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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:38 pm

Hello
Firstly I hope you are all well and keeping as safe as possible.
We have an Autosleeper Suffolk Mercedes Automatic.
For various reasons  (gales, floods and now Covid 19) it has been standing for several months.
I've been out to try and start it with no success.
It has been plugged into the mains most of the time.
The control panel near the door says randomly that vehicle battery is Good, Fair, Poor, which is little help.
When I turn on the ignition all the dashboard lights flicker on and off, and there is a clicking noise which seems to come from  behind the glove compartment.
Nothing when I then try to start it.
Gear lever stuck in P. Normally I'd get the AA out, but not appropriate at this time of crisis.
Any ideas, my friends.
Many thanks
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Post by Eltel on Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:49 pm

Hi

It sounds like you have a completely flat battery (the Mercedes not the habitation battery)

Do you have a battery charger ?

I believe Garage’s are still open but either B&Q or Halfords could supply if still open

I had a similar issue a couple of years back with my Fiat based AS and good charge over night and it was fine 

I’m sure a fellow Mercedes AS owner will post soon 

Hope it helps

Terry
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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:52 pm

Thanks for the reply.  I thought the electric hook up would keep the battery charged.  That's what the AA man said last time we had a flat battery.  Just hope it's not something more serious.  By the way it is 2011 model.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:05 pm

Did you have the control panel switched to vehicle battery, the Sargent PSU will only charge either Hab or vehicle battery depending on which you have switch it to, panel needs to be on as well.

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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:13 pm

Hi
thanks
Yes.  Panel was switched to vehicle battery.   I'm not sure what you mean by "panel needs to be on".  Does that mean the button which turns the 12 v system on too.  It always seems to have charged the battery before without that switch being on.   I'll try that though overnight.
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Post by AndyLouch on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:37 pm

Hi Bonnie, had same problem on our 2013 Winchcombe last autumn. Definitely a flat vehicle battery! We had to replace (Halfords were bet deal at that time) and we too kept on hook up on the drive. We eventually got a jump start from Britannia and drove to Halfords. Couldn't jump it from our car; car battery not enough oomph! Not sure if yours is original battery? Ours was and both recovery and Halfords said 4 years was pretty good for a commercial vehicle battery!
Green light indicating battery OK was showing on Sargent panel when on hook up (I always leave switched to 'vehicle' when on EHU) however battery was 'life expired'.
How you and yours are keeping well during this madness?
Best wishes, Andy
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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:51 pm

Hi
Vehicle battery was replaced last year by AA, as we had let it run down, even though  it had been out for a good run once a month.
They said to keep it on hook up, which we have.  Also said battery warranty will not be valid if vehicle does less than 5k miles a year!
Our panel doesn't have green light, just shows a percentage  (randomly). Maybe a different panel.. I'll try to get a photo.  ( assuming I'm looking at the correct panel).
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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:53 pm

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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:54 pm

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Post by bonnie on Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:56 pm

all photos taken within seconds of each other, and switching between white and black battery icon.   It says leisure battery is good.
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Post by AndyLouch on Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:03 pm

mmm, I'm no expert, but it looks like it's not receiving a charge from hook up. I recall that commercial vehicles do have a much bigger drain on batteries than cars when not being used. As suggested by Eltel, might be worth charging using portable charger if you have same? If not, then AA might be your best option.
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Post by gemdeco on Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:09 pm

Hi
   A lot of  electronic chargers do not like charging a very flat battery, I would connect a battery charger under the bonnet using the RED jump start connection, switch the sargent unit to habitation charge leave it overnight and try again
Regards
Alan
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:19 pm

The first picture indicates the charger is charging the vehicle battery,13.5v.

What does it read if left for an hour or so. Does look like a duff cell though.

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Post by Flyingv58 on Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:20 pm

The exact same thing happened to our Broadway this year with the same symptoms you are describing. We were also on ehu. Vehicle battery was flat. I ended up connecting an external charger to the vehicle battery. After a few hours everything back to normal. No idea what the cause was as I carried out the same over winter procedure that I've done previously.
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Post by Peter Brown on Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:26 pm

Yes, the vehicle battery is flat. In the first photo you have the panel switched on and charger connected to vehicle battery and showing a good 13,5v. In all other photos the charger is disconnected from vehicle battery and voltage is poor.

On your van you should have an EC 325 or EC328. If you switch the panel on and select vehicle battery whilst on hook up, start the engine until the panel beeps and switches off then switch off engine - charge will continue to go to the vehicle battery with the panel switched off.
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Post by Roopert on Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:36 pm

Peter Brown wrote:On your van you should have an EC 325 or EC328. If you switch the panel on and select vehicle battery whilst on hook up, start the engine until the panel beeps and switches off then switch off engine - charge will continue to go to the vehicle battery with the panel switched off.

