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Leisure battery how to keep it topped up.

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Post by Markey717 on Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:43 pm

Hi everyone. Can anyone advise me on how best to keep my leisure battery topped up over the winter.i have a Burford and have a vehicle cover to be fitted,now not allowing any charge through the solar.Can I get to the battery to give it a trickle charge.
Thanks as always 
Regards Mark.
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Post by bolero boy on Sun Nov 01, 2020 1:25 pm

oif you are at home and have access to an electrical hook up point, why not plug in which will use 'smart charging' to maintain your leisure and vehicle batteries.
you dont necessarily need to keep this on all the time, just perhaps overnight once a week/fortnight.

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Post by Caraman on Sun Nov 01, 2020 1:55 pm

bolero boy is right.  An alternative approach is to give the motorhome a bit of TLC every 3 months to flush and re-drain the water system, move the vehicle so it rests on a different part of its tyres and re-charge both batteries on an EHU.  If you do this and switch off the Sergent power control system in between charges, the leisure battery should be OK for 3 months without charge providing it is in good condition and was fully charged at the start.  With the power control system switched off the only drain on the leisure battery will be self-discharge and a negligible amount of current to the tracker.
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Post by ColinCamper on Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:20 am

I have fitted a battery isolator switch to stop the drain and beeping from the low water level sensor. I have found that the battery keeps its charge much longer now although still start the engine and charge both batteries approx monthly.
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Post by FreelanderUK on Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:29 am

When we had the cover for the Auto-trail, I had a clear panel sown in to it to allow the solar panel to charge the batteries, an option you could look at for the future, sail makers ,bouncy castle manufacturers would be able to do this at very little cost

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Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:00 pm

If the van isn't easily accessible for charging (in storage for example) and you have to keep the cover on, it may be worth considering simply disconnecting the batteries altogether.

Get them fully charged and then disconnect.  That will prevent any deterioration for quite some time and just visit every now and again to check.

Personally I'd ditch the cover though and it solves the problem.  They ruin the paintwork etc as dust collects under them and movement in the breeze then leaves fine scratches underneath.
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Post by Gromit on Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:21 pm

Greyhound wrote:Personally I'd ditch the cover though and it solves the problem.  They ruin the paintwork etc as dust collects under them and movement in the breeze then leaves fine scratches underneath.
I fear Greyhound is right.

Then you would actually solve two/three problems.

No worries about your batteries as you could just plug in the EHU, and no paintwork damage or excessive damp problems on removing the covers.
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Post by Caraman on Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:38 pm

Greyhound wrote:If the van isn't easily accessible for charging (in storage for example) and you have to keep the cover on, it may be worth considering simply disconnecting the batteries altogether.

Get them fully charged and then disconnect.  That will prevent any deterioration for quite some time and just visit every now and again to check.
If you disconnect the leisure battery it will trigger a tracker alert/phone call unless you put the tracker into service mode through AS Monitor.  If you leave the leisure battery disconnected it will force the tracker to use its internal non-rechargeable battery.  Whilst this will last for some time, it's not a good idea as it will bring forward the day when the battery needs to be replaced.  For security reasons the less people who know where the tracker is the better so its best left well alone.
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Post by Molly3 on Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:21 pm

I would be more concerned about the engine battery ?.
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Post by Caraman on Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:49 pm

Molly3 wrote:I would be more concerned about the engine battery ?.
I agree.  I am not familiar with the M-B but the Peugeot/Fiat Boxer/Ducato has a vehicle battery isolation button on the ignition for storage purposes.  If used, the vehicle battery, like the leisure battery when the EC500/700 is shutdown, should be fine for 3 months without charge providing it is fully charged to start with and is in good condition.  The downside of isolating the vehicle battery is that the central locking and any vehicle alarm that is fitted is disabled.  Isolating the vehicle battery or shutting down the EC500/700 will also disable AS Monitor's vehicle battery low voltage alert and prevent its voltage been seen on AS Monitor.
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Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:53 pm

Caraman wrote:

If you disconnect the leisure battery it will trigger a tracker alert/phone call unless you put the tracker into service mode through AS Monitor.  If you leave the leisure battery disconnected it will force the tracker to use its internal non-rechargeable battery.  Whilst this will last for some time, it's not a good idea as it will bring forward the day when the battery needs to be replaced.  For security reasons the less people who know where the tracker is the better so its best left well alone.

