It's that time of year again

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Post by Paramedic on Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:34 pm

Visited the van today (in storage) with the intention of checking state of batteries. Key fob activated awning light and step deployed. Couldn't open habitation door so manual key use. Panel displayed LOW VECHICLE BATTERY(RED) wouldn't scroll to other info other than a fleeting view of 100% leisure batt. Fortunately jump started easily first time but also greeted with swarms of flies and ladybirds nestled in the rubber trim of cab doors. Both instances a repeat of last February when new battery fitted. Took van for a 20 mile run and filled up on LPG. Back at storage site battery reading 12.4v and despite gloomy cloud cover, 80 watt solar panel putting 0.4 amps into leisure battery. Hmmm, why the hab and not the van batt getting the solar charge? Oh well, will have to take the van out every week rather than the three weeks since previous visit for it's that time of year again.
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Post by Gromit on Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:08 pm

This might be worth a look Paramedic. Fit and forget - and they do work very effectively.

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There is a cheaper version by Voltronic, but I have no experience of those, so can't comment.

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Post by -mojo- on Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:32 pm

A 2013 Broadway FB should have an EC480/EC500 with "smart charging" of both batteries from both EHU and solar, so there should - if that is the case - be no need to install any additional devices.

If you followed the instructions in the Owner's Manual on how to make sure that the feature operates correctly, and it is only charging the leisure battery, it suggests that there is a fault somewhere - possibly a blown fuse in the circuit from the Sargent controller to the vehicle battery.


Last edited by -mojo- on Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:12 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Clarification)
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Post by Gromit on Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:37 am

Hi Mojo

Do you mean that the EC450/EC500 should charge both batteries simultaneously?

On our very similar 2015 Nuevo both batteries could be charged, but only one at a time. However, it has the EC328 unit (I think) and I would have expected a Broadway of similar vintage to have the same??

Before fitting the Battery Master I used to leave the control panel set to charge the vehicle battery most of the time. That's the one which has most continuous drain on it, and if you can't start the van you are in the mire!!  Whistle1

At about fortnightly intervals I switched to habitation battery for a couple of days, then back again to vehicle battery.

Paramedic can't easily do that unless his storage facility is very close to home. Could you clarify this point for him (and others, including me) please.

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Post by Askit on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:19 am

I would be grateful for clarification as well. As I have the same set up as you Dave, I understood that the solar panel routinely charged both batteries with nothing switched on. Our motorhome has been left for up to six weeks in storage during winter with no noticeable loss of battery charge.

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Post by Cymro on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:25 am

Whilst Gromit is correct in his description of the Mains-powered charging arrangement of the Sargent EC328, I hesitate to add one point. It does in fact charge both batteries simultaneously when the charge is derived from the solat panel.

Of course, in winter that may not be sufficient to keep both batteries at optimum, and so it's necessary to use the mains charger as well, swapping the destination battery from time to time as Gromit has hitherto described.
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Post by Gromit on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:37 am

Thanks Cymro.

Something new every day, eh!  up!
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Post by Askit on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:54 am

I doubt that any of this is helpful to Paramedic. Have you got an alarm or tracker on that might be causing the battery to drain?

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Post by Liam on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:55 am

-mojo- wrote:A 2013 Broadway FB should have an EC480/EC500 with "smart charging" of both batteries from both EHU and solar, so there should - if that is the case - be no need to install any additional devices.

If you followed the instructions in the Owner's Manual on how to make sure that the feature operates correctly, and it is only charging the leisure battery, it suggests that there is a fault somewhere - possibly a blown fuse in the circuit from the Sargent controller to the vehicle battery.

Its the "EC500 system that incorporates an intelligent 3 stage battery charger feature which monitors both leisure and vehicle batteries and automatically adjusts and directs the charger power (and Solar power if a solar panel is installed) to maintain both batteries at an optimal level". 

As I read the A/S owners manual the solar panel does not charge both batteries simultaneously!! - "Depending on the state of the batteries, the solar power will be directed to the required battery and continuously monitored to ensure optimum operation". 

And "in order to benefit from this feature you must leave the (EC500) switched on whilst  in storage or laid up". 

"For the system to operate intelligently , the shutdown button should be left switched on! If the shutdown button is turned off then the solar panel will charge the leisure battery only"!

All of the above in "" are direct quotes from the A/S owners manual - I have followed this routine for the last 3 years and so far have not had any issues. 

As Mojo says above - just follow the instructions as written in the owners manual and with a reasonable amount of sunshine there should be no issues with either battery.

