Jump to content


Approved Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About ericmark

  • Rank
    Over 500 posts
  • Birthday 10/03/1951

Contact Methods

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    North Wales
  • Interests
    Photography, Radio
  • Towcar
    Kia Sorento XS Year 2007
  • Caravan
    Elddis Odyssey 524 Year 2002

Recent Profile Visitors

559 profile views
  1. ericmark

    First Caravan

    I towed with Austin Mariner auto, Vauxhall Royale, Toyota Crown all automatic with no problem. They were all three speed where today our Jaguar XE is 8 speed and I remember driving a wagon with splitters and two speed rear axles and I would not today want to drive a car with 8 speed manual gear box, can actually drive Jag with paddle change, never tried using them. I mainly tow with a manual Kia Sorento but only reason it is manual is there was no automatic of that type on sale at the time we bought it for the price we wanted to pay, yes 10 forward speeds, but the low ratio option has never really been used.
  2. ericmark

    Trying to figure out why RCD tripped

    A RCD should not trip at halve the tripping current so should hold at 15 mA and must trip at tripping current 30 mA and has to trip within 40 milliseconds with 5 times the tripping current and this is all tested with positive and negative half cycles. And you need to use an expensive bit of kit to test all this, a consumer unit is a type tested distribution board to be type tested you can only use items recommended by the manufacturer, so fitting other makes of RCD can't be fitted in theory. Now an insulation tester is a far cheaper unit, you can get one for around £35 so I would test insulation first, the unit uses 500 volt so care is required, but simply because of the cost of test equipment I would test installation first.
  3. I did consider a DC to DC charger, however at the time storing at home, so dismissed it as not required. But if using a VRLA the problem is over charging, want around 13.5 volt at battery, but most caravan power supplies set around 14 volt.
  4. Moving house, there is room for caravan at new house, but steep drive, so would prefer storage else where, I am sure there are some places local and since we tend to drive towards A5 where ever we are going, any where between Llanfair Caereinion and A5 would be OK.
  5. ericmark

    Old AGM or new flooded lead acid battery.

    I note advert for new battery states:- Odd way of wording from Glasgow, United Kingdom! However it seems the volts are critical, not seen an adjustment on existing battery charger, my 3.8 amp Smart charger states for VRLA however not so sure about caravan built in charger, Looking for storage around Llanfair Caereinion which will likely have no power, so two batteries make sense, swapping once parked to VRLA and taking the flooded home to charge. Swapping every two months. Must get volt meter on caravan charger and see peak voltage, I have noted the smart charger uses 2W to maintain at 13.5 volt, but the caravan charger uses more like 15W so either inefficient or over charging.
  6. It seems many modern cars have two batteries, these can be charged in many different ways, Schottky diodes, and DC to DC inverters, or duel output alternators, we have had the technology for a long time, in the 1980's I worked on Grove cranes with auto-transformers built into the back of the brush less alternator giving both 12 and 24 volt with two sealed batteries 12 volt for all but engine starting. However only in last 10 years have we seen a massive change to car batteries, with the AGM battery being located in the boot away from heat, and a smaller one under the bonnet. My car had the tow bar electrics fitted before we bought it, it has a pull down 13 pin socket, and a detachable tow ball and I have not a clue how it is wired, however it cost around £500 so that seems rather cheap for a DC to DC inverter, I know the car has a DC to DC inverter, however not sure how it is used. In my case a Jaguar XE but really does not matter what car, question is the same, how is a third battery charged, without over loading the existing system? Or is adding a third battery now a no no? I am sure factory fitted tow bars are fine, however when fitted at a latter date, how can you find out what you can and can't do? Be it extra load on the lights, or alternator, or vehicle battery? Or even if the guy who fitted it knew what he was doing? I have been out of the auto electrical trade for some 35 years, but I would guess we still have the really good auto electrician and also some people who think they know it all, but really like myself, have not kept abreast of modern cars. So the question is, how do you find out if your car is correctly wired to charge a third battery? We want in an ideal world. 1) A limit to charging current so no damage to 13 pin socket or plug or wires connecting them, specially if an AGM battery fitted to caravan, this may be a simple fuse, or a DC to DC inverter. 2) Enough voltage at the caravan battery to ensure it does charge. 3) A method to stop any back feed. 4) A method to ensure any anti-snake device is always powered when towing. When my tow bar, ball, electrics was fitted I would have expected to find some instructions as to where the fuse if fitted is located, weight on ball, etc. But got nothing. Likely it will be some years before we actually tow with it, the Jaguar XE is the back up tow car, we normally tow with the Kia Sorento which has a single battery. It was not until the Jaguar XE failed to start that I even knew it had two batteries.
  7. My 75 Ah battery needs a rest when taking the caravan into back garden with motor mover, and last year I decided with new season I would buy new battery likely bigger at say 95 Ah as if the battery failed in the narrow drive I would be stuck, can't get to side to disengage or swap battery. However in the mean time had a problem with our Jaguar XE where it failed to even try to start, just a clicking heard, leave it for a short time switch off all lights, heater fan etc. Re-try and it would spin engine over without a problem. I suspected a software problem, however Jaguar dealer said it was the battery, and they upgraded software and swapped battery, and for first time since we have owned the car, the stop start works, I asked for old battery to use with caravan. Now when using a Smart charger on the car it only got to third stage holding a voltage of 12.9, and 13.4 when removed with a current of 0.8 amp when I charged it twice at home while waiting for an appointment with the agents, it was on charge days each time. However now off the car, the charger quickly dropped into forth stage (0.1 amp) 13.5 volt raising still, it will auto switch off at 14.2 volt and switch on again once dropped to 12.9 volt. It would seem there was a drain with the car likely stopped with software upgrade. So the AGM battery seems A1, possibly it was a software fault, it is rated 80 Ah so smaller than what I intended to fit, but has a faster charge time and discharge current i.e. all the advantages of being an AGM battery. I would never buy a new AGM for caravan, they are far too expensive, but since I have one, should I trust it, or buy new?
  8. ericmark

