Good idea for winter?.....Or not. (1 Viewer)

DP+JAY

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Mar 17, 2010
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May 29, 2013
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I like the item, but the problem I see is that if you have a heater inside the MH to warm the INSIDE while the thermostat is OUTSIDE the MH controlling the power to the hook-up cable then the INSIDE temperature of the van can continue to rise if the OUTSIDE temperature stays below the switch point of the thermostat.

Going the other way and having the thermostat on the INSIDE of the van controlling a small heater means the INSIDE temp is regulated, but then your still charging the batteries full time.

Only way I see to get what I think you want, the batteries put on charge when it's cold AND give some heat to the inside, is to have two thermostats. One on the outside to control power to the hook up lead and thus charge the batteries when temp is under switch point AND another thermostat on the inside to give a regulated heat to the MH.
 

Gorse Hill

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I like the item, but the problem I see is that if you have a heater inside the MH to warm the INSIDE while the thermostat is OUTSIDE the MH controlling the power to the hook-up cable then the INSIDE temperature of the van can continue to rise if the OUTSIDE temperature stays below the switch point of the thermostat.

Going the other way and having the thermostat on the INSIDE of the van controlling a small heater means the INSIDE temp is regulated, but then your still charging the batteries full time.

Only way I see to get what I think you want, the batteries put on charge when it's cold AND give some heat to the inside, is to have two thermostats. One on the outside to control power to the hook up lead and thus charge the batteries when temp is under switch point AND another thermostat on the inside to give a regulated heat to the MH.
Am I right in thinking your say leaving the van/battery on hook up therefore charging all the time is bad, if so why
Thks

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Sep 9, 2014
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I'm leaving the motorhome on EHU over winter without the on board battery charger being switched on. Instead I'm using 2 CTEK battery chargers to maintain the leisure and starting battery....CTEK MXS 10 on the leisure batteries - capable of maintaining batteries up to 300ah and a MXS 5 on the starter battery.

The inboard Sargant is far from "intelligent" when charging and is very crude; with a winter lay-up I'm not confident that 4 months with an either full- on charge or nothing charge that my batteries will be in good condition next year.

I've been using CTEK chargers for something approaching 10 years on a small collection of little used cars and the batteries are all perfect when it comes to starting.

There are cheap intelligent chargers (Lidl and Aldi) which are pretty basic and there are the more costly, but very much worth the money, CTEK chargers which are capable of correctly maintaining and if needed, restoring near dead batteries. Clever bits of kit which I wouldn't be without.

Worth a look, I'd suggest, for healthy batteries...won't do anything to stop your van becoming a deep freeze over winter though!

David
 
Jan 11, 2010
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Well that`s our 13th year & still loving it.
I left a motorcycle battery on all winter, coupled to a special bike battery 'intelligent' charger........It wrecked the battery. :(:(


I`m thinking your battery must have been on the way out anyway, I have my bike connected to a optimate trickle charger all year round when not being used and have never had a problem.

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Tootles

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I`m thinking your battery must have been on the way out anyway, I have my bike connected to a optimate trickle charger all year round when not being used and have never had a problem.
Not sure about that Rob, it was a six month old BMW battery, (not that makes much difference). It started the bike once, then that was it, despite the Optimate saying it was fully charged. Bit miffed really, as the battery was top money, and as you know, the chargers aren't cheap. Anyway, bought a cheepo 'fire alarm' type, you know what I mean, and that was five years ago. Now I just charge it once a month over winter.
You can only speak as you find, and I have heard similar tales from other bikers. o_O
 
Jan 3, 2008
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I think it a great idea, plug it in inside the camper attached to a small heater and simply turn the battery charger off if concerned about that issue. Job Done.

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Sep 9, 2014
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In my experience any form of contiuous charging is bad. Batteries seem to like some activity.

Exactly right, I'd venture that most,if not all, on board charging systems simply provide a steady but unregulated current supply which can lead to overcharging (dry cells) or undercharging (sulpha ting, dead cells & reduced battery life)

Though, I've not measured the current supplied by my on board charger I reckon it's pretty high...if my leisure batteries were being charged they were alarmingly hot. Using the MXS 10 on the my pair of leisure batt's, the charger has a temperature probe that I strap to the side of the battery, barely warm when charging.

I think it cost me around £150 for the two chargers and in my eyes that's a price worth paying to protect my investment in batteries...based on past experience, it will be a long time before I need replacements.

