Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

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Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Vivienne Last on Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:11 pm

Greetings, My 06 AS Symbol has a mains charging problem with the P.I.S. "Volt A Leisure Battery Charger" charger, rated at 12A..
My ( trustworthy ) garage tells me that the output from the battery charger is barely above that required to charge the battery at all, and that the charger unit is at fault.
I have a couple of questions I am sure you old hands can assist me with and sorry if this has come up before.

Firstly on mains, do both the vehicle and habitation batteries get charged? (as I understand they do on the road) I ask because the control panel has a master switch and a switch marked VEH or HAB. In addition two other switches marked LIGHTS and PUMP. Plus a water/battery meter.
I had assumed the VEH/HAB switch directed the mains charge to the appropriate battery, but now I feel this may be wrong? There would seem to be just a single DC output.

Secondly, I cannot find anything on the web about Plug-in-Systems and I wonder what might be recommended as a direct replacement for the "VOLT A"
 I have been told this could cost 2-300 pounds to replace, ouch!
Any help on this gratefully received.
Cheers

David Last
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Paramedic on Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:44 pm

Welcome to this most friendly and informative forum, as such advice will wing your way very shortly from the host of experts. asof_welcome2

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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Paulmold on Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:15 pm

It sounds the same switch panel as my Nuevo ,06 which has an MES control panel and yes the switch marked Veh/Hab is to direct the charge to your chosen battery. It is not, as many people think, to choose which battery supplies your 12v for habitation area.
As for replacement charger, I think this could be a good choice...

http://www.olearymotorhomes.co.uk/zig-x-70-battery-charger-261-p.asp


Last edited by Paulmold on Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by PLOUGHLIN on Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:15 pm

This guy might be able to help.http://www.expluginsteve.co.uk/index.htm

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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Carver on Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:01 pm

Hi
I bought a new charger from ex-plug in Steve a couple of years ago.
Good service.
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Still confused

Post by Vivienne Last on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:14 pm

Thanks for replies chaps. I still can't get my head around this.
The leisure battery was reading 6V and I put the mains hook up on and with the master switch on, Veh/Hab switched to Hab.
After 5 hours the leisure battery charging voltage was 13.9V and the battery off charge 12.6.
I turned on all the internal lights and checked a couple of hours later- they were out.
The leisure battery was back to 6V.
Was 5 hours charge enough for less than 2 hours use or is the battery suspect?.

The VEH battery appears to charge ok.

Also what sort of run would charge the batteries to full?

Thanks again for any comments.
Dave, Vivienne's driver.
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by logburner on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:47 pm

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a 6 volt current off a 12 volt battery is a dead battery, from my limited knowledge. scratch head I think you need to be looking for a replacement. shrugg 
Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge of these dark arts, will be along shortly to advise you, firstly if my supposition is correct, and also maybe where a good reliable source of replacement may be found, at a good price. think_smiley_46
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by boxerman on Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:47 pm

'Fraid I agree with Logburner, that if a 12v lead acid battery has been down as low as 6v, its probably kaput.
If your charger was at fault, and you replace it, the battery will still be kaput so you'll need a new one either way.
I've bought batteries for both the bike and van online from Tayna in Wales. Good prices and very quick delivery.

Frank
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Carver on Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:10 pm

I would also agree, it sounds like the battery has had it.  Left uncharged or even partially charged causes lead-acid batteries to degrade and sometimes quite quickly.  The vehicle battery on our van, even though charged occasionally over winter, gave up after only about 2 years and resulted in a recovery.
Having learnt a lesson I now have a much more strict charging regime of both the vehicle and leisure batteries in the winter months.
And I can agree with Frank regarding Tayna.  I've had car and motorbike batteries from them.

