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Battery Losing Charge


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I have a 40 watt solar panel on the roof which keeps my leisure battery charged quite well. I received my new tugger last week and it had the new tow bar fitted yesterday so I went to the storage to hook her up. To my dismay I noticed that the leisure battery on my meter was down to 11. 8 volts. I took it off and brought it home to do a drop test and it was ok but needed a 10hr charge. My solar panel isn't giving much these days due to the weather but I am pretty sure that there must be a leak to earth somewhere.

 

I have all the meters and such but am clueless where to start. Can anyone throw a little advice my way. The only other thing I am doing which might effect the way things are is I have been told to leave my internal switch in the down position permanently. Top is car, middle is neutral and bottom is caravan. Is that wrong.

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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I would have thought a 40w solar panel would have kept the battery topped up provided it's not in complete shade or shadow all day. As for the switch I switch the 12v master off when not in use which I would suggest is center (neutral ) on yours. I do this in case I have inadvertently left a light or the heater blower on and to ensure the fridge interior light is not working while the door is left open. That may be why your battery is discharging ?

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I recommend you use one of these in the main supply fuse from the battery.

 

http://www. maplin. co. uk/p/400mm-automotive-current-tester-max-n48cy

 

It does no more than a multi meter but requires no real understanding to use.

 

Just first check its prongs suit your fuse dimensions.

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I would check the fan on the fire fan isn't running, the status isn't turned on, or the front left on the radio (if it has memory).

Other things like checking the battery's fluid level & connections etc,

 

Then check the panels output, it should still be giving some power even though sun is very low in the sky this time of year

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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We have a 40w solar panel fitted to the roof permanently and wired through controller/charger to the battery. You should have some sort of controller fitted to all solar panels over 20w, depending on make and type, these can tell you whether your battery is being charged or not. Also make sure that the positive side from the controller to the battery is suitably fused. Our van also has a volt meter which I can switch on to tell me what the battery volts are. This being fitted by Bailey as standard.

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My controller is fitted with a light system that glows from tallow to green depending on charge rate and my internal voltmeter tells me the state of the battery. My Solar panel is charging at a reasonable rate which is the same as a trickle charge and should keep it fully charged but the volts and battery state are down so it must be leaking faster than its charging because the battery tests ok.

 

The question seems to have been overlooked. With a multimeter capable of testing volts and amps via the dc clamp method, how can I check for leakage. Am I right in assuming that I can disconnect the solar panel and clamp the positive lead on the battery to see if I see any current readings with everything switched off.

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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I have a 40 watt solar panel on the roof which keeps my leisure battery charged quite well. I received my new tugger last week and it had the new tow bar fitted yesterday so I went to the storage to hook her up. To my dismay I noticed that the leisure battery on my meter was down to 11. 8 volts. I took it off and brought it home to do a drop test and it was ok but needed a 10hr charge. My solar panel isn't giving much these days due to the weather but I am pretty sure that there must be a leak to earth somewhere.

 

I have all the meters and such but am clueless where to start. Can anyone throw a little advice my way. The only other thing I am doing which might effect the way things are is I have been told to leave my internal switch in the down position permanently. Top is car, middle is neutral and bottom is caravan. Is that wrong.

Put the switch to Neutral

I would have thought a 40w solar panel would have kept the battery topped up provided it's not in complete shade or shadow all day. As for the switch I switch the 12v master off when not in use which I would suggest is center (neutral ) on yours. I do this in case I have inadvertently left a light or the heater blower on and to ensure the fridge interior light is not working while the door is left open. That may be why your battery is discharging ?

Dave advised as well

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Would someone please correct the thread title, it hurts my eyes! - thankyou!

 

Vin Blanc

It is sometimes better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to speak out and have it proven!

Frontera 3. 2L V6 4x4 tugging Compass Magnum Classic 540 (quite easily!)

Tripod mounted 57cm "Arcon Multi" prime focus dish - Humax Foxsat HD Recorder.

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Why does it hurt your eyes ?????

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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Why does it hurt your eyes ?????

Tooooo many ooooos, I think.

If at first you don't succeed, it may be best to give up.

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The words Lose and loose are both verbs and at the same time can be defined as adjectives. The pronunciation of lose as in booze and loose as in goose. In a purely verb form the words pertaining to lose are, lose, losing and lost but when pertaining to the word loose, then these definitions are loose, loosing and loosed.

 

The main meaning of the verb lose is to be unable to find or keep something. However when pertaining to loose, this means to release something.

 

The word lose can only be portrayed as a verb but the word loose can be a verb an adjective and a noun.

 

The best definition of loose is when it pertains to escape. The dog is loose or the horse got loose from the yard. So when electricity escapes from my battery, is it not correct to say my battery is LOOSING charge ???????????????

 

Of course it isn't, it should be Lose not loosing but you must admit that I had you going lol. My mistake and I will not correct it as I don't know how, lol.

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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Now that your battery is fully charged when you go back to fit it to the van, do a quick voltage check before you connect it up to give you a datum point, lets say it reads 13v for arguments sake.

 

Make sure the caravan electric switch is in the off or neutral position so no load can be drawn. Cover your solar panel with a pece of cardboard.

 

Reconnect your battery terminals, uncover your solar panel and see if the voltage jumps up from the 13v read when it was sat on its own, this would tell you if there was a decent output coming through from the solar panel and regulator, depending on the spec of your controller you might be able to find out exactly what charging output to expect if you have any instruction manuals - bear in mind that although output is reduced when sunshine is lacking it should still be able to provide a charging output on a clear day. You should have some idea if the solar panel is working now.