I didn't read anywhere that the OP had an active tracker and that was part of the problem.  Fair enough if I've missed that though.
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Post by Caraman on Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:38 pm

I assumed the OP has AS Monitor's free service and it's annual subscription service, both of which use the tracker.
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Post by IanH on Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:10 pm

Bin the cover, let the solar do the job, far and away best option IMHO
Also, assuming yours is at home, as mine is, I open it up fully, side and rear doors any nice day, indeed more or less any non rain day.

Willing to bet that is better for it than being trapped under a cover!
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Post by groundhog on Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:56 pm

Agree bin the cover or sell it!
If you have access to power just get yourself a plug in timer, set it for a couple of hours a day and away you go. Jobs a good'un up!
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Post by HairyFool on Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:30 pm

My tin tent came with a cover. It never went on but the most useful thing I had.

Over the years it has made covers for barbecues, garden furniture, hutches. Just about used up in the last 13 years.
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Post by Markey717 on Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:02 pm

Hi everyone.
Thank you all for you comments .
Kind regards Mark.
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Post by Tigerfish on Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:46 pm

I have a 2016 Autosleeper Broadway EK. She's only done 5,100 miles from new and 1,500 of that has been since I bought her 2nd hand 12 months ago. Flew through her MOT today.
She's now sleeping in her warm barn connected to EHU and I intend to declare SORN until March because last year due to Covid I got 3 months use out of 12 months tax!
But my question is this - Will the batteries be OK connected to EHU? I don't want to overcook them but presumably the UHU will cope with that?

TF
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Post by HairyFool on Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:10 pm

groundhog wrote:If you have access to power just get yourself a plug in timer, set it for a couple of hours a day and away you go. Jobs a good'un up!

GH says above

But it does depend on what security devices you have fitted.
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Post by Caraman on Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:16 pm

HairyFool wrote:
groundhog wrote:If you have access to power just get yourself a plug in timer, set it for a couple of hours a day and away you go. Jobs a good'un up!

GH says above

But it does depend on what security devices you have fitted.
I've just bought myself a Lowenergie digital plugin 7-day time switch.  Its rated at 13A resistive load and 2A (500W) inductive load.  I was planning to use it during out of use periods to switch my EHU on and off much as groundhog and others do but have been advised against it by an engineer.  The charger/power converter and power control system should be switched off before the EHU is disconnected and they should be switched off when the EHU is reconnected and then switch back on.  (I confess I have never done this.)  Not only can a time switch not do this but the quality of the switch may be less than a conventional switch which is why it is not rated at 13A for inductive loads.  As it is bad for the batteries to be left on charge indefinitely I have been advised I should monitor the battery voltages and only connect to the EHU when required in the manner described above and in the user handbook.


Last edited by Caraman on Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by HairyFool on Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:26 pm

An problem inductive load would be larger motors and some older fluorescent tubes. You don't have any of those so that issue is not relevant.

It is not going to make a great deal of difference where in the power feed you turn on and off the Charger and whilst laid up that should be all it is switching on and off. Every Switched mode PSU (which is what the charger is) I have worked on has a NTC Thermistor on the AC input which is there to prevent a large switch on current anyway.