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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by bikeralw on Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:25 pm

Same experiences here. Plus in my opinion periods of non use are bad for batteries. I run a car, van and 5 motorbikes. The car gets used on a regular basis, never have a glimmer of battery problems. The van and bikes only get seasonal use, and battery problems abound..
Al.
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by frederic on Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:57 pm

Nobody has yet mentioned the fluid levels in the battery.
Our Transit Duetto took 200cc per habitation battery cell after we got it last year! so much for the dealers checks. (5yrs), the vehicle battery was perfect and took no fluid even though it was even harder to check each of its cells!
Mind you the Duetto batteries are under the drivers seat and not easy to check fluid levels.
 Ignition key removed, the engine start battery is isolated from all the van electrics, except the habitation charger via the control panel which directs power into the batteries depending its position Hab. Off or Veh.
Mind you don't let this habitation battery get very low otherwise as in the Duetto ALL 'van electrics go off including the central locking, which if locked stays locked so make sure the drivers door is readily accessible, but that's another story!
Also on our 'van one can charge (<10A) the habitation battery via the cigar lighter/12v socket.
frederic

anybody used these people?  http://www.advancedbatterysupplies.co.uk
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by inspiredron on Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:18 am

But a lot of modern batteries are sealed (apart from venting tube).  They can lose electrolyte for venting if badly charged but that can never be replaced.

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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by mpbarrett on Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:18 am

I agree that the battery is probably scrap.
But proper leisure are designed to be deeply discharged so can recover if discharged down to 6V, if it is a leisure battery and not an ordinary car battery. You do pay more for a leisure battery than an ordinary battery..
If you cant keep it trickle charged it worth buying a good quality intelligent battery charger (~£60) that will recondition batteries.
I brought one a few years ago and have used it on our boat batteries and it has helped to extend the life of the batteries. It will also charge a battery at 16A so great for a quick charge.

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Battery charging

Post by Vivienne Last on Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:58 pm

Hello all, thanks for replies.
After further investigation I feel the inbuilt charger unit is ok, particularly when switched to 3 stage as opposed to the trickle setting it was on.
The leisure battery however will not hold it's charge for long. I have been advised the "toad" alarm system does not run off the leisure battery.
So I will be replacing the leisure battery.
Regards
David
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Greyhound on Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:47 pm

mpbarrett wrote:I agree that the battery is probably scrap.
But proper leisure are designed to be deeply discharged so can recover if discharged down to 6V

I wouldn't go that far.  They are made with a thicker lead plates (which is why they end up heavier than starter batteries) and so can certainly take a deeper discharge than a starter battery with less damage.

The plates will still get wrecked from very deep discharge though and once that happens it's game over I'm afraid.  As the OP already says, even after a charge the voltage drops straight back to 6 again, so it's clearly a ruined battery.

At 12V a battery is nearly 50% depleted already and at a reading of around 10.5V it's empty (the lead plates are covered in lead sulphate and the chemical process is pretty much complete for the discharge cycle).  Any less voltage than that usually indicates battery damage.

The key to battery care is that if it does get depleted to 10.5V, you must charge it back as quickly as possible to prevent the lead sulphate from becoming hard crystals.  Once that happens the battery is dead and can't be recovered, which sounds like it has happened in this case.  Once voltages drop below the 10.5V, it's usually a sign things have gone wrong within the battery cells.
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by mpbarrett on Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:57 pm

Noggin wrote:
mpbarrett wrote:I agree that the battery is probably scrap.
But proper leisure are designed to be deeply discharged so can recover if discharged down to 6V

I wouldn't go that far.  They are made with a thicker lead plates (which is why they end up heavier than starter batteries) and so can certainly take a deeper discharge than a starter battery with less damage.
.......
I agree that you shouldn't do it but you can get away with it, especially if you have a  modern intelligent battery charger.. We used to have a cheap Peltier based fridge in our boat and it would just carry on until the battery was flat. With a decent charger I could recover the battery. But in the end I invested the money in a decent 12V compressor fridge, expensive but worth the money. :)

regards
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Re: Battery charging, Plug-in-Systems

Post by Bartfarst on Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:57 pm

Vivienne Last wrote:After 5 hours the leisure battery charging voltage was 13.9V
Not sure of the characteristics of the charger in question, but a Zig charger gives a peak voltage of 13.8V, so your charger unit achieving this means that it is probably fine.

Agree with all other comments.

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