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  #11  
Old 15th February 2009, 04:22 PM
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I imagine having 2 isolators / battery controllers in the circuit is not a good thing. One unit may confuse the other - hence the "chattering" which at a guess is the isolator trying to determine when to drag power away from the main battery.

Could you have now blown a fuse in the fridge by chance?
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  #12  
Old 15th February 2009, 06:03 PM
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I did say before I am not a jet with power.....

I charged the batt a bit and it seems the fridge is working fine. The box has a LED meter and based on previous use I was happy there was enough charge for the job.

I remember the fridge used to arc up in what seemed like just a few minutes.
The manufacturer said it should take 6-9 minutes.
So after more testing and a charged batt it seems the fridge is working fine.

I reckon the issue here is my impatience and a failure to run with a charged batt. I did have the fridge out camping on friday and it did fail to cool. I believe that was due to a flat batt.

The manufaucturer said the chattering in the batt box is usually a sign of a flat batt and can be a sign of a failed cell within the battery. I'll keep an eye on it and make sure its charged whenever I want to use it from now on.

I am sure that something somewhere is not performing like it used to but nothing is perfect I guess. Thx for all you assistance.


Last edited by SKT; 15th February 2009 at 06:08 PM.
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  #13  
Old 15th February 2009, 06:55 PM
Eastie Eastie is offline
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I have an inherent dislike for “bling” in circuits that is installed for supposedly useful purposes (but ultimately does little to understand the condition and time left in batteries). Typically it just adds more connections, more resistance, more heat and voltage drop, so that’s where’d start looking also.
It sounds like you’re working it through in a pretty logical fashion, so given the fridge is working some next steps you might want to look at are voltage drop and a bit further assessment of the wiring size and circuit connections.
From my experiences a lot of fridges can be finicky in not starting up straight away once they have been flicked off or cut-out due to low voltage – as you’ve experienced they do eventually rest and go again if they are getting enough volts and amps. I’m not sure why this is, but keep it in mind.
I’m wondering if the circuit’s got enough capacity for the juice the fridge needs, which is likely >12.4v and somewhere between 5-10 amps (probably at the higher end of this, and possibly even a higher spike upon startup) for the compressor to even think about firing up. A lot of fridges are spec'd to only cope with a 3% voltage drop = 0.37 volts.... not very much at all. I’ve never heard of a problem with a redarc isolator, so I suggest you leave that in place for now and bypass the jewellery in the battery box - if that doesnt work then diconnect the redarc and re-connect the battery box to see if it works. Hopefully it's just a case of a dead deep cycle due to excessive discharge. Here’s some other questions and areas to eliminate:
  • What size cable did you run from the battery to the redarc, from the redarc to Anderson plug and negative from the Anderson plug to earth? (hopefully no smaller than 8 B&S / 7.91mm2 copper conductor)
  • What sort of terminals have you used for the wiring? Did you crimp them or solder them?
  • Where did you earth the redarc? (did you earth it to an earth point or scratch paint off to ensure a good earth?)
  • Where is the Anderson plug earthed? (again, did you earth it to a chasis earth point or grind the paintwork off, not just put it under a bolt?)
  • Have you got a fuse/breaker in the cable to the second battery, if so is it auto re-setting? What sort of connection is it, crimped/soldered?
  • You are using the Anderson plug to connect the second battery right, not a cig plug?
  • Are you using a hella plug/socket for the fridge, or a normal cig lighter socket/plug? (normal ones can have problems with making a good connection)
  • You said it's possible that you’ve over-drained the deep cycle - how bad? to a point where it’s failed or not fully charging or holding charge?
  • How new/good is the car’s primary battery – is the red light on the redarc coming on within a minute of the car starting?
  • Have you got a smart battery charger (ctek or the like?) to keep your batteries fully charged?
  • Do you have a multi meter? If so, have you tested voltage drop in the circuits?
If you need help with testing voltage drop, follow this as it’s fairly simple with a multimeter: Turn the car engine and fridge on and make sure you have access to the power terminals of the fridge, either as they come of your second battery or more ideally at the fridge itself (which may mean opening it up). With the multimeter set to volts DC, connect the positive (red) test lead to the primary car battery positive (+) terminal, and the negative (black) test lead to the + terminal of the fridge (or fridge lead), this will give you a direct reading of the + voltage drop, make a note of it. Now connect the positive (red) test lead to the ground terminal of the fridge/fridge cord, and the negative test lead to the negative (-) terminal of the primary car battery. Your multimeter will again give a direct reading of the voltage drop, make a note of it. Add the two voltage drop figures obtained, and this is the total circuit voltage drop. If you are losing more than 1 volt (e.g. >7% given 12.4-13 volts) this may affect the fridge starting up, especially if the alternator is not giving 100% performance.
Another way to spec voltage drop in a design before install is = length of conducttor (m) x current (amps) x 0.017 divided by the cross section mm square of the conductor (sq mm of copper, not the plastic).

