Power Issues

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Dave Flegg, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    Hello.
    I have an auto trail scout 2005 and suffer from poor battery performance. I have 2x110AH batteries installed (less than a year old as initially replaced thinking they were the issue).

    I have solar which saves the day as I get some charge back in the batteries when rough camping and the suns out.

    Everything works ok or so it seems but I suffer with high drain when it's dark and I'm using lights. I've made sure everything else is off (Arial - reverse camera switch - etc) but something is draining the batteries. My lights have been replaced with LED strips thinking that would fix it but it hasn't.

    Has anyone else suffered with similar issues or have any idea where to look for common drain issues.

    Have done an overnight light test and battery drain is 3V over 12 hours. Is that excessive when just using LED strips. This does show 5.6A drain when all light on (taken from control panel reading) which I think is high but should that equate to 3V loss.

    Any help appreciated.
     
  2. Taran_Las

    Taran_Las Funster

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    Sorry can't help but my comment will push your thread to the top of the page for a while.
     
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  3. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    When you say 3V drain do you mean 12.7v goes to 9.7v, that would be way too low.

    A draw of 5.6 amps for a few hours should not make too much of a dent in your capacity.

    Martin
     
  4. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    If your voltage drops to 9.7V the batteries may well be beyond salvation.
     
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  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    A 5.6a drain will deplete your 220ah battery bank by around 25% over a 10 hour period.
    That should equate to around 12.5v indicated voltage.
    If your batteries are losing 3 full volts, 12.7 down to 9.7, then your solar panel will NEVER charge the batteries to full capacity

    Your batteries are knackered regardless of being a year old.

    Edit....just noticed you say control panel reading.
    Ignore that reading, buy a multimeter and take voltage readings at the batteries..
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
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  6. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    Thanks for he responses folks.

    Funfair yes that's what I mean.

    Funster I'm trying to confirm that as if they are then they're still under warrantee and will be returned for testing / replacement.

    Pappajohn I agree it's just an indication but I have used a multimeter on the batteries themselves whilst disconnected and both batteries generally report the same voltage as the control panel reading shows so it's reasonably reliable it seems. Are you saying the loss of 25% should be expected as 25% of 12 is 3 which is what I got. Or do you mean 25% of 220AH as in 55AH which is what I'd expect at 5.6A X 12 hours approx.

    I'm just trying to better understand the way my electrics work. Even at 9.7V the lights worked fine still. Just voltage levels showed low. 100w Solar gets them back to 13V usually after a sunny day unused sat on the drive but I'm planning on taking both batteries off and charging them externally to the van for a couple of days to see if that improves anything anyway. Appreciate you can't beat a proper battery charger to get a proper charge or so I've been told.

    Q. Does the draw 5.6A sound excessive for LED strip lights. 6 X 0.5mtr strips.

    Q. How does AH convert to Volts. I understand Amps / Hour etc and how that adds up but can't remember if I ever learned how that equates to what Voltage loss I should expect to see. V=IR is all I remember lol.

    Thanks again.

    Dave.
     
  7. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    i suspect the solar panel or controller are faulty as when fully charging should read 13.8v
     
  8. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    TheBig1. I Will check to see what it gets up when it's had a day charging.

    I tested battery drain again last night without the solar connected to prove its not back draining the system as I am aware it does this when no sun shines according to the manual. The drain was similar to the test with solar re levels. Battery shows low. 9.7V this morning but lights were still working.

    With solar connected it's now charging the batteries again but obviously shows low battery on it.

    For info the solar is wired into the vans control unit (using the interface connector I bought from them for solar connection). This means it will charge both leisure batteries and cab battery. It's set at 70%/30% split in favour of leisure battery as I deemed that to require most charge when rough camping. It sees leisure batteries as one though (as the the van does) even though it built with 2 in it. This wil obviously effect it's charging ability as its giving 70% of what it can to both batteries.

    Will keep you posted.
     
  9. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    I post this without technical knowledge, but passing on my own experience

    When we bought our MH used but very little use, the two fitted leisure batteries appeared to be useless, bought 2 new ones and fitted them (a friend did) then found that one of them was completely gone but the other was still perfect, but the bad one took them both down to unusable low levels. So maybe one of yours is weak

    Also I was amazed at the amps drawn by the fluorescent starters, even with a failed tube, one light was still taking nearly 3A when switched on, have you changed any fluorescent lights but left the starters wired in?
     
  10. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    The LED lights you describe will probably work way down to 6V. It is not possible to equate voltage drop to usage as this is entirely dependent on battery size and condition. When charged your batteries should be reading 13.8V, when in use rarely below 12.0V.
    At 9.7, if your voltmeter is accurate, the batteries are done.
     
  11. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    DavidG58. The lights were removed as a unit. Wire only left and new LED strips replaced them completely unless I'm missing something hidden away.

    I'm going to try and lid test each strip with an amp meter on the battery to see if it's an individual unit that's faulty it something like you mention spotted.

    When I've checked the batteries direct (on their terminals while disconnected) they always show similar levels so I assume they are both in the same condition. Both were bought together and fitted at same time.

    WillH. Will keep an eye on them and if deemed shot will return them to where I purchased them. Then can do a test on them and if they agree hopefully they will be replaced under warrantee.
     
  12. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    Thanks again for all the replies and keep them coming. I'm learning loads from people's comments and hopefully someone will suggest something that is my actual fault. If not I'm eliminating things anyway.

    Thanks again it's really appreciated.
     
  13. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    Another thought I've had is my van has an alarms system with a PIR in the habitation area. I know these don't draw much but is the alarm itself sited somewhere as I can't find it and also is the power taken from the cab or the leisure batteries. I expect it's the cab as its part of the van alarm system I think.
     
  14. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    Just check my LED strips, if yours are similar to mine the power draw you have is equivalent to 14 metres of LED strip so there is something else drawing power.
     
  15. Dorset Diver

    Dorset Diver Funster

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    Have you changed the mini halogens in the wardrobe and the control unit locker for LED's?
     
  16. denisejoe

    denisejoe Funster

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    The 13v you see from the solar is the charge that is being put in not the state of charge of the batteries to do that you would have to wait a couple of hours after sunset

    Joe
     
  17. Dave Flegg

    Dave Flegg Funster

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    Will H. Thanks for that info. It's probably because I have cr*p LED's then. I have 6 strips all less than a mtr. May look at replacing them for lower power ones. Thanks for that info.

    Dorsey Diver. Yes I have. But they are only on infrequently. Anyway so doubt they would be the problem. Unless you know something I don't.

    DeniseJoe. I wired the solar in with accessible inline fuses so I can easily disconnect batteries (leisure or cab and the solar panel itself if required). When taking measurements for my batteries I've been disconnecting them from the solar so that I know the reading I'm getting is charge free etc.

    I'm thinking my strips may need replacing due to the large draw. That's for starters anyway.

    Thanks again for the responses folks.
     
  18. denisejoe

    denisejoe Funster

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    Dave, you still need to wait a couple of hours after disconnecting to check the charge.

    Joe
     
  19. Dorset Diver

    Dorset Diver Funster

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    I got caught out by three things.
    I didn't change them.
    My own stupidity in that as I kept the locker door open to see all the controls it did not occur to me that the light being on was adding to, or was, the problem :tmi:.
    The light switch in the wardrobe was not correctly adjusted so the light was on all the time :tmi::tmi:.
     
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  20. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    classic... glad you found the problem..

    it reminded me of an old car I had, the battery kept going flat overnight.. discovered the boot light was on permanently :doh:

    always the simple things that catch us out
     
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