Thanks Peter - I'd never heard of that procedure before.
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Post by Molly3 on Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:07 pm

The 13.5 v is high because the charger is charging , so shows a high reading .the low reading are without charging and represent engine battery volts only . so points to failed battery .
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Post by inspiredron on Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:11 am

If I have read your descriptions properly you were NOT charging the vehicle battery at all while out of use. I suspect you have the EC328 but it makes no difference if you have the EC325. 
When plugged into EHU with the panel you show switched off ONLY the leisure battery is charged. No little blue lights will be visible on the panel.
To charge the vehicle battery the panel MUST be switched on (top left led on) AND panel switched to vehicle battery (2nd led on, as in your 13.5v photo. 
I am concerned that with an apparently flat battery the panel shows only 13.5v. I would expect 14.1v for at least an hour before it drops back to 13.5.
If you scroll through the screens (down arrow at right of panel) you will come to battery current. Switch the panel off and leave for a minute or two. Then switch it on and switch to vehicle battery (2 top blue LEDs on). You should see a current of up to 20A and that should drop back to a lower level. The speed of drop will be rapid with a charged battery but slower if it is flat.
Personally, I would NOT use the starter till that current has dropped to less than 1A.
If you don't get a high current showing at all then the battery is probably ruined.
If you are able please check electrolyte level in the battery. If they are really low the battery could possibly explode with sustained heavy charging.
Please post back with any queries.

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Post by bonnie on Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:10 pm

Hi all . Thanks for all your input.
Ron, I came out to the van this morning  before I read your last very clearly explained post. I had left it on hook up overnight with both blue led lights on. I was able to start the engine and move the van to a different place on the drive. 
I’ ve followed your instructions. Battery current staying at about 16A. Has been that for about 15 minutes. 
We are obviously not going anywhere anytime soon, but would like to know what is going on for when we are released .
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:36 pm

Once the current drops, take off charge and wait to see if battery holds the charge. If it does, sorted, if not battery u/s.

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Post by Roopert on Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:53 pm

bonnie wrote:Battery current staying at about 16A. Has been that for about 15 minutes.

If I read your post right and you've had the engine battery on charge overnight, then done one engine start and then put the engine battery back on charge, then what you describe confirms that something is wrong with the battery.

16A after 15 mins of charging is way too high under those circumstances IMO, and indicates that the battery is beyond "end of life". You should (IMO) turn off the charger immediately, as delivering 16A for long periods of time - although just within its specified capacity - is likely to get it very hot, I would think.
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Post by inspiredron on Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:40 pm

Bonnie,
I agree that 16A for a long period is likely to get the battery far too hot. It will result in excessive gassing as well which has potential to cause an explosion if there was a spark.
I think I saw in an earlier post that the battery is fairly new, a year or so. If that is so then there is a reasonable chance that the battery might be rescued. I had the same scenario about 5 or 6 years ago and my battery did recover though now it sticks at a max voltage of 12.5v.
If you are able please check the electrolyte level in each battery cell.  I don't know where the vehicle battery is on the Merc - others can advise on that but before fiddling make sure it's location is ventilated for several minutes. If your battery is "sealed" is you can't top it up there will be an indicator as to whether it is shot. My leisure battery, now starting its 8th year has a visible green ball. Sealed batteries will still "boil" and vent but then, unless the indicator is visible they are usually dead. If you can top up add distilled or deionised water (Halfords) to just cover the plates visible through the caps. Then try charging again. The current may be happier to drop back.
I hope that may help further.

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Post by glyne lock on Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:39 pm

before you check any levels you need to turn off all charging and leave for a day. for safety you should really use a full face mask
if this has been taking a high charge will have been gassing  heavy and could be very hot
1 first check levels .if you have a single  cell level below the plates this this is more than likely the faulty cell if all are low top them up .I have explained in other post when charging a very flat battery to link with jump leads under at the jump start connections with a good battery this well make the charger give  lower amps and help not to damage the flat battery .the battery is now a 019 the same as the new boxer vans it may say 017  on the battery but now you fit the 019 that has a higher cranking amp if you req a new battery .it is fitted below passenger foot area
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Post by gassygassy on Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:58 pm

I may have learned something here. I have a '15 Nuevo with that control panel pictured. Are you saying that when I connect to EHU I should have the panel on, and select 'vehicle battery' for the engine battery to charge? I have had the EHU socket connected but found that the engine battery didn't charge - with the Sargent unit off and the control panel off. So I bought one of these intelligent chargers that varies the charge and keeps a trickle charge running. It was from Aldi for nothingmuchshillingsandahalfpennny. I run it off
a flying extension lead going in through a window, and periodically I move it from engine battery to leisure battery and don't let them go below 12.5 v.
I understand that stationary the vehicle electrics will use sufficient power to gradually deplete the engine battery so I do want to keep it topped up.
If I connect the mains to the EHU input, switch on the control panel, select vehicle battery, have the Sargent on as well would that charge the vehicle battery - and if so what about the leisure battery? I have 130W of solar panel but that isn't much use as I have a quality cover over the van - though some light does get through.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:20 am

That will charge the vehicle battery with panel on and VB selected (2 lights showing). Hab battery not charging then.

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