A Flat battery despite having solar panels! Pretty miffed!! | Page 2 | MotorhomeFun | The Motorhome Support and Social Network

A Flat battery despite having solar panels! Pretty miffed!!

Oct 20, 2018
958
1,724
Teesside
Funster No
56,835
MH
C Class
Exp
Since 1990
Thanks folks. I've just been to the MH (Which is new, and has that same Truma unit fitted) I have retrieved both the manuals and the battery for attention back home. I have emailed both the dealer and Bailey but have not had a reply yet from either. The battery is now on a smart charger and hopefully will be recovered in a day or two.
After being fully discharged a battery will never fully recover.
 
Dec 2, 2019
540
1,292
France
Funster No
67,140
MH
Rapido 7065+
Exp
newby
Ignore all the ne'r do wells. It's something simple so go to the dealer's armed with a bit more info from the above chatter and get them to tell you exactly why the starter battery didn't charge enough under solar. You can then let the forum know the reason and the next steps to take, if any.
The controller charge cycle will get your battery back to almost new if set correctly. If not then dealer can sort a replacement under warranty.
 
Feb 17, 2017
291
1,117
Herefordshire
Funster No
47,371
MH
C Class
Exp
Zero
I think that cab and Hab batteries have different make up and the cab battery is much less likely to experience failure as a result of going flat than the hab one

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OP
TinTentTourist
Jun 26, 2019
45
64
LA15 The Furness Peninsular, Cumbria.
Funster No
61,934
MH
Bailey Autograph 754
Exp
Day 1 will be 10th July 2019
Hi TinTentTourist OK I have looked in our manual and looked at the solar panel and controller on our van and it should be a Truma dual battery charger (ours is) and should keep both Batteries charged if correctly wired up (again ours seems to do this) if you have the same Owners manual we have got (ours is the 2017 model) then the relevant section starts at page 58, you may want to check that it is wired correctly but also that the correct battery settings have been input (gel, agm or liquid) instructions on how to check and change this are in the Owners manual (pages 60 and 61 in our version).

With regard to EHU the manual only mentions charging of the Hab battery but thinking about it that would be in line with the parent vehicle (Peugeot boxer) all I can say is I haven't had any issues but that is probably because the solar on my van is doing what it is supposed to.

If you have no luck with checking the settings let me know but your dealer should deal with this quite easily under warranty (especially if they added additional solar as they should have checked the system they would have fitted and come to that they should have checked it was set correctly as part of the PDI even if they didn't add any extra panels).
Thanks - you are right, it is just one panel, factory fitted, I don't know why I was thinking two! I have brought the manuals home, but as they are in the car on the drive and the rain is horizontal at the moment... so it will have to wait a little.
I will check with the dealer by phone when they re open, though it will have to be workshop side, the others will just make it up as they go along - in any case they still owe me several bits of warranty work including a drawer slider that broke and the wrong one has been sent by Bailey 3 times already!! Doesn't bode well for them to wire a 12v system.
Thanks all again, I will update when I get it sorted.
Cheers
Martin
 
Feb 9, 2008
6,513
9,688
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
Thanks - you are right, it is just one panel, factory fitted, I don't know why I was thinking two!
That probably explains why your in this situation. However, see it as a window of opportunity to prevent this from happening again.

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May 1, 2016
1,806
6,861
Stoke on trent
Funster No
42,821
MH
Bailey 75-2 autograp
Exp
Since 2015
TinTentTourist
We have a 75-2 same solar setup as you. We had to ask the supplying dealer to wire the solar up to charge both hab and starter batteries. How many wires does your solar control unit have coming out of the bottom.
2 or 4?
If only 2 then they have only wired through to the hab battery. If 4 then a fuse might of blown going from the truma control unit to the starter battery.
 
