Keeping the batteries charged during cold weather

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by tucker_j, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. tucker_j

    tucker_j Read Only Funster

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    When our van is not in regular use I make a point of giving it a good run (at least once a month) and connect the EHU every few weeks to top-up the leisure battery. Unfortunately the vehicle battery does not charge on EHU and during this cold snap I am worried about the battery going flat.

    What I am looking for is some kind of trickle charger which connects to the cigar lighter, so I don't have to trail cables from under the bonnet or remove the vehicle battery. Ideally mains powered so I can just plug it into the van somewhere, or solar.

    Does anyone know of such a product, or anyone have experience of a solar powered device similar to this?

    http://ecofreak.co.uk/products/23/142/Sunsei-SE150-Solar-Trickle-Charger.html

    All ideas and comments welcome :thumb:
     
  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Hi,I have just bought 2 similar ones here in Holland,they look a bit bigger than the ones you have seen.
    These are 5.5 watt,they were in the bargain bin in the local car shop.and were 10Euros each.
    Dont know if they are up to the job yet as I havent tried them.
    On the instructions it says use to keep charged a fully charged battery,not designed to charge flat batteries.
    I did think of joining the 2 together,and at the price,I could always use them to keep the boat batteries up when not in use in the winter.
     
  3. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I tried one of These from Maplins 3 years ago. The only success of the operation was the amusement my reporting gave to members of another forum :Smile:

    The Maplins panel is 1.5W rather than 2.5W but I think the outcome might be the same. The main problem was in positioning/angling the panel such that it was facing the sun for enough of the day.

    As an alternative I bought a Tronic T4X charger (as sold by Lidl) and use that every so often if we are unable to take the van for enough of a run.

    Graham
     
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    [​IMG]

    total waste of money.....great for charging mobile phones etc.

    the absolute max current will be 200milliamps or 1/5amp.
    in reality it will produce less than 50milliamps in winter if you're lucky... <1/20th of an amp.
    your alarm and radio memory will probably use more than that.

    another thing to check is the fag lighter socket....is it permenently live or is it ignition switched ?
    no point connecting a charger to it if the ignition has to be on.

    a small, say 4amp, charger will do the job and a couple of wires out of the door and under the bonnet isnt the end of the world. :Wink:
     
  5. tucker_j

    tucker_j Read Only Funster

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    I can't find the Tronic but looking at the CTEK Multi XS 3600 which appears to be very similar I think that might be a better solution, especially with the plug and go ease of use it appears to offer.

    When it stops raining I will go and have a look in the engine bay for suitability
     
  6. GregM

    GregM Read Only Funster

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    I am not a mechanic so this may be rubbish but when we bought our motorhome we was informed that the vehicle battery has a 'quick release' on the negative so that it can be easily disconnected when the motorhome is not going to be used for some time so the battery will not go flat.

    I have not disconnected and instead have done the same as you, ie take it for a spin once a month, but you must remember to drive a good distance otherwise you willl use more battery power starting it then you put back in by driving around.
     
  7. John H

    John H Read Only Funster

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    You could make up a lead to go from your leasure battery to the van battery, it will then be charged by the EHU, If you have the 2 pin 12volt plugs in the van it could go from one of these to the cigar lighter socket , the cigar lighter socket would have to have a permanent live feed to it, ie not ignition fed., any decent spark could make you up a lead for a few pounds.

    John
     
  8. tucker_j

    tucker_j Read Only Funster

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    [quote
    another thing to check is the fag lighter socket....is it permenently live or is it ignition switched ?
    no point connecting a charger to it if the ignition has to be on.[/quote]

    Just had that thought so went and checked a few minutes ago, it's not permanently live :Doh:
     
  9. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi I too just couple a Tronic type charger (aldi auto x 5 )--- have both--- about £12,compared to £40 for the c tec -- just leave it on all the time so constantly charging the engine battery, while the on board charger keeps the leisure one topped up :thumb: I did wire up both battery's to charge from the on-board charger, but a few years back on a old van I ended up with both battery's flat so opted for the simple route on this one :Rofl1: I did consider a battery master for a couple of seconds but at £100 ish not likely :Rofl1:
    When on the move I simply drop it in the footwell ready to be plugged in whenever required :thumb:
    terry
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  10. b2tuscan

    b2tuscan Read Only Funster

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    You need an Accumate battery conditioner available by mail order from:=

    http://www.leventechnology.co.uk/index.htm

    Click on the TVR link and then the right hand box (hoods, chargers etc). If you call them, their service is excellent. Suggest you order the extension lead and don't forget the cigarette lighter adaptor.

    I have had one on my batmobile for 5 years now and the car has never failed to start first time. Due to overseas business travel, I have sometimes not started the car for 10 weeks...normally the immobiliser and alarm would flatten the battery in just over 2 weeks.

    When we get our M/H (hopefully early in new year), I will buy another one for it.

    Rgds
     
  11. neilmac

    neilmac Read Only Funster

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    Agree with this solution :thumb: Kept my TVR battery as new on my old Griffith (notorious for flat battery problems if not used daily)

    So long as you have access to mains electricity you won't better an Accumate :BigGrin:
     
  12. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    acumate £45 = x5 / tronic £12 :thumb: does the same job :thumb::Doh:
    terry
     
  13. tucker_j

    tucker_j Read Only Funster

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    Ordered a CTEK

    Thanks for all the advice, glad I didn't go down the solar route and glad I checked the wiring to my cigar lighter - which turned out not to be permanently live.

    I've ordered a CTEK 3600 which should be delivered tomorrow, I am not convinced that the Tronic does the same job but then I am a bit of a 'brand' tart in any case :Rofl1:

    I've made up a waterproof lead and socket to power the CTEK and will leave the battery terminals permanently connected to the loom so all I have to do is unplug the charger from the loom when it is time to hit the road.
     
  14. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    This may sound stupid,but put a note on steering wheel to tell you its pluged in.
    It is not unknown to drive off with it pluged in.
     
  15. tucker_j

    tucker_j Read Only Funster

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    That's a very good idea, not stupid at all - I'll make a little sign up :thumb:
     
  16. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    works well for other forgetables as well....

    sat dish/aerial etc.

    a long time ago someone posted about this....

    clip a clothes peg and ribbon on your sat dish controls and when in use clip it to the steering wheel......you wont forget to lower the dish again.
     
  17. tucker_j

    tucker_j Read Only Funster

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    Well I had hoped to have the battery all wired up by now but thanks to City Link Couriers that won't be happening.

    The Ashford branch apparantly have a backlog so decided not to send my parcel out today, even though it was booked and paid for as a next day delivery. Nor did they bother to inform me so despite being 30 mins from Ashford at 14:30 today when I chased them it was too late for me to going and pick it up apparantly. Funny, I thought December 31st was a normal working day.

    The guy at their 'service' centre was the most unhelpful, rude and dishonest person I have ever come across in customer services he's set a new low bar in crap standards.

    So I still have a flat battery and nothing better to do than write a stinking letter of complaint to the MD of City Link Ltd.

    Am I mad? You bet I am, absolutely livid in fact :Angry:
     
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