Batteries! (1 Viewer)

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Debbie

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Mar 13, 2019
1
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59,104
MH
Coachbuilt
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Fairly new
Hi All, I have a Fiat Ducato Autocruise Starspirit which has had its first winter with us. We check it every week start it and run out in it at least once a fortnight. The leisure battery seems ok and is on a solar panel. My problem is that the starter battery doesn't seem to last more than 10 days i.e. it won't start the engine and we have to jump from the car or battery pack (with lights and blowers on). Last week it showed an EML light which the garage has re-set saying it was probably due to low battery. I have checked this with my son and husband both who are mechanics (car) and said this was probably the cause. My questions are: is there a decent solar panel out there that can keep the battery trickle charged? (yes I know the battery may be duff and I may have to charge it at home). I have used a portable solar panel before and it was useless. Secondly, the motorhome garage said that I could disconnect the negative on the battery so it doesn't drain so readily. Any thoughts? Not too technical please. Thanks
 

Two on Tour

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Sep 16, 2016
10,534
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Near the junction of the A14 and A1, Cambs
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45,145
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Elddis Autoquest 175
Exp
Since 2010
Hi Debbie and welcome to the Fun.

A lot of us use a Battery Master or similar which keeps your starter battery charged up via your leisure battery and is ideal as you have solar topping your leisure battery up. As your son and husband are both mechanics they will find it an easy fit.

https://www.vanbitz.com/product/battery-master/

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andy63

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Jan 19, 2014
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since 1990
Hi and welcome to the forum..
There are devices you could fit which are made for your particular problem...they will provide a trickle charge from your hab batteries to the vehicle start battery...
And as your solar appears to be doing what it should you could fit one..
Stirling... vanbitz .. and others supply them and they all have slightly different priorities in the way they charge the start battery..
Heres a link to one such device on e bay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Car-Batter...SB2-CBE-Accessories-Camper-Nautica/1679771620
Andy
 
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funflair

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Dec 11, 2013
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If your habitation batteries are regularly above 13.6v the CBE CSB2 should work OK otherwise I would go for the Vanbitz or Votronic units as neither of these require a minimum voltage, instead they work on a voltage differential, I have both Vanbitz battery master and CBE CSB2 and they do work slightly differently.

Martin

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138go

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Feb 26, 2016
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Carthago 138
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Since 2001
Cost cutting by the Converter. It would not cost much to do the job properly in the first place. Being a Commercial vehicle it’s designed to be on the road every day and not sitting on a driveway. Your problem is the electronics in the Fiat need power 24/7 which is why the battery goes flat. Swift got Fiat to fit a Steering lock with a position to switch the cab battery off. This worked but you had to reset the date and time every time you used it. You can get a Solar Controller with Two Battery outlets. You can wire them as Habitation priority or Cab priority for charging or use one of the Van Bits boxes.
 
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Jan 11, 2018
1,190
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Malvern Link, Malvern, UK
Funster No
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Chausson Welcome 85
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Since 2018
I'm sort of with @Stealaway on this.
I understand the use of a battery master or the CBE unit , however the battery should last a lot longer when the vehicle is standing idle.

I have a 2008 Ducato based MH.
I can go a month of standing and still start up first time. Albeit with slightly slow cranking speed.

If I measure the voltage of the battery after being at rest for a month (but maintaining the system and the alarm etc.) I read about 12.2v.

I would consider replacing the battery first.
 
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two

Aug 4, 2011
4,913
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A-Class Fiat
Welcome
it would be good to find out what is taking the battery down. Then you can stop it or do something to replenish what's being taken out. You'll have some idea how big a solar panel would be needed.
The BatteryMaster (type of) thing would be a good idea and simplest solution. Solar is poor in winter but always useful to have. Routine monthly hook-ups would be cheaper.
 
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