Power

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by wp1234, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. wp1234

    wp1234

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    As a complete novice am looking for some power advice .
    I am sitting here second night wild camping at a Chester car park and notice that by leisure batteries ( 2 x 110amp ) are now down to about 12.1 volts . I’m thinking that I will have to move tomorrow as my batteries will surely be down to about 11.7 volts by then. I think I am being frugal with consumption just some LED lights for reading and a TV on for about 2-3 hours plus the usual on and off with the water pump as and when required .
    My questions are:
    1. Is two nights wild camping in winter about all I could be expected to get with my set up ?
    2. What options have I got to improve this situation and get a few more nights without moving to charge?
    3. If I ran the engine whilst stationery how long would it take to recharge the batteries?
    4. I have a small Kippor suitcase genny in the back but if I ran this how long would it take to charge the batteries ?
    5. Is a 80W solar power panel in winter worth fitting ?
    6. Is a battery to battery charger worth fitting?
    7. Would you advise fitting another 110 A battery?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    two nights using what little power you state doesnt sound right to me.

    are the batteries in good condition ?

    at 12.1v your batteries are technicaly flat already.
    the attached battery charge state chart has the voltages on and you shouldnt go below 60% of full charge.

    your genny connected to the hookup point, instead of direct to the battery via the 12v socket on the genny, should recharge in 3 or 4 hours.

    the genny's 12v charge socket is only around 7amps but the onboard charger will be at least 15amp.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    were you running a Truma hot air heater ?
     
  4. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    that depends on actual current usage but seems like you are using a lot or have duff batteries.

    Solar power, Wind generator, Genny, running the engine, Mains hookup from wherever.
    depends on the output of alternator (which is not designed to fully charge batteries) Why not just go for a run every day.
    depends on the charge rate of the genny and the amp/hr rating of the batteries/ condition of batteries/temperature.
    solar power is always worth fitting and 80W is a good size. overcast winters day may not actually charge though.
    It all depends what you mean by fitting most chargers are 3-5 amp, a pair of 110 amp/hr batteries will need 110 amp hrs put in to bring them back from half charge so around 22 hours charge at 5 amp.
    Extra batteries are always the cheapest option but use a solar panel to keep them topped up. Also you do realise you should never add and extra battery but replace all three so they are the same or the better Batteries will degrade to the level of the poorest one. We manage2-3 weeks in Sept with 2 x 110 amp/hr batteries and 50W solar, that is with a B/W TV, colour uses 4 x as much power so just added and extra 80W panel will see how that goes for a colour one.
     
  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    I reckon on 3 days from a single 85Ah.

    But never tried in Chester.
     
  6. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    In my opinion,somthing wrong there. You should get more than 2 days from 220 amps. Have your batteries checked,and if one is down replace both.
     
  7. wp1234

    wp1234

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    Power- thank you

    My thanks to you all Snowbird,Hillweller,Wildman,Scotjim and Pappajohn.

    Now on my second day(and last day) at Chester and having watched only an hour of colour TV last night , had a shower this morning and used the LED lights for a little while we still have power from the two 110Amp batts but somthing is wrong for sure and I think your right in that the batteries are US even though they are only a year and a bit old (the motorhome is new to me).
    The voltage on the Autotrail meter shows 12.0/11.9 v with nothing been used and about 11.7v when the waterpump is running. The pump draws 4.0a when running and the TV about the same . Have not used the Trauma fan at all .
    Having never used 12v batteries in a motor home before can you tell me what tests I can run to determine if my batts are beyond recovery ?
    What are the best batteries to buy if they are US ?
    If I can fit them in would three 110A be a better option for me ?
    Has anyone ever fitted a http://www.sterling-power.com/products-battbatt-info.htm .I understand that these units charge up much quicker than an alternator and charge the batteries to 100%?

    Thanks All
     
  8. Rickboy

    Rickboy Read Only Funster

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    Battery charge.

    The onboard charger and alternater on many m/h
    will not fully charge the batteries to start with.

    Don't be in too much of a hurry to write off the batteries . A long slow charge with a
    modern charger /de-sulphater will probably revive them.

    It will take 2/3 + days if you charge them still in parallel, leave connected for longer so they can trickle.I would charge them individually,faster and kinder on the charger.

    Unless your into long off hook-up winter camping 2 110ah is plenty.
    Allways fully charge the batteries after use and before a trip and they will last many,many years.

    Good luck
     
  9. atakd

    atakd Read Only Funster

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    Don't want to teach grannie to suck eggs but are you measuring the batteries whilst under load. They should be rested for 30 mins at least before a resting voltage is obtainable.
    Andy
     
  10. lufcdave7

    lufcdave7 Read Only Funster

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    Hi wp1234
    I read your post with particular interest because I noticed you have an Autotrail mh.
    You say that after two days your battery condition indicator is reading 12.1v..... if you have the same indicator as us your battery is still in the 'good' section. Even at 11.7v you will still be in the 'fair' section.
    14.4v -11.9v good
    11.8v - 10.9v fair
    10.9v and below poor
    When we first got our mh I was concerned about our battery levels when comparing them to the chart provided in this thread by Pappajohn. I came to the conclusion that the chart and our battery condition indicator (Autotrail) have no bearing.
    The Autotrail manual claims that the batteries, both leisure and vehicle, are protected by alarms and cut offs against permanent damage, but this does not occur until -6v is indicated. Again comparing this to the chart the batteries would be well beyond saving. We have gone into the 9v range before things have stopped working, without any damage to our 2 x 110 amp hr batteries.
    At 12.1v after two days, your batteries are doing very well according to my Autotrail manual.....but if someone out there totally disagrees with my humble opinion, or knows that I have totally mis-read the maual, say now or forever hold your peace!
     
