Habitation 12 volt system

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Post by JohnnyT on Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:21 pm

Hello all

We are currently on my first trip out in our 2011 Broadway EK after PXing  a Nuevo ES last October.
Stopped for a brew on services on M6 on way to Melrose CC site and checked the operation of the fridge and kept the engine running.
All ok but to my surprise, I noticed the 12v habitation electrics were fully functional.
The Nuevo whilst engine running only ran the fridge.
Should I be overly worried about this and does anybody have any ideas what's going on?

Thanks

JT
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Post by logburner on Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:08 pm

Totally different van, but I can run with, or without habitation 12v, depending whether or not the 12v switch on the zig unit is switched on or off. The fridge is independent of the 12v zig switch.....I thought all vans were the same, in this respect.      hugegrins
Then again, I could be totally wrong..       shrugg    wouldn't be the first time.       Whistle1 Whistle1
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Post by inspiredron on Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:19 pm

I am surprised!  On my 2012, with the Sargent EC328, habitation 12v is off as soon as engine starts. Maybe the previous owner modified it.

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Post by Spospe on Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:56 pm

From what I have read on the Sargent website, the 12 volt system (apart from the fridge) should be off when the engine is running so as to meet EMC requirements.
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Post by moggyminor1966 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:22 pm

My Nuevo is the same year as yours so I think the 12V electrics should be disabled automatically by the Sargent control as soon as the engine is started.
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Post by -mojo- on Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:33 pm

One thing to check is whether the leisure battery is being charged while the engine is running. If the "engine run" input is not working, the split charge won't be on a typical recent Sargent unit. You may find that the fuse on this input is hidden away somewhere, depending on the model of power control unit, as it's external on some common models.
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Post by logburner on Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:36 am

Spospe wrote:From what I have read on the Sargent website, the 12 volt system (apart from the fridge) should be off when the engine is running so as to meet EMC requirements.

What is "EMC requirements"..........more European red tape useless input ??    lol4
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:58 am

Electromagnetic Compatability. ie your hab systems don't affect the vehicle electronic systems when mobile.
It was covered by EU Directives, but now UNECE Regulation 10.
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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:20 pm

Last first, although EMC is now covered by an EU directive, the original requirement to disable the habitation electrics came from the base vehicle manufactures refusing to warrant their electrics if the habitation electrics were energised.

The OP's habitation electrics should be disabled when the engine is running. This is achieved by the D+ output from the vehicle alternator energising relays in the Sargent EM50 unit that disconnect the habitation electrics and connect the leisure and vehicle batteries together to charge from the alternator.

In my Mercedes the D+ is routed via a fuse in one of the Mercedes fuse boxes and I suspect the Peugeot is the same; either that fuse or an EM50 (or wiring) fault could be the cause. As Mojo suggests the first test would be to measure the voltage of the leisure battery in the quiescent state, its should be around 12v then start the engine. The voltage should rise to at least 13.5 v. If that is happening then the problem is definitely in the conversion side, if its not it will be in the alternator or EM50.

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Post by brodco on Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:01 pm

Hi  wave

logburner wrote:What is "EMC requirements"..........more European red tape useless input ??    lol4

A simple question with a very complicated answer but certainly not just red tape.

For EMC read “electrical interference” It’s a massive problem nowadays but generally not well understood by people not involved with it on a day to day basis. Why should it be? You can’t see it or feel it but it has been responsible all sorts of equipment malfunctions, some trivial, some more serious  and some the cause of fatal accidents.

These effects are much more common than you may think but would undoubtedly be even more common if it wasn’t for the effort and expense that goes into understanding it and designing equipment to cope with it (to defined levels anyway) as well as testing for compliance to the standards.

These days we define the level of interference a piece of equipment is allowed to emit and perhaps more importantly (particularly for safety critical systems) the level of interference it must withstand before it fails.

