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Solar/AGM battery charging?.
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userEarthmover
Posted: 11 September 2020 9:23 PM
Subject: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 
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Hi .
I went to check the starter battery water level thinking it would be a normal flooded lead acid battery, However there are no removeable plugs, and there are no labels on the battery case. also the size of the battery dimension wise is smaller than any other Ducato I have owned. The leisure battery is a AGM linked to the 100W solar panel via a Truma regulator, the solar panel does not serve the starter battery. So what battery is fitted to a 2019 2.3 Elddis Wentworth CV. My local Fiat camper assist dealership. say they don't Know!. Following on, I sometimes connect a 40W portable solar panel to the starter battery (no regulator) But if the Battery is also a AGM, will it be of any use without a suitable regulator?, I am not having any problems with either of the batteries.
Cheers Em
usercolin
Posted: 12 September 2020 11:16 AM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 


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Look for the label.
Just use a cheap PWM regulator.
userspirou
Posted: 12 September 2020 11:18 AM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 


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Location: SI, PVC X290 Peugeot


No idea what the starter battery is but whatever it is, the 40W panel is quite big to run without a regulator. If you consider that the starter battery is usually supplied with 1-2A when plugged into EHU, a 40W panel can do a bit more than that under ideal conditions, not to mention the voltage is probably too high? I guess it's fine if you plug it in for a few hours every other week but I wouldn't just leave it unnatended for several days. There are a couple of ifs in this setup as it depends on what the panel is actually producing, how often/long it is charging and what the loads on the battery are.
userEarthmover
Posted: 12 September 2020 4:07 PM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 
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Hi,
Thank you Colin & Spirou,
What i was trying to establish is, if the leisure battery is also a AGM battery, will the small panel actually put any charge
into the battery without a AGM rated controller?. At the moment it appears to keep the starter battery at 12.6V!. I have a couple of 12V controllers sitting on the come in handy shelf along with a 80W panel. But is a dedicated AGM controller required?.
Regards Em.
userspirou
Posted: 12 September 2020 6:25 PM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 


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As I said, I wouldn't run it connected constantly without a regulator. Any charge is better than no charge if there is a constant load on the battery. If you have a spare pwm then just use that. A 40W panel won't do any damage. As long as that's not the only charging source you rely on and actually charge it with a correct charge profile now and then it should be fine.
usermikefitz
Posted: 12 September 2020 7:25 PM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 
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An AGM battery ideally needs an absorption voltage of 14.4 to 14.8 volts and a long absorbtion period before dropping to a float of 13.6 to 13.8. Apart from a longer absorption period this is not too different to that required by normal lead acid. Since your engine battery should not be significantly discharged, its unlikely to be disadvantaged by a 'normal' charge process.
The existing battery may not be AGM and a sealed zero maintenence conventional battery may be fitted. If it is an AGM I would expect the vehicle to have start stop and have warning lables on the battery advising dealer replacement only.
When attempting to charge with solar, if the battery voltage is not rising above 12.6 volts, then the solar panel or solar regulator is not working.
Connecting a functioning panel without regulator may/will damage the battery and possibility the vehicle electrics.
Most PWM low cost solar controllers are, in my experience, unfit for correctly charging batteries.
Its not uncommon when carrying out operations on the vehicle battery, charging, replacing or jump starting, to cause damage to vehicle electronics, usually the air bag computer.
The vehicle handbook is quite clear in stating that the battery disconnect and reconnection must follow a defined procedure and that the battery must be disconnected from the vehicle circuits before connecting a battery charger.
Rather than subjecting the engine battery to a poorly defined charge, an alternative would be to fit a Votronic 3065 Battery Master between leisure battery and engine battery. This will divert a low current, voltage limited, maintaining charge to the engine battery when the leisure battery is being charged by solar or mains.
Mike
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 13 September 2020 9:05 AM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 


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For quite some time the standard factory-fitted starter-battery for a new Ducato X290 with a 2.3 litre motor has been a ‘maintainable’ wet-acid type with a black casing, removable cell-caps and a vent-tube in one end. The battery dimensional code was “019” - 353mm (Length) x 175mm (Width) x 190mm (Height) - and on its upper surface was a small “FIAMM” brand-name label, plus an even smaller “SEVEL” label. However (as may be evident from the 1st image below) the labelling is almost completely masked by the fuse-carrying ‘plate’ attached to the battery’s positive terminal.

A 04/2019 on-line Ducato Owner Handbook describes the starter-battery as shown in the 2nd image below, and it’s obvious that this advice would apply to the FIAMM battery I’ve referred to above. However, the latest available on-line Handbook (12/2019 publication date) makes no mention of the starter-battery needing ‘maintenance’ (3rd image below).

Unless the underfloor compartment in which the starter-battery of Ducato X290s is housed has been resized, I can’t think of a persuasive reason why a battery with smaller dimensions should be fitted (even if an AGM type were chosen). There’s no specific mention in the latest Ducato Handbook of a AGM starter-battery being used, but - as Mikefitz has suggested - it’s quite likely that Fiat might have changed the factory-fitted standard battery to a conventional zero-maintenance wet-acid type.

Having said that, the section in the latest Handbook that relates to the “Start&Stop System” does include the caveat shown in the 4th image below, but I don’t know if an "L6 105Ah/850A” implies an AGM battery or not.

(If the starter-battery in Earthmover’s Elddis has a vent-tube in its right-hand end , the battery (almost certainly) won’t be AGM type. Otherwise,as the battery has no labels visible when the battery is in situ, removing it would probably be necessary to confirm its make and type.)



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userEarthmover
Posted: 20 September 2020 11:56 AM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 
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Hi Mikefitz,
Thankyou for you comments, I have now fitted a regulator to avoid any problems, I have always had a battery master fitted on my other motorhomes but because the batteries are far apart, I have not yet bothered. I assume if the batteries turn out to be different types Re- AGM/lead acid, it won't cause a problem for the B/M?.
Cheers Em
userEarthmover
Posted: 20 September 2020 1:06 PM
Subject: RE: Solar/AGM battery charging?.
 
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Hello Derek,,
Yes your photo looks like the set up in my M/H, but there are no removable plugs visible on mine. The actual battery box is the same as in my other M/H's, but there is more space around the battery that makes me think the battery is smaller?. You mention L6 105aH/850A, what size is that battery?. On!. looking through my note book relating to the new van I have that Ref No written down, but I don't know where got it from. I must take the cover off again measure the battery and if necessary take it out and look for a label of some sort. Not another nightmare , Spare wheel, I hope!
Cheers Em.
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