Need new hab batteries and charger. (1 Viewer)

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Jul 2, 2011
953
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Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
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Realised over the least few weeks although our 2007 Swift Kon-Tiki tag is on hook up at home that the hab batteries were not working properly.

Just had a local guy advertising caravan/MH repais/servicing etc visit and test them. He says tht the charger and both batteries need replacing.

We have considered selling the MH, but might decide to have one last trip to Europe in the spring first (or may keep it). He has suggested that if we may keep it he would suggest changing from lead acid to AGM, which would be more expensive than sticking to lead acid, especially as the new charger would be more expensive too.

I have added a pic of the current charger, the light in the switch is flashing and he says there is no power coming out of it. He says they are not repairable.

My first question is, is this correct?

the one hab battery was added by the dealer when we purchased the MH 10 years ago, the other one may be the original. I am not surprised that they are shot.

Would be interested in thoughts on the lead acid vs AGM options both for batteries and chargers. Cant seem to find the exact replacement charger should we stick to led acid.

He also said that they are not wired correctly, meaning one is more of a back-up rather than them both sharing the load more equally.

He suggested if we go with AGM 95Ah would be good enough.

Any suggestions, ideas welcome.

Thanks.
 

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Stealaway

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Jan 8, 2013
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It sound like you are always on campsites with EHU.
If the battery's ave lasted that long and you are thinking of selling I don't think you need to spend lots of money on batteries.
Just buy one of the same type and replace the original and its probably the standard lead acid type
That could last you a further 10 years :clap2:
 

Lenny HB

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Oct 18, 2007
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Forget about AGM they are about the worse choice for leisure use. If your charger is working OK but only suitable for Standard Lead Acid just buy some new LA batteries. If you still intend to get rid of the van within the next year fit some reasonably cheap ones. If decide to keep it spend a bit more on some decent ones like Vatra EFB batteries.
 
Oct 10, 2018
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Encantador The battery charger may be ok as the operating instructions for it state that a flashing red light indicates - short circuit /reverse polarity / Faulty battery / battery not connected . ( That may be why there is no output from it at the moment , as it has shutdown.)
The instructions also state that the charger can be set to charge , flooded / gel /AGM batteries as required , if needed .

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OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
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Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
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Newbie
Thanks for the replies.

I cant see any red light anywhere, the only light is in the green on off switch on the top.

We do use aires so it would be good to be able to do 3-4 days off grid when required.

The charger has a green switch on the top, this was flashing. The guy said there was power going into the charger but nothing coming out, hence whichever batteries we went with a new charger was also required.

He has left the second battery disconnected, now we have no mains hook up power to the van. Have to assume it is something he has done as not had this before (the switch on charger no longer on or flashing, no power to sockets, microwave etc).

Is there a decent make for LA batteries and are the 110Ah we have now a good power option?
Will any LA charger do to replace ours or am I better trying to find the same?

Thanks again.
 

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Stealaway

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Jan 8, 2013
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s there a decent make for LA batteries and are the 110Ah we have now a good power option?
Will any LA charger do to replace ours or am I better trying to find the same?
130ah -Same foot print just a bit taller

 

Lenny HB

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Oct 10, 2018
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The red light that may be flashing (indicating the possible faults ) is at the bottom of the charger near the battery connections to the charger. It may be worth fitting a new battery before replacing the charger in case it is only not working because of the faulty battery. ( they sometimes shut down if a battery is faulty) I cannot see anything about the on/off light flashing on the information I have.
The person you had look at it may have turned the mains power off at the PSU in the Motorhome
 
Apr 27, 2016
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He also said that they are not wired correctly, meaning one is more of a back-up rather than them both sharing the load more equally.
If it's two batteries, they will have link wires pos to pos, and neg to neg, so they are wired in parallel. You have a choice of connecting the wires to the loads. If the load pos and load neg go to different batteries, the load is shared more equally between the batteries. It's probably a matter of moving either the pos or neg wire to the other battery. Doesn't matter which, whatever is easier. It doesn't make much difference short-term, but can affect the long-term life of the batteries. The thicker the wire, the less it matters.

If you have a voltmeter you can check yourself if the charger is working. A battery not being charger has a voltage of 12.0V to 12.8V. When being charged, the voltage goes up to over 13V, and gradually rises to about 14.5V. Then it stays at about 14.5V until it is full, which may take a few minutes or a few hours, depending on what level it started at. When full, the voltage drops to about 13.5V and stays there indefinitely while the charger is working.

Chargers have changed a lot since your MH was made. A multi-stage intelligent charger like yours is now the norm, and they are easily available. The one in Lenny HB's link is a good example.

