Battery Problems (1 Viewer)

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
Hi.

I'm currently off grid and running my electric off solar. It's getting a good charge during the day in the beautiful Portuguese sunshine and showing 14 - 14.5 v whilst the sun is out by the end of the afternoon but as soon as the sun goes down the voltage drops and goes down to 12v by the end of the evening whilst only powering a few led lights. It repeats this everyday.

I think I know the answer but does this sound like a dud battery? I have no idea how old it is.

A very helpful neighbour is going to charge the battery for me and load test it in a couple of days so that should give me an answer but any other advice is greatly appreciated.

Also whilst on the subject, does anybody know where to buy a reliable leisure battery in Portugal, particularly in the algarve area.

Many thanks.
 
Sep 10, 2012
1,397
1,486
worcester
Funster No
22,842
MH
Sunliving van
Exp
2012
It does sound from what you have written that your battery has lost its ability to store the input from the solar controller.
The charge and load test will probably confirm this. Wait for that result.
 
OP
J

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
Why five identical threads on five different forum sections?
It won't get any different info.
Hi pappajohn.

I thought that if I put the threads in different categories then I would get more people viewing it but maybe I was wrong.
 
OP
J

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
Hello everyone. Sorry I've not been in touch sooner. After our friendly neighbour load tested the battery, he said there was nothing wrong. But since then the battery still doesn't seem to be keeping the charge. I put it down to lack of sun or the sun being to low.

Yesterday I popped the bonnet to check all the levels before a long drive and noticed the engine battery is exactly the same as the leisure battery (apart from the engine battery is 80amp and the leisure 110amp) which makes me think that somebody has installed a regular starter battery rather than a leisure. Could this be the answer to my problems?

Apart from a battery stating its a leisure battery, is there any way of knowing if it's a leisure or starter battery?
 
OP
J

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
Here's a couple of pictures of the battery installed now.
 

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OP
J

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
No mention of a leisure battery and looks identical to my starter battery

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Nov 23, 2011
441
342
durham
Funster No
18,991
MH
Lowline
Exp
since 2006
Because its charging to 14-14.5 volts does not necessarily mean its fully charged. That is the bulk charge. It needs to go to float charge of around 13.4 to 13.8 volts to fully charge the battery. Can you not charge it off EHU or an independent charger.
 
OP
J

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
Because its charging to 14-14.5 volts does not necessarily mean its fully charged. That is the bulk charge. It needs to go to float charge of around 13.4 to 13.8 volts to fully charge the battery. Can you not charge it off EHU or an independent charger.
I've had It on hook up for 3 or 4 days at a time on 3 occasions and according to my dial inside the van its fully charged but as soon as I disconnect the ehu it goes down fairly quickly.

Another interesting thing is when I'm just charging on solar the dial goes upto 14.5v ish but as soon as the sun goes without using any electric it's creeps it's way down. It even reacts when clouds cover the sun the dial wobbles around which indicates to me that its not actually showing the charge level of the battery, more the charge rate coming from the solar.

Sorry if that's a lot of random information but it's all a bit new to me..
Thanks for any help or advice.
 

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Dec 17, 2016
673
606
Malvern
Funster No
46,488
MH
Hymer B525 2006 A cl
Exp
2012
Sounds like the battery isn't holding charge so despite what your neighbour says I think that you need to get a new battery. It's worth getting an multimeter to measure the voltage of your batteries for the future. I don't think that the dial can be completely out but a multimeter would be able to confirm that the dial is accurate.

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Jan 29, 2014
1,169
829
Scunthorpe
Funster No
29,917
MH
Autotrail Apache
Exp
July 2013
When I am in Portugal this time of year I can have the same problem.
I have a 120 on the roof but the sun is not high enough in the sky.
So I have a stand alone suitcase to help until about April.
 