Typically around 150w power output means a charger would normally draw approximately 1 amp at most. I don't know what the engineer was taking about, make sure everything else is off apart from the charger and it will be fine.
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Post by bolero boy on Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:17 am

a slightly different approach, bearing in mind earlier suggestions to 'move the van a bit' to rotate tyres etc, might be (Covid permitting) to visit a few 'town based' sites over the winter time...
all habitation kit will also get a gentle work out.
we read many posts describing how kit 'doesnt work' after taking a van out of its winter time mothballing.
Sleepy MH Syndrome isnt a myth, vans (and fridges, heaters etc along with all the 'oily bits') need to used and 'getting out there' also gives you a chance to identify early any developing issues, far better than finding out the week before the start of your summer touring season.
i realise winter touring isnt for everyone but there are some good reasons to try and use your van.
'winter' can mean a longer period to different people, i cant think of a lot worse things for a van than leaving it standing for five months or so.
Modern MHs are far more complex than a simple touring caravan, they need far more of that TLC referred to earlier.
good luck.


Last edited by bolero boy on Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:55 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by rgermain on Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:33 am

bolero boy wrote:a slightly different approach, bearing in mind earlier suggestions to 'move the van a bit' to rotate tyres etc, might be (Covid permitting) to visit a few 'town based' sites over the winter time...
all habitation kit will also get a gentle work out.
we read many posts describing how kit 'doesnt work' after taking a van out of its winter time mothballing.
Sleepy MH Syndrome isnt a myth, vans (and fridges, heaters etc aa
ong with all the 'oily bits') need to used and 'getting out there' also gives you a chance to identify early any developing issues, far better than finding out the week before the start of your summer touring season.
i realise winter touring isnt for everyone but there are some good reasons to try and use your van.
'winter' can mean a longer period to different people, i cant think of a lot worse things for a van than leaving it standing for five months or so.
Modern MHs are far more complex than a simple touring caravan, they need far more of that TLC referred to earlier.
good luck.
I totally agree, we like to get to the local beach for a walk and dog ball catching at least twice a week and passing LIDL for their French cakes.

As for SORN, not doing it this time, small price gained after seeing how much we all spend on buying our vans.
---------
Richard
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Post by marconi on Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:00 am

rgermain wrote:
bolero boy wrote:a slightly different approach, bearing in mind earlier suggestions to 'move the van a bit' to rotate tyres etc, might be (Covid permitting) to visit a few 'town based' sites over the winter time...
all habitation kit will also get a gentle work out.
we read many posts describing how kit 'doesnt work' after taking a van out of its winter time mothballing.
Sleepy MH Syndrome isnt a myth, vans (and fridges, heaters etc aa
ong with all the 'oily bits') need to used and 'getting out there' also gives you a chance to identify early any developing issues, far better than finding out the week before the start of your summer touring season.
i realise winter touring isnt for everyone but there are some good reasons to try and use your van.
'winter' can mean a longer period to different people, i cant think of a lot worse things for a van than leaving it standing for five months or so.
Modern MHs are far more complex than a simple touring caravan, they need far more of that TLC referred to earlier.
good luck.
I totally agree, we like to get to the local beach for a walk and dog ball catching at least twice a week and passing LIDL for their French cakes.

As for SORN, not doing it this time, small price gained after seeing how much we all spend on buying our vans.
---------
Richard

Spoil sports, what will Winter Cover sellers do now.
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Post by streetglider on Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:12 am

Hi all, just bought a 2017 Nuevo so a question on the same (ish) theme - does the solar panel charge both the vehicle and leisure battery ?

Thanks

Don
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Post by Dbvwt on Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:55 am

streetglider wrote:Hi all, just bought a 2017 Nuevo so a question on the same (ish) theme - does the solar panel charge both the vehicle and leisure battery ?

Thanks

Don

Oh Don what a can of worms you have just opened up smile!

Joking aside, and keeping it simple the answer is yes... but not very well.
I’m literally off out to my van shortly to fit a new solar controller due to the poor existing setup. I guess you will have the same 80w panel and EC500 with EC480 control panel I have.

More in depth answers will follow I’m sure.
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