However if Paramedic is following the manual instructions to the letter and the vehicle battery is still discharging then I would suggest that there might be another problem with his system.
 
Alarms/Tracker should not drain the battery to that extent if the solar charging side is operating correctly - unless the vehicle is parked in total darkness.
 
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Post by Peter Brown on Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:20 am

Firstly, the new Boxer chassis on the AS stand at the NEC all now have a position on the ignition switch, identified with a 'red tab' that switches the battery off.

The solar charge system is as Liam describes and works fine. However in days of low light and long nights, the activity of the battery monitoring system in the PSU consumes more energy than the solar panel can provide each 24hr and the chassis electrical systems (alarm, immobiliser, etc) flatten the starter battery in a couple of weeks. This was a prolific problem last winter with many suffering.

The best option if you are going to store for a couple of weeks or more is to disconnect both starter and leisure batteries on arrival at the store.

Alternatively a regular visit to recharge is necessary. If the recharge is by driving the vehicle, you should remember that one of the critical factors in the amount of charge delivered is the time of charge so if the battery has been run down a lot, it will take the engine a few hours to return the battery to a healthy state of charge.

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Post by Greyhound on Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:05 am

Peter Brown wrote:The solar charge system is as Liam describes and works fine.  However in days of low light and long nights, the activity of the battery monitoring system in the PSU consumes more energy than the solar panel can provide  each 24hr and the chassis electrical systems (alarm, immobiliser, etc) flatten the starter battery in a couple of weeks.  This was a prolific problem last winter with many suffering.

I just had the situation with my Symbol.  Hadn't used it for a month or so (it was fine for a couple of months in the summer months) but came home one day from work and the alarm was going off due to the battery voltage being so low it had triggered the alarm to think the supply had been cut off.  Put it on EHU straight away and all good, but realised with the alarm and tracker it needs a little help during the darker months as the solar can't manage all the systems.  The leisure battery was completely fine fortunately but hoping the drop in voltage hasn't damaged the vehicle battery.
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Post by -mojo- on Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:20 pm

I should add that I don't know for sure what controller the OP's van has. All I did was to download the 2013 BroadwayFB Owner's Manual from the A/S website, and that describes the EC480/500. However, it's quite possible that the OP's van does not have either of those!

I recall previous threads here where people have found that even relatively large solar panels can't keep up with the drain on the batteries, and I still find it hard to believe that Sargent and the vehicle manufacturer could have such a large background drain by design! It still seems more likely to me that something (on the vehicle side) is causing one or more of the van's control modules to "stay awake" rather than shutting itself down into proper power-saving mode.

I do also wonder how the dual solar controller in the Sargent main unit is configured. If it's like the controller fitted to the EC328, it can be configured to fix the proportion of solar panel output, anywhere from 90:10 in favour of the leisure battery to 90:10 in favour of the vehicle battery. Although the factory default seems to be 50:50 (that's what it was set to in my Celex), it's ~possible~ that A/S set the one in the EC500 differently from the factory. Unfortunately if it's like the one in the EC328, you have to open up the Sargent box to change the proportion - even adding a remote display panel doesn't let you change that.
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Post by groundhog on Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:02 pm

I am confused? scratch head

We go back to the land of bears and beavers most Winters for several weeks, even months, without mains power connected to the EC328 the engine battery goes totally flat in that time. The 110w solar panel does not provide enough power to maintain it even though the van is locked manually with alarm and central locking off. ( Greater security exists if anyone is thinking of nicking it by the way!) 

If however I leave power connected on a timer for three or four hours a night the engine battery retains its charge so the EC328 must be charging both batteries? Am I getting it wrong or missing something? Since there is no drain on the leisure battery when we are away does that mean the EC328 can easily be changed to put more power to the engine battery. confused3

Sorry to OP for thread drift and wish I had a solution for you.
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Post by Paramedic on Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:23 pm

Gentlemen, my gratitude extends to you all for all your comments and yes, our van has EC480 and EC500. Understand the PSU is left switched on for the system to operate intelligently to benefit both V and L batteries for solar charging. Yesterday it seemed odd that whilst the leisure battery was displaying 100%, the panel was still putting in 0.4 amp in same whilst the vehicle battery was in a low state (probably less than 10.9 volts ?) so unable to turn the engine over. However, it's been full sun today and taking the van out on Sunday and for MOT on Monday and will update you thereafter. Again, much obliged for your interest.

