Building in a battery charger

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by zedders, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Am I right in thinking the way to run a 12V compressor fridge when on hook up is via the leisure battery and a permanently installed battery charger?
    Waeco, for 'tis they, would sell me an expensive mains adapter, but in view of above I hope I won't need one.

    So if you guys wouldn't mind running through this again because I wasn't listening the other 100 times it's been discussed...
    What charger for above would you recommend?
    If I have say one twin socket in the van and above charger wired in, can anyone recommend the smallest consumer unit that has (or room for and no more) the correct (double pole??) MCB's and earth thingamies I need?
  2. And what's a good length for the hook-up cable? No point hauling around a 25m one if I'll only ever uncoil half of it. :)
  3. bernjb56

    bernjb56 Administrator

    I'd go for 25m tbh. I learnt the hard way - now have a spare 10m and 15m :rolleyes:
    nicktuft, Richard W12, zed and 2 others like this.
  4. Ctek 7amp should be loads with a compressor fridge (we use it with a hungry 5amp original westy fridge) it has a supply setting (lower voltage so as not to fry any sensitive electrics/electronics) and as bern said 25 metres lots of sites use centralised hookup pods. My 25 meter calbe just fits between the underseat storage and the side of the van (by the sliding door).
    zed likes this.
  5. I use an in-line circuit breaker (purchased on ebay) on my hook up cable - the unit is in a waterproof case but my hook up connection is under the bus so it is sheltered from rain anyway. I use an Aldi battery charger in mine -cheap and cheerful but it seems to do the job - goes to trickle charge when the battery is fully charged
    zed likes this.
  6. Second for the 7amp ctek, unless you're running an inverter as well for your hair straighteners and coffee machine. Ours is 10 amp but got a good deal so why not. It doesn't work as hard or get as hot when the fridge is hammering the amps in hot climes. (& it future proofs to a certain extent should Mrs Monkey decide she needs an inverter...)

    25m of 3 core 2.5mm arctic cable for hook-up.

    "Bond" the common earth in whatever consumer unit/mcb set-up you decide on to the bodywork/chassis so you don't accidentally perm your hair by electric shock thus removing the need for straighteners. 4mm square OK, 6mm sq better.
    zed likes this.
  7. zed likes this.
  8. It's twice the price of the ctek and 25 quid will get a compact garage consumer with an mcb for the charger and another for the sockets.

    More importantly, it's constant voltage output, not the "smart charger" the ctek is. The ctek will have 3 phase bulk, absorption and float charge settings plus power supply. So therefore the "zig style" PMS unit will not be as kind to Zed's battery. He kills them you know at an alarming rate ;)
    nicktuft, womball and zed like this.
  9. I use a ctex 5 and find it fine the 7 is better but I find it a bit overkil
    I run the fridge lights radio etc off the battery and the ctex keeps the battery full
    If you want to run the fridge without the buffer of a battery you will need the ctex 7 or the 10 as these have a power mode

    I have tried outher smart charges including expensive sterling ones and for our vans I find the ctex best for reliability and cost
  10. I'm just in the process of doing this, got the consumer unit today.
    Although I haven't got aa built in charger yet, it will come later. When I do get it, is it hardwired to the consumer unit, or just plugged into a socket?
  11. Single pole MCBs as found in "Garage" style consumer units do not comply with the wiring regs for use in campers/caravans/boats, where double pole MCBs are required.
    IIRC, @Dicky found the smallest double pole MCB and consumer unit.
    zed and matty like this.
  12. Ive been looking and cant find it. will check it tonight.
  13. Incidentally @zed whos bus is this for as I know you don't like hook-ups (for wuss's apparