Breakaway Battery Issues

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 17:13
ThreadID: 111045 Views:3771 Replies:5 FollowUps:12
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Hello Everyone,
Have a dual battery set up in the Prado with a DC-DC charger all working fine. Fitted a new battery to the breakaway unit to the van Breakaway 5000 which is being charged by the in house batteries of the van. When the van is idle the van's batteries are being charged on 240 volt smart charger 90% of the time.
By the way there is a breakaway Battery monitor fitted inside the Prado.
The issue is before heading off with van checked the breakaway battery all good DC-DC charge charging house batteries all good. Green light comes on the breakaway monitor when the foot brake is applied After a hours trip mostly open road and coming back though town, braking and so on the red light comes on with beeping sound indicating the breakaway battery has an issue.
Returned home and checked the breakaway battery low on power van house batteries good, checked connections all good, charge rate good.
I am lost for any more ideas.
Is it possible the breakaway battery won't hold charge, you would hardly think applying the brakes maybe 20 times would flatten the breakaway battery.
Any suggestions would be very helpful as the van goes in for a roadworthy next week and this issue has be rectified before hand.
Thank You
Allan
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Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 17:28

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 17:28
Not sure if it relates to your problem but I had a similar situation due to a wiring problem.

I had a Brakesafe 6000 After reading the instructions I connected my Ctek to the terminals on the front and waited. A day later it still wasnt charged.

I then worked out the unit has an internal trickle charger and required a full 12 volts to make that work. I changed the Ctek to 12v supply and it charged it up overnight.

After the wiring was fixed I never had any more trouble. It was however supplied from the tug not the house batteries
AnswerID: 545591

Follow Up By: Member - Allan H (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 18:00

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 18:00
Thanks TomH
The house batteries are sitting on float when in storage at 13.6v when hooked up to the tug sits at 13.6v and increases more when needed. I would think that sort of voltage should be enough.
Food for thought thanks Tom for your input.
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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 18:01

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 18:01
It is possible that the battery isn't receiving charge whilst on the move, but if the unit isn't being activated then it shouldn't lose charge.

There is one thing though, if every time you hit the brakes the unit is "Testing The Battery", maybe that is flattening it.

Have you checked that the unit is on charge when connected to the tug. Is the house battery being charged whilst driving?
AnswerID: 545592

Follow Up By: Member - Allan H (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 19:17

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 19:17
Hi Notso,
Yep the house batteries are charging when hooked up to the tug and breakaway battery is getting exactly the same amount. Did just go back out to check the breakaway battery and guess what still showing red when hitting the test button. Still getting 13.6v to the breakaway battery, considering the breakaway battery is only 7amph this should have charged by know. Suspecting the battery is faulty because the charge light is showing battery is being charged. There are 2 fuses in the breakaway box might check those.
Thanks for your input
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Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:05

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:05
Is the 13.6 volts right at the Break Away battery terminals. If so and the test is still showing faulty I'd say the battery is definitely shot.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 09:40

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 09:40
That means that the new battery is also not up to scratch.

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:06

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:06
I may be way off the mark here, but why would applying the service brakes activate the breakaway circuit anyway? I was under the impression, maybe incorrectly, that the breakaway system was only activated by the breakaway switch.
Under normal braking isn't the activation for caravan braking taken directly from the Tekonsha, HR or whatever brand of electric brake unit is fitted?

Not recommending or otherwise, but my personal opinion is that a couple of 100 AH house batteries would be a little more capable of effecting and sustaining an emergency braking event than a 7AH jobby. Even if they were only half charged.

Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 545597

Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 21:34

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 21:34
The "Monitoring System" installed in vans in NSW has a Test function that actually tests the breakaway unit battery every time you touch the brakes.
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Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:11

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:11
How old is the battery They say 2 yearly replacement.

You could take it out and put it on a battery charger.

Although the manual says to connect a charger to the terminals I found it didnt charge anything over 36 hours but as soon as I connected a straight 12v it did power the internal battery charger. If you reread the instructions it does say that.

I was in error before, I had a 5000 as well.

I had put a different plug on the van and hadnt connected the "extra" wire which I later found was the feed for the brakesafe.

After reconnecting that I never had any more trouble as it was the feed from the car battery.