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Post by -mojo- on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:05 pm

groundhog wrote:
If however I leave power connected on a timer for three or four hours a night the engine battery retains its charge so the EC328 must be charging both batteries? Am I getting it wrong or missing something? Since there is no drain on the leisure battery when we are away does that mean the EC328 can easily be changed to put more power to the engine battery. confused3

This is not surprising, because the EPIPDB-COM solar controller monitors the status of each battery and if one is at a voltage where it appears to need no charging (e.g. because it is on a mains hookup charger) it will direct all of the solar panel output to the other battery, overriding the preset charging ratio for leisure:vehicle.

You won't know what ratio has been set without opening up the EC328, as it can only be altered on the front panel of the EPIPDB-COM controller.
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Post by groundhog on Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:12 pm

Thanks Mojo that makes sense
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Post by Simmo on Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:54 am

Peter Brown wrote:Firstly, the new Boxer chassis on the AS stand at the NEC all now have a position on the ignition switch, identified with a 'red tab' that switches the battery off.

The solar charge system is as Liam describes and works fine.  However in days of low light and long nights, the activity of the battery monitoring system in the PSU consumes more energy than the solar panel can provide  each 24hr and the chassis electrical systems (alarm, immobiliser, etc) flatten the starter battery in a couple of weeks.  This was a prolific problem last winter with many suffering.

The best option if you are going to store for a couple of weeks or more is to disconnect both starter and leisure batteries on arrival at the store.

Alternatively a regular visit to recharge is necessary.  If the recharge is by driving the vehicle, you should remember that one of the critical factors in the amount of charge delivered is the time of charge so if the battery has been run down a lot, it will take the engine a few hours to return the battery to a healthy state of charge.
Hi Peter. Yes I to have this label on my dashboard of my 2017 Fairford that says 'battery off' and shows a four segment ignition key symbol on the label with a red segment. Ah, now the fun starts because the key does not turn to the red off position as stated on the label ie it wont turn that far. It says on the label ' see handbook ' but yes you guessed it, I cannot find anything in the Peugeot Vehicle handbook about it at all and only reference the standard three position ignition switch. I was thinking about starting a new thread on this to see if anyone else has it and cant use it. What do you reckon??
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Post by Mindhyg on Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:09 am

Hello Simmo. I have the label on mine as well and my key will also not turn to the vehicle battery off position either. I wonder why it is on there when it does not work!
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:55 am

I suggest a trip to Peugeot dealer with van and handbook.

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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:59 am

Just a thought, can the plastic tag be manipulated to allow the key to that position?

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Post by Mindhyg on Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:11 am

Peter Brown wrote:Just a thought, can the plastic tag be manipulated to allow the key to that position?
Apparently Paulmond says yes in another post that I started so all good info.

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Post by spanner on Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:29 pm

Paramedic wrote:Gentlemen, my gratitude extends to you all for all your comments and yes, our van has EC480 and EC500. Understand the PSU is left switched on for the system to operate intelligently to benefit both V and L batteries for solar charging. Yesterday it seemed odd that whilst the leisure battery was displaying 100%, the panel was still putting in 0.4 amp in same whilst the vehicle battery was in a low state (probably less than 10.9 volts ?) so unable to turn the engine over. However, it's been full sun today and taking the van out on Sunday and for MOT on Monday and will update you thereafter. Again, much obliged for your interest.
We have the EC500/EC480 setup and and have found the Sargent smart charge hopeless at managing to automatically charge the battery that’s most discharged, when I sought help from Sargent they told me to switch the EC500 on and off to reset the smart charge, well this sometimes works but needs doing every few days !
The parasitic discharge from the Sargent EC500 is more than the the solar panel can keep up with at this time of the year with very little overhead sun.

Fitting a Victron MPPT solar controller improved the solar panel charge but not enough.

I’ve just removed the factory fitted 80watt panel and fitting a 160 watt panel, if I still have the same problem I’ll fit a CBE CSB2 / Battery Master that will connect to the leisure batteries and trickle charge the vehicle battery and solve the problem as long as I switch off the EC500 between October to March it can’t can’t drain the batteries, not a problem for the rest of the year when the sun is higher and the days longer.
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Post by Paramedic on Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:29 am

spanner wrote:
Paramedic wrote:Gentlemen, my gratitude extends to you all for all your comments and yes, our van has EC480 and EC500. Understand the PSU is left switched on for the system to operate intelligently to benefit both V and L batteries for solar charging. Yesterday it seemed odd that whilst the leisure battery was displaying 100%, the panel was still putting in 0.4 amp in same whilst the vehicle battery was in a low state (probably less than 10.9 volts ?) so unable to turn the engine over. However, it's been full sun today and taking the van out on Sunday and for MOT on Monday and will update you thereafter. Again, much obliged for your interest.
We have the EC500/EC480 setup and and have found the Sargent smart charge hopeless at managing to automatically charge the battery that’s most discharged, when I sought help from Sargent they told me to switch the EC500 on and off to reset the smart charge, well this sometimes works but needs doing every few days !
The parasitic discharge from the Sargent EC500 is more than the the solar panel can keep up with at this time of the year with very little overhead sun.

