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recommend a gadget for 12v recharging!

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    recommend a gadget for 12v recharging!

    Ok, off to a THS later this year and would like to recharge my leisure battery somehow, also charge up my TV's internal battery from a 12v thingy connected to the leisure battery as I don't have a 12v plug in the caravan. I've always managed with the cig lighter in the car, but I have to have the ignition turned on to charge, so could do with something a bit better!

    Any ideas? Anyone else come across this problem and found a solution?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    #2
    van electrics

    You don't sound like a confident DIYer so you'll almost certainly need help with this. BEWARE: There is great deal of power locked up in a battery and should you inavertently cause a short circuit there is a distinct possibility of a blaze as the plastic wiring insulation overheats.

    You already have a towing socket that delivers the power to your rear lights, indicators and so on on the van itself, you now need a second towbar socket for delivering power to the van for charging the leisure battery. This really should have a relay and an in-line fuse to do the job properly. I've just re-done this on my Romini because the existing wiring was rather 'tired'. It is not rocket-science but you do need to keep a clear head and not be intimidated by the task. The tricky part of the exercise is getting the wiring inside the car sorted out ... the van side is easy.

    Once it's working the leisure battery gets charged while the car engine runs and then becomes isolated from the car when the ignition is off.... so no chance of flattening the car battery. A truly cautious person will also pull the plug on the towbar too when parked up. Items connected to the leisure battery for charging will continue to do so when the car is not running, drawing power from the leisure battery put there from the car as you journeyed.

    Inside the van, connect a multi-way 12v socket direct to the leisure battery with an in-line fuse on the positive side. Mount the socket somewhere convenient. POLARITY: The central 'tit' on a 12v plug should connect to positive, the outer sleeve connects to negative. Get this wrong and you will likely wreck anything you plug into it!

    If for some reason you need 240v and you are not able to use a hook-up then you will need an INVERTER which makes 240v AC from 12vDC. The photo attached is of a monstrous great 2.5kw inverter, more modest output ones are also available. They tend to be fairly 'thirsty' of leisure battery power.

    Photos of a multi-way plug and an in-line fuse also attached.

    Hope this makes some sense ... ?

    Mike in NW Scotland
    Last edited by mikeroch; 24-05-2012, 07:32.

    Comment


      #3
      Thats the kind of comprehensive help this forum family is so great at,well done Mike, that answer should go into the archives for future enquirers.
      Well done chum.
      Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

      Comment


        #4
        For a low amperage top-up Maplin has a 12v/1.5w solar panel (350x125x14mm) at half price at the moment (9.99 from 19.99).
        It's not going to charge a battery quickly, but it seems to work in low light, and every little helps!

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your replies!

          Mike, thanks for the tips. I don't think I need (or really want to have fitted) the second towbar socket. I couldn't do this myself anyway, like you said, it needs someone who knows what they are doing - definately not me! So it would cost a lot to have it installed.

          My leisure battery only powers the lights. I deliberately fitted a lever gravity pump instead of 12v so that it wouldn't drain the battery. It will last for approx a week (maybe longer! Will find out in July!) just using the lights, which is all I need.

          I have always charged my mobile phone in the car, and could do the same with my little 12v tv. However, I do have to have the car ignition on, and the keys in the ignition to do this. And that's the bit that is inconvenient! (apart from worrying about flattening the car battery!)

          I was wondering about solar powered panels, so thanks for the tip, JimD. Will ponder that one - it isn't trickling that much of a charge at 1.5v, but would perhaps trickle charge phone and tv!

          Anyone ever used one of these (below link) ? I could wire it to the battery and into the caravan for quick charges, however, as I would then need to top up the battery (and not sure how) perhaps not a good idea.
          http://www.amazon.co.uk/UltimateAddo...=1AN29GEXA2J3W

          Or should I just get a power pack thingy?
          http://www.maplin.co.uk/portable-power-pack-225153

          I'm still wondering if the solar panel is the best way to go. Maplins do a 6v solar panel as well, more expensive though.

