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Shangela

12v Power Struggling - on shoreline with battery charger

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Hello all,

 

Sorry if these are stupid questions, but I don't know where to start with this!

 

I've just returned from three weeks away. I'm constantly on shoreline power in my marina. The 240v stuff is working fine, so the shoreline cable etc is all good. The problem I'm having is the stuff ran on 12v off the battery (charged via shoreline with a Sterling Pro Charge) seems to be struggling. The lights are flickering when the toilet pump is on, the water pump is making an awful noise and the fridge won't get cool enough.

 

Is this likely to be a dead battery issue or an issue with the battery charger? Don't know what I should be looking at. Any help is gratefully received :)

 

Many thanks,

Alexis

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The problems are definitely because of a 'dead battery', but the question is 'why is the battery dead ?'

 

Is the battery 'hot' ?

Are the ends of the battery 'swollen' outwards ?

 

Are the cables from the battery to your  busbars / fuse box tight ?

 

If you have a multimeter then test the battery voltage at the battery terminals (if you don't have a multimeter, then buy / borrow one)

 

Is power getting to the battery charger ? (any lights on ?)

Is the battery charger switched on ?

Is the wiring from the battery charger connected properly and 'firmly' (not just crocodile clips !!) ?

If you have a multimeter then test the battery voltage at the battery charger output

Do you have any output from the charger ?

 

 

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First check - I presume you turned off the isolator when you left the boat? If so, turn the isolator off and on a couple of times. 

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Thanks both for replying.

 

I have turned the isolator on and off a couple of times this morning.

 

The battery charger is on and seems to be working as usual. There is some charge coming through still, presuming it’s just reduced.

 

Will get a meter tonight and check the batteries properly in the morning and will report back! Sounding like there’s a connection issue at the battery somewhere.

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7 minutes ago, Shangela said:

Sounding like there’s a connection issue at the battery somewhere.

Most likely culprit is the isolation switch, especially if it’s one of those with the removable red plastic handle. But of course it could be anywhere.

 

Easiest way to check will be to select the 20V D.C. range on the meter, put one meter lead directly onto the battery +ve, and then poke around with the other lead. If you find any voltage higher than say 0.1V you’ve found your poor connection. 

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56 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Most likely culprit is the isolation switch, especially if it’s one of those with the removable red plastic handle. But of course it could be anywhere.

If it is a fully charged battery - I'd agree that the power is not getting from the battery to the 'appliances' and the master switch is the 1st port of call.

 

However, at this stage we don't know if the battery is fully charged or flat - hopefully after securing a multimeter and the OP reports back, we may know more later

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Charger off - voltmeter across the domestic battery bank - turn charger on - does the battery voltage rise and if so to what level? That will give an indication about the charger working or not.

The charger would normally be wired to the battery side of the master switch so a faulty master switch would not show up and would not affect the above test.

  • Greenie 1

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Thanks all for your suggestions. I’ve tried to have a look, but the darkness isn’t helping!

 

Starting to suspect it’s the charger - Volts are at 13.6, Amps at 0.1 and Charger Output is showing 0%. The Pro Charge U manual I have might as well be written in ancient Latin for all the sense it makes! It’s cutrently on Float charger mode.

 

Does anyone have experience with these?

 

thanks again.

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4 minutes ago, Shangela said:

Thanks all for your suggestions. I’ve tried to have a look, but the darkness isn’t helping!

 

Starting to suspect it’s the charger - Volts are at 13.6, Amps at 0.1 and Charger Output is showing 0%. The Pro Charge U manual I have might as well be written in ancient Latin for all the sense it makes! It’s cutrently on Float charger mode.

 

Does anyone have experience with these?

 

thanks again.

 

 

With the charger switched of what voltage are you getting across the battery(s) terminals ?

Leave the charger off for at least an hour and take the reading across the battery again.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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3 minutes ago, Shangela said:

Volts are at 13.6, Amps at 0.1 

Then it’s possibly disconnected, bust, or the batteries are full and you have a poor connection as suggested in the earlier posts. 

3 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

With the charger switched of what voltage are you getting across the battery(s) terminals ?

Leave the charger off for at least an hour and take the reading across the battery again.

This should answer the above. 

Edited by WotEver

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Across each battery. Neg terminal to Pos terminal. 

 

Does that LED mean that a fuse has blown?

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"Dob" your meter probes on the terminals.

 

One probe (the one with the red wire) on the terminal with the Red-Ring around the bottom of it.

The other probe (the one with the Black wire) on the terminal with the Black-Ring around it.

 

It doesn't matter which of the batteries you use.

 

Make sure that your leads are connected correctly into the multimeter :

Black to the 'common' and Red to the 'postive'.

