Batteries not holding charge (1 Viewer)

Barney23

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Hello, probably a straight forward answer & please bear in mind I am new to this.
I have our Autotrail on hook up with a oil filled rad left on, noticed last week that vehicle & leisure batteries (two) were reading "fair" put both on a charger, went to "good" but now reading "fair" once again.
What, if anything am i doing wrong.
Many Thanks
 

Badknee

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Turn the rad off and see if the batteries charge, unplug from EHU and check every week for a couple of weeks. If they lose charge either there is something drawing power or the are goosed. How old are they do you know?

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pappajohn

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Cold weather and older batteries don't mix.

If possible leave the batteries on charge all the time.
If it's a modern charger it won't harm then.
You May need a separate charger, if the oboard only does leisure battery, for the engine battery plugged into a habitation socket and the lead fed out the drivers door.....the door seal should have enough flexibility to not cause damage.
 

Wildman

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batteries do self discharge due to internal resistance and this is exacerbated in cold weather. Some things like radio and alarm still consume power. Keep Batteries on trickle charge or isolate them.
 
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Barney23

Barney23

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Turn the rad off and see if the batteries charge, unplug from EHU and check every week for a couple of weeks. If they lose charge either there is something drawing power or the are goosed. How old are they do you know?

Will try that, thanks, Van is a year old.
 
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Barney23

Barney23

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batteries do self discharge due to internal resistance and this is exacerbated in cold weather. Some things like radio and alarm still consume power. Keep Batteries on trickle charge or isolate them.

Alarm always on, will try to keep on trickle charge, thanks.
 

Badknee

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Ok, so vans a year old. Batts should be fine, alarms on but running on which battery, start or leisure? Overnight charge on a big battery may not be enough?

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Badknee

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It's surprising just how much equipment will continue to draw power with the ignition off....Not just radio memory and alarm.

Up to an hour after switching off and removing the key I still hear solinoids and sensors etc turning off in my car
Your right, Angela's C4 makes all sorts of funny noises. I'm glad someone else's does the same, spoooooooooooooky. :LOL:
 

tonka

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I see you have an Autotrail.
Depending on what year it is and the model of Sargent power supply fitted.
Newer vans do have a continual drain, my 2012 was drawing 0.3amps even with everything turned off.
Lots of posts have been made on the subject re Autotrail batteries going flat.

WHOOPS.. Just read back and seen it's a year old.. So this could be the issue..
Do you have solar panel fitted ???

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Barney23

Barney23

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Ok, so vans a year old. Batts should be fine, alarms on but running on which battery, start or leisure? Overnight charge on a big battery may not be enough?

Unsure which battery alarm runs off, will leave on charger longer tomorrow, thanks.
 
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Barney23

Barney23

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I see you have an Autotrail.
Depending on what year it is and the model of Sargent power supply fitted.
Newer vans do have a continual drain, my 2012 was drawing 0.3amps even with everything turned off.
Lots of posts have been made on the subject re Autotrail batteries going flat.

WHOOPS.. Just read back and seen it's a year old.. So this could be the issue..
Do you have solar panel fitted ???

Its an AT Apache, yes, have a solar panel fitted.
 

tonka

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On the EC500 power supply if you turn off the black shutdown switch then the solar only charges the Leisure battery.
If you leave the switch turned on then it will charge both the leisure and engine battery,
HOWEVER... You need to make sure the control panel is set to "smart" and that's for both EHU and solar...
BUT... I am finding that with just my 80w solar panel it's struggling to keep the batteries up if let off EHU or not run for a time.. Usually I would be using the van but due to health it's been sat a lot longer than it would normaly be.
I now tend to plug in for a few days on charge then leave it off for a while..

http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/resources/autotrail-ec500-power-supply-manual.98/

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Last edited:

MHVirgins

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Really interesting thread this, we have a Sargent EC325 and when away we tend to stay on sites and have been known to not move the van for 10 days or more.
I usually watch the control panel closely as in the past was warned that using the radio/cd player for long periods can flatten the vehicle battery. Does anyone know for certain that the radio is coming off the vehicle battery.......because I'm not too sure that it does. One night the radio was accidentally left on overnight, it had been turned down and we didn't realise it. But the van started without any problem the following morning (thankfully!)

It was also suggested, that the infra red on the reversing camera can be a drain on the battery. However, to date I haven't had any evidence to suggest otherwise.

We were on site for two weeks earlier last year on EHU and used the radio and had the alarm on each night and it still started. The battery is only a year old, but if I see it getting down to 11.7 on the control panel I put the trickle charge on.

I am always open to suggestions and advice from those with more knowledge(y)

Bill
 

JeanLuc

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It takes much longer to recharge batteries than you might imagine. Assuming your two leisure batteries are each in the range 80-110 Ah and have been discharged to something approaching 50%, it will probably take a minimum of 24 hours on EHU to recharge them properly. If the batteries are Gel a opposed to wet lead-acid, they will take even longer to recharge. As 'pappajohn' says - if you have the option, plug in and leave it hooked up.

p.s. I just noticed your original post says you "put both on a charger". Do you mean you are using an additional charger to the unit fitted in the motorhome? If so, why is this necessary.
 

