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ericfield

Batteries In The Hobby

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Am I right in understanding that the Hobby doesn't come with an external battery box or even a battery?

 

I have been told the battery (which you provide) is housed under a bunk.

 

Surely hydrogen gas from charging should be vented to atmosphere?

 

Which leads me to the other battery question. . Is there a battery charger fitted?

 

Or are we expected to buy one from halfords and wire it in to enable charging when connected to ehu?

 

The brochures are quite vague on this. How do you handle battery and battery charging?

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In my German caravan the battery is housed under the seating so within the habitation area and not within a sealed box.

To make this arrangement safe, particularly given the proximity of electrical items, they fit what is called a GEL battery. These batteries feature high levels of sealing and under normal circumstances, with the appropriate special charging routine do not vent off gases.

 

Unfortunately these special batteries are very expensive, the replacement for mine being a heart stopping £340 retail.

 

I know of individuals that use more conventional "wet" batteries and fit them with a vent tube through the floor. However as the space also contains electrical items this practice, even with its vent provision would not be regarded as acceptable within informed professional organisations [iEEE etc] and no doubt your insurers.

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The Hobby vans do not come with battery provision as standard as the predominantly German market users do not use any sites without EHU, therefore battry is not required.

One can be fitted and there is a special unit, the Autark Pack, which you can ask for to be fitted which will supply charging to the battery and automatic changeover should the site power fail.

 

Siting the battery within the van is obviously not ideal, but can be done, and as long as it is contained within a purpose made battery box and vented to the outside is acceptable.

 

The one place you cannot put it is in the gas locker.

 

It is no different in reality to most motorhomes, where the batteries are housed under the drivers seat, within the habitation area and vented to outside.

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The Hobby vans do not come with battery provision as standard as the predominantly German market users do not use any sites without EHU, therefore battry is not required.

One can be fitted and there is a special unit, the Autark Pack, which you can ask for to be fitted which will supply charging to the battery and automatic changeover should the site power fail.

 

Siting the battery within the van is obviously not ideal, but can be done, and as long as it is contained within a purpose made battery box and vented to the outside is acceptable.

 

The one place you cannot put it is in the gas locker.

 

It is no different in reality to most motorhomes, where the batteries are housed under the drivers seat, within the habitation area and vented to outside.

 

 

OK silly question (electicity dunce!) . ...how do the germans run their 12v appliances? Is there a 220v to 12v transformer fitted as standard in the electric circuitry? What happens if they want to use the loo when travelling, does that supply have to come through from the car connection?

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In my German caravan the battery is housed under the seating so within the habitation area and not within a sealed box.

To make this arrangement safe, particularly given the proximity of electrical items, they fit what is called a GEL battery. These batteries feature high levels of sealing and under normal circumstances, with the appropriate special charging routine do not vent off gases.

 

Unfortunately these special batteries are very expensive, the replacement for mine being a heart stopping £340 retail.

 

I know of individuals that use more conventional "wet" batteries and fit them with a vent tube through the floor. However as the space also contains electrical items this practice, even with its vent provision would not be regarded as acceptable within informed professional organisations [iEEE etc] and no doubt your insurers.

 

 

How do YOU charge the Gel battery? Is it via an external charger when you get home or have you got this Autark option?

Edited by ericfield

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OK silly question (electicity dunce!) . ...how do the germans run their 12v appliances? Is there a 220v to 12v transformer fitted as standard in the electric circuitry? What happens if they want to use the loo when travelling, does that supply have to come through from the car connection?

Same way we do if we're on a hook-up - through the on-board power supply - although theirs is designed not to need a battery in place.

 

The +12v has always been available from the car connection - through the 7-pin road lighting plug in "olden" days, then through the 12S plug and now through the 13-pin plug.

Edited by RogerL

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On a standard build Hobby, all 12v is supplied via a mains transformer unit.

All the on board equipment runs on 12v with the exception of the mains socket outlets, so all lighting, pumps, fans etc are 12v

On the move, power is supplied from the car, but they do not have a habitation relay, so it is important to disconnect the 13 pin plug from the car if you are running the fridge and stop for any length of time en route (or switch the fridge off)

 

As for the Gel battery, dont get hung up on the name, it is a battery, just like any other apart from its makeup, so unless you have the Autark Pack, it will not charge whilst towing, and unless you have a charger fitted, not when on hook up either.

 

With the wiring in the Hobby, it is much better to get it all fitted by the Dealer as part of the overall package as Hobby electrics are not the easiest to work on unless you know them well.

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On a standard build Hobby, all 12v is supplied via a mains transformer unit.