Even use them in preference to the on board charger when on site with EHU

David
 

hilldweller

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inside the camper attached to a small heater

Question to our insurers: "If I put an electric heater in van and it catches fire will I be insured ?"

Answer: "No, this departs from van spec and we do not know if the installation is safe, by all means use your built in heating".

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hilldweller

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Exactly right, I'd venture that most,if not all, on board charging systems simply provide a steady but unregulated current supply which can lead to overcharging (dry cells)
David

I'd venture the exact opposite in this day and age, but the point is when we comment we don't know what is in the other van. I do encourage the use of a voltmeter when this topic comes up. Leave on charge for a day or so and measure the voltage on charge then post that and a sensible answer can be given.

Can't argue with you fitting a top quality charger. Can argue that modern van should have a top quality charger.
 
Jan 24, 2010
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leave our van plugged in all the time were at home, and have the heating on low in the winter as well

Been doing this for 4 years and not had a problem at all

The van does have a 4 stage charger built in, so no issues there - batteries are 5 years old now and still V healthy
 
Jan 3, 2008
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Question to our insurers: "If I put an electric heater in van and it catches fire will I be insured ?"

Answer: "No, this departs from van spec and we do not know if the installation is safe, by all means use your built in heating".

Think I might phone Saga on this point, I would argue that if our camper has mains hook up with 13 amp sockets inside, presumably they're obviously intended to have appliances plugged in to them. Hairdryer, kettle, toaster etc. Why not small heater of some type.

I would be using exactly the same system as in my house, aims 240 volt RCD protected with sockets into which a heater can be plugged.

Saga could loose two lots of insurance cover if they take the view quoted as its a nonsense.

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Sep 16, 2010
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I bought a 4 foot long "tube heater" which is about 2 and a half inches in diameter, screwed it to a flat piece of wood 6 inches by 4 ft 6 inches using the two 'stand-off' brackets supplied.
this I stand on the floor in the middle of the van and plug it into one of those temperature operated plugs, set to 5 or 6 Degrees and bingo, job done... The tube heaters are about 40 watt per foot, so a nice 160 watt heater running ,occasionally, for pennies and no fear of a fire !! Works well for us if this helps any one else.....
PS.. the tube heaters can be bought "by the foot" so get any sized heater you think suits you.. Mitch..
 

jonandshell

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Our van stays on hookup when not in use.

The CBE 16 Amp charger is a four step type and floats the batteries.

The batteries are 6 1/2 years old and still have full capacity.
 

Badknee

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I left a motorcycle battery on all winter, coupled to a special bike battery 'intelligent' charger........It wrecked the battery. :(:(

Me too, bar steward. And it was a new battery too :eek:
 

Badknee

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Living the dream.
I`m thinking your battery must have been on the way out anyway, I have my bike connected to a optimate trickle charger all year round when not being used and have never had a problem.

That's what I was using, it went straight in the bin.

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Allanm

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When we aren't using the van in the cold, it's on EHU and the heating is on low.
Batteries get "smart" charged with the Sargent power unit and control panel. No problems with anything so far.
But, it doesn't stay unused for long, we just arrived in Brittany for a month. Home for Christmas then back here again.....
Allan
 

Silver-Fox

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im a not so newbie
I left a motorcycle battery on all winter, coupled to a special bike battery 'intelligent' charger........It wrecked the battery. :(:(

You must of had a dodgy charger then, all the bikes i have had have been hooked up all the time not ridden.

Plug them in a couple of hours after getting back home from a ride

Never had a problem :)
 

Tootles

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You must of had a dodgy charger then, all the bikes i have had have been hooked up all the time not ridden.

Plug them in a couple of hours after getting back home from a ride

Never had a problem :)
No Rich, the charger still works fine....And I use it now as you do, however, I plugged it in December, and unplugged it in March........As it says you can.

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Sep 16, 2010
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I rang Sargent today to ask about the charging system in our new Autotrail and was told that leaving the van on hook-up will be fine, as the PSU 500 is a smart charger that will balance charge both Hab and Veh batts as long as the "charge" button on the PSU is depressed and lit ((I've been like that on occasions)).. When the batteries reach full charge, the charger will then go into 'float charge' mode until required again.. Was also told to keep an eye on the fluid levels in the batts (Obvious)..
If the button is not pressed, the charger will only charge the Hab batts..
There is no need to have the panel above the door switched on at all to have the batteries charged..
When NOT on hook-up, the same set of conditions apply so that the solar panel can charge the batts..
This is all probably very obvious to the techno's amongst you, but if it helps anyone else it will be worth the effort.. Mitch..
 

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