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Flat Battery

Paul Kalinauckas

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Flat Battery on my Fiat Ducato Bessacar 705 2.8JTD. 2001 Reg but first year of ownership. Leisure battery looks OK but main battery in engine compartment flat as a pancake. Lying idle since October last year but no previous battery problems.


I've taken it out and will get it tested at a local garage. Anyway of knowing how old it is? There are some numbers on the side saying Recharge with an X marked on 8 and 10, which I guess means August 2010.


Any advice on what to do about flat batteries or how to prevent them appreciated. Is it normal for it to go flat over winter or do I just need a new one?

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Welcome to the Out&AboutLive forums, Paul.


The "8 10" marking on your flat battery may indicate when it was manufactured, but probably does not. Battery 'age' was discussed previously here




A lead-acid battery will gradually lose its charge without any electrical demand being placed on. If an electrical demand is placed on it - which will be the case with a modern vehicle where the battery continuously powers engine management systems, an immobiliser, clock, etc. - the loss of charge may be quite rapid. Demand or no demand, if the battery is not charged periodically to counter the loss of charge, it will eventually discharge completely.


It's impossible to know if charging a battery that has been totally discharged will prove successful in resurrecting it. Batteries should never be allowed to become seriously discharged, and it should be anticipated that a dead flat battery will need to be replaced.


Maintaining a battery in good condition depends on its type. If it's genuinely 'maintenance free', all that can be done is ensure that it does not become heaviily discharged by checking its charge-state regularly and charging the battery when necessary. If a battery is not 'maintenance free', then (besides charge-state checking and charging) its electrolyte level should be checked and topped-up if it's low.


For more on battery maintenance and battery good practice, GOOGLE-search on 'battery maintenance' (omitting the quotes). John Wickersham's book "The Motorcaravan Manual"




also has a lot of information on motorhome batteries that I'm sure you'd find helpful.


If your Bessacarr's leisure-battery is still well charged even though the motorhome has not been used since last October, this suggests that you have had the vehicle on 230V mains hook-up since then. Either that or your leisure-battery is a damn good one!


If you've been charging the leisure-battery via the motorhome's onboard charger and the starter-battery has gone flat, this might indicate that the motorhome has no facility to charge its starter-battery when the vehicle is standing idle. This is something you may want to consider for the future if you plan to have the motorhome out of use over the winter. There are various ways of adding such a facility, this is just one






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Hi Paul


I can recommend the Battery Master that Derek mentioned in his reply, i have an 80wat solar panel on my Luner Roadstar and this charges the leisure batteries, when they are charged it clicks over to the van battery and charges that also, this is done by the Battery Master.


In six years of owning this vehicle I have never had a flat Battery be van or leisure.


Terry (lol)

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If it's been left unused since october the battery is more than likely dead unless your 'van' has some form of charging system....plugged into mains or solar charger.  If it is dead and you have no solar panel a 'portable' one will do the job plugged into the cig lighter socket but it needs to be man enough for the job and the cig lighter socket needs to be live with the ignition off.


We use http://www.sunshinesolar.co.uk/khxc/gbu0-prodshow/SS15W.html

also bought the controller and have had no problems at all.


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  • 3 weeks later...
Paul Kalinauckas - 2013-04-04 8:59 AMThanks Roger - will have to put my technical head on - if I can find it


If you decide to go the 'portable panel route' it is easy to check if the cig lighter is live with the ignition off....just push it in and see if it gets hot.  If it's not live an auto electrician can easily sort it for you.  Once you determine if it is live/make it live just place the solar panel on the dashboard (possibly wedging it against the screen for better exposure to light) and plug it in...........simples.


If you go down the fixed panel route you can have it installed with a charger to cover both domestic and vehicle battery at little additional cost.


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Hi Paul and welcome, its not just your battery that you might have problems with, leaving any vehicle idle for six months is not a good idea. The turbo waste gate could become seized as could the brakes if you have left them on. If you cant actually use your van, even for a day out then its good to run up the engine, and move the van even slightly helps the tyres. Hope none of my doom predictions happens to you!

Time to start using your van enjoy.

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