Battery on charge whilst caravan not being used

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 14:31
ThreadID: 130955 Views:3257 Replies:10 FollowUps:1
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Hi - When we get from travelling I connect 240 power to our van. This is to keep the deep cycle 100amp battery topped up. However our van can be sitting for up to 7-8 weeks before using again. The internal battery charger is a seven stage charging unit. Leaving the charging unit on for that period the van is idle will this cause harm to the battery?
Thanks and regards, Nugget.
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Reply By: baznpud (tassie) - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 14:51

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 14:51
our van is attached to 240v all the time when not in use, have been doing this to vans for the last ten years, and never had a problem.
So i can only say, no, it won't damage the battery.
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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Reply By: Member - Bigred13 - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 15:16

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 15:16
Hi nugget ,yes being connected all the time will not do any harm with a seven stage charger as that is what they are designed to do ,once fully charged they will revert to float or ripple charge.
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Reply By: Zippo - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 15:25

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 15:25
If it is a half-decent charger, no problems should ensue. I have a 7-stage Projecta IC1500 and that certainly claims suitability for that role.

Having said that, on all four of my 100Ah AGM's the Projecta insists on descending into a triple reconditioning cycle (4 hours each) at the end of which it declares them faulty!

Get an ACCURATE digital multimeter and check the battery terminal volts a day or so after powering up the charger. Comparing that to the battery manufacturer's recommended float voltage will give you the best answer.
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Reply By: swampy - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 18:08

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 18:08
hi ,
Firstly a Multi stage charger this is great .Secondly most battery makers will stress that float voltage for long term storage is critical and must be as per spec . Recommend to find out recommended float voltage and then measure voltage at battery .Give your battery maker a call and tell them the model type etc . They also may have a web page .
Unfortunately most battery charger makers are all over the place with there specifications .
Some times u will get ok bulk voltages with a to high or to low float voltage .
bulk / absobtion voltage
float voltage
Just recently been thru all of this.


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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 18:17

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 18:17
Depends on the actual a recommendation for the manufacturer......I used to leave my seven stage battery charger on for ages when the van was parked up, but one set of 3 decent batteries only lasted about 18 months (50% of that time max in use on trips). Have since seen a recommendation from one maker that the batteries should be fully charged, then disconnected and left for months as is. Its a game this battery stuff......buying batteries at $300 - 400 each and having them fail* far too early is a real pain !
*fail, in that they might still work ok for short periods, but soon peg out.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 18:49

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 18:49
These days I have opted to contro, the charger via a time clock as I feel it is better for the batteries, I find 30 minutes a day is enough to bring the batteries to a full charge state including the tow vehicle when gargared for long periods.


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Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 19:07

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 19:07
I do exactly the same when away, I have a little .9 amp ctek that I use on our little car with a time clock, this is set to come on every 3 days for about 1 hour.

When at home with the van, I just check the voltage of the vans battery and put power on it every month or two when needed.

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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 22:48

Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 at 22:48
This is a bit of a contravercial topic.
In theory it should be fine to leave a battery on a good charger indefinitely.

There are systems out there in the communications and burgular alarm industries that leave batteries on charge their whole lives and they get very long service lives out of their batteries.

There are however a couple of things to consider.

Many of these so called "smart chargers" can have some problems ...... the various smart charger manufacturers all have different ideas about how these things should work and the voltages involved ..... this does not always agree with manufacturer recomendations.

There have been quite a number of cases of computer bassed smart chargers either getting confused or going faulty and boiling the stuffings out of batteries in short order.

There is also the fact that sooner or later your battery WILL fail .... how the smart charger responds to that can vary ........ worst case the battery can boil dry, overheat and explode.

THE #1 message is ...... don't put ya battery on long term charge and forget about it ....... regardless you would be wise to check the terminal voltage at least weekly and give the actual battery a look and feel.

Personally I will no longer leave a battery on a computer bassed smart charger long term ...... I have several decent old school analogue voltage regulated chargers of various sizes that I use for long term charging ........ a basic 3 terminal regulator bassed charger will give a "two stage charge" ...... delivering its maximum current till the battery reaches voltage and then reverting to a float charge .......... actually nothing smart or inteligent about it. ... but it is very reliable and long term viable.
Because most of mine are custom built I can vary the charge voltage as required.

There is also one other thing to consider ....... if you have healthy modern batteries and they are stored completely off load ( issolated) they should hold a good charge for at least a month or two without a charger.

I can see a very good argument for giving ya batteries a good 48hour charge when you get home and then leaving them alone except for a once a month charge and a good 48 hour charge before the next trip.

this gives you the opportunity to observe how well those batteries are holding charge over time ....... If they are not holding a fair charge for 30 days ....... that is advance notice that they are getting tired and may fail soon.


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Reply By: Member - Ian T6 - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 14:05

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 14:05
Just to make it worse the best float voltage is temperature dependant so one that works wonderfully for Victorian may not suit a Darwin based van. The better chargers have a temp compensation lead but again depends on manufacturer design ideas

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Reply By: the nugget - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:53

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:53
Thanks you for your response much appreciated
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Reply By: the nugget - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:58

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:58
Thankyou to the responses that I received in relation to leaving battery charger when van is at idle for lengthy periods. From the consensus I think I will disconnect after a few days of being on the charger and disconnect the power from the van and most likely do a monthly or so check, and as one respondent replied with to reconnect a few days prior to using the van and check the voltage.
Thanks again to all, very much appreciated. - Nugget.
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