Batteries, what do i do (1 Viewer)

Affiliate links here may earn MHF compensation

AlHumphries

Free Member
Feb 8, 2015
15
4
Kettering
Funster No
35,031
MH
Pilote Explorateur
Exp
2014, Caravans for 25 years
So, i'm guessing there is probably a fair bit of talk about batteries in here. I'm not great at maintenance, very little time for such stuff. So, brand new MH Easter last year, haven't done anything except, drive, park, plug into mains or gennie but also a fair bit of wild camping with no gennie. What do i need to do to look after the batteries? Went to the MH this weekend actually and the main battery is flat as a pancake, ordered heavy duty jump leads so will jump it and bring it home for a few days this week to plug it into the mains.
 

Techno

LIFE MEMBER
Deceased RIP
Jul 28, 2010
15,475
20,758
Leeds the one up North
Funster No
12,905
MH
Rapido 7090F 3 litre 160
Exp
May 2010
Batteries must be kept fully charged. Never leave in a prolonged discharged state or you might as well get the wallet out.
If they are sealed maintenance free then the above is all.
If open wet lead acid then you need to check electrolite levels.
 
Dec 12, 2010
5,535
22,639
Cumbria
Funster No
14,651
MH
C Class
Exp
since 2011
Better off taking the battery home with you and bench charging it than fannying about with jump leads, few posts on here about jump starting upsetting the EMU :(

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Bartyfixedit

LIFE MEMBER
Jun 11, 2014
334
570
Maidstone Kent
Funster No
31,932
MH
Self Build Ducato L4H3
Exp
Since 1987
If a battery is flat then it has suffered internal chemical changes.

If you remove it from the vehicle and trickle charge it with a decent, correctly sized, charger you may recover it to useable, but probably never as good as new.

If you jump start the vehicle and let the alternator do it's thing you will almost definitely destroy the battery. The chemical changes cause the plates in the battery to get a coating on them that increases surface resistance and causes the plates to buckle if charged too fast.
 
OP
OP
AlHumphries

AlHumphries

Free Member
Feb 8, 2015
15
4
Kettering
Funster No
35,031
MH
Pilote Explorateur
Exp
2014, Caravans for 25 years
so what do you do when you park the MH up for the winter?, disconnect the battery?, what about the alarm and trakker?
 
D

Deleted member 29692

Deleted User
We use ours all through the winter and the solar has kept everything charged even when it's been parked up for a while.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,931
157,309
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Carthago Compactline
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
I take it by main battery you are referring to the engine battery. On a modern vehicle they should not be left for more than 2 weeks at a push 3 weeks without charging. The engine electronics in standby , the radio, alarm all draw a small amount of current. A low current draw say 150 ma will take 25 A/H out of the battery in 7 days add to that the natural discharge of the battery you can see why they go flat fairly quickly. As you have completely flattened your battery it may recover to some extent but the chances as it will have considerably reduced it's life and I would replace it.
Hymer state in their manuals do not leave the batteries without charging for more than 10 days.

Like others have said a solar panel is probably the best option, fit and forget (never plug my van into the mains). If you install a solar set up, make sure it charges both leisure & engine batteries. An 80 watt panel will do the job and will give enough power for summer off grid camping.

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 
Last edited:

movan

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 2, 2009
21,492
120,754
Moving around
Funster No
9,543
MH
Burstner
Exp
since07
So can you all just clarify please...... I havn't done anything with my batteries over winter... I leave my van without using and just hope the solar panel keeps everything ticking over... Is this ok to do? Please don't give me a complicated technical answer as I won't understand it ...Many thanks. :)
 
D

Deleted member 29692

Deleted User
So can you all just clarify please...... I havn't done anything with my batteries over winter... I leave my van without using and just hope the solar panel keeps everything ticking over... Is this ok to do? Please don't give me a complicated technical answer as I won't understand it ...Many thanks. :)

That works for me as well. Never had a problem. (y)
 
Jul 29, 2011
2,764
23,904
Urmston, Manchester
Funster No
17,549
MH
Former owner.
Exp
June 2012
My engine battery used to let me down when stood for a couple of weeks, had an 80 watt solar panel fitted which covers leisure and engine battery.
Have left it for nearly 4 weeks and it starts first time, very rarely bother with EHU when in the drive.
 

GJH

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 20, 2007
29,450
38,828
Acklam, Teesside, originally Glossop
Funster No
127
MH
None, now sold
Exp
2006 to 2022
That works for me as well. Never had a problem. (y)
My engine battery used to let me down when stood for a couple of weeks, had an 80 watt solar panel fitted which covers leisure and engine battery.
Have left it for nearly 4 weeks and it starts first time, very rarely bother with EHU when in the drive.
We are almost the same with an 80W panel. I do use EHU from time to time in winter, though, because buildings get in the way and mean that it can't always cope with keeping the starter battery charged as well as the leisure battery.
 