If you can get to a point where you know it's not the wiring or the batteries then check out the alternator. If this all comes up fine you know it's almost certainly the fridge and you will have some evidence to go back to ABR with to see what they recon.

As a work around you could attach the fridge directly to the andersons plug (make a short connection lead) and see if the problem goes away.

Last edited by Eastie; 15th February 2009 at 10:42 PM.
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  #14  
Old 16th February 2009, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eastie View Post
I have an inherent dislike for “bling” in circuits.....
This reply should be a sticky......

Thx heaps mate. Plenty of info and at the right level most mugs can use.
I didnt install the redarc or the anderson plug myself but it is a very hvy looking cable... easily above the size you stated necesary.

The next point that rabs me is the lack of charger. I pretty much just let the batt sit there and every couple of months I put it in the car for a few days leading up till when I want to use it. Its worked previously but I thihk I am going about it all wrong....

By having it on a charger is it going to effect my power bills....??? regardless is that going to eliminate all batt probs as in will it always be good to go....???

I am using a hella plug off the bat box.

I have the anderson plug cabled to the redarc which is then cabled to the main battery. And the batt box plugs into the anderson plug and the fridge into the batt box via hella.
Question.... the redarc is a small unit, I believe its a SmartStart, as I said I didn't install it but I looked at the Redarc site and saw what I believe to be my installed unit.... Its fairly tucked away under the main batt so I cant see a LED anywhere. I hadn't looked but hadn't noticed one when testing.

I have wired around the isolator inside the batt box so only the in-car isolator is doing the job now.

I think the main issue is that I am not keeping the batt in good condition and then expecting it to just arc up the fridge with no issues after sitting dormant for 3-4 months. Pretty bad move I'd say.... I should know better really.
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  #15  
Old 16th February 2009, 04:39 AM
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OK....... so I've found the LED on top of the Redarc.

Its on pretty much whenever the car is running.

After reading some online instructions I can say that if that light is on the main battery is above 12.5v and its happy to charge the auxillary batt.

Seems to be ok I guess.....

I prob do need to get a charger to keep the batt in good health.
What am I looking for in charger for this purpose...??? or any other use aswell I guess.
What sort of price should I be paying....???
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  #16  
Old 16th February 2009, 08:25 AM
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No prob mate - I'm no expert in elec but I've had enough problems and rested an elbow on enough wheel arches while our auto elec has problem solved and fixed stuff that I've picked up a few things here and there. I hope it helps sort out your problems. It sounds like the main battery is holding it's voltage if the redarc is opening fairly quickly and the wiring is of decent size. All I can add is get a charger and use it - deep cycles are easily damaged by over-discharge. Get a good charger and see if you can restore it to full capacity. Also use it on your main battery once a month.

I recon opinions on chargers is almost as wide and varied as that on driving lights. Some say smart chargers are an overkill on lead acid/gel cell batteries, others swear by them. All I can say that after years of using a simple float charger from repco I switched to a ctek 7amp as that's what a good mate, an auto elec and diesel mech, recommended I use for the batteries we use on our equipment. Over the past 2 years of use, about once a month on each machine, we've had a noticeable reduction in battery replacement and jump starting (so our auto elec hasn't benefited from his recomendation). I also use it on my deep cycle dual battery and haven't had an issue of running out of power for the fridge and lighting on weekends. As a guide I got the ctek 7amp at cost price of $180, and they seem to retail for around $210-$250 (have a look at ebay for an idea). Expensive for a single vehicle so you may want to check out othere options also and weigh up the bang you can get for the $'s you have.

For further explanation on chargers (and fridges, etc) have a look at this site: http://www.fridge-and-solar.net/smart.htm

Last edited by Eastie; 16th February 2009 at 08:45 AM.
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