Yet another battery question
useraandy
Posted: 14 August 2018 1:59 PM
Subject: Yet another battery question
 
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I have two Banner 100/110ah flooded cell leisure batteries which are just over two years old. In anticipation of six days off EHU I have tried to establish how much life is left in them. I charged them fully and then left lights, TV etc on for a few hours each day to replicate typical use. I did that over a week, rather than all in one go, so as to include the background drain, which appears to be about 5 amps a day. After six days they are showing 12.2v so, according to the Yuasa chart, are around 50%. I am happy with that as this is the heaviest use they will ever get.

When I put them back on charge they were initially taking 21 amps, dropping to 15 after around 5 minutes and now, after 2 hours, are at 8 amps. Since the charger is fused at 25 amps I am slightly concerned that it was, albeit briefly, working so close to capacity. I asked when I bought the van about the limitations when adding a second battery, and was told that if it would fit in the battery box the charger would cope. Does that sound like good advice, or should I go for smaller batteries when the time comes to change? I couldn't find a model number for the charger, only that it is a Sargent three stage, but the control unit is a Sargent EC450.


Andy
useraandncaravan
Posted: 14 August 2018 4:25 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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As the figures demonstrate, it can be clearly seen that the charger was working really hard and as you seem to be realising, what the dealers tell you isn't always informed.

I am guessing the charger is the Sargent PX 300 where the electronics are temperature controlled. As the charger gets hot with working hard, the charge is backed down to prevent overheat. A lot of motorhome/caravan chargers work in this way, some have a peak rating that is high, but once they get hot they back right down to a 'real' charger output that is about 2/3rds the label rating.

But those first few seconds are crucial because the heat can take a little while to reach the temperature sensor by which time things have burned.

The charger survived this time but you can see that either discharging lower than 50% or the batteries getting to End Of Life (or more usually both) will increase the load dramatically and the charger might pop.

The PX300 is a 21amp charger, you can imagine how well a BCA 12amp charger copes with two batteries?


But it isn't just the size of batteries, it is the overall load. You should consider the battery bank size, battery condition and depth of discharge.
A single battery on it's own that is 'well past it' can place a shorted cell equivalent load to an Iron bar across the charger terminals.

So having two 90Ah quality, efficient, high technology batteries is ok but you are approaching the reliable limits of most chargers installed in most motorhomes so still need to manage that load, for example so the batteries are not discharged too low and/or allowed to reach their twilight years.

Fitting a couple of low tech, 110Ah low quality batteries will be a whole different ball game when the loadings may rise significantly.


We don't rate the Banner's as either high technology or efficient, even when new. And being High Antimony content batteries, they are very prone to internal corrosion degradation.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-14 4:55 PM
useraandy
Posted: 14 August 2018 8:46 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Thanks Allan. I'm never comfortable with anything working close to maximum capacity, particularly where electricity (or as I prefer to call it, magic, is concerned). I do regularly check the readings on the control unit (though I don't really understand them) and this was by far the highest charge rate I've seen, presumably because it's the lowest I've ever discharged the batteries.

Having established that the batteries will suffice for my upcoming visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, the plan is to keep them for the winter, when any outings will be on EHU, and replace them early next year when, hopefully, there will be a wider range of EFB options. If they take too much of a hammering next week, I guess it might be an idea to pull the battery fuse before setting out for home, to protect the alternator, and partially charge them on the bench before letting the onboard charger finish the job.

On a personal note, I cannot imagine what you must be going through. It says an awful lot about you that, despite that, you can still take the trouble to help and advise.


Andy
userweldted
Posted: 14 August 2018 11:01 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Tagging on to this thread, just collected my two new Youasa L36-EFB batteries, is the Sargent PX 300 charger the best one for 200 amp hr battery bank lease.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 15 August 2018 6:56 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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The Sargent PX 300 is from far the best charger but is about the the lowest spec charger we suggest anyone buys, It is easily obtainable, lowish cost, made specifically for the demands of a Motorhome, well made and reliable if used as designed.
Unlike many chargers in this price range it actually performs quite well, so long as not used for permanent long term charging.

You can buy cheaper units, like the Rovert, but they are not in the same league.

The best charger range we have seen is the Victron Blue Energy 20A unit -
https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Datasheet-Blue-Smart-IP22-Charger-180-265-VAC-EN.pdf 20a or 30a

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Datasheet-Blue-Smart-IP67-Charger-Waterproof-EN.pdf 17a or 25a

Unlike units like the Rovert's alleged 18a output, the Victron output really is what they say but they come at a price.

The Victrons also have a 'Long term EHU' storage mode where the unit detects no battery drain has taken place for a period of time so drops into an ultra low Float charger mode of 13.2v down from the usual 13.8v. As it says in the links above this extends battery life.
Every 7 days the charge goes back up to 14v to revitalise the battery.

We would like all UK charger manufacturers to include this feature.

Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-15 6:57 PM
usercolin
Posted: 15 August 2018 8:41 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I would suggest that trying to push the limits of your batteries is not the way to go, much better IMO to have a solar panel which will put something back every day.

We won't be going this year, but we have done the Great Dorset couple of times with this van (our first time there was the second or third event and in our old HB Viva) one battery and a 85w panel, no problems.
p.s. It's a Banner Energy Bull battery,

Edited by colin 2018-08-15 8:42 PM
useraandy
Posted: 15 August 2018 9:02 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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colin - 2018-08-15 8:41 PM

I would suggest that trying to push the limits of your batteries is not the way to go, much better IMO to have a solar panel which will put something back every day.

We won't be going this year, but we have done the Great Dorset couple of times with this van (our first time there was the second or third event and in our old HB Viva) one battery and a 85w panel, no problems.
p.s. It's a Banner Energy Bull battery,


You are of course correct, but having been to the GDSF before you'll know that we won't be spending much time in the van so battery use will be modest. They are unlikely to drop below 50%, but if they do on such light use they were knackered anyway so I've nothing to lose by finishing them off.

I have considered a solar panel, but have decided against it. GDSF apart, I never spend more than two or three days in one place, except during the winter months when I always have EHU and solar would provide limited benefit anyway. Also, there is only one suitable space on the roof and that will be shaded much of the time by the TV aerial.

I had an HB many years ago (white with an imitation vinyl roof) and learned to drive in an HA. I've often been tempted to get another, but I've probably got enough toys already.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 16 August 2018 8:51 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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colin - 2018-08-15 8:41 PM

I would suggest that trying to push the limits of your batteries is not the way to go, much better IMO to have a solar panel which will put something back every day.

We won't be going this year, but we have done the Great Dorset couple of times with this van (our first time there was the second or third event and in our old HB Viva) one battery and a 85w panel, no problems.
p.s. It's a Banner Energy Bull battery,



My first experience of a Camper at 8 years of age was a Viva HA like the photo. I thought it an amazing piece of engineering.

Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-16 9:12 AM




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usercolin
Posted: 16 August 2018 9:03 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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aandncaravan - 2018-08-16 8:51 AM

colin - 2018-08-15 8:41 PM

I would suggest that trying to push the limits of your batteries is not the way to go, much better IMO to have a solar panel which will put something back every day.

We won't be going this year, but we have done the Great Dorset couple of times with this van (our first time there was the second or third event and in our old HB Viva) one battery and a 85w panel, no problems.
p.s. It's a Banner Energy Bull battery,



My first experience of a Camper at 8 years old was a Viva HA like the photo. I thought it an amazing piece of engineering.


The first vehicle I owned was a HA van, it was past it's best when I got it and I clocked up 25k miles in a year. When I got rid of it the seam between roof and side was completely gone, if you had stood up in van it probably would have opened up like that camper.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 August 2018 1:05 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Welted, where did you eventually get the Yuasa L36-EFB batteries, I keep being asked for a supplier.
.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 17 August 2018 2:10 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Tayna say they have them

https://www.tayna.co.uk/leisure-batteries/yuasa/l36-efb/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMImu3T9ZP03AIVCr7tCh36XwtvEAQYASABEgK08vD_BwE
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 August 2018 2:53 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Thank you Derek, had an email this morning saying -


"Tanya still out of stock of the Yuasa L36-EFB and don’t know when they will get. Cant find anyone else that sells them.
Tayna suggested ….. they would fully endorse the Enduroline EXV110AGM :
https://www.tayna.co.uk/leisure-batteries/enduroline/exv110agm/
It is a 95Ah AGM battery with a cool 800CCA.
This is allegedly far superior to an 100Ah EFB battery. The technology is better and the draw is deeper.
It is the same physical size and would do wonders when installed in the application.
And went on to say…..
The LFD90 is a wet battery and will not deliver the same power that you're looking for. This will be more akin to a 70-80Ah AGM battery. It has 2 years warranty as standard. I would recommend you go for the EXV110AGM. It is stronger and has a longer warranty.

Any comments as to availability (eg elsewhere) and the alternative suggested by Tanya?
May just have to go with the old recommendation of LFD90
Cheers"


We pointed the Enduroline battery was rubbish and one of those being '"investigated'.
How can Tayna even suggest a 90Ah quality battery is equivalent to a 70-80Ah AGM when it the AGM that won't charge fully!!!.
What a shower.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-17 2:58 PM
userBillggski
Posted: 17 August 2018 3:01 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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It seems quite common for retailers to advertise attractive stock that they don't actually have, and then offer a "superior" product. One where they presumably have a higher profit margin.
Or am I just being cynical?
useraandy
Posted: 17 August 2018 6:01 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I've noticed in the past that whatever battery you select on Tayna's site, it will invariably bring up a recommendation to buy Enduroline instead. The recommendation will sometimes make an attempt at justification - more CCA, higher capacity etc - but even where the specification of the selected battery is equal on every parameter, they still push the Enduroline. I've always had good service from Tayna, but I consider this sort of marketing cynical and bordering on dishonest.

I am encouraged by the approach Alpha are adopting - albeit with Allan's prompting - and for that reason alone they will be my first port of call in future. Let's hope they live up to the promise.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 August 2018 7:13 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Alpha also give the Varta LFD90 a longer 4 year warranty, which is the more usual time given by other retailers. Not the 2 years that Tayna provide.
I wonder if Tayna drop the Varta warranty so that the Enduroline looks more competitive?

The more I hear about Tayna lately the more I dislike how they operate.


We were recently sent a price list by a big retailer that listed the Asain built Enduroline EXV110 equivalents (which are Starter based batteries) that would have allowed us to buy in in singles at £56 ea. Bulk discounts made it very much cheaper.
When you think that a wholesaler has taken their cut, the retailer offering them to us had taken their cut, you can see the manufacturer probably sells them at less than £30 ea.

Clearly not quality batteries.

Despite our website stating all over the pages we don't sell any batteries, to maintain the Independence, they clearly didn't do much research.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-17 7:33 PM
userrupert123
Posted: 17 August 2018 9:12 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I have to disagree about Tanya, brilliant service and very fast delivery plus good prices.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 August 2018 10:09 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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rupert123 - 2018-08-17 9:12 PM

I have to disagree about Tanya, brilliant service and very fast delivery plus good prices.


I can't disagree about the pricing and delivery, but misdescribing batteries as they did in Alan I's email is not brilliant service.

The XV battery is made in Asia and the manufacturer describes the XV range as a low grade Starter battery with Starter battery grade Active material/Paste.
If you look at the charts below, far right hand column, you will see that it is described as such. The higher spec DC range, but still very poor quality, achieves around 60 cycles. Again manufacturers information, and the XV around 10 cycles.

The second chart shows what the battery is designed for. You will see that when it come to 'Starting' use it gets a low three stars.
For deep cycling and Dual capability it doesn't get a single star.
Just as bad is it's ability to live on long term EHU/Solar, it's 'Floating Service capability', is also a poor single star.

Yet tayna describe it as a Leisure battery fit for a Motorhome.
This is the wet acid version, but the XV AGM version is made down to the same very low specification.


Better than a Varta LFD90 with 200 plus cycles?
Dishonesty doesn't describe half of it.

Look for tayna and it's Powerline/Enduroline batteries appearing at the top of the UK Gov 'ripoff' charts soon.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-17 10:28 PM




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(Atlas Numax Hankook small Most Appropriate Usage.jpg)



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userweldted
Posted: 18 August 2018 12:32 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I got mine from BBL Batteries Plymouth, took about two weeks
userrupert123
Posted: 18 August 2018 10:56 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-17 10:09 PM

rupert123 - 2018-08-17 9:12 PM

I have to disagree about Tanya, brilliant service and very fast delivery plus good prices.


I can't disagree about the pricing and delivery, but misdescribing batteries as they did in Alan I's email is not brilliant service.

The XV battery is made in Asia and the manufacturer describes the XV range as a low grade Starter battery with Starter battery grade Active material/Paste.
If you look at the charts below, far right hand column, you will see that it is described as such. The higher spec DC range, but still very poor quality, achieves around 60 cycles. Again manufacturers information, and the XV around 10 cycles.

The second chart shows what the battery is designed for. You will see that when it come to 'Starting' use it gets a low three stars.
For deep cycling and Dual capability it doesn't get a single star.
Just as bad is it's ability to live on long term EHU/Solar, it's 'Floating Service capability', is also a poor single star.

Yet tayna describe it as a Leisure battery fit for a Motorhome.
This is the wet acid version, but the XV AGM version is made down to the same very low specification.


Better than a Varta LFD90 with 200 plus cycles?
Dishonesty doesn't describe half of it.

Look for tayna and it's Powerline/Enduroline batteries appearing at the top of the UK Gov 'ripoff' charts soon.


I cannot argue with what you say but when I look for a new battery I tend to look for recommendations, like yours for example, before I buy. I then look around for the best price and Tanya always seems to come out near or at the top. I have just bought a starter battery from them, ordered on Thursday about 3pm, delivered Friday at 11am. I know they are not far away from me but their dispatch and communication are first class and this is what I want. They have never tried to recommend a different battery to the one I asked for.
userarthur49
Posted: 18 August 2018 1:05 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I've used Tayna in the past. Always ordered online. Found their service excellent. I seem to recall they did offer a 'better' battery than the one I requested so a few minutes ago I went online to order a Varta LFD90 just as a test.
The 'Star buy in this size battery' came back, adjacent to the LFD90, as "EXV110 Enduroline Calcium Leisure Battery 12V " because of "Higher Capacity and Longer Warranty". And its more expensive than the LFD90.
To me that is pure marketing bovine effluent based on your knowledge of batteries Allan, so thank you for all you are doing to clean up the market.

Edited by arthur49 2018-08-18 1:06 PM
useraandy
Posted: 18 August 2018 8:56 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I don't suppose anyone will be surprised to hear that the registered office for Enduroline Ltd is C/O Tayna Ltd, High Street, Abergele.
userBoris
Posted: 19 August 2018 6:47 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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if I may pick up on a comment Allan makes about the Sargent PX300 charger which he suggests should not be left on EHU for charging. Our Swift Bolero seems to have a PX300 and an EC620 PSU.. When parked up at home out of use, we normally keep the van on EHU to keep batteries topped up via the Command system. Should we not be doing this? We have a YU-POWER YPC100 Leisure battery. I check the readings every few days and they appear to confirm that all is well with the mains charger alternately charging the LB and VB at around 13.4a. Should we not be doing this? If we are doing something wrong, what should we be doing please?
Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 19 August 2018 9:56 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Boris - 2018-08-19 6:47 PM

if I may pick up on a comment Allan makes about the Sargent PX300 charger which he suggests should not be left on EHU for charging. Our Swift Bolero seems to have a PX300 and an EC620 PSU.. When parked up at home out of use, we normally keep the van on EHU to keep batteries topped up via the Command system. Should we not be doing this? We have a YU-POWER YPC100 Leisure battery. I check the readings every few days and they appear to confirm that all is well with the mains charger alternately charging the LB and VB at around 13.4a. Should we not be doing this? If we are doing something wrong, what should we be doing please?
Barry



The Yuasa YPC100 is an AGM battery designed for golf buggies and the like, it isn't designed for being charged on a PX300 in any way shape or form, as it is only a 14.4v charger. The battery will be slower to charge and after some usage may eventually fail to reach full charge on such a charger.

Also the YPC100 particularly won't like being constant float charged at 13.6v, either by a mains charger or Solar regulator.

Who advised you fit such a battery with a Sargent EC620/PX300, was it on recommendation from a Battery retailer?


If you look at the second chart we post above, you will see that not all batteries tolerate constant float charging equally, see the line on 'Floating Service Capability' and see how they can range from 4 stars to just one star.

More info here : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/ehu-full-time-yes-or-no.php

See also this web page on AGM batteries and Motorhomes : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/agm-batteries.php


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-19 10:10 PM
userBoris
Posted: 19 August 2018 11:13 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Thanks Allan,, The battery was on the van when supplied new in January 2018 being a 2017MY. Guess it mst have come out of Swift factory as standard equipment. What would you suggest to rectify? I don't know if the VB is the same so will check tomorrow. Do I change batteries or the charger? I guess that the battery will be the easiest/better option.
Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 20 August 2018 12:20 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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An AGM battery in a Stop/Start vehicle has a special Alternator that charges at 14.8v when 'boosting' the battery and drops to 13.4v when 'Floating the battery.

I think you need to check the functionality of your Alternator?

Likewise a Solar regulator will have a similar charge AGM profile.

I guess you can see that this isn't just about the mains charger needing to be AGM optimised?


Even if the battery isn't damaged by the charging systems around it, it is obvious it isn't going to charge up fast or full if the battery wants 14.8v and gets just 14.4v?

