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Mar 14, 2019
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Hello Everyone

I have just purchased a Swift Archway Denford 2 berth caravan ... lovely. Lots of adventures planned.

I don't know anything about charging a caravan whilst it's sitting on my drive. Can anyone advise, please? I plan to use sites that have electric hook ups but would also like to keep the battery in good condition.

Thanks so much!
Hazel.
 
May 24, 2014
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There are a number of things here, but really two ways of charging the battery. You can either buy an adapter that converts your electric hookup cable to a three pin plug, available just about anywhere that does caravan stuff or see here
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunnflair-Continental-Hook-Up-Adaptor/dp/B002ATLK4Y
or you can remove the battery and use a battery charger.

If the caravan already has a battery, check the obvious, it should be Leisure battery, and if it has been allowed to go flat, and been that way for some time, I would really think about replacing it. Similarly, if unsure of the battery and/or you plan to use a motor mover, invest in a new one.

The caravan has a built in charger that will charge the battery whilst connected to site mains, or the domestic supply, but you really do need to be aware of the dangers of not taking good care of a leaisure battery. Following from a recent conversation on here, if the battery, which given the caravans age I assume is, a wet/flooded Lead acid battery, read up (google) on the information in respect of venting the battery. This may already have been done, but check anyway.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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You need to know what type of battery charger is fitted to your caravan. If you post details or a picture then we can tell you. What caravan is it? Later models (2010 onwards) of some makes had three stage chargers which are more suitable to giving battery a good charge. Others had two stage chargers. I just connect mine up to the house mains via an external 240v socket and an adaptor cable. I leave it on for no longer than 24 hours. When in store I remove the battery and use CTEK charger which can be left on continuously without damage to the battery.

When everything is shut off check that your radio isn't still on. Quite a number of people have commented that even when they think everything is off the radio sat in its cupboard is still on standby.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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I have 2 EHU cables - The one that came with the caravan is used when touring as it is lighter. It's wiped and re-packed into it's bag after a trip. I then have a another generic 25m EHU cable (purchased from a local accessory shop) which is heavier gauge and is connected to a 3-pin adapter (see Thingy's post) in my garage. The cable is routed out from under the garage door, and round to the caravan on the drive. I have also purchased an RCD as extra protection, should the exposed cable be cut accidentally.

With 2 cables I can keep the battery topped up and then pre-chill the fridge before a trip, then sling the cable into the garage before we leave without having to re-pack.
 
May 24, 2014
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What I have at home.

Initially, I had a spur fitted with its own RCD and a caravan site bollard type socket. It wasnt really successful, so I had the sparky fit a mini consumer unit by the meter, and isolation switch, and replaced the exterior socket with a weathermaster IP 65 rated twin socket, and with a similar second cable, replaced the end with a three pin plug. Now I have the best of both worlds. A twin exterior socket for power tools and of course the hookup just plugs straight in. Whole lot cost less than £100 inc labour.
 
Mar 8, 2017
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Tabiti04 said:
Hello Everyone

I have just purchased a Swift Archway Denford 2 berth caravan ... lovely. Lots of adventures planned.

I don't know anything about charging a caravan whilst it's sitting on my drive. Can anyone advise, please? I plan to use sites that have electric hook ups but would also like to keep the battery in good condition.

Thanks so much!
Hazel.

Sounds like you have brought yourself a lovely van, and welcome to this forum.

Since you plan to only use your caravan on electric hook ups, the condition of your battery is not too important simple because you will not be using it, but rather always drawing power from the site supply.

With regard to your existing battery, a dealer or battery shop should be able to test it and give you an idea of it's condition.

If you need to replace it then the smallest and cheapest leisure battery will suffice, because it won't be doing very much. If it's in reasonable condition then it should hold its charge for a month or so of non-use. Any longer than that and it will need to be either removed for charging or connected to the mains in some way as others have described.

Some of us use solar panels to keep our batteries charged, which is worth considering, but you probably have enough to contend with without worrying about that yet.

Enjoy your caravanning.
 
May 7, 2012
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We have kept the caravan in the drive. All you need is a convertor cable that has a three pin plug one end and a caravan plug the other and put the caravan on charge say once a month or if the caravan gives a voltage reading when the voltage starts to drop.
Not sure if you have the older twin plugs or the newer single thirteen pin plug on the caravan as you do not give the age, so check this before buying the cable.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Raywood said:
We have kept the caravan in the drive. All you need is a convertor cable that has a three pin plug one end and a caravan plug the other and put the caravan on charge say once a month or if the caravan gives a voltage reading when the voltage starts to drop.
Not sure if you have the older twin plugs or the newer single thirteen pin plug on the caravan as you do not give the age, so check this before buying the cable.

Raywood , not sure where your going with the 12 s or N plugs as the mains will plug into the caravan 230 volt connector , to charge the battery . The Denfords are circa 2000,
 
Mar 14, 2019
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This is great information, thank you for all your replies.

I have a conversion cable (as described) and will plug the caravan in regularly to the mains at home. I hadn't thought of what CustardAvenger suggested and can do the exact same thing with regard to the cable. So, it is OK to keep it plugged in all the time without damaging the battery? I've read that it shouldn't be 'overcharged'.

