Connecting a battery to a Centurion 3000

I have a Jayco Penguin 2003 Camper. Can anybody assist me with connecting a battery to a Centurion 3000 controller. The battery is being charged by a Redarc BCDC 1220 charger which was installed by the previous owner to run an inverter. I want to be able to run the lights and other 12 volt items from this battery. I also have a Solar panel with a regulator which I will connect to the battery on a different line to the Redarc. Where do I connect the battery to the Centurion? The Redarc will charge the battery when the car ignition is on. I want to use the battery in the camper to run the fridge while driving and be charged by the Redarc. Hope this makes sense.
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Reply By: RMD - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 19:11

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 19:11
If you have a Redarc already charging from vehicle to the battery, the solar panel and it's reg can also be attached to the same battery. What role does another device play in the system. Is the Centurion a std feature of the camper? Or an additional device you may not require. Surely if it is a charge controller it will have and input from a source and an output to a battery. Sort of normal stuff.
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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 10:35

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 10:35
Thanks for the reply. The Centurion the controller that converts mains to 12 volt and can provide a fairly useless trickle charge to the on board battery. I want this battery to provide 12 volt power to the van when off grid don't know where I connect it to the Centurion to achieve this. I am fie wth the redarc and solar panel arrangement.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 11:24

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 11:24
I presume the Centurion is already connected to the van battery, going on what you have said. If the redarc and solar panel/ reg setup is also connected to that it should all work ok. If you havecanother batterycas well it can be connected in parallel with the origin battery and all work.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 22:45

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 22:45
RMD, treat the Centurion as you would do with a Setec PSU. For over 20 years Jayco has used these types of PSU to power their vans. Some of the earlier ones had a Centurion and some had Setec PSUs.The mid and later ones all had Setec units. The later ones are still made by Setec in their BMPro division. The later BMPro units include battery chargers with better charge voltages that resemble other good battery chargers.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 19:30

Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 19:30
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The Centurion 3000 is a power supply/battery charger that supplies the camper 12v and charges its battery from the 230 volt mains. It can remain permanently connected in your camper and used to maintain 12v supply when you are parked-up in a caravan park or anywhere that 230v mains power is available. It will not interfere with the Redarc charger or solar panel regulator whether the 230v is available or not.
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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 10:37

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 10:37
Thanks Allan. At the moment the battery is not providing 12 volt to the the Centurion when off grid. I just need to know where I can run wires to it from the battery. Hope that makes sense
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 12:05

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 12:05
It is a 240V powered AC charger according to Alan so therefore will not work off grid. So why would you want to supply 12V to it?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 12:59

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 12:59
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alijohdav,

I am attaching the instruction sheet for the Centurion below. You will see where I have marked the connection information. There are numbered terminals (lugs). The battery positive should be connected to #10 and its negative to #11. All the 12v loads are connected to terminals #1 to 9 and their negatives to #11.
In this way, the battery will supply the lights and other loads. These loads will be supplied by the 230vac mains when available.
Your Redarc charger and solar regulator would be best connected directly to the battery.
The Centurion will provide some charge to the battery when connected to ac mains but this should not interfere with the Redarc or solar. If you did not want this Centurion charging contribution then it would require some modification inside the Centurion to disable the charging feature but I doubt that is necessary.

The Centurion is rated to supply up to 30A of 12vdc to the connected loads but I do not know how much battery charging it would deliver.

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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 16:15

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 16:15
Thanks Allan for that. All I have to do is find those lugs. There seems nothing labelled so will have to look inside it
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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 17:17

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 17:17

So I opened up the Controller and this what awaited me. I am assuming the what are described as lugs are what the fuses are connected to. Not sure where 6 to 11 is. Thanks for your help.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 17:39

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 17:39
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Nothing much is well identified is it?
I am attaching a mark-up of your pic showing what I would guess are the connections of interest.
But no guarantees.

