Hello and some advice please!

Oct 26, 2018
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Hello all.
We have been lucky to be given a 200 Elddis Crown 2000SE 4 berth van and have managed to use it a few times since August.
We have a couple of niggles. I purchased a new 90ah leisure battery as the caravan had been sitting for 3 years prior to us having it. All was well but noticed on the last 2 outings that the battery had totally discharged in the space of a week, having been on EHU over the weekend prior and hooked up to the car on the journey back to storage. This has happened twice, even though I have turned off the electrics under the front seats when we have left it, each time. I would have thought this isolated all electrics- am I wrong, and if so, what should I be looking for in terms of the cause of discharge in a week.

Secondly, we have the Thetford C200 manual flush toilet. This stopped pumping pink fluid on the first outing, but I put this sown to something perishing having been unused for 3 years. I pushed and fitted a brand new part, but last weekend, my 4 year old (who has a fixation with pumping the toilet) did it and again it appears to have broken, no longer pumping the fluid into the bowl. Rather than spend another £26 is this part easily serviceable?

Thank you all in advance of any help

Nick
 
May 7, 2012
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:Welcome to the forum Nick.
The battery should not discharge in a week unless something is drawing power. I wonder if it has an alarm which might just run a battery down in that time although two weeks would be more usual. If it has an alarm running then you will probably need to keep it attached to the mains if you have it at home or connect it up on a regular basis.
If the caravan is in store a decent solar panel should work or you would have to turn off the alarm to stop it drawing power. If you do disconnect it and your insurance is on the basis of an alarm you need to inform your insurer.
If there is no alarm something must be running unless you got a faulty battery. there should be an isolater switch somewhere usually near the door although it might be by the fuse box but I am not clear what you have switched off. Things that might be running are a radio or TV aerial but their power draw should not flatten a battery in that time. I would have the battery charged and then try everything one at a time and see if anything is working.
If you cannot locate the problem in the short term then I would disconnect and charge the battery and reconnect it when on site. If the battery is still flat then it would sound to be faulty.
Not sure what part you have replaced in the toilet so cannot help with the second question but parts should not fail that quickly. and I cannot think of a part on these that could be damaged by a child using the toilet.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Thanks for this. We do not have an alarm or radio so it is neither of these. We do have an aerial booster, but this is isolated when I turn the switch off- this is next to the blade fuses at the front of the van under the front seat.

I probably need to somehow test the battery to see if that is the culprit.

To clarify on the toilet issue- it is the main plunger/flush mechanism that appears to be broken again. Are they known to be fragile?

Nick
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Nick and welcome to the forum.

I cant help with the toilet issue, but other may be along who can, and I'm not sure whether Ill be able to help much with the battery problem, but I hope I can give you some pointers to look out for which may help to explain the battery life.

You tell us you have a new battery, so I will assume at this stage the battery is actually working correctly. So the loss of charge will be down to two things either singly or in combination, and that is amount of power you are using from the battery, or a faulty charger.

Lets consider the charging first of all.The battery should be charged by two methods. The most consistent should be the mains when you are hooked up, You should be able to check this with a multi-meter set to dc voltage.

Turn all your systems off and check the battery voltage. When you turn the charger on the voltage should rise to about 13.8Vdc max. This would indicate the charger is working correctly.

The second method is from the tow vehicle, but the process should be to disconnect the EHU, turn all 12V circuits off and car engine off and couple the caravan electrics to the car, set the switch panel in the caravan to the towing position, and then measure the battery voltage. Have some one start the car. You might not get any voltage increase showing with the engine at tick over, but have the engine reved to between 2000 and 3000 RPM, and you should see power start to come through.

Obviously if either of these scenarios doesn't show a voltage increase it suggest there is a problem with the respective charging circuit.

Now the other side to this is the amount of power you are using from the battery. It can be hard to get your head around the limited amount of power you actually have available in a battery, so it might be worth just going through an exercise to quantify what you are actually using.

The capacity of battery is usually quoted in Amp Hours (AH) You tell us you have a 90AH and this is quite easy to work with. What the unit means is if you were to have a fully charged battery an then draw a current of 1A continually the battery should last 90 hours before it is classed as fully discharged. In theory (though its not perfect) you could draw 9A for 10Hours In fact the higher the current you draw you will actually get less than the notional time becasue of the way the chemistry works. Also as a battery ages its less able to meet its stated capacity.

You will have to do some research and produce a table ( it's easy in a spreadsheet) You need to find the data about each appliance, light and other 12V items in the caravan, The data plates should tell you the current draw in A(Amps) at 12V Work out how long you use each appliance for during the day (for example water pumps are intermittent and used or more than about 15min or 0.25H in total a day, where as each lights might be run for 4 hours

Item Current A x Hours used = AH per day
Water pump....... 7............... 0.25.................1.75 AH
Kitchen light........1.2............ 4......................4.8 AH
TV.......................2................4...................... 8 AH
And so on
..........................................Total AH =........ 14.55
Edit note, Sorry my table did not show properly., Please note there is a " tankyou" tab at the bottom of the page if you feel a posting has helped you.

The add up all the last column to find how many AH of charge you are using on a daily basis. Divide the battery capacity by the daily usage 90/14.55 = 6.19 Days usage. The figure I have given are course do not include things like heating systems, aerial amplifiers , radios, and .....etc and of course all the other lights in the van, but despite this you can see that even on my truncated figures you battery would only survive about 6 days!

When it comes to storage, you have to make sure every thing you want turned off is off. things that often get forgotten are car type radios which need a constant 12V supply to maintain their memory settings, the tv aerial booster, and of course the alarm system if you have one an use it. These items are often not controlled through the master switch on the control panel, and you need to make provision to turn them off separately. It will depend on the design of your caravan , and if any previous owners have made any changes.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Don't know about yours but on ours I actually unplug the TV booster aerial cable out of the box so that there is no LED showing to drain the battery and that's with the master switch off when it should be off but this & the radio will still be alive .
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Thanks for these suggestions. When I get to the caravan next Friday, I will be on my own until the rest of the family arrive later on so will have time to investigate further.

I have a multimeter arriving this week, how should I approach testing to see what is drawing etc?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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NickThomas said:
Thanks for these suggestions. When I get to the caravan next Friday, I will be on my own until the rest of the family arrive later on so will have time to investigate further.

I have a multimeter arriving this week, how should I approach testing to see what is drawing etc?

Hello again Nick.

I'm sorry to have to be negative at this point, but if you don't know how to use a multimeter to check for current then using one on electrics, even 12v electrics is not to be taken lightly .

If you are unsure then it would be prudent to refer it to someone who does know.
 
Sep 29, 2016
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NickThomas said:
Thanks for these suggestions. When I get to the caravan next Friday, I will be on my own until the rest of the family arrive later on so will have time to investigate further.

I have a multimeter arriving this week, how should I approach testing to see what is drawing etc?

Hi Nick,

Plenty of video tutorials on the use of multi-meters for beginners and beyond.

A couple of YouTube examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdUK6RPdIrA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciyWwcKmPC4
 

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