IRISH REG.. wiring/battery melting fuses ?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Wildrover, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Wildrover

    Wildrover Read Only Funster

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    Battery problems with Autotrail Arapaho 07 from new. With 2x Elecsol 100 amp batteries
    Help please. We bought above van and as experienced campers. We had a Swift Royale 96 from new with no battery problems ever as we watched battery displays to ensure no battery failure.
    Our current usage is frugal. Telly, Sat system and Camos dome and lights. ( current draw about5/6 amps ) Water pump after loo and washing up and fridge. We always charge by hooking up before leaving home and we hook up on site when possible.
    We like to wild camp. We find that after a few hours at night, the telly scrambles and satellite signal fails if we use pump so we turn off some bits telly, sat etc. If we really want to watch something we click over to vehicle battery but watch gauges carefully. We sometimes try for a second night without hook up and have to be even more watchful . After a few hours of use gauges will show batteries fair (around12) and soon after will drop to poor 11.something.
    Reading the great god of batteries, Clive Mott-go to bed , over the years, I did as follows.
    Replaced all bulbs with l.e.ds, to no avail.
    Replaced batteries. No change. Bought 2 new Elecsols 2x125 amp hr batteries and moved them into under bed locker.
    Fitted 2x80 amp hr solar panels and bought a generator. Solar panels are going direct to batteries and not to sergeant unit.
    Solars charge up batteries most days and problems still exist. After a night or two if we are lucky, we need the generator .
    We changed batteries again after further problems for 2x125 elecsol . After still no improvement we asked dealers to test and found one failed and one had top come adrift, so we are now on our 4th set of batteries!!
    Dealers have tested new batteries and says all ok.
    Autotrail asked us to go to Sergeant who tested all their side of things and found all ok.
    Various suggestions from other motorhomers include alternator problems, ie overcharging intermittent fault.
    WOW tuning also said they found alternator overcharging. The AA say not so after testing alternator.
    Suggestion 2 was that cable from sergeant unit, ec325 to TV. 12v socket too small and may be overheating and losing power. On checking this out, I found that a pair of cables was loosely pushed into spade connector behind 12v socket and seemed to be supplying satellite equipment .I have made this connector more secure. Sergeant say the power for all satellite equip should go back to sergeant unit.
    The only other thing the dealers fitted was an aircon unitdometic 2200 and this was put in where powered roof light vent was located. I don’t think this should affect batteries as we only use it rarely, and then only on hook up . could this unit be drawing power from batteries?.
    We turn off every thing that is not needed at all times ie reversing camera, fridge door defroster and main power at bed time every night .
    Now my latest little problem is that when checking the batteries last week i noticed that 2 fuses on the intelligent interface unit EM 50 type A (the connector between the Fiat bit and Autotrail bit)were melted. Fuse 7 for the fridge and Fuse 9 for vehicle battery. Sergeant say as fridge now needs 20 amp fuse, I have replaced this but fuse 9 is melted in. Now fuse no 9 has melted again after replacement . Sergeant say they will repair unit.
    I have sometimes been leaving the sergeant charger unit and elcd,s on even when not on hook up.


    My warranty is up in September so I am getting worried as this has cost me a lot so far in batteries and ferry costs in coming back to UK from Ireland, where I live.
    Regards Patrick McEvoy ...Irish Reg :thumb:
    Thanks in advance,for any info.


     
  2. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Patrick (not reg :Rofl1: )
    you seem to have spent / wasted an awful lot of money :Wink: and still got nowhere. the best suggestion I can make is disconnect things one at a time to see what is pulling your power down. With 2 125 amp hour battery's I would have thought you would get at least 3 /4 days without H/U-- are you sure the battery's are OK.The fact that you are getting melting wires/fuses points to the general direction I would begin to look.
    Failing that get sergeant to check out everything on there side and get proper instruction on how to use it :thumb: then pay an auto electrician to check everything else ie wire thickness and earth's/ connections etc.
    terry
     
  3. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    The only way to tackle this type of problem is *methodical* - get the facts right first.

    So what I'd do is disconnect the + from the batteries and put a big ammeter in series, then start taking readings. Switch things on/off, pull fuses, just keep going until you start to get a picture of what is taking the current.

