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Charging caravan from house


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Hi guys newbie here just needing a bit of help.  I’ve connected my caravan upto my house, should I leave the power supply switch on or off? And will this charge the battery ?  Thank you 

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Hi Dominic. I'm going to assume that you have a reasonably new caravan with pretty standard wiring. The power will be stopped by the mains switch in the caravan and nothing will get past it so if you want to warm the van up a bit with the heater or charge the battery you need to turn it ON. Check the cable is in good condition and make sure it isn't a trip hazard to the postie. Also remember to turn it on at the socket you connect to in house or garage, of course! Caravans can take slightly more current (16A) than a 3 pin socket can provide (13A) so make sure the connecting wire is fully uncoiled, and if you do turn the heating on never turn it on full power (3kW) as you risk tripping the RCD in your home.

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

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Just plug it in and the battery charger will work automatically. 

The power supply switch just turns the supply from the battery on, so you don't flatten the battery by accidently leaving something switched on.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Posted (edited)

If left connected to the mains your caravan battery should get charged up (if the charger is working) 

 

As for leaving it switched on all the time that’s probably not a good idea. At the age your caravan is (1999) it might have a charger that just pushes out a set voltage and that can cook your battery over time

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Thanks guys really appreciate the help, my first time owning one so a lot to take in! So if I leave it charging all night by “theory” I should be able to run it on just the battery tomorrow ? 

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It depends! If the battery is in good condition, yes, it should charge to over 80% which should give you a decent 2 or 3 days off grid. Remember your car will also charge the battery while you are towing, so that will help top it up and keep it in good condition.

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

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I turned the mains off and tried to run it from the battery and got nothing no lights would go on etc, put in a picture it’s saying the battery is good (I think) 

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When I turned the power off from the mains everything when out, including the fuse.  Should the carver turn on as pictured below? Sorry for being so hopeless here. First time ever being in a caravan 

1FE5A880-03C2-4420-9660-2178BE964574.jpeg

7A7475ED-985B-43CB-B8AB-D6A6A5045D85.jpeg

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Your battery is showing as good condition when the charger is on. All that means is that the battery charger is lighting the little green light! I'm assuming there is a battery in the van...?! It looks as though your battery is completely flat. Leave it charging overnight and have a look tomorrow.

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

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20 minutes ago, BFM said:

turn the heating on never turn it on full power (3kW) as you risk tripping the RCD in your home.

Not true, unless there's an earth fault with the van, the house consumer unit RCD will not trip even taking 16A.

The RCD in a domestic consumer unit is rated at 80A.   its 30mA trip level relates to an out of balance current of more than 30mA between live and neutral currents.

However  it is the 13 plug top  which is the weak link as it has a 13A  BS1362  which will fail a lot faster than the 16 or 32A MCBs  fitted in either consumer unit( van or home)..

 

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Yeah there is a battery in the van I will leave it charging over night hopefully that will sort it, very much appreciate the help/info will let yous know how I get on! 

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Sorry, my bad - MCB, miniature circuit breaker that is the modern equivalent of the fuse. The house MCB will go first - or indeed the fuse in the plug! Over time, the plug gradually melts in fact - been there done that!

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

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9 minutes ago, BFM said:

gradually melts in fact - been there done that!

Ouch! , yeah  really us vanners should have a dedicated 16A outlet socket fitted into the ground floor ring main or a dedicated radial circuit off the consumer unit to power the van.

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Yeah I’ve turned it to (Van) this morning and electrics haven’t turned on. Take it I need to get a new battery then? 

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11 hours ago, BFM said:

Caravans can take slightly more current (16A) than a 3 pin socket can provide (13A

Most modern caravans have 10A MCBs fitted, the chances of overloading the domestic socket is highly unlikely.

The main consideration is that any  outdoor socket should be RCD protected.

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If everything is switched on as it should be in order to operate and the EHU has been connected all night, the battery should have enough in it to power lights and pumps. However it may not be the battery at fault if it's dead, it could be the charger is duff and not charging the battery, or even something else feeding the charger isn't working. You could end up chucking away a perfectly good battery and still find it won't charge. It's probably a better idea to get an electrician to trace through and find what's actually wrong first of all before a major spend. Lots of caravan 12V electrics work when hooked up, even if the battery is dead/removed so the fact yours aren't may point to the battery not being the issue. There again, the battery may be u/s but that might be because it's not been charged due to a failure elsewhere. So there's multiple possibilities. 

