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...it would depend on which battery charger is fitted in the system.


It is likely to be one of these (and most common is a CB516) with the maximum output charge current as shown on the spec for each.




Typically (as long as they are conventionally wired), CBE-based systems provide a trickle charge current to the vehicle battery of a maximum 2amps (on hook-up).


I've never found the need to run with any addition to the standard set-up with any of my CBE-equipped vans.

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The Alternator and the CBE equipment in the vehicle already charges the Habitation battery at the optimum charge rate without impacting battery life. As do the charger units from Sargent, Schaudt, Toptron, Nordelettronica, Arsilicii, Calira, etc.


You can force charge the battery at a higher rate by fitting a Stirling B2B/CTEK B2B unit, but battery lifetime and quality will be compromised.


Most battery manufactures suggest that the ideal prolonged Charge (and Discharge) rate for maximum life is 10A per 100Ah battery.

20A amps charge/discharge is considered an acceptable compromise without too much loss of battery life.


You can use both higher charge and discharge currents for short periods without issue, but prolonged charge/discharge won't be liked by the battery. Especially if it is a Gel.


30amps prolonged charge per 100Ah battery will cause higher temperatures and corrosion at the battery plates with significant loss of life and long term efficiency.





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Hi Ken,


May I welcome you to the forum.


My Ducato based PVC will be 10 years old this year, and like yours has the cbe PC 200 system, with a 516 16A charger.


You will of course need to be on EHU to use the charger. If you are touring (driving several hours every two or three days), the vehicle alternator should keep your batteries charged in UK summer. It very much depends on battery size and the load that it is supplying.


I recent years we chanced upon a site that became a favourite base for exploring the local area. This meant that we drove less, and battery charging became more important. We did not use EHU except in the heating season.


Battery demand was reduced by converting to LED lighting, but last autumn I decided to fit a CTEK D250S, in an attempt to reduce the battery recharge time, and also to allow for the possible fitting of a solar panel. (The D250S includes a solar regulator.)


Coupling a D250S into the cbe system is not a simple matter! Unless a separate supply route is engineered for the fridge, it will consume about half of the output of the D250S. There are also problems with possible shorting the input and output of the D250S via the cbe 12V distribution board. The D250S is an expensive piece of kit to risk damaging.


I believe that I have managed to resolve these problems, but I have yet to evaluate the modified system.


It may be worth noting that the cbe PC200 system has manufacturer/converter specific variants. This means that the designation of at least on of the buttons can be different. More importantly there also seem to be different versions of the 12V distribution board. The version fitted to my PVC has 4 off M6 terminal studs, -ve, B1+, B2+, and CH+. The also seem to be version(s) with only 3 off M6 terminals. I do not see how this latter version can allow the current flowing to or from B2 (leisure battery) to be checked on the PC200 display.


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A 180A alternator, I am envious. You are unlikely to over work that, but given adequate alternator current output, it is voltage that determines the charge rate of the battery.


The larger alternator will not significantly increase the battery recharge rate. It is a balancing act. The difference between the alternator and battery voltages is driving current through the internal resistance of the battery, plus the resistance of the connecting cables. If you have only 6mm battery cables, it could be worth upgrading those to 16mm or even 25mm. The type of battery fuse will also have an effect. Changing from a blade fuse to a maxi blade fuse or a midi fuse of the same rating will also reduce the charging circuit resistance.


To be more technically correct, in this context for mm please read sq. mm.

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once again for the replies. I am through some of the advice and doing a bit more home work, I am going to leave the system as it is and fit a 90 watt solar panel and a sun-saver duel regulator that will keep both batteries topped up when wild camping ? so will post later towards the end of the year with the results.

thanks Ken

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