But far worse than that, many Sargent systems in many British built motorhomes don't even get the Alternators 14.4v to the habitation area battery because of poor design, installation and cabling.
We typically see low 14.1v or even 13.8v at the habitation battery when the Fridge is also set to run from 12v due to voltage drop.
It isn't usually noticed because the owner can't see the poor Alternator charge at the habitation battery because the systems volt meter 'shuts down' the minute the engine starts.


Before you do anything else see exactly how yours performs.
Get a multi meter on the habitation battery and start the engine with the Fridge manually set to 12v.
Note what voltage the habitation area battery charges at, if it is the typical 13.9v, you don't have a system that will either charge an AGM fully or fast.
In this case the AGM battery will most likely reach only 80% capacity and take longer to get there than the best wet acid batteries once it has been used a few times. It will also degrade very quickly.

Next, get the multi meter on the Starter battery with the engine running and see what that reading is, hopefully it will be a minimum 14.4v.


Once you know what the charging systems are capable of (with real world figures and not the theory of what a perfect set-up can provide) you can work out a solution



I have to say that really is a weird battery to fit in a Leisure vehicle.
It is typically claimed as suitable for use
"in Alarm Systems, Golf Trolleys, wheelchairs, Emergency Lighting, Ride on Toys, Torches, UPS systems".

The Sargent documentation for the EC620/PX300 says,
"it is essential that only a proprietary brand LEISURE battery is used with a typical capacity of 75 to 120 Ah".

Regardless of what our experience has been, I wouldn't describe that battery as a perfect 'match' with the Sargent requirements.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-20 12:37 AM
userarthur49
Posted: 20 August 2018 10:18 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Boris - 2018-08-19 11:13 PM

Thanks Allan,, The battery was on the van when supplied new in January 2018 being a 2017MY. Guess it mst have come out of Swift factory as standard equipment. What would you suggest to rectify? I don't know if the VB is the same so will check tomorrow. Do I change batteries or the charger? I guess that the battery will be the easiest/better option.
Barry


I would check with Swift which battery is fitted as standard as dealer may have changed it.
We bought an Autocruise Rhythm in 2010 where the factory fitted battery had been swapped by the dealer for a different (and smaller capacity) battery. We never did get an explanation from dealer but suspect the original had died whilst van sat on forecourt waiting to be sold.
And that certainly was the case in February this year when we changed van. The standard fit Banner was changed for a Numax because the former died through neglect by dealer.
userBoris
Posted: 20 August 2018 12:28 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I'm considering that this may have been possible. However, I have spoken to Sargent who have sent me a tech sheet for the PX300 which seems to suggest that it can and will charge a AGM battery. Extract from the handbook is silent on this point. What Allan will love is Sargent's suggestion that if my LB appears on the NCC list bhen it will be OK!!!
As for the VB, it is huge and not like any car battery I have evver seen before. I have read forum posts which indicate that the Ducato does not have a smart alternator. I'm afarid that messing about tieh a multi-meter is beyond me.
Barry
userBrambles
Posted: 20 August 2018 8:57 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Afraid I am going to have to jump in here.

The Yu-power battery may not be the perfect choice of battery but it is certainly capable of being charged successfully by the charger mentioned. Its charge cyclic/boost voltage is 14.5volts (PX300 charge voltage is 14.4 so a slight safety margin there allows for rising temperatures).
The Yuasa float charge is 13.65 volts and the PX300 output is 13.6 volts.

This is a commercial quality battery with a life of 600 cycles at 50% dod. The varta flooded is around 200 cycles . With the Yuasa being available at about say 1.5 times the cost with 3 times the cycles its certainly a contender even if its life is reduced by alternator charging. to say twice the life. Bear in mind this Yuasa battery has twice the life of many AGM batteries. I have found this to be true in a few applications using Yu-power batteries and indeed a lot more than twice the life and more like 4 times the life of other AGM batteries.
Most AGM batteries for use in automotive applications require a higher charge voltage ( 14.7 or more volts) this limits the charge rate to an extent when using 14.4 volts from an altermator. The Yu-power YPC range charge pretty fast and I would be reluctant to have wired close to the alternator as could charge too fast, however with normal lead lengths and impedance of the wiring in leisure circuits, relays contact volt drops etc it should be fine.

Boris, I would stick with the Yuasa Battery and see how you get on. It will be very interesting to see how long it lasts before it starts to degrades. The beauty of it is you have a lot of usable power and can go to 80% dod rather than 50% with flooded and can occasionally take down to 100% and still get good cycle life.

The fact it may not charge fully because of volt drops in wiring is not too much of an issue, so you only reach 80% charge sometimes. That is OK as you still have more power available than a flooded and get better cycle life.

Allen, I think you may be surprised how good the Yuasa YU-power batteries are. Yuasa lead the way in AGM batteries especially when they joined forces with GS batteries many years ago and acquired their technology to add to their own.

Anyway, 'nuff said and is just food for thought for you all and my pennies worth.
Jon.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 21 August 2018 8:44 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Brambles, I don't think there is another person on the forums whose battery knowledge I respect more than yours, it is exceptional.
And yes I do know how good the Yuasa batteries are, having had a tour around one of of the factories where they make the Industrial batteries.

The Yuasa L36-EFB is our new mid range motorhome battery.'Best Buy'.


But you see things very much from a pure battery perspective. You see the perfect scenario that each battery is designed to be used under, not the very flawed mess that is in many motorhomes, even 2018 versions.

For example you write,
"Boris, I would stick with the Yuasa Battery and see how you get on. It will be very interesting to see how long it lasts before it starts to degrade. The beauty of it is you have a lot of usable power and can go to 80% dod rather than 50% with flooded and can occasionally take down to 100% and still get good cycle life".


Which makes no allowance for the massive extra loading such use will place on the charging systems. Motorhome chargers are not designed to bring up a battery from 80% DOD, let alone 100%.
Yes the old, legendary, Exide G80 Gel could be taken to 80% DOD and some of the chargers were designed for that. But ONLY because a Gel battery charges more slowly, taking much less current, so the overall load on a charger was actually less than a good wet battery dropped to 50% DOD.


Installing an AGM, that draws more charge current (greater charge acceptance) AND dropping them to 100% DOD is crazy and many chargers are already at their limits.
The Sargent PX300 has been around a long, long time, it has had no modifications to cope with the higher current draw of AGM's, let alone anything other than a Wet Acid charge profile. It wasn't even designed for Gel batteries.

You can see if you start drawing the higher charge acceptance of AGM's AND discharge two AGM batteries to 100% DOD there will be fireworks.
And to those clever clogs out there who say the chargers are 'current limited' so manage the load, there are limits. Stressing anything to a factor 4 times greater than design won't be a good idea, yet the PX300 is one of the better ones!!

For years Motorhome and caravan chargers have been just about the lowest technology in any 'battery' arena.
Even the 'latest' Sargent EC160 has a fixed 13.8v, 10 amp unit!!!! No multistage capability at all, let alone multi battery technology.

The biggest selling Leisure aftermarket charger last year was the Sargent 151, another hideous fixed 13.8v 10amp unit that backs down to around 6 amps once it gets hot and into 'overload'. If anyone gets 8 amps out of one they will be doing really well.


Wet batteries have been shown over the years to be incredibly tolerant of all charging scenarios. AGM's have demonstrated the exact opposite characteristic.
Not just mains charging either as the Alternator charging solutions on many UK built motorhomes is woeful. Have a look at the average Autotrail, Elddis, Bailey, Swift charging voltage and you will see many struggle to get 13.9v with a single battery.
Throw on a second battery with high charge acceptance and you will be better off with an AA battery.


Just lift the floor over an X250/290 Starter battery and take a look at the size of the cable from the alternator. Despite 180amp Alternators being more common see how spindly the FIAT standard wiring is.
A modern 2 litre Diesel draws about 220 amps to start the engine and has a very fat cable.
In the attached photo you will see the Starter Motor cable feed is massive. So how come a 180amp motorhome Alternator cabling isn't a similar size when voltage drop is ABSOLUTELY critical when it comes to charging?


We are talking here about Fiat's wiring, not Swifts, yet it is woeful in preventing voltage drop. Add into the mix the poor wiring installation work from Sargent, BCA, etc and it's worse.
But the biggest design flaw is that British built motorhomes generally take the Freezer/Fridge feed right from the habitation battery terminals, not the Alternator.
Along with the additional load of two AGM's taking more current than two 'wets' and the charging voltage at the Leisure battery can be as low as 13.9v. No AGM will like that.

Schaudt Elektroblock power controller units, as used by Hymer, take the Fridge 12v direct from the Starter battery and this results in much less voltage drop, typically only 0.2v.


For evidence of just how bad this actually is in Britain, look around at the huge number of Battery to Battery chargers installed out there.
It is a shame they actually address the wrong issue, boosting the voltage when all that is needed is sensible Fridge cabling, wiring, etc. not a £600 expenditure.
Another example of the products in the market place not understanding the issues?

While wet batteries will tolerate these low voltages, and still charge fast and full, AGM's won't. Even 'low voltage' YU's will charge MORE SLOWLY and take significantly longer than wet batteries.

That means they spend longer 'discharged', so sulphate, thereby failing to reach their potential.
The YU might have have a longer life in the laboratory but in a very flawed motorhome set-up it's a different picture.


Sorry Brambles but the Battery 'experts' in the industry have launched a product into the market place without doing their job properly and actually finding out how things work in reality. Too many assumptions.

Because of how things are, the best batteries are those that are tolerant, Deep cycling doesn't even make it onto my list, they just cause stress to the already poor environment.


One other point is that Golf Buggy batteries have very different chargers. They are generally low current, charging up the battery overnight rather than a 'fast' day charge.
This means the batteries designed for this very specific use are used very differently and more like the test environment of a laboratory.


The only advantage of AGM's in motorhomes, IMO, is their ability to absorb abuse on a dealers forecourt, which is initially concealed better but makes an appearance later.

In my view it is a battery for the motorhome manufacturer and dealer, not the owner.



Boris, to demonstrate the point about how little voltage gets from the Alternator to a pair of heavily discharged AGM's, we would be willing to do a free 12v electrical test on your motorhome along the lines of the test we suggested you carry out above.
We will even pay for your first nights stay at the campsite we work from, see : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/north-wales.php

A nice site with distant sea views.

It would take about 2 hours and you would need to be around for that time while I work as a 'witness'.

Let me know.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-21 9:12 AM




(Fiat Starter battery cabling.jpg)



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userBrambles
Posted: 21 August 2018 9:18 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Hi Allen,
You are wrong, I do not only look from a battery point of view. I have been involved in vehicle electrical systems a long time and know everything has to be taken into account and invariably is a balancing act. of many different aspects.

I am pretty sure many motorhome users take their flooded batteries way below 50% dod and probably do not realise, as many just use power until it runs out or at least starts to fade with no understanding or wish to understand exactly what is going on.

You make some good points and some are valid and others debatable...too much has been mentioned for me to have time to address every point. The Yu-power battery technology has been around many years and is not really a new product at all.

One thing I do not know much about is the reliability and quality (and specs) of many motorhome charger systems. I looked up the PX300 specs and it appears along with previous comments you have made a reliable system so should handle a deep discharged Yu-power battery, That does not mean it will be good for all AGM batteries. Sometimes the ability of a battery to charge fast with low charging impedance is not a good thing as it takes chargers to it's current limit and acts like a short on Alternators. All I am saying is a slower charging battery is often desirable but equally not one with big charging losses. A good three stage charger should not have an issue with most batteries but your experience of reliability of chargers is far more important than any specification sheet.

I look at every battery application individually as what applied to one sytem and user may not apply to another . Sadly there is not a combination out there that will be the best for all users at a sensible cost and will always be a compromise.

The next important thing is what happens when the battery fails. The Yu-power is calcium based and have never seen one with a cell fail short circuit but always high impedance so this protects the charging systems and the battery from overheating in battery fail conditions due to age and use.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 21 August 2018 9:34 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Boris - 2018-08-20 12:28 PM

...As for the VB, it is huge and not like any car battery I have evver seen before...


As far as I’m aware the starter-battery fitted to a current-model Fiat Ducato is neither particularly ‘huge’ (for a motorhome) nor anything special. The norm seems to be a black-coloured FIAMM-badged 95Ah or 110Ah wet-acid ‘maintainable’ battery.

As shown in the photo in Allan’s posting of 21 August 2018 8:44 AM above, there is a lot ‘stuff’ (“A” in the photo) perched above the battery’s positive terminal, but this has no effect on the battery’s type.
userplwsm2000
Posted: 21 August 2018 5:53 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I couldn't help noticing those two small red wires in your photo Allan,
It would appear they come straight off the positive battery terminal and so are not fused.
One of them almost touches the negative terminal.
A!though they are insulated, a bit of vibration could eventually wear through the insulation and create a dead short across the battery.
I am not sure where they go, but I would like to see an inline fuse if it were my van.



(Fiat Starter battery cabling.jpg)



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useraandncaravan
Posted: 21 August 2018 7:03 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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It was just a picture I snatched off the web, but you are right it doesn't look good.

useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 1:48 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Brambles - 2018-08-21 9:18 AM

Hi Allen,
You are wrong, I do not only look from a battery point of view. I have been involved in vehicle electrical systems a long time and know everything has to be taken into account and invariably is a balancing act. of many different aspects.



Brambles, this reply isn't meant as a 'you are wrong, I am right argument', it is about trying to increase knowledge on the subject, something our website has always championed. See this web page as an example : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/battery-charging-faults.php

I am losing my battle against Cancer, so I am working hard to pass on my knowledge before I go.
Please read this reply in that context, regardless of my 'headmaster' writing style, when you read it.
There is also another reason I am spending so much time on the reply, which you will get to later.


I didn't mean to suggest you didn't have extensive auto electric skills, apologies.
I know lots of people who work on vehicle electrics as their specialist role, but not one has any knowledge about motorhome leisure battery charging systems - The huge variety of mains charging systems deployed, how they are now so totally integrated, the very subtle nuances of Alternator charging or even the slightest clue on Solar and it's impact.

We don't know anyone who has more than a basic view of how a Motorhome/Caravan charger works, although they do usually understand how a Car battery charger works and a split charge relay.
For example most people believe, even one 'Technical' specialist at Roadpro we spoke to, that a Leisure battery charger will charge up a battery in 'Boost' mode until it is 'fully' charged and it then drops to a lower voltage 'Float/trickle/whatever'.
It doesn't, the difference is only subtle but the end result worlds apart.

Most leisure battery chargers (including many Solar chargers) charge for a set 'timer' period (typically 4 hours) and then drop to Float mode, regardless of whether the battery is fully charged or not. That results in a very, very different outcome in terms of battery 'charged state'. One might end up fully charged, the other still a discharged battery.

Lets take a typical German 18A charger, introduced around 2005 and still the basis of other units today. It is USED IN MORE MOTORHOMES WORLDWIDE than any other so very, very relevant.
It charges at 14.4v for just 60 minutes, then drops to 13.8v float voltage and low 'trickle' current

You can see that even at a theoretical 18amps charge rate (which it will never achieve for more than 5 minutes because it will get too hot) it will put a paltry max 17Ah into a fully flat 100% DOD battery and the remaining 93Ah will be put in at 13.8v along with a 'trickle' current.
Total charge time would need to be over 120 hours or MORE than 4 days on a Yuasa YPC.


In a scenario where the Leisure battery bank is taken to 90% DOD (only 10% left) and there are two 100Ah YPC AGM batteries, you can see charge times of 8 days won't be enough.
Obviously, batteries treated using Car Battery charging practise will never reach anything like their laboratory tested life capability.
A major reason we see AGM's with less than 18 months life, even the very most expensive AGM won't survive sulphation attack.


So in the above example which is far from unique, and there are literally hundreds of variations across the hundreds of chargers, the chances of someone putting the charger on for 'a day' hoping the battery will fully charge will probably suffer a sulphating battery if it is ever discharged deeply.

But it is worse than that because we know only a single motorhome charger that is specifically designed to bring up a battery from flat. That charger is the only one that has specific circuitry that will 'probe' the battery for it's state before it's charge process begins.
Most motorhome/caravan chargers will just fail under the strain or not charge the battery at all.

That is why all motorhome/caravan specific battery advice says to keep it above 50% DOD.
Trouble is, automotive 'knowledge' gets applied to motorhomes/caravans.


So why don't motorhome/caravan chargers work like Car battery chargers?
Because they are used differently, again the difference is subtle but the end result can be catastrophic.
There are people on this forum approaching their sixties who will remember every battery charger we ever bought in our younger days, said to remove the charger leads once the battery was charged. Don't leave it unattended for long, because of the risk of gassing/damage/explosion.

Caravan chargers became prolific when EHU started to be rolled out in the 1970's and caravans sat on EHU for weeks during a 3 week holiday. If one of these batteries faulted, and they usually did as people started off using old car batteries, the battery would never 'fully charge' so not drop down to the 'safety' 13.8v trickle charge.
So it continued to be charged at 14.4v for days, even weeks at a time and if you were lucky you would just be gassed with Hydrogen and Oxygen.
If you were not so lucky................

Some caravaning 'oldies' on here may remember the 'safety' campaigns that resulted, stipulating batteries must be located in lockers, trays, etc. Whose idea was it to put those great big Gas lockers on the front of the early caravans, and then put the battery in there with it? I guess it was better than in the habitation area though.


