Leisure battery problems I think

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by dencol, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. dencol

    dencol Read Only Funster

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    Still trying to work out the mysteries of electricity. I seem to be having problems with the leisure battery and intend to take the van back to the company (think it may still be under warranty) but before I do want to try to understand what is happening and if in fact I have a fault.
    On Tuesday after running the van the battery was showing fully charged, checked using the habitat control panel. Today Thursday panel shows the leisure battery just over half charged. I have not used the van and everything was off including the switches at the control panel i.e. pump & lights switch off, power switch off and habitat/van switch to middle position.
    Just wondering if even with everything off there can still be a slight discharge from the battery?
    I do have a meter but not sure how to check things. The black lead is in COM red lead in VmA. The dial has setting for DCV – ACV – ohm symbol. Any advice on how to run different checks would be much appreciated :thumb:

    Thanks Colin
     
  2. Pronto

    Pronto Read Only Funster

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    If the battery is faulty then it could certainly lose charge through an 'internal' discharge path. I don't know much about Autosleeper electrics but I would have thought that if the isolation switch is off, then there shouldn't be any other path for it to discharge through.

    You say the battery is showing half charge - how did you check this? if you're using a voltmeter what sort of voltage are you reading?

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  3. dencol

    dencol Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the speedy reply. I have only checked using the gauge on the control panel not used a voltmeter. I have one but not sure how to use it and the instruction it came with are as clear as mud. I need instruction like hold hammer in right hand and hit left hand to get it over with :Smile:

    Colin
     
  4. Pronto

    Pronto Read Only Funster

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    The gauge on the contol panel will be a voltmeter - probably calibrated to show battery charge; mine shows the voltage and I have to work out the charge state from that:Rofl1:

    In my (limited) experience, analogue voltmeters are not very accurate in showing battery charge - but if it's gone from 'full' to 'half full' then that's a pretty good indication that something's wrong.

    The state of charge of a battery and the voltage across the terminals varies between battery type - lead-acid, gel, calcium etc; however you should be able to get an idea with your meter. If you set the meter to DCV and put the red lead on the battery positive terminal and the black lead on the negative one then if the battery is fully charged you should read something like 12.6 volts; half charge will be about 12.3 volts; anything less than about 12 volts and its pretty much fully discharged. All this should be done with no load on the battery - all switches off.

    If you get a reading above about 12.5 volt then it might well be the calibration of the battery state meter that's wrong.

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  5. euro

    euro Read Only Funster

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    To find out if the battery is being discharged through some external source you would need to set your meter to read Amps and then connect your meter in series with the connection. This will mean taking the connection off the battery and then connecting one meter lead to the battery and the other meter lead to the lead you have just removed from the battery. If you aren't confident with all of this don't attempt it.

    NOTE: The meter needs to be capable of reading Amps and must be set to the highest setting first and then turned down if required.

    With everything turned off there should be little or no current flow showing
     
  6. Gonewiththewind

    Gonewiththewind Read Only Funster

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    I must say that when I first got my M/H the control panel freaked me out. Battery condition as mine is called, has 3 neon lights, Red, Yellow and Green, otherwise known as traffic lights. Green light only comes on at full charge, ie 14.? volts (fully charged). Yellow light comes on at 13.?volts and charger kicks back in, but in the begining I thought that the yellow light meant 1/2 battery. A standing battery will drop from 14v (full charge) to 12.8 in a day, if not less, as that is a resting battery..in use, you should not allow the battery to drop more than 12 v or 11.8 at the most as this shortens the life of your battery.
    The moral is. Is your battery being drained by phantom use or just resting. Only a digital meter will tell you the truth.:thumb:
     
  7. RobMD

    RobMD Read Only Funster

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    If the Control Panel is the same as on our van, ensure the master switch is Off.
    The Hab/Van switch is to direct the charger to either the Leisure Battery or the Vehicle Battery for when on Hook-Up. I would leave this switch on Habitation.
    Is the Fridge Power Selection Automatic? or do you have Battery and Mains Power Switches. If so, ensure these are in the Off Position.