EDIT: I have just found information that identifies the heavy yellow and white cables as being the output from the 12v rectifier to the distribution panel. So my guess of those terminals being the battery connection is wrong. I will keep looking for clues.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 18:39

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 18:39
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Sorry, not finding anything that helps. Every image I find on Centurion is different from every other. I think they built these things on the kitchen table one at a time. Much as the Setec units which Jayco also used. And the thing that Jayco did worse than use these things was in publishing any useful information or wiring diagrams.

I'm sure that if I had it in front of me that I would soon figure the right connections, but as I'm not there then I'm not much help. Anyone with some solid electrical clues would be able to look at it and sort it.

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 22:57

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 22:57
Look for the terminals on the rear of the box. The battery terminals will probably be near the connections for the wiring to the output to the lights etc. You may have to use a mirror to get a good look there.



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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 07:13

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 07:13
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alijohdav,

Looking through the round hole in the centre of your pic I can see what looks like a large white wire. Is there also a yellow wire with that? If so, these could be the cables to the battery, yellow being positive and white negative.
They may have been disconnected at the battery.
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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 09:49

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 09:49
Hi Allan
Thanks so much for your help. I agreed about being made on kitchen tables. No wonder they went broke. One can only work from the front of the controller. The back only has holes for for wires to exit although there is an external diode. Nothing is labelled or numbered. I will put a voltmeter on the wires a little later. Fingers crossed.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 15:18

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 15:18
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alijohdav,

It really is a 'Dog's Breakfast' isn't it? Good old Jayco. A few points.........

Those four smaller wires that originate from the fuses and pass through the bulkhead hole then continue via the white terminal block. They appear to be feeding your lights etc. But there are no fuses installed in the holders associated with these wires. Are your 12v lights working?

So, to answer your very first question..... "Where do I connect the battery to the Centurion?".......
Refer to the pic below.... Remove the black wire from the blue connector and replace it with a wire from the battery positive. This will then feed 12v+ to the left (yellow) fuse and so to the busbar that supplies the other fuses. The diode function will prevent the Centurion from feeding raw 12v to the battery when 230vac is being supplied to the Centurion. It previously prevented back-feed to the tug.
I cannot see where to connect the battery negative. There should be a common return bundled with the positives going from the fuses via the white terminal strip. If you can identify it then connect the battery negative to it without disconnecting anything else. I do not know what colour this negative may be.... Jayco seem to disregard any conventional colour code.



Hope this is of some help.


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Follow Up By: qldcamper - Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 17:17

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 17:17
I have an old centurion 20 amp unit and it has a terminal strip on the back.
Have you removed it or just dismantled it from the front?
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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 10:13

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 10:13
Thanks again Allan and other interested parties. I have been busy since your last response and intend to wire up the battery where you suggest. The only thing is that I suspect the black wire you suggest I join the battery to must go somewhere, so I am loathe to disconnect it. It appears to go in the direction of the three way fridge. My thought is to piggy back the battery to it. The negative for the battery is where the white wire at the back of the controller is attached to a busbar . Do you think I should put an inline fuse between the battery and the controller? The 12 volt lights work when connected to 240 volts. Re qldcamper, it has a terminal strip on the back as in the picture. It is connected to the fuse panel which has a 20 amp fuse and 4 x 7.5 amp fuses, 2 of which are not in use. Many thanks again to everyone. The camper is getting it's first outing when my 28 year old daughter and partner head off in a couple of days to explore Yorke Peninsula. It will be a relief when it is finally sorted.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 11:46

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 11:46
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alijohdav,

I suspected that the white wire/busbar was the negative. Jayco did seem to use white for negative and black for positive whilst Centurion used yellow for positive (sometimes!)
Certainly put a fuse, maybe 30A, and best positioned close to the battery.