OP
TinTentTourist
Jun 26, 2019
45
64
LA15 The Furness Peninsular, Cumbria.
Funster No
61,934
MH
Bailey Autograph 754
Exp
Day 1 will be 10th July 2019
Update...
Still no reply from Bailey or the dealer. The cab battery was fully charged at home, and put back on the van. Everything now works as it should. The Truma panel is set up for two batteries and has the wires coming from it but there is no way for me to see where they go. The panel indicated the hab battery was fully charged with a solid light showing. There was no light at all for the second battery. When I reconnected the cab battery it was indicated on the panel, and started flashing to indicate it was being charged. I ran a few thing in the hab side and that caused the panel to start charging the hab battery too.
I checked the settings and it is set to a 50/50 split. The instructions also say that when one battery is full, ALL power is diverted to the other regardless of settings.
The only thing I could find not correct was that the panel was set to gel, when both batteries are flooded lead acid.
Since many people use a tiny solar panel to trickle charge this type of battery, the massive 100w on the roof should have managed both even with a tiny draw for the tracker.
My friend with the same van has an alarm not a tracker and her battery was flat too. So to me it indicates that there is a setup issue of some sort. Since this is my first MH, I cannot draw on any experience, but I don't think it's an unreasonable ask that the cab battery be maintained. After all I can add a Battery Master and it will be maintained with the same solar panel setup!
 
Jan 17, 2010
96
116
Northants
Funster No
9,980
MH
Bailey Approach740SE
Exp
Since 2006
Quite a few Bailey owners seem to have this issue so I would keep an eye on it and make sure the cab battery keeps its charge.
The 100w panel should have kept both batteries charged over the winter, more so as the leisure battery would have been fully charged for most of that time with very little current draw.
Its one for the dealer certainly.

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Apr 14, 2013
9
3
Tranmere Park
Funster No
25,537
MH
Hymer B544
Exp
Since 2000
Easiest way to check how its wired/operating, is to disconnect the leads from each battery, then put a voltmeter across the leads to each battery in turn - if you are getting a reading of around 14v then the solar controller is attempting to charge that battery!
 

lunarman

LIFE MEMBER
Sep 23, 2008
1,944
1,501
South Glos
Funster No
4,151
MH
C Class
Exp
since 1994
I may have dreamed this as I cannot find the link now. On some vans Bailey had incorrectly wired the second feed from the solar regulator, instead of wiring it direct to the vehicle battery they had broken into the wiring feed for the 12v vehicle sockets which of course are only live when the ignotion is turned on. The dealer had to run new feed to the battery.

As I say I may have dreamed it in red wine stupor. :LOL:
 
Jul 29, 2019
7
5
Funster No
62,801
MH
bailey autograph 745
Exp
since 2016
I had the same problem with my autograph. I now have a separate removable solar panel, along with a controller, for the front window, problem solved. I also have a phantom tracker fitted which also monitors the engine battery.

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Sep 26, 2018
66
39
Uk Suffolk, Spain Terrazas de la Torre.
Funster No
56,398
MH
Autosleeper Warwick xl
Exp
I’m a newbi
The only thing with changing the regime is that keeping the cab battery topped up more obviously takes away from the leisure batteries so needs to be thought about carefully for those who stay put without EHU for a while relying totally on the solar input.
Think I would prefer to have my engine battery charged, at least I could drive away.
 

gtx

Dec 11, 2019
2
0
Funster No
67,298
MH
Bailey Alliance76-2T
Exp
2019
Mine is a Bailey Alliance and is also new. I found that I was having to take the van out very couple of weeks because I had noticed that from fully charged it was dropping sharply necessitating a top up. I have a 100W solar panel but appreciated it was of no use when stored in a Barn. Whilst investigating I noticed that the Solar panel was only wired tocharge the Hab battery. My requirement was that the Cab battery should be the priority because there is no availability for charging a battery in storage. I paid the dealer to set the solar to also charge the Cab battery (not standard setup) which they did (not sure who actually did the work). As I said, I do appreciate that this would not in itself resolve the original problem. Taking constant readings I could see a trend of the quick depletion and then noticed that when disconnecting the Leisure battery the Cab battery depleted far slower, and I only needed to take it out for a run once a month, which I think is not unusual. When I reconnect the Leisure battery the problem returns! The dealer readily investigated but has not yet resolved the issue, though during their investigations they noticed that the Solar panel had not been configured correctly and once this was sorted the solar panel began to charge. Unfortunately, the original problem remains with the dealer to resolve.