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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1 hour ago, Dominic mcghee said:

Yeah I’ve turned it to (Van) this morning and electrics haven’t turned on. Take it I need to get a new battery then? 

Not necessarily, never assume a battery is faulty, get it tested first.

 

A quick question, to the right of the battery conditions display, and below the mains polarity light there is a switch labelled battery select and marked car, off, van.

 

Is this in the van position ?

Common sense isn't a gift, it's a punishment because you have to deal with everyone who doesn't have it.  :rolleyes:

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Posted (edited)

If possible if you can get/borrow a small 12V battery, disconnect the existing battery and temporarily fit the spare battery, it can be any size 12V battery, then see if anything on the 12V side works, if it does then your main battery is probably faulty, if it doesn't then you need to check if the battery charger is working.

Hiring an electrician will probably cost as much as a new battery!

Edited by KNARF
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Al give this a try when I get home as my neighbour is an electrician,  Al get him to test the battery and go from there. Thanks everyone, I will keep yous posted 

1 hour ago, Silversurf said:

Not necessarily, never assume a battery is faulty, get it tested first.

 

A quick question, to the right of the battery conditions display, and below the mains polarity light there is a switch labelled battery select and marked car, off, van.

 

Is this in the van position ?

Hi yes I put it to (Van) and  charger supply to (on) and nothing worked, unless hooked upto my house using the cable next to the battery 

3F50F6DF-0A8F-42FF-B1F0-DAFD6E65CFD0.jpeg

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All the time the charger is on it is using power and this is not needed. I would put it on for a day every month or so which should help maintain the battery.

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I have a separate RCD to run the lights and sockets in the garage (don't know the rating offhand) I have the van permanently coupled to the garage but as Wildwood says I only turn it on for one day a month unless I need to use the sockets.

I have had the heating on full and run the Henry at the same time and never tripped 

The only thing that seems to trip the garage  is the initial start up of my welder;)

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3 hours ago, KNARF said:

Most modern caravans have 10A MCBs fitted, the chances of overloading the domestic socket is highly unlikely.

The main consideration is that any  outdoor socket should be RCD protected.

I can't speak to 'most' but mine certainly draws 16A.

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

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3 hours ago, Dominic mcghee said:

Al give this a try when I get home as my neighbour is an electrician,  Al get him to test the battery and go from there. Thanks everyone, I will keep yous posted 

Hi yes I put it to (Van) and  charger supply to (on) and nothing worked, unless hooked upto my house using the cable next to the battery 

3F50F6DF-0A8F-42FF-B1F0-DAFD6E65CFD0.jpeg

If your battery is fully charged, measured with a multimeter, or if you use a known good fully charged battery, connected to the van, mains off but the battery selector switch set to van and nothing happens this could suggest that the battery in-line fuse is blown or faulty, it's not in the PCU but in the red lead from the battery to PSU, usually a 25A one in it's own holder, often near, occasionally sometimes in, the battery box, but can sometimes can be tucked away between the battery and PSU.

 

A quick test, with a battery connected and mains switched off, test the batt voltage, then with charger switched on and mains connected you should see a rise in voltage from say 12v initially to around 13.5v, if there is no change that suggests the battery fuse is faulty, or the charger is faulty.

 

When on mains do all the 12v lights, pump etc work ok ? if so it looks like the charger is OK.

 

When you say ..........." Should the carver turn on as pictured below? " ................that appears to be the water heater 240v  fused spur, there are two answers one not as good as the other.

 

1) When the water heater is switched on to heat the water via 240 v the light will come on.

 

2) The not too nice answer is that this should only be switched on when the water heater is full of water ( is it ?), if it is switched on with no water in the heater, then one of two things can occur a) the overheat mechanism in the heater will trip, some re-set on their own when cooled down, others have a button to re-set it, the worse case is b) without water it can burn out the hater element !

 

This by the way wouldn't, or shouldn't, affect the 12v system.

 

 

Common sense isn't a gift, it's a punishment because you have to deal with everyone who doesn't have it.  :rolleyes:

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4 hours ago, KNARF said:

Most modern caravans have 10A MCBs fitted, the chances of overloading the domestic socket is highly unlikely.

