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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to disable the EU inspired habitation electrical cutoff on an Autotrail 696 fitted with a Sargent 325 charger unit. This is purely so I can sit with the engine on and charge the battery at night without having to light a candle to see what I'm doing, not so I can drive with the lights on before I get any wagging fingers. If the system cut the habitation off when the van was moving or in gear this would be fine but it does it when the engine starts which is unsatisfactory.

Having examined the wiring diagrams I note there is an 'engine running' wire to the unit. Presumably this is the alternator charge wire feed so it will be grounded when the van is not running and positive when the alternator is charging. Obviously if I cut it the unit will not know that the engine is running.

My question is this. If I cut the wire will the intelligent charge unit inside the Sargent PSU still charge the leisure batteries in the same way a Sterling one does? I.e. does it need the 'engine running' line to initiate charging or does the charger merely 'see' the increased voltage from the alternator and then start to boost up the output to the batteries without needing to be 'told' the engine is running? If so this is fine and all will work happily but if not then I need to find another way to deal with this.

I know I could ask the manufacturer themselves but they will probably not want to go telling people how to circumvent their safety/EU directive measures so I wondered if anybody had done this and could advise what the outcome was. I wonder how this might affect the step retraction and fridge functions? Is there an easy way to just disable this extremely annoying feature from within the box by cutting a link or changing a dip switch? Perhaps there's a hidden software switch by holding a combination of keys on the controller?

If I can't make it work I'll take the box apart and reverse engineer it from there but this will be time consuming and a bit of a pain.

Any technical replies greatly appreciated. The wiring is downloadable from here by the way - http://www.sargentltd.co.uk/EC325_User_Instructions.pdf

Thanks, Mark
 

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I have no idea of the technical answer to your question....and apologies if I have misunderstood...but I hope not to end up next to you if you are on a site / aire / stellplatz etc if you are planning to run your engine long enough to recharge your battery(ies) at the end of the day without having been "on the road" during the day, and have no solar panel or equivalent! Had this problem at the Lincoln xmas market rally in December!! Not the relaxing weekend I had planned!

have i misunderstood?

Timotei
 

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Short-stick,

as i am the only other person to respond thus far, I assume i am the "some people" you refer to?

As I hope I made clear, I am sorry if i have misunderstood this thread, but if I am right, and the intention is to run the engine long enough at the end of a stationary day to recharge the battery(ies), then I would suggest an alternative approach.

Having been next to units adopting this approach on 3 occasions recently, I do feel it is not the best solution in terms of sociability / etiquette.

Timotei.
 

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Its not an EU rule, its just the way UK manufacturers chose to satisfy some requirements. (mainly EMC) Many European vans do not have this cutoff feature as they use compliant electrical systems in the habitation area.

Suggest you PM Sargent on this forum. What you want to do is easy but you may find downsides. For example if the van has low water or full waste tank alarms these would normally be non functional when the engine was running. But if this interlock is by-passed then each time you accelerate, brake or corner the movement of the fluids in the tanks will set of the alarms. Believe me it did in our Scout after I did exactly what you ask. I ended up using the interlock relay to turn off the alarms and not the total habitation electrics.

Good luck

C.
 

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I agree with Clive that you should talk to Sargent and see if they will help you first. If you just disable the signal telling the controller the engine is running, it will allow all the equipment to operate but your fridge will not change over to 12v and will stop on gas or mains, this might be OK for you, but there may be other issues. I have seen a different controller re-engineered to just allow lights and pump to work when the engine is running but the controller to actually act as "normal" thinking it has disabled everything. To this is a preferable solution if done properly.
 

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stevenjonathan said:
It's not EU inspired at all, just a another stupid British manufacturer thing.... find the fuse and pull it :eek:
Its not a fuse, unless you want to lose the 12v supply to the fridge and step retract
On my Bessacarr (2004) it is the red and yellow wire going into the input plug of the Sargent unit, I cut the wire and made both ends safe,
Looking at the link Mark posted I would assume it is the same wire

EC325 Power Control System Drawing B, pin 9 the signal input connector, Red yellow cable = Engine running signal

Try cutting it leaving enough wire to rejoin just in case there is a problem

Alan H
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies

I never stay on campsites or any form of communal area as I live in my motorhomes in France and the places I go mean I am always staying on my own either on friends properties or parked up somewhere. This is the nice thing about Europe - lots of space!

I would say to 'Timotei' that I would hope people's natural politeness and respect for others would preclude them annoying those around them by running engines late into the night on communal pitches. I don't thing most of us really need telling!

Where I use my van is often on deserted beaches miles from anywhere when I'm kite surfing or on remote airfields when I'm microlighting. In both of these locations there's no hook-up and the batteries often decide to go flat after dark because you've been too busy enjoying yourself all day to remember to check them properly. This is why on my old van I'd often sit for an hour running the engine at high tickover by using the cruise control's diagnostic feature to control engine revs and this would charge the battery via a Sterling unit that I'd installed. On the Cheyenne I'd be doing this in the dark or by candle-light which is really most annoying.

