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Sterling battery to battery charger high voltage issues


fitzy89

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Hi all

 

I'm new here and although my issue isn't related to motorhomes, I'm sure several people here use Sterling battery chargers so it may be a good place to ask advice for my issue.

 

 

I've recently started having some issues with my battery to battery charger model BBC121250 and remote display panel which has been installed in my car for around 6 months working wonderfully.

 

It seemed to coincide with my main vehicle battery going flat one day due to non-use for about a week with a small load connected (sat nav and phone charger) so I removed and recharged it, and the Sterling charger has been problematic ever since. When the engine is running, it trips saying the input voltage is too high, the faster I drive, the lower the reported voltage goes down to a low point of 12.4V reported on the display, when driving slowly the display shows anywhere up to 27V, and when turning off the engine the reported voltage soars up to 39.3V which is clearly incorrect and has been checked with a quality multimeter which reads 12.8V when this happens. So when driving at various speeds, the voltage is reportedly between 12.4V and 27V, when engine is shut off, the voltage goes up to 39.3V. No matter what input voltage is shown on the remote display, the system still trips stating it is too high even when it's well within operating range.

 

Of course the vehicle is only 12V. The voltage while driving at any speed is a steady 14.52V with no deviation from that at all (measured from the input cables of the Sterling with a Fluke Logging Multimeter) and when the engine is stopped, the main battery voltage is 12.8V.

 

The whole system is installed with overkill 50mm2 cable with professionally soldered and crimped lugs (factory made specifically for my application), earths are secure and clean. The secondary battery is 12V 50Ah SLA. All fuses are intact and working fine. Main and secondary batteries as well as the charger are also well ventilated.

 

Today I have also started seeing an output temperature alarm/trip, I do not have the temperature sensors installed so this is also a mystery. The whole system has been working flawlessly since installation about 6 months ago.

 

Can anyone suggest what I can try next or have you heard of or seen anything like this? I've spent several hours looking online and can't find anything even remotely similar.

 

I've had the charger itself for around 6 years now so it's well out of warranty but I have only been using it for the last 6 months or so. I've contacted Sterling about an issue in the past but I was less than impressed with the tone of the response and solutions suggested (filling the unit up with GripFill surely shouldn't be suggested by the manufacturer of an expensive product such as this!), I have emailed them about this as well so I'll see what they can come up with and let you know when I hear back from them too.

 

I use the secondary battery daily for my work and run power tools and an inverter from it so having it out of action for any amount of time is definitely not ideal at all. I spent (what is to me) a lot of money on it and several weeks researching on the best product to get for this before deciding on the Sterling so to have it fail after only 6 months of actual use is a bit of a shock.

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Since my original post above, those symptoms have mainly disappeared, and it now shows "Case temperature high" immediately after turning on, the case isn't even slightly warm, it's completely cold when this happens. After about 15 minutes of driving it did start to charge the batteries for about 5 minutes then showed "system disengaged" and "input voltage low" at 10.4V (my multimeter showed 14.52V at this point). Something strange going on here...
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Just a thought and sort of grasping at straws as I know nothing of the kit except the basic principle - but I wonder if you have a high resistance connection or earth somewhere in the cabling that shows a decent no load voltage but does not allow significant current to pass which might account for the low voltage reading?
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The Sterling manual for the BBC121250 unit can be found here

 

http://www.manualslib.com/manual/165360/Sterling-Power-Products-Bb121250.html

 

I can’t see why removing and recharging the vehicle’s starter-battery should have negatively affected the B2B charger, so it was probably coincidence that the problems described began to occur afterwards.

 

Having said that, as it’s simple enough to install this equipment, I’d be tempted to start from Square One, disconnect everything and then reconnect everything. If that failed to cure the problems, contacting Sterling Power for advice would be the logical next step.

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Thanks for your responses. I've had a look at all the connections and given the ring terminals and bolts a clean up with sandpaper (they were clean to begin with but just to be sure) and wire brushed all battery terminals which were fine as well. It's still intermittent but over time the symptoms do seem to be improving on their own, or at least becoming less frequent. Today it did seem to be mostly working fine although the fans on the unit were running at full speed the whole time it was on - I've never heard the fans kick in at all since I've had it but no error messages today so it's improving at least. I'll keep you posted with any news.
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kevina - 2014-11-24 10:00 PM

 

Refer to your manual for the very specific order of connecting wires, you have probably not done this correctly when putting the vehicle battery back in.

 

Kev

 

If you are referring to the following advice in the manual

 

"Wiring : connect the output positive cable first, then the input positive cable then the negative, remember the unit has a sleep and auto start...”

 

I believe this advice only relates to installing the B2B system initially (and that it’s a recommendation not an imperative).

 

I don’t think there’s any caveat in the manual warning that a particular cabling sequence should be followed when removing/replacing a battery. As it’s plain that vehicle battery-changing is likely to take place at some stage, if it were vital that the battery's wiring be disconnected/connected in a special order or, otherwise, the B2B charger might be damaged, i’d expect that to be very clearly stated in the manual.

 

Might be worth checking with Sterling Power, but it’s more probable that the reason for B2B charger’s odd behavour lies within the unit itself.

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