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If you read the papers you could be forgiven for thinking that someone in Europe sits a desk thinking up daft rules. Not true, in fact these regulations apply in some form in most parts of the world and each region has various organizations responsible for accessing the problems as well as defining and implementing standards. In Europe the main organisation is probably CENELEC. You can think of the EU as the publisher /controller rather than the originator.

Cenelec itself is composed of members from various countries for example for example the British Standards Organization (BSI) in the UK.

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In the case of motorhomes when they say they ”turn of the electrics to comply with the regulations” perhaps they should say “we’re turning of the electrics because we don’t comply with the regulations”. That wouldn’t sound so good though would it? hugegrins

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Post by roger7webster on Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:40 pm

But!! If you buy a European motor home the habitation electrics are available at all times.
These motor homes are identical eg same base vehicle,same fridges, heating systems etc etc.
Where would we find their compliance and in what form??
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Post by JohnnyT on Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:40 pm

Mojo and Peter, you are on to something.

The display panel for the Sargent EC325 shows 13.8v  to 14.4v for the vehicle battery and 12.6v for the leisure when engine running.
Additionally, the panel shows "mains supply off" but all 230v works, then when you turn the charger on the EC325 the lcd shows "mains supply on"
I can alternate between on  and off by flicking the charger switch, but all all times all the AC sockets are live on hook up.
When the charger is on it charges both batteries whenever I select the relevant battery.

May be the previous owner wanted any rear passengers to watch TV whilst traveling.
From my point of view, the drawback is not charging the Leisure battery from the alternator if I wild camp.
Were would you look first?

Thanks

JT
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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:38 pm

I’ve done all this once and then the forum crashed!!

The 230v circuitry passes through the Sargent PSU but is independent of any control so the sockets will be live whenever mains is connected irrespective of engine state.

When the engine is started the control panel should display “System Disabled Engine Started” and all other indications and controls are disabled.
If the control panel is switched on when the engine is started it will switch off.

If mains is connected and the charger switched on, the control panel will give an audible alarm until the engine is switched off.  If the charge is not switched on you don’t get that alarm.

With mains disconnected can you switch the EC325 on and then switch of the habitation lights?

With the mains completely disconnected from the van I need to know the actual voltage at the leisure battery terminals with the engine off and with it running before making further suggestions.

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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:40 pm

Fuse 8 in the EM50 controls the split charging relay, worth a first look.

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Post by brodco on Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:37 pm

Hi  wave

goneoff

This deviation from the original question probably merits a thread of its own but for now:

roger7webster wrote:But!! If you buy a European motor home the habitation electrics are available at all times.
These motor homes are identical eg same base vehicle,same fridges, heating systems etc etc. ??

It doesn’t matter which European country the van is manufactured in, the rules are the same. It probably depends on how much testing has been done.

roger7webster wrote:Where would we find their compliance and in what form??

Through a "Certificate of Conformity" The vehicle manufacturer themselves should (must) be able to provide that information.

Examples here:

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As far as EMC is concerned the base vehicle will have undergone EMC testing and issued with a Certificate of Conformity by (probably) a test house e.g.

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As I understand it, that certificate will then be used (with others covering other aspects of the regs) to get type approval, and in the UK this means going through the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).

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As I read the rules the converter then has to re-submit the vehicle for approval as a motorhome so there's probably a clue in this little piece of text.

“For example; if a product can only be used when the vehicle is stationary (e.g. through an interlock device such as a power supply connection via a relay switch fed the parking brake warning light) then it would not need to have an approval.”

Only the vehicle convertor can give a definite answer (and probably won't) but I suspect that many disconnect their own installations so as not to require the complication and expense of re-testing for EMC.

As for the fridge point, most fridges already have their own certificate of compliance e.g. (page 6):

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EMC areas that may be affected by the installation are a grey area.

