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Engine battery charging.
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userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 23 May 2015 3:22 PM
Subject: Engine battery charging.
 
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The good news for me is that 8 weeks after moving to France we have been connected to the internet, whether that is good news for anyone else is a subject for everyone else.
With the coming of the internet came the telephone, and the reason that this is important is because the man from France Telecom had to drill a hole through the front wall of the house, which is 50cm thick, to bring the telephone wires into the house through a 2.5 cm conduit, and I have been planning to use that conduit to take a power cable out for a connection to the van, which is parked against the front wall. That I have now done, and everything is working satisfactorily, except there appears to be no charge to the engine battery when it is switched to do that. The habitation battery is fine, and if I start the engine the engine battery charges fine.
About 2 weeks ago I had to fit a new engine battery after the old one lost a cell, not an easy task but everything appeared to be working afterwards. It was not until today when I installed my illegal cable that I found the charging problem.
I've had a poke around under the bonnet but can find no loose or broken bits of wire, but common sense says that I have done something when I changed the battery, does anyone have any thoughts?
The van is a Pilote Galaxy 25 1997 on a Peugeot Boxer chassis.
AGD
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 26 May 2015 3:09 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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No thoughts then, I would really appreciate a little help with this. Although this area is getting over run by motorhomes, I have not been able to find a single dealer or repairer within reach, and the battery is running low.
AGD
userKeithl
Posted: 26 May 2015 9:07 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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AGD,

I can't help with your charging problem other than to suggest you may left a wire off the battery when replacing it, the wire could be from the positive OR negative terminal so look carefully.

To get round your immediate problem of preventing your new battery from going flat do you have or can you beg, steal or borrow a common or garden battery charger? If not how about buying one, you do not need to spend more than say £20 to get one just to recharge your battery, do not leave it on longer than required though.

HTH,
Keith.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 27 May 2015 7:27 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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I agree with Keith - sidestep the immediate problem by obtaining a battery charger.

Although it might be logical to assume that the present situation has resulted from you swapping the starter-battery, your Pilote’s electrical system is now 18 years old. At that age it would not be unusual for the system to start to show signs of senility and it could just be coincidence that this happened around the time you replaced the battery.

When did you last confirm that the starter-battery was actually being charged when the motorhome was on mains hook-up and starter-battery charging had been selected via the (Schaudt?) control-panel?
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 27 May 2015 12:16 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Hi, I've connected my battery charger up as a temporary expedient and the battery is now being charged OK.
After connecting up I went to the van's control panel to check that all is well, and when switched to the engine battery the gauge shows zero, but on the habitation battery everything is fine. I had previously checked the gauge with the engine running and that showed the engine battery charging well, and when I put my multi tester across the battery it is showing 12.3 volts and rising , so that seems to indicate that the engine battery is not connected to the control panel or charger correctly. I can't find a loose wire in that area, so am I looking for a fuse?
Many thanks
AGD
userJohnP
Posted: 27 May 2015 4:32 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Is there a fuse in the line between the charger and battery? If so may have blown when you connected the new battery
userBillggski
Posted: 27 May 2015 5:41 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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As you said that changing the engine battery "was not an easy task" it suggests that something could have been broken or become loose. I can only suggest you take it out and have a look around before re-fitting it. The fault was probably hidden by the new battery having a full charge.
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 9 June 2015 9:05 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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I've been busy for a few days, so the van has had to wait, but now I can get back to trying to solve the problem.
I'm charging the engine battery independently so for the time being there is no panic. I did remove the battery and have a good look round for loose or broken wires/terminals before replacing it but could see nothing amiss. I found the big red fuse that I presume protects the supply to the fridge etc., and checked that with the multimeter and that seems OK. I also checked the earthing strap and got good conductivity through that.
If I start the engine, no problem as it bursts into life at the first touch of the key, it appears that both batterys are charging well, and although the Peugeot bit has no ammeter or voltmeter, the meter incorporated into the control panel in the Pilote bit shows a good charge on both batterys.
The problem seems to lie in the circuit that charges the engine battery from the mains unit.
I have yet to find a repair facility anywhere around here that deals with caravans and motorhomes, and surfing the internet in french is not easy, nor is it very reliable. We looked up our local Suzuki agency because we need to get a homologation certificate for our Grand Vitara, we drove 35 kilometers to the address given and found that the site had closed 3 years ago, we checked the site again to check it and it still has details of the cars they had for sale, and does not mention that they took over a nearby Kia agency and operate both franchises from there.
I feel that if someone can point me in the right direction it may not be a difficult problem to solve, so any advice will be appreciated.
AGD
usermanxli
Posted: 9 June 2015 11:28 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Hi

My Chausson Flash 02 just doesn't charge the engine battery at all when on hook up!!! It appears that is just the way it is and I've confirmed it by looking at the ECU spec. I thus carry a charger in my spares, though have never needed it.

