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Solar panel charging leisure batteries only?

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Solar panel charging leisure batteries only? Empty Solar panel charging leisure batteries only?

Post by Sapman on Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:29 pm

As a frustrated newbie ( bought 2014 Broadway EK in February, been in offsite storage since) I've appreciated and had time to read the many helpful tips available through the forum. 

I wasn't concerned in leaving the MH in storage as the manual states the Sargent ec328 incorporates a built in dual channel solar regulator that charges both the vehicle and leisure batteries simultaneously via the fitted solar panel. However the vehicle battery is flat, 1.3v, whilst the 2 leisure batteries are fine, 13.2v. I had left the electrics turned fully off.

I intend to replace the vehicle battery 2 weeks before we hopefully go away in July, although would welcome any advice to avoid same thing happening again, many thanks
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Post by Paramedic on Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:24 pm

Likewise, from the outset had accepted the owners manual operation of the Sargent dual controller charging both starter and hab batteries and then to discover not so. Reasons being, van in storage, in the gloom of winter 80 watt solar panel can't/didn't switch readily to starter battery (lost 2 over consecutive winters). It seemed the hab battery had preference as always recorded on average 13v. You will find (if you search) many posts relating to seemingly poor performance of the particular Sargent controller some describing as a cheap installation by Autosleepers. Believe there is a way to enter the menu option to change the charging percentage to each battery. Over the winter months, we switch off the EC500 so charging solely serves the hab battery and have a dash mounted AA solar panel plugged into the EOBD to trickle charge the starter battery maintaining 12.4 volts.

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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:37 pm

Two 2013 Broadways, one has EC328 and the other EC500? These two systems have no similarity to each other. Sapman, are you sure the box in your van is labelled EC328?
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Post by Sapman on Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:55 pm

Hi Peter, yes definitely labelled ec328, thanks
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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:07 pm

The EC328 doesn't suffer from the storage solar charging problem that the EC500 has. I have an EC328 and it keeps both batteries charge all the time, no control or adjustment necessary.

As your leisure battery is ok then the panel is working, as is at least half of the dual controller. The Solar controller is inside the EC328 and connects to the vehicle battery via fuses on the EC328, in the EM50 and in the Peugeot electrical system.

If at some time the leisure battery has been allowed to go flat and then the engine started then the surge in current could have blown one of those fuses. I presume you are reading the voltages on the Sargent control panel. If you have a multimeter you should check that the voltage of the vehicle battery is the same as that indicated on the Sargent unit - that will demonstrate if they are connected to each other or not.
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Post by Sapman on Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:23 pm

Many thanks Peter, will try this out (have a friend with a multimeter)
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:27 pm

Not sure what % distribution Sargent/AS set the controller at, mainly to the leisure
battery I suspect. It is adjustable if you can get to it inside the PSU. This manual for a branded but similar controller tells you how. Don't think it adjustable from the main control panel hidden menu.

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Post by Peter Brown on Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:30 pm

I didn't want to complicate matters.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:39 pm

Easy things first (check fuses) is always best.

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Post by Roopert on Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:42 pm

PLOUGHLIN wrote:Not sure what % distribution Sargent/AS set the controller at

I agree that it's best not to add complication but.... on mine, the default from the factory was 50:50, which is probably the default that the solar controller is set to before Sargent build it into the EC328.

When I asked the company that converted my van (not, I should add, Auto-Sleepers) whether they had made any changes to the setting, they appeared to be completely unaware that the charging ratio could be changed!
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Post by Paramedic on Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:01 pm

Peter Brown wrote:Two 2013 Broadways, one has EC328 and the other EC500?  These two systems have no similarity to each other.  Sapman, are you sure the box in your van is labelled EC328?
Apologies Peter, have I caused confusion by mentioning EC500 (it being the PSU) on our Broadway FB when the OP relates to his EC328 control unit? 
 We have the EC480 control unit as you probably know. Regards.

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Post by Molly3 on Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:32 pm

On the 328 control unit you can switch between engine battery and leisure battery .press the battery button then the scroll to engine battery this should charge the engine battery . instruction in hand book
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:10 am

Molly3 wrote:On the 328 control  unit you  can switch between engine battery and leisure  battery  .press the battery button then  the scroll to engine battery this should charge the engine battery  . instruction in hand  book  

That's only when charging from 230v via an EHU. The solar charger is connected to both batteries all the time.
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Post by Sapman on Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:21 pm

Peter Brown wrote:The EC328 doesn't suffer from the storage solar charging problem that the EC500 has.  I have an EC328 and it keeps both batteries charge all the time, no control or adjustment necessary.

As your leisure battery is ok then the panel is working, as is at least half of the dual controller.  The Solar controller is inside the EC328 and connects to the vehicle battery via fuses on the EC328, in the EM50 and in the Peugeot electrical system.

If at some time the leisure battery has been allowed to go flat and then the engine started then the surge in current could have blown one of those fuses.  I presume you are reading the voltages on the Sargent control panel.  If you have a multimeter you should check that the voltage of the vehicle battery is the same as that indicated on the Sargent unit - that will demonstrate if they are connected to each other or not.