Re the black wire connected to the diode: I cannot be certain about the polarity of the diode without knowing its type number. Diodes of this form are available with polarity in either direction. However, the diode would serve no function in a 12vdc line supplying a fridge. Is the fridge a 3-way? It is more likely that it is in a line going to the tow coupling point and is intended to connect to the vehicle 12v via the multi-pin plug or an Anderson plug. If so, the diode would prevent the Centurion trying to send current to the vehicle battery. It is also possible that the fridge is teed off that line so that it can obtain 12v from the vehicle.
If that line was supplying the fridge from the Centurion (doubtful) then the diode would have a polarity which allowed current to flow from the Centurion to the fridge and connecting your battery in piggyback would not allow current to flow through the diode to the Centurion and on to the lights. It would however allow the camper battery to supply the fridge..... do you really want that?
The simple way to find out is to do as I proposed and disconnect the black wire at the blue connector and connect your battery in its place then see if the lights work. (You could do this in temporary fashion if you wish) If they do not work in that configuration then connect the camper battery on the other side of the diode, i.e. to the same point on the terminal strip that the diode is connected to. The lights should then work.
Incidentally, how does the Redarc dc-dc charger get its input 12v? Is it on an independent line to the towbar and onto the vehicle by an Anderson connection?
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Allan

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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 12:27

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 12:27
Thanks for clarifying that. The redarc has an Anderson plug connection to the battery. I will set up an Anderson plug connection to the battery for the solar panel. I owe you quite a few beers
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 12:39

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 12:39
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Hold the beer until it's working mate. lol
It's a difficult task working by text. So much easier hands-on with a meter in hand...... however.....
If you need to, you can find my email address by clicking on "My Profile" below. We could then easily swap phone numbers without exposing them here.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 13:17

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 13:17
"I suspected that the white wire/busbar was the negative. Jayco did seem to use white for negative and black for positive whilst Centurion used yellow for positive (sometimes!)"

There is nothing surprising about the wiring colours (or should I say colors) as the device originated in the old US of A. That is part of one of the colour codes used by the Yanks. There were a few other manufacturers over there that made them. They were primarily designed to supply a regulated 12 V supply from the mains. There was provision for a battery connection with some charging to it incorporated in it. This was only provided for emergency use from the battery , not the cyclic use that regular off power campers require. You will find a lot of these styles of devices in the imported 5th wheel vans that were popular here a few years back.

In their wisdom, Setec copied the design for their units so I can borrow the functional diagram from one of their handbooks. If you have a multimeter and are competent to use it, this diagram you can give you some ideas for chasing out your problem. I hope you can get something out of what I am saying.

From what you have said any your pictures, it looks like previous owners have made a right hash of the electrics. Regarding the diode, it normally resides in the PSU case, I don't know why you have one externally. Perhaps the original failed and the replacement would not fit in the case. The diode in the diagram is the arrow pointing to a little bar in the wire from the terminal labelled "DC External Input." In the original wiring, there would have been one cable from the tugs battery supplying the fridge and the PSU. The diode is there as Alan indicated to prevent the fridge from draining the battery.

Do you have the new battery charger handy? If so, I would suggest you junk the Centurion. Your battery and battery charger will do everything the Centurion will do for you. Clean up that pak-ah-pu ticket. Perhaps keep its front cover to plug the hole when you remove the rest of it. You will need a new block of fuses to replace those in the Centurion.

Regarding the 12 V to the fridge, leave it unconnected for now. If you connect it to the battery and run the fridge whilst travelling then the current draw will rob a lot of charge from the battery. If you connect it to the supply line from the tugs battery there may be an excessive voltage drop that will mean that the charging system and fridge operation will be lacking.
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Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 14:36