    After the Leisure Battery has been charged on Hook-Up, let it settle for an hour or so and if you can get at the terminals set the Multimeter to DC Voltage and see what the voltage is (it should be at least 12.5V) and note the Battery Level on the Control Panel. After a day or so (or earlier if the CP Meter is showing less than originally noted) try the Multimeter across the Battery Terminals again. there should be very little difference if the van has not been used.

    Have you checked to see if the Battery Terminals are Clean and tight on the Posts??? Even if the Nuts are tight, try moving the clamps to ensure they really are on securely.

    Is anything else connected directly to your battery such as a Radio or alarm etc.

    Best of Luck :Smile:
     
  8. Wilbury

    Wilbury Deleted User

    Hi Dencol,
    Try disconnecting the battery, leaving it for a couple of days, and seeing if it has still gone flatt. If it does, and with there being no possible chance of an external item draining the charge, it must be a faulty battery.
    If this is due purly to age and/or sulphation of the plates (this is usually caused by the battery being allowed to go flat) I suggest you use Halfords battery pills.These remove the sulphation and restore the effectivness of the battery.
    I have used these myself many times over the years and can vouch for their effectivness. Bear in mind however that they can not work if the problem is caused by loose or buckled plates, or some other mechanical failure.
    I hope this may be of some help.
    Wilbury
     
  9. euro

    euro Read Only Funster

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    Never thought these could work but I think I will give them a go :thumb:
     
  10. Wilbury

    Wilbury Deleted User


    Hi Euro,
    I do not think you will regret it.
    I used them to keep an ordinary car battery in a caravan going for sixteen years.
    Wilbury
     
  11. Gonewiththewind

    Gonewiththewind Read Only Funster

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    I use sealed batteries, My question is, how the ---- do I get the tablets in?:Rofl1:
     
  12. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi take the simple route and remove the battery ,charge it overnight ,test it, leave a couple of days re-test it.If no v/drop battery ok fit back into van,so then you need to then play with switches in van :thumb:
    terry
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
  13. Wilbury

    Wilbury Deleted User

    Hi gonewiththewind.
    If it is a lead acid sealed battery you will find that the individual cell plugs are simply covered with a plastic sticker of some kind. If you peel this off you will then have access to the plugs. (Where there's a will there's a way).
    Wilbury
     
  14. Gonewiththewind

    Gonewiththewind Read Only Funster

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    It says on the battery "Sealed For Life" . No lid to flick of, assume its filled and then sealed.
     
  15. Wilbury

    Wilbury Deleted User

    Hi,
    No, it will not be a lid on a sealed battery, but will probably be a sticker over the battery top surface.
    If you rub over the top with something hard you will probably be able to produce indentations where the plugs are (like taking a brass rubbing). If this does not work
    I will be very surprised.
    Hope this helps, I hate planned obsolescence.
    Wilbury
    Ps. See http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/tech-mech-general/6160-beware-courier-delivery-batteries.html
    This refers to doing similar to a new battery which had spilt acid in transit
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2008
  16. dencol

    dencol Read Only Funster

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    Sorry about the delay in giving a progress report but been away and not much to report.
    Have tried a number of the suggestion but still none the wiser. Main problem is I have a back problem and the battery is stuck under the seat and I cannot work out how to get it out looks like I have to remove the swivel seat so most of my check have been conducted hanging upside down trying to reach the terminals with the meter.
    The battery position gives me great extra space for my winter long johns but would prefer to leave them at home if it meant I could get to the battery:RollEyes: (unless someone can tell me different:Doh:)
    Have booked in at the garage, at least it made them think when they suggested this or that and I could say have check that and the result was........ made it sound like I know what I an doing so thanks to everyone it will make a difference when dealing with the garage on the day (no blinding me with science, actually they will but I now know when to nod in the right places):thumb:
    Colin
     
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