A new one would be under $40 for a good one.

Check the voltage at the red terminal, it may not be enough to excite the trickle charger into life.
AnswerID: 545598

Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:16

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 20:16
On rethinking there is actually a wire in the loom in the bottom of the unit that takes power to the internal charger and the exterior terminals are for a boost when in storage or similar.

Shouldnt need wires to those terminals for normal use.

And yes the service brakes wont affect it . The make or break switch on the A frame is the only thing that will cause it to activate and cause the battery to run down
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 21:32

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 21:32
Tom,
As per my post, if using the service brakes shouldn't call the breakaway circuit into operation, why without faulty wiring, is the operation of said service brakes flattening the battery?
As to why it isn't re-charging, maybe something along the same lines.
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FollowupID: 833214

Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 07:18

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 07:18
Pop That is the question What is the answer.
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FollowupID: 833221

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 09:38

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 09:38
Pop, the breakaway unit has a connection to the trailer brake lights. When you activate the foot brakes there is a signal returns up that connection and triggers the battery test sequence. That test sequence places a significant load across the battery, there is a voltage monitor across the battery that senses if there is too much voltage drop and sends a signal to the monitor in the tug to alert the driver that the battery charge is not sufficient for proper operation. That is what is discharging the battery. If the battery is not fully charged when you start the journey and the battery charging circuitry is not operating properly then those test loads will be sufficient to produce a low battery condition.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 16:49

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 16:49
Allan,

My caravan is wired similar (connected to battery bank that is always solar charged).
You will find that a battery is lucky to last 2 years regardless in the Breakaway unit.
Probably a bad charging regime, who knows

Cheers,
Jim
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FollowupID: 833238

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 17:11

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 17:11
Tom and Peter,

Going by Tom's OP if I understand correctly, with 2 exceptions, my system is much the same.
When I first took delivery of my van I discovered by the failure of my breakaway battery that the charging circuit for that battery had in fact not been connected. I removed that battery and connected the 2 105 AH DC house batteries to the breakaway unit.
As said, I am not recommending anyone else do this, but to me I now have 2 much larger and well charged batteries always on line to make an emergency application of the caravan brakes in the instance of a breakaway event. I do of course test the system periodically with the test button and by pulling the activation device out of the breakaway unit.
The other difference is that here in WA there is currently no requirement for an in cab monitoring system although I do have a method of monitoring all my batteries which may or may not meet NSW requirements.
Tom, if I interpreted your OP correctly, you are charging your house batteries and the breakaway battery in parallel. Could it be that because of the vastly different capacities, and maybe battery types, the little 7AH job is not receiving it's appropriate share of charge? What I'm trying to say is if you have 2 fully charged house batteries are they telling the battery charger that no more charge is required and the charger is ignoring the 7AH breakaway battery's plee for a top up.
Peter, the test sequence that occurs when a service brake application is made, does this test, as well as testing the brake lights, make an actual van brake application, or just an internal test of the breakaway unit? I have only ever made sure that the brake lights operated with the test button and that there was a full brake application when the breakaway activation device is pulled out.

Cheers
Pop
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FollowupID: 833240

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 17:17

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 17:17
Sorry, ignore " the test sequence that occurs when a service brake application is made"

Should read "the test sequence that occurs when the test button is pushed"

Maybe an edit function might not be a bad thing after all (:=((

Cheers
Pop
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FollowupID: 833242

Reply By: Member - Allan H (NSW) - Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 20:29

Monday, Feb 09, 2015 at 20:29
Thank you everyone for your replies, I bit the bullet and rang RV Electronics in SA who repair and supply the breakaway units for manufactures, after describing the hook up of the battery, which I previously received directions from them, and the issues I am having they said the battery was at fault, the wiring is correct and the charging is enough as the breakaway unit the has it's own trickle charger which is enough to keep the breakaway battery charged, as long as there is enough volts going to the breakaway unit.
Colin said they are happy to supply a new battery no charge, even though I didn't purchase the battery from them, although it has only been installed for 2-3 months.
It is good to know there are some companies out there still that will back up their product no questions asked.
I would recommend if anyone has any issues with their breakaway system to give them a call, Colin was very helpful.
Again thank you all for your input.
Regards
Allan
AnswerID: 545642

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