          Comment


            #6
            Could you also change your caravan interior bulbs to led bulbs too and your leisure battery would last even longer? Our caravan has 100% led bulbs inside.
            I wouldn't have thought it prohibitively expensive to have the 2nd car tow electric point fitted, especially as I assume your kip has that wiring for the caravan side already? I also think that your mobile caravan mechanic bloke wouldn't charge a fortune to fit a 12v socket inside your caravan with any fuse etc that maybe needed.
            Last edited by glenw; 24-05-2012, 10:13.
            Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by glenw View Post
              Could you also change your caravan interior bulbs to led bulbs too and your leisure battery would last even longer? Our caravan has 100% led bulbs inside.
              I wouldn't have thought it prohibitively expensive to have the 2nd car tow electric point fitted, especially as I assume your kip has that wiring for the caravan side already? I also think that your mobile caravan mechanic bloke wouldn't charge a fortune to fit a 12v socket inside your caravan with any fuse etc that maybe needed.
              Hi Glen, the 12s plug on the caravan is defunct - it needs a new one as half the pins have fallen out. The wiring is still there though - I think it charges the battery when working, however, as there is no 12v plug inside the caravan, it wouldn't work with the fridge at the moment... And a little charger thingy in the caravan boot which tells me whether off on or battery power, with a diddy indicator of how much charge is left in the leisure battery. I don't have the 12s plug on the car, so I've never bothered with it.

              For just one two-week holiday, once a year is all that's needed, one week at a non ehu ths site, second week on ehu. Might never be repeated due to costs!

              Perhaps I should just stick with the car chargers in the car?

              LED bulbs... I have those very old fashioned square long lights with tubes inside them... can these be changed to LED?
              Last edited by jayjay; 24-05-2012, 10:53.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jayjay View Post
                LED bulbs... I have those very old fashioned square long lights with tubes inside them... can these be changed to LED?
                I'm guessing you can but without knowing the existing bulb dimensions I couldn't say for sure. We just changed 3 bulbs in the caravan to led, as when it came it had normal bulbs in the lights above Evie's bed and they got hot. (despite elddis stating in their documentation 100% led lighting). They cost us £6 inc p&p from an online store. I have just found the link below, it seems tube replacement are quite a bit more!

                http://www.lampshoponline.com/catego...o3g&fullSite=1
                Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jayjay View Post
                  Hi Glen, the 12s plug on the caravan is defunct - it needs a new one as half the pins have fallen out. The wiring is still there though - I think it charges the battery when working, however, as there is no 12v plug inside the caravan, it wouldn't work with the fridge at the moment... And a little charger thingy in the caravan boot which tells me whether off on or battery power, with a diddy indicator of how much charge is left in the leisure battery. I don't have the 12s plug on the car, so I've never bothered with it.
                  The caravan plug is a simple fix, easy as changing a household plug just a few more wires (at least it was on a lighting board that needed doing). The wiring could be shot though. A caravan mechanic should be able to test it without the need to a plug it into a car too. I guess it all depends on how much you want to spend. It could be worth getting a quote from your man, or just stay as you are and keep your fingers crossed.
                  Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

                  Comment


                    #10
                    A lot of lights are now having LED replacements. One of the first things we did with our new R20 was replace the halogen spots with LED versions and a friend with a canal narrow boat has LED tubes . You probably need to measure up your tube and see what is compatible.

                    As for the Amazon 12v socket I have something very similar. I don't use it in the van but hook it up to one of my 12v power supplies in the house should I need to run anything that only has a 12v car plug. I was using it only yesterday - on the weekend I collected a 'broken' laptop from my nephew which had also lost it's normal mains power supply unit. I have a universal laptop power supply which is intended for in car/caravan use and has a 12v car plug on it so I was able to power the laptop (and discovered it was a broken Windows Vista, which had been made worse by the local computer shop attempting a reinstall and that not working either - fixed now!).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The battery should easily last a week just for lights, we used to go away for a fortnight in a caravan with no EHU using the battery for lights and water pump and it never flattened it.