I've now received a spare fuse pack from Sargent, and Peugeot fuses coming Tuesday. One quick question, do you know where the EM50 interface unit is likely to be located?, can't see it in the manual.
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Post by Paramedic on Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:21 pm

Peter Brown wrote:
Molly3 wrote:On the 328 control  unit you  can switch between engine battery and leisure  battery  .press the battery button then  the scroll to engine battery this should charge the engine battery  . instruction in hand  book  

That's only when charging from 230v via an EHU.  The solar charger is connected to both batteries all the time.
Yes, finally it's become clear to me when revisiting the owners manual re EC480 and Battery Select. 'By default, the leisure battery is selected as the power source if no mains supply is present, or as the battery to be charged when the mains supply is available'.  smile!

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Post by Sapman on Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:25 pm

Peter Brown wrote:
Molly3 wrote:On the 328 control  unit you  can switch between engine battery and leisure  battery  .press the battery button then  the scroll to engine battery this should charge the engine battery  . instruction in hand  book  

That's only when charging from 230v via an EHU.  The solar charger is connected to both batteries all the time.
Thanks Molly, I recall trying this but could not toggle to the leisure battery, could be related to potential fuse problem mentioned by Peter or the fact I have no 230v hook up yet, as van in storage.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:52 pm

Sapman wrote:
Peter Brown wrote:The EC328 doesn't suffer from the storage solar charging problem that the EC500 has.  I have an EC328 and it keeps both batteries charge all the time, no control or adjustment necessary.

As your leisure battery is ok then the panel is working, as is at least half of the dual controller.  The Solar controller is inside the EC328 and connects to the vehicle battery via fuses on the EC328, in the EM50 and in the Peugeot electrical system.

If at some time the leisure battery has been allowed to go flat and then the engine started then the surge in current could have blown one of those fuses.  I presume you are reading the voltages on the Sargent control panel.  If you have a multimeter you should check that the voltage of the vehicle battery is the same as that indicated on the Sargent unit - that will demonstrate if they are connected to each other or not.

I've now received a spare fuse pack from Sargent, and Peugeot fuses coming Tuesday. One quick question, do you know where the EM50 interface unit is likely to be located?, can't see it in the manual.

On my Gloucester it is on the floor behind the drivers seat. It will be up front somewhere , under the bench seat?

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Post by Roopert on Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:59 pm

Sapman wrote:Thanks Molly, I recall trying this but could not toggle to the leisure battery, could be related to potential fuse problem mentioned by Peter or the fact I have no 230v hook up yet, as van in storage.

If I read your original post correctly, it seems that you have this round the wrong way. If the EC328 sees a vehicle battery voltage that's close to zero, it won't let you toggle power (and so not EHU charging either) to it. It's designed that way so that you can't fully flatten the vehicle battery with habitation electrical loads. So I would expect that you have the leisure battery selected and you cannot toggle to the vehicle battery.

By the way, you don't need to scroll the display - simply pressing the battery button will immediately switch batteries, irrespective of what the display shows.
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Post by Roopert on Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:13 pm

Sapman wrote:I've now received a spare fuse pack from Sargent, and Peugeot fuses coming Tuesday. One quick question, do you know where the EM50 interface unit is likely to be located?, can't see it in the manual.

In section 9 of the Owner's Manual it says the following (though I don't know exactly which model you have - I'm looking at the manual for an EB, EK, etc.):

"An electrical interface adaptor box is located on the bulkhead behind the driver’s seat.This contains fuses and relays for systems connected directly to the base vehicle electrical system and these are unlikely to require attention from the owner."
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Post by Sapman on Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:33 pm

Roopert wrote:
Sapman wrote:I've now received a spare fuse pack from Sargent, and Peugeot fuses coming Tuesday. One quick question, do you know where the EM50 interface unit is likely to be located?, can't see it in the manual.

In section 9 of the Owner's Manual it says the following (though I don't know exactly which model you have - I'm looking at the manual for an EB, EK, etc.):

"An electrical interface adaptor box is located on the bulkhead behind the driver’s seat.This contains fuses and relays for systems connected directly to the base vehicle electrical system and these are unlikely to require attention from the owner."
up!  Ah, found it under section 9-42, clearly need to read all the way through the manual!
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:33 pm

Pics of what EM50 looks like.  The fuse holders have no guides so its easy to get one leg of th fuse in and leave the other leg touching the outside generating intermittent faults.  It can also get warm in there:

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Post by Sapman on Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:00 pm

Thanks, will be looking to sort things out this week, will post an update
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:03 pm

I have a PDF of the EM50 with fuse details, PM me with an Email address if you want a copy.

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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:07 pm

I though I'd put this earlier in the thread but must be in another...

PS the glowing red light just means that there is power to the unit.

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Post by Sapman on Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:59 pm

Thanks all for your contributions, appreciated.

By way of an update....Fitted new vehicle battery today and then took van to friend who has a multimeter (and the knowledge to use it) to establish why solar panel not charging vehicle battery.

All fuses, EC328, EM50 and Peugeot vehicle ok. and multimeter voltage / amp readings were pretty close to EC328 readings. However I noticed my van (as said only bought in February) has a separate "advanced solar control" unit (pic attached). So it transpired solar panel was not connected via EC328, can't think why though. The multimeter showed solar control unit output to vehicle battery (top right hand red  wire) was zero, whilst leisure battery charging at1.4 amps.

The non functioning vehicle battery cable feed from the solar control unit was traced under the chassis and into the vehicle battery...finally found  a loose connection at this point, so problem solved and vehicle battery now also being charged by the solar panel.

Only problem now is since fitting new vehicle  battery the reversing camera does not come on (display via Pioneer DIVX DAB+ ) !

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