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"I've Got a New Lithium Battery System and It's Not Working Properly"

When a Lithium Battery System installation by a Caravan Repair business didn't go to plan, Bevan bought his Golfstream Camper to us for troubleshooting.

Once Bevan got the camper home, he realised only the 12V compressor fridge was working and the camper was without lights, water pump and 12v sockets and accessories.

Bevan was a bit perplexed and after viewing the installation, did not feel confident to take it back to said caravan repair shop.



Here's the faults we found:

  • The "DC Charger" was actually an isolated Marine style DC Power Supply with numerous incorrect settings, and not the ideal product for this application which required an actual DC to DC Charger. In theory, this item could have worked if it was a non-isolated DC Power supply, but it would have required some fiddly, expensive modifications to the tow vehicle, and any tow vehicle thereafter.

  • The campers' main battery power and charger feeds were not fused and had been run through uninsulated metal holes. This is a big no, no and a very dangerous fire hazard!

  • The Battery Monitor Shunt earths were wired incorrectly with the battery side of the shunt looped to the chassis and other earth wires coming straight off the battery negative terminal. This means the shunt was incapable of measuring battery current. eg. Amps in and out.

  • The Fuse Box had one main battery input coming from the battery, which is correct, however there were multiple outputs which should have powered accessories such as lighting for example, but they went back to the battery. Mmmm...

  • Even if the Victron BMV 712 Battery Monitor had been wired correctly, it was not programmed properly, therefore it could never have accurately measured the battery State of Charge (SOC). In fact at 50% SOC, it would most likely have displayed 100%.

 

To rectify, we removed all of the front boot components and wiring and made a new custom power board, rewired all components, installed a new Victron Smart Orion 30A actual DC Charger, fusing and some breakers, and programmed all components together, correct to the specifications required for this particular setup.


Also mounted to the power board was a Victron IP65 BlueSmart 12V, 10A 240V Battery Charger for battery charging when on 240V power and in storage.



Whilst this fault finding expedition was a no-brainer for us, we are exceptional at finding faults others can't. If you're off grid travels aren't going to plan, contact us for an inspection at our Maddington workshop.

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