Issue with 12v power

Aug 27, 2018
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Just need some advice, I've used my Swift Charisma without a battery for 10 years, using the transformer to provide 12v energy for lights etc. This weekend we suddenly had no 12v power, 240v working fine. We put a battery onto the van and 12v sprung to life, felt like that was a good sign. We have a NE143-MH Nordelettronica Battery
charger. I'm thinking that this could have broken, just wanted to check that these charge the battery and also provide the 12v to the van when no battery connected?
 
Jan 19, 2002
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Didn't know caravans would run without a battery in place - acting as a large capacitor to smooth the output to 12v outlets. I would be concerned about 'spikes' in the voltage of supply using the Nordelectronica as a transformer. However 10 years is a long testing ground!

My concern about your situation (nearly said current situation LOL!) is if the Nordelectronica is not providing charge and the battery will just run down. With a new charged battery in place the 12v system would all work as clearly that is what is happening when caravanning 'off grid'. Do you have the means to check that charge is reaching the battery?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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audiorob said:
Didn't know caravans would run without a battery in place - acting as a large capacitor to smooth the output to 12v outlets. I would be concerned about 'spikes' in the voltage of supply using the Nordelectronica as a transformer. However 10 years is a long testing ground!...

Hello Rob,
I can't tell you when it became common for caravans to be fitted with battery chargers for the first time, but they were just transformers and rectifiers, and did not have smoothed outputs. They could easily produce peak voltages of 21V and as such they needed a battery to help smooth the ripple. A battery was essential to protect some of the caravan accessories of the day.

Since the mid 1980's, UK caravans were fitted with regulated 13.8V power supplies, rather than just battery chargers. They generally had about an 8A capacity which would run some of the caravans systems but by them selves, they sometime struggled or even failed to run the water pump, so a battery was usually still required to meet peak current demands..

Being regulated to 13.8V they could be used to charge a battery and left connected during the holiday to keep the battery topped up.

Later units often have current capacity up to 16A. These bigger units could run a whole caravan, but sometimes you need to be selective about what appliances you used at the same time, so a battery was not essential but advised.

The most recent power supplies do more. They are still limited to under 16A, but some have a smart charging facility.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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There are hundreds of instances where the now infamous Nordelettronica systems fitted in Swift caravans have failed,a LOT.

The very best person to contact is Paul at Apuljack Engineering. He has vast experience in dealing with these systems and will talk you through some checks to determine what needs doing, and can repair your present unit to better than new with the right bits and pieces which should have been fitted when made, but were not !!!!

http://www.apuljackengineering.co.uk/
 

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