The charger industry responded by making chargers safer and specific to the requirement and usage by using safety 'timers'.
So why don't the 'technical specialists' in the magazines that advocate upgrading the charger, make absolutely no mention of this continued need, etc.
Or even an explanation of how a proper motorhome charger works?




YOU WRITE :

I am pretty sure many motorhome users take their flooded batteries way below 50% dod and probably do not realise, as many just use power until it runs out or at least starts to fade with no understanding or wish to understand exactly what is going on.

.


REPLY :
Yes they do and they just Pop, especially so if the battery bank isn't a supported size or the battery is tired. Just look at every Forum, from Swift to Hymer and search on 'mains charger failures', it is a huge problem. Logic suggests that every single motorhome/caravan charger from every manufacturer from around the World can't possibly be badly made, surely? So something is taking them outside their design.

Add into the mix a specialist AGM battery that not only sucks more current out of the charger and the risk of failure goes up again.
To tell someone it is ok to drop this particular Yuasa Golf buggy/industrial battery to 100% DOD and raise the charging load by doubling it even further isn't logical when it is documented so extensively their are issues.



A second example, and I suspect a reason Yuasa don't specify the YPC100 as a Leisure battery is because all the applications that Yuasa specify the battery for, have different charging systems again. These systems use charging currents optimised for VRLA batteries that would otherwise raise battery plate temperatures with the resultant short life. These batteries are designed to be discharged, using the long period overnight to recharge them ready for the next days use. There is usually a long, gentle recharge period followed by a lengthy steady load that replicates EXACTLY the battery testing carried out in the laboratory and an almost perfect scenario for this type of battery.
That will clearly earn it a very high 'cyclic rating that is unlikely to be realised in practise.

It clearly isn't how it will be used in a motorhome when Joe Bloggs runs his microwave for 10 minutes and raises the battery plate temperatures almost as high as the Chicken Balti; runs it down low over a period of 5 days before driving 6 hours across Spain at high charge rates and high temperatures.

VRLA Gel/AGM batteries have real issues with plate temperatures, just look at how Victron (in my view better than Yuasa for motorhome use because Victron are also REAL battery charger experts) show on their chart how an AGM battery can have it's life dropped from 7 years to 2 years, just by a 20 degree rise in plate temperature. That is a massive impact on VRLA battery life that is rarely documented or quoted as 'a disadvantage'.

The examples might be extreme, but motorhome 12v systems are being used in extremes compared to the 1990's. Not many people drove a Talbot from Glasgow to Portugal in several virtual none stop 8 hour sprints. The vehicle, and especially the seat would not allow it for one. Now it is done with ease, but that is a long time for an Alternators 14.4v to be 'floating' an AGM.

There are so many differences between the the optimum use of an AGM and the hammering it gets in a motorhome.


Maybe I am wrong but think these two things demonstrates how important it is that anyone giving battery advice understands, in great detail, the whole picture.
And that is where I want to ask you a favour? You are more capable and knowledgeable than any one I know in this area.
I might have sounded like a Head master telling off a pupil, but it isn't meant like that. That's just me. When the cancer takes me away, the joined up knowledge I have acquired will be lost.


Will you please think about expanding your charging knowledge, or maybe proposing/working with someone else on the forum?
Your battery skill is second to none and while Martin our charger repairer is continuing our company and maintaining the web pages, he is semi retired and can't take on my old 'role'.

Please have a good think about the idea, the guys on here know I am no one special, but through sheer experience and work have acquired a stack of knowledge which is uniquely integrated. No one else pulls together motorhomes, battery charging and batteries like we have.
Please help find a way of keeping that going?
Even if the contribution is just to feed Martin the odd correction to the web pages because we have it wrong or things have changed, it would be huge benefit to all.

Sorry if I am not being fair, but you have helped so many people in the past I know you are a good guy.


YOU WRITE :

You make some good points and some are valid and others debatable...too much has been mentioned for me to have time to address every point. The Yu-power battery technology has been around many years and is not really a new product at all.




REPLY :
I didn't say it was new, I know full well AGM's have been around years, but this is a new application for AGM's. It is only since about 2014 that the battery industry have specifically targeted the Caravan and motorhome arena and they haven't looked in any detail how they are really being used.


YOU WRITE :

One thing I do not know much about is the reliability and quality (and specs) of many motorhome charger systems. I looked up the PX300 specs and it appears along with previous comments you have made a reliable system so should handle a deep discharged Yu-power battery, That does not mean it will be good for all AGM batteries. Sometimes the ability of a battery to charge fast with low charging impedance is not a good thing as it takes chargers to it's current limit and acts like a short on Alternators. All I am saying is a slower charging battery is often desirable but equally not one with big charging losses. A good three stage charger should not have an issue with most batteries but your experience of reliability of chargers is far more important than any specification sheet.



REPLY :
Trust me I would never put the Sargent PX300 in anything other than the budget category. As I think I state in one recent thread, 'it is about the lowest spec charger we would recommend anyone considers'.


YOU WRITE :

I look at every battery application individually as what applied to one sytem and user may not apply to another . Sadly there is not a combination out there that will be the best for all users at a sensible cost and will always be a compromise.



REPLY :
I understand that, but strange how many people put 2 + 2 together ...........



YOU WRITE :

The next important thing is what happens when the battery fails. The Yu-power is calcium based and have never seen one with a cell fail short circuit but always high impedance so this protects the charging systems and the battery from overheating in battery fail conditions due to age and use.


REPLY :



I can't agree with you more, the way a battery 'fails' is it's absolutely most important characteristic in a motorhome. One we have championed for a long time.
However, once again, I suspect the automotive experience and the resulting disaster that can occur in a motorhome, is very different.

Because their 'automotive' use usually ceases before they actually 'fail', i.e. the Stop/Start electronics will flag to the car ECU that the battery is losing capacity, they are replaced in the vehicle long before they actually die and before plate break up takes place.
In a motorhome users tend to run a battery right to the very last. A bit more on that subject later.

Derek Uzzell may remember us documenting exploded AGM batteries, it created quite a discussion on the forums some years ago. Maybe as far back as 2014?

Because AGM's only operate within a very narrow window of temperature, charging and usage (as already discussed) when they fail in a motorhome it can be horrific, almost always taking the charger with them.
The way they fail, IMO, makes them the most dangerous battery to fit inside a motorhome by a very long way.
AGM batteries are more prone to thermal runaway. They break down and get hot. the heat makes them break down faster and the subsequent faster breakdown generates even more heat, so they breakdown even faster.
The resulting destruction of the plates, and we have cut open some where the charger failed before explosion, is astonishing. The resulting debris, we think, then blocks the valve.
Boom.
It's makes heck of a mess, not just the damage from the lumps of plastic, but the acid destroys so much.


Of course those people who are experts say these are the best technology battery to fit under the Passenger seat............ NOT.

Better still, you can mount it on it's side, which you can imagine will result in the safety venting valve becoming blocked earlier..........

Mount it inverted and the valve, at the top of the battery now sits at the bottom and blocks even sooner, very rapid route to explosion. However, because explosion takes place a bit earlier it sometimes results in less acid around the habitation area.

The vehicle we saw with a CTEK car battery charger fitted "that can be left permanently connected" was one of the worst we have seen. One lump of plastic was almost the entire end of the battery casing and was embedded through a kitchen door. I honestly think it would have taken off a leg if someone had been in there, yet the van was just 10 months old.



I said I would write more on the subject of motorhome owners, in our experience, they typically use batteries right to the very end.
They are used to a Starter battery being 'past it' when it won't start an engine, which is usually before the total break up of the plates.
They maybe apply the same thinking to the habitation area battery knowing it's dead when it won't power the lights or the charger keeps blowing up, alternator burning out, etc.

If the owner has spent £650 on a pair of batteries, they will really want value for money.
To find another £650 (especially for someone who may have only recently bought the vehicle s/h and wants like for like) is a huge barrier to replacing them.
So it tends to be the expensive AGM set-ups that suffer the most serious battery explosions.
Another reason why we think expensive deep cycle batteries are not good news, apart from the disappointing real world lifetime.


In my opinion, any company that recommends an AGM leisure battery inside the habitation area should be prosecuted. To say it can be mounted on it's side or inverted should get a life sentence, if you saw the damage we have seen it would break your Heart to see and listen to the owners.
The battery industry clearly haven't given it even the slightest bit of research.


Are you beginning to see a pattern here on just how just subtle different use of a battery can be and the outcomes so different?
So if I put you in the category of those looking at battery usage from it's 'Paper Spec', not real usage.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 2:11 PM
userBoris
Posted: 22 August 2018 3:26 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
Having a look around

Posts: 23



Oh dear - I fear an apology is in order as I seem to have inadvertently started something here which was never intended or envisaged. It was just Allan;s remark about not having EHU on permanently powering PX300 on a YU-POWER battery. Over 40 years of caravanning and running classic cars, I became paranoid about batteries going flat when car/van was not used daily. All our wheeled units had Optimate battery conditioners fitted and had their fluid levels checked and topped up weekly. NOT ONCE did we ever have a car fail to leap into life at first push of button or turn of key. Much to the envy of my friends who felt my Optimates were a waste of money. Our first two Mohos had EHU chargers for the LB only which I supplemented by wiring in a CTEK for the VB. With the purchase of a new Swift Bolero we acquired smart charging for both batteries so continued to leave EHU active whenever van was not in use. I have been happy with this for 7 months - until I read Allan;s warning -hence my cat having been thrown into the pigeons.
Allan's offer is exceptionally generous and much appreciated. BUT Is it really necessary? Brambles says not and it seems that Swift have been knocking out Kon--Tikis, Rios, Escapes and Boleros )with Command) for a few years now without either MMM or Swift forums being flooded with failure complaints. Our van is unlikely ever to be used off-grid so will my present set up and usage not work well for the foreseeable future? If the YU=POWER Fails, then replacing with a new YUASA wet-flooded battery would not seem the end of the world. Either that, or it might not fail at all Brambles suggests. I am in awe of the knowledge which both you gentlemen possess, but I am looking to be practical here and therefore practical advice would be welcome please. I guess there are hundreds of owners out there in the same boat as me and blissfully ignorant of whether they are doing right or wrong.
My apologies again for delay in responding, but as Allan will understand, hospital appointments do mess up one;s normal routine!
Thank you again,
Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 4:13 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Brambles, the last line should have read,
"So sorry if I put you in the category of those looking at battery usage from it's 'Paper Spec', not real usage".


Boris/Barry, no problem at all, I was just hoping to use your vehicle as a Guinea pig model to show how the voltages the battery manufacturers think are being applied to AGM batteries are well awry.
Because you don't go offgrid or discharge the battery much at all, the AGM battery will hardly get used. If you are lucky you have 2 - 3 years before battery life issues arise and if you are only ever on EHU you are unlikely to ever have issues from the battery only being 85% charged by the Alternator.


Maybe some other owner might fancy a free motorhome 12v test diagnostics session?



You are obviously clued up on the need for ultra low long term storage float charging of batteries (not to be confused with ordinary short term 'float' voltages) if you employed the Optimate.
As you probably know it maintains a perfect battery manufacturers recommended 13.2v long term float voltage.
Additionally half of that time it is 'on', it is actually 'idle' deciding it's next move. Every now and again it will wake up and tune the battery. Very like the Victron chargers with 'Storage float' for long term motorhome battery maintenance and the same 13.2v storage float.

The Optimate is a very nice piece of kit and the best possible way of maintaining any battery that is long term 'idle'. Definitely not to be confused with the lesser competition that don't work half as well.

Note that for your motorhome, when battery manufacturers talk of Float voltages, it is almost all the short term float, not permanent 'storage float' charging.
Yuasa quote a storage float of 13.2v for most of their industrial batteries that sit permanently on charge in data centres, etc.
So I would guess that the YPC's 13.6 float is not a storage float voltage and that just as Classic car starter batteries never last long on the 'usual' quoted 13.8v Float, your AGM's will suffer on 13.6v long term, but time will tell.



I have added the chart that I missed off the last post showing how just 20 degrees rise at the plates drops an AGM's life from a claimed 7 years to just 2 years.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 4:38 PM




(Victron Energy Battery Temperature small.jpg)



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userBoris
Posted: 22 August 2018 6:24 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
Having a look around

Posts: 23



You make this sound like an opportunity not to be missed.We have a NE and Yorkshire tour planned and booked starting from Monday 16th September with first stop pff at Newark. We can leave earlier and travel up to CMC site at Chapel Lane arriving late pm and then drive up to LLandudno Friday. This could give us all day there Saturday and then leave Monday 16th to drive back to Newark and the original plans. We shall have 3 nights at LLandudno but we do not expect you to cover any of the costs here (we insist on this)
Would this timetable work for you?

Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 6:43 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Yes that works for me, I will PM the details.
If you get there early enough on the Friday I will come up to you then, I don't mind 'working' early evening on this, that will give you all the weekend to see the area.

Please take a look at the Campsite 'Local attractions' page as there is so much to do in the vicinity and further out to Snowdonia, etc. http://www.tanybrynfarm.com/local-area.php

I think the site charges £14 a pitch, so we can argue about who pays when you turn up.

I am guessing that you have not read the web page on 'Long Term EHU', because it contains info from the Yuasa web site on this very subject, quick extraction below -


The Yuasa web site states : "Batteries used in these (long term float) applications should be changed every 2 years or more frequently.
Continuous charging, even from a well-controlled charging system, will result in internal degradation of the battery. This could result in the battery not giving its predicted output when required even though the battery appears to be fully-charged.
Ensure that the battery is always kept in as high a state-of-charge as possible without causing excessive overcharge".



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 7:10 PM
userBoris
Posted: 22 August 2018 7:31 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
Having a look around

Posts: 23



Thanks Allan, Do we book the site direct? IYour comment re permanent EHU usage does cause me concernof course as it is against my normal instinct, Even changing to a new Yuasa L36-EFB won't overcome this then will it? Any suggestions here/ My old habits ans paranoia could be an issue for me here!
Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 8:40 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Yes, book the site direct, it is nothing to do with me, they are just a really lovely couple, David and Karen, who let me work from there. Many sites won't let technicians work from them.


The Sargent ECxxx unit you have is fairly easily able to have Heart surgery.
Not hard to remove the Sargent PX300 'standalone' charger' and wire up another that is both a much better charger and has a low 13.2v 'storage' charge feature. It is even optimised for AGM charging capability (Aaargh, sorry I had to wash my mouth out then).

That isn't work I can do because of my illness, but easy enough for your own 'local' man to carry it out when you get back home.

I will run through the options with you so it is easier to get it all sorted after your 'holiday', if that is what you then decide to do after a ponder.


Not sure I made it totally clear in the offer, but just need to confirm you are happy to ratify the test results and for me to publish?




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 8:43 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 24 August 2018 1:54 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-17 10:09 PM

rupert123 - 2018-08-17 9:12 PM

I have to disagree about Tanya, brilliant service and very fast delivery plus good prices.


I can't disagree about the pricing and delivery, but mis describing batteries as they did in Alan I's email is not brilliant service.





Picking up again on the original Post and comments about Tayna, the customer below ordered two batteries from Tayna specifically specifying they must be a matched pair. When one arrived almost flat, and clearly degraded. One subsequently turned out to be manufactured in 2017 the other had no date. He took it up with them but they were "unhelpful" so he contacted Exide, response on that here -

"I phoned Exide customer services in the UK. He told me they had several of these batteries in stock from a few days old up to 3 months. He also said the 12.26 V battery was not fit for purpose and should be rejected. We both agreed Tanya pulled one over me by sending one new one and one they had been holding in stock for a very long time.
This explains the old style label and the low Voltage. Both batteries have now been returned to Tanya and I await a full refund. When I told him about the AH rating he stated it was 100 AH but then he checked the technical spec and agreed there was an anomaly and something was wrong. He said he would take the matter up internally and I have not heard from them since. Tanya denied they had sent an old battery from stock but the guy I spoke to said we have none in stock and these were sent directly from the manufacturer but prior to placing the order I was told they were holding one in stock. So Tayna have been found out on this occasion. I still want these batteries and will try again towards the end of the year".


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-24 1:57 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 26 August 2018 8:59 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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This thread started with someone worried that discharging their two Habitation area batteries down to 50% seemed to place a big load on the charger when charging them back up, as the charger seemed to run flat out for a while.
A reply came in on a slightly different subject, saying it was ok to use AGM batteries which will try and draw even more charge current and load up the charger even further.
They also advocated that taking AGM's down to 80% DOD, creating a further loading on the charge, was also 'OK'.


You can see there is an anomaly.

We responded saying AGM batteries don't work in motorhomes for all sorts of reasons, not just the above, but primaryily because the typical motorhome environment is alien to their design.


To demonstrate this, I offered Barry/Boris a free 12v diagnostic check on his new Swift built motorhome so we can build a 'Real World' example test case that will demonstrate how the charging voltages at the Habitation area batteries are no where near the 'theoretical' voltages the industry think are being achieved.

With the flawed charging conditions in a motorhome, most AGM batteries will not have the '£200 super life' the industry promise, potentially also damaging the charging systems.


Barry/Boris is now not sure if/when he wants to take up the offer and because of my Cancer, time is short and I can't delay.
So I am asking any one with a late model British built Motorhome to help us with this.