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Last edited:
OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
953
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Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
Exp
Newbie
Thanks again for the replies.

The guy came back and turned something on that he forgot earlier, so the mains power is back on.

The batteries have a clamp to hold them in and the max height of new batteries has to be 190cm or 200cm at a push. The Hanook ones suggested above are too big. Any other suggestions would be welcome.

I am interested in the suggestions re fitting the new batteries before changing the charger. I dont want to pay to keep calling the guy back so ideally could do with a charger from Amazon so I can have it available but easily return it if not needed. The one suggested by Lenny HB is only available on Amazon as a 10Ah, rather than 20, so I assume is too small.
 

Lenny HB

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The Hankook 110ah will fit.

The company I linked to for the charger Photonic Universe are a well respected company, the 10 amp one on Amazon comes straight from them.
 
Apr 5, 2019
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The batteries have a clamp to hold them in and the max height of new batteries has to be 190cm or 200cm at a push. The Hanook ones suggested above are too big. Any other suggestions would be welcome.
Those dimensions are for 957 51 size leisure batteries. Plenty of choice for LA, but not much choice for LiFePO4.

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OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
953
492
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Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
Exp
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As there is a slim chance that the charger might burst back into life with a new battery (even though the guy said he tested it while disconnected from the old batteries and there was no power from it) the best plan is to buy 1 new battery, get him to install that with the old charger and if that doesnt work, order a charger and second battery.

Thanks for all the help.
 

68c

Oct 22, 2019
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Modern battery chargers may not start to charge if the battery is very low, I keep an old 'dumb' charger to put an initial charge in then go back to the more clever charger. Although folk say a battery is scrap if allowed below 11v, if not left too long it will often recover to give a reasonable life albeit at a lower capacity. I would try to charge both your leisure batteried for a day or two then see if things burst into life. Best no to start spending loads of money on something you may well sell soon.

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Lenny HB

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Oct 18, 2007
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Can anyone take a look at this battery which seems to be the same as the ones linked above by Lenny HB but a lot cheaper..... https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/27228916...d=link&campid=5338547443&toolid=20001&mkevt=1

Also will Sealed Calcium work with my charger?

Thanks
The one I linked to is only £81.25 also Tayna often give 5% off if you sign up to their newsletter or if you ring them they will only charge one lot of carriage on 2 batteries.
Sealed calcium is still a Sealed Lead Acid it will be fine.
 
OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
953
492
UK
Funster No
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Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
Exp
Newbie
I have the charger in pic below. The other pic is of the two batteries in situ. The guy disconnected the second battery but I see he disconnected the positive cable from the second battery but the left the negative cable connecting the two together.

Is it worth trying the charger on either or both batteries to try and get some life back into them, if it is, can I just connect it to them both in turn (meaning one for 24 hours then the other?) or do I need to disconnect any of the cables first?

My thinking is, if I can get some life into either or both of them, it may help explain what went wrong in the first place. My concern is I buy battery/s and maybe a charger and that just shows more issues (appreciate this might be the only way).

These were the original things that drew my attention to the problem/s.....

1. Mains display panel above door will not stay on, after a few seconds it switches off.
2. Boiler will not work showing a rad fault light.
3. CD/Radio in cab has a screen that slides out to insert CD has developed a mind of its own and randomly opens and closes when turned off.

The engine battery also looks shot, not mentioned in this thread so far but I managed to disconnect the CD/DVD player which had the motor running even when everything was off and keys out of ignition. I think this is what flattened the cab battery. There is a gadget (off ebay from memory) that is supposed to send power from the hab to the cab battery when needed, has been on for years, not sure if relevant.

Thanks
 

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Apr 27, 2016
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Also will Sealed Calcium work with my charger?
The original lead-acid batteries, made of lead-antimony alloy, produce gas during the normal charge/discharge process, so needed vents and a method of topping up with water. Then they discovered that it was the antimony causing the gassing, so switched to lead-calcium alloy.

So batteries could be sealed, with a pressure release valve if things go very wrong. Lead-calcium batteries behave just like standard lead-acid batteries, but there's no gassing and no topping-up required. Your charger will be fine set to standard lead-acid.
 
Apr 27, 2016
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You need to get a multimeter to read the battery voltages. The voltages will tell you a lot about the state of the battery, how it is charging, whether it is holding its charge etc. Any cheap multimeter from a DIY store will do for this job, you can get one for less than a tenner.

Batteries can fail in many different ways. A common failure is gradual sulfation, where the battery loses capacity. It charges up as normal, but if it's a 100Ah battery it behaves like a 50Ah battery, or even 10Ah.