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Post by roger7webster on Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:33 pm

So it seems there is no actual difference between UK and continental built motorhomes and any emc produced.
Its all down to the compliance certificate.
Thanks Brod for the info
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Post by logburner on Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:53 pm

All very complicated.    confused3
I haven't a hope of understanding it all.......    scratch head
I'll just make sure the 12v switch on the zig is turned off, when moving on..... allthumbz
Then I don't need to understand it.......it'll all go away.. shrugg       Whistle1 Whistle1
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Post by JohnnyT on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:14 pm

I will report back after the weekend when I get back to sunny Cheshire.
My multimeter and long nose pliers were erroneously left at home.

Thank you all
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Post by brodco on Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:16 pm

Hi wave
roger7webster wrote:So it seems there is no actual difference between UK and continental built motorhomes and any emc produced.
Its all down to the compliance certificate.

Possibly (perhaps probably), but be careful, you can't say there is no actual difference because no certificate means that in all likelihood there  been no test.  Many engineers would say designing for EMC compliance is a black art. That's debatable but certainly very small differences can have a massive effect how sensitive a system is to interference.

Something as simple as moving a wire can make all the difference between complete failure and a pass. Secondly one van may have EMC filters ( a sort of suppressor) fitted in sensitive areas where as another outwardly similar van may not.

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Post by JohnnyT on Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:39 pm

Hello all again

Now we are home I have taken some readings, and very nice Melrose CC site is too.
Engine not running and panel switched off reading from the leisure battery terminals 12.75 to 12.94v (30 watt PV on roof causing variance)
When engine running no perceivable difference in readings.
I can the turn the panel on with the engine running, introduce a load by turning on TV and lights and I can get a voltage drop to 12.3v

I can the select the vehicle battery and the lights and TV still on. The leisure battery returns to 12.75 volts and indicating no load and the habitation electrics are still live.
There is no voltage drop on the vehicle battery and presumably the supply is coming from the alternator circa 14 volts.

Perhaps of more concern is that when I hook up the mains the and select leisure battery, this is supplying the 12volt habitation system and exhibits the same voltage drop when I turn lights on etc. It appears the EC325 only supplies the 12 volt side when the charger is switched on. The "mains on" display only shows when the charger switched on.
I would not want to leave the charger switched on whilst on hook up all the time but otherwise I would be discharging the leisure battery.

Can I then conclude leisure battery the receives no charge when engine running and clearly a problem lies with the wiring to the EC50/ Sargent 325.?

I'd like to get an idea of what could have been either interfered with or possible failed.

Thank you,

JT
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:54 pm

As I said earlier.

Fuse 8 in the EM50 controls the split charging relay, worth a first look.

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Post by JohnnyT on Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:33 pm

Ploughlin, You're a star.
But what a proverbial the notorious fuse 8 is to get to between drivers seat and seat panel.
It was not seated correctly.

Thank you very much

JT up!
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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:16 pm

It is a fundamental problem with the EM50 that there is no body to guide the blades of the fuse into the grip.  You can get one end in and the other making contact from the outside so all seems well until temperature or vibration cause a disconnection.

The EC325 is different to all the other Sargent units.  When you connect the van to the mains and switch the psu on it disconnects the habitation electrics from the leisure battery and supplies them from a separate 12v psu.  The battery is then connected to the charger which is able to fast charge at up to 18v.  If you are static on hook up for more than 4 or 5 days it is a good idea to turn the PSU off for a day every now and then to let the battery do some work, if you have a solar panel installed, do this overnight.

Can we take it that all now works as it should and was described earlier in the thread?

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Post by JohnnyT on Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:37 pm

Thanks Peter,

All is now fine.

Cheers

JT
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:39 pm

JohnnyT wrote:Ploughlin, You're a star.
But what a proverbial the notorious fuse 8 is to get to between drivers seat and seat panel.
It was not seated correctly.

Thank you very much

JT up!

Your welcome, I try to help with my vast MH experience (1 & 1/2 season) hugegrins

ps Do you have one of those blade fuse removal tools, they help immensely .

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