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Some fun and games with the Electricals -- Hobby Van

alan k

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We're having some fun and games with our van electrics, I went to the Peterborough Show to have a solar panel fitted and before work started found I had a flat leisure battery! On checking it, 2 cells had gone kaput.


So 2 new leisure batteries and a solar panel later, I headed home happy that we were ready to abandon hookups for our style of usage. I checked the van a couple of times in the next week, then we had a family crisis and it didn't get looked at for about 3 weeks and the leisure batteries were flat!!


The van is at the side of the house but does get good sun for several hours a day. Anyway the friendly solar panel fitter came to have a look today and to investigate any battery drain. The batteries on the Transit are 2 leisure under the passenger seat, and the starter battery and leisure fuses and battery charger under the driver's seat. To do anything properly the seat has to be removed and each one has 5 bolts, and each seat is heavy.


Anyway eventually after rechecking everything with the recent installation we eventually found a circuit with a 0.3 amp drain with everything off. The "posh" Hobby Book wasn't very forthcoming about the circuit use, the main book just said 3 amp fuse and the diagram alongside it showed "a flame". I eventually found the addendum to the Book and its a direct feed to the cooker, the fridge and the boiler from the leisure batteries, it's not controlled by the Hobby Panel by the door.


After checking and rechecking the control of the fridge light, that was OK, however once down on my knees looking directly through the smoked glass oven door, it was apparent that the internal oven light was on :$ .


So that was the major battery drain ( we think! cos by this time the seat was back in place and its difficult to measure the draw).


BUT in doing all this, turning circuits on and off, isolating and re-energising the leisure circuits, we do seem to have an issue with the electronic battery charger:-


IF we isolate the leisure circuits and remove the fuse for the "mystery circuit" ( cooker, fridge and boiler direct feed) the fan on the battery charger starts EVEN though we are NOT connected to the mains.


IF we turn OFF the cooker light/ fridge light with the fuse in and the leisure circuits isolated, the fan on the charger starts.


The feed voltage to the batteries was only showing about 12.8 volts when I hooked up this evening, is this the battery charger feeding the batteries slowly because they were v. low?


Or is the battery charger suspect? strange fan startings, and low output.


So part of the message is check what appliances have got lights and whether they go off when you shut the door or whether there's a light switch!


I'll update the story when there's more news, but that might mean a visit to my dealer


cheers alan

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