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Apr 14, 2013
9
3
Tranmere Park
Funster No
25,537
MH
Hymer B544
Exp
Since 2000
Quick addendum to my earlier suggestion about disconnecting and measuring across each pair of battery connection leads - as you are actually measuring the solar panel voltage off load, the measured voltage could be 17 volts or more depending on the controller - the is normal.
 
OP
TinTentTourist
Jun 26, 2019
45
64
LA15 The Furness Peninsular, Cumbria.
Funster No
61,934
MH
Bailey Autograph 754
Exp
Day 1 will be 10th July 2019
Quick addendum to my earlier suggestion about disconnecting and measuring across each pair of battery connection leads - as you are actually measuring the solar panel voltage off load, the measured voltage could be 17 volts or more depending on the controller - the is normal.
Thanks, I may try that... I wonder though, since the charger varies it's output depending on the voltage it detects, if there is not battery to detect, and therefore no resistance, will it still output any power?

Since I very rarely camp off a site, and therefore I always have an EHU, I would much rather the priority be to the cab battery. Particularly as it is stored outside and solar panels do not require sun, just light, I should be good all year round. I believe from the other comments, that Bailey have cocked this one up in some way. And not just my van, it would appear to be quite a common issue - I should not have to resort to a panel plugged in on the dashboard to trickle charge the cab battery. If an item like that only rated at 1.5w or similar is able to do this job, my 100w panel should be more than capable.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate your thoughts. My dealer told me I would get a call from the workshops to discuss this... and I am still waiting!

I will update this thread though if/when I make progress...

Cheers

Martin
 
Sep 9, 2019
8
8
Funster No
63,939
MH
Auto Trail Apache
Exp
3 years previously and now returning with new MH
Is there a master isolating switch? If that is off when you store the van then even the solar panels may not work.

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Mar 8, 2015
65
19
Leeds
Funster No
35,376
MH
Auto Trail Scout SE
Exp
I'm a newbie
I have the same solar type system fitted by myself but to my autotrail scout. Some things to note as others have said. Mine draws from the batteries on a night when dark as does the radio if not fully de-powered. Alarm and tracker, aerial booster etc if not turned off. I have lots draining the batteries even when not camping. If the panel is dirty and shadowed I find the charge level is effected. In darker months I have the mains connected on a timer and give it a couple of hours charge 3 time a week. Just to keep it topped up. When rough camping especially in summer months the solar does it’s job fine. It was mentioned it only needs light but I find bright sun gives better charging. Poor light doesn’t give me much but that’s probably down to the panel I chose. I change my settings sometimes. Generally though especially for rough camping I usually have a 70/30 split in favour of the leisure as that is used more but as you said it does give it all to one if the other is fully charged. For info I wired mine using a wiring loom into the back of the charger consumer unit (purchased from the manufacturer) so if you trace the cable’s for testing that’s where it may go not direct to the batteries. You should still be able to test at the batteries though. Good luck and hope your now sorted.
 
May 13, 2016
758
6,742
Mid Wales
Funster No
43,069
MH
Elddis Accordo 105
Exp
Four years in theory, a newby in practice!!!
I've just had a look at the .pdf manual...
This is [apparently] what I have

View attachment 402160
...and these are my options:

View attachment 402161

I presume battery #2 is the vehicle battery & both hab batteries are grouped as #1.
but as it works, I've not fiddled with any of the settings.

Actually, I may have unfairly demeaned it, as it seems to have a fair amount of options
This controller is identical to ours but ours has the Truma brand name. We too have been suffering from the flat starter battery twice during lockdown. We have had EHU connected all winter but only turned on when frost was forecast as we have a small radiator inside the 'van, so the EHU should help the 100W solar top up both batteries via the controller ........ or so I thought. Our controller is in the wardrobe and after reading thru this thread I noted that it was set at 9. I also noticed that it only has 4 wires coming out of the bottom which means there is no power whatsoever going to the starter battery :doh:
No idea what options I have to change this situation. I've only taken the 'van out twice during lockdown and was pulled by plod both times less than 3 miles from home.
As from tomorrow we can drive more than 5 miles from home:Grin: and on Wednesday we set off for 6 nights in The Lakes and Yorkshire Dales, just hope we've not damaged the battery too much:unsure:
 
Last edited:

Gellyneck

LIFE MEMBER
Jun 5, 2014
5,182
7,124
Scotland
Funster No
31,836
MH
C Class
Exp
More than toes wet now!
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the principles but our motorhome (Auto-trail) has a Sargent control panel that has a shutdown button that turns off power to everything excluding the alarms and tracker. Obviously, things like central locking still works but only draws power when operating.
Is this not a standard process for other control units?