                      Just charge the battery fully before you go away then take the charger with you and re-charge when you get to the second site with EHU.

                      You can buy a little thingy with crocodile clips at one end and a ciggie lighter socket at the other to connect direct to the battery for charging your phone.

                      Or if you need to charge something that has only a mains plug then a small inverter would do it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks for the replies!

                        I've done 4 nights without EHU and not even made a dent in the battery power just with the lights. It's just that I thought, if I get a thingy as Caz suggests, would it charge the tv and leave some spare for the lights??? Or drain the battery before the week is up? I suppose there's only one way to find out! LOL!!!

                        I'm just about to charge the tv from the car charger whilst its on the drive, just to see how long it takes, and whether it will flatten the battery! It seems to take hours just to recharge a mobile phone, never mind a tv li-on battery, but you never know. Wish me luck! LOL!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          A primitive charging setup

                          If you don't want another socket on the tow bar and the Van plug is clapped out, you could rig a very simple charging arrangement with:
                          • A fused cigar lighter plug
                          • A length of wire
                          • a pair of crocodile clips
                          • and a pal with a soldering iron

                          Get it all from Maplin (except for the pal with the soldering iron!!).

                          An additional multi-way 12v extension lead would create sockets for other (lightweight) charging tasks at the same time. You could run a long wire all the way to the van or lug the leisure battery into the car and do it there with a shorter wire.
                          Caveat: Perish the thought, but if you were involved in a collision a large, heavy, acid-filled battery crashing about the inside of the car would be bad news.

                          CLICK to enlarge

                          Comment


                            #14
                            ....thanks for the info - even silly me can understand that one!

                            So it's possible to charge the leisure battery from the car battery? (I'm both dumb and blonde when it comes to this sort of thing!!)

                            Have printed this out so I can take to a pal with a soldering iron!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              parallel charging

                              Well, strictly speaking you would not be charging the leisure battery off of the car battery, what would be happening is that the Alternator would be charging two batteries at the same time, in parallel. It might be asking quite a bit from the Alternator, but it should be OK. It would also be prudent to pull the plug from the car lighter socket at the end of the days running, just in case the wiring of the car lighter socket permits the leisure battery to feed power back to the car or conversely tap power from the car. Separating the two should ensure that the car starts OK next day. If you do decide to run a long wire from car to van try to do it bang on the centre line / tow hitch, allow a bit of slack so that when the van articulates in a turn, the wire does not pull tight. A 'proper job' with a relay, fuse and towbar socket / van plug would be preferable of course and I would recommend that you consider it ... but this arrangement should work.

                              Dumb blonde? ... no such thing! Interviewing 3 girls for a job a while back (blonde, brunette and a redhead of course) they all did well and I had to devise a tie-breaker, so I posed this brain teaser "how many D's are there in 'Indiana Jones' ?" They thought hard about it. The Brunette and the Redhead wrote their answers on a piece of paper and handed them over but the blonde, brows furrowed in concentration counting furiously on her fingers, took some time but eventually wrote a number down and handed it in. The first two had written "1", the blonde "43". "How did you reach this conclusion Miss?" I asked her.

                              "Oh easy" she chirped happily, (here you have to hum the Indiana Jones theme) "Dee Dee Dee Dee, Dee Dee Deeeeee, Dee De Dee Dee, Dee Dee Dee. Dee. Dee. etc etc." She got the job of course, I do appreciate employees who can think laterally. Especially blonde ones!

                              (bracing myself for the flack!)
                              Last edited by mikeroch; 24-05-2012, 20:56. Reason: additional thoughts

                              Comment

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