This is exactly what we have experienced and the potential EC500 drain in the winter months has recently been mentioned by Peter. Recall last winter switching the EC500 off and on to change to 'V' on the EC480 control panel but not knowing how long this worked once leaving the van. This morning taking the van for a drive (30 miles) will fiddle with the PSU and hope the engine battery has remained charged sufficient to unlock the habitation door, fingers crossed.

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Post by Mindhyg on Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:03 pm

Hi Paramedic. Hope you keep your defib with you because it sounds like all this could give you a heart attack. That's only a nudge, nudge and not meant to be serious. I don't think I will need a defib because they will have admitted me into the local sanitarium by then!

The forums seem to be covered with this Sergant smart charger problem, so something must be wrong somewhere. My vehicle is brand new and I have all sorts of problems with the battery/s charge state and the smart battery charging. My van has even been back to A/S and Mark Burdett has re calibrated the system, but the settings only lasts a few weeks at most and battery voltage drops off on both batteries. Also the AH reading dives to red and only re calibrating it puts it back to 100%  but it still drops back to red at an alarming rate. It would appear that the solar panel is next to useless for keeping them topped up. I even found that after a 100 mile drive and then hooking up to the mains that the panel shows the vehicle battery is being charged and not the leisure, although it is switched to leisure on the panel. it seems to have a mind of it's own, it's certainly not smart. Anyway I'm baffled and have to some extent given up on it. I also show a small permanent battery drain on the panel reading even when the sun is at full height. Also bought a fuse meter and checked all the 12v fuse pins for a drain and nothing but a zero reading on the meter from each fuse holder.

I pitched up right next door to another brand new Kingham the other day. It was full sun above and when we compared solar panel readings  his solar charging rate was nearly treble mine and he showed no drain at all in fact a green plus. I never had any of this trouble with my Bailey charging system it ran like clockwork. I went to start it up the other day before a trip and it turned over slowly. I have to now take it back to the factory again because something is very wrong. I like my van but it is spoiling my pleasure.
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Post by Paramedic on Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:22 pm

Mindhyg wrote:Hi Paramedic. Hope you keep your defib with you because it sounds like all this could give you a heart attack. That's only a nudge, nudge and not meant to be serious. I don't think I will need a defib because they will have admitted me into the local sanitarium by then!

The forums seem to be covered with this Sergant smart charger problem, so something must be wrong somewhere. My vehicle is brand new and I have all sorts of problems with the battery/s charge state and the smart battery charging. My van has even been back to A/S and Mark Burdett has re calibrated the system, but the settings only lasts a few weeks at most and battery voltage drops off on both batteries. 
I pitched up right next door to another brand new Kingham the other day. It was full sun above and when we compared solar panel readings  his solar charging rate was nearly treble mine and he showed no drain at all in fact a green plus. I never had any of this trouble with my Bailey charging system it ran like clockwork. I went to start it up the other day before a trip and it turned over slowly. I have to now take it back to the factory again because something is very wrong. I like my van but it is spoiling my pleasure.
Hi Mindhyg, sorry that you have the unresolved battery discharge problem on your brand new van. If our situation was as bad as yours continuing after a return from A/S, I personally would suffer more insomnia than I do now. This morning, the key fob successfully unlocked the habitation door and with cloudy bright  conditions, the control panel displayed V batt 12.3v but the SP putting 1.6 amps into the L batt showing 100% charged. Switched the PSU off and on to surprisingly see the V batt taking the charge. After returning from our trip out, the control panel showed, V batt 12.8v and L batt 13.6 receiving 1.8 amps from the SP. Tried the PSU several times off and on to change to V  batt to no avail, perhaps due to the alternator 'doing' it's charging beforehand. So to conclude, the V batt at least held it's charge over the three days but wether any intelligent charging took place remains a mystery. Oh well, it will have to be a weekly visit to check the van if not using it. Hope you can rescue your current situation with a positive outcome. Regards.

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