    I did know that.

    Interesting what has been said, I had the reverse, my wife wanted a new caravan, and I was not sure on the weight the car could tow within the law, and while at the dealers I questioned the salesman about if within the limit, we already had a caravan we could not tow as too heavy. So he took details of the car and returned to say Yes we could tow that caravan. And to be fair the Kia Carans did tow the caravan without any problem. Then I found the log sheet, only to find caravan was just over the limit. We swapped car for a Kia Sorento which has a 3000 kg limit so no problem. OK the dealer did not see the log sheet, but he did have the car on his forecourt, and I assume there would have been a VIN plate on the car which he should have been able to read. So had I been stopped, I would assume I would have had any fines as I should have checked myself, however even if it was my fault, I still feel the dealer was at fault. I am told, because I am qualified as a mechanic, if I sell a defective car, I am responsible, fact I have not worked as a mechanic for 40 years may mean that is no longer the case, but had we had an accident then likely the dealer would have needed to go to court. Can't have it both ways, if they are normally expected to check, if they get it wrong then they must be reasonable. Although not then, now I have two cars which can tow, a Kia Sorento and a Jaguar XE so I could pick up a caravan with the Kia then tow with the Jag, and to be honest if asked only months latter which car we had used, we would be unlikely to remember. So unless some CTV how would anyone know for sure which car we used?
  9. ericmark

    Van battery charging from car bodge

    I don't have latest British standard only BS7671:2008 so there may be a change? However it lists two supplies pins 9 + 13 for Continuous power supply and 10 + 11 for Power supply controlled by ignition switch. It also states "The circuit to charge an auxiliary battery should be separate from a circuit to operate a refrigerator." So to comply the caravan has a relay so the supply on pins 9 and 13 can be used for battery charging only when the supply on pins 10 + 11 is live. On my caravan I had a fault and to cure I needed to work out wiring, it seems the printed circuit relay and fuse box had been replaced and the new one had extra fuses, to the printing on box. I hunted for wiring diagrams and found there were many versions of the fuse and relay box with more or less relays and some had diodes. This means not all caravans are the same. Pre alternator control by engine management we used voltage dependent relays to switch on the engine running supply, that is no longer an option, as the supply could turn off while towing, and as already said it needs some method to stop the caravan battery feeding the car. For two reasons, one it could supply excessive current when cranking car, and two it could inhibit the engine management from charging car battery. I have been told not to use even a Smart charger on our Jaguar XE battery as it can tell the engine management not to charge battery once engine is started. There are relays which turn off power to some areas when the battery voltage drops, I would assume the official caravan towing wiring takes power from a point controlled by the cars automatic shut off system which will likely change from car to car. If not using the cars official system, you still need to ensure no back feed, easy method seems to be use of blocking diodes, although the new schottky diodes do not have the 0. 6 volt drop of the old silicon diodes, there must be a volt drop, plus the volt drop of the wiring, so connecting the caravan battery to the car without a DC to DC inverter is in real terms pointless. Yes on starting car engine you may see a 15 amp charge, but after 10 minutes likely that will have dropped to less than one amp. So a three hour run will likely only put around 5 Ah of charge into the battery, which is hardly worth the effort. A DC to DC inverter will prevent any back feed, however you don't what to discharge the car's battery to a point where the car will not start. The inverters have a cut out voltage limit, however because of the cable volt drop with some set ups that may be exceeded. Sterling, ring, and Durite all make versions and I would consider around a 10 amp would be about right, I have tried charging my caravan battery with a Lidi Smart charger, and after using the motor mover was surprised to see charge rate drop from 3. 8A to 3A within the hour, in fact often within 15 minutes. So in real terms within 5 minutes a 30A DC to DC inverter is likely giving same charge as a 10A version. It is what the battery can take rather than what the car can give. So the three hour run will still likely only put in 15 Ah of charge into caravan battery which could clearly make the difference of getting caravan parked with motor mover or not, so in some cases may be worth it? However the post starts with word "Bodge" so consider this Bodge, my battery pack for jump starting, compressor, light, 230 volt outlet has a cig to cig lead to charge it from car, it has a 20 Ah sealed lead acid battery in it, and using the 200 VA output it can easy work the caravans built in charger, so a 13A to 16A lead and I can plug caravan into the pack until the battery becomes flat charging the caravans own battery, then return it to the car plug into cig socket in boot, and it will recharge while I am driving on all trips, not just those when caravan attached, so I can charge caravan battery from any car does not need to be tow car, and it will cost me nothing as I already have it all. So why mess around trying to charge from 13 pin socket? Yes I agree there is a British standard and for a car not to comply with that standard it could be said the car is not fit, and you should return it to supplier demanding it complies with the British standard, however I have never tested either the Kia Sorento or the Jaguar XE to see if they charge the caravan battery or work the fridge, with the Kia the car battery is big enough, but the Jag battery is rather small so would be worried that it may inhibit the Jag from charging. I read the Jag auto monitors the battery and corrects the charge as required, but some cars when replacing the battery you have to tell the engine management it has been changed, so it can re-map the battery, connecting a second battery can upset this process, as can using battery chargers when the car is not used for a time. So unless I know the charging system, I would not want to connect a second battery. I am not sure if even the fitters in the dealerships know exactly how the charging system works today, it has become so complex.
  10. ericmark