All the on board equipment runs on 12v with the exception of the mains socket outlets, so all lighting, pumps, fans etc are 12v

On the move, power is supplied from the car, but they do not have a habitation relay, so it is important to disconnect the 13 pin plug from the car if you are running the fridge and stop for any length of time en route (or switch the fridge off)

 

As for the Gel battery, dont get hung up on the name, it is a battery, just like any other apart from its makeup, so unless you have the Autark Pack, it will not charge whilst towing, and unless you have a charger fitted, not when on hook up either.

 

With the wiring in the Hobby, it is much better to get it all fitted by the Dealer as part of the overall package as Hobby electrics are not the easiest to work on unless you know them well.

 

Hobby electrics are not difficult at all. The current range since 2004 use a 400 watt (33 amp) switch mode transformer to supply the all 12 volt equipment when on EHU. Because the transformer disconnects the car 12 volt supply when on EHU charging a battery can be done quite simply with a smart charger as the caravan battery is also disconnected from the caravan 12 volt system when on EHU.

If the battery in a bed box causes problems there must be an awful lot of German, Dutch, Belgian and other nationalities with the problem. But, as already stated, many continental caravanners use a gel or AGM battery costing £200+ and a charger costing £300+. Overkill perhaps but AGM batteries are rated as suitable for aircraft use.

I have fitted battery and charger to two Hobbys in the last eight years without having problems and would be pleased to help anyone wanting to do the same.

Edited by beejay
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Hobby electrics are not difficult at all. The current range since 2004 use a 400 watt (33 amp) switch mode transformer to supply the all 12 volt equipment when on EHU. Because the transformer disconnects the car 12 volt supply when on EHU charging a battery can be done quite simply with a smart charger as the caravan battery is also disconnected from the caravan 12 volt system when on EHU.

If the battery in a bed box causes problems there must be an awful lot of German, Dutch, Belgian and other nationalities with the problem. But, as already stated, many continental caravanners use a gel or AGM battery costing £200+ and a charger costing £300+. Overkill perhaps but AGM batteries are rated as suitable for aircraft use.

I have fitted battery and charger to two Hobbys in the last eight years without having problems and would be pleased to help anyone wanting to do the same.

 

Thanks for that clarification and offer. At the moment I have a bigger issue - accommodation of a 2. 5m wide caravan and moving it on and off my property!!! :(

As we always use EHU sites though, I am not actually sure having an on-board battery is going to be that important anyway.

 

 

 

Regarding the risk of the fridge draining the car battery - cant a relay be fitted in the Hobby so it only draws current when the car ignition is live, like UK vans? Wouldnt that be a simple wiring fail safe addition?

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How do YOU charge the Gel battery? Is it via an external charger when you get home or have you got this Autark option?

 

I have a SCHAUDT Elektroblock controller/charger unit integrated into the van. This unit is designed to provide the correct charging routine for GEL batteries or can be configured for "wet" batteries.

 

However this unit alone would be expensive [guessing £450? today] as an after market purchase that I cant see using that a sensible option unless you could get it or something similar from a breakers [probably ex motorhome].

 

If you are thinking going down the GEL route speak to Dave Newall Leisure Services [Google it]for constructive advice.

Edited by JTQ

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I have a SCHAUDT Elektroblock controller/charger unit integrated into the van. This unit is designed to provide the correct charging routine for GEL batteries or can be configured for "wet" batteries.

 

However this unit alone would be expensive [guessing £450? today] as an after market purchase that I cant see using that a sensible option unless you could get it or something similar from a breakers [probably ex motorhome].

 

If you are thinking going down the GEL route speak to Dave Newall Leisure Services [Google it]for constructive advice.

 

A gel battery is easy to abuse when charging. An AGM battery is far more suited to caravanning as it will withstand heavy discharge such as movers (or car starting), accepts deep discharge and recovers well and will withstand being left discharged for long periods although it's not advised. It is spill proof and unlikely to generate hydrogen owing to its recombinant positive pressure system. Now fitted to many U. S. cars as O. E. to avoid litigation issues. How long before it arrives in Europe?

 

Most smart chargers are capable of charging gel and AGM batteries.

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I had a gel battery & charger fitted when I bought my Hobby new four yuears agoa (in Belgium) never had any problems including powering the motor mover

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Hi if you go on eBay search for 240 to 12volt there are lots of them just plug it in your 240 plug mine is small with a cig lighter plug in the other end I paid £10 including postage and its great

r

Same way we do if we're on a hook-up - through the on-board power supply - although theirs is designed not to need a battery in place.

 

The +12v has always been available from the car connection - through the 7-pin road lighting plug in "olden" days, then through the 12S plug and now through the 13-pin plug.

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Hi if you go on eBay search for 240 to 12volt there are lots of them just plug it in your 240 plug mine is small with a cig lighter plug in the other end I paid £10 including postage and its great

r

 

That's a transformer which converts 230 volt ac to 12 volt dc. What is the connection (pun) to the thread?