D

Deleted member 29692

Deleted User
We are almost the same with an 80W panel. I do use EHU from time to time in winter, though, because buildings get in the way and mean that it can't always cope with keeping the starter battery charged as well as the leisure battery.

We have 200W of solar and a battery master. It's not let us down let but I'm going to get it from the storage place on Friday morning so I'll own up if it proves me wrong then :D(y)

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 
  • Like
Reactions: GJH

funkyfunky

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 2, 2013
55
43
Lassere-De-Prouille, Aude, France
Funster No
27,289
MH
c class Mercedes 310d FFB
Exp
2012
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance, Trickle charger or solar panel with auto regulator is the answer and must be used when not driven .
Best wishes My Friend and enjoy.
 

GeriatricWanderer

Free Member
Feb 1, 2015
1,194
4,199
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, just cos I can!
Funster No
34,964
MH
Pop-Top Campervan
Exp
45years
If you do have to leave the van unused for some time but still have reasonable access to it then keep an eye on the charge from time to time - very effective and cheap meters on Ebay etc. If the charge is OK then you can sleep at night, if it's not then you can catch it early and fix it.
 

Jaws

LIFE MEMBER
Sep 26, 2008
23,869
74,277
Thetford Norfolk
Funster No
4,189
MH
C class, Chieftain
Exp
since 2006 ( I think ! )
Most vans in standard trim do not charge the vehicle battery from solar panels ( there are some with a split charge as standard but they are few )

It is also the case that a LOT of vans do not charge the vehicle battery even when on hook up

So the first thing to do is get a multimeter ( plenty of then around for less than a tenner if you have not got one ) and check the battery voltage off hook up
Then plug in the EHU and check the battery again.
If it has risen then you know it charges when on hook up.. so that is that side sorted.. If the voltage remains the same then see Note 1 below

Next, solar panels.. it is even rarer for a standard solar panel set up to put anything in to the vehicle battery.. See note below :)

Note below .... ( :) )

I would suggest you get along to EddieVanBits and get your self a nice B to B splitter..

Extremely easy to fit and can be done with very basic skills and basic tools

What a B 2 B widget does.
There are usually three wires coming from the wee box.
One goes to earth, another to the live side of the vehicle battery and the last to the live side of the hab battery or batteries

When the hab battery reaches a charged state the B 2 B unit will bleed off any excess and put it in to the vehicle battery.
It will work no matter if you are on hook up or indeed relying on solar panels
 

Millibobs

Free Member
Oct 27, 2013
101
21
Sax Alicante area Spain
Funster No
28,762
MH
Overcab
Exp
Since 2004
I think the same as one of the other funsters , you need to fit a solar panel to keep all batteries topped up and healthy. Mine is only a 50 w one but has done the job for the last 10 years. Mind you I live in Spain and maybe in the UK you need more than this to be sure.
 

TheWM

Free Member
Feb 24, 2015
445
450
London
Funster No
35,228
MH
Rapido 9010df
Exp
Newbie, but over 10 years in a campervan
Most vans in standard trim do not charge the vehicle battery from solar panels ( there are some with a split charge as standard but they are few )

It is also the case that a LOT of vans do not charge the vehicle battery even when on hook up

So the first thing to do is get a multimeter ( plenty of then around for less than a tenner if you have not got one ) and check the battery voltage off hook up
Then plug in the EHU and check the battery again.
If it has risen then you know it charges when on hook up.. so that is that side sorted.. If the voltage remains the same then see Note 1 below

Next, solar panels.. it is even rarer for a standard solar panel set up to put anything in to the vehicle battery.. See note below :)

Note below .... ( :) )

I would suggest you get along to EddieVanBits and get your self a nice B to B splitter..

Extremely easy to fit and can be done with very basic skills and basic tools

What a B 2 B widget does.
There are usually three wires coming from the wee box.
One goes to earth, another to the live side of the vehicle battery and the last to the live side of the hab battery or batteries

When the hab battery reaches a charged state the B 2 B unit will bleed off any excess and put it in to the vehicle battery.
It will work no matter if you are on hook up or indeed relying on solar panels

Does it (the B2B unit look like this?)

I'm trying to work out whether my solar is keeping the starter battery topped up.