To 'Fatalhud' - did the alternator keep charging the battery when you cut the 'engine running' wire? I can easily disable alarms etc. on the control unit (surely easir to just check the level every day?) but obviously if I cut the 'engine running' wire and then the alternator doesn't cut in to charge the battery it will be a pointless exercise. The other alternative, of course, is to completely bypass the whole Sargent unit and install another Sterling Unit to take care of Charge and just leave the Sargent one to dela with mains hook-up (which I rarely use). However I can see problems with this as the whole system is really quite holistic and inter-dependant so if there's an easy solution using the existing stuff that would be far more preferable. As I say I can take the unit apart and quite quickly work out what goes where to modify it but I'd need a proper wiring diagram to make this quicker. Any ideas where I might find one?

Thanks to everyone for help.

Cheers, Mark
 

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2007 Fiat Ducato Ace Siena 2.2 100 Multijet, Keighley, Still in Gods County.
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Fatalhud said:
stevenjonathan said:
It's not EU inspired at all, just a another stupid British manufacturer thing.... find the fuse and pull it :eek:
Its not a fuse, unless you want to lose the 12v supply to the fridge and step retract
On my Bessacarr (2004) it is the red and yellow wire going into the input plug of the Sargent unit, I cut the wire and made both ends safe,
Looking at the link Mark posted I would assume it is the same wire

EC325 Power Control System Drawing B, pin 9 the signal input connector, Red yellow cable = Engine running signal

Try cutting it leaving enough wire to rejoin just in case there is a problem

Alan H
I don't understand why, but if it's not going to cause upset to anyone nearby.

Re Alans post, maybe an inline switch with fuse would be a good compromise, instead of a permanent cut.

Kev.
 

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Rather than waste all that diesel running a large engine just to charge batteries why not just get a small generator?
Saves mucking about with all your wiring too :D :D
 

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On my motorhome there are 2 relays getting a signal from the alternator
1 does the charging of leisure batteries and the other does the fridge, step and signal to the sargent unit

Yes you could stick a switch in the circuit, but the first thing to check is that this is the correct wire.
No need for another fuse the circuit is already protected

Alan H
 

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Ah not my field as you know Alan :lol: :lol: :lol: just thought it a helpful sugestion, and saves a lot of messing about if you want to return to normal quickly, I could do with one for me, a normalising switch:p :p :p

Kev
 

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Surely the small generator is the way to go as before the habitation starts charging the leisure batteries it has to put the power into the starter battery that was used to start the engine, I always thought that running an engine without much of a load was not good for the engine either as it polishes the bores.

Just my two penneth worth but I do think a gennie or small solar pannel like the suitcase one from maplins, if you are in europe on a beach there would be plenty to charge you battery during the hours of sunshine.

Tim
 

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Glazed engine...

I would buy a small genny.

I assume you have a diesel engine? If so I would be frightened of glazing the bores running it for any period without a load on it. Besides, leisure batteries take hours to charge (unlike "vehicle" type batteries). In our last camper we actually used a vehicle battery as the leisure battery, so we could get good charges into it on small trips.

If you ever walk along the canal and see narrow boats running their engines, then you will see that they have the prop in gear to keep the engine loaded.

On our Autotrail the 2 relays under the bonnet are for the split charge and the fridge. The EU relay is on the back of the electrics unit.

Grant
 

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I gave my van 'the snip' two years ago,Cheyenne 840,and soon after discovered that the leisure batteries were not charging.Not Knowing what the fault was I gave it to Brownhills Newark to have it fixed 'under warranty',hmmm.Two hours later and £150 lighter I had my van back,they had discover 'the snip'.and reversed it :oops:
I would ask Sargent for advice before getting the snips out,semus.
 

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Come on chaps... Buy a small genny... That's 200 quid at least and even then it won't be a "quiet" one!
Get rid of the Caravan Council Inspired "EMF" rubbish that no-one on the continent bothers with and then if you get caught out with low habitation battery, you can spark up the motor for a while, assuming you don't do it late at night or bother your neighbours. It'll put some juice in your habitation battery (the engine starting battery should be nearly full), it's how they should all work, you won't glaze your bores (where's the proof of that nugget?) and when you pull off the motorway into the services to swap over driving you can go to the loo and flush it and wash your hands without turning off your engine, or heaven forbid use the loo whilst moving!!! We do!
I'm thinking of getting cruise control so the missus can cook up dinner and I can use the loo whilst driving on a quiet bit of motorway... Joke!
 

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short-stick said:
I'm thinking of getting cruise control so the missus can cook up dinner and I can use the loo whilst driving on a quiet bit of motorway... Joke!
and while you are at it, get the tv on the dash and then you wont miss any programmes on those long boring motorway drives, while eating dinner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
'Automax' I'm glad you chose a picture of the plod. Your (lack of) sense of humour utterly personifies them in way that only those who know what I'm talking about will appreciate...

:D

Thanks for that. Intentionally or not you've brightened up my day immensely...

M
 
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