 

If it is and you think there is a load somewhere dragging the battery down, in order to identify it I would cover the panel up and you can use a clip on ammeter ( or you will need a multimeter that can handle a few amps with suitable test leads) to see if there is a current flowing by clipping on to the supply cable from the battery - this is only going to confirm the fact that there is/isn't a current being drawn. The maplins gadget is cheap enough and would tell you what each circuit is drawing or:

 

To identify which circuit is the culprit, remove all your 12 volt fuses and your ammeter will show 0 amps hopefully, (turn your 12v isolator back on ) replace them one fuse at a time until you identify which circuit is giving you the problem. Check how your alarm is powered, mine has a separate supply so I know that's never an issue.

 

As others have said and I'm sure you already have - double check that all the obvious bits and bobs heater fans etc are turned off before you spend an hour faffing around. Once you find which circuit is the problem - if you're still stuck post it on here and we'll see if anyone can solve it.

 

That's what I'd give a go anyway.

 

If you discover the solar panel is providing a decent charging voltage and can't identify any circuits drawing power then it must be time to splash out on a decent battery.

Edited by sleepyfolk
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Now that's what I can a helpful post. Thanks a bunch, you have given me hope now. I am going to do all that tomorrow, thanks.

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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Hope you find something obvious, if you don't just post the results of your investigation on here and we'll rustle up some of the electrical experts to help out, hopefully without getting into an argument about who's right but sometimes that's fun too!

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Hi three star, ought to say that when you test for amps you have to connect the multimeter in series not parrell, Google it if unsure. Doesn't matter which battery cable you use, disconnect one and make good the gap with your meter.

 

A clip on meter can be confusing, there are meters with two crocodile clips, these are the multi meters and there are stand alone amp meters that you also clip on, but these have like a jaw similar to your thumb and index finger that you clamp over the still joined wire.

 

Tip, start on highest scale and work down.

 

Hope you don't lose the plot or have loose leads :-)

 

I don't see anything wrong with the title, unless you have changed it?

Good luck, regards,P

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Just a thought,, I don't think clamp on meters would detect small amounts, they are really for Frankinstien stuff :-)

You are looking for the tiny stuff. Milliamps :-) millifrankinstien?

Make sure the leads are in the correct sockets on the meter, usually a seperate one for 10amp. Have fun

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Didn't think clamp type current meters were able to read DC current flow. To read DC current flow meter must be in line (or across ) the empty fuse holder.

These do

http://www. maplin. co. uk/p/uni-trend-203-dcac-current-clamp-multimeter-n41nc

Don't know how good they would be with very small currents though

Brian

PS Just come across this, see post #38 in this thread.

http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/community/topic/88491-meter-to-measure-current-in-a-van/page-2?hl=maplins.

For very low current you can loop the wire round the clamp to multiply the reading by the number of turns.

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Just to give you a rough idea of how much power a solar panel puts out, we have a factory fitted 20 watt panel fitted to the roof. With the habitation relay turned off, it keeps the battery charged, with the alarm and Phantom tracker permanently on. It was OK over last winter, and has been ok (so far) this year. A 40 watt panel should keep your battery charged no problem.

Hope you find the problem soon. Mike.

2014 SsangYong Rexton W towing a 2017 Sprite Major 4EB. (After June 9th).

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I have one of those meters from Maplins that cost £40. It measures quite low amperage. Down to . 1 of an amp and supposedly less but not yet tested its lowliness yet. It must be pretty good though as it starts to read even when the hook is not yet clamped over the wire. Ill do the tests tomorrow now as the trees are being cut at my storage site today so no entry possible. I will do the removal of all fuses and clamp and replace them one at a time to find the culprit. I know that my 40 watt panel was kicking out . 5 of an amp on a very bad cloudy day last month. Not expecting much more than . 2 of an amp/hour which gives me maybe 1. 5 amps per day on a bad day so we will see.

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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Why does it hurt your eyes ?????

 

At the time of my post, the thread title was misspelt. It has since been corrected by (I presume) our moderator.

 

Same answer to Post 16 - "Itwasntme".

 

Many thanks from the original culprit "sampvt" for a brilliant definition of the two words in question (Losing & Loosing) in his post (No 12). - I loved it!

 

Vin Blanc

It is sometimes better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to speak out and have it proven!

Frontera 3. 2L V6 4x4 tugging Compass Magnum Classic 540 (quite easily!)

Tripod mounted 57cm "Arcon Multi" prime focus dish - Humax Foxsat HD Recorder.

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According to Segeants, even with the electrics switched off at the control unit above the door, you're still using 300ma per hour if you haven't deselected the black button on the control unit.

A Fiat Doblo camper and a Lunar Ariva 2019
grace my drive.

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I have one of those meters from Maplins that cost £40. It measures quite low amperage. Down to . 1 of an amp and supposedly less but not yet tested its lowliness yet. It must be pretty good though as it starts to read even when the hook is not yet clamped over the wire. Ill do the tests tomorrow now as the trees are being cut at my storage site today so no entry possible. I will do the removal of all fuses and clamp and replace them one at a time to find the culprit. I know that my 40 watt panel was kicking out . 5 of an amp on a very bad cloudy day last month. Not expecting much more than . 2 of an amp/hour which gives me maybe 1. 5 amps per day on a bad day so we will see.

How did you get on?

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They are still cutting trees down. Ill report back when I get in there. There are some trees that were damaged and are dangerous so we are being kept out unless we want a van removed which I don't.

Im back to motorhoming with a scooter on the back again.

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