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Battery Replacement


fionanallan

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Tha van went into our local dealers this week to have some 'snagging' done - a faulty 12v socket,replacement awning rail (because they had damaged it!),faulty fly screen etc. I asked them to check the battery as since the van was purchased in June the battery indicator light had only ever 'just' gone into the green even after being on charge for 4-5 days. They phoned 2 days later and said all the work was done and that they had done 3 different tests on the battery and it was fine. I asked if they had managed to charge it up and if the needle was higher up the green - they said no, the indicator isn't always reliable! I then asked why the 'window' in the battery had changed to black,I understood that it should be bright green if the battery was healthy - they said I'd need to ask a battery expert and that every battery was different! I then said that our mover fitter had tested it with a volt meter and it was only reading 11. 4 - they said it was showing 12. 8 and that it was probabaly the mover that was draining the battery(they didnt fit it!)I explained that the problem became evident 2 months ago and the mover had been fitted for a week!

Anyway went to pick it up,they said they had done one final check on it and couldn't find any fault with the battery. I said great, could someone just pop out with a volt-meter and show me because, as a mere woman, I wasn't quite understanding the conflicting information - they said ok then,go up to the shop and ask for a new one!! Got the new one (with a bright green window),connected it up and hey presto the needle in the van goes right up the green indicator! So much for the unreliable indicator - and the guy in the shop was still insisting the workshop said the battery is fine!

And I'm expected to send the van there for a yearly service!!

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Unfortunately batteries only last a couple of years - and with a mover fitted it I think it will drain the battery much faster - my local dealer always checks my battery on service and if there is a problem lets me know - maybe this was a new guy who didnt know that much about batteries !!

 

Margaret

Margaret

 

I don't do technical !!!

Just me and my showdogs!!

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If you have a motor mover fitted does it have an isolation switch?

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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Unfortunately batteries only last a couple of years

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I seem to be lucky; I have had the same battery for 5 years. Had it in one caravan for 3 years never took it out of the housing, bought another caravan moved it over, up to now have not taken it out of the housing.

We don't have a mover and always go on pitches with an electric hook-up, so the battery is always having a trickle charge. Maybe this extends the battery life??

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I well known secret here.

 

At least every two months, if you have used the battery without the van being plugged into mains, you should disharge your battery as much as poossible, then re-charge it with a decent charger (one that switches from charge to maintainance). This way the battery will regain a full charge instead of the part charge it gets if you use only the caravan 'charger' (which is actually a power supply rather than a charger!).

I thought my battery had had it with the same symptoms and replaced it. Then I did the proper re-charge and now I have two good batteries! :P

 

Martin W

Discovery D3 HSE + Coachman VIP 575/4 2016

www.pennplanning.co.uk

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Guest Hobbybod
Anyway went to pick it up,they said they had done one final check on it and couldn't find any fault with the battery. I said great, could someone just pop out with a volt-meter and show me because, as a mere woman, I wasn't quite understanding the conflicting information - they said ok then,go up to the shop and ask for a new one!! Got the new one (with a bright green window),connected it up and hey presto the needle in the van goes right up the green indicator! So much for the unreliable indicator - and the guy in the shop was still insisting the workshop said the battery is fine!

And I'm expected to send the van there for a yearly service!!

Fiona, like you, I find the attitude and ignorance of your dealer staggering, (I was amazed at some of the reasons they gave you) but I'm afraid your's is not an isolated example.

 

I'm amused to see you played the 'little woman' card so well; good on yer!

 

It seems many dealers find sorting out electrics very 'challenging'. They seem to have attended courses on 'fobbing off customers' rather than simple 'Caravan electrics'!!

 

Doubt you'll be going there again. and good luck with the new battery.

To preserve it's working life and get it properly charged you may need to use a 'sensible' decent charger away from the 'van as suggested by others. Most caravan chargers don't; . . . . . charge a battery properly that is!

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Thanks for all your replies - just had to get it off my chest! As I said the mover was only fitted a week before the van went in and the battery hadn't been charging for a couple of months - but I knew they would try and blame the mover because they didn't fit it!!

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Fiona

 

Your dealer sucks, well done putting them right!

