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Charging While Towing And What About The Fridge!


mack100
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We are using our Swift Challenger 530 for the first time this weekend and there are still a couple of points keeping me awake at nights.

When we hitch up does the caravan battery automatically trickle charge as we drive through pin 4 of the 12S connection or do we have to "set" something in the caravan?

When we drive does the fridge automatically come on if its set to 12v and the car engine is running or does the 12v panel in the caravan have to be on and set to "van" as well?

 

As you can see by the time of this post I really am lying awake thinking about this :blink:

Now a Swift motorhome owner.

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We are using our Swift Challenger 530 for the first time this weekend and there are still a couple of points keeping me awake at nights.

When we hitch up does the caravan battery automatically trickle charge as we drive through pin 4 of the 12S connection or do we have to "set" something in the caravan?

When we drive does the fridge automatically come on if its set to 12v and the car engine is running or does the 12v panel in the caravan have to be on and set to "van" as well?

 

As you can see by the time of this post I really am lying awake thinking about this :blink:

 

 

When you hook up to the car and switch over to Car on the control panel you need to switch the fridge on to the correct setting. Mine has a button on the top of the fridge. Hope that helps.

 

Margaret

Margaret

 

I don't do technical !!!

Just me and my showdogs!!

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Not sure re the Swift vans but in my bailey (If the 12n/12s sockets are correctly wired)the battery charging cicuit from the car automaticly comes on when the car is started as does the fridge if its switched to 12v operation. you can check the battery charging by disconnecting the battery & checking the pos/neg wires with a meter with the car connected & running you should get about 13vDC

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Guest John KS

It does tellyou how to do it in the Swift manual. They are all different depending on the age of the van. In our 560 we only have to alter the fridge to 12 volt.

We don't need to alter the main panel.

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We are using our Swift Challenger 530 for the first time this weekend and there are still a couple of points keeping me awake at nights.

When we hitch up does the caravan battery automatically trickle charge as we drive through pin 4 of the 12S connection or do we have to "set" something in the caravan?

When we drive does the fridge automatically come on if its set to 12v and the car engine is running or does the 12v panel in the caravan have to be on and set to "van" as well?

 

As you can see by the time of this post I really am lying awake thinking about this :blink:

 

The caravan battery should charge automatically. The fridge power input should be selected on the fridge itself. If your ‘van is near mains power, use this the night before to make the fridge cold, when its working off the car/battery, the power provided will only keep the fridge at the starting temperature, it won’t make it colder.

 

Its worth checking the condition of your 12s socket and plug, I thinks 6 (+) and 7 (-) pins work the fridge, these can burn out due to high current. If 5 is spare double this up with 7.

Swift Challenger 490

Sorento + Fabia to help the Sorento up hills!

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You will need the reply from a fellow owner of the same kit to be completely sure, however from the vans I have had this is the way things have been designed.

 

The battery charges from the vehicle as you say via pin 4 +, and pin 3 -ve.

It has not mattered where the selector switch if fitted has been set for that to happen. I only had a selector switch on my older vans [pre 1998] there the selector switch only controlled from which battery the on board DC equipment derived its power, van or car. The switch could be set to car, van or off but the battery would still charge, the switch only controlling the users source of power.

A modern van ought to feature an isolation relay switching off all the on board consumers from the vans battery whilst the white plug is plugged in. This does not effect the battery charging nor of course the fridge operation as that never comes from the vans battery.

The fridge derives its DC power from pins 6+ve and 7-ve, and is only powered when the vehicle ignition is on. The fridge must be set to 12V or "auto" for some of the modern ones.

Edited by JTQ
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You will need the reply from a fellow owner of the same kit to be completely sure, however from the vans I have had this is the way things have been designed.

 

The battery charges from the vehicle as you say via pin 4 +, and pin 3 -ve.

It has not mattered where the selector switch if fitted has been set for that to happen. I only had a selector switch on my older vans [pre 1998] there the selector switch only controlled from which battery the on board DC equipment derived its power, van or car. The switch could be set to car, van or off but the battery would still charge, the switch only controlling the users source of power.

A modern van ought to feature an isolation relay switching off all the on board consumers from the vans battery whilst the white plug is plugged in. This does not effect the battery charging nor of course the fridge operation as that never comes from the vans battery.

The fridge derives its DC power from pins 6+ve and 7-ve, and is only powered when the vehicle ignition is on. The fridge must be set to 12V or "auto" for some of the modern ones.

 

Our 2008 Ace/Swift clone has no selection switch for car or van and the 530 will be the same if its a newish van

The latest fridges do need a 12V source in the caravan to operate the electronics but the main 12V feed does as stated come off the car battery when 12V is selected on the fridge

This can only be seen to be working if the car ignition is on or the engine is running depending on the car relay fitted

If you switch an internal 12V light on and start the car engine you should see the fridge warning light come on and the 12V light should go off via the habitation relay

The habitation relay in the caravan does not cut the 12V supply to the fridge electronics

BMW X3 X Drive and Swift Challenger 580SE

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Thanks for the replies.

What confused me was the statement in the Towing Guide section of the caravan manual:

"WARNING: The fridge will only operate

in transit when the 12V distribution panel

selector switch is in the 'VAN' position."

Thinking about it now, I suppose I could test it by turning on the tow-car engine, entering the caravan and seeing if I can switch on the fridge and set it to 12v(or auto).

If no light comes on I can then turn on the 12v control panel above the door and play with that!.