The main consideration is that any  outdoor socket should be RCD protected.

You are incorrect in your first  assertion , individual circuits  within the van if  protected by 10A MCBs ( type B for domestic applications)  will take  a maximum of 10 seconds to open at 50A ,  and approximately  10,000 seconds( 2.7 hours) to open at 15A  , they will take a very long time to open at 13A if they open at all at that current. reference:-  BS EN 7671  , 18th edition  IEE installation regulations, Type B circuit breakers to BS EN 60898 and RCCBOs  to  BS EN 61009-1.

In addition there is a 5/6A  type B MCB for the lighting circuits, so the theoretical max draw is 15/16A.

On my van the max theoretical draw is 22A.

The poor old 13A plug top ( not socket) will certainly  get warm if loaded at  anywhere close to 13A , particularly if its  getting  'old' . and seeing  is believing - BFM has witnessed this happening - salutary lesson  on keeping electrical equipment in good working order. 

Your  second assertion is correct , but again  the RCD is a 25A rated unit, and would be quite happy to pass 16A load current with no chance of it tripping, other than an earth leakage fault current in excess of 30mA.

 

To the OP , yes sounds like your battery is either disconnected or completely flat, and refusing to charge , even to any sort of voltage where it could power the control system , check if the battery is hot , which if the charger is working  after an overnight charging session it should be(very) .

If completely cold then the battery is somehow not connected to the 12V systems in your van.

 

2 hours ago, robertB said:

The only thing that seems to trip the garage  is the initial start up of my welder;)

Welders will as they are very inductive and  if an RCD protects that ring circuit they they also confuse the
RCD with lots of harmonic currents and induced currents ( its basically a broad band RF transmitter) and these  currents can be out phase with each  other, which trips the RCD.

They should be powered from their own radial supply ( as are electric cookers) , protected by a type 'D' MCB which will stand the inrush current.

RCD protection is for protection of hand operated electrical items ( hair dryers e.tc)  as the welder's box is a transportable device  i.e. you don't carry it in your hand when using it , so doesn't need and RCD to protect you as doesn't your house cooker.

Caravans and motorhomes are special locations, they do need to be protected by RCDs, even the mains hook up cable.

 

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1 hour ago, Silversurf said:

If your battery is fully charged, measured with a multimeter, or if you use a known good fully charged battery, connected to the van, mains off but the battery selector switch set to van and nothing happens this could suggest that the battery in-line fuse is blown or faulty, it's not in the PCU but in the red lead from the battery to PSU, usually a 25A one in it's own holder, often near, occasionally sometimes in, the battery box, but can sometimes can be tucked away between the battery and PSU.

 

A quick test, with a battery connected and mains switched off, test the batt voltage, then with charger switched on and mains connected you should see a rise in voltage from say 12v initially to around 13.5v, if there is no change that suggests the battery fuse is faulty, or the charger is faulty.

 

When on mains do all the 12v lights, pump etc work ok ? if so it looks like the charger is OK.

 

When you say ..........." Should the carver turn on as pictured below? " ................that appears to be the water heater 240v  fused spur, there are two answers one not as good as the other.

 

1) When the water heater is switched on to heat the water via 240 v the light will come on.

 

2) The not too nice answer is that this should only be switched on when the water heater is full of water ( is it ?), if it is switched on with no water in the heater, then one of two things can occur a) the overheat mechanism in the heater will trip, some re-set on their own when cooled down, others have a button to re-set it, the worse case is b) without water it can burn out the hater element !

 

This by the way wouldn't, or shouldn't, affect the 12v system.

 

 

I only turned on the carver on for 30 seconds max, will get the battery tested when home and see from there thank you 

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Posted (edited)

 I didn't say it was impossible I said it is highly unlikely!

If you base your calculations on a theoretical max it is possible but for most  that doesn't happen.

 

"RCD protection is for protection of hand operated electrical items ( hair dryers e.tc)  as the welder's box is a transportable device  i.e. you don't carry it in your hand when using it , so doesn't need and RCD to protect you as doesn't your house cooker."

 

Some small welders are fitted with a 13A plug top and as such are  RCD protected.

Edited by KNARF
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