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Dethleffs Battery problem


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Hi, I am currently touring in France in a 2008 Dethleffs RT6844 and recently when laid up on an aire for 30 hours we suddenly lost all power the Schaudt 200 controller reporting a leisure voltage of 11.8v even though we had used very little power. We had left the UK fully charged and spent two/three days travelling down to Nantau in the Jura mountains. On stopping at Nantua the Schaudt indicated 329hA with a voltage I believe of around 12.7v. Since the incident we have moved down to Annecy and are on hook up with a full reading of 312hA. I have had suspicions about the battery which I believe is located under the passenger seat in a purpose built metal container that appears to be only accessible by removing the entire seat. We have had the van for approximately 5 years and the batteries were in place then. I paid little attention to them originally being new to motorhoming. Now I am highly suspicious of what is actually in place. On interrogating the Schaudt the unit indicates a total potential capacity of 390Ah with an actual on hookup of 312. But the battery container only appears to measure some 280 x 250 x 200mm in ht and I am at a loss to see how one can achive 390 Ah in such a space. Furthermore the Schaudt unit is now adding a ? to the 312Ah reading. The controller is an Electrobloc 220-2.


We had intended to travel for 5 or 6 weeks using aires extensively but that is now at least temporarily scratched as an overnight appears to be the limit and if the batteries are u/s I am presuming they could fail totally in time.


My initial query is whether anyone can advise/confirm the Dethleffs battery position and accessibility. Also does anyone have any knowledge of what maximum size battery Dethleffs offered with this unit? What replacement options are there given the existing container size. In the past I have thought of adding a solar panel to top up the battery over winter as charging is difficult but this would necessitate the provision of an LR1218 which at the time seemed excessive. However I am now wondering whether the new LR1218A plus an AGM battery is the way to go? Are Batteries cheaper in France or UK?


I attach some measurements of the battery during layup this past winter.


Any advice appreciated.

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I would guess the battery under the seat is probably a gel type of around 90Ah capacity.


I had a Hymer with an 85Ah gel battery under both the driver and passenger seat. The extra battery was an option on the Hymer price list. I sold the van 10 years later and they were still going strong.


If the battery is a sealed for life wet flooded type, then it is probably past it's sell-by date.


Batteries seem to be cheaper in the UK but there is a nationwide battery company in France (can't remember the name) where they sell competitively priced batteries.

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If it's like my 2009 A5881-

Have you a swivel seat? It makes changing the battery harder, but still just six torque bolts. Very heavy to lift off. The battery is lower than the standard ones and 90 ah is about your max.

You can peer under to see what you have got, but find a similar one before you start, otherwise you'll have to put it back to travel.

There should be a switch on your power box (under the other seat?) which means that you can change the charger to standard or gel battery, depending on what you can source locally. Ordinary lead/acid batteries are fine and much cheaper and available.

Good luck.

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From the symptoms, I would suggest the battery is well past its best?


Depending on the Base vehicle, there are generally three primary types of seat fitted.

The usual type has 6 Torx bolts, sometimes with two of a larger size. The other has Allen head bolts. Both of these seats are quite easy to remove, but very heavy making lifting a two man job.

You sometimes need to rotate the seat to various positions but all the bolts are fairly easy to access.


The third type is a night mare as the bolts are conventional Hex head spanner type but are within the seat base.

If you look at the front or rear of the seat base below the swivel part (on top of the fixed 'box' base) and can see hex bolts at each end, you have this type of seat.

The two end bolts are fiddly to remove, but achievable. However there is a third bolt each side about 2/3 down the underside that are really difficult to get to, as access is only available from inside the box base.

To get to these requires a slim hand inserted into the centre of the seat base working through a narrow opening.

This access is normally made worse on the Passenger side by the location of the vehicle ECU in this location around which you need to work REALLY carefully as the wires to/from this box are easily damaged.


If you think getting those middle bolts out was hard, you wait till you put them back. We occasionally find that the two centre ones are missing which is a real safety issue.

As on most of this type of seat the Seat Belt attaches to the Seat Top, not the base.


Tie a piece of string around the spanners you use so that you can get them out if you drop them and use the string to help positioning of them.