Jaws

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Even my pair of brand new 130aH batteries only read fair on my Autotrail in the cold weather after a couple of hours off hook up, and I have 300w of solar panel up on the roof too

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Jazzbow

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Even my pair of brand new 130aH batteries only read fair on my Autotrail in the cold weather after a couple of hours off hook up, and I have 300w of solar panel up on the roof too
We're having the same issues as OP. We recently fitted a 100w solar panel but it's not keeping the battery at full with nothing on, it's just sitting in the driveway.
I was going to get the engineer back, but thought I'd try a new battery first. Put it in the van, charged for two days,( even though it was 12.9 when I bought it) then I put on a light for 15 mins to remove any load ( as previously noted on this forum) and it measured 12.7! Is this all to do with cold weather? We havent had the chance to see if the panel is working in wafrm weather.
 

Jaws

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It is a combination of things probably
The cold weather, slightly inaccurate meter and in all honesty it is rare a battery will sit at much more that 12.4 if left to its own devices
At this time of year solar panels do not do very much as the angle the sun is at ( even though it might be bright ) reduces their effectiveness quite dramatically
 

Jazzbow

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Thanks Jaws, I thought that at least it should keep the battery top up though. I suppose we'll have to wait to see what the Scottish summer has to offer :LOL:

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Barney23

Barney23

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It takes much longer to recharge batteries than you might imagine. Assuming your two leisure batteries are each in the range 80-110 Ah and have been discharged to something approaching 50%, it will probably take a minimum of 24 hours on EHU to recharge them properly. If the batteries are Gel a opposed to wet lead-acid, they will take even longer to recharge. As 'pappajohn' says - if you have the option, plug in and leave it hooked up.

p.s. I just noticed your original post says you "put both on a charger". Do you mean you are using an additional charger to the unit fitted in the motorhome? If so, why is this necessary.

Yes, it is on EHU, I have a oil filled rad left on & used an additional charger as batteries were only reading "fair"
 

Jaws

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Yes, it is on EHU, I have a oil filled rad left on & used an additional charger as batteries were only reading "fair"
Ahhh.. that may well nt be the best idea to be honest
The additional charger will hold the battery level up as they charge
The on board charger will be of the intelligent type.
It will detect the higher voltage being caused by the other charger and think the batteries are up.
It will then simply shut down to a trickle
 

Wildman

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I put on a light for 15 mins to remove any load ( as previously noted on this forum) and it measured 12.7!

There is obviously some confusion here, the light being on IS a "LOAD", After charging it is best to wait an hour before taking a reading due to residual surface charge (not load).

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JeanLuc

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A couple of thoughts, but bear in mind that I have no experience of Autotrails or the Sergeant charging system.
Firstly, the oil-filled rad should have no effect on battery charging since it is plugged into a 230V socket and that will be wired direct from the EHU inlet (albeit via the safety cut-out system). The mains will be more than capable of supplying both the heater and the charger.
Secondly, depending on how the solar panel is connected, perhaps that is 'fooling' the charger into thinking that the batteries are charged when they are not, since it will be showing a potential at the batteries of something over 13.8 volts I suspect - even at this time of year. If the solar system is 'intelligent' and integrated with the Sergeant charging system then this should not happen - provided it really is an integrated system. (But see my caveat in the first line of this post.)
 
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Barney23

Barney23

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A couple of thoughts, but bear in mind that I have no experience of Autotrails or the Sergeant charging system.
Firstly, the oil-filled rad should have no effect on battery charging since it is plugged into a 230V socket and that will be wired direct from the EHU inlet (albeit via the safety cut-out system). The mains will be more than capable of supplying both the heater and the charger.
Secondly, depending on how the solar panel is connected, perhaps that is 'fooling' the charger into thinking that the batteries are charged when they are not, since it will be showing a potential at the batteries of something over 13.8 volts I suspect - even at this time of year. If the solar system is 'intelligent' and integrated with the Sergeant charging system then this should not happen - provided it really is an integrated system. (But see my caveat in the first line of this post.)

That was my thinking with regard to the rad and the charger, but it appears not to be the case !
 

JeanLuc

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If plugging in an appliance to a 230V socket does in fact affect the charger's ability to perform its function then I can only suggest that an Autotrail is not fit for purpose. Obviously not something you want to hear so I think a bit more research on this point may be required as it cannot be an intentional design feature. Perhaps a call to Autotrail is in order?

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Jaws

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Just to concur .. The rad should have absolutely NO affect on the charger
It is a bit like saying turning a kettle on in the kitchen at home will reduce power in the living room

A thought though

I have seen a couple of instances where someone has fitted an inverter and had it wired to a socket..
Looks the same and 'feels' the same as a mains fed one but will flatten the batteries in next to no time !

Just to be sure, plug the heater in a different socket..

Also.. and this was a nightmare for the owner as they had NO idea it had been done, some cast iron idiot had disconnected all the sockets from the mains feed and connected them to a 2kw inverter.
This was actually on a brand new van.. They had not asked for it to be done and the supplier was totally mystified as to WHY the van had been supplied the way it was when they were told.. In fact the supplying dealer had bent over backwards to help and had fitted two new sets of batteries and triple checked the charger
Of course, they ( like most sane folk ) did not even consider the 220v sockets being used would affect the batteries !

No matter what they did their batteries were going flat all the time
Took me all of 2 minutes to suss it out and rewire the system correctly but it does show that sometimes things are not what they should be !
 
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Barney23

Barney23

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I have just unplugged the rad to see if this makes any difference to the batteries.
 

JeanLuc

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Another way of testing Jaw's hypothesis is to measure the voltage across the battery terminals with your trusty multimeter, then plug the rad back in to a 230V socket and check the battery voltage again. If it has dropped noticeably then current is being drawn.

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