Now a Swift motorhome owner.

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Thanks for the replies.

What confused me was the statement in the Towing Guide section of the caravan manual:

"WARNING: The fridge will only operate

in transit when the 12V distribution panel

selector switch is in the 'VAN' position."

Thinking about it now, I suppose I could test it by turning on the tow-car engine, entering the caravan and seeing if I can switch on the fridge and set it to 12v(or auto).

If no light comes on I can then turn on the 12v control panel above the door and play with that!.

 

We have the control panel above the door

Its a bit of a nuisance on our van as when you have been connected to the car it is switched off(the panel)

To flush the loo or use any 12V electrics on a short stop you have to remember to switch back on at the panel over the door

The control panel above the door should be inoperative if the car engine is running I would think

The handbooks tend to cover a range of vans and can get confusing

BMW X3 X Drive and Swift Challenger 580SE

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You will only get the 12v supply to the fridge when the engine is running at least a fast idle, most systems have a voltage sensitive relay in the car that senses when the battery voltage is above 13 or so before it switches. Its hard to tell if the fridge is on unless its got a light that come on when 12volts is applied to the cooling element (some older fidges have, but a few modern ones don't) some internal fidge lights are derived from a seperate supply to the element supply.

 

Ideally you need a multimeter to check for the supply and to measure voltages. A battery not under charge will have about 12. 6 volts across its terminals and 13. 5 or more when its being charged (most cars will charge at 14. 4 volts when the engine is above 1500-2000rpm). Maplin sell multimeters quite cheaply and they are a useful tool both in the caravan and around the house - just make sure that you know how to use it otherwise you can blow fuses or even give yourself an electric shock.

2018 S-Max Titanium 2. 0 Tdci (177. 54bhp,180ps,132kw) Powershift + 2015 Unicorn III Cadz, Ventura Marlin porch awning

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The fridge in the 530 has a warning light

It was a bad move a few years ago when no lights were fitted

I fitted a few for myself and friends!!

I agree with your fast idle comment and for that reason I prefer the older type of 4 pin relay that is more reliable as well :rolleyes:

BMW X3 X Drive and Swift Challenger 580SE

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Slightly at a tangent - caravan fridges take 24 hours to cool down to proper temperature, just like domestic fridges - don't expect to have frozen food just by collecting a caravan from storage and towing for a couple of hours to site.

 

I've often seen complaints about the lack of cooling power on 12v - it's nonsense, the 12v element is rated at the same power as the 230v element - if the caravan fridge is pre-cooled for 24 hours and filled with pre-cooled food (not always possible I know) then 12v will maintain the temperature throughout the journey - but remember that 12v isn't operational when stopped for a rest break, or on a ferry.

 

As an aside, fridge makers can't win with fridge lights - mine is so bright it's like Blackpool illuminations in the middle of the night - at least I have the option to blank most of it out with masking tape.

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Slightly at a tangent - caravan fridges take 24 hours to cool down to proper temperature, just like domestic fridges - don't expect to have frozen food just by collecting a caravan from storage and towing for a couple of hours to site.

 

I've often seen complaints about the lack of cooling power on 12v - it's nonsense, the 12v element is rated at the same power as the 230v element - if the caravan fridge is pre-cooled for 24 hours and filled with pre-cooled food (not always possible I know) then 12v will maintain the temperature throughout the journey - but remember that 12v isn't operational when stopped for a rest break, or on a ferry.

 

As an aside, fridge makers can't win with fridge lights - mine is so bright it's like Blackpool illuminations in the middle of the night - at least I have the option to blank most of it out with masking tape.

 

It used to be the inside of a matchbox :D

BMW X3 X Drive and Swift Challenger 580SE

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Hi Roger,

I put our fridge on this morning, ready for going away tomorrow, at 10am and by 11am it was down to normal temperature of 3 degrees and this is with my inadvertantly leaving the fire on all night which mean't that the inside of the 'van was warm. I have heard of fridges taking 24 hours to get to temp but maybe the modern ones are more efficient,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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Hi Ian,

I think our fridge would have been down to that without even putting it on this morning as the ambiant was -2oC! In warmer times, I put it on gas for a couple of hours just to save getting the elec lead out.

Regards

Brian

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Hi Ian,

I think our fridge would have been down to that without even putting it on this morning as the ambiant was -2oC! In warmer times, I put it on gas for a couple of hours just to save getting the elec lead out.

Regards

Brian

 

Hi Brian,

Our 'van was like hothouse this morning seeing as the heating had been left on 2000w all night, there wasn't a bit of frost on the outside :D,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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Hi Roger,

I put our fridge on this morning, ready for going away tomorrow, at 10am and by 11am it was down to normal temperature of 3 degrees and this is with my inadvertantly leaving the fire on all night which mean't that the inside of the 'van was warm. I have heard of fridges taking 24 hours to get to temp but maybe the modern ones are more efficient,

Regards,

Ian.

 

Hi Ian

 

Was that on gas or mains just out of interest?

Phil.

Light travels faster than sound, thats why some people appear bright, until you hear them speak.
Mine : Mercedes GLC 250d AMG, Lunar Clubman SB, Rockwood 5th Wheel Trailer, La Manga Spain.

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Hi Ian

 

Was that on gas or mains just out of interest?

Phil.

 

Hi Phil,

It's on electricity. I have to hook up so that I can clean and hoover the inside as Jacki is at work,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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