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    Leisure battery

    Could you tell me how to charge leisure battery when travelling in a t5 Campervan

    #2
    Usually leisure batteries are wired so that they charge from the vehicle engine alternator via a relay or by a fixed charger when on electric hook up. Solar panels can be used as well.

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      #3
      You could test if the system is working by connecting a voltmeter across the battery terminals while the engine is off. Note the voltage then start the engine. .... if the voltage increases a little, say in the range 13 to 15 volts, then it is charging successfully. If no increase is seen then suspect the relays in the split-charging system or a blown fuse, if the former then that will probably mean having to seek professional advice. You should find all the fuses somewhere close to the leisure battery. You are correct in assuming that charging should occur on EHU ... you could use the voltmeter trick to test that too.
      Last edited by mikeroch; 11-07-2017, 11:00 AM. Reason: tweak text

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        #4
        How old is the battery? The life-span of batteries isn't all that long. I'd say 2 years tops.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Pop Alexandra View Post
          How old is the battery? The life-span of batteries isn't all that long. I'd say 2 years tops.
          Our 2011 R20 has its original leisure battery, with no obvious indication of deterioration. (Tempting fate there aren't I? )

          We usually have ehu. Is that significant?
          Geoff

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            #6
            Originally posted by Artoo0 View Post

            Our 2011 R20 has its original leisure battery, with no obvious indication of deterioration. (Tempting fate there aren't I? )

            We usually have ehu. Is that significant?
            The voltage of your leisure battery is no indication of its condition or life! If that is where you are looking for deterioration.
            As long as lead acid batteries have ANY active material left on the plates in each cell the normal full charge of 13.2 volts may be registered on a voltmeter. !3.2 Volts is not a lie! It just means that it as highly charged as it will ever be. Even though it may go flat in minutes when in use!
            The easy DIY test of battery/ life condition is to fully charge it and then connect (say) a bulb of known wattage and time the voltage drop to 10 Volts (NO LOWER or the battery could b e damaged permanently. Though some LEISURE batteries are claimed to be safely discharged below that.

            (e,g). A 36 watt bulb reducing the battery from 13 Volts to 10 Volts (3volts drop) in 10 hours will indicate a working capacity of 10x3 = 30 Amp Hours. The 36 watt bulb consuming 36/12 nominal Amps equalling a 3 Amp load.
            Last edited by Twolitre; 23-09-2017, 09:22 AM.
            Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

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              #7
              My little van has a split charging system , which constantly blew the recommended fuse for no apparent reason . All the wire's are oversize , and there's minimum power take off , again with oversize wire's . I contacted the company who supplied the split charger , and the technical department summised it could be the initial burst of energy from the alternator that was popping the fuse and advised me to fit a larger fuse . On fitting the fuse they recommended , it did actually improve , however when i last checked it earlier this year , i found the larger fuse had also popped . The van is off the road at present , waiting for me to fit a new timing belt , however the morral of this story is , check your split charge fuse .
              I would also add , that the split charging system , is strict limited . Power applied to the second battery is only a by product of the main battery , indeed the second battery is fed from the main battery , and i would guess only amount's to 2 or 3 amps at best , i also found battery's only lasted around 2 year's . As a stand alone system i could only stay off grid for a maximum of two day's , without charging , using absolute minimum power (light's only) , on an 85 amp battery . Last year , i purchased a 100w solar panel and this increased to 8 day's under the same condition's , but was weather dependant . Now as further confirmation , earlier this year i purchased a full blown motorhome , also with a 100w solar panel , and at present an 85 amp battery , result's were pretty much the same , until the fridge refused to work on gas , and i had to go on electric .

