Battery health? (1 Viewer)

Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
28,574
MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
I know nothing about lecky, but I do know our leisure battery has never held a charge for very long despite having a limited amount of solar. We are due for a habitation check at the dealers on Monday and I have asked them to check the condition of the battery. I suspect after the long drive (about 80 miles) to the dealers the battery will be quite full but I do know this is no indication of it's health. So, how long should the battery be disconnected for to enable the dealer to check it's real condition. They checked it before after only having it for about 1 hour and said it was fine. I suspect this was just to placate me!
When we first got the campervan the solar was connected to the vehicle battery and I think that is what killed the leisure battery. It was our first experience of solar so assumed it was working :( If the battery is really kaput then I will need to have them replace it under warranty and need "amunition" i.e. facts, to argue my case.
We are almost always on hook up except at home so can't judge it's condition by usage.
Thanks
Sue
 
Apr 11, 2022
71
281
Kent, UK
Funster No
87,998
MH
Consort Oslo
It's very difficult to claim on a battery as it's very easy for the owner to void the warranty by draining it too much and then leaving it flat causing damage. I'm quite good maintaining my batteries but my son's car drained too much whilst at uni one year, it killed the battery that was only a year old. I knew we were responsible so I didn't even try to get Tayna to look at it. You can see why they don't like changing them on the warranty.
Might be useful to know a few details: What amps your battery is, how many batteries you have and what you run off it (fridge, inverter, etc), how old is the battery? How often you charge it during the cold months ? Is it parked in the sun or shade? What solar wattage does it have?
I do believe some batteries are supplied faulty/damaged, I once picked up a new battery and put the multimeter across it and found the voltage was low, I made them go and get another one.
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
28,574
MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
Thanks vanVhome for your reply.
Ours was drained too much as it was connected to the vehicle battery when we got it new from the dealers. I think that is when the trouble started.
Not sure of some of the details you want but we have one AGM battery I think it is 95 somethings. We go for a run every 2 weeks 50+miles and also use it to travel to campsites with EHU in winter about monthly. Always parked in the open away from trees and shadows. The solar panel is only small - I think 100 somethings.
As you can see, I am really ignorant about electricity but would really like to know how long the battery should be left before checking it.
Sue
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
28,574
MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
I know what you mean by batteries being faulty when new. A few years ago I went through 3 batteries in quick succession in the car and all were replaced foc. They appeared OK on fitting, but failed to start the car on cold mornings and all 3 proved to be faulty.
Think I'm doomed where batteries are concerned.
Sue
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,034
152,389
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
They checked it before after only having it for about 1 hour and said it was fine. I suspect this was just to placate me!
They will have only done a CCA test which is a starter battery test often a battery will show up as OK but will be useless for leisure use.

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Feb 9, 2008
8,963
18,721
Corby, Northants
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Coach Built
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Since 2007
I would be inclined to ask them how they are going to measure the battery. Ideally, they should be checking battery capacity but the equipment used to do the test is very expensive. If they just measure the voltage it is not going to give you the information you really need. Hopefully they have the right equipment to do the right measurement.
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
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Scotland
Funster No
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MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
PhilandMena - good idea. I like to take the inquiring stage first, then use the little knowledge I have.
What with Ad blue, solar, lpg - life was so much simpler with our 2005 Adria - no new fangled gizmos to go wrong.
Sue
 
Mar 30, 2022
1,538
1,475
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
My personal experience of battery warrantees after having my motorhome starter battery fail after 12 months (3 year warranty) and a new car battery with a 4 year warranty failing after a few months is the warranty is not worth the paper it's written on having been unsuccessful claiming either time.
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
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headlight - it's the campervan warranty. The problem has already been notified to them some months ago when we had the solar checked and it had been wired up to the vehicle battery. I think this is when the battery was drained. Also to begin with, the control box was switched to lead battery instead of AGM so their knowledge of solar etc. systems is somewhat limited.
I'm not holding my breath to get a successful warranty claim, but one can but try.
Sue

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Mar 30, 2022
1,538
1,475
Funster No
87,744
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Swift Suntor 590RL
Suenliam good luck with getting a replacement.
I was just posting my personal experience of twice trying to claim on a battery warranty.
 

lorger

LIFE MEMBER
Jul 11, 2008
9,702
90,933
Dumfries
Funster No
3,262
MH
Knaus Sun 650MEG
Exp
2007
Canā€™t help you with your problem as not great with electricity stuff šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚ however if the dealer doesnā€™t help or you want it checked over I know a man in town, heā€™s retired AA guy and builds campers for folk so knows what heā€™s doing.
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
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van conversion CV40
Exp
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Thanks Gerry lorger. I'll take you up on your offer for the guy to check it if we don't get satisfaction with the dealer. As they say "it's not what you know, it's who you know"!
Sue
 
Apr 11, 2022
71
281
Kent, UK
Funster No
87,998
MH
Consort Oslo
I wonder how many new vehicles sit around with flat batteries whilst being converted or awaiting delivery during the cold snaps, all whilst beginning the first stages of sulfatation to the battery, hence already voiding your warranty.