We will carry out the check for free and pay for your first nights stay at the Campsite we work from near Llandudno. I am happy to work around you and do it at the start/end of a weekend so you can turn it into a 'mini break'. See : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/north-wales.php

We won't change anything on the vehicle, just take real world charging voltage readings while you ratify the recording of them. Not in an artificial workshop environment, but on a real campsite.

Obviously I need to publish the results but you will have 'editorial control' over everything except the figures which obviously need to be as recorded.

It needs to be a late model vehicle to ensure 'age' related issues don't distort the results, like tarnished connections, etc.

Anyone who can help, please email aandncaravanservices@gmail.com




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-26 9:04 AM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 29 August 2018 4:44 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I am sorry, but I really had to post this from the Roadpro/Banner website -

"Banner Running Bull AGM batteries are NOT suitable for use as leisure batteries in motorhomes or caravans. They are designed specifically for use as engine starter batteries for START/STOP vehicles with regenerative braking systems".
See : https://www.roadpro.co.uk/catalogue/02b03-banner-running-bull-agm-batteries


Some people may remember that it was this exact same battery that Hymer bought in vast quantities to roll out as Leisure batteries and we reported multiple premature failures and even explosions.

Others may be aware they are NCC verified as being in the 'Best Category A' section for Leisure batteries.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-29 5:06 PM
userarthur49
Posted: 29 August 2018 6:54 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Well done Allan .....

Incidentally the C&MC magazine Sept 18 page 114 contains an article headed "Leisure battery choice".

I won' t go into the ins and outs but, of the NCC scheme C&MC states "Our view is that this scheme has been effective in improving matters .......... [the scheme] verifies capacity by averaging six full charge-to-full-discharge tests .... "

So C&MC are still supporting the NCC Scheme though no detail is given about who does the tests above
useraandncaravan
Posted: 29 August 2018 7:39 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Arthur, thank you.
As the 6 'cycle' test is specifically mentioned in our 'assessment' of the NCC, someone is watching what we write and defending.

That is a good sign they feel they need to!!



useraandncaravan
Posted: 30 August 2018 12:14 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-29 7:39 PM

Arthur, thank you.
As the 6 'cycle' test is specifically mentioned in our 'assessment' of the NCC, someone is watching what we write and defending.

That is a good sign they feel they need to!!





Arthur, thank you again for the Info, I have just been emailed a scan of the page you speak of.
While they do still support the NCC verified scheme, for the first time EVER, there is advice to actually avoid AGM batteries!!
So they ARE reading/listening to our campaign page.


The article states something like :-

"In general, it's probably best to avoid AGM batteries unless you are absolutely sure your charger is suitable, as the otherwise excellent performance counts for little if the performance is compromised through damage by inappropriate charging".


That warning has never before been published by a magazine/club. Even last months MMM big battery articles promoted two AGM's without any warning on charger suitability.


Hopefully that will change and the NCC front page will also start warning people about AGM's?
Another success.


Thank you, I might have missed that if it wasn't for you


This is one man off to bed now, VERY happy.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-30 12:20 AM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 31 August 2018 9:20 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-26 8:59 AM

This thread started with someone worried that discharging their two Habitation area batteries down to 50% seemed to place a big load on the charger when charging them back up, as the charger seemed to run flat out for a while.
A reply came in on a slightly different subject, saying it was ok to use AGM batteries which will try and draw even more charge current and load up the charger even further.
They also advocated that taking AGM's down to 80% DOD, creating a further loading on the charge, was also 'OK'.
We responded saying AGM batteries don't work in motorhomes for all sorts of reasons, not just the above, but primaryily because the typical motorhome environment is alien to their design.


To demonstrate this, I offered Barry/Boris a free 12v diagnostic check on his new Swift built motorhome so we can build a 'Real World' example test case that will demonstrate how the charging voltages at the Habitation area batteries are no where near the 'theoretical' voltages the industry think are being achieved.

With the flawed charging conditions in a motorhome, most AGM batteries will not have the '£200 super life' the industry promise, potentially also damaging the charging systems.


Barry/Boris is now not sure if/when he wants to take up the offer and because of my Cancer, time is short and I can't delay.
So I am asking any one with a late model British built Motorhome to help us with this.

It needs to be a late model vehicle to ensure 'age' related issues don't distort the results, like tarnished connections, etc.




Today we got our chance to take some charging voltages from a 2018 model Rapido with CBE equipment installed. The CBE installation usually performs better than many other charge/controller systems, so a good 'Test Case'.


The customer has asked for a second AGM battery to be installed alongside the awful Platinum AGM already in situ at the back of the vehicle under the fixed bed.


The vehicle has Solar, a poor installation in several ways which was charging the AGM habitation battery at a constant 13.8v. No provision for Solar charging of the Starter battery which was sitting at 12.9v.


With the Fridge off totally, we started the engine.
The Alternator just about raised enough charge to the habitation battery to increase it by 0.1v to 13.9v
Starter battery charging went up to 14.4v confirming a good working Alternator.


We then activated the Fridge on 12v to create a 'normal driving' scenario and the load caused by the Fridge/Freezer resulted in the Starter Battery charge voltage dropping 0.2v down to 14.2v.
The habitation battery charge also dropped to 13.8v.
13.8v is the exact same voltage used by mains chargers to 'trickle' charge a battery.
Engine revs were increased slightly to maximise alternator output. No change to the charge rate.

These are typical 'real world' voltages at the batteries in a real travelling situation.
13.8v is a long, long way off the 14.7v AGM's require.
Very different to the theoretical 14.4v the industry perceive takes place.


Clearly, even a wet acid battery with it's legendary high tolerance to a variety of voltages is not going to charge quickly or fully from this Alternator set-up.

A pair of AGM batteries down at 80% Depth Of Discharge will never get fully/fast charged even on a continuous drive down to Sicily.
Adding a second AGM battery will create even greater loads, potentially dropping the charging voltages further with subsequent slower charging.


The CBE kit was installed ok, but the wiring/connectors were woefully undersized by Rapido, yet still twice as good as most UK built motorhomes.


Tip :
If you Deep discharge a pair of habitation batteries down to 80%, the load created may result in a voltage drop so high, the batteries may hardly charge at all compared to a shallow discharge load had been placed on the Alternator.

Increasing the battery bank size doesn't always increase the battery Ah capacity, unless you stay within the limits.


We would advise the best operation is to stick to quality, efficient wet acid batteries, like the Yuasa L36-EFB and Varta LFD90, and discharge to a MAXIMUM of 50% DOD, ideally only 30% for the best compromise between usefulness and life.


Voltage is the key to good charging, the optimum is to load the alternator as light as you can for maximum charging. Think of it as MPPT Solar charging.

Maybe even leaving the Fridge 'off' for the first 10 miles of the journey to eliminate its load on the wiring.
Avoid AGM batteries.

This page has some idea/tips at the bottom to help optimise charging times, particularly if you wish to raise the battery bank size, see the last section : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/add-a-second-battery.php




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-31 9:46 PM
userarthur49
Posted: 31 August 2018 10:03 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-30 12:14 AM

aandncaravan - 2018-08-29 7:39 PM

Arthur, thank you.
As the 6 'cycle' test is specifically mentioned in our 'assessment' of the NCC, someone is watching what we write and defending.

That is a good sign they feel they need to!!





Arthur, thank you again for the Info, I have just been emailed a scan of the page you speak of.
While they do still support the NCC verified scheme, for the first time EVER, there is advice to actually avoid AGM batteries!!
So they ARE reading/listening to our campaign page.


The article states something like :-

"In general, it's probably best to avoid AGM batteries unless you are absolutely sure your charger is suitable, as the otherwise excellent performance counts for little if the performance is compromised through damage by inappropriate charging".


That warning has never before been published by a magazine/club. Even last months MMM big battery articles promoted two AGM's without any warning on charger suitability.


Hopefully that will change and the NCC front page will also start warning people about AGM's?
Another success.


Thank you, I might have missed that if it wasn't for you


This is one man off to bed now, VERY happy.



No problem Allan
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 1 September 2018 8:11 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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aandncaravan - 2018-08-31 9:20 PM

...Today we got our chance to take some charging voltages from a 2018 model Rapido with CBE equipment installed. The CBE installation usually performs better than many other charge/controller systems, so a good 'Test Case'.

The customer has asked for a second AGM battery to be installed alongside the awful Platinum AGM already in situ at the back of the vehicle under the fixed bed...


Allan

Was it ever explored why the 2018 Rapido motorhome had a Platinum AGM battery under its rear bed?

I could understand Rapido installing under a fixed bed a habitation battery that required no venting, but - if Rapido did do this - I would not have anticipated that the battery would be Platinum-branded.

Historically Rapido has remained faithful to Banner when factory-installing habitation batteries and, consequently, if Rapido had fitted an AGM or gel battery, I would have expected that battery to be a Banner product.

It’s been reported in the past that, when a Chausson dealership receives a motorhome, the vehicle will have no habitation battery pre-fitted. The dealership then has the responsibility for choosing an appropriate battery that will meet the eventual buyer’s requirements or wishes.

However, as far as I’m aware, a Rapido motorhome has always had at least one habitation battery in place when it has left Rapido’s factory in France and that battery has always been Banner-branded.
userspirou
Posted: 1 September 2018 8:19 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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So the cables going to habitation battery are 0.5mm2 or what? How can it possibly drop so much? Mine are anything but ideal but nowhere near so bad
userarthur49
Posted: 1 September 2018 9:02 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Derek Uzzell - 2018-09-01 8:11 AM

Historically Rapido has remained faithful to Banner when factory-installing habitation batteries and, consequently, if Rapido had fitted an AGM or gel battery, I would have expected that battery to be a Banner product.

It’s been reported in the past that, when a Chausson dealership receives a motorhome, the vehicle will have no habitation battery pre-fitted. The dealership then has the responsibility for choosing an appropriate battery that will meet the eventual buyer’s requirements or wishes.

However, as far as I’m aware, a Rapido motorhome has always had at least one habitation battery in place when it has left Rapido’s factory in France and that battery has always been Banner-branded.


Could be Derek that the motorhome was fitted with Banner by Rapido but dealer changed it. That happened to us in Feb this year with Autotrail V-line. We tend to buy from dealer stock and when we first viewed the van it was fitted with a Banner (Energy Bull?) battery. When we picked up van it had a Numax fitted. Dealer told us Banner was knackered as it had run down too far too often ie abused and neglected. (We have 2 x LFD90s now)
useraandncaravan
Posted: 1 September 2018 11:15 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Derk, He has only just replaced the original, he wrote,

"The original battery in place was a banner 95751 which failed and when I checked it all the cells were low on fluid. I hadn't realised it was not maintenance free. It wouldn't hold a charge after that".

He then bought two Platinums, "bargain at £169 each" installed one with an intention to get the other added later.



Spirou, It isn't just the cable length and thickness it is the myriad of connections, relays, control box PCB tracks and other paraphenalia in between. It all takes a toll under high loads.
Just the 19amps load of a Fridge/Freezer is a big enough load to cause voltage drop and even just 0.4v is going to make a BIG difference to the charge rate.


It is typical of what we see.
Run down your own batteries to create a load and do the test on your own van and then tell me what you see, I would be surprised if it isn't approaching 0.5v

The Schaudt Elektroblock EBL 99 of Mr Nash's Burstner we saw just an hour before the Rapido had only a 0.2 v drop in the same test, but this manufacturer 'Group' take the Fridge feed from the Starter battery with all sorts of 'small' but contributory design features, meaning the drop at the Habitation battery is usually much less than the average, but still too low for ideal.

I think the manufacturers (and the B2B manufacturers in their instructions) need to be taking a feed for both charging and Fridge direct from the Alternator via a single run, fat cable all the way to the 12v controller.

Some of the systems still use the basic electrical design of a caravan, adapted for motorhome use, but not optimised. They just haven't get up with the demands of the modern motorhome.



I know, lets ask the Industry body, the NCC, to look at the issue and come up with some recommendations and then verify those with good practise................

Or would that be a bit like the 'Payloads' fiasco being campaigned by Motorhome Fun?


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-01 11:40 AM
userspirou
Posted: 1 September 2018 12:36 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Willing to repeat with logging software, maybe even tomorrow but please let me know exactly what the starting conditions were. What was the leisure and starter battery voltage at start of test?

We have a dometic AES fridge, I presume you want it on max cooling power when on? I will cover the solar panel for the duration.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 1 September 2018 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


aandncaravan - 2018-09-01 11:15 AM

Derk, He has only just replaced the original, he wrote,

"The original battery in place was a banner 95751 which failed and when I checked it all the cells were low on fluid. I hadn't realised it was not maintenance free. It wouldn't hold a charge after that".

He then bought two Platinums, "bargain at £169 each" installed one with an intention to get the other added later...



OK - I just thought it peculiar that a 2018 Rapido would have a Platinum AGM battery.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 1 September 2018 2:38 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-01 12:36 PM

Willing to repeat with logging software, maybe even tomorrow but please let me know exactly what the starting conditions were. What was the leisure and starter battery voltage at start of test?

We have a dometic AES fridge, I presume you want it on max cooling power when on? I will cover the solar panel for the duration.



Derek, I suspect the high fluid loss in an even shorter time than 'normal' failure will be down to the Solar solution, it was very poor. Cheap components, but professionally done.
We have supplied tips so he can address this himself.
To help him with this I am also updating the Solar Power web pages (had chemo yesterday so can't do much today, zonked, but bored) with charts to show how the angle of the sun in the sky, day length power generated, plus comparisons between Aberdeen and Portugal, better show how things pan out.




Spirou, I would isolate Solar a few days before and let the batteries discharge.

The voltages will be whatever they are for your particular vehicle, just ensure the batteries are discharged enough to generate a charge load similar to that after a nights stopover.

So long as the Fridge is 'on' that is all you need, it won't draw more power for being on 'Full'. Many older ones don't even have the thermostat wired in the 12v circuit, more often than not the thermo just functions on Gas and 230v.

Just create conditions as close as you can to your typical 'stopovers' before then 'driving off' and charging everything up. That is when you will be close to the true loadings.


However, bear in mind that in your case, because you have slower charging Gel batteries, which take less current so place a lower load, it may not be the usual AGM/wet loadings, but I would still expect a noticeable voltage drop.




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-01 2:54 PM
userspirou
Posted: 1 September 2018 10:14 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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So the discharge part of the test is finished and the results themselves (see attached current vs voltage chart) are quite interesting on their own. An explanation is in order though.

Data was logged at 5 min intervals from the Victron BMV700 battery computer. The leisure battery is a TAB Motion Gel 125Ah (C20 rating) which we got fresh from the production line on December 2016 (so getting close to 2 years old). Battery was on charge by the solar panel on a dark, rainy day after coming back from a trip last night and NOT fully charged. Starter battery is the original FIAMM and it was at 12.62V when I started the test, will measure again tomorrow before engine starts.

In any case, leisure battery voltage was 13.3V when I covered the solar panel then turned on and plugged in everything I could think off apart from fridge and heating. You will notice the current line (orange) is not a straight line as whatever I plugged in (phone, various lamps, computer via inverter etc.) eventually got charged. All the lights and the radio add up to 4 amps, the rest were variables. There's a bump 1h into the test when current goes to 2A when I turned off some lights by mistake, followed by turning on the inverter to charge the logging computer (7-6A).

@ 2h20min into the test I turned everything off and let the battery rest for half an hour. Then I turned on only 2 lights (0,37A) for another hour and finished logging data after again turning everything off (EBL included) for the night.

But the interesting part, quite possibly somewhat baffling for beginners, comes when you look at the voltage line (blue). It dipped immediately from 13.3V to around 12.8V and effectively continued dropping for the entire discharge until the low point at 12.36V.

However, when discharge current eased mid test, as I mistakenly turned off lights, the voltage went up! As it did when I turned everything off later on. It shot up by 0.3V within a minute after current went to 0 then more gradually to 12,78V when I turned back on just two lights and again the same situation after that second mild discharge. Remember, there was no charging being done in between. This "sponge" behaviour is why voltage is a very, very bad indicator of state of charge while under load or charge conditions and why a battery computer (from Victron, Votronic/Büttner, Nasa Marine, Bogart Engineering, Mastervolt etc.) are a very useful, if not essential tool.

All in all, I discharged by 12.32Ah over about 4h total. For the record, our deepest discharge ever with this battery was 20.19Ah and previous minimum voltage was 12.48V. 10-12Ah is about average discharge level during skiing season for us so it should be representative. I will continue with the charging part of the test as Allan described tomorrow and I'm guessing the resting voltage in the morning will be in the 12.80-12.85V range. Would anyone care to bet?

Edited by spirou 2018-09-01 10:31 PM




(dischargeTest125gel.png)



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Attachments dischargeTest125gel.png (24KB - 232 downloads)
userkevina
Posted: 1 September 2018 11:21 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I'm in the middle of a test on my 5 year old gel batteries which have been heavily used for 4 months annually, half of which whilst on skiing trips using very little hookup.

I disconnnected them 5 days ago whilst reading 12.70v on the multimeter, the only load being a nasa monitor (control panel off and dump valve open). 24 hours later they had risen to 12.77v and they have remained there ever since.

It does indeed seem that the thicker plates in gel batteries have a huge "sponge" effect. I've always been aware that the recharging Ah seemed to fall short of what I'd expect from a supposedly depleted battery at, say, 12.2v (typically use >30Ah per day skiing). If I was able to let the batteries rest long enough without freezing I'd expect a significant recovery.

Disconnect your BMV700 Spirou, and you'll get another dozen or so millivolts!