I'd like a solution, because we often listen to the cab radio when parked up (Radio 4 LW etc) and which is threoretically draining the engine battery. I thought we might go for a solar setup to charge BOTH leisure and engine batts. I believe this is usually standard. Any advice? I'm a relative newcomer to MHs.

Alan
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 9 June 2015 2:14 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Hi Manxli, I have seen references in the past on this forum about the set up on your van, and I imagine that the techies will be along shortly to tell you about smart chargers and battery to battery chargers which could improve your set up.
My problem is that my van did charge the starter battery when on hookup until a few weeks ago when I fitted a new battery, and now it won't. The only battery charger that I own is a rather large, but truly magnificent , device which has a boost charge and jump start facility as well as fairly good normal charge, and is not suitable for mounting on the van because of it's size and can't be left connected to the van because it is parked effectively at the side of the road on our little bit of forecourt, and the battery is under the bonnet which has to be left open to have access.
Many thanks for your thoughts.
AGD
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 9 June 2015 4:46 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Can you say where you are, AGD. Department number and nearest town will do, and I may be able to give you some ideas for nearest Pilote dealers.
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 9 June 2015 8:37 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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That is most kind of you Brian, we are in Prayssac in the Lot, department 46.
We have been so busy trying to bring our little house up to scratch that I really haven't had time to start looking around yet.
AGD
userKeithl
Posted: 9 June 2015 10:10 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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AGD,

You could try phoning or emailing A and N Caravans (they do post on here) and ask for advice. They specialise in repairing MH and Caravan power supplies. I'll try and post contact details in the morning.

Keith.
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 10 June 2015 12:26 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


Archiesgrandad - 2015-06-09 8:37 PM

That is most kind of you Brian, we are in Prayssac in the Lot, department 46.
We have been so busy trying to bring our little house up to scratch that I really haven't had time to start looking around yet.
AGD

Unfortunately, the nearest actual Pilote dealership isn't that close (taken from Pilote's "find a dealership" website page). Looks like a firm called Loisireo Agen, at 180 Chemin des Cedres, Castelculier, 47240, about 44 miles from Prayssac (D813, about 3.5 miles SE of Agen). GPS N44.17950E 0.67523. Look a reasonable size firm, and say they have a workshop for fitting accessories and repairs etc.

There doesn't seem to be any kind of motorhome dealership actually in the Lot: the only one who advertsies under "Lot" is Pautard Loisirs who are at just west of Perigueux at Coulounieix-Chamiers and part of Idylcar. 131 Avenue du General de Gaulle, 24660. Approx GPS N45.19260 E0.68450. About 67 miles from you. However, they say they are Pilote dealers, though I didn't see them on Pilote's website.

A possible alternative is Loisirs 12 Camping-Car at La Primaube (D888, south of Rodez), but that is about 90miles east from you, so I guess not of much interest. I think you're just in one of those less affluent, less populated, areas, where I guess motorhome dealerships don't thrive. Hope this helps.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 10 June 2015 8:00 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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manxli - 2015-06-09 11:28 AM

Hi

My Chausson Flash 02 just doesn't charge the engine battery at all when on hook up!!! It appears that is just the way it is and I've confirmed it by looking at the ECU spec. I thus carry a charger in my spares, though have never needed it.

I'd like a solution, because we often listen to the cab radio when parked up (Radio 4 LW etc) and which is threoretically draining the engine battery. I thought we might go for a solar setup to charge BOTH leisure and engine batts. I believe this is usually standard. Any advice? I'm a relative newcomer to MHs.

Alan


It’s pot-luck with motorhomes whether or not the vehicle’s original specification includes the capability to charge the starter-battery via a mains 230V hook-up. In some the starter-battery is automatically charged when the leisure-battery is being charged; others need the motorhome’s user to select which battery should be charged; many (commonly older motorhomes) lack the capability.

