solar panel not dead bettery

sloth

Free Member
Dec 4, 2009
17
0
chester
Funster No
9,560
MH
c class
Exp
2 years
Hi All
Can anyone help with this problem, We have an Autotrail Arapaho on an 08 plate with a cat 1 alarm fitted which keeps killing the batteries after about 4 weeks, have just fitted new battery to vehicle and 2 leisure batteries.
Went to check on things yesterday to find it dead as a dodo but leisure batteries full of charge.
I want to put 100watt solar panel on roof to sort this out, Van is fitted with an EC325 psu which says in book is fitted with a built in solar regulator to work upto 100 watt panel which charges van and leisure at same time.
This is where the fun starts, i enquired at the national this year about fitting panel on roof and was told by bod on stall that the book was wrong and i will need regulator plus this and that to get get batteries charged, are they right?. does anyone know about the Auto Trail psu.
Anything would be a help.
Thanks
 

tonka

LIFE MEMBER
Jul 2, 2008
7,908
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All the info on the EC325 http://www.sargentltd.co.uk/EC325_User_Instructions.pdf

100W Max on the EC325, The later EC500 will do 120w.

This is the interesting bit for you..
"
The EC325PSU incorporates a built-in dual channel Solar Regulator that allows the direct connection of a 20 to 100W solar panel without the need for additional components. The dual regulator charges both the vehicle and leisure batteries simultaneously and connects to the PSU via a dedicated connector on the base of the unit (see section 5.7 for details).
A connection harness is available from your dealer, the part number is 59065-07. "

You can get the lead from Sargent, look on their website.. ebay for the panel etc..
http://sargentshop.co.uk/epages/eshop328964.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eshop328964/Products/WB1020
 
Sep 24, 2013
805
268
Norwich
Funster No
28,255
MH
Low Profile Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 2014
I would echo Tonka's comment. I have just been over to their Lowestoft office and bought a 120W kit. Nice guys there and I think they are proud of the fact that their pricing is very competitive. Their main business is domestic and commercial installations but they are seeing increasing market in motorhome targeted sales. Ask for Tony.

As for the OP original problem, I have a CAT1 alarm and found the same thing. Battery flat after 4 weeks. I measured the static current as about 160mA when the vehicle was "off". Quite a lot really.
 

tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
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Just be aware that Autotrails also have a constant drain if you leave the shutdown switch in the "on" position..
My Apache 700, 2012 with EC500 will draw 0.3amps with nothing turned on....
With shutdown switch left on the solar will work though the built in PSU and in "smart" mode will charge either Leisure or cab battery as required.. With Shutdown "off" only the leisure battery gets charged..
 
Apr 27, 2008
8,013
5,353
Eastbourne East Sussex
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Since 1972
I also found the alarm would flatten my batteries in a few weeks. Since fitting solar no problem. You will be able to fit one 100w panel without a separate regulator but if you were thinking you might in the future need more, then it might be worth fitting a regulator anyway .
 

PAGR

LIFE MEMBER
Jun 3, 2013
68
71
Camberley
Funster No
26,327
MH
Autotrail Arapaho
We also have an '08 Arapaho and tried the solar into the EC325 with the Sargent loom. Fitted a 100w panel to go to France last year but it didn't seem work at all. Spoke to Sargent, who were very helpful, and returned the EC325 to them for servicing. This still didn't do the trick so I gave up and fitted a separate MPPT controller which works perfectly.
 
Feb 9, 2008
5,384
6,701
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
All the info on the EC325 http://www.sargentltd.co.uk/EC325_User_Instructions.pdf

100W Max on the EC325, The later EC500 will do 120w.

This is the interesting bit for you..
"
The EC325PSU incorporates a built-in dual channel Solar Regulator that allows the direct connection of a 20 to 100W solar panel without the need for additional components. The dual regulator charges both the vehicle and leisure batteries simultaneously and connects to the PSU via a dedicated connector on the base of the unit (see section 5.7 for details).
A connection harness is available from your dealer, the part number is 59065-07. "

You can get the lead from Sargent, look on their website.. ebay for the panel etc..
http://sargentshop.co.uk/epages/eshop328964.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eshop328964/Products/WB1020
This is sound advice from tonka, with the exception of the maximum size Solar Panel. As long as the output from the S.P. does not exceed 9 AH you will be OK. I have a 125 W S.P. fitted on my Autotrail and the most I've ever got is 6 AH. I was told this directly by Sargent when fitting my S.P. However, my Autotrail is a 2011 model but it has the same P.S.U. and I suspect the same controller.
 
OP
S

sloth

Free Member
Dec 4, 2009
17
0
chester
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9,560
MH
c class
Exp
2 years
Thanks very much everyone for your help.
Off to get a panel soon(y)
 

pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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I would echo Tonka's comment. I have just been over to their Lowestoft office and bought a 120W kit. Nice guys there and I think they are proud of the fact that their pricing is very competitive. Their main business is domestic and commercial installations but they are seeing increasing market in motorhome targeted sales. Ask for Tony.

As for the OP original problem, I have a CAT1 alarm and found the same thing. Battery flat after 4 weeks. I measured the static current as about 160mA when the vehicle was "off". Quite a lot really.
when you add up the milliamp/hour rate it works out at 107.5 amps over a 28 day period.

if you only had one 110ah battery your alarm would have stopped working many days ago due to lack of power.....and your battery would be so flat chances are it wouldnt recover whrn charged.
 
Sep 24, 2013
805
268
Norwich
Funster No
28,255
MH
Low Profile Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 2014
I can see your argument Pappajohn but it depends on how the AHr rating is determined. I'm not sure how it is done for leisure batteries but I'm sure it is not done at a 160mA drawn current. In dry cells it's usually the C/10 rate or one tenth of the AHr rating. So a 10AHr rated battery will draw 1A for 10 hours. It does not mean that you can draw 10A for 1 hour (it will likely be less than an hour). Similarly you will be able to draw 100mA for more than 100 hours. It is not a linear relationship. Some manufacturers rate their batteries at the C/20 rate which actually makes them look better than they are.

No doubt someone will be along with more technical knowledge of lead acid technology than I have.
 

tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
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My simple explanation of the current draw is that with everything off in my van, one day I noticed the control display showing a drain of 0.3amp... Went around everything and could not find anything turned on...
I confirmed the findings with Autotrail and had a reply confirming this was correct and have come across many owners who have put their van away in storage, left the shutdown switch set to "on" and then come back to a flat battery,, I have just a single 80w panel and leave the shutdown on all the time to allow "smart" charging operation of both batteries.. Works fine for me..
 

dally

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Aug 12, 2012
45
59
SOUTH LAKES
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MH
LO LINE
Exp
since 2010
::bigsmile:I can't do the techno stuff but we have a 2007 Autotrail and I fitted a 80 watt panel to the EC325 using the harness from Sargent. Dead easy and I am very happy with the result. It keeps 2, 110amp leisure batteries and the cab battery charged up to 13. something volts all the time. I can leave the van for up to 2 months at a time and when I return the volts are right up and the van bounces in to life. One of my better buys. BTW, I have a cat 1 alarm fitted also. :cooler:
 
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