Jump to content

Charging Fiat Ducato engine battery via jump start points in engine bay - is it possible/safe?


Recommended Posts

I have a 2008 Fiat Ducato 100 multijet camper van.

I've rarely had to charge the engine battery but noticed the battery warning light on the other day.

It is a faff taking up the cab floor to connect the battery charger.

Having seen the engine jump started by the AA with the battery connection points in the engine bay I wonder if it is safe/possible to charge the battery this way.

I never disconnect the battery terminals when charging in the cab as I don't want to cause problems like needing to reset the radio. I don't have the code for it.

Thanks for any advice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keith - thanks for the quick and helpful response. That's great it is possible to do it that way.I don't think we have a cigarette lighter . As a non-smoker I have never noticed!

Can I ask another question?

The leisure batteries (2) are showing flat, although it was possible to use them via hook up for 3 days last week.

The reason I think the engine battery is showing needing charging is that we drove back from a campsite with the compressor fridge still on and the electrical system was trying to charge the flat leisure batteries from the engine battery.

I don't want to put in new leisure batteries at this time of year as we won't be going away.

But when I take the van out for a run every couple of weeks over winter I guess the engine battery will try and charge the leisure batteries again.

So I'm guessing it would be best to disconnect the leisure batteries over winter until they are replaced.

Does that sound the best approach?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's getting beyond my technical abilities I think Keith!

I guess if I wrap the leisure battery terminals up in something and also attempt to cover the posts on the leisure batteries that should stop any contact over winter even when I am driving the van.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I believe your 2008 Ducato-based campervan is an East Neuk "Fifer".

Although the vehicle will not have a 'cigarette lighter' as such, I'd expect it to have a 'cigar lighter' socket near the dashboard's centre and (probably) a '12V power outlet' socket  alongside.

If you look for "cigar lighter" in your Ducato handbook's index, you should find more information about both sockets (arrowed on image below) but I'm near certain that both sockets only become 'live' when the vehicle's ignition is turned on, so will be unsuitable for charging the starter-battery in the manner Keith uses.



Enquiries about using the a 2006-onwards Ducato's under-bonnet jump-start connector points to charge the vehicle's under-cab-floor starter battery are quite common. My 2015 Ducato-based Rapido motorhome used to stand idle over the winter and, in order to charge the starter battery easily via my CTEK batter-charger, I fitted a CTEK extension cable 


to the battery with the cable's charger connector terminating beneath the cab seat. I could have used a similar ploy for the Rapido's leisure-battery, but as this was located in the motorhome's rear garage and easily accessible, I just connected my charger to that battery using crocodile clips.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Typically in Fiat based vehicles, the cigarette lighter, and similar 12V accessory socket, are only live when the ignition is on, so as Derek says cannot be used to charge the starter battery. On my 2006 x244 Ducato, I made a relatively simple fix for this deficiency.

To disable the split charge relay circuit, perhaps the best method is to remove the fuse connecting to the starter battery. This fuse will be rated from 20A to as high as 50A, but for standard blade fuses, the maximum avaiable rating is 40A. The fuse could be either inline or mounted with others in a small block.  It should be adjacent to the starter battery.

I advise against trying to support unserviceable habitation ("leisure") batteries via either the alternator, or the mains charger, as it is possible to damage them, and repair cost could be considerable, also battery explosions are not unknown.  Better to remove the batteries from the vehicle.

If the battery warning light illuminates when the habitation batteries have been disconnected, this should not be ignored.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fitted a Ctek flylead to the battery in my Ducato, running it from the battery box beneath the floor covering to emerge beneath the passenger seat by the front leg. It's then a simple matter to connect a Ctek charger at any time without removing the battery cover or opening the bonnet. The van has a mains charger that can also be switched to the vehicle battery, but I don't like to leave it connected for any length of time as the float voltage is a little high for the current best thinking at 13.6 volts.

I can confirm that the "lighter" type sockets on the dashboard are only live with ignition on.

Edited by Deneb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, johnlc said:

noticed the battery warning light on the other day.

If this is the warning on the vehicle instrument cluster then you may have charging issues, perhaps alternator failure.

The following  can cause issues, starting with a low starter battery, jump starting, charging the engine starter battery, replacing the starter battery,

Any of the above actions may damage  the air bag computer.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

I have never used the option to charge the starter battery via the hookup. It would be a quick way to check whether the starter battery warning light goes off but note the comment that it is not really a good option.

I've never used a standalone charger to charge the leisure batteries as they are connected to a 60w solar panel on the roof of the van. Even in winter when the van is only being driven infrequently this has always kept the leisure batteries in good condition. The fact that it is no longer doing that makes me think they are at the end of their life.

I think they are probably 7 or 8 years old.

I forgot to mention the solar panel before. I now wonder whether it would be a good idea to just disconnect the leisure batteries over winter (covering the leads) as I don't know how to disconnect them from the solar panel charger circuit.

I'm not sure I trust myself to find the right fuse to disconnect the split charge relay circuit.

Thanks again to everyone for your helpful responses

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...