Edited by kevina 2018-09-01 11:40 PM
userspirou
Posted: 2 September 2018 2:14 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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all I can say is... lesson learned and point taken Allan

First off, resting voltage was 12.83V so my guess yesterday was spot on.

I'm attaching 2 voltage/current charts, one is from the first segment of alternator charging after a night at rest. The second is the entire charging sequence until now. As I didn't see a point in keeping the engine running forever I switched off and hooked up to 230V. Then did two more tests with the engine running later into the charging cycle to see if battery SOC had any significant effect.

I've marked it on the charts but please consider the different logging intervals during engine ON and EHU ON charging.

During the engine ON scenarios I turned on the radio and fridge to load the leisure battery. As you can see it has quite an impact on the current going into the battery, and the voltage is a miserable 13.7-13.9V even after a significant time in absorption while on EHU. Obviously even lower during the first charging phase. In general the difference compared to what EHU was supplying was 0.2-0.3V under no load.

I don't want to bore you with more details but if anyone is unclear about anything regarding my test, just ask.



(chargeTest125GEL.png)



(chargeTest125GELfull.png)



Attachments
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Attachments chargeTest125GEL.png (32KB - 240 downloads)
Attachments chargeTest125GELfull.png (62KB - 243 downloads)
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 4:21 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Spirou, It isn't often I am wrong, I think the last time was at 10:59 03 April 1984........................

Thank you from everyone on the Forum for going to so much trouble, you have hopefully just advanced many peoples knowledge.


Can you see how creating a bigger battery bank by adding batteries, especially AGM's, impacts all charging Alternator and 230v mains to the point they won't charge at all well.
In the case of a couple of big AGM's, just not at all?


That was why I was so impressed with Weldted's very simple, low cost but clever solution that makes such a difference to both Fridge efficiency and battery Alternator charging on the move.


His idea was to connect a small (low cost 650 watt, it should NOT be high power) Inverter to the Starter battery. The 230v output cable runs into the 'Wardrobe' to where the RCD is located.

A cut is made in the cable between the 230v EHU input box and the RCD and a female 16amp connector put onto the EHU input.
The existing RCD connected cable has a Male connector added and so does the new 'Starter; Inverter.
When you want normal EHU you 'reconnect' the female from the EHU inlet to the male going to the RCD.
When you want to 'power the van' from the Starter battery connected Inverter, you just switch 16amp plugs.
It is impossible to connect both Inverter and EHU supplies at the same time.


If you turn off all 230v appliances (except the Fridge) and start/run the engine with the Starter Inverter connected up to power the van 230v circuits by plugging the Inverter 16a plug into 'the RCD', it will be this circuit that runs the Fridge on 230v (no load on the 12v at all so zero drop) and it will be the Starter battery (actually the Alternator) that also now powers the mains 230 charger to charge the habitation batteries.

It won't matter if the Inverter only gets '13.4v' instead of 14.4v, because the charger will still get 230v to charge the batteries at 14.7v or whatever you decide the charger output is.

The Fridge works more effectively on 230v, with thermostat operation so actually now only on 30% of the driving time instead of most vans 100%, 12v time, runs cooler, etc.


In many vans, just as Welted did, you will need to augment the mains charge for optimum performance, I think he bought a Victron, which also had 13.2v long term float charging to further preserve battery life again.

He reports very good results, and you can see that just removing Fridge 12v from the equation has a positive impact.


In my opinion a much better solution to a B2B as it adresses two primary issues and far more flexible, see : https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Technical-Alternator-or-Inverter-charging-/48365/

For example it turns the engine into a more effective short term 'on site generator' as well with almost double the 'generation' power if you optimise the mains chargers, batteries, etc.

The peak load on the Starter battery is only a few amps more than 'in raw 12v mode' so very efficient, when the Fridge reaches 'temperature' on 230v, obviously that load reduces, so the overall loading is less exceeding that of the usual B2B which often creates other issues as the usually bypass the existing vans electrics/control.y .

Obviously if anyone adopts it you should employ a qualified 230v electrician, for maximum safety and all other safety warnings apply.





Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 4:51 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 4:55 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Sorry second to last sentence was wrong, what reads as :

"The peak load on the Starter battery is only a few amps more than 'in raw 12v mode' so very efficient, when the Fridge reaches 'temperature' on 230v, obviously that load reduces, so the overall loading is less exceeding that of the usual B2B which often creates other issues as the usually bypass the existing vans electrics/control".

Should read

The peak load on the Starter battery is only a few amps more than 'in raw 12v mode' so very efficient, when the Fridge reaches 'temperature' on 230v, obviously that load reduces, so the overall loading is less. Exceeding the efficiency of the usual B2B by quite a margin. They can also create other issues as they usually bypass the existing vans electrics/control.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 4:56 PM
userOcsid
Posted: 2 September 2018 4:59 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Now should that inverter be PSW or can you get away with a MSW, just a bit concerned about my rather delicate Schaudt Elektroblock?
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 5:50 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Good point.
Never anything other than Pure Sine Wave in a modern Motorhome where sensitive electronics might be installed, and suggest you go for medium pricing not cheapest.

Generally, PSW Inverters are much better made, even the better ones are not expensive in 650watt sizes and a typical charger takes 300w and a Fridge up to 180w'ish so it shouldn't get overloaded.


No recommendations but something like this 600w (continuous not just peak) 12v :
https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Transformer_Index/Inverters/index.html#Inverters_Pure_SineA

It has 1amp USB charging as well.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 6:18 PM
useraandy
Posted: 2 September 2018 5:51 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Those tests certainly put my "switch things on for a few hours every day for a week and see what's left at the end" approach to shame.

I survived six days off grid, with the batteries down to 12v at the end. The lowest I have previously seen is 12.2v. After a four hour drive home I left the van on hook-up until the readout on the ECU was showing 13.6v and 0amps, at which point I switched off at the socket in the garage and on the ECU. That is my usual routine and, without fail, the reading after 24 hours is always 12.6v. On this occasion the reading was 12.8v and it remains so after a further 24 hours. Is it possible that a slightly deeper than usual discharge has somehow had a beneficial effect, or is it more likely to be a brief rally before they finally give up?

Apologies in advance for what is probably a stupid question, but all I know about batteries is what I've picked up on here (thanks again Allan) and I only understood about half of that.

Andy
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 6:11 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Aandy, that is good going, 6 days shows what can be done if you need to.
.
12v is quite deep for most batteries but you probably have not stressed that particularly battery that much.

While it needs really careful TLC, if it does get the ideal care, they are capable of deeper discharging than many.

In most cases a lead battery will not benefit from being discharged and recharged, it will always lose a little bit of capacity.
Ni-cad batteries can have a memory effect, but Lead batteries always benefit from shallow discharging, unless they have been standing a long time and suffered acid stratification.

However, your 'charging regime' may be relevant? You might not be leaving it on charge long enough. See our web page on how chargers work, http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/how-does-a-charger-work.php because most won't have got 2 big batteries fully charged by the time they drop to 13.8v.
That is how car chargers work.

Motorhome chargers 'boost' for x hours, typically 4, before dropping to 13.8v float, regardless of how 'full' the battery is. It's a safety thing.

Leave it on mains charge at least 4 days after use like you have given it.






Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 6:22 PM
userplwsm2000
Posted: 2 September 2018 6:36 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Sorry to put a spanner in the works to an otherwise good idea, but the thought of running an inverter and EBL charger while the vehicle is in motion is quite scary. It invalidates the EMC testing and certification that would have been considered when the vehicle CofC was produced.

Obviously EBL chargers would have been designed to operate on EHU and not when the vehicle is in motion. These chargers and inverters contain high power and high frequency switching electronics that can generate quite a lot of electrical noise if not designed and connected up properly. There is a small chance these could interfere with ABS, Airbags or other safety critical electronics on the vehicle.

I believe many British vans have an "EMC relay" to disable the habitation electrics when the engine is running for this very reason. Using an inverter to the EBL while traveling will bypass these safety measures.
IMO, the chance of anything going wrong maybe quite small, but the repercussions could be catastrophic.

useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 6:46 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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plwsm2000 - 2018-09-02 6:36 PM

Sorry to put a spanner in the works to an otherwise good idea, but the thought of running an inverter and EBL charger while the vehicle is in motion is quite scary. It invalidates the EMC testing and certification that would have been considered when the vehicle CofC was produced.

Obviously EBL chargers would have been designed to operate on EHU and not when the vehicle is in motion. These chargers and inverters contain high power and high frequency switching electronics that can generate quite a lot of electrical noise if not designed and connected up properly. There is a small chance these could interfere with ABS, Airbags or other safety critical electronics on the vehicle.

I believe many British vans have an "EMC relay" to disable the habitation electrics when the engine is running for this very reason. Using an inverter to the EBL while traveling will bypass these safety measures.
IMO, the chance of anything going wrong maybe quite small, but the repercussions could be catastrophic.




Sorry to disagree, but this whole area is just full of so much inaccurate garbage.
The UK do not do ANY EMC testing AT ALL, they rely on installing kit that has approval before it is fitted.
Ask to see the EMC certificates!!!
It was based on 'legislation' that was out of date before it was even written.

German, Italian, French, Dutch, U.S, etc. built vans do not disable ANY 12v electrical items, it is purely a British thing that is a pain in the neck for everyone, particularly those who WANT/NEED to see how rubbish their Alternator charging is!!!

It is this same terrible adoption by the UK of this phoney EMC 'needing' to disable 12v that has hidden poor alternator charging so long. My pet hate,



12v vehicle electrics on cars and motorhomes have to be SO RESILIENT to all manner of electrical disturbance in the air waves ( like driving past Police radio masts with ultra high power 60 mile power operation, Cell masts, etc) that they have been designed to be bullet proof.

Sorry but that is just scare mongering and it is about time the UK moved with the rest of the World.


Now, being concerned about the Electrical energy from a Nuclear Blast disturbing my ABS is something we should all worry about.....................



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 6:59 PM
useraandy
Posted: 2 September 2018 6:51 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Thanks Allan. It was at 14v+ and around 4 amps for several hours so when it dropped to 13.6 and 0 I assumed it had finished. I had been wary of leaving it on float after reading (and no doubt misunderstanding) one of your earlier posts. I'll put the charger back on now.

We were not in the van very much while away so did not use a lot of power, and with a low consumption Avtex TV (no more than one or two hours a night) and all LED lights I had expected 2x100ah batteries to do rather better. Evidently I was expecting too much of them, so perhaps replacement is not as imminent as I had thought. While I can guestimate the usage on things like TV and lights, high consumption in short bursts items such as water pump and cooker and boiler fans are probably where my calculations fall down.

Andy
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Posted: 2 September 2018 7:10 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-09-02 4:21 PM

In many vans, just as Welted did, you will need to augment the mains charge for optimum performance, I think he bought a Victron, which also had 13.2v long term float charging to further preserve battery life again.



I wondered about this Allan. My van has the basic EC155. I implemented your 'beefed' up wiring and split charge relay recommendation months ago, and now get 14.34v at habitation batteries with engine running, fridge off or on gas.

Now how to beef up charging on EHU? Is the Victron charger above in addition to standard van charger or instead of?

Edited by arthur49 2018-09-02 7:11 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 7:16 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandy - 2018-09-02 6:51 PM

Thanks Allan. Evidently I was expecting too much of them, so perhaps replacement is not as imminent as I had thought. While I can guestimate the usage on things like TV and lights, high consumption in short bursts items such as water pump and cooker and boiler fans are probably where my calculations fall down.

Andy


Andy, Only reliable way we have found to test a Motorhome battery, is listed at the bottom of this web page :
http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/battery-technology.php

If a battery has been 'exhausted' yet has no faults in the plates, i.e no shorts, no sulphation, etc. it can hold a steady voltage for weeks, yet not have any real capacity.



useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 7:37 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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arthur49 - 2018-09-02 7:10 PM

aandncaravan - 2018-09-02 4:21 PM

In many vans, just as Welted did, you will need to augment the mains charge for optimum performance, I think he bought a Victron, which also had 13.2v long term float charging to further preserve battery life again.



I wondered about this Allan. My van has the basic EC155. I implemented your 'beefed' up wiring and split charge relay recommendation months ago, and now get 14.34v at habitation batteries with engine running, fridge off or on gas.

Now how to beef up charging on EHU? Is the Victron charger above in addition to standard van charger or instead of?



Arthur, perfect timing because it shows how few wiring changes you actually need to make to make a big difference,

As you know your EC155 normally has a fixed 13.8v (no variable voltage rate at all) but does vary the current from it's peak 10 or 20 amps downwards depending on spec.


The EC155/160 usually has a charger inside the big metal case, but a standalone Victron mains charger can be wired directly into the EC155 housing so that all functionality remains exactly as before, including switching between the two chargers.
The new Victron charger can be wired so BOTH the existing charger (but mains 230v plug pulled if required so it is temporary non operational) or the Victron can be used.

If a 12v, 2 pin plug is used to wire in the Victron, it can be just pulled from the installation to return it to standard when you sell up.

It is not hard to do, just open the case (watch for ridiculously short cables) and trace the charger 12v output. Splice the Victron output into this.

Take the 230v plug from the 'old' charger and make up something like the photo, with a Surge/Spike 13a Adapter to create a 'Double' 230v socket. See photo.


Control of which charger is operational at a time, is done by juggling the 230v mains inputs. We have seen a Spike/Surge 13a adapter with switches which makes this easier.


That advice also applies to most of the Sargent ECxxx range with a separate/standalone charger.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 7:54 PM




(13a adapter small.jpg)



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userarthur49
Posted: 2 September 2018 7:49 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Thank you Allan. Thats my next 'project' sorted then

Edited by arthur49 2018-09-02 7:50 PM
userplwsm2000
Posted: 2 September 2018 7:57 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-09-02 6:46 PM


Sorry to disagree, but this whole area is just full of so much inaccurate garbage.
The UK do not do ANY EMC testing AT ALL, they rely on installing kit that has approval before it is fitted.
Ask to see the EMC certificates!!!
It was based on 'legislation' that was out of date before it was even written.

German, Italian, French, Dutch, U.S, etc. built vans do not disable ANY 12v electrical items, it is purely a British thing that is a pain in the neck for everyone, particularly those who WANT/NEED to see how rubbish their Alternator charging is!!!


12v vehicle electrics on cars and motorhomes have to be SO RESILIENT to all manner of electrical disturbance in the air waves ( like driving past Police radio masts with ultra high power 60 mile power operation, Cell masts, etc) that they have been designed to be bullet proof.

Sorry but that is just scare mongering and it is about time the UK moved with the rest of the World.


Now, being concerned about the Electrical energy from a Nuclear Blast disturbing my ABS is something we should all worry about.....................




Unfortunately it is not complete garbage but I do think there is a lot of scare stories about and that that British manufacturers are being over cautious.

The reason why UK manufacturers do not do any extra EMC testing is because they don't need to if the habitation electronics is off when the engine is running. As I say, I think they are being over cautious and I would be surprised if German/French manufacturers do any EMC testing either but they probably do a better assessment of the risks (it is not always compulsory to do the testing as a detailed technical assessment can sometimes be done instead)

There are fundamentally two types of interference - radiated and conducted. The police radios, Radar, mobile phone masts etc all radiate RF at high levels and are above 30MHz and are external to the vehicle. Conducted interference is more to do with noise propagated on internal wires and cables and as they are at lower frequencies, they behave quite differently. The noise is generated by electrical devices connected to the internal wiring. When Fiat/Ford etc. ran EMC tests on their base vehicle, they would have used a typical or worse case equipment level, and I am fairly sure they would not have included an inverter, charger, fridge etc. in the test vehicle.
The way that electronics are protected from these two sources use different principles and it is quite possible (and very common in my experience with EMC work) for electronics to be immune to radiated interference and be very poor at conducted interference (and vice versa).

Maybe British motorhome manufacturers should take advise from some EMC specialists and hopefully do away with these "EMC relays". I also think there is no need for them but I am not the one going to jail if they don't do it properly.

https://interferencetechnology.com/toyota-issues-vehicle-recall-due-to-electrical-interference/#
http://www.autoemc.net/Papers/Other/EMC&CJ50_PP_AM.pdf

Edited by plwsm2000 2018-09-02 8:06 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 8:24 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I think the number of people who start their motorhome engine while plugged in to EHU and the ECU lets the engine run ok is pretty much proof just how how robust motorhome 'chassis' 12v are. No CANBUS errors yet, about as sensitive as you can get.


I also think the number of people running a myriad of different TV's, ultra sensitive Sat systems, laptops, WiFi's, microwaves, etc in motorhomes while on EHU or Inverter, etc. are also testament to the lack of interference from standard devices shows it isn't a risk.


Sorry, but the 'Going to jail' just reinforces the scare mongering approach taken.




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 8:44 PM
userspirou
Posted: 2 September 2018 8:25 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I probably won't be doing this dual charger modification but I'm just trying to figure this out. If I understand correctly you just wire them in parallel on the output and input side but how do you switch the inputs other than manually unplugging one, hoping you took out the one not supplying the sockets with 230V but the one wired only to battery? Also, won't they be interfering with each other?

Lets say one has a 2h timer, the other 8. One a 13.8V float, the other 13.2V. It seems a bit convoluted. I know Schaudt makes extra chargers for larger battery banks so those are trully plug&play if your base EBL is already a Schaudt but I'd be a bit hesitant to mix them up across brands. Just a feeling, nothing else.