Hopefully yours will be the earlier seat?


The EBL 220 works out the Ah value from the power going into the battery versus it's extraction. In order to do this accurately it needs to be aware of all power going into the battery and from it.

It is designed to handle ALL power around the vehicle both charging systems and power distribution.

If anything is direct connected to the battery, the EBL 220 won't know that power has been taken from the battery. All it sees is lots of power going in, so calculates the battery bank as a lot bigger than it actually is.


That is why Solar direct connected to the battery is a problem as all the EBL 220 'sees' is lots of power going out, but isn't aware of the Solar Power being put directly to the battery.


That might or might not explain the high reading?


Strongly suggest you get the battery swapped ASAP as you are risking the charging units (alternator and mains) failing if the battery is past it?


The EBL 220 does not support an AGM battery.

It does support Gel, but the charger always comes from the Schaudt factory with a default setting of 'Wet', which I think tells you something?


The ideal battery for you would depend on how you use the system?




















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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the advice guys much appreciated. We have finally returned from our France trip using a mix of camp sites and aires which allowed me to monitor the battery a little more. The off-load full charge has dropped to 12.5v which I believe equates to approximately 75% capacity. I have investigated the battery and beleive it to be a 110 Exide GF12094Y gel battery which, because of the space restrictions under the Renault seat, is just about the only battery that will fit in this location.


The van has now been parked up for a week in a storage yard and the battery charge has dropped to 12.3v ie 50% with the Schaudt DT220 showing a 0.1amp trickle when everything is closed down! I have attempted to isolate the battery by switching off the 12v and then holding down the menu button for 10 seconds but the system refuses to close down. I am unsure if this intentional in that the battery is only partially charged and Schaudt indicate the battery should be fully charged prior to isolation. Knowing the true battery capacity I have attempted to re-set the Schaudt using the Dethleffs 4250 code but there is no obvious input screen for the battery K100 or K20 values. I did however correct the nominal capacity value in the normal operational battery menu which now indicates a current available charge of 44Ah which makes sense given the drain that appears to be happening.


I am in the process of finding a replacement battery but the options are very limited due to the available footprint - relocation options are somewhat limited. Although I could utilise two Varta LFD75's one would fit under the passenger seat the other would need to be quite remote under a bench seat involving a fair bit of additional wiring. Such an option would result in the total capacity increasing to 150 Ah which is very near the Electroblock EBL220-2 capacity of 180 and this is not allowing for the starter battery demand. Would such a load be sensible?


The cost of the two Vartas at £147 is about 60% of the cost of a new Exide 110Ah gel, £240, and this excludes any costs relating to re-wiring, fuses, trays, etc so given that the existing Exide battery has lasted 8 years plus I am leaning to what many would consider to be an expensive gel option. Using the Varta 60 Ah would show a £10 saving but still require twin locations, wiring, etc


Ideally I would like to isolate the existing gel battery while deciding on how best to move forward. I have yet to remove the seat which is fixed by 6 nos torx bolts and wonder if I could simply remove the battery fuse? Would this adversely impact on the EBL220-2? Could such an action clear the DT220-2 which when it closed down in Nantua seemed to freak out flashing all manner of alarms for several seconds. It has behaved faultessly in the subsequent 5 weeks apart from refusing to isolate the habitation battery.

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The dethleffs owners club have, at last, updated their website and Facebook page. Dethleffs-owners.

They have a presence at the NEC show next week and Richard, who has run it for several years is usually there. He's very willing to sort out problems by contacting the factory, but I think your issue is just the common one of a tired battery.

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I trust you are right. The battery issue is no longer a major concern, now I am back in the UK.


However, the problem I am experiencing with the DT220, not being able to isolate the battery, is. If I could/can resolve this by simply replacing the existing gel battery I will happily do so. I am just a bit thrown by the behaviour of this unit and puzzled as to why I can't clear its internal registry.


I must admit I am tempted to visit the NEC exhibition but I am not a real fan of these types of jamborees. I noted that attempts were being made to re-incarnate the Dethleffs club and hope they are successfull - there is certainly a need for such an organisation.

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