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 14:36
I had a 2003 Jayco Penguin and now have a similar age Jayco Freedom. In both cases, the vans as built by Jayco had a 240v domestic light switch fitted near the battery which in one position trickle-charged the battery from the Centurion/Setec when the van was connected to 240V, and in the other position supplied 12V from the battery back to the Centurion/Setec when 240V was not available (free camping). Does your Penguin still have this switch, and is it wired as Jayco intended?? If yes, switch on so the van battery is only charged by your decent charger and the solar panel, but supplies 12V to the van when free camping.
Secondly, with regard to the mysterious diode that is wired in near the Centurion/Setec. This is supposed to allow the 3-way fridge could take 12V from the car but prevents the fridge taking 12V from the van battery or the Centurion/Setec. The presence of the diode also means the van battery never gets a full charge from the car alternator due to the voltage drop across the diode. Also the Centurion/Setec is a constant voltage PSU so is not a proper battery charger. But from Jayco's viewpoint, it's a cheap system and works the day you drive away with a new van!!!
Unfortunately, if your fridge is on 12V and the car is connected whilst not running , the fridge will rapidly drain the car battery. There are three usual solutions to this problem:
1. Unplug the van from the car every time you stop, and plug it back in again before you drive away again Hands up all those people who forgotten to unplug or plug!!!!!!!
2. Fit a VSR or ignition-controlled relay in the car which stops the 12V supply to the van automatically when the car isn't running, and/or
3. Fit a Fridge Switch which connects the 12V to the fridge only when the van is in motion.
Hope this helps.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 14:41

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 14:41
"Regarding the 12 V to the fridge, leave it unconnected for now. If you connect it to the battery and run the fridge whilst travelling then the current draw will rob a lot of charge from the battery. If you connect it to the supply line from the tugs battery there may be an excessive voltage drop that will mean that the charging system and fridge operation will be lacking."

In a camper I no longer own which had a 3 way fridge, I did this using 6AWG cabling from engine battery through isolator to Anderson at the back and then also within the camper, from Anderson to the camper's electrical station.. For the negative I paralleled chassis return and 6AWG back to respective batteries in both camper and car. (ie, did not rely on the neg in the OEM trailer wiring and used the chassis of both to effectively increase the negative cable size.)

I had a relay in the camper to run the fridge from the vehicle when driving, and from the camper battery when parked for a short stop (probably wouldn't bother with that now, but that is what I did at the time.)

I had a DC-DC charger for the camper, plus solar when camped up.

The fridge drew 13 amps on 12V. Whatever voltage drop was caused by that, the DC-DC charger could handle it and charge the unloaded camper battery. It all worked wonderfully well, the secret being, I believe, adequate cable size.

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FrankP

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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 18:28

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 18:28
Thanks Keir & Marg, Nomadic Navara, Allan B, and Frank. I have got so much information from exploroz.com compared to hours of searching for info. Hopefully all this information will help others. I am waiting for the battery to be fully charged before I connect it to the controller. I pulled apart the the trailer plug to the car and found the larger gauge Black and white wires that go to the controller. So this is how I will run it for the time being. The Anderson plug from the car will charge the battery in the van via the Redarc BCDC1220 which if required will charge the fridge whilst driving. Once stopped and off grid I will connect the solar panel via a second Anderson plug and switch the fridge to gas. If staying where there is 240 volts, I will switch the fridge to mains using the Centurion. Not the simplest process but it should work.
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Follow Up By: alijohdav - Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 18:31

Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 18:31
Ok. I am all done. It all works. The battery will be fed by separate Anderson plugs, one for driving when it will charged via the Redarc BCDC 1220, the other for solar when off grid. The Centurion Controller will be supplied with 12 volts via the battery when off grid or on the road, and will receive 240 volts mains when available. This will be used to supply power to the 12 volt fridge (when driving) and lights when required.
I know this is not perfect but it will meet our current needs and give us time to redesign the whole setup. I still need to install 12 volt USB chargers. Thanks to everybody who contributed to this discussion. As these campers age, others will ask the same questions and I know that your responses will save them time and stress. There is no other stream of information on the net that explains this so clearly. So once again, thank you to all involved, your contributions show the power of collaboration, sharing knowledge and patience without judgement. Thank you
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, May 25, 2020 at 22:49

Monday, May 25, 2020 at 22:49
What happened to the other posts in this thread?
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