New to Caravanning.. battery keeps running flat

Jun 22, 2022
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Hello all. First post. Be kind! :)

I have recently took the plunge into the caravanning world having bought a 2008 Bailey Senator series 6 Arizona. Having got the van home the battery was a little on the low side with it being in storage all winter just thought it needed a good charge. Hooked the 240 into the caravan for a couple of days.. nothing.. assumed the battery was shot as I could see it was 4 years old. Bought a new one (a Yuasa battery from Tayna batteries who were really decent) and the volt meter in the van read 12v... in hindsight I think on charge it should be 13.6? Anyway didnt realise at first. Weve been using the van on the drive and its ran the new battery flat so im pretty sure the charger is knackered? Hopefully I can recover that with the CTEK MX5.0 ive got.

On closer inspection and removing the electrical box cover looks like the standard bailey power supply has over heated (melty plastic) and failed at some point in the past. So theyve butchered the inside of the box and replaced the power supply with a 10amp transformer.. The wiring is a mess and im not too sure what im looking at (see pics). The water pump is still supposed work with that transformer in place but with the battery flat there is nothing when 12v master is on. Kinda useless really!

So I guess my question is could I rip that transformer out and replace it with an onboard ctek charger.... either that or put a like for like bailey power supply back in like the one from apuljack electronics. It would have been a DIY job but the thing would need wiring back how it was. Plus there is a random spade connector loose. God only knows what thats supposed to connect to. Screenshot_20220622-213556_Gallery.jpg
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Mar 14, 2005
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Hello TheDonk,

Welcome to the forum.

From the description of the Estrasil PB10 on the Leisure Shop website, it is little more than a 10A battery charger, and the site goes on to say for item other than teh pump it is best to use a battery, so that indicates to me the output from the PB10 isn't regulated or smoothed, which is what the battery effectively does. There can be a problem with such basic chargers they can readily overcharge and ultimately damage a battery if left turned on for too long after the battery has achieved full charge.

Your CTek charger is far more competent and will look after the battery far better than the PB10, even with it left turned on indefinitely. I therefore suggest it makes sense to replace the PB10 with the CTek unit or something equally good with batteries. I see no reason not to temporality connect teh Ctek directly to the battery, until the wiring has been sorted out

Having said that, it doesn't explain why the PB10 did not apparently charge the battery, so it suggests that either you hadn't actually powered the PB10 (check all teh switches) or perhaps the PB10 has a blown fuse. I note there is one (10A?)built into the PB10 case by the output terminals or one of the other fuses or switches in the caravan.

Unfortunately there is no way I could tell you what the spare wire should be connected to. I suspect the wires will need to be traced through to work out what it should be doing.

Even though the circuit is 12V it is still important to make sure all wiring is properly terminated and insulated to prevent shorts. There is more than enough energy in a 12V battery to cause a fire. Basically if your not confident with working with electrics, it might be wise to consult a specialist or even get the work done professionally.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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A very common problem with the BCA consumer unit. Rubbish.

This firm http://www.apuljackengineering.co.uk/ , redesigned the original system with solid state electronics.

Did mine three years ago. An easy fit . I appreciate someone has butchered part of your wiring. Getting back to the oem wiring will not be too difficult.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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Welcome ‘the donk’, Hope you get it sorted. Do you have any warrantee with the van?

John
 
Oct 3, 2013
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Hello all. First post. Be kind! :)

I have recently took the plunge into the caravanning world having bought a 2008 Bailey Senator series 6 Arizona. Having got the van home the battery was a little on the low side with it being in storage all winter just thought it needed a good charge. Hooked the 240 into the caravan for a couple of days.. nothing.. assumed the battery was shot as I could see it was 4 years old. Bought a new one (a Yuasa battery from Tayna batteries who were really decent) and the volt meter in the van read 12v... in hindsight I think on charge it should be 13.6? Anyway didnt realise at first. Weve been using the van on the drive and its ran the new battery flat so im pretty sure the charger is knackered? Hopefully I can recover that with the CTEK MX5.0 ive got.

On closer inspection and removing the electrical box cover looks like the standard bailey power supply has over heated (melty plastic) and failed at some point in the past. So theyve butchered the inside of the box and replaced the power supply with a 10amp transformer.. The wiring is a mess and im not too sure what im looking at (see pics). The water pump is still supposed work with that transformer in place but with the battery flat there is nothing when 12v master is on. Kinda useless really!

So I guess my question is could I rip that transformer out and replace it with an onboard ctek charger.... either that or put a like for like bailey power supply back in like the one from apuljack electronics. It would have been a DIY job but the thing would need wiring back how it was. Plus there is a random spade connector loose. God only knows what thats supposed to connect to. View attachment 3466
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Battery should never have been in storage along with the van,it should have been removed and kept in a good state of charge.
If you are replacing the ac/dc PSU the new one must have sufficient rating to supply the dc load and charge the battery
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Battery should never have been in storage along with the van,it should have been removed and kept in a good state of charge.
If you are replacing the ac/dc PSU the new one must have sufficient rating to supply the dc load and charge the battery
My battery stays in, I now have solar, but even before that a decent battery should last a few months so never a problem.