 

I agree with Hobbybod about batteries requiring a "proper" charger to give full life expectancy, a well discharged battery can accept a high initial charging current at first but this should be reduced later, otherwise they should be charged slowly over a period of a couple of days. Uncontrolled or overcharging of batteries causing high temperatures or excessive gassing will destroy them.

 

Most people rely on whatever charger is in their caravan, some of which are better than others. While some are not ideal, with a bit of care it would be reasonable to expect 3-5 years life from a decent battery and as this equates to around £15-£20 a year I wouldn't worry about being too fussy having a state of the art charger.

 

There are some simple things that can help extend battery life. Batteries do not like to be fully discharged for any length of time so keep them charged at all times. They also do not like cold so if you do not use the caravan over the winter put your battery somewhere warm and preferably on float/trickle charge, obviously the better the charger the better this will be done.

 

Cheers

 

fatcol

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At least every two months, if you have used the battery without the van being plugged into mains, you should disharge your battery as much as poossible, then re-charge it with a decent charger

40771[/snapback]

 

Maybe I'm wrong but my understanding of batteries is that discharging fully and then re-charging, only applies to nickel-cadmium batteries because of 'memory', and that the same does not apply to nickel-hydride batteries. I've always believed that car and caravan batteries should not be discharged more that 25 to 50% of capacity, and any further discharge would lead to an early 'death'. Hopefully, is there a member who can enlighten us?

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2
https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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The design of car and deep cycle lead acid batteries is different. The car battery is designed for short period high current discharge as when starting and the deep cycle battery is optimised for low to medium discharge over a long period. Neither type of battery is intended to be discharged fully.

 

However the 'genuine' deep cycle battery due to its design can be discharged to approximately 20% before recharging. In the case of electric propulsion for boats and other forms of transport using this type battery it is the normal operation.

 

Are the batteries supplied for caravans 'genuine' deep cycle batteries or just high amp/hr car batteries?

 

As John states fully discharging only applies to nicad batteries as they have inherent memory such that when not fully discharged,it is impossible for them to accept a full charge to their amp/hr rating.

 

Try this link.

 

http://www. sailgb. com/sshop/tech_info. asp?ID=223

 

Frank

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I'm afraid the suggestion that a lead-acid battery will benefit from discharging and then recharging is a complete myth. To save searching I posted this last month:

 

Leisure batteries are more substantial because they have to put up with gradual discharging (if no hook-up available) whereas a car battery is normally recharged almost immediately. Leaving a lead-acid battery in anything less than a fully charged condition will shorten its life, and if you flatten it altogether then unless you can recharge it within a few hours or at the most within a day or two then it may never recover. And try to ignore those who advocate 'cycling' this type of battery (ie deliberately discharging it and then recharging) as this just isn't necessary and may well accelerate its eventual failure. This procedure is fine for Ni-Cad cells as it helps to prevent the battery from developing a memory, but it does nothing at all for lead-acid batteries.

 

I'm also very surprised by the comment that a battery 'only lasts for a year or two'. My last one was nothing special but is 12 yrs old and still sits in the garage for roadlight-testing and other jobs where portable 12v is useful. I only changed it for a 110A because I've had a mover fitted. The secret is to keep it properly charged all the time.

 

Good on Fiona for challenging her dealer. What a pitiful response from them!

 

GMC

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I can answer a few questions, first 'deep cycle' and 'leisure' are the same batteries, it's just the latter is very much the cheaper version of the former!!.

Whether or not the dealer was correct in this instance the indicator is just that and not at all guaranteed accurate.

Using a battery hooked up to mains with a modern fitted battery charger, (which as said is really a 12volt power supply and not a proper battery charger), will act only as a back up for use if the power fails and will only show it's true condition when used on it's own.

One thing I am very sure about is there is no such thing as 'maintenance free' at least as far as lead/acid leisure batteries are concerned, type of charge is important to battery life but equally is acid levels being checked.

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Fiona,

 

good on you for not accepting the myth and ******* the dealer was handing out to you. This sort of service is pathetic, unacceptable and needs to be stamped out. Turning the tables and asking for them to prove the problem is perhaps a lesson many of us could learn from. I know its old ground, been said many times before, but there are some players in the in the caravan industry who really do not have the customer's best interests at heart. Apologies to any of the 'good' guys who might read this, but the industry should be much stronger dealing with it's rogue traders. .....

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