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I'm picking up my new Hobby next week, I already have a brand new MASSIVE gel battery and a new 1500w 12-240 Inverter that were 'given' to me. I'm hoping to fit these along with a 'conditioning' charger as soon as I get it. There's loads of room under various seats and I propose to fit a vent and seal it off from the inside.

According to my local Motorhome expert this is the std way of doing it.

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I'm picking up my new Hobby next week, I already have a brand new MASSIVE gel battery and a new 1500w 12-240 Inverter that were 'given' to me. I'm hoping to fit these along with a 'conditioning' charger as soon as I get it. There's loads of room under various seats and I propose to fit a vent and seal it off from the inside.

According to my local Motorhome expert this is the std way of doing it.

 

That inverter will need more than 125 amps from the 12 volt battery at 1500 watt output. Heavy discharge of a gel battery can form gas pockets in the gel which is irreversible and reduces the battery capacity.

Charging Gel batteries requires a suitable charger.

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Recently visited the Grange Caravan Club site in Durham. Beautiful level site, spotless ablusion block. Traffic noise not a problem. Easy access from motorway. Very dictatorial wardens who seemed oblivious of the fact that the site is there for the enjoyment of all Caravan Club members. Wardens completely devoid of manners. We happen to have a Hobby caravan maybe this is what brought the wrath of the wardens on to us. We have complained to the head office of the Caravan Club and we are awaiting their response before taking possible legal action. Has anyone else had unfair treatment because of their caravan being a Hobby.

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Stigma, afraid some narrow minded people equate hobby = gypies= trouble. I am a hobby owner on a seasonal pitch so have not had this problem fortunately, but lots of hobby owners in britain have, and I feel sure a few will point you in the right direction for hobby friendly sites, those sites who are not aren't worth giving your money and time to. ...... Denise

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Never had a problem where ever we have been, UK or Europe. ..

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Recently visited the Grange Caravan Club site in Durham. Beautiful level site, spotless ablusion block. Traffic noise not a problem. Easy access from motorway. Very dictatorial wardens who seemed oblivious of the fact that the site is there for the enjoyment of all Caravan Club members. Wardens completely devoid of manners. We happen to have a Hobby caravan maybe this is what brought the wrath of the wardens on to us. We have complained to the head office of the Caravan Club and we are awaiting their response before taking possible legal action. Has anyone else had unfair treatment because of their caravan being a Hobby.

 

Been there several times with a Hobby caravan. Never had any problems and placed the caravan nose in without comment from the staff.

 

What was said or done that has raised your ire to the stage where writing to the club was necessary?

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25 years ago I was showering my then little girl in the men's block at Grange when my glasses were fetched off by a cheeky little hand. In those days they really were glass glasses. Bits of lens everywhere but I was unable to be sure I'd found all the glass without my glasses. Took child into next cubicle for a rinse, dumped her with Mrs H and told the wardens. They were kindness itself, cleaning the cubicle and checking for sharp bits.

 

How times have changed.

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Never had a problem on any site, be that Caravan Club, C&CC Club or commercial sites we have used.

In fact on all sites the wardens have been particulary helpful in making sure we were close enough to a water point to fill the on board tank with ease.

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Hobby electrics are not difficult at all. The current range since 2004 use a 400 watt (33 amp) switch mode transformer to supply the all 12 volt equipment when on EHU. Because the transformer disconnects the car 12 volt supply when on EHU charging a battery can be done quite simply with a smart charger as the caravan battery is also disconnected from the caravan 12 volt system when on EHU.

If the battery in a bed box causes problems there must be an awful lot of German, Dutch, Belgian and other nationalities with the problem. But, as already stated, many continental caravanners use a gel or AGM battery costing £200+ and a charger costing £300+. Overkill perhaps but AGM batteries are rated as suitable for aircraft use.

I have fitted battery and charger to two Hobbys in the last eight years without having problems and would be pleased to help anyone wanting to do the same.

Hi there mate looking for any help you can give me just bought a hobby 560 2003/2004 model and looking to get it wired for 12v any help would be appreciated new to all thia and this is my first van thank you in advance.

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we have just bought a 2008 Hobby 570 smf vip collection caravan, we needed a motor mover so we have fitted a proper battery box and battery . We now want to know if we can connect the battery electrically to the caravan wiring so that the battery can run the van, when not on ehu and when on ehu can the battery be charged by  the existing  12 volt system?

I appreciate any help in this matter

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11 hours ago, webndill said:

we have just bought a 2008 Hobby 570 smf vip collection caravan, we needed a motor mover so we have fitted a proper battery box and battery . We now want to know if we can connect the battery electrically to the caravan wiring so that the battery can run the van, when not on ehu and when on ehu can the battery be charged by  the existing  12 volt system?

I appreciate any help in this matter

Its likely that your 12v system has a power supply rather than a battery charger. I would purchase one of the dedicated battery chargers meant for caravans / motorhomes and fit that, isolate the existing power supply.

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