Another common fault is a shorted cell. A normal 6-cell battery has a voltage of 12.6V, ie 2.1V per cell. If one of the cells fails, it becomes a 5-cell battery with a voltage of 10.5V. If that happens, and you use a standard charger with a voltage of 14.4V, it is being overcharged, resulting in all kinds of problems - gassing, overheating and worse. A quick voltage reading will show this up.
 
OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
953
492
UK
Funster No
17,151
MH
Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
Exp
Newbie
You need to get a multimeter to read the battery voltages. The voltages will tell you a lot about the state of the battery, how it is charging, whether it is holding its charge etc. Any cheap multimeter from a DIY store will do for this job, you can get one for less than a tenner.

Batteries can fail in many different ways. A common failure is gradual sulfation, where the battery loses capacity. It charges up as normal, but if it's a 100Ah battery it behaves like a 50Ah battery, or even 10Ah.

Another common fault is a shorted cell. A normal 6-cell battery has a voltage of 12.6V, ie 2.1V per cell. If one of the cells fails, it becomes a 5-cell battery with a voltage of 10.5V. If that happens, and you use a standard charger with a voltage of 14.4V, it is being overcharged, resulting in all kinds of problems - gassing, overheating and worse. A quick voltage reading will show this up.
Thanks, I have ordered a multimeter but assume this is no use as the batteries are flat and the in built charger not working.

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OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
953
492
UK
Funster No
17,151
MH
Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
Exp
Newbie
Borrowed a multimeter, set as below. Where the black cable is plugged in it says 10ADC

When connected to the battery with all the cables in above pic it shows 13.03 and the battery partly hidden 11.9

Decided to throw caution to the wind and attach battery charger to the lower (partially hidden one) and the charger cycles as in pics, no idea what they mean.
There is a 'Repair' mode, maybe that is worth a try.
 

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Apr 27, 2016
7,126
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The black (negative) probe cable needs to be in the COM socket.

The red probe cable is correct, it is in the socket with 'V' in the label.

The '10A' socket is very rarely used. The red probe cable plugs into it to measure using the 10A range on the meter, and the black probe cable stays in the COM socket. It's 'common' to both measurements, that's why it's labelled COM.
 
Oct 10, 2018
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Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex
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As the battery shown with the wiring going to it has a reading of over 13v it seems the charger is on and it is fully charged , in charging float mode , ( 13.2v with a Muvonics charger ) so the built in charger may be working as it should .
 
OP
OP
Encantador
Jul 2, 2011
953
492
UK
Funster No
17,151
MH
Swift Kon Tiki Tag, 2007.
Exp
Newbie
As the battery shown with the wiring going to it has a reading of over 13v it seems the charger is on and it is fully charged , in charging float mode , ( 13.2v with a Muvonics charger ) so the built in charger may be working as it should .
I was just wondering about that. As the second battery is only now connected with the negative cable (but is on charge) I assume it is not doing anything to help the other battery

The van charger has been switched off for last 24 hours, but the display above the door is now staying on, I can also turn lights and water pump on but as soon as I do the voltage on the display drops to 12.4 which I confirmed by using the multimeter on the battery. Turning the van charger on (green light in on/off switch still flashing) does not appear stop it going down.

Even more confused now, both batteries were very low and nothing inside would switch on (also confirmed by the guy that came out) , second battery partially disconnected, other battery somehow manages to get itself back up to over 13v while charger OFF to the point where things inside work again, but putting them on, even for a couple of minutes starts to drain the battery.
 
Apr 27, 2016
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First thing to do is measure the 'resting voltage' of the two batteries - that is when not being charged and no loads connected to them. Normally it will be between about 12.8V (full) and about 12.0V (as empty as it should be allowed to go). If that 11.9V you mention is correct, then that's a bit low, it needs to be charged. If the battery has just come off charge, it might take an hour or two for the voltage to drop to its resting voltage.

When you connect a charger, the voltage rises immediately to over 13.0V, then gradually rises to the 'absorption voltage' of about 14.4V. This may take a few minutes if it's already full, or a few hours if it's empty.

When it reaches the absorption voltage, it stays at that voltage until the charging amps falls below a pre-defined limit. It is then 100% full, and switches to 'float mode'. Again, this may take a few minutes or a few hours.

Float mode keeps the voltage at about 13.5V, which is just enough to keep the battery topped up but not overcharge it. It can stay in float mode indefinitely, for months if you want.

The exact value of the absorption and float voltages depends on the battery type settings: standard lead-acid, Gel, AGM etc.

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