 

Make sure that you select the correct voltage scale : 20 volts DC

The DC scales are normally marked with a couple of short parallel lines (like railway lines)

The AC scales are normally marked with a short straight line, with a bent line (like a bridge) over the top of the straight line

13 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Does that LED mean that a fuse has blown?

Good question - if that is the battery charger lead and it is a 'lit when failed fuse', the charger will not be charging.

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Thanks again for all your helpful tips. Still getting absolutely no response from the meter. Maybe that’s broke too. Just tried it on an AA battery and nothing either.

 

It’s this one: 

 

F51BD7FF-1C76-453A-8CE3-5042368D45DA.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, Shangela said:

Thanks again for all your helpful tips. Still getting absolutely no response from the meter. Maybe that’s broke too. Just tried it on an AA battery and nothing either.

 

It’s this one: 

 

F51BD7FF-1C76-453A-8CE3-5042368D45DA.jpeg

What can we say? Buy a new meter, or replace the battery in the one you have. 

 

You have the leads in the correct holes and you’ve selected the correct range. 

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For now forget the meter. We need an answer about that LED. IT seems to be on a blade type fuse holder and usually comes on to indicate a blown fuse so pull the fuse out and have a very close look at it.

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there is a fuse in the meter perhaps that's blown, that would account for no readings

actually there are two one for current and one for all else

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1 minute ago, WotEver said:

What can we say? Buy a new meter, or replace the battery in the one you have. 

 

You have the leads in the correct holes and you’ve selected the correct range. 

I would say that it could be a faulty lead so:

 

Set the meter to the Omega sign at 200 ohms

 

Hold the two probes tightly together and expect close to zero. If the meter shows a 1 on the wrong side of the scale you have a faulty lead or a faulty meter.

 

If not all but zero pull the red lead out of the meter and use the black probe to connect to the metal that is down the red lead hole. Expect close to zero.

 

Repeat with the red lead having put it back into its hole and this time put the probe into the black hole.

 

If either test put a one on the wrong end of the scale then that lead is likely to be faulty.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Tony Brooks said:

I would say that it could be a faulty lead 

Yes that occurred to me just after I posted. 

 

If that LED is in the charger feed then that would explain flat batteries but then we have to find out why it blew. And ideally get it out of the battery box too. 

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11 minutes ago, Shangela said:

Thanks again for all your helpful tips. Still getting absolutely no response from the meter.

On the meter there is a scale that goes from 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock.

Turn the dial to the 2000k position.

 

Touch the tip of the red and black probe together (don't worry you will not get an electric shock) The scale should read 0 (not 0.00 - just 0)

 

Does it ?

 

Next - remove the fuse in the holder that has the red LED, now touch the tip of each probe onto the 'legs' of the fuse - what is the reading now ?

(If it is 0 again then the fuse is fine - if it is 0.00 - or anything else the fuse is blown)

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

On the meter there is a scale that goes from 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock.

Turn the dial to the 2000k position.

Pretty pointless if he has a faulty multimeter lead, which is likely. 

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Just now, WotEver said:

Yes that occurred to me just after I posted. 

 

If that LED is in the charger feed then that would explain flat batteries but then we have to find out why it blew. And ideally get it out of the battery box too. 

That is the first thing to do so it is no longer potentially messing with other tests and I think its the most likely fault.

 

Those blade fuses are like sweets and without history I would never be sure the correct fuse was fitted in the first place.

 

To select the correct fuse we will need the output of the battery charger

 

 

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Amazing detective work from all concerned. Opened up the fuse holder and it’s a mess. Looks to be snapped and fried. No idea as to why it would burn out, but had a lot of problems on this boat from previous owner not maintaining stuff/using wrong materials!

 

 

looking like the whole thing needs to be replaced, any ideas?

 

 

The meter was new yesterday and hasn’t worked out of the pack - angry letter to Rolson ahead! 

3F93DBEC-DABD-4014-BB7C-EB410444456F.jpeg

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1 minute ago, WotEver said:

Pretty pointless if he has a faulty multimeter lead, which is likely. 

But that will show if it has a faulty lead (as explained in detail by Tony B whilst I was typing)

2 minutes ago, Shangela said:

Amazing detective work from all concerned. Opened up the fuse holder and it’s a mess. Looks to be snapped and fried. No idea as to why it would burn out, but had a lot of problems on this boat from previous owner not maintaining stuff/using wrong materials!

looking like the whole thing needs to be replaced, any ideas?

 

Whereabouts in the world are you ?

 

There maybe a member close by who could come and look-see and maybe advise what can / should be done and at last get you up and charging again.

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7 minutes ago, Shangela said:

looking like the whole thing needs to be replaced, any ideas?

I suspect that fumes from the charging batteries have corroded that fuse holder. Obviously it needs replacing but when doing so it should be located just outside of the battery box. 

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