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Langtoftlad

LIFE MEMBER
Apr 12, 2011
4,949
43,332
Langtoft, South Lincs
Funster No
16,024
MH
WildAx Aurora FB [PVC]
Exp
Since 2015
No idea what options I have to change this situation. I've only taken the 'van out twice during lockdown and was pulled by plod both times less than 3 miles from home
I'm completely non technical but I presume you'll need a 2 core cable to run from the controller to your vehicle battery.
Someone who knows electrickery [ Lenny HB ?] might be able to give better advice.
 
May 13, 2016
758
6,742
Mid Wales
Funster No
43,069
MH
Elddis Accordo 105
Exp
Four years in theory, a newby in practice!!!
Only need to connect to the positive, negatives will already be linked.
The controller is at the rear of the van and the battery obviously at the front, how to get a feed between them sounds like major work

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ElliesBoss

Free Member
May 10, 2018
42
53
Bucks
Funster No
53,818
MH
Autocruise Augusta
Exp
MH newbie but we owned a caravan previously.
The controller is at the rear of the van and the battery obviously at the front, how to get a feed between them sounds like major work
That"e where a Battery Master comes in. You can connect it to the relevant wires at the split charge relay or other convenient point.
 
Feb 2, 2019
7
2
lancs
Funster No
58,343
MH
Burstner ixeo
Exp
Since 2018
I've just had a look at the .pdf manual...
This is [apparently] what I have

View attachment 402160
...and these are my options:

View attachment 402161

I presume battery #2 is the vehicle battery & both hab batteries are grouped as #1.
but as it works, I've not fiddled with any of the settings.

Actually, I may have unfairly demeaned it, as it seems to have a fair amount of options
Our Busrtner had exactly the same problem. I assumed the Solar panel would be charging both batteries, but after finding the starter battery was low on occasions, I found that the 2nd Output wasn't connected. Quite a simple fix, wired the O/P 2 via a fuse to the Starter Battery, works perfectly. Checked the settings, and it was already set to give 50% to each Battery.
 
May 13, 2016
758
6,742
Mid Wales
Funster No
43,069
MH
Elddis Accordo 105
Exp
Four years in theory, a newby in practice!!!
That"e where a Battery Master comes in. You can connect it to the relevant wires at the split charge relay or other convenient point.
Will need to look into a Battery Master, I've got no idea about electrics other than changing a bulb :rofl:

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OP
TinTentTourist
Jun 26, 2019
45
64
LA15 The Furness Peninsular, Cumbria.
Funster No
61,934
MH
Bailey Autograph 754
Exp
Day 1 will be 10th July 2019
A little update since it's been a while and I have a couple of interesting notes.
My dealer never did get back to me so I went in! They said they would look at the issue in the vehicle's first service (2 months late - but at their earliest date) in September.
Then an engineer who happened to be in reception told me about this red button on the ignition to isolate the cab battery - I was aware, but I have never actually been advised about using it before. Then outside I bumped into the bloke who sold it to me, and strangely he told me the same thing! (they always use it and never have a flat battery problem - yeah right). They have either been talking about me or they have had a lot of this problem post lockdown.
Obviously, isolating the battery will stop the solar system from charging it, but since it doesn't work anyway, I thought I would see what happened.
The central locking still worked to lock the van - I suspect residual current as it would not open on my return and I had to use the key. And it also generated an almost immediate response from my tracker company to say the power had been cut... was it me? Good to know this works!
Interestingly, even though the battery was too flat to work anything after lockdown and before I took it home to charge it... the tracker did not activate from lack of power, so it must take a really small amount.
Anyway, that's all for now I reckon. Bailey has still not responded to my email (no surprise there - the company is plummeting in my regard now.
I'll update again in September after the service/inspection. It will be nice to get an answer from the dealer, if that does not work I will take it to an auto electrician I know and he can diagnose it... the cost will be passed back to the dealer.
 
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