It's that time of year again

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Post by Mindhyg on Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:55 pm

Paramedic wrote:
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.
Hi. Was that 100% reading showing on the AH meter? Mine shows zero right now no reading at all, but the batteries good charged on the meters right now. I could put it on hook up for weeks and the AH meter would probably not rise out of the yellow section on the AH meter. I could take it for a 4 hour drive and it would hardly go up. To keep re calibrating  ( as advised by Mark )  is not the answer, it just drops to zero after a couple of weeks even if the van has been used. I'll keep battling on, but I think I must make another trip to Willersey but the trouble is it's a blooming long way from Surrey.
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Post by Paramedic on Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:10 pm

Hi Mindhyg, leisure battery was green in the bar format almost maximum, didn't notice AH but certainly positive charging by way of the green bar.

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Post by Mindhyg on Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:31 pm

Paramedic wrote:Hi Mindhyg, leisure battery was green in the bar format almost maximum, didn't notice AH but certainly positive charging by way of the green bar.
Very well I will take it you mean the vehicle battery charge indicator, but only thing is it does not show green a scale of 100% on the meter just volts. But I understand, that it can show a charge on the charging bar, but can also  show nothing on the AH meter, meaning leisure battery not holding charge. We will leave it there for now, but you could check your AH meter tomorrow or this evening and see what you have got in the way of AH power in the leisure battery. Please let me know as it would be much appreciated. Someone out there has the answer to all this because it comes up lots of times, it's just finding the post out of lots of them. Cheers.
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Post by Cymro on Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:34 pm

Mods: I wonder whether this thread should be re-titled, in view of what it's about? Would make searching easier in future. Something like Charging batteries in Winter?
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Post by Mindhyg on Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:48 pm

Cymro wrote:Mods: I wonder whether this thread should be re-titled, in view of what it's about? Would make searching easier in future. Something like Charging batteries in Winter?
You're probably right Cymro, but when owners are scrabbling and scraping for any info they can get, it sometimes goes off post. Pretty sure you know what I mean.
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Post by Paramedic on Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:23 pm

Certainly Mindhyg, MOT tomorrow so will advise AH relating to leisure battery.

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Post by spanner on Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:23 pm

Vanbitz  sell their very own Battery Master and by all accounts its works perfectly and receives excellent feedback on other forums, simple to fit (only 3 wires) but obviously it does rely on having a sufficient supply from the solar panel.
From the comments I've read it's a fit and forget permanent fix for the Sargent problem.


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Edit:  My solar controller is external to the EC500 (apparently some are internal)


Last edited by spanner on Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Further info)
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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:35 pm

From the Sargent EC325 on, the system already contains the equivalent of a battery master and adding another in parralel will cause electrical chaos.

Battery master excellent for older systems - pre 2010 ish.

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Post by spanner on Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:46 pm

Peter Brown wrote:From the Sargent EC325 on, the system already contains the equivalent of a battery master and adding another in parralel will cause electrical chaos.

Battery master excellent for older systems - pre 2010 ish.

Hello Peter,

Eddie who is the owner of Vanbitz is very knowledgeable in this area, perhaps you would like to speak to him personally ?

Regards, Chris
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Post by -mojo- on Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:57 pm

spanner wrote:
Edit:  My solar controller is external to the EC500 (apparently some are internal)

Although Sargent don't recommend that it's done this way, I can see a good argument for it! If you fit a dual-channel solar controller externally it should operate correctly and distribute power between the two batteries correctly even when the power-hungry parts of the EC500 are turned off (much like the internal one does on the not-so-power-hungry EC328).

Of course, it means that the current monitoring on the EC500 won't show the complete picture, but as the current monitor seldom seems to be accurate, that wouldn't worry me, and you can buy very good standalone power monitors (which work via a shunt next to the battery) for around £12.

There are a few other possible downsides to the arrangement, but I can't see any that would be insurmountable.
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Post by Peter Brown on Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:41 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

In the thread above you can see a photo of the external solar controller that is sometimes used by Sargent instead of the internal one.

As you can see it is a simple single channel controller that regulates the output of the solar panel, feeding it to the EC500 in which the intelligent charging management of both batteries is implemented.

In the EC325 and EC328, the solar charging only is available to both batteries at once via an internal dual channel solar controller.  An additional 'battery master' will possibly be damaged by the very high charging voltages used in the EC325 and on both units, having two battery masters trying to do the same job will cause confusion and waste energy.

For an EC500 installation, it would be possible to connect a battery master to the EM50 and, when the EC500 is switched off it would take energy provided by the solar panel to the leisure battery and use it to top up the vehicle battery.  However, when the EC500 was switched on you will again have two devices trying to do the same job at the same time and it will not work.

It is possible to re-configure the circuitry so that when the EC500 is switched off, an external battery master is connected and vice versa.  It is not simple or easy and in my opinion not worth it when all you have to do is disconnect a terminal on the started battery when the van is in store.

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Post by spanner on Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:21 am

I’ll be fitting the 160 watt solar panel tomorrow, if the Sargent “smart charge” still refuses to work as intended I’ll then be fitting a “Battery Master”  and a changeover switch.

I’m certainly no expert on this subject but this is my idea.....

As my solar charge controller is external to the EC500 I’ll connect the  battery + wire from the controller to a simple 3 position switch on/off/on  in the first position the power goes to EC500  third position to the leisure batteries +

In the first position there is no change to the original wiring and the EC480 will still give an indication of the state of charge etc, in the other ON position the “Battery Master” will do it’s job and utilise the solar charge to maintain both batteries, with the EC500 switched OFF and virtually no parasitic drain.