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    125.6 KB · Views: 114

Jaws

LIFE MEMBER
Sep 26, 2008
23,869
74,277
Thetford Norfolk
Funster No
4,189
MH
C class, Chieftain
Exp
since 2006 ( I think ! )
If what I am seeing is a module with a massive bunch of wires connected is what you refer to.. It is certainly not like any B 2 B unit I have ever seen !
But I have not seen 'em all :)
More usually there are just three or four wires going to it.

Is there anything printed on the module ?
 

Abacist

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 15, 2013
3,893
11,618
Devon
Funster No
28,581
MH
N & B Arto 88F Tag
Exp
since 2013
That just looks like a standard Fiat engine battery installation in the passenger seat footwell. If your van is standard as bought new you probably haven't got one. Do you have a button on your control panel to select charging the engine battery instead of the habitation batteries? You have not given the make and model of your van which would no doubt help someone on here advise you.

I have just installed a Vanbitz Battery Master in my AutoTrail and it's fantastic. No more having to remember to go out and press the button to change which battery is getting the charge!
 

TheWM

Free Member
Feb 24, 2015
445
450
London
Funster No
35,228
MH
Rapido 9010df
Exp
Newbie, but over 10 years in a campervan
Sorry it is a Rapido A class (9010df)

No switch that you refer to on the control panel but it does have a few 'extras'. I'll take a pic of what I believe to be some kind of battery master later.
 

TheWM

Free Member
Feb 24, 2015
445
450
London
Funster No
35,228
MH
Rapido 9010df
Exp
Newbie, but over 10 years in a campervan
image.jpg
image.jpg
Didn't get to the battery as need to shoot out but did take a pic of this (sorry it is installed upside does). It says CAC computer automatic charger. I also have another thing next to it which I assume shows the solar power in operation.
 

Abacist

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 15, 2013
3,893
11,618
Devon
Funster No
28,581
MH
N & B Arto 88F Tag
Exp
since 2013
Hopefully an experienced Rapido user will be along in a minute to explain what you get as standard on a new Rapido van and how it all works. I fully admit to not having a clue what they do in their vans.

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

TheWM

Free Member
Feb 24, 2015
445
450
London
Funster No
35,228
MH
Rapido 9010df
Exp
Newbie, but over 10 years in a campervan
image.jpg
@Jaws got to the module and it reads jaeger trailer module. I'm pretty sure I don't have anything topping up the starter battery as it has now dipped to 11.4v and is flashing on the panel. Pic of module below.
 

TheWM

Free Member
Feb 24, 2015
445
450
London
Funster No
35,228
MH
Rapido 9010df
Exp
Newbie, but over 10 years in a campervan
Here is a pic of what was hidden beneath the cover of the battery. What is everything doing there?
image.jpg
 

Wildman

Free Member
May 30, 2008
0
8,471
Ilfracombe, Devon
Funster No
2,913
MH
Amazon Ambassador
Exp
since 1967
So can you all just clarify please...... I havn't done anything with my batteries over winter... I leave my van without using and just hope the solar panel keeps everything ticking over... Is this ok to do? Please don't give me a complicated technical answer as I won't understand it ...Many thanks. :)
As long as the solar charges BOTH hab and engine batteries (Battery Master maybe) they will be fine some vans do NOT charge both batteries.
 

magicsurfbus

Free Member
Oct 11, 2010
4,673
10,129
NW England
Funster No
14,057
MH
Bessacarr Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 1997
I've made a removable split relay circuit that will top up the engine battery from the (solar powered) leisure battery when in storage, but over winter my 85W panel (mounted flat on the roof) isn't enough to keep the charge up, so I have to drive it around every four weeks or so, or bring it home and put it on the EHU for a day or two.

That said, the leisure battery has gone to a low voltage on at least three occasions over winter but still holds a decent charge for everyday use. Likewise the cab battery has got to the point where it won't start the engine on a few occasions but it's recovered again. I monitor the voltages constantly as a precaution and there's been no substantial change in the last three years, despite occasional low spells.

Always worth investing in a multimeter and a couple of 12v socket voltmeters if battery state is something that you want to keep tabs on.
 

pappajohn

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 26, 2007
43,601
51,603
Dark side of the moon
Funster No
172
Exp
Since 2005
View attachment 62938 @Jaws got to the module and it reads jaeger trailer module. I'm pretty sure I don't have anything topping up the starter battery as it has now dipped to 11.4v and is flashing on the panel. Pic of module below.
That is a canbus bypass relay module for trailer lighting.

Stops the vehicle canbus system from realising there are extra lights and throwing up lighting faults.

Broken Link Removed

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 
Last edited:

Join us or log in to post a reply.

To join in you must be a member of MotorhomeFun

Join MotorhomeFun

Join us, it quick and easy!

Log in

Already a member? Log in here.

Latest journal entries

Funsters who are viewing this thread

Back
Top