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Leisure battery flat after 3-4 weeks

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I'm just flushing the water system ready for our first trip. When I switched on  the pump it was very sluggish and the volt meter was showing under 9 volts. I  have not charged the battery for 3 to 4 weeks and I had left the master switch on. Now I've connected the EHU all is working and volt meter is showing 13.8 so the charger is ok. Do I need  a new battery?  How long should a good leisure battery hold the charge?  Is it because I forgot to shut off the master switch? 

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Do you have an alarm?

If so, that is the likely cause.

Thats why I, and many others, leave the EHU on all the time, although that can only be done with home storage of course.

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there are two tests you need to do.

1. see if anything is drawing current with main switch on

2. fully charge the battery, disconnect it, test it, leave it for at least a few days, test it again

 

if yes to 1 and its not needed, turn off master switch and try again

if 2 shows a drop in voltage in only a couple of days, probably do need a new battery

 

macafee2

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As your main switch is left on, you need to look around the 'van for equipment that may be turned on - such as

  • TV aerial booster
  • lights in forgotten places such as bathroom and outside
  • radio (take the facia off if you can)
  • fridge
  • Truma heater fan
  • mover (on some vans)
  • etc

John

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27 minutes ago, Johnaldo said:

As your main switch is left on, you need to look around the 'van for equipment that may be turned on - such as

  • TV aerial booster
  • lights in forgotten places such as bathroom and outside
  • radio (take the facia off if you can)
  • fridge
  • Truma heater fan
  • mover (on some vans)
  • etc

John

Thank you  the radio display stays on all the time. I must remember to switch off the master. I had been swapping the lamps over to leds, I  switched off the lights but not the master.  Now I will have to see if I have ruined the battery.  I know the voltmeter on the caravan is not reading correctly,  normally about 1.5 volts under but even so bringing a battery back from 9 volts may be asking a lot.  I'll post again when I know.

 

Thank you all for your replies. 

 

John 

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Hands up I made a mistake, there was a battery isolator in the battery compartment and I assumed this would isolate the battery, wrong, the battery is still connected to everything except for the motor mover.

 

I seems there are two switches/isolators one for motor mover and one for the rest and the latter is done with a relay, and on my second hand caravan it had been bypassed so even when switched off, many items were still live.

 

So say 120 Ah is about the biggest battery, so fully charged to start with to fully discharge over 3 weeks is around 240 mA drain, with smaller battery even less, so very likely some relay left active, or a TV aerial amplifier, or the radio back up. With my caravan switch off power and switch on again the radio auto went into demo mode.

 

So recharge battery, with smart charger for a week, and take the battery terminal off before leaving, unless fitted with tracker, if fitted with tracker clearly you need some method to keep charged, likely solar panel.

  • Confused 2

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What is this about? Does it refer to the OP?

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14 hours ago, the gasman said:

.........  How long should a good leisure battery hold the charge?  Is it because I forgot to shut off the master switch? 

Our caravan goes into storage in November and comes out again in April.

 

During that time when leaving the battery in situ and to keep it tip top, I would need to take it off twice and fully recharge it.

 

The only thing running it down would be the alarm and that is with the master switch off.

 

It is a 110Ah battery but nowadays I remove it, keep it in my garage and trickle charge it.

 

The alarm is obviously also taking a rest but it's stored within a CaSSOA Gold establishment and I will take the risk of the alarm being non functional.

 

 

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13 hours ago, the gasman said:

I know the voltmeter on the caravan is not reading correctly,  normally about 1.5 volts under but even so bringing a battery back from 9 volts may be asking a lot.

I once forgot to turn off my master switch. When I got to it, the battery was at 2v. Thought for sure it was stuffed, but put it on charge with a cheep Halfords charger, and after a few days it came back to full charge. 

I still use it as a spare, and it’s quite capable of driving motor movers, although I expect it is way down on capacity. 

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If I leave the master switch off the battery on our Bailey holds its charge for months. If I leave it on, it goes flat in weeks. I haven't bothered to investigate (everything works fine under normal circumstances) - I just have to remember to switch it off. I do know the radio is powered up with the master switch on.

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I would say going flat is normal with master switch or isolator left on. Just recharge which will likely take a few days.

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I have forgotten to switch off master a few times on my P2 in the past...  Oops.  More careful now!

Battery seemed to survive well enough for our needs (mover but mains hookup), until last year when a cell died and the charger-psu started cooking the battery. 

But at over 10 years old that battery had had a good life.

 

So @the gasman suck it and see.  Fully charge the battery for a few days.  (If you have one use a smart charger, but I only used the Bailey kit to recharge).  Check for any strange smells or battery getting very hot while charging, just in case there has been irreparable damage.

Then switch all off and leave for a day or so to allow the 'surface charge' to dissipate and measure the battery voltage  see section 4 of http://www.batteryfaq.org/ to determine if it seems healthy enough.  

Some capacity will inevitably be lost, but that occurs over time anyway.

 

As to how long a battery lasts "it all depends" and there can be no hard and fast rules as it is so dependent on how you use the battery and how good your charging regime is.  (All covered in the faq I have linked to).

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what fridge have you got,  I recently read that a thetford fridge  needs to be in the off position or it will still use the 12v even with the master switch off . I',m not sure about other fridges. The alarm will use the 12v and also the tracker. 

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Thank you everyone for the advice.  I am worried about the battery having the battery fail when using the mover to put the van away. It is a long drive and has a 90 degree bend so can only be done with the mover.  I replaced the battery,  and will.be much more careful from now on.

 

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The radio can drain a leisure battery in a day if the latter isn’t fully charged. I remove the facia when not on EHU.

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I had to change battery on car, so kept the old one which is ample to get caravan up the drive, so it is left at home on charge with a Lidi smart charger so if caravan battery is flat when we get home, all I need to do is swap it.

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