Cab battery charging

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by paul18, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    Hi guys, hope someone will be kind enough to help me. After 20 years caravaning, we have bought our first motorhome, 2004 Ace modena (fiat ducato) Been sat on drive for 8 weeks over winter, thought we would take it for a drive today and fill up with cheap(er) diesel. Cab battery hadn`t enough charge to turn over the engine! Have had it on hook up as we have been in and out putting stuff in, making beds etc over the weeks, so leisure battery is fine. The battery selector switch has been in middle position (neither battery selected) as I understand things default to leisure battery. We have been using the electric step, could this have drained the cab battery? Also, is there anyway of re-charging the cab battery via hook up, maybe by selecting cab battery on selector switch? If so, how long should it take? Hope we havent caused ourselves unnecessary expense so early on!
    Thanks in anticipation
     
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  2. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    Naaaaaaa, alarm, immobiliser, radio will have done for your battery. Just charge it up and it should be fine.

    How old is the battery by the way? The older they are the sooner they lose there charge usually.
     
  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    usually you do have to select cab to charge the engine battery. Why keep using the step if it has not moved, just leave it out. The engine battery powers the radio and alarm so will in time run the battery down. Now how much damage has been done depends on how low the battery got and how long it was left like that. You may be lucky and be able to recharge it,if not then obviously a new battery is in order. Good luck. It could take 24hrs depending on charger the completely recharge a flat battery, however 4 hours should see sufficient charge to start it.
     
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  4. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Sorry but I don't think that assumption is correct. The battery selected is the one in service and receiving charge. If neither is selected I don't think either is being charged. What is the name & model of your panel?
     
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  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Yes, turn selector to cab.
    If you have a volt/multimeter connect it to the battery to check it is charging.

    Your battery will have discharge through a mix of self discharge and parasitic loads....radio memory, alarm, immobiliser etc.
     
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  6. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Correct Andy.
    By placing the switch in centre neither battery is in use or being charged but the charger is acting as an unregulated power supply.
    Batteries can be removed and still have 12v to the habit.
     
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  7. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    Thanks for all your responses, really appreciate it. To answer some of your questions. Step retracted each time because wife parks next to MH and is fearful of catching step. Will leave down and she will have to be careful!
    Unsure of make of panel, nothing written on it. I have uploaded a picture if that might help. Used to having a caravan, put it on hook up and battery charges! The charge check appears to indicate both batteries are full
     

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  8. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    When dealer handed over to me, regarding switch, I thought he said selector dictated which battery power was taken from, didnt realise it meant to as well. Ive put the switch to cab battery position, and I`ll see what happens
     
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  9. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    Crikey, I was just about to post a similar question so I hope it is okay to jump in here!

    My wife and I purchased our MH (Bessacarr E495) last summer. For the winter I have drained all tanks. I isolated the cab battery with the isolator switch and left the vehicle for about 3 weeks. I then turned off the isolator and started it up no problem and took it for a run.

    Then when I parked it up I left the isolator off but 'hooked' up the MH to my garage. I left the vehicle for a couple of weeks and when I went to start it the battery was flat. It started with a jump start and I took it for a run.

    I was a bit surprised as I thought that when on 'hook-up' the leisure battery AND the cab battery were both charged. I have tested the cab battery and with the engine on tick-over the battery is getting over 14v which is about right.

    So my questions are:
    When on hook-up should the main vehicle battery get charged as well as the leisure battery?
    If I switch on the main cab battery isolator (therefore in effect disconnecting the main vehicle battery) will the hook-up still charge the leisure battery and run the electrical items in the MH?

    Thanks in advance.

    Keith Hart
     
  10. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    No Keith it is not necessarily so that both batteries are charged. It depends on the electrical equipment fitted by the converter and or any subsequent additions specifically to enable that.
    What electrical system do you have?

    The starter battery isolator will have no effect on the habitation
     
  11. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    That was quick, thanks. The main board is an EC400 system. Photos attached.

    Keith Hart
     

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  12. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    I have had my switch set to cab battery for about 2 hours, just been out and engine started immediately, so many thanks guys! I`ll leave it set to cab battery overnight and then set it to leisure battery. As you said, leaving switch in neutral position when on hook up is just providing a power source through the charger, whilst charging neither battery. Should van be left on hook up all the time when not in use, set to charge leisure battery?
     
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  13. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    http://www.sargentltd.co.uk/EC400 System Instructions Issue 2.pdf

    Battery Select. By default, the leisure battery is selected as the power source if no mains
    supply is present, or as the battery to be charged when the mains supply is available. To
    change the selected battery, press the battery select button. The selected battery is
    indicated by an LED adjacent to the caravan or car logo (for caravans) or the LED situated in
    the centre of the leisure and vehicle battery gauges (for motorhomes).
     
  14. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    No LED on mine but then it is 10 years old
     
  15. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    Hmmm...

    Well that looks to me as though when on hook-up the system charges both the leisure and the main vehicle battery.

    On EC465 and EC460 PSU’s, the system incorporates a smart charge feature, which monitors both leisure and vehicle batteries and automatically adjusts and directs the charger power (and solar power if a solar panel is installed) to maintain the leisure and vehicle batteries at an optimal level.

    So the main vehicle battery should NOT go flat if left on hook-up. I'll need to get the battery tested again.

    Thanks

    Keith Hart
     
  16. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    That clearly and demonstrably doesn`t apply to mine though Keith, due to it starting so readily after a couple hours charging. Like I said though, mine is 10. I guess your Bessacar is newer?
     
  17. Photo4x4

    Photo4x4 Funster

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    Our MH is 4 years old. I'm just slightly puzzled as to whether I'v pressed the wrong button somewhere!

    Keith Hart
     
  18. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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  19. paul18

    paul18 Funster

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    Forgive my ignorance but what would you look for?
     
  20. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Battery at rest, nothing turned on and no charge, should be 12.6v.
    Turn on headlights for a minute to remove surface charge.

    Connect charger and it should read 14v plus
     
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