    BMW X5 battery drain tale

    We have at the moment a problem with a Jaguar XE, on buying second hand we had tow bar fitted, however never used it, and not a clue if set to work fridge or not, I had assumed proper Jaguar kit, but didn't ask. We have a problem starting the car, it clicks at rear and will not start, switch off lights and heater try again, and it starts with no sign of and problem, engine turns over without a problem. I am sure there is a software problem, as the car should auto switch off the heater and head lights when engine not running if the battery is low. However the cars today are so complex there is no way one can DIY the repairs, and if some auto electrician takes the supply from the wrong point then all the clever relays to ensure battery does not go flat are useless. It is in Jaguar workshop at the moment and I hope by tomorrow we will know what was wrong. Today they were trying to tell me it was the battery, the battery may well be US, however I use a Lidi charger so when we had problems and on return I put on charge, I noted voltage was 12. 4 volt which is far too low. So there has to be some thing more.
  11. ericmark

    Vacuum cleaner

    Not in caravan but at home we had two Dyson cleaners, then mother and father-in-law died so up to 4, one with ball is very good, but the older ones needed repair, so I decided to fix one. Looked like the brushes needed replacing, did that but belt slipping. Well with old hoover belt change was easy, but not with Dyson, two belts and a clutch and to change them the clutch needs removing, once I found tor drive and where the screws were seemed easy enough looking at U-tube, but then found mine were Zorber and there was an extra bit, new clutches complete with belt seemed easy way, but not available for Zorber, so had to dismantle clutch, not an easy job. So I only repaired one the other has been kept for spares, in the future it will be buying from market, they are not easy to repair and need special tools.
  12. ericmark

    looking at new house 17% hill?

    The drive to road is flat, it's before that point there is a hill, could not easy pass things on the hill so may involve hill start, not worried when using Kia Sorento it's the Jag not so sure about, only 2 litre and no low ratio box.
  13. ericmark

    looking at new house 17% hill?

    The main tow car no problem, low ratio box, but we also tow caravan 1350 kg loaded with jaguar xe automatic I think rated to tow 1600 kg small 163 engine 2 litre and it would be a pain to have to swap cars for last little bit. So will it likely tow up 17% or is 1 in 6 to steep?
  14. ericmark

    Car battery replacement?

    I have a Lidi charger similar to Ctek 2. 8 and also an energy monitor so I can see the charge rate from my desk top PC. After the last light has lit, showing charge complete, it still alternates between three charge rates. Zero, 0. 1 amp and 0. 8 amp. It normally takes a week to reach the fully charged point even if the lights come on after 24 hours. It's not the charger, it's the battery, that last bit of charge takes time. I do like the 7/13 pin plug idea with of course a connection that will simply pull out if you forget to unplug. 9+ 13- or 4+ 3- should be Continuous power supply if BS7671 is followed, however I would test, just in case not connected. Oh and if using Lidi charger you can actually see what is going on as it includes a volt meter as well as lights.
  15. Peanut Facts. ... Peanuts grow underground, as opposed to nuts like walnuts, almonds, etc. that grow on trees and these are botanically considered drupes. Peanuts, along with beans and peas, belong to the single plant family, Leguminosae. Legumes are edible seeds enclosed in pods. So a bag of peanuts would not normally contain nuts, have you missed out the word "may"?