Battery supply..... Leisure + Vehicle Battery

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by zen navigator, May 21, 2010.

  1. zen navigator

    zen navigator Read Only Funster

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    I have a Benimar Europe 6000 ST. My previous MH was a 1990 Autoquest van.

    The Autoquest had a switch to select Leisure or Vehicle, nice and simple.

    My Benimar does not seem to have any such switch. But a panel where it displays the separate Leisure and Vehicle voltage / charge reading(as %). Thats straightforward enough.

    When I am on battery only the current seems to come from both batteries. Virtually both batteries discharge equally. Which is great, as I get twice the AHC. :thumb:

    But last month, I ran the batteries a wee bit too low and had to get a jump from a fellow MH'er. A part of me was testing to see how much usage I would get from the batteries. Clearly I pushed it too far :Doh:

    The question is and it might be a Benimar specifc or not. How do I limit the use on the vehicle battery. Yes I could disconnect it. But clearly I want to maximise my useage without totally draining the vehicle battery.

    I thought I could have the Vehicle battery voltage constantly displayed and at certain voltage I go for a drive or down the current hungry things in the MH. Yes I have a solar panel wich gives me 3 - 3.5 amps on a nice sunny spring day with the sun over head. So I assume the panel is 60w - 80w type. Might give more in Summer.

    Is there some button, switch which I havent yet found on the MH(only had 2 months) that will resolve this matter. Is there some device I can buy which will do the job?

    One finally thing, how low should I let my Vehicle battery go before I have to bump. Clearly the open cct voltage and the voltage on the display are going to be different to I will have reconcile the two voltages.

    But have worked out a 50% reading(12v) which is display voltage is ok as it turns over the 2.8 JTD engine.

    Dave
     
  2. Robinhood

    Robinhood Read Only Funster

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    I'm trying to remember my 6000ST, (it is 5 years ago), and I'm pretty sure that the vehicle battery was totally isolated form the 'domestic' supply. (I don't remember experiencing any voltage drop on it whilst stationery, though I had two leisure batteries fitted on mine).

    Given that there is the opportunity to measure the voltage of either battery separately, it doesn't look to me as though things are right (relay or diode faulty?).

    If you don't get an answer on here, you might try the Benimar Owners Club forum on http://www.benimarownersclub.org.uk

    It is not over active, but questions do generally get replies.
     
  3. zen navigator

    zen navigator Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes I will try the BOC but as you say its not a well used forum. Hoping Funsters will come to the rescue :thumb:

    Firstly, I would say that that is no significant discharge of the veh battery or leisure when not it use. I think the drain on both batteries is in line with what devices I am using at the time. So thinking this is the intention i.e dual use?, but would have thought there would be some limiter on the veh battery? But I could be wide of the mark with that assumption :Eek!:

    I am not at this juncture viewing it as a fault, as for me it making sense of to use the vehicle battery for the previous reasons. The display and there is a visual warning allows you to ensure you dont go to low. I clearly ignored this!

    Dave



     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  4. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    sounds to me like the change over switch is faulty allowing use of both batteries. Engine battery should not be available for habitation use. maybe someone added the solar and managed to botch the wiring, or fit a batterymaster the wrong way round.
     
  5. Robinhood

    Robinhood Read Only Funster

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    I certainly don't think it is right either, however, the Solar Panel is likely to be an original fitting - Benimars used to come 'fully loaded', and the charge controller and connections were all part of the standard panel.

    (I know, because the solar regulator failed on mine - about the only real issue I had with the 'van - other than a small amount of damp at the front of the overcab - and RDH, the then importers, gave me a swap out as it was a known issue).

    I would still suspect either someone has tinkered with the wiring, or a failed diode or relay.

    A propos the other query from zen, 17 volts is about correct for the direct output from the solar panel - I had to measure mine to prove the control panel rather than the solar panel was at fault when I had my problems; this should feed directly into the back of the vehicle control panel over the door, and charge regulation is contained in that. I'm trying to remember the panel wattage, and can't, though for some reason 55W is what I keep coming back to.
     
  6. zen navigator

    zen navigator Read Only Funster

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for your replies.

    It would seem there battery changeover is automactic i.e a relay or some method of controller. But without a wiring diagram of my MH, I am pretty much at a loss. The Benimar User Manual makes no mention of any changeover be it automatic or manual? :Sad:

    Yes the solar panel is standard and is working a treat. The display panel has been removed and clearly some work has been done. But that could have been replacing a breaker or whatever.

    What I am starting to think...from a previous post enquiring about a IDM alarm system I have in my MH. The alarm is defunct, presume it just needs the internal batt replacing.

    But I wonder if whoever installed it has frigged the wiring to facilatate a charge off the vehicle battery. As I assume it is charged when AC is connected. Clearly it needs a supply when not in use and maybe it takes a trickle fromt the combined Leisure and Vehicle. On the basis the current would be quite small to keep it active and therefore it wouldnt totally discharge the batteries. Based on weekly use or what ever.. FOOD FOR THOUGHT :RollEyes:
     
  7. Robinhood

    Robinhood Read Only Funster

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    The standard mains charging system in the 6000ST 'fully' charges the leisure battery, and trickle charges the vehicle battery.

    On-road 12v charging is via a split-charging system, and will charge both batteries.

    The standard arrangement has no facility to use the vehicle battery for leisure purposes, it is isolated from the domestic 12V supply. (I have had Swift conversions before that have the switched ability to use the vehicle battery as an alternative domestic supply in an emergency - to confirm, the 6000ST does not have this ability as standard).

    It looks very much like someone has 'bastardised' the wiring to provide a combined parallel feed from both leisure and vehicle batteries (and not gone to the extent of adding a switch in the circuit!).

    Alternatively, depending on the split-charge 12v charging circuit, it may be that there is a fault in a relay somewhere that is leaving both batteries connected in parallel even though the alternator current isn't flowing. Unless there are obvious signs of re-wiring, I'd certainly try to find the relay and check it out.

    In case you don't understand the fundamentals, a basic circuit diagram is here:

    http://www.marcleleisure.co.uk/Sund001/SplitCharge01.htm

    and it is easy to see how a failed relay would leave BOTH batteries in circuit.
     
  8. zen navigator

    zen navigator Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the reply.

    Not having a wiring diagram to refer to is quite problematic.

    I think, I will wheel into my local MH automotive electrician. To investigate and advise.

    Thanks for the guidance.

    Dave

     
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