It’s usually (relatively) straightforward to add a starter-battery charging capability. The cheapest arrangement would involve parallel-connecting the two batteries via a ‘bridging fuse’

http://www.motts.dsl.pipex.com/BRIDGING%20FUSE.htm

though this would be more appropriate for when the motorhome is in long-term storage.

Alternatively a ‘fit and forget’ device that passes charge from the leisure-battery to the starter-battery could be employed. These are two examples:

http://leisurelines.net/battery-charge-manager-leisure--main-battery-3334-p.asp

http://www.vanbitz.com/product/battery-master/

Are you certain that your Chausson’s starter-battery is not being (or cannot be) charged when the vehicle is on hook-up?

This 2011 MHFun discussion

http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/chausson-flash-03-battery-charger.41298/

relates to Chausson battery charging and it would appear that two different makes (CBE or Nordelettronica) of electrical system may be fitted. There’s also the matter of the exact battery configuration when the base-vehicle is (as in your case) a Ford Transit.

You’d be wise not to rely on specifications or handbook information regarding this matter.

Take voltage readings of the starter-battery and leisure-battery at each battery’s terminals via a multimeter. Then connect the vehicle to a hook-up, make sure the battery charger is operating and take readings again. You should find that the leisure-battery’s voltage has risen significantly (perhaps to 14.0V) and you MIGHT find that the starter-battery’s voltage has also increased.

It would appear from the MHFun discussion that, if the vehicle has a Nordelettronica system, the starter-battery is not charged when on hook-up. However, the CBE system (or at least the ones I’ve come across) provides a low-amperage/low-voltage (around 13.0V) ’trickle’ charge to the starter-battery while the on-board battery-charger is running and charging the leisure-battery.

If you find that your Chausson’s system is able to ‘maintain’ the starter-battery’s charge sufficiently to offset your use of the radio, you won’t need to do anything further. If you find that the system does not charge the starter-battery when on hook-up, you can use one of the ploys I mentioned above and/or the solar-panel approach.
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 10 June 2015 8:47 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Thank you very much for that Brian, it confirms my impression of the situation around here.
This is a very beautiful part of France and throughout the year it seems to be teeming with motorhomes, mostly French, and almost every village or small town has an aire de service, but caravan and motorhome dealers are rather thin on the ground.
AGD
usermanxli
Posted: 10 June 2015 10:14 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Hi Derek

Thanks for the great tips and apologies to the others, that we've got parallel discussions going. You're probably right to leave well alone, if there are no problems in practice. I'll keep the charger in the toolkit and see what happens.

I've been reluctant to experiment, as the control unit is set to Gel type batteries, of which I have two in parallel. Of course the starter battery is normal lead type.

Regards
Alan
userPatricia
Posted: 11 June 2015 11:42 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Hi AGD. I am wondering how far you are from Cahors. There is an outlet there called Run-caravaning where they might be able to help you. According to Pagesjaunes.fr they sell several makes of motorhomes and it looks quite a big concern. At least they may know an auto technician (technicien automobile) who can help you. It gives an email address which I could help you with.

From your post I think you may not yet be too comfortable with speaking in French but you could try to communicate with your neighnbours (my husband used to be good at hand signals!) they may know someone more local and French farmers are usually Jack of all Trades (they have to repair very old tractors themselves).
userPatricia
Posted: 11 June 2015 1:17 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Addition to above: There is a map where you will find them in Cahors. I have just had a deeper look into their website and notice that they list electrical problems amongst their list of things that they do. They also have an outlet at Montauban which might be bigger. Let me know how you get on and if I can help.
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 14 June 2015 5:16 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Thank you Patricia, and all those who have tried to help.,we live only 27 kilometers from Cahors so I will be popping down to see them in the next day or two. I'll let you know how it works out.
AGD
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 9 July 2015 10:07 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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OK it's update time. Firstly thank-you to everyone who has tried to help, especially you Patricia, and let me commend to anyone who needs help the company Patricia identified,
Run Caravaning
769 Chemin de Belle Croix
46000
Cahors
France.
0033565214922
runcaravaning@hotmail.fr