    But if you haven't got a decent meter ( 20A min ) and the confidence to use it then you need an electrician.

    Melted fuses are BAD NEWS because it's just one step short of a melted motorhome.

    Fridge - rings alarm bells, older fridges did not run off the leisure battery, too big a load.
     
  4. manu54

    manu54 Read Only Funster

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    Hi....did you solve any of your problems ??
     
  5. Wildrover

    Wildrover Read Only Funster

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    thanks to all reply guys latest

    :BigGrin:hi guys thanks for suggestionsi am smiling cos i dont feel so alone now thanks to you guys i have a special thanks to manu54 who has done so much to help on this one we are thinking a faulty relay on alternator or damp relay and fiat will look at this soon how do i check relay and alternatot myself/where are relays , also sergeant will soon hhave my unit posted to them to check out. iwill let you know and post hopefully a solution :thumb: ta irish reg
     
  6. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    No disrespect Reg but you sound out of your depth. It looks like time to find a good electrician.

    Provided you have no starting problems I don't see the alternator involved in this because it's connected directly to your starter battery so if it was causing a drain you not be starting it.

    Relay Problem: I can't think of one. One relay charges the leisure battery when the engine is running - that does not fit your discharge problem - if it was stuck on then the starter battery would be flattened.

    Another relay powers the fridge from the starter battery ( on some vehicles ) if this stuck on, once again it would not start. Newer vehicles do have a different system for a more modern fridge that can be run off the leisure battery. Now if an old fridge were fitted into a new vehicle the high load could cause serious problems.

    So as I said, you need a good electrician who can measure the drain on the leisure batteries and identify what is causing it.

    I think it's going to be a case of "Oh shit, why didn't we spot that ages ago".
     
  7. acting_strange

    acting_strange

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    I would be looking for a near dead short if its consuming that much power. Faulty wiring??
     
  8. jezport

    jezport Funster

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    I would follow the two circuits that melt fuses back through the van to check for damage etc.
     
  9. madmick1945

    madmick1945 Funster

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    May I suggest a faulty diode in the alternator.
     
  10. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    If you have the AC/DC version Air Conditioning, make sure that the thing has been installed correctly.

    The inverter should only come on when the A/C is switched on. We have seen many installations where the link between the A/C and the inverter has been missed, leaving the inverter in standby mode which would explain a lot of your problems. If you start the engine and the leisure battery is low, and the inverter is still calling for power the fuses would easily melt given the situation.

    The AC/DC kit comes with a seperate battery switch with allows the DCKit 2 inverter to draw power from both the engine and the leisure batteries and is designed to switch out the engine battery if the system senses that the engine battery is getting to a pre-determined state.

    With this system fitted, there is little need for the OEM split charge system to be left intact anyway.

    Everything that you have done should mean trouble free motorhoming for two, three or possibly four days if your sensible, so you do have a problem, and I would start by removing the system fuses to the inverter to eliminate that

    Eddie
     
  11. Wildrover

    Wildrover Read Only Funster

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    thanks eddie

    no i dont have ac/dc air con just a 2200 dometic mains but thanks mate by the way some one said to me a while ago go to eddie he sorts out most probs as i had said to them about probs and told them that i wish everyone wasa as good as you when you fitte both our alarm systems
    thanks again irish reg aka patrick mcevoy
     
  12. Madmike

    Madmike Read Only Funster

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    Hi Irish Reg,

    Ok so melted fuses equals heat. Heat comes from resistance. Resistance is caused from bad contacts. Solution
    Starting from van battery remove every contact wire clean carefully smear with Vasaline and replace making certain every one is a good tight contact. This includes all the fuses and the relays for the split charge, the fridge and the step usually found under the bonnet often under a plastic cover on the bulkhead at the back of the engine compartment.

    Your sat decoder and your tv should ideally be on seperate power wires each at least 2.5mm thick and individually fused as if wire is too thin once again resistance will rear its ugly head and cause voltage drop thus causing your equipment to fail.:Eeek::Eeek:

    Not convinced that the Seargent box of tricks is the best as the control panel draws a steady amont of power even when nothing is being used.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Mike
     
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