I've noticed that thread with starter battery inverter as pseudo EHU before but haven't really looked into it. At first look seems quite an undertaking to make that conversion if you don't plan for it in the first place. While doing the test today I tried, but couldn't figure out an easy way to upgrade to heavier wiring and that's not even my first priority on the list of things to fix. Batteries at opposing ends of the van pretty much include ripping out some furniture and trim, or wires stuck somewhere midway as you try to pull them through.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 8:37 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-02 8:25 PM

I probably won't be doing this dual charger modification but I'm just trying to figure this out. If I understand correctly you just wire them in parallel on the output and input side but how do you switch the inputs other than manually unplugging one, hoping you took out the one not supplying the sockets with 230V but the one wired only to battery? Also, won't they be interfering with each other?



I don't think anyone in the world would run a 1980's design charger alongside one designed last year, but keeping them both in place keeps everything original which is important to some, and easy return to a single charger.

It allows them to be tested in isolation once in a while and gives future flexibility should one fail.

You don't need to switch inputs/outputs, if it has no 230v going in, it's just dead.

It also means that Sargent won't kick off if you have to send them the ECxxx housing for repair and there is a Cuckoo in there.

You are fortunate to have a 'real' charger, one of the best, not everyone in the UK is.

So if it easier to leave both 'operational but controllable, it's silly not to.


Sorry if I sound grumpy, I am.
In a lot of discomfort tonight,


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 8:52 PM
useraandy
Posted: 2 September 2018 8:59 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-09-02 7:16 PM

aandy - 2018-09-02 6:51 PM

Thanks Allan. Evidently I was expecting too much of them, so perhaps replacement is not as imminent as I had thought. While I can guestimate the usage on things like TV and lights, high consumption in short bursts items such as water pump and cooker and boiler fans are probably where my calculations fall down.

Andy


Andy, Only reliable way we have found to test a Motorhome battery, is listed at the bottom of this web page :
http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/battery-technology.php

If a battery has been 'exhausted' yet has no faults in the plates, i.e no shorts, no sulphation, etc. it can hold a steady voltage for weeks, yet not have any real capacity.





That's pretty much what I did a couple of weeks back. Resting voltage dropped by 0.4 after taking around 60 amps so, with 60-70% of their nominal capacity remaining, the batteries would appear to be knackered. From what you've said about my charging regime it may be that they were not fully charged at the start of the test, but as I've been doing it that way for some time that in itself has probably damaged them.

I have no problem replacing anything that needs replacing, but really hate waste and was reluctant to dump them until I was sure they were past it. I'll be replacing them with EFBs, so as I invariably use EHU in winter I can hang on to them until the spring, by which time, hopefully, EFBs will be more readily available.

Andy
userspirou
Posted: 2 September 2018 9:29 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Everyone gets grumpy, most others without a proper excuse so don't appologize.

Lets for example say I'd want to add a victron bluesmart charger on top of the schaudt EBL and I want to keep all the existing functionality of the EBL, except ability to charge the battery on EHU. I just don't see if that would work, at least not without manual switching between units? Which wouldn't work for other family members, it would need to be failsafe. Or would it be as easy as just unplugging the 230V input to schaudt and hooking it up to victron? I suspect the 230V sockets around the van don't go through the EBL?

All just academic thought experiment, not considering it in reality.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 11:45 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-02 9:29 PM

Lets for example say I'd want to add a victron bluesmart charger on top of the schaudt EBL and I want to keep all the existing functionality of the EBL, except ability to charge the battery on EHU. I just don't see if that would work, at least not without manual switching between units? Which wouldn't work for other family members, it would need to be failsafe. Or would it be as easy as just unplugging the 230V input to schaudt and hooking it up to victron?

All just academic thought experiment, not considering it in reality.



Spirou, Yes that is exactly what happens and Schaudt provide the kit for it.

The Schaudt LAS1218 auxillary charger below is designed as an 'Add on' to the Schaudt Elektroblock range and is designed to be utilised if the battery bank is raised above a single 90Ah battery.
It is this unit that is the bulk of the cost for the 380€ cost of a second battery that Hymer charge if you specify that option.
But because the Dealers fit the second battery they rarely fit the second charger.

It comes with a full cable set to plug into an EBL 208 like your or any EBL 99, etc. but if you don't have a cable set, then make one up, which is what I suggested to Arthur, that allows you to switch manually by controlling the 230v into the chargers.

If you look closely at the UK spec 13a/230v adapter in the second photo (it may not a be familiar in Solvenia so might seem a bit 'odd') that I suggested Arthur make up, you will see it has multiple 230v outlets, but it turns the usual 230v feed into the front of an EBL 208/EBL99 into a multiple feed for 2 chargers.

The second photo below shows one of these 230v Spike/Surge adapters (a sort of OVP01 equivalent) with multiple switches so you can power all or none, etc.

In the case of the standard EBL 208 and LAS128 working together, they do it just perfectly and continuously reducing charge times and loadings.

Using two very different technology chargers can be an issue, but just think about your vehicle. It has Alternator and Solar at the same time, Mains and Solar at the same time, etc


A Schaudt EBL 208 and a Victron coupled into the EBL 208 front 2 pin charger port, just for this purpose, would work really well. When you want to de-activate the EBL 208 inbuilt charger, so the Victron can control 13.2v float, just turn off its 230v at the Spike/Adapter.

The EBL doesn't control 230v power, that is done via a separate RCD, keeping them separate is safer.
One thing I don't understand In the UK we get paranoid about reverse polarity but then put 12v AND 230v distribution wiring all in the same metal Power controller/charger cabinet.




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-03 12:14 AM




(Schaudt LAS1218 small.jpg)



(13a Plug Surge.png)



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userarthur49
Posted: 2 September 2018 11:47 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-02 8:25 PM
While doing the test today I tried, but couldn't figure out an easy way to upgrade to heavier wiring and that's not even my first priority on the list of things to fix. Batteries at opposing ends of the van pretty much include ripping out some furniture and trim, or wires stuck somewhere midway as you try to pull them through.


I'm no expert but to beef up wiring in accordance with Allan's recommendation I found to be a piece of cake. The worst bit was lying flat under the van getting the 25sqmm wiring from front to back (starter to hab battery), because my blood pressure meds make me light headed when I try to get up . No need to rip out furniture etc. Just out through the floor - I used a pre-existing large vent - then in through the plastic box in which the starter battery sits (and convoluted conduit for external wiring)
I did have to figure out a way to disable EC155 split charge relay but that wasn't too difficult

Edited by arthur49 2018-09-02 11:57 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 3 September 2018 7:40 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-02 8:25 PM


I've noticed that thread with starter battery inverter as pseudo EHU before but haven't really looked into it. At first look seems quite an undertaking to make that conversion if you don't plan for it in the first place.



People add Inverters to the habitation area battery all the time to power a hair dryer, etc. easy to do.
Bad idea to use the habitation area battery, in my view, but easy.

In it's basic form, Weldteds idea is just a small Inverter connected to the STARTER battery driving the Fridge and mains charger, that is it.

Imagine fitting an Inverter to the Starter battery then run the Inverter 230v output cable to a new 'Inverter only' powered 13a socket (or maybe Schuko socket in your case?) next to the Fridge which you use for the Fridge when driving.
Just pull the Fridge mains plug from the 'EHU' socket and plug into the 'Inverter socket' before you start your journey.

What could be simpler?

Same for the mains charger 230v input.


My 'better way' of running the 'Starter Inverter' 230v output direct to the RCD using 16amp EHU style male female connectors allows all 230v circuits in the vehicle to run from the small Inverter and powered by the engine as an efficient emergency 'generator', that will actually get some decent charge into the battery.

That is all it is. It doesn't alter any 12v control charging, introduce maintenance issues, battery overcharging, or any of the usual problems caused by a B2B installation that can affect long term reliability.


It is an especially brilliant, cheap mod for those with a Camper van using those Amp Hour guzzling 12v Compressor Fridge's.
With a good charger and battery set-up, just 25 mins engine run time can not only get a Waeco Coolmatic 65 down to 'Cold' but put in decent emergency charge into the battery, even in mid winter when Solar doesn't provide any usable power.

For more on this specific problem with 12v compressor Fridges, and how to improve their usability, see the new web page (still under construction) : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/compressor-fridge-12v.php



Spirou and Arthur, there is so much good stuff in this thread, please can I use it on the web site?

You can dictate content, full control.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-03 7:46 AM
userspirou
Posted: 3 September 2018 8:27 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Use whatever you wish. I can also supply the raw data logs (CSV) if you want to work on them yourself. My quick annotations could definitely use some work to clarify a few things. Not sure how people understood the different logging intervals, probably better to word it as duration of that particular segment.

So... if you'd like to use the charts, I really want to fix a few things
userarthur49
Posted: 3 September 2018 9:18 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-09-03 7:40 AM

Spirou and Arthur, there is so much good stuff in this thread, please can I use it on the web site?

You can dictate content, full control.



Use anything you want Allan. All the best ....
userspirou
Posted: 3 September 2018 10:08 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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One comment regarding the compressor fridge page... the thing people seem to forget is that you have to park in the sun to get the most out of a solar panel. But parking in the sun, in temperatures above ~25°C will be a nightmare to anyone inside the MH. Not to mention it will increase the load on the fridge as you increase the ambient temperature even further inside that mobile greenhouse.

Granted, it's not a situation most brits will be familiar with even in mid summer

Essentially, a solar panel has a very similar average yield winter or summer precisely because of the shade seeking nature of summer trips in warmer temperatures. Attached is our solar panel yield chart for the past almost 3 years. The absolute numbers are irelevant so I removed them from the chart, the shape says it all.

In our case with the 120W panel we have an average yield of 64Wh per day. This obviously includes days parked at home, on EHU, driving etc. when solar doesn't need to work and you can see it on the chart how the numbers jump up when the van is in use vs. at home. I'm not feeling up to calculating exactly how the average changes if I include only days on off grid trips but typically it's 10-40Wh when parked and the battery is just being maintained and 100-300Wh when out in winter or summer.

The maximum power chart does show more seasonal variation but also not as much as one might think. Again, I prefer having a cool van rather than maximum power so look for the shade.



(SolarYield.png)



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userweldted
Posted: 3 September 2018 9:31 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Seeing my system has come up in these posts, a couple of points to note.

The inverter is a 1000 watt cont 2000 peak pure sine wave. The only circuits on when driving are the inverter to power the charger and 240 volt to the fridge. The habitation electrics are disabled whilst driving same as they have always been from new by the factory fitted relay working on the D+ signal from the alternator. On my Elddis the mains ehu socket is recessed in a locker next to no1 battery. There is room for the fly lead from the inverter to be kept in this locker even when site electrics ehu is being used. When not on hook up the fly lead is plugged into the ehu socket. This system means the two mains power sources cannot be connected at the same time. This inverter easily powers the 800 watt microwave for around ten mins without bringing the starter battery to below 40% DOD if needed for longer just run the engine. I have fitted a latching relay to disable the battery charger when parked up so the engine battery through the inverter is not trying to charge the leisure battery with the engine off when the engine is running there is a signal from the d+ terminal that cancels the latching relay to allow the leisure batteries to be charged.
I would note that I am a qualified electrician and have extensive knowledge of both ac and dc systems.
All circuits a fuse protected if in doubt please consult one before altering any wiring.
userweldted
Posted: 4 September 2018 8:24 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Photos of ehu locker with mains supply connected, inverter supply lead disconnected
Sorry had to send two posts.




Edited by weldted 2018-09-04 8:33 AM




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userweldted
Posted: 4 September 2018 8:38 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Ehu locker with inverter fly lead connected. With the ehu socket in this recessed locker it enables me to travel with no external leads or additional switch gear required. Also fitted /VICTRON-Blue-Smart-BlueTooth-12V-IP22-BATTERY-CHARGER-15-30A-1 this is fitted with a separate mains socket so either charger can be used in practice the original is off and new one on. But as away for long periods and as not much weight involved original left in place as a back up. By connecting the inverter this way it allows all the 240 volt sockets to be available not forgetting the limitations of the inverter power and battery capacity.
Having had my securimotion regulator fail high up on the way to Andorra we were able to run the Alde heating on 1kw whilst travelling to get a new regulator to protect the boiler -12 c and make a hot drink from the cookers hotplate (not both at the same time) in the several trips away no noticable effect has been noted re fuel consumption.

Edited by weldted 2018-09-04 8:49 AM




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userspirou
Posted: 10 September 2018 9:29 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I took a quick look at our wiring between starter and leisure battery yesterday evening and it might be possible to rip things apart and rewire through existing conduit (hoping wires don't get stuck midway).

The two most problematic wires are already 6mm2 as per Schaudt EBL installation diagram yet there's still a ~0.3V drop in those 5-6m of wire. Interestingly however, the WA121525 booster (B2B) manual has those same connections at 10-16mm2. As it's not an expensive device I might choose to go that route to keep things simple. It would also solve my battery combiner issue as it connects on D+ signal, rather than battery voltage since my leisure battery resting voltage is above the disconnect setting thus keeping them connected until I do it manually with a switch.

There's a caravan show happening this week and I'm tempted to go there armed with a voltmeter and measure a few things
useraandncaravan
Posted: 10 September 2018 11:05 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-10 9:29 AM

I took a quick look at our wiring between starter and leisure battery yesterday evening and it might be possible to rip things apart and rewire through existing conduit (hoping wires don't get stuck midway).

The two most problematic wires are already 6mm2 as per Schaudt EBL installation diagram yet there's still a ~0.3V drop in those 5-6m of wire. Interestingly however, the WA121525 booster (B2B) manual has those same connections at 10-16mm2. As it's not an expensive device I might choose to go that route to keep things simple. It would also solve my battery combiner issue as it connects on D+ signal, rather than battery voltage since my leisure battery resting voltage is above the disconnect setting thus keeping them connected until I do it manually with a switch.

There's a caravan show happening this week and I'm tempted to go there armed with a voltmeter and measure a few things




Spirou, A lot of the batteries taken to the shows are older stock which they sell cheaper to offload them. Get your voltmeter on some of those, you might be surprised how low the volts are on some.






Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-10 11:19 AM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 10 September 2018 11:38 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I should have attached a State Of Charge chart to the above so you can see what the batteries actually are versus what they should be, but only just thought about it, sorry.

So below is a chart from Yuasa showing how different technology have different SOC's, Powerframe, AGM and Gel are generally up near 13v but conventional batteries are about 12.6v.

The second chart is from AtlasBx/Hankook for their more conventional construction batteries, but the figures pretty much match that of Yuasa Yu.

Most of the SOC charts you find are way out of date for modern batteries, and used by Dealers to their advantage!!




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-10 11:42 AM




(Battery Yuasa state of Charge Chart.jpg)



(Atlasbx battery SOC small.jpg)



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userBillggski
Posted: 10 September 2018 4:10 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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MMM magazine today looks like it's going to open up another can of worms, with four examples of lithium ferrous installations!
userspirou
Posted: 10 September 2018 5:35 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Was just thinking about LiFePO lately but from a slightly different point of view as before.

With more manuacturers fitting lithium as standard (or option) on new MHs, and quite a lot of people trading their rides every few years, the batteries will become a very nice subsidy to the next owner as I doubt anyone will pay ~1000 €/£ extra on a used van because of the battery. Unless you are very good at sales or taking the battery with you to the next one

There's also the uncertainty of what you're getting with a used van now including an unknown state of a very expensive battery. You probably won't change it just to be on the safe side.

And in case the batteries really live up to their claimed lifetime of several 1000 cycles, they could realistically outlive the life of the base vehicle.

Just some thoughts...
userspirou
Posted: 12 September 2018 8:52 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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So I went to the show today, digging through lockers of every van I found. There were Adria/Sunliving, Carthago (no vans obviously), Hymer and a bunch of smaller local PVC converters. This was not a MH show, just side event, so not too much to see.

All of them had compressor fridges of various sizes/ brands and Schaudt 208 EBL. Most of them placed it under driver seat with the leisure battery under passenger seat, and a few with everything in the back left corner under the bed. Where fitted, there was Schaudt LRM solar regulator. The worst case was one company that obviously just started with their own PVCs and that one had 2,5mm2 cables everywhere (even where wiring instructions clearly say 6mm2) and a 100Ah Varta AGM battery right next to a truma combi heater. No wall or anything between them, nice and toasty. Oh, and a big compressor fridge. But that's OK, it had a 150W panel on the roof The guy I talked to had no idea what I was trying to explain to him about temperature impact on battery life and voltage drop over small cross section, long wires. He just went back to: "Varta AGM is great stuff, 800 cycles..."

I prodded anyone on staff that cared to talk to me why all the compressor fridges when they have tiny 70-100Ah batteries, some not even a solar panel. None seemed to believe it might be an issue. The reason most often given was the lesser impact of outside temperature on cooling. Obviously then, a majority of owners never go off EHU and they couldn't stand having their beer slightly less cold.

I only dug into the PVCs because I have an idea of where to look, I was completely lost in the Carthagos and Adria Sonics. Also didn't look into the Adria & Hobby caravans, Tischer "backpacks" or VW California vans that were around.