Other people on this forum and others forums  have simply fitted a Battery Master type device to EC500 equipped vans with excellent results.
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Post by Mindhyg on Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:56 pm

spanner wrote:I’ll be fitting the 160 watt solar panel tomorrow, if the Sargent “smart charge” still refuses to work as intended I’ll then be fitting a “Battery Master”  and a changeover switch.

I’m certainly no expert on this subject but this is my idea.....

As my solar charge controller is external to the EC500 I’ll connect the  battery + wire from the controller to a simple 3 position switch on/off/on  in the first position the power goes to EC500  third position to the leisure batteries +

In the first position there is no change to the original wiring and the EC480 will still give an indication of the state of charge etc, in the other ON position the “Battery Master” will do it’s job and utilise the solar charge to maintain both batteries, with the EC500 switched OFF and virtually no parasitic drain.


Other people on this forum and others forums  have simply fitted a Battery Master type device to EC500 equipped vans with excellent results.
Very interesting keep us all posted please. Are you upping the leisure battery to higher capacity as well?
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Post by spanner on Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:53 pm

Mindhyg wrote:
Very interesting keep us all posted please. Are you upping the leisure battery to higher capacity as well?

I’ve already got 2 leisure batteries 205AH total plus the vehicle battery, also a Sterling 30amp B2B charger which is great for topping up the leisure batteries when touring and using Aires.

Sufficient and reliable solar charging in the UK at this time of the year is very hard to achieve with an 80watt or lower size panel hence my decision to fit the largest I can physically fit on the roof.

Chris
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Post by Paramedic on Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:18 pm

Hi Mindhyg, I've sent you a private message.

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Post by Mindhyg on Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:30 pm

Paramedic wrote:Hi Mindhyg, I've sent you a private message.
Cheers mate I did get it and returned you a reply.
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Post by bolero boy on Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:07 pm

AFAIK, all of the above surmise about the EC500 charging both batteries depends on whether AS have installed the solar connection via P14 (from memory) in thr back of the unit...
if, as in many cheap installs, they have just connected directly to the leisure battery then the vehicle battery will gradually run down, and another form of charging (battery master or ehu) will be required.

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Post by spanner on Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:09 pm

bolero boy wrote:AFAIK, all of the above surmise about the EC500 charging both batteries depends on whether AS have installed the solar connection via P14 (from memory) in thr back of the unit...
if, as in many cheap installs, they have just connected directly to the leisure battery then the vehicle battery will gradually run down, and another form of charging (battery master or ehu) will be required.
All EC500 units have either an internal or external solar charge controller, in our case the external controller is connected to a short dedicated lead that simply plugs into a socket at the rear of the EC500, either way they certainly don’t seem to work very well over the winter period.

Perhaps with a much larger solar panel if the leisure battery is topped up fully within the first 4 hours of sunshine maybe the vehicle battery will then get a suitable charge  ?   We’ll see .....
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Post by Peter Brown on Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:49 am

bolero boy wrote:AFAIK, all of the above surmise about the EC500 charging both batteries depends on whether AS have installed the solar connection via P14 (from memory) in thr back of the unit...
if, as in many cheap installs, they have just connected directly to the leisure battery then the vehicle battery will gradually run down, and another form of charging (battery master or ehu) will be required.
What model of Auto-sleeoer do you have - its missing from your profile?

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Post by BornAgain on Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:18 pm

My 2016 Broadway is fitted with the E328 and so far the solar panel (standard) has kept both batteries in perfect condition for up to 5 weeks over winter so the problem would seem to be a question of having the correct electronics or setup and not that the Motorhome is incapable of being self-sufficient in storage. I know that doesn’t help anybody who has a problem, just that it should be soluble with the right expert advice.
I am, however, curious that the control panel has an option to give one battery priority. I assume that in normal use, one battery has to be fully charged before the solar panel charges the next one? Anyway, I haven’t worked out yet which is which!
Another issue is that it is quite difficult to spot the positive battery connection point under the bonnet. I had it pointed out to me at the first service and marked it with red tape. Just a precaution!
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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:26 pm

On the EC328, you can select either the Leisure Battery or the Vehicle battery to supply the habitation electrics.  If you connect to a hook up, the selected battery will also be charged (not both).

The solar panel will charge both batteries at once, it can be adjusted (inside the EC328 box) to give priority to one battery or the other, if I remember correctly, the standard set up is to supply them both equally.


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Post by BornAgain on Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:30 pm

Thanks for that clarification (which is not mentioned anywhere in the documentation). By the way, it’s a 328B. No doubt there are regular updates of the software between main versions.
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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:28 pm

Its just clicked that you have an EC328 in a 2016 van - that is most unusual as the EC500 was introduced circa 2012

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Post by Cymro on Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:38 pm

Peter: I think that AS continued to fit the EC328 after 2012 to some models: for example, my 2015 Nuevo has one. I don't understand the rationale as to why some vans had the 328 whilst others had the 500.

As it happens, I'm perfectly content with the 328.... so far!

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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:42 pm

Cymro wrote:

As it happens, I'm perfectly content with the 328.... so far!

Cymro

To my mind its a much more robust and useable system than the EC500. A friend got a van with an EC500 earlier this year and I find the capacity indications quite misleading and the solar charging a little unpredictable - I think if I was using the van myself I would get used to it but am glad I don't have to, I canalso live without the iNet and would I have a tracker Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

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