              At rest your battery should be indicating a voltage of between 12.2 and 12.6 volt's , with the volt meter mentioned above , depending on it's charge status . For best result's It should be disconnected from the electric's , or removed from the vehicle completely , and left to stand for an hour or so . Any less than 12.2 volt's and i would suspect your battery maybe past it best before date . Now with the battery reconnected , starting the engine , it should show a minimum of 13.6 volts , indicating your charging system is working , it should also be showing this voltage with either a solar panel , or electric hookup connected .

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                #8
                I have a 110amp leisure battery, a 100 watt Solar Panel and split charge. When we went to the Autumn Rally the charge fuse popped - yes initial current burst - now replaced with a 20 amp fuse. We have a 12v compressor fridge 2 LED lights (72 LEDs) recharging phones running radio and the panel kept up with demand! We do not go to bed early and I often read in bed - so quite heavy use.
                Our last Leisure Battery lasted 3 years and you can get batteries with warranty of up to 5 years.
                Check the fuse if it is OK then check the Relay I believe it is a 60 amp Blue relay located near the vehicle battery - simple test put your finger on top of the relay get someone to start the van - you should "feel" and hear a slight movement as the points click on!
                If you have to replace I would suggest you checkout Alpha Batteries prices.
                Jon
                Amor omnia vincit et nos cedamus amori

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                  #9
                  Thanks Jim, I was indeed looking at the voltage on the Zig indicator, but then my ignorance of things technical is well known on this forum (and elsewhere!).

                  That does show a voltage of something over 13 with the engine recently stopped.

                  For what the information's worth, a couple of four day pitches, without moving, using lights and charging phones, each reduced this reading to about 12.5v.

                  Incidentally, we still have the original vehicle battery too.
                  Last edited by Artoo0; 23-09-2017, 11:09 AM.
                  Geoff

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                    #10
                    Please do not get Amps and Amp.hours mixed up. Doing so will only lead to confusion.
                    Using the water analogy, Amps is flow of electricity when something is switched on, just as pints or litres is the flow of water. Amp hours is the VOLUME of electricity in a "full" battery just as water may be expressed as a volume of water in a bucket using gallons. The analogy for Volts would be water pressure.
                    I hope this helps people to picture the behaviour of the invisible electricity - particularly Direct Current (DC) electricity.
                    Jim.
                    Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

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                      #11
                      I suspect that many batteries die over winter when they are allowed to sit while not fully charged. I find that a little clip on solar panel is enough to keep mine healthy.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by jondxxx View Post
                        I suspect that many batteries die over winter when they are allowed to sit while not fully charged. I find that a little clip on solar panel is enough to keep mine healthy.
                        Batteries in a low state of charge during winter stand a risk of freezing too. If they do there is obviously the replacement cost, but also possible acid damage from the battery (acid) electrolyte) if the expanding ice cracks the battery case. The increased acid in the electrolyte when well charged gives it anti-freeze properties and freezing is then most unlikely (in this Country anyway).
                        Last edited by Twolitre; 24-09-2017, 11:25 AM.
                        Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by jondxxx View Post
                          I suspect that many batteries die over winter when they are allowed to sit while not fully charged. I find that a little clip on solar panel is enough to keep mine healthy.
                          Batteries also benefit from being exercised (bit like a pet) so if your van is laid up for the winter SORNed at least once a month start the engine and turn on the lights for about half an hour - get all the fluids hot around the engine and the electrons flowing in the electrolite and do not forget to turn on the lights in the van to exercise the Leisure battery - I think you have to do that before starting the engine on a lot of vans. If like me your van is a daily driver on the road all the year round - you still need to exercise the Leisure battery - don't flatten it but do make it work.
                          Jon
                          Amor omnia vincit et nos cedamus amori

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Pop Alexandra View Post
                            How old is the battery? The life-span of batteries isn't all that long. I'd say 2 years tops.
                            Not sure why you would think that. From my 30+ years of experience of using leisure batteries, I would say 5 - 6 years is about the average lifespan of a leisure battery.

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                              #15
                              Leisure batteries may well last only 2 years or less if they are not effectively charged.

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