I was occasionally eavesdropping on other people looking inside and none had any technical questions. They were looking exclusively at the furniture. Someone even asked and couldn't understand why I'm more interested in whatever is under the bed, than the bed itself

In the end, an interesting experience and a lesson. The more expensive the MH, the harder it is to find the equipment that runs it. And even when you find it, access is severely limited.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 12 September 2018 11:10 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Spirou, That was good timing as this morning, Dave brought back his Rapido that wouldn't achieve more than a 13.8v Alternator charge at the Platinum AGM Leisure battery.
It was back for surgery to have the AGM removed, two Varta LFD90 wet batteries installed and minor changes to the wiring to try and improve the charge rate on Alternator.

There was no room below the floor at the rear to add the second battery plus the battery was so far back it must have been having a significant effect on the rear axle loading. It was therefore decided to use the existing battery compartment as a 'Safe' and install two new batteries as far forward as possible below the bed, just above the axle and literally right in front of the CBE units.

You can see from the photos just how much excess wiring we removed, probably about 3 metres?.
This along with replacing the single AGM with 2 x Varta LFD90's, plus other minor changes, raised the Alternator charge at the habitation batteries from the previous 13.8v to 14.1v WITH the Fridge running on 12v.

Not perfect for wet batteries and still damaging for AGM's, but with the Varta's this would result in much faster and complete charging than before and more efficient Fridge operation.


While I altered the wiring, Dave, the owner, replaced the very inferior single battery solar regulator for a Votronic MPPT 165, which interestingly he got from Raodpro at around £80.


To allow the Votronic to charge both Habitation area battery and the Starter battery, I took a wiring tail from the Starter battery stud on the DS-xxx.

See the last photo (extracted from the web as I forgot to take one and while not the same as today's shows the position of the Starter battery stud in question).
This Stud is on the far right, Blue Cable, and if you were running a new cable directly from the Alternator, it is also this same stud you would wire to if you wished to minimise voltage drop further.





Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-12 11:28 PM




(Rapido Rear battery 1 small.jpg)



(Rapido Rear battery 4 small.jpg)



(CBE DS 300 wiring small.jpg)



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useraandncaravan
Posted: 14 September 2018 9:18 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Very interesting customer today with a Swift motorhome purchased in Feb 2018 who has suffered three mains charger Sargent PX300 failures. All replaced under warranty, but with no explanation from the Dealer as to why they failed.

The owner had read this thread and asked if they could pay for an assessment like we offered Boris. So they came to see if we could identify the cause and high light any problems that might be at the root of the failures.

The Motorhome owner arrived yesterday at the Camp site we work from and stayed overnight. We had asked the owner to load up the 12v (without EHU) to simulate their usual 'Off grid' stopover. We then intended to simulate a short drive to a site for Water/Toilet emptying and then mains EHU to recharge the batteries.

We asked details about how the vehicle is used and then went through every thing on the vehicle.


The battery bank is made up of two Golf Buggy Yuasa REC80Ah-12 AGM batteries, not dissimilar to the single Golf buggy YU-POWER YPC100 battery fitted in Boris's vehicle reported above.

After a chat about the problems this morning, we first asked them to start the engine so we could check the Alternator charging voltages.

The Alternator charge voltage in 'driving mode' with the Fridge running from 12v was worse than usual. An abysmal 13.3v, we suspected because of the extra load that 2 AGM's impose, creating further voltage drop over the usual wet batteries 'half current load'.

We saw just 7 amps going into the batteries so the value of driving on Alternator was just about useless and exactly the kind of under charge that will fail an AGM prematurely.

The loading issue was confirmed when we cut the load by half by removing one of the AGM batteries and the charge voltage rose to 13.6v.

We then turned off the engine to connect EHU so we could monitor the PX300 charger at work.

I had expected the AGM batteries to suck the life out of the charger because they were down at 12.3v when we started the test, but what we saw over the next 2 hours even surprised me.
The charger ran so hot under the load,it was still flat out at the end of an hour.


If you go back to the very first Post by Aandy, you will note that the Wet battery charge rate of his Banners, reduced from 'flat out' down to 15amps after 5 minutes and further reduced to 8amps after 2 hours.
This poor poor charger was trying to put back close on 100Ah that had been taken out of the two batteries and the AGM's were demanding it 'NOW'.

These Golf Buggy AGM batteries were trying to draw about twice the normal current the PX300 is designed for and it was clearly struggling.
The PX300 is quite a few years old and the latest version has not had any upgrade to cope with AGM batteries.

We think that is why the owner is on his third Sargent PX300 charger, it just isn't designed to cope with the massive extra current load from an AGM battery bank.

However, the owner explained that when he took delivery he was told by the Dealer the batteries could be discharged down to 80%, and so he does, hence us seeing 12.3 at start of the test!!

When the Sargent PX300 load is doubled the load is going to be an issue on what isn't the strongest of designs.
But then to double it again by discharging below a normal wet batteries max 50% DOD, right down to the 'Dealers' assured 80%, has surely got to be a no hope situation?

To those who say, "a good muli stage charger should cope", I would ask them to show me a Good multi stage Motorhome charger. The Sargent PX300 is not a Victron.


It seems that Swift are now installing these AGM Golf buggy batteries as standard, but we need to do more research to confirm that.
Note that these batteries are not labelled up or described as Leisure batteries, which Sargent say in their manual are essential, but are -
"Commonly used in Alarm Systems, Golf Trolleys, wheelchairs, Emergency Lighting, Ride on Toys, Torches, UPS systems and other electrical systems".

If it is the case that they are standard Swift fitment, and not just random Dealer install, then Swift and Yuasa have not thought this through or learned anything from Hymers disastrous foray with AGM's 4 years ago.

Note that the standard fit Solar regulator was poor quality and not optimised for AGM's either.


It was a bit of a Eureka moment for me, as while I knew (and actually documented this behaviour above that AGM's had this effect) I had not witnessed it in such a controlled way or actually thought it back to a direct impact on the mains charger, yet that now seems obvious in hindsight.


We have documented what we found for the owner and advised him to go back to Swift with our findings to identify what they believe is the issue and solution, because sure as Eggs is Eggs, that third charger is on borrowed time and so are the batteries.



We would strongly suggest that any one with a Swift and these Golf Buggy AGM batteries does not discharge the AGM's more than about 25%, and ideally runs only a single AGM battery bank.

Alternatively look to a 30amp+ Victron Energy charger (try Roadpro) that IS optimised for AGM's (both Current and the right voltages AND the correct 13.2v storage float.
Also get remedial work done on the Alternator charging system, which is probably more crucial for most than the 230v mains charger.
Aim for an Alternator charge rate that is at least 14.3v, even better fully AGM optimised for both AGM1 and AGM2 charge profiles.


It is something Swift should have sorted before moving to AGM batteries, so maybe try and get them to put things right?


When Hymer and Banner did exactly the same thing 4 years ago, they initially fobbed off customers with "they will be fine on a Gel setting".
They weren't, the batteries failed prematurely and it cost them thousands in rushing through AGM optimised chargers.
Only in the last year have Hymer addressed the Alternator charge problem, which to be fair was at least close to 14.4v, not the awful 13.3v we saw today with discharged batteries and Fridge on 12v.

However, we now know that the much hyped at the time Hynmer/Banner AGM batteries, never were suitable for the application anyway, just as we reported back then.


Now that everyone is moving to the more appropriate EFB technology, maybe the easiest/best solution for Swift motorhome owners is to put in real Leisure batteries and sell the Swift ones on eBay?




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-14 9:33 PM
userspirou
Posted: 15 September 2018 6:49 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Just checking, have you ever had contact with motorhome manufacturers and their electrical departments? Educating the public seems a much harder job than the 100 or so companies. Although they are unlikely to change unless demanded by customers (extra cost and such) it still seems, by my limited contacts with various small van converters, that they aren't any wiser than their customers and have no idea why whatever they did is not correct. The dealers are probably even worse because they only care about selling and money.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 15 September 2018 8:15 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-15 6:49 AM

Just checking, have you ever had contact with motorhome manufacturers and their electrical departments? Educating the public seems a much harder job than the 100 or so companies. Although they are unlikely to change unless demanded by customers (extra cost and such) it still seems, by my limited contacts with various small van converters, that they aren't any wiser than their customers and have no idea why whatever they did is not correct. The dealers are probably even worse because they only care about selling and money.




Spirou, No real contact with any manufacturers and with my Oncologist saying I only have months left, it's not a challenge I want to take on.
BUT if anyone out there has any influence we would love to see :

1. Fiat/Renault/Citroen/Ford, etc fitting a new Fat (minimum 40mm/300amps) Earth strap (Grey Colour) from the Alternator body to Chassis then onto the Starter Battery Negative.
This will not only provide a first class, low voltage drop path for charging, but also address almost all the existing Earth issues suffered by most vehicles and often the cause of low charging volts on many 5+ year old vehicles.

2. An Orange Alternator B+ Feed (minimum 40mm/300amps) to the Starter Battery with two dedicated 'take off' points for Motorhome converters. One fused at 200amps for Habitation area battery charging and a 25amp dedicated take off for the Fridge supply.
An Alternator D+ trigger point in the same location would also make it easy for Converters and get rid of the need for VSR's.


I would like to see Orange become the new standard colour used by Converters/Motorhome builders for Alternator charging and the Fridge feed cable colour in Yellow with Green Stripes. D+ in Yellow.


Motorhome Converters should then use a minimum 35mm for all Positive and Negative cabling from Starter Battery to Habitation battery cabling with decent sized connectors through Power Control/Charger assemblies.
Many of the existing Power controller/Charger units use Copper PCB Tracks and connectors that, even if the cable was adequate, are far too low rated. They are often rated solely on the current they have to pass, not voltage drop.


And while I am at it, I would love for the UK to adopt the safer Continental practice of keeping 230v and 12v separate, not put both the RCD/230v and 12v distribution in the same cabinet.
Maybe 230v enclosures in Motorhomes/Caravans to be Plastic, not metal.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-15 8:31 AM
userKeithl
Posted: 15 September 2018 9:49 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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aandncaravan - 2018-09-15 8:15 AM

2. An Alternator B+ Feed (minimum 40mm/300amps) to the Starter Battery with two dedicated 'take off' points for Motorhome converters. One fused at 200amps for Habitation area battery charging and a 25amp dedicated take off for the Fridge supply.
An Alternator D+ trigger point in the same location would also make it easy for Converters and get rid of the need for VSR's.



Mercedes almost do this in that they offer an option called "EK1 TERMINAL STRIP FOR ELECTRICAL CONNECTION" which includes three terminals for body builders to connect to. I'll attach a photo of a 2007 on.

aandncaravan - 2018-09-15 8:15 AM

2. An Orange Alternator B+ Feed (

I would like to see Orange become the new standard colour used by Converters/Motorhome builders for Alternator charging and the Fridge feed cable colour in Yellow with Green Stripes. D+ in Yellow.



Allan, the only problem here is that Orange is the standard colour for HV cables on Hybrids and Electric vehicles so could cause confusion with emergency services and the like.I would suggest you find an alternative colour or some means of identification.

Keith.



(NCV3 EK1 Terminals r.jpg)



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userspirou
Posted: 15 September 2018 1:20 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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While on the subject... Where can I conveniently get D+ on an x250?
userDeneb
Posted: 15 September 2018 2:16 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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If your van has the factory conversion socket 15 pin connector behind the offside B pillar, there is a connection point there. I am away from home at the moment, so don't have access to the relevant documents, but you will find the information in the X250 eLearn or Training manuals which are both online - searchable.

The D+ is a pull to earth connection, I think on pin 13 or 15. There is a positive ignition controlled supply I think on pin 2. Use a relay with the switched earth connected to the D+ trigger pin and the supply and switch positive both from pin 2. You will then have a 12v feed when the relay earth is switched by the D+ switched earth at the socket (pin 13 I think, but check first).

Terminals for the 15 pin "Mate N Lock" socket are available on eBay, as are the connector blocks if required, although my van came with the empty plug block sitting in the socket.
userveletron
Posted: 15 September 2018 6:06 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Why do manufacturers run such poxy cable for battery charging? It should be clear from the outset that the voltage drop over that length of poxy cable would result in a poor user experience. I know its cost+payload, but really, £50K+ for such poor engineering? That cable should have been at least 4AWG and preferably 2AWG given the distance.

The same is true of fridge wiring. 14.4V at D+, ~12.5V at the element all due to running cable that cant cope with the 200W load without a huge voltage drop - all this leads to is a fridge that wont cool properly on 12V and thus a poor user experience for the sake of maybe £5 and under half a kilo for appropriate cabling!

My van was the same, I ended up re-wiring everything, but I shouldn't have to!

Nigel
useraandncaravan
Posted: 15 September 2018 8:04 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-15 1:20 PM

While on the subject... Where can I conveniently get D+ on an x250?


Spirou, I think you said you had a Schaudt Elektroblock EBL208 installed, if so you will find D+ at pin 22 which is set aside for technicians to use for driving the retraction of Satelite systems and such like.



Keith, Yes I like the Merc 'option' setup, but it is usually under the right hand seat, with the disadvantage of extra connectors and 'thin' cable and a longer run than straight from the Starter Battery.
The Merc option is not that different to the UK built vans that have a takeoff from the right hand dashboard down and across to the right hand door pillar.
But the cable run actually begins at the Starter Battery under the passenger feet on the left hand side, up to the Dash, along to the right hand dash side. Back down to the floor by the door Pillar, etc. Probably a wasted 2.5 metre cable run in 'thin' cable with about 5 different connectors?

To make it worse a UK Sargent Power Controller/charger often sits up high in an overhead cupboard, so the battery feed then runs back up from the base of the door pillar to the roof and then back down again to the batteries at ground level. You couldn't create a poorer design if you tried.


The best we have seen was a Burstner with the 12v electronics/power controller under the passenger seat just 2 feet from the starter battery with the habitation batteries under the Drivers seat, everything that is cable length critical was in close proximity.



I don't think the battery industry is aware just how bad some of these installations are or the impact they will have in destroying batteries that are not super tolerant of poor charging, etc.

One thing AGM's are not, is tolerant, but Wet acid batteries have a long history of proving that tolerance is one thing they have in spadefuls.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-15 8:23 PM
userspirou
Posted: 15 September 2018 9:54 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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That's just the thing... whoever did our van wiring was an idiot who couldn''t read the wiring diagrams supplied with the EBL208. He wired the "D+" pin from the starter battery (via VSR) which meant the EBL was nearly always drawing 0.4A in standby mode. We've since replaced it with a somewhat crude solution of wiring it off the rear light cluster. Since lights are on when the engine is running it works. But if I do get to work on rewiring the cables to leisure batteries and installing a B2B I would like to use a real D+ wherever it's needed.

Now that I think about it, I never checked how he wired the stairs to retract with ignition on.

The electrician in question got fired within months if not weeks. Our van was one of the few he worked on and I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did. When we took the van back a few times the new electricians did fix a few things but these were again just improvised solutions that didn't resolve the core issues. I've looked at several of their newer vans, also this week at the show, and I did notice improvements but still not as good as it could/should be. The conversations there prompted my question regarding educating companies rather than buyers. They simply didn't see any issues even when I pointed them out. Granted they probably weren't electricians but sales people however the designs and solutions suggest this is an industry wide lack of understanding.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 16 September 2018 8:00 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Spirou, It is a wide spread issue across many vehicles from around the World, but some manufacturers pay more attention to detail than others.

While poor Alternator charging design will clearly have a major impact on the end result, this has come to a 'serious' head because a change in the loadings placed on those systems, which while not even vaguely efficient in many cases, have at least been safe while wet batteries are being used.

Fitting AGM batteries in motorhomes can be like installing an exploding bomb on a timer, literally, which I don't think many fully appreciate.

We have established the charging systems are worse than average on UK built motorhomes, so unsuitable for AGM batteries.
Veletron, for whom I have huge respect for his electrical and motorhome knowledge, yourself and many others have established that as fact.
By moving from Wet batteries that are super tolerant of any old Alternator charge rate above 13.5v to intolerant AGM batteries has introduced an element of danger that I think might be better not side tracked by manufacturers installs?

Now we have seemingly broad acceptance that the charging systems are severely flawed, may I now reiterate the danger aspect, because in all the replies, both on here and the Swift forum, it doesn't seem to have been acknowledged?


Why are AGM's more dangerous?
AGM batteries are from a group called Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries where a valve is inserted into the 'Vent' at the top of the battery to keep them pressurised internally. One industrial AGM battery we are aware of has a vent pressure close to 30 PSI, but the norm is only a few PSI.
This raised internal pressure helps to recombine any Hydrogen/Oxygen back into water which then drips back into the battery cells.

It is universally acknowledged that AGM batteries are more prone to 'Thermal Runaway' explosion than any other Lead Acid battery type.
As the battery tires it runs hotter, this promotes battery breakdown, producing more heat. This extra heat promotes faster breakdown, that produces even more heat and faster breakdown again until, BOOM.
In some instances Fire is a greater risk.

So obvously an AGM battery in a Swift motorhome, which clearly won't get anything like the correct charging voltages/charging, is going to fail fairly quickly. But this won't be expected by the motorhome owner who 'knows' he has spent double the money on an "8 year life battery", so uses it well past it's safe best.

You can also see that if the battery breaks up internally debris can block the valve potentially making the explosion more serious. it is also obvious that if you install the battery on it's side or inverted, how debris will be more likely to block the valve increasing both the risk and consequences of the explosion?

We saw AGM battery explosions when Hymer/Banner rolled out AGM's in 2014, and that was on Alternator charging systems and chargers that HAD close on 14.4v, not the mid 13v we see in Swift built "AGM" motorhomes.




