Charging vehicle battery - a daft question.

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Clarky, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    I have a charging problem on my Carthago which is to be sorted by the dealer soon.
    In the meantime the van is on the drive hooked up to mains which is keeping the batteries topped up but I have found that the vehicle battery is not being charged, despite having a Battery Master fitted.
    I can start the engine to give it a quick boost but would rather use my ancient car battery charger.
    The question is - is it OK to just connect the charger to the battery in situ with everything still connected?
    Will it fry the vehicle electronics?
    Should I try to disconnect all the 'gubbins' from the battery first?
    It is a Fiat Ducato 290 base.

    I know it is a very basic question but then, I'm a pretty basic bloke.
    Thanks in advance.

    Richard.
     
  2. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Richard no such thing as a daft question, it's only daft if you don't ask.(y)
     
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  3. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    My only worry would be that your ancient charger may not be suitable for charging a modern sealed battery.
     
  4. Kool Kroozer

    Kool Kroozer Funster

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    Clarky I was in this situation when we bought our van nearly 2 yrs ago, I did connect a charger to the battery while it was still all connected up (ctek charger) and it was ok... i then bought one of those cheap little solar panels that you can leave on the dashboard connected to the battery to trickle charge it (as it used to be kept in storage at the time) the one time i didn't connect it up when i left it on the storage place i came back a few days later and it was dead - i rang spinney where i purchased the van from to ask if it was ok to remove the battery and they said "yes its something we do all the time" I then rang Peugeot and asked them the same an they said "No" bring it in and we will look at it (easier said than done when you cant start the engine... I decided to un hook the battery and took it home to charge it and when i refit it a few days later something was not right after that, it did something to the electronics, warning lights wouldn't go off, speedo was not working, handbrake light stayed on, they put it all right under warranty, but i never told them i had removed the battery, i just said it wouldn't start after it barely turned over, they said they have this problem a lot with MH as theyre not used as often as a normal vehicle would be - If i were you i would let them sort it out... after what happened to ours i would leave the battery on the van an make no attempt to remove it, as long as you can get it charge via hook up lead and then get it to the dealer let them sort it - it turned out that our battery was knackered - a brand new van less than 3 months old
     
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  5. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    Thanks Robert.
    It says on the charger that it's OK for sealed batteries (it has a switch) but only suitable for car batteries up to 80ah.
    Not sure what difference the size of battery makes other than it taking longer to charge. In this case it doesn't matter as I just want to keep it topped up.
    I have my suspicions about this battery too, although it has behaved for the last 9 months. During that time we have been on the move most of the time and it was getting a regular charge. Now it's standing it is looking dodgy.

    Richard.
     
  6. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    There's lots of different stories about battery charging. Must disconnect earth lead when charging on the vehicle. Peugot kept a nearly new van in the workshop for 24 hrs to bench charge a battery they had flattened by leaving the lights on. Radio codes being lost while charging the battery, they just go on and on.
    I put a trickle charger straight on mine for a couple of days and have never had a problem.
     
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  7. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    Surely if I disconnect the earth strap I will lose radio codes etc?
    Sounds like it might be better/safer to just give the engine a run every day until it's sorted out.

    Richard.
     
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  8. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    Your supposed to know the code before you disconnect the battery.
    Yes, give it a run. I start mine up every three weeks or so and run it on a fast tick over for 20-30 minutes.
     
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  9. Kool Kroozer

    Kool Kroozer Funster

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    I put my money on the battery, it sounds very much the same problem as we had, while in storage it was being picked up and driven nearly every week from Thursday morning and dropped back off either Sunday evening or Monday morning, so it was only resting for a few days and would always start with no issues, until the one week i dropped it off on the Sunday and went to pick it up on the Friday morning and it struggled to turn over... I never needed any radio codes for ours when i removed the battery, it just knackered other stuff instead :LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL:
     
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  10. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    Another oddity.
    The control panel shows the vehicle battery voltage as 13.6v but my meter on the battery shows 12.5v.
    Don't know what's going on.

    Richard.
     
  11. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Connecting a charger to the engine battery is no different to what your Motorhome charging system would be doing if it was working.
    The 80 a/H battery limit on the charger would only be a problem if the battery was flat, could possibly overheat the charger if charging a larger battery from flat.
     
  12. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    My mates Carthago panel over reads as well, go by your meter readings.
     
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  13. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    Thanks Lenny, that makes sense.
    I presume by what you say that I can just hook the charger up to the battery posts with everything still connected and switch on?????
     
  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    To be absolutely safe I would turn of the vans charger, although it may not be working it will still be connected.
     
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  15. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    There should be an onboard switch to allow you to stop the on board charger. I no longer use it period as always carry the CTEK charger.
     
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