Leave Van connected to mains yes/no?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by barrywi, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. barrywi

    barrywi Read Only Funster

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    Time for overwintering so all water drained etc but I get conflicting advice about leaving the mains connected. My van has two leisure batteries (gel type)and a vehicle battery of course. The 12 volt control box and charger charges all of these on my van so does it harm the batteries to leave the van on charge?
    I read that caravan / motorhome chargers never charge above 13.8 volts so do not fully charge the batteries to prevent overcharging. A proper battery charger charges at a higher voltage than this to give a full charge but this is not suitable for leaving on all the time unless it is like the CTEK smart charger I keep connected to my little used Jaguar which has a battery drain all the time.This charger intelligently drops the volts when the battery if full.
    The alarm on the van would eventually flatten the battery I presume , so any clues as to what to do? The van is under a large car port so I cannot just rely on the roof solar panel.
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Mines on charge 24/7 when parked up, if your van newish it will have a 3 way - 4 way intelligent charger fitted
    BTW the alarm may flatten a battery in as little as a couple of weeks so I have simply fitted a Aldi / lidl type charger (13 £ ish) to charge engine battery while the vans charger takes care of the leisure battery :thumb: or you could pay a couple of hundred quid for a posh battery master type thing :BigGrin:
    Terry
     
  3. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    As above, our MH is on change 247/365 when not in use. The on board system regulates the batteries ( both Vehicle and Leisure ). No problems so far.
     
  4. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Your answer will be decided by the type of charger fitted to your van.

    As mentioned previously, if it ain't intelligent, it will kill your battery. Forget the 13.8v rubbish, its too high for floating a 12v battery. That voltage was used as a money saving compromise by the manufacturers. Good for their dealers though, who get to sell more batteries.

    The only way is an intelligent 4 step charger which floats both vehicle and leisure batteries. Ours has this from the factory and we leave hookup connected all the time the van is parked at home.

    I have just arrived back from a fellow Funsters place where we wired in a 50 amp Anderson plug to which he will connect a Halfords 12 amp maintenance charger. This was needed because the vans Sargent PSU had a low-tech fixed output charger.

    You need to know your charger before making your choice!:thumb:
     
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  5. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    During winter months on the odd times the van is not being used I have it plugged in with a fan heater set on the frost setting. As the van has a large solar system which charges both the leisure and engine batteries I switch the mains charger off for a week or so and then switch it on for a day. Batteries do need to be worked and I think keeping them completely charged is almost as bad as keeping them fully discharged. Just my thoughts, and have never had any problems doing it this way.
     
  6. barrywi

    barrywi Read Only Funster

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    The van is a 2008 Autocruise Gleneagle with an Autocruise labelled energy management system made by Kigass who I know are no longer in production. The display shows leisure and vehicle battery voltages separately and seems to prioritise charging the leisure batteries first and then tops up the vehicle battery. It looks very sophisticated and does stuff I do not need. The maximum displayed voltages are 13.8 v and it indicates when it is charging and fully charged. There are two large boxes under the drivers seat near the fuses and one box has significant size cables coming out of it so I assume that is the actual charger controlled by the smaller box and the remote display at the door entrance. This has touch switches for pump on and shows the levels of the fresh water tank and when the waste is full. It shows the discharge rate( if any) in amps and suggests a potential time before all battery power is gone if off mains . There is a 120 Watt solar panel which feeds the leisure batteries direct via a charge controller box which looks like a later addition. The van is not short of power sources!
    I just hope none of this goes wrong as it would need a major rewire to replace it. The leisure batteries are gel types and the vehicle one looks original so will soon be 6 years old but seems to start the van ok though the acid test would be when it is really cold..
     
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