But they are safe in a Car, what's the difference?

Having an AGM battery in the boot of a car that is constantly monitored for temperature, capacity, efficiency, etc will have it's degraded nature reported by the ECU long before it is even 80% used. So it gets replaced well before risk of explosion.
Even if explosion occurs in a Car, the hazard to life is low as it is not in the passenger compartment.


Long term unattended, unmonitored use on EHU/Solar of an AGM battery that we KNOW will fail early in a motorhome is quite different.

Even if the risk of explosion was minuscule, is an exploding battery something you want under your seat?


One other question : are these Golf Buggy batteries low pressure VRLA's with just a few PSI or 30PSI style industrial batteries, as that may impact safety?



Spirou, you say above about fitting a B2B, which is the way most technicians address this issue, but do you realise that is 'bodge' not a fix?

What some B2B's do, like the old Sterling units is just raise the charging voltage at the habitation battery to a higher, preset output voltage. But increasing the voltage is done at the expense of less current. Additionally the units often run at about 85% efficiency, so you can see that this isn't the best option.

If you further add into the mix that the Fridge runs from the habitation area battery, it can still drop even the 'boosted' voltage.
Some newer B2B's will try and compensate for this voltage drop, but again at the expense of current.
The overall benefit from the average B2B, even those that some have spent thousands on, can be less than 75% so won't be as efficient as taking the Fridge feed direct from the Alternator/Starter battery and using proper sized cabling where good practice and common sense can yield 100% efficiency.

Like I wrote above in an earlier post,

"It is a shame they (B2B's) actually address the wrong issue, boosting the voltage when all that is needed is sensible Fridge cabling, wiring, etc. not a £600 expenditure. Another example of the products in the market place not understanding the issues?".


But now we are getting back to the hardware when I would rather inform on the danger for now.................







Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-16 8:08 AM
userspirou
Posted: 16 September 2018 10:46 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Fully aware I'd be trading voltage for current but, as our consumption is quite low and the battery not very large, I'd be inclined to such trade in. When I measured the voltage at starter battery under alternator charging it wasn't much above 14V, highest I saw was 14.2, albeit at idle and after only about a minute.

So even if I upgrade cables to 6mm2 (reasonably largest I might be able to pull through) it still won't get me to 14.4 or so.
But, as I haven't really had a chance to explore the viability of these mods, I just might end up doing nothing. It's not entirely up to me anyway as the van belongs to my parents and I just use it whenever available. They are inclined towards improvements and we keep working on various bits (not many things left from original state) but if the electrics turn out to be too complicated to sort out they might just say it's good enough as it is.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 September 2018 10:00 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Spirou, Almost 98% of the benefit of the usual Motorhome B2B install comes from the cabling that they dictate is used as part of the installation, not the B2B itself.
Just look at a Sterling B2B installation manual on the web and you can see that the minimum 16mm cabling they specify is going to make THE difference.

They also stipulate single cable runs, so losing the usual zillions of connectors that many motorhome builders/converters use.

While I would like Motorhome Builders to use much fatter cabling than 10mm in their installations, when improving existing ones, the cabling does not need to be as large because it's in addition to whats already there.
So just adding an additional 6mm (50amp) rated thin wall cabling with a decent Split charge relay will make a massive difference to your setup. Especially if you take both the Positive feed and Negative directly from the Alternator B+/Body.


The work involved is half the labour of fitting the usual Sterling B2B, with costs that are not quite in their 'pennies' but are low.
About £1.69 a metre for the cable (12v Planet) and less than £4 for our 'B2B equivalent' Split charge relay from several suppliers on ebay.

The Split charge relay is a key component, it should be rated to at least 100amps, not because it will pass that much current, but because the contacts will be huge so voltage drop across them will be low and more resistant to burning as they age.

See our web page for more info on how to do it yourself, how to diagnose issues, etc : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/add-a-second-battery.php
Look for the section at the bottom of the page titled, "Things You Might Want to Think About If Increasing The Battery Bank Size, Even Slightly", just above a picture of a Split Charge Relay.


You don't need to disable the existing arrangement, this will work in parallel with what you already have. Don't forget the 60A fuse.


Cable supplier :
https://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/50-amp-single-core-thin-wall-auto-cable.html

Split charger relay supplier £3.99 :
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Motor-Boat-Split-Charge-Relay-DC-12V-100A-ON-OFF-4-Pin-Heavy-Duty-New/151867130466?epid=601221192&hash=item235bfc8262:g:feAAAOSwFIVayblW

Note these are not recommended suppliers, just examples.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-17 10:25 AM
userarthur49
Posted: 27 September 2018 10:50 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-09-17 10:00 AM

See our web page for more info on how to do it yourself, how to diagnose issues, etc : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/add-a-second-battery.php
Look for the section at the bottom of the page titled, "Things You Might Want to Think About If Increasing The Battery Bank Size, Even Slightly", just above a picture of a Split Charge Relay.



Sorry for being 10 days late on this one, but as I said in a previous thread, I installed Allan's recommendation. DIY. I found it easy. With engine running and fridge off I'm getting 14,34v at leisure batteries
userarthur49
Posted: 4 October 2018 10:20 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-09-17 10:00 AM

You don't need to disable the existing arrangement, this will work in parallel with what you already have. Don't forget the 60A fuse.


So sorry Allan for resurrecting this thread and your statement above - we've been away from home!

As I said in post above I've installed your wiring/split charge suggestion and achieved a big improvement in charging whilst engine running (14.34v at LBs, tick over, fridge off)

But I DID disable existing arrangement. I can see now there is no need to do that as 'existing' and 'improved' will simply complement each other. Or am I misunderstanding your statement above?

Thank you Allan
useraandncaravan
Posted: 4 October 2018 11:52 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Arthur, it depends on what the set-up is already. The response above was specifically aimed at Spirou's vehicle, but generally, the improved 'new' cabling will effectively provide a 'wider' pipe through which the electricity will flow.
Just like Water through larger sized pipework, electricity will take the path of least resistance, through the thick, low voltage drop cable.

However, because the current in the old 'existing cable' is reduced, because a second cable is carrying much of the load, the voltage drop in the old cable is also less than it would have been. So even the old wiring delivers better overall power with a raised voltage as a result.

Reducing the current in a wire by half, has a similar effect (well nearly) to doubling the wires thickness in terms of voltage drop.
So just adding a second cable the same size can have a dramatic effect, making the new cable slightly thicker again to 6mm/50amp is better still.


That is one of the reasons why we like to use the existing split charge relay to drive the new 100+ amp relay.





Edited by aandncaravan 2018-10-04 11:57 PM
userarthur49
Posted: 5 October 2018 9:35 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-10-04 11:52 PM

Arthur, it depends on what the set-up is already. The response above was specifically aimed at Spirou's vehicle, but generally, the improved 'new' cabling will effectively provide a 'wider' pipe through which the electricity will flow.
Just like Water through larger sized pipework, electricity will take the path of least resistance, through the thick, low voltage drop cable.

However, because the current in the old 'existing cable' is reduced, because a second cable is carrying much of the load, the voltage drop in the old cable is also less than it would have been. So even the old wiring delivers better overall power with a raised voltage as a result.

Reducing the current in a wire by half, has a similar effect (well nearly) to doubling the wires thickness in terms of voltage drop.
So just adding a second cable the same size can have a dramatic effect, making the new cable slightly thicker again to 6mm/50amp is better still.


That is one of the reasons why we like to use the existing split charge relay to drive the new 100+ amp relay.



Thanks Allan. I'm starting another thread about an article in C&MC magazine and I'll see if I can scan it and send it to you. All about L-ion, with some staggering statements eg 100Ah lead acid battery weighs about 35kg (25kg?) and costs about £300 (£110) .....
userEarthmover
Posted: 11 October 2018 10:27 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Hi Allan,
You mention a 40mm/30amps earth strap (Grey), where would I try get one from?. What size cable do you recommend for running from the chassis to the battery Negative. Can you do a sketch!. thankyou.

Regards Em.

Ps, thankyou for your comments on my wind turbine question. I have been trying to visualise the size of your Motorhome, which requires a wind turbine with 90ft blades!!.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 12 October 2018 9:23 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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This March 2018 discussion may help regarding the earth strap

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Ducato-X250-2-3-Multijet-Earth-Strap/48885/

userspirou
Posted: 14 October 2018 3:17 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Did some more testing this weekend both on the road and at home. Results below are with the vehicle stationary. I'll save the driving results for another thread.

With the alternator (at idle speed) charging only the engine battery: 14.0-1V (lights on/off didn't make a difference)

With the existing 6mm2 wiring, fridge on max power, radio on: 13.7-8V (measured at leisure battery)

With additional 10 (maybe 16mm2, can't tell as there is no exposed core to measure) ancient jumper leads with tiny crocodile clips (so possibly not ideal conduction), fridge ON, radio ON: 13.8-9V

So I decided that I'll do some minor rewiring and use dual 6mm2 wires (already in place) which will aparently get me an improvement of 0.1V at best. Not much but as the work involved is not that difficult I'll do it anyway.

The second pair of wires that I will repurpose is currently used for the radio and I'll just wire it to the starter battery. We hardly ever use it without the engine on and it can be turned completely off so no phantom drain on engine battery. And it comes with the added bonus of saving 2-3A load from the leisure battery.

The question then becomes, what can be done to improve alternator charging further? I don't know if x250 2.2 EURO5 engine has a "smart" alternator or not. Probably not? Is B2B the only viable next step? That would probably be one of the Schaudt units to keep things in the family. I definitely won't go for the major job and do what weldted did.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 15 October 2018 10:06 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Spirouu, Yes take the charging feed from the Alternator B+ and the Alternator body.
It can especially make a huge difference on a vehicle 4+ years old.

See our webpage : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/add-a-second-battery.php
See about 3/4 down the page starting from the image of the giant relay.


No, X250's don't have any sort of Alternator smart charging,not even the 2018 model/Euro6 we have just worked on. Just a fixed 14.4v output.
I suggest you should be focusing on resolving the wiring issue first. Fix that and you won't need a B2B.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-10-15 10:16 AM
userfesspark
Posted: 17 October 2018 11:03 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I have a 5 month old Burstner 680G only used it for 700 miles so far has a 150 w solar Panel fitted on roof that seems to be charging fine, How ever the Bty has stopped holding its charge. 2 questions as the bty is a Varta dry cell 95Ah 850A can I replace it Temporary with a Varta LFD 90Ah wet cell that I kept from my last Burstner fully charged and nearly new until I take it to the dealer on Warranty? I have connected it up and not put the fuses back yet. Fesspark
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 October 2018 11:38 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Fesspark, It is not abnormal for the AGM Varta to fail prematurely, so not surprised yours has also gone, see our web page on AGM batteries : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/agm-batteries.php

Yes the Varta LFD90 is the best option on that vehicle and will tolerate the Elektroblock EBL chargers higher AGM charge voltage of 14.7v quite well short term, but we recommend using the Lead/Gel setting on the EBL unit in the longer term..
Only change the switch setting with the mains disconnected. The slide switch is easily damaged so gently does it and use a Ball Point pen.


The Solar regulator must also be changed to a wet acid setting in the longer term, but ok short term, that is assuming it is the correct Schaudt LRM1218?.


Suggest you ask for a cheaper but more motorhome appropriate LFD90 or Yuasa L36-EFB under the warranty claim rather than get another AGM?.





Edited by aandncaravan 2018-10-17 11:43 AM
userspirou
Posted: 17 October 2018 1:18 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Just took a look at the installation instructions for EBL208 and their B2B WA 121525 and one thing stands out immediately. Whereas the EBL suggests use of 6mm2 cables between both batteries, the B2B has them at 16mm2 (10 possible). Quite a difference.

As I was thinking about it I might try to pull a bigger cable through rather than use doubled 6. Not sure if 2x16mm2 fits in the same space as 4x6 though. Have to go find some cable to measure first. I only find core diameters online.
userfesspark
Posted: 17 October 2018 1:38 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Thanks Al,have put the 90Ah on the EBL setting as you suggest, not sure I need to alter the Solar reg? all seems well at the moment, put the 95 on electric Bty Charger for the day and I will disconnect later and see tomorrow if its held its Charge,feespark
userfesspark
Posted: 17 October 2018 5:45 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Alan, just checked the battery in the m,home, My 90Ah was showing 13.5 ,V ie fully charged at 2 pm, now at 5.45, and getting dark, dropped to 12.5,by tomorrow I suspect it will be even lower, It looks as if something is draining the battery, the engine bty; is still good.Maybe its good news ,not the 95 gone but something within the m,home, any ideas what to do? fesspark
userspirou
Posted: 17 October 2018 6:35 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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First I'd put the multimeter to current mode and see if there is actually any drain present. Then go through devices one by one (or fuses if available) to see if there's any change
useraandncaravan
Posted: 17 October 2018 6:38 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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13.5v at 2 pm is not the battery voltage, but the voltage at the battery raised by the Solar charger. The actual battery voltage might have been only 12.4v.
It can't have been 13.5v because an LFD90 has maximum 13v.


I think you need to put the LFD 90 on EHU for 24 hours to be sure it is fully charged??

When you then check the SOC, the battery needs to have been off charge and off load for a few hours.

Edited by aandncaravan 2018-10-17 6:41 PM
userfesspark
Posted: 18 October 2018 11:19 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Thankyou again all of the people who helped me, Getting there fesspark
userfesspark
Posted: 19 October 2018 9:17 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Alan,any ideas? Put battery on EHU for 24hours switched off and left it, strong sun all day,still showing fully charged? tonight 9pm dark,dropped to just over 12. engine Bty; reading 12.75. the leisure bty; is obviously loosing its charge? How can I find out what is causing the discharge? fesspark
userAlanb
Posted: 19 October 2018 11:07 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-10-17 1:18 PM


..........As I was thinking about it I might try to pull a bigger cable through rather than use doubled 6. Not sure if 2x16mm2 fits in the same space as 4x6 though. Have to go find some cable to measure first. I only find core diameters online.


Spirou,

On 12voltplanet website & in Vehicle Wiring Products catalogue, thinwall 16mm cables OD 7.9 mm & 7.5mm are quoted. Hope that this helps.

Alan
userspirou
Posted: 20 October 2018 3:34 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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fesspark - 2018-10-19 10:17
How can I find out what is causing the discharge? fesspark


If the same behaviour doesn't happen with the battery completely disconnected then do as I mentioned earlier. Take a multimeter on current mode and start pulling fuses/wires. But if this is recent development it is probably more likely to be a dead battery so charge, disconnect and measure after a day or more. Remember to pull the fuse from the solar regulator before disconnecting the battery.
userfesspark
Posted: 20 October 2018 8:24 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Thanks, Its not the Battery has I have tried 2 and both went from fully charged to almost flat,it is obvious the circuit, I will do as you suggest,fesspark
useraandncaravan
Posted: 20 October 2018 9:41 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Fesspark, that makes me wonder if the battery is actually being charged at all by the inboard EHU charger?

Are you sure the charger is working, what voltage and current are you seeing on the Display Panel when the charger is switched on? This obviously needs to be done when no other charging is taking place, like Solar, etc.

If the charger has failed and your 'backup' battery is down at 12v then it may not be as good as you thought?




userfesspark
Posted: 20 October 2018 7:10 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I think it is possible that the charger is,nt working? When the sun went down, the battery went immediatly to 12.2 Reading?It also went down after I disconnected the Electric hook up after 24 Hrs.? If thats the case whats the likely cause and can I rectfy it or do I need the warrenty people to deal with it,as I was planning a short trip for a few days fesspark



I
userfesspark
Posted: 21 October 2018 8:12 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Just read the battery and it is reading only 12v and says half charged,it looks as though it is the charger not working,Where would I find that?fesspark
userspirou
Posted: 21 October 2018 11:04 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Cover the solar panel (or remove the fuse), plug into EHU and see if voltage rises.

Edited by spirou 2018-10-21 11:04 AM
userplwsm2000
Posted: 21 October 2018 3:26 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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fesspark - 2018-10-21 8:12 AM

Just read the battery and it is reading only 12v and says half charged,it looks as though it is the charger not working,Where would I find that?fesspark


I don't know what EBL is in your van, but if it is a Schaudt EBL, the charger is probably inside the EBL.

Some basic checks that might help -
On your display, is the mains indicator on?
If yes, then check the charger output fuse on the EBL. On my EBL223, it is a 20Amp fuse labelled "Int Lademodul"
If no, then check there is mains power on the IEC "kettle" lead that is plugged into the EBL. Maybe a breaker has trippedor the plug is loose?.

If there is mains power and the charger output fuse is ok, then it looks like the charger is at fault. There is an 3A fuse on the mains input side, but I don't think you can access it without removing the EBL. If this has blown, there is probably something wrong with the charger in any case.


userfesspark
Posted: 21 October 2018 9:08 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Thanks for your info I will check it out as soon as possible.fesspark
userfesspark
Posted: 26 October 2018 1:50 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Could not find the problem,so arranged to take it to the dealer,on monday,as its new it has another 18months warrenty,thanks again fesspark
useraandncaravan
Posted: 18 December 2018 12:39 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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kevina - 2018-09-01 11:21 PM

I'm in the middle of a test on my 5 year old gel batteries which have been heavily used for 4 months annually, half of which whilst on skiing trips using very little hookup.





Kevina, We are always trying gather more information, so wondered if you would share what you found with the Gel battery testing you planned to carry out a while ago?
.
.