Problem with leisure batteries

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Mags52, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    We are in the South West of France with the van we've only had three months so still learning her foibles. We have two 85amp leisure batteries and a 120w panel. On Aires for the last four nights and the leisure batteries were fading fast. The engine battery was obviously charging but the leisure batteries went down very low, especially overnight to 8.5.
    Had a look this morning and found that one of the fuses on the two cables coming down from the control panel had gone. It was a 2.5 fuse - the other one on the thicker cable is a 7 and it's fine. Replaced the fuse and the leisure batteries cheered up straight away.
    We decided to go on site to get the benefit of electric hook up to charge them properly but I now see that the charge light is flickering. Don't know if this means it is fully charged of if it's registering a fault. Leisure batteries now read 13.5 but we are on hook up so this might not be an accurate measure.
    Can anyone advise about the flickering charge light? the load light is solid green.
    I can't see our model of controller on the net to get instructions.
    Thanks folks
    Mags
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Sorry, cant help with the lights etc but if your batteries have been at 8.5v its time for new ones.

    Anything below 10v indicates dead/worn out batteries.
     
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  3. Gellyneck

    Gellyneck Funster Life Member

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    @Mags52 you might need to remind the gang what motorhome you've got?
     
  4. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    It's an Autotrail Miami 2007
     
  5. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Oh dear. The credit card is cowering in the corner.
     
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  6. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    The 13.5v you see when you're on hook-up is the voltage your charger is putting out, not the voltage of the battery. To get the battery voltage, you need to switch off the charger and wait a good 10 mins before reading across the battery terminals.

    I would also agree that the 8,5v means your battery is kaput :(
     
  7. gus-lopez

    gus-lopez Funster

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    I cannot understand the low amps of the fuses ¿
     
  8. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    You now have a difficult choice, if the leisure batteries are both the original they are almost certainly getting ready to change, but in reality it is probable that only one is duff, one poorly battery will drag both down to same level, you could try disconnecting one at a time, this might be difficult due to access but might see you through till you get home if you can find the bad one. One will probably have less than 12V the other 12.5v +

    If 07 batteries it is probably best to change both anyway, that seems to be the recommendation to do both or all at same time, but you might prefer to get home and have them checked first, it might be something else that is wrong (y)
     
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  9. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    Me neither. Part numbers or something?

    Obviously not current ratings.
     
  10. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Firstly as already stated your batteries are dead sorry to say. Then there is the fuse? I'm not sure why they fitted such a low rating, I think they should be at least 20amp, but will be corrected by someone here if I'm wrong.
    Not sure where you are in France,but there is a battery mega store in France and they deliver. Do not pay through the nose for batteries and you will in France and Spain.
     
  11. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Thanks folks. I am completely ignorant about these things so can't explain the fuses. There were two small blade fuses coming out of two wires from the solar controller. One on thicker wire has 7 on it, the smaller one had 2.5 but I only had a 3 to replace it with so put that in. The batteries are not the originals. I've seen the receipts and as far as I can remember they are only about a year old. One other fuse on the van (for the step) was far too small according to the dealer so that when it blew they put a bigger one on. I was worried about changing the blown fuse for another bigger one but could do that if it's safe to do so. I've been to Carrefour and bought a box of 30 fuses! LOL
    I can disconnect one of the batteries and try the other. Earlier today I disconnected the mains and the reading fell to 12.5 immediately. I then put on two lights and the kitchen fan and it fell to 12.1 within three minutes.
    Am I right in thinking it shouldn't fall that fast?
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  12. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    You are right they should sit at 12.7 or better as soon as you remove the EHU supply and drop under load, but very slowly. In my case when sun goes down ( no EHU ) the batteries sit at 12.7++ for some time and then using/drawing 5/7amps all evening they drop to 12.6 or 12.5 after about 5 hours. As soon as I switch off everything before going to bed they recover back to 12.7 in about 15/20 minutes. Then next day sun tops them back up.
    I think you need to replace your batteries now.
     
  13. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Doesn't sound good. :(

    Did the reading go back up when you switched the fan off again or did it stay down at 12.1?

    What is the make and model number of your controller?
     
  14. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Just after being taken off charge the batteries should read 13.6v for up to an hour if nothing is turned on.
    Turning on a light or similar will drop the volts pretty quick to around 12.6v.
    The fan will have a higher current and will drop the volts rapidly but after a few minutes, once turned off again, the volts should rise back to 12.6v.
    This generally only happens with a good battery.
    If the volts done rise to around what they were after a few minutes use then the battery is not holding a charge.
     
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  15. Madwife

    Madwife Deleted User

    Sorry Mags and Shirley, think the batteries are to use the words of Mrs Brown "fecked". The same thing happened to us last year when we arrived in Portugal. We replaced the batteries and no further problem.

    Kath
     
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  16. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Thanks for this good advice. I found this and it looks like the right kind to me (deep cycle) but would appreciate any thoughts on whether it's what we should buy. It's certainly a big saving on the local dealer's price. We're on a site at the moment so could ask if they would allow delivery here.
    If we did go down this route would it be ok to simply replace the batteries or should they be fully charged first?
    Thanks again - this Forum is fantastic.
    Mags
     
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  17. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    I couldn't find the model number but here is a picture of it. I'm checking what happens without the electric hook up now and will answer the other part of the question shortly.
    Thanks
    Mags
     
  18. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    It looks fine and I think if you call them they will deliver to camp site.
     
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  19. DP_JAY

    DP_JAY Funster Life Member

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    In your link to the regulator it states that the charge light flickering indicated it is in float mode.
    this is because either the battery or mains charger voltage is 13.6v OTA.
     
  20. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Sorry - what is OTA?
     
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