, remove the charger and let it settle for a few hours and see what it's voltage is. The only real test is to put a known load on and see how long it lasts. I.e. if the battery is 100 amp hours then you should only use 50 amp hours or you will discharge it too much but put a 1 amp load on and it should last 50 hours and if not then however long it lasts will be how good or not it is.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  5. MikeD

    MikeD Funster

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    My 2012 tracker had a charger that automatically switched between the vehicle and habitation batteries.

    We left the charger switched on and the van plugged into the mains 24/7 on the drive and never had any battery problems.

    The panel above the door had a indicator light which showed what battery was receiving the charge at the time.
     
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