Charging battery from mains at home!

Feb 17, 2018
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We have wrapped up pur caravan for the winter, with cover & emptied all the water to stop any split pipes hopefully.
I am looking to buy a mains plug adaptor, & extension for keeping the battery topped up, maybe charing for 8 hours a month running straight of the mains via the mains lead.
Do i need to invest in a trickle charger & leave it connected all the time, or is what i have described going to suffice.
Any help & advice would be welcome.
Cheers!
Grizzly
 
Jan 19, 2002
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I have a short lead made up with a 3 pin domestic plug and a female blue euro caravan plug, the orange cable about 9" long cut from my mains lead. I guess you can also buy the same ready made. In my property the caravan mains lead runs from the caravan under the garage up-and-over door to the garage socket. If you wished you could set a timer plug in between to limit the hours of charging, (perhaps during the night if you have night unit tariff on your elec meter). I leave mine on permanently and have zero problems after 7 years of usage. For this you just need to check that the caravan charger is intelligent to top up the battery as needed and not to provide continuous charging thus eliminating risk of overcharging.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As audiorob has suggested, it does depend on the type of charger that is already fitted to the caravan.

You don't tell us how old your caravan is, so we an only guess at this time as to the type of charger that is fitted.
Pre 1980's chargers were quite poor as they did not regulate their outputs and it far from uncommon to find batteries being damaged by overcharging if left connected in storage.
80's to 90's were a bit better
90's onwards were different as they were classed as power supplies rather than battery chargers. These had fully regulated outputs and did not exceed 13.8V.
Even more recently I'm told some modern units do in fact use multistage techniques,

If in doubt, you could do a lot worse than investing in a modern multistage battery charger There are several makes available typified by Ctek, and both Aldi and Lidl sometimes have quite effective models. These are specifically designed to charge and maintain a battery over long period, and would probably be better at it than many built in charger systems.
 
Jun 17, 2011
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If your Coachman is 2009 or later it should have an intelligent charger. The VIPs come with one as standard which means you can leave it connected safely. Only doubt is if someone has replaced it with a cheaper one. I have had Coachman VIPs since 2009 and have never known a problem with a charger.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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For many years I have the motorhome/caravan hooked up with no problems. However last week about to gat caravan in position to connect up, the mover failed to work.. I had looked at the charger which said it is full. Looked again at it after the mover not working and this time it was flat. Strange, had it tested and although I had charged it again over night and had a reading of 13.5v the test showed it could not hold it .What a panic that morning of leaving by 11 am. the garage said would deliver the new battery by 8am and did not show up by 9.30am, seems their delivery man had another job so had to go to the garage myself . Anyway got away 11am .
 
Nov 16, 2015
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waffler said:
If your Coachman is 2009 or later it should have an intelligent charger. The VIPs come with one as standard which means you can leave it connected safely. Only doubt is if someone has replaced it with a cheaper one. I have had Coachman VIPs since 2009 and have never known a problem with a charger.

Waffler, My 2013 Coachman 560 Vip, had the main power unit go Unservicable on both the Charger and the 12 volt power sides. T about 2 years old, I replaced it with a new one after, a round trip, of 140 miles, one Saturday morning, I now carry a spare unit in the car/ caravan, on trips. Without the 12 volt system , nothing works, fridge or heating. Not nice.
 
Jul 15, 2008
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GrizzlyBathplug said:
I am looking to buy a mains plug adaptor, & extension for keeping the battery topped up, maybe charging for 8 hours a month running straight of the mains via the mains lead.

......I store my caravan at home and have done what you propose for many years.
I don't leave the charger on permanently as I think it is safer not to have a live cable where it could be tampered with.
However being stored at home the caravan is checked daily and this involves checking the state of the battery.
For this I have a digital battery voltage monitor fitted........I charge when the battery needs it.

Here is a very cheap useful one that fits any 12 volt cigarette type socket.......and is portable.
 
Mar 8, 2009
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Our first 2 vans didn't have mains chargers, however our first one with mains was bought new 1992, since then we have had 6 more (all new - 7 in total). all those vans have had the electrics left on permanently, stored at home. We have had no problems electrically/battery (apart from changing battery at 'life end') on any of them. I understood that keeping a battery 'up' is better than cycling up and down, even so called 'deep cycling' ones (con?) never had a problem with battery life, and certainly during the 90's most of our vanning was done off grid, but even in those days 5/6 years was the minimum battery life, obtained.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Gabsgrandad said:
Our first 2 vans didn't have mains chargers, however our first one with mains was bought new 1992, since then we have had 6 more (all new - 7 in total). all those vans have had the electrics left on permanently, stored at home. We have had no problems electrically/battery (apart from changing battery at 'life end') on any of them. I understood that keeping a battery 'up' is better than cycling up and down, even so called 'deep cycling' ones (con?) never had a problem with battery life, and certainly during the 90's most of our vanning was done off grid, but even in those days 5/6 years was the minimum battery life, obtained.

