Control panel position to charge leisure battery (1 Viewer)

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Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
I have a 2004 Swift Freestyle 590 Motorhome. I have gone through two leisure batteries in 3 years. I actually stay on sites that have EHU so rarely need the use of the battery apart from when travelling. I have had conflicting advice that when on hookup I should switch the control panel to leisure as this will keep the battery topped up, but also I have been told that this will completely drain the leisure battery and cause damage when on site for long period. Welcome advice on this.

Also in winter is it a good idea to leave it on leisure with EHU for a long period.
Just one more question, is it ok to connect up the leisure battery to a smart charger whilst the leisure battery is in situ or will this damage other things.
 

TerryL

LIFE MEMBER
Mar 5, 2010
6,245
8,301
North East
Funster No
10,511
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Low Profile
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2009
Unless your van is wired up very differently it is designed to have leisure batteries connected when you're on hook up. Presumably your leisure battery only charges when you're running the engine. Letting a battery go flat is the quickest way of killing it, as you've found out! Keep it hooked up whenever you can, the on-board charger should not do any damage; once fully charged it will just trickle charge, even long term.

I don't think connecting up a smart charger will cause any damage (but I'm happy to be corrected) but you shouldn't need it if the on board charger is working ok. There is a case for replacing it with a smart charger if you wished.

Been lots of advice on this subject -search on leisure battery.
 
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Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
Thanks for the reply. When on hookup should I have the switch on the panel turned on to the leisure setting?

Just bought a multimeter as I have been told it is great way to keep a check and that I will find what is right for the battery. Mind you I now have to work out how to use it lol
 

hilldweller

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Dec 5, 2008
605
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Macclesfield
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5,089
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Zilch Mk1
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From Aug 2007
Just bought a multimeter as I have been told it is great way to keep a check and that I will find what is right for the battery. Mind you I now have to work out how to use it lol

Now you are on the case. Quite simply, measure any battery:

12V is discharged, below and it's not long for this world.
12.5V is fully charged.
13.6V to 14.5V it's on charge.

Before anyone jumps in those a good indicative figures.

Set you multimeter to 20V DC range or greater if it does not have 20V.

So you can investigate that switch. Better start with no hook up for half an hour. Measure, record ( maybe 12.5V ).

Hook up. Wait a minute. Measure, record, if rising it's on charge.

Play with switch and learn how it works.
 
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Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
Went on line and learnt the basics of using the multimeter. The Motorhome was on hookup and battery tested 12,5V I then switched the control panel over from the central neutral position to the leisure setting. Went back after lunch and battery showing 12.7V so I presume the on board charger is working. Am I right in presuming if you are on site and for some reason the starter motor battery is discharged, that you can set the control to the cab setting and this will charge the battery.

With regard to the multimeter I found the setting to test dry cell batteries, I now have a pile of duds for the tip lol
Thanks again for your help

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Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
Hi again

I tested the battery again and it was 12.5volts. I set the engine going and expected to see a rise, but it stayed at 12.5V Put the control switch at leisure and made no difference. Should I have seen a spike in the voltage. I have left the engine running and will check again after a cuppa.
 

pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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Since 2005
Hi again

I tested the battery again and it was 12.5volts. I set the engine going and expected to see a rise, but it stayed at 12.5V Put the control switch at leisure and made no difference. Should I have seen a spike in the voltage. I have left the engine running and will check again after a cuppa.
Split charge not working.

Relay or fuse under bonnet next to battery.

Leave switched to hab battery when on hookup.
It will not damage your battery
 
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Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
Hi again
Thanks to everyone who have given me advice. It as certainly made the £10 reg. fee worthwhile and I have learnt a lot in one day about motorhome batteries. I think I will leave the relay switch to the professionals as I could not recognise one if it was in front of me lol.
The service is due in May and I will have it sorted then. Meanwhile I will use my new toy (multimeter) and charge the battery if it falls too low.
 
Last edited:
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Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
Hi Folks
I feel rather silly because I never did the basic checks. Its 8.30pm and I just thought I never checked the 20amp in line fuse to the leisure battery, and yes it was blown. Not sure how long this has been for, but I have replaced it and hope all will be ok now. But, and there is always a but, is it indicative of another problem and by replacing it might I create more. If my motorhome is still there in the morning (hopefully not burnt down) I will check all the things suggested again. Any ides why that fuse blew would be welcome.
 

RowleyBirkinQC

LIFE MEMBER
Sep 20, 2014
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Dazed & Confused
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Late to the party, but ourfirst van was a Swift Lifestyle 590L, on EHU with switch pointing to leisure / habitation battery resulted in that battery being charged, switch pointing to cab battery charged the vehicle battery. We would leave the switch in leisure / hab battery mode when away on EHU without any issues.

Interestingly, the manual which came with our van did not match the control panel, so had to pick up a PDF of the older manual from interweb.
 
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Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott

Free Member
Jul 30, 2014
34
7
Funster No
32,611
MH
Swift Freestyle 590 Year
Exp
5 years
Hi Folks,

Once again thanks for all the help.
Pappajohn, the battery was new so thats why charge was at 12.5V
Put the new fuse in last night 20amp, left on hookup and with control to leisure/hab. tested this morning and voltage 13.52, so proves charger working. Intend to leave it on hookup and with control to leisure.
When on site for long periods(we sometime stay for two weeks and never move off)
I might put the control over to cab/starter to give that a boost a couple of times during the stay, as I am aware things like alarms can drain the starter battery.

Love the site, and I can assure you there will be more questions coming your way and I also hope I can answer others.
Stephen
 
Nov 25, 2013
1,142
1,828
kent
Funster No
29,170
MH
Swift Kontiki 669
Exp
Since April 2013
I used to suffer with battery drain from the start battery, turned out to be a faulty alarm sounder. In order to maintain charge in the start battery I fitted a gismo from Sterling. Tops up the start battery from the leisure battery without switching the Control unit. It only works on a one way set up so you cannot run the charge back to the leisure. I have a solar Panel to keep charge when parked up which works well, I replaced one of the leisure batteries this week (due to age) Checked the control panel today and it was showing 14 and 13.9 volts. Happy days!
 

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