Leisure Battery Charging

Mar 3, 2019
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Hi all, I am new to touring. Just got my family a caravan, it's a 1994 Home Car by chateaur caravans, 4 berth. I'm just starting to go through it before we make our first trip. I have a question about charging the leisure battery. When the caravan is hooked up to the mains on site, will it be charging the battery on the 12v system? I can't find a charger, but on the 240v trip switch box, there is a label marked 'water heater, battery charger' . Any help appreciated. Thanks!
 
Sep 29, 2016
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At that age, beware the charger is unlikely to be "smart", so don't leave the charger connected for days and days, it will cook your battery...
 
Mar 3, 2019
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Thanks. I can't find any battery indicator around the caravan or a charger. Is it standard for caravans to have a built in charger ? I have a switch board with 'lights' 'mains' 'Output 1' 'Output 2' . Where would the charger be located?
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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hbill said:
Thanks. I can't find any battery indicator around the caravan or a charger. Is it standard for caravans to have a built in charger ? I have a switch board with 'lights' 'mains' 'Output 1' 'Output 2' . Where would the charger be located?

I don't know your particular model or maker but it sounds to be a continental European van.
If that is true then at its build time few would have featured a battery or therefore a charger.
They typically have a mains to 12 volt transformer, probably even no rectification to DC.
I recall seeing one in weather proof looking box, fixed under the van itself.
 
Mar 3, 2019
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Hi

Thanks I think your correct it is a European van. Therefore if there is no built in charger I could run a cable from mains supply to front of van and connect up a smart charger to battery ?
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Hibill. When yo hook up , with a multi meter across the battery terminals as Anseo says , it will show a voltage 12. ? If there is a charger then it might show 13.5. Volts.just a hope.

Only started caravannining 12 years ago
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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As the van is of European make then it most likely came without a battery as standard and that battery has been added by a previous owner, which now gives you a problem.
You are not allowed to have electrical equipment in the same locker as the gas, it is highly dangerous.
You most certainly cannot put a charger there as well.
Your only option is to relocate the battery, probably inside the van in an authorised battery box and vented to the outside.
The charger could then be located outside the battery box.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Damian-Moderator said:
As the van is of European make then it most likely came without a battery as standard and that battery has been added by a previous owner, which now gives you a problem.
You are not allowed to have electrical equipment in the same locker as the gas, it is highly dangerous.
You most certainly cannot put a charger there as well.
Your only option is to relocate the battery, probably inside the van in an authorised battery box and vented to the outside.
The charger could then be located outside the battery box.

There is another option, as used by at least Hymer of using a GEL battery housed as in the two I have had simply clamped to the van's floor under a bed and used without exterior vent tube.
However, these require a specifically suited charger, mine are Schaudt Electroblock units..
I would suggest the best independant expert in this area is Allen of aandncaravanservices Conwy, North Wales a small contractor specialising in the refurbishment of Schaudt and similar units and very au fait with the UK and European regulations for caravans & motorhomes..I have no connection apart from benefitting from his extensive depth of specialst knowledge in this field.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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bertieboy1 said:
Don't know about "vented to the outside",my 2017 Swift van battery box has no vents at all,certainly not vented to the outside.

Yes it does.
At the bottom edge is a depression in the moulding which is the vent.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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bertieboy1 said:
Don't know about "vented to the outside",my 2017 Swift van battery box has no vents at all,certainly not vented to the outside.

Neither has my 2013 Sprite other than the gap where the EHU cable enters. But when hooked up the cable fills the gap.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I was looking for a 10mm internal diameter tube for venting my battery box as per Damian’s post on the thread about “A few more jobs ticked off”. I knew I’d not seen any such tube on previous vans but went out to look at the current van as it was hooked up for its monthly charge at home.
 
May 24, 2014
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Should be able to get one from any battery supplier.

The tube pushes into the battery itself and simply trail it out through the hookup entry point.
 

Damian

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The thing with fitted battery boxes such as on Swift and Bailey vans and other UK made vans is that once you open the locker door you have an enormous opening which would immediately vent any problem gas, which is why one should never be smoking or have any naked light near the battery box.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thingy said:
Should be able to get one from any battery supplier.

The tube pushes into the battery itself and simply trail it out through the hookup entry point.

Where would my hook up cable go then? :whistle:

My battery vents are well below the od of a10 mm diameter I’d tube I’m not planning on doing anything as my compartment is OEM and little different to previous caravan battery compartments. Anyway hydrogen diffuses very rapidly. I’ve worked in environments where batteries discharge into the sealed atmosphere where it diffuses to a low concentration and is then burnt in catalytic burners along with CO, and cigarette smoke and many other nasties. So I’m quite relaxed about the caravan.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thingy said:
Where would my hook up cable go then?

Next to it, there should easily be room. On mine, I have the hookup, vent tube and aerial cable all coming through the same cutout.

My cut out has just enough room for the hook up cable to fit comfortably. Anyway as I’ve said I don’t plan to change what Swift have provided as the OEM battery box. Clearly our vans differ in that respect.
 

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