And probably in those days of old, you had Cocoa, not Hot Chocolate.
Anyway, the other thing to think about is, if the battery is a gel battery or a wet cell one, I stupidly thought mine was a gell and it was a wet cell and needed Topping up I had not checked it for three years. , it failed just after getting home at 3 AM after a trip back from France and needed the motor mover. Re hook the car and a few noisey manouvers . Thankfully the neighbours are hard of hearing, and I didn't wake them.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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EH52ARH said:
Gabsgrandad said:
Our first 2 vans didn't have mains chargers, however our first one with mains was bought new 1992, since then we have had 6 more (all new - 7 in total). all those vans have had the electrics left on permanently, stored at home. We have had no problems electrically/battery (apart from changing battery at 'life end') on any of them. I understood that keeping a battery 'up' is better than cycling up and down, even so called 'deep cycling' ones (con?) never had a problem with battery life, and certainly during the 90's most of our vanning was done off grid, but even in those days 5/6 years was the minimum battery life, obtained.

And probably in those days of old, you had Cocoa, not Hot Chocolate.
Anyway, the other thing to think about is, if the battery is a gel battery or a wet cell one, I stupidly thought mine was a gell and it was a wet cell and needed Topping up I had not checked it for three years. , it failed just after getting home at 3 AM after a trip back from France and needed the motor mover. Re hook the car and a few noisey manouvers . Thankfully the neighbours are hard of hearing, and I didn't wake them.

Could you come around to us, as the neighbour opposite has just bought a GT-R wihich cracks up around 0600 with its four large exhausts directly aimed at our place. Had to buy ear plugs for night time, which is ironic as I need hearing aids at daytime. :whistle:
 
Nov 16, 2015
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A large baking potatoe on each exhaust works. But I love the sound of the old V8 Chevy as opposed to the Ford engines, not the same rumble. Due to the firing order.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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EH52ARH said:
A large baking potatoe on each exhaust works. But I love the sound of the old V8 Chevy as opposed to the Ford engines, not the same rumble. Due to the firing order.

This one is a Nissan 190+ mph, 6 cylinder straight six, 480 bhp. GT-R. I’d be afraid the potatoes wold be ejected with such force we would lose a window. High expansion foam :)
 
Oct 17, 2010
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I fitted a blue socket to my external garage wall and I made a short lead and plug it in as if I was on site, This is plugged into a timer that switches on for about four hours a day, that, is then plugged into a RCD. before being plugged into the garage circuit. Lead runs under the van, so no fear of tripping over it.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Our caravan is kept at home and always connected to mains through a site-type socket on the side of the garage. The fridge is left on and used as 'overflow' as required. Touch wood, i have never had a problem with this for 20+ years. The power supply units incorporate a charger but with limited output which should prevent over charging of the leisure battery. Having the vans so connected also means we can use a small (750 watt) fan heater with a thermostatic plug to avoid any frost problems and to keep the upholstery et. from going damp or mouldy. Ok it increases the electicity bill a bit, but restoring/replacing internal stuff would not be cheap either, and it avoids having to remove all sorts of things and then store and replace them for the next trip.
If you can keep your van at home I recommend this method.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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In all the years I’ve had a caravan it’s always been stored outside without a cover. It’s never had any form of heat or fans and never have we had any problems of mould or deterioration of the upholstery. What we do ensure is that all cupboards and lockers are open and all seat bases and backs are raised out of their normal positions. It resembles a furniture showroom post earthquake :)
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Keeping the caravan on the drive means I can use the caravan charger. I have a spare EHU cable which is connected to 3-pin adapter and then plugged into a Masterplug RCD wall plug. The 25metre cable runs around the caravan and house wall into the garage, so isn't a trip hazard and the RCD means should the cable be accidentally damaged or chewed, the power is cut. Having the spare EHU cable means I can pre-cool the fridge before a trip (and keep battery charged) then sling the cable into the garage without having to then pack it into the caravan.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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JezzerB said:
My worry with keeping the van at home it they know you are away!

We were burgled when we never had caravan kept on the front, and so were several of our neighbours at different periods, but all in daytime working hours So I dont think that it makes much difference.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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otherclive said:
JezzerB said:
My worry with keeping the van at home it they know you are away!

We were burgled when we never had caravan kept on the front, and so were several of our neighbours at different periods, but all in daytime working hours So I dont think that it makes much difference.

We have been twice, both when the caravan has been on the drive.
Not wishing to push our luck, but never when we have taken it away!

I suspect most of these are opportunists , they try the door bell of quiet looking options, on the pretext of asking for local knowledge, re place etc, then if not answered whip round the rear out of sight to break in.
 

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