Wishing you good luck Sue getting a replacement, please let us know how you get on, if you get a result, your dealer has come up trumps for you. I've had problems similar to 'headlight' in the past with new vehicles and failing batteries, had one where the AGM held enough charge but the start/stop wouldn't work anymore, I couldn't get a new one from ford and got all the BS. New battery and the start/stop was working again at my expense - haven't used that dealership since!
 
Oct 23, 2009
784
608
Anglesey North Wales
Funster No
9,010
MH
Adria Twin 640SLB
Exp
Since 2010
So to add to this conversation .

I have gone through three Victron Gel 110AmpH batteries in less than three years .

I have no idea why to be honest as I have certainly not abused them in any way. The suppliers, Battery MegaStore Ltd,have just simply blamed my CBE charger for the battery failures (apparently the CBE 220 charger although set to GEL charge isn't the right GEL charge for a Victron GEL battery..... really!!!!!!!! ) .

So three things I've learned the expensive way:

Leisure battery warranties are worthless .
I wouldn't recommend expensive Victron batteries .
I wouldn't recommend Battery Megastore Ltd to anyone .

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Oct 23, 2009
784
608
Anglesey North Wales
Funster No
9,010
MH
Adria Twin 640SLB
Exp
Since 2010
So to add to this conversation .

I have gone through three Victron Gel 110AmpH batteries in less than three years .

I have no idea why to be honest as I have certainly not abused them in any way. The suppliers, Battery MegaStore Ltd,have just simply blamed my CBE charger for the battery failures (apparently the CBE 220 charger although set to GEL charge isn't the right GEL charge for a Victron GEL battery..... really!!!!!!!! ) .

So three things I've learned the expensive way:

Leisure battery warranties are worthless .
I wouldn't recommend expensive Victron batteries .
I wouldn't recommend Battery Megastore Ltd to anyone .
oh and I forgot lead is Ā£0.50 per kilo at the scrappy and a dead Victron battery is worth Ā£15.00
 
Apr 6, 2019
3,807
7,555
Eye, Peterborough, UK
Funster No
59,702
MH
RV
Exp
FourWinds Windsport 6.8L V10
Old school method is to fully charge a battery and run a known power from it like car headlamp bulb with known wattage. Run for several hours, turn off and measure voltage again. The difference will indicate how much of your charge you have used up and hence the stat of the battery.

You could also check what voltages your onboard charger is providing and in how many steps?
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
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MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
Well ....... we travelled to Edinburgh (80 miles) and were on EHU until leaving the site for the 15 mile trip to the dealers. The battery panel showed full on arrival. The battery was "checked" during the habitation service and they have reported that the "voltage/condition is fine. 12.52v held with all lights and fridge on for 15+ minutes" Apparently the concensus is that the "panel on wall never accurate". The panel is just a gizmo with 5 bars - fully charged = green, then 3 middle bars = amber and the lowest one red. The MPPT box in the cupboard is still showing the amber light indicating low battery.
The advice from the warranty woman is that leaving the battery (without running the vehicle or using EHU) for a week in Scotland is too long and should be charged during that time. I do have an alarm flashing light - would this drain the battery to that extent? Seems funny I can leave my car without charging the battery for over 3 weeks and it still works perfectly.
I don't hold out much hope for a replacement, but I do think some of the warrenty woman's comments were strange and I am sure the test they did on the battery did not show its true state.
Sue
 
Apr 6, 2019
3,807
7,555
Eye, Peterborough, UK
Funster No
59,702
MH
RV
Exp
FourWinds Windsport 6.8L V10
One week? Sounds like a crock of XXXX to me. My leisure batteries stay above 12.5 for 6 weeks or more with a bit of solar panel help. And they are only wet acid leisure batteries. The LIPO on test has been in my garage at home for 2 months and has not lost any power that i can measure! Admittedly it has no alarm drain on it or immobiliser etc....
 
Feb 9, 2008
8,963
18,721
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
My advice going forward, assuming your planning to use your motorhome for many years to come and for reasonable lengths of time, is to put Solar panels on your roof. Shed loads too if you can. (at least 400W). Have two habitation batteries. I would seriously consider Pure Lead Carbon AGM batteries as these will already be compatible (or should be) with your charging system if that is set up for lead acid batteries and will give you thousands of cycles. (This will probably be the most cost effective way too).
Many rate the Life4po batteries which are the top performing leisure batteries. However, these require special charging requirements from both the onboard charger and the addition of a B2B charger appears to be a requirement too according to many members who have Life4po batteries fitted. I believe the engine Alternator may be an issue too when it comes to charging these batteries and needs to be factored in. I'm not an electrical expert or a Leisure battery Guru but I think your dealer is misleading you about the state of your batteries. Either way, if you want to spend more time off hook up (The way to go as electricity prices are getting expensive). Solar power is the way forward and you can install yourself.