John
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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There's no black and white answer to "should you keep the battery in the caravan" but what is certain is, if you do choose to keep the battery in the caravan, then you do need to make sure everything is properly turned off, otherwise over a period of time the battery will be discharged and can easily be damaged by being left in a discharged state.

There are certain items of caravan equipment that continue to draw current even when teh on/off switch is set to off. Many radios and aerial boosters fitted to caravans continue to draw current.

To overcome theses items, either disconnect the battery by taking a terminal off , or have a 12V isolator switch fitted in the positive lead from the battery.

Some thing like this
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Just to add to JC post it doesn’t need to be a large panel as there are small portable ones that can sit inside the caravan and just keep the battery charged.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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We have had several caravans and have never removed the battery to store and charge at home.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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We have had several caravans and have never removed the battery to store and charge at home.
That ok whilst you can charge it at home, but as we store our caravan under cover, we cannot use a solar panel as there is not enough sunlight, so by disconnecting the battery it will last over two month ok.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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That ok whilst you can charge it at home, but as we store our caravan under cover, we cannot use a solar panel as there is not enough sunlight, so by disconnecting the battery it will last over two month ok.
Prior to 2010 none of our caravans had solar panels or trackers and no issues with battery.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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On our Coachman, if I do not disconnect the battery all the little hidden things will drain the battery, even with the "Master Switchs" to Off.
ie. Radio, fridge control panel, usb ports, Master Control panel. Alarm. They all drag the battery down.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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On our Coachman, if I do not disconnect the battery all the little hidden things will drain the battery, even with the "Master Switchs" to Off.
ie. Radio, fridge control panel, usb ports, Master Control panel. Alarm. They all drag the battery down.
We remove the radio panel. If 12v is switched off then surely fridge control panel should not drain battery? Same with USB ports as when 12v is switched off they are inactive. Alarm will definitely drain battery within less than 2 months.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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We remove the radio panel. If 12v is switched off then surely fridge control panel should not drain battery? Same with USB ports as when 12v is switched off they are inactive. Alarm will definitely drain battery within less than 2 months.
Wrong, our radio is powered even with the front off, same with the fridge control panel and the usb ports. Master Panel is the same, No logic to it.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Its illogical to assume your own personal experience of how a battery will survive if left connected in a caravan will apply to everyone else. Unless you intimately know the details of the caravan in question, you have to consider the worst case scenario.

In this specific case, it is clear the wiring has been changed, and that means there is every possibility there are other changes away from standard build.

Radios designed for cars are notorious for needing a permanent 12V feed to maintain the radio's memory function. Turning the on/off switch " off" or removing the front face only prevents the radio from being operated.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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My previous caravan had the Thetford electric flush always live even when everything else and panels were switched off. Never did bother to trace it back as I was only too pleased that it worked.
 
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Jun 22, 2022
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Good news.. new battery has been recovered. The CTEK chargers really are decent. Voltage now showing 13.6v as it should while charging. Im tempted to wire the CTEK charger into the van permanently in place of the broken transformer. Any else done this?
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Good news.. new battery has been recovered. The CTEK chargers really are decent. Voltage now showing 13.6v as it should while charging. Im tempted to wire the CTEK charger into the van permanently in place of the broken transformer. Any else done this?
On our previous caravan, a 2001 Bailey Pageant, the onboard power supply could be switched off - so I did just that and connected a CTEK 3.6 smart charger 24/7 - it worked well despite me also using an old car battery instead of a "proper" leisure battery.
 
Jun 22, 2022
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On our previous caravan, a 2001 Bailey Pageant, the onboard power supply could be switched off - so I did just that and connected a CTEK 3.6 smart charger 24/7 - it worked well despite me also using an old car battery instead of a "proper" leisure battery.
So current plan is... Since the PSU is broken it needs to come out anyway ive had the multimeter on it and its just dead. It has 240v in and 12v out which I can connect directly to the ctek and have it sit permanently under the bench/sofa where the psu currently is.

Ive bought an iec13 (kettle) lead for the 240v this will put that back how it was and if i decide to go down the apuljack route in future will plug straight in.

So I dont have to butcher the ctek ive also bought a female c14 plug to uk 3 pin socket thatll power off the iec13 lead. For the 12v I bought the ctek comfort fit leads ring type (was only
£4). I'll chop the ring ends off and choc block them to the 12v that was going to the PSU.

Its probably not very elegant but should work and once a year I can put the ctek in RECOND mode to extend the battery life. Probably while im on holiday save my electric bills :)))
 

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