They were very helpful, spoke good English, and had our problem been urgent would have tried to help straight away, as it was they gave us an appointment for a few days later.
They checked out everything that they could but were not able to identify the problem, and in the end they said that they didn't think it was a good idea for them to start messing about with a system of which they had no experience and in which numerous bits had been added and subtracted over the past 18 years, a sentiment with which I agreed. Their charge was almost charitable, and I heartily recommend them to anyone in need, with the usual disclaimers.
So, I'm still left with the same problem, I used to be able to choose which battery I wanted to charge when on hook up, and to check the voltage of either battery just by pressing a button on the control panel, but now I can't. Everything is normal in respect of charging both batteries when the engine is running, and I can check the voltage of each battery at the control panel when the engine is running.
It's not too much of a problem as I can charge the engine battery independently, it powers the alarm system and the radio and goes below the acceptable level in about 10 days, but I am mystified as to what's happened and would like to put it right.
AGD
useralice915
Posted: 4 August 2015 9:17 AM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


What do you think about the solar charger,I think it's cool.
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 4 August 2015 7:42 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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Thank you for your thoughts Alice915, our van is only 6 metres long, so we don't have room for an installation on that scale, but thank-you.
AGD
userspospe
Posted: 4 August 2015 8:26 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Archiesgrandad - 2015-05-23 3:22 PM

France Telecom had to drill a hole through the front wall of the house, which is 50cm thick, to bring the telephone wires into the house through a 2.5 cm conduit, and I have been planning to use that conduit to take a power cable out for a connection to the van, which is parked against the front wall. That I have now done,

AGD


Does France Telecom allow the sharing of its duct work by low and high voltage wiring? In the UK it is a strict No-No, unless there is adequate insulated and or, earthed metallic separation between the different wiring.
userArchiesgrandad
Posted: 2 September 2015 5:07 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 
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After a delay whilst our nice new terrace was built I am back on the case again, I want to find out what has gone wrong.
A few days ago I went to do my weekly voltage check on the problem battery and was horrified to find it almost completely discharged. On checking everything out I found that one of those cotton picking, chicken plucking artisans had unplugged the lead which supplies the van and I had not noticed. My charger is an ancient but very good commercial unit from the days when I ran a fleet of trucks, and it has now gently recharged the battery, which is holding nicely at 12.85 volts. I know it won't have done it any good but it seems OK for now. However, I then went into the van to check the habitation batteries, which can be done at the control panel. There is a switch and if you press the top it displays the engine battery voltage, and if you press the bottom it shows the habitation battery voltage. Out of habit I always try the engine battery first, just in case a miracle has happened, and guess what, it had. For the few seconds that I held the switch on the engine battery showed 12.85 volts. I released it the reading disappeared and hasn't come back since, but for a few seconds there was a connection between the system and that battery.
I don't think that the habitation battery reading was interfering with the readout for the engine battery, because they were actually being charged at that time and the readout for them was 13.8 volts .
So, can someone who understands these things better than me help me out? Is it possible that there is simply a poor connection at one end or other of the wire that connects the battery to the charger, could it be that big fuse, I did check the actual fuse with my multimeter and it beeped as it should, but maybe it will work with a little bit of current but not the full 12+ volts?
Does anyone have any thoughts?
AGD
Ps. A slight inaccuracy in my earlier posting, France Telecom asked me to drill a hole through the half meter thick wall, insert a section of the appropriate conduit and cement it in place. I did the work, I paid for it, and I allowed the contractor to put his fibre optic cable through it, I did tell him of my intention and he said "good idea, no problem".

Edited by Archiesgrandad 2015-09-02 5:13 PM
userKeithl
Posted: 2 September 2015 6:45 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Archiesgrandad - 2015-09-02 5:07 PM

Is it possible that there is simply a poor connection at one end or other of the wire that connects the battery to the charger, could it be that big fuse, I did check the actual fuse with my multimeter and it beeped as it should, but maybe it will work with a little bit of current but not the full 12+ volts?



AGD,

I'll go along with your diagnosis, but add that the fault may not be just at "one end or other" of your wire.

To test where your fault lies apply a load to the engine battery via the control panel so the voltage displayed falls to zero. Then use your meter to measure the voltage of the starter battery with the negative on a good, clean earth point. You should read 12 point something volts. Assuming you get a reading follow the wire going to the control panel to the next connection or joint along its path, you MUST follow the wire very carefully and not just assume it is a continuous length, manufacturers add joints at weird places to aid assembly!

At some point along the wire the voltage will read zero, this means the 'break' is somewhere between the last good point and this zero point. You can then either find the exact fault or cut out this section and replace with new.

HTH,
Keith.
userBrambles
Posted: 3 September 2015 2:44 PM
Subject: RE: Engine battery charging.
 


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Might even be just the switch which is faulty!
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