I believe the battery is in good condition but will also get it checked following this advice. My lovely van also has a motor mower so the battery is important from that viewpoint.

Thanks again.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Tabiti04 said:
... So, it is OK to keep it plugged in all the time without damaging the battery? I've read that it shouldn't be 'overcharged'.

I believe the battery is in good condition but will also get it checked following this advice. My lovely van also has a motor mower so the battery is important from that viewpoint.

Thanks again.

Hello Tahiti,
Depending on when the caravan was made, the manufacturers fitted different 12V power supplies, and some can damage a battery if left on continuos charge for weeks at a time. Some of the most recent caravans are fitted with three stage chargers/power supplies and these should be fine, but if your not sure, consider getting and using a dedicated multistage charger such as those from Ctek.

Aldi and Lidl sometimes sell multistage chargers which seem to work quite well but they're not as comprehensive as the Ctek models.

One concern with long term storage, is if there is a power cut, do you need to manually reset the charger. Ctek units I have used remember their last settings, so they'll automatically continue charging when power is restored, but all the models I've used from Aldi and Lidl ( and I've used several different versions over the years,) either turn off and required a full manual reset, or the last version of the Aldi model, will restart but at it's motorbike battery setting. If it's only maintaing the battery it will probably be enough, but if it was trying to recharge the battery from flat it would take a long time.
 
May 24, 2014
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So, it is OK to keep it plugged in all the time without damaging the battery? I've read that it shouldn't be 'overcharged'.

My thoughts are this

everybody will have their own opinion on keeping a permanent hookup. However, we all know that once a leisure battery is allowed to go flat, and stay that way for a while, its is extremely hard, if not impossible to resurrect it. The more modern three stage chargers in caravans, supply a float charge once the battery is fully charged, which is pretty much akin to what we used to call trickle charge. Many people, when their caravan is in storage, will take their battery home and put it in the garage on trickle over winter, so whats the difference.

As I see it, the only thing you are doing is giving the caravans charger more use, and perhaps may need to replace that sometime way into the future. For me, that is something I can live with, and all of my last 5 caravans have been permanently connected at home. I had one issue with a battery swelling and heating up, but the battery was well past its expected lifespan, and I blame the battery itself for that.

As I said, everyone will have their own opinion, for what its worth, thats mine.

With an older caravan, I would consider changing the charger for a three stage, if one isnt already present.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thingy said:
... Many people, when their caravan is in storage, will take their battery home and put it in the garage on trickle over winter, so whats the difference.

Without knowing what type of charger they use at home it is an impossible question to answer. Spanning the years thee have been a wide array of differnt battery chargers made for use at home and in caravans. Many of the early ones were simply a half or full wave rectified transformer which when measured unloaded may have had an RMS voltage of 20 or more volts with peak values in excess of 35V. These wold undoubtedly be capable of over charging as 12V Lead acid battery.

Only when 12V systems needed more controlled voltages did chargers have some form of regulation, which has evolved and where modern home chargers may still have peak voltages of 14.5 to 15V , caravans were reduced to 13.8 to prevent excess gassing.

It is entirely possible that some reports of battery damage actually arise from home charging rather than the caravans own systems.

The most recent home chargers from the likes of Ctek are now microprocessor controlled and will adjust their charging characteristic through up to as many as 8 different stages to optimise charge and maintenance of batteries safely.
 
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Thingy said:
Prof

Ever we meet, I wont let you within a mile of my watch. You will probably take it to bits.. :)

Of that's a shame :( becasue i'm fascinated by chronology, and especially the development of the first effective ships chronometer by a carpenter from Yorkshire John Harrison in 1776. B)

I'm sure your watch is actually more accurate than his first attempts. :lol:
 
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ProfJohnL said:
Thingy said:
Prof

Ever we meet, I wont let you within a mile of my watch. You will probably take it to bits.. :)

Of that's a shame :( becasue i'm fascinated by chronology, and especially the development of the first effective ships chronometer by a carpenter from Yorkshire John Harrison in 1776. B)

I'm sure your watch is actually more accurate than his first attempts. :lol:
Del-Boy sold one of them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSg-yZ4MU3U
 
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Regarding permanent hook up. My hook up is on a timer, switches on for a couple of hours each day, keeps it top up nicely.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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DaveA1 said:
Regarding permanent hook up. My hook up is on a timer, switches on for a couple of hours each day, keeps it top up nicely.
Which one or H6? :woohoo:

Thanks for that Fools and Horses link, That's one I don't remember. :p
 
Nov 16, 2015
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ProfJohnL said:
DaveA1 said:
Regarding permanent hook up. My hook up is on a timer, switches on for a couple of hours each day, keeps it top up nicely.
Which one or H6? :woohoo:

Thanks for that Fools and Horses link, That's one I don't remember. :p

SWMBLAO. presented myself with the full box, Set , In CD ! at Christmas! for when we are away in the van. She must stiĺ love me.
 
May 24, 2014
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SWMBLAO. presented myself with the full box, Set

Ah, now thats open for debate. There is a lost episode "Licensed to Drill", see here
https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/852690/Only-Fools-and-Horses-Lost-episode-aired-first-time

and I believe there is also another one with Del selling xmas trees. Its a shot episode
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0666542/

In fairness, I havent got the full set either.
 

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