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The vanlife => Van Conversion => Topic started by: FieldOfBirds on January 22, 2018, 12:22:24 PM

Title: Strange battery behaviour and inverter
Post by: FieldOfBirds on January 22, 2018, 12:22:24 PM
Hello everyone,

I've been having a lot of problems with my van's batteries. The setup is a main battery connected to with a leisure via split charge relay under the hood. There are then two leisure batteries in the back connected to solar that can also be charged via the hookup. It's a LDV convoy minibus conversion with an electric side door.

First the main battery was draining overnight which was due to a parasitic drain. That's now sorted, but it appears that there may now be something up with the leisure under the hood. The leisure was low (12.4) and the door wasn't opening so I connected the charger up to the leisure. The main battery was at 13.4. the leisure immediately jumped to 13.4ish (as expected) but... I then disconnected the charger straight away (to check the internal meter) and it STAYED at 13.4 with no charge running through, i.e. matching the main battery. The door now works. Just to clarify, I didn't pump any juice into it, just connected the two terminals via the charger for about 20 seconds.

Could this indicate and issue with the relay/charging system or wiring? I have never seen this before. The leisure battery was wet, so could water be an issue if it connects the terminals? Can someone maybe shed some light on this? I need to avoid this happening again as otherwise I get trapped in the van as the electric door is the only way out!

The second problem I now have is that the inverter in the back, connected to the leisures, is now showing a fault and making the awful squealing noise. It's just connected straight to the battery. Any ideas what this could be and how to problem solve?


Title: Re: Strange battery behaviour and inverter
Post by: Camper_Dan on January 26, 2018, 04:48:31 AM
Greetings & Welcome!

The first thing I would do is figure out if that electric door has a manual bypass, and if it doesn't, I'd convert  it to manual only...

My guess for the under hood leisure battery would be the terminal connections.  It likely had a full charge all along, just a bad connection, and hooking up the charger restored the connection.

Since it sounds like the rear batteries are charged mainly by solar, they are probably under charged or dead from the poor charging algorythm of solar.  Batteries charged via solar tend to have short lives.  I was paying $750+ per year for new batteries when I was using solar.  Now I pay under $20 every 5-6 years for junkyard batteries charged while I'm driving or via a generator.

The squealing usually means the inverter is not getting enough juice to power it.  I generally try to avoid inverters.  So much is available in 12v models these days, and inverters are terribly inefficient.  On the very rare occasion I need to run something that requires shore power, I can just fire up my generator.

Good luck & keep us posted!