  11. Bigtrev8xl

    Bigtrev8xl Read Only Funster

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    Has anyone ever fitted a http://www.sterling-power.com/produc...tbatt-info.htm .I understand that these units charge up much quicker than an alternator and charge the batteries to 100%?

    These B2B chargers are a great bit of kit, I have the 50 amp jobby fitted in my self-build charging 3 x 125amphr batteries.


    Cheers Big Trev.
     
  12. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    agreed, the batteries may be recoverable but a standard charger wont do it no matter how long they are on charge.

    a normal charger will charge at 13.8v max which isnt high enough to break down the sulpher crystals.
    you need 14.4v or higher for a few hours to start the recovery, then 13.8v overnight, then leave on trickle/maintainance charge...around 12.6v.

    sulphated plates are insulated from the elecrolyte and cant accept a charge plus the acid in the elctrolyte will settle out to the bottom, due to no charge activity, so diluting the acid/water further up the plates.

    14.4v+ will breakdown the crystals and start the electrolyte gassing which will remix the acid/water.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  13. Rickboy

    Rickboy Read Only Funster

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    Charger

    When you say "Nornal" if you mean the onboard system-DC supply and charger @ 13.8v your right.Mind you some posch campers have more sophiscticated intelligent chargers now.
    A regular stand alone charger will recharge them as long as they are not damaged.
    I would split them as 220 ah is way too much for most non professional chargers.

    Give them days to charge with an intelligent charger not hours.

    Check out these super bargain ex Agos babies @ £11 in p&p

    Item no 360210851307

    Charge them fully before and after use to prolong life.
    Note voltage readings are temp sensatve and should be adjusted.
     
  14. wp1234

    wp1234

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    Thanks LUFCDAVE - you have given me a ray of hope .
    I have been wondering about the table myself , as you say the Autotrail indicator does at 11.9V show 'good' but according to the table it should show poor and according to others the batteries are US .
    I’m now totally confused ( doesn’t take much) so having read the manual it bsays that at 6 volts the sytem will automatically shut off to prevent damage to the leisure batts - sounds very weird .
    I know it’s hard to compare but how many of days use do you get out of your 2 X 110 set up?
    Do you use a battery to battery charger or some other sort of intelligent charger in addition to your in- house set up ( I have a Sergeant EC 325 charger )?
    Have you fitted a solar system to your EC325?

    Thanks

     
  15. lufcdave7

    lufcdave7 Read Only Funster

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    Hi wp1234,
    On a recent ten day trip to Scotland we charged our batteries via the onboard EC325 mains charger twice, we can last for about four days. But not because our batteries are flat, but because our inverter, which runs the Sky box (can't live without tv) starts a high pitched warning and then shuts down. The inverter thinks the batteries are flat, but there is still plenty of power remaining to run the mh services, like water pump, fridge electronics, lights and the fans on the fire and extraction. We moved from place to place every day for maybe 60/80 miles but this only improves the state of the batteries marginally and they quickly (2 hours) revert back to their earlier levels and below. Yes we have a 130w solar panel, but at this time of year we are lucky if it reads as giving us half to one and a half amps per hour, which when you compare that to the 14amps or there abouts the EC325 puts in, it's pretty much chocolate fireguard territory. It worked a lot better in France in the summer, as high as 5/6 amps. I've noticed quite a few funsters say their batteries last for about 4/5 days wild camping, so I reckon we are pretty NORMAL? Personally I think the answer to wilding is a good generator (the cost of which I can't come to terms with for the amount of use) or another set of 110amp batteries in parallel, which I have just purchased (£130.00) I'll let you know if that doubles my 4 days?
    Dave
     
  16. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    14.4v -11.9v good
    11.8v - 10.9v fair
    10.9v and below poor

    regardless of what your meter reads, at 11.9v (around 40% charge) it is well below the acceptable, and safe, discharged state.
    the voltage should never read 14.4 unless its just (and i mean just) come off charge using a multi stage charger charging at 14.4v to 14.8v.
    the most it should show is 13.8v off load and put a small load on, it will drop to 12.6v within seconds.

    at 10.9v the battery is dead and if left for any length of time it possibly wont recover.

    i cant understand the logic in the panel disconnecting the battery at 6v (to save damage to the battery) as nothing in the van will work at 6v anyway.
    at 6v you have a plastic box full of water and acid...not a battery.


    the only reasoning is they calibrated the onboard meter to show what you would EXPECT to see and the true battery terminal readings may be far higher.

    but having said all this they are, after all, your batteries and you treat them as you think best. :thumb:
     
  17. wp1234

    wp1234

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    I tend to agree with you it must be the case ... a call to Sargent is called for I think.
     
  18. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    also having an autotrial I would agree with this post,
     
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