Jan 28, 2008
9,204
15,261
walthamstow east london
Funster No
1,353
MH
renault burstner delphin
Exp
7 years campers before that
anything you see over 12.7 is charge going in either from ehu or solar a fully charged battery an hour after removing all charging will show 12.6/7 when you pit a load on it will drop its whether it recovers after the load is removed will tell you if the battery is dud
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
36,990
79,478
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
Because its charging to 14-14.5 volts does not necessarily mean its fully charged. That is the bulk charge. It needs to go to float charge of around 13.4 to 13.8 volts to fully charge the battery. Can you not charge it off EHU or an independent charger.
Incorrect it only goes to a float/maintainance charge after the battery is fully charged.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
36,990
79,478
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
At this time of year in Portugal you are only going to get around 40-50% of the max output from your solar.
To survive at this time of year you need at least 2 batteries and 300 Watts of solar min.
 
Dec 2, 2019
2,000
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Amersham
Funster No
67,145
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van conversion
At this time of year in Portugal you are only going to get around 40-50% of the max output from your solar.
To survive at this time of year you need at least 2 batteries and 300 Watts of solar min.
Ironically, this time of year is best for solar. Despite the fact that sun is low and incidence angle is not ideal, the temperatures are below 25Cdeg. In a sunny day I exceed nameplate panel power at 54deg north. In Portugal should beat that with ease. The colder the panel, the bigger the voltage and slight improvement on Amps to. At -20C deg with sun reflecting of the snow (albedo), I had 31,3v panels producing 40v+ and 25% more power than the nameplate. Also my van has 295w x2, 590w total. I had 680w out of it, in the same cold sunny conditions.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
36,990
79,478
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
Ironically, this time of year is best for solar. Despite the fact that sun is low and incidence angle is not ideal, the temperatures are below 25Cdeg. In a sunny day I exceed nameplate panel power at 54deg north. In Portugal should beat that with ease. The colder the panel, the bigger the voltage and slight improvement on Amps to. At -20C deg with sun reflecting of the snow (albedo), I had 31,3v panels producing 40v+ and 25% more power than the nameplate. Also my van has 295w x2, 590w total. I had 680w out of it, in the same cold sunny conditions.
Sounds a bit odd my figures based on my experience as we are normally in Spain or Portugal at this time of year.

Edit:
Are we talking like for like, panels horizontal on a van roof?

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Dec 2, 2019
2,000
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Amersham
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van conversion
Panels on the house are at 36deg, and have better output, but on the van are flat parallel with the roof. I do have a 3” gap under for air flow and is enough convection to keep them cool.
 
Dec 2, 2019
2,000
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Amersham
Funster No
67,145
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van conversion
Here is the van roof, and a screen print with the van controller, while cooking on electric.
 

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Aug 20, 2019
1,359
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63,432
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Dethleffs Pulse
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Only 2 years but full time into Europe so in at the deep end
At this time of year in Portugal you are only going to get around 40-50% of the max output from your solar.
To survive at this time of year you need at least 2 batteries and 300 Watts of solar min.
We're managing fine with 2 batteries and 200w solar. More than enough. Struggled a bit in December/jan when the days were really short and had some bad weather(worst winter in Portugal for 18 years apparently)

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Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
36,990
79,478
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
We're managing fine with 2 batteries and 200w solar. More than enough. Struggled a bit in December/jan when the days were really short and had some bad weather(worst winter in Portugal for 18 years apparently)
Depends on usage, OP only has one battery and doesn't say how much solar, if only one battery probably not much.
Our last van only had 2 batteries and 200 Watts it was OK in Portugal in Feb but you only need a few rainy days and you are :swear2:
 
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J

Jocko

Free Member
Jan 24, 2019
33
11
Somerset
Funster No
58,206
MH
Autocruise Rhythm
Exp
Since 1998
I have a 150w solar panel with a 110ah battery and only the one. I visited a few shops to price up batteries and finally found a marine store which sold them at a very reasonable price. They were really helpful and informative. I asked the guy to test mine before I bought a new one. He had a decent battery diagnostic tool and told me there was nothing wrong with mine.

So the conclusion is I don't think with the setup I've got and the sun being sooo low during the winter that I'm just not getting the charge.

Thanks for everybody's advice and tips, it's been very interesting reading everybody's set ups and they're knowledge.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
36,990
79,478
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
He had a decent battery diagnostic tool and told me there was nothing wrong with mine.
He probably used a CCA tester which is for starter batteries. The results mean nothing on a leisure battery the only way to test a leisure battery is the slow discharge method which will take several hours.

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