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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
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Funster No
28,574
MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
We don't need masses of solar power as we prefer to use campsites and EHU when away. However we do have 100 w of solar which I would have thought would be enough for our needs i.e. just to keep the battery ticking over. We do use the van every month of the year with EHU on sites and we now still have to take it for long runs to keep the battery topped up between times.
Despite popular opinion we do have a significant amount of sunshine here in Dumfries and Galloway!
I agree that the dealer is misleading me or at least knows less about it than me ......... although the warrenty woman did say she had worked for them for 5 years so did know about batteries:rollingeyes:
Gerry has kindly given me his contact here so I can speak to him about it.
Thanks to all who have helped.
Sue
 
Mar 30, 2022
1,538
1,475
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
If you're always on hook up when away and have a 100 watt panel connected to your leisure battery then you shouldn't have any problems as hook up will cover your electric usage when away and 100 watts solar is more than enough to keep your leisure battery charged when you're not using the van even in winter.
Either the leisure battery is no good or it isn't being charged properly.
Your alarm should be fed from your starter battery so should not drain your leisure battery.
I'd put a multimeter on your leisure battery and see what charge it's getting on hook up, not on hook up but with the engine running and solar off and not on hook up, engine off so just solar.
 
Apr 27, 2016
6,931
8,096
Manchester
Funster No
42,762
MH
A class Hymer
Exp
Since the 80s
As others have said, you are doing all the right things to keep your batteries topped up. If everything is working properly you should have no problems at all. The battery should stay topped up indefinitely with a 100W solar panel when the MH is not in use, provided it gets some sunshine. What is the make/model of the 12V distribution/fusebox? Does it have a separate charger, or is it built into the fusebox? Are the batteries reasonably accessible if you wanted to take a voltage reading from the battery terminals (some batteries are hidden under a seat and difficult to access)?

I think you should get a multimeter and take a few voltage measurements, so you can see what exactly is going on. Any cheap multimeter from a DIY store will be OK for this. It's easy and safe to take voltage readings from 12V battery systems. If you're not sure how to do it, and YouTube videos don't give you enough confidence, I'm sure someone here can talk you through it.

A battery left disconnected will settle down to its 'resting voltage' after maybe a few hours. The resting voltage gives you an indication of the state of charge (SOC). There are charts available to show how the voltage varies with the % SOC. They are slightly different for the different types of battery - flooded, AGM, gel etc. So if the battery isn't being charged, and has no loads on it (at night, hookup disconnected for example), you can tell the state of charge.

A multistage intelligent charger usually has three stages, called bulk, absorption and float. It constantly monitors the battery voltage and amps.

Starting with a flat battery, in the bulk stage the charger pushes out the maximum amps that it can manage. The battery voltage gradually rises up to the absorption voltage, about 14.5V, over several hours. When it reaches the absorption voltage, the battery is about 80% full, and the charger flips to the absorption stage.

In the absorption stage, the charger maintains the voltage constant, at the absorption voltage. It monitors the amps, which will gradually reduce. When it reaches a predefined limit, about 1/10 of the max amps, then the charger declares the battery 100% charged, and flips to the float stage.

In the float stage, the charger applies a voltage, about 13.5V, that is just enough to stop the battery from self-discharging, but doesn't overcharge it. It can stay in this mode indefinitely without any problems.

The exact voltages depend on the type of battery (flooded, AGM, gel etc) which is why chargers have different 'charging profiles' that you can set.

A mains charger on EHU will follow all these stages, and you can monitor them with a multimeter to check that they are happening. A solar controller will try to do the same thing in ideal circumstances, but obviously the sunshine is variable so it might be constantly stopping and starting, and the sun might disappear before the final stage. But it should also follow these recognisable steps.

With all this information and a handy multimeter you should at least be able to check if the chargers are working as they should. A voltage chart is available here:
 
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Suenliam

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 14, 2013
432
1,499
Scotland
Funster No
28,574
MH
van conversion CV40
Exp
20+
Wow!!!! Now there's a job for me :happy:. The battery is under the bed and not readily available but that can be easily overcome. Even I can get hold of a multimeter (a relative is an electrician).
I think I will wait until after our holiday to have a go at testing as you discribe. As already said, we use campsites and EHU so not really dependant on the leisure battery being in tip top condition. If the battery is knackered I will try the dealers again, but not expecting success at the moment - it's the principle of the thing and not having to go for otherwise unnecessary runs in the winter.
Thanks again
Sue

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Mar 30, 2022
1,538
1,475
Funster No
87,744
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Swift Suntor 590RL
Suenliam if your leisure battery is ok and your 100 watt solar is charging ok there is absolutely no need to have to drive the vehicle to keep it fully charged.
FYI last winter I only had 100 watts of solar (200 watts now) and that kept my 2 x 100AH leisure batteries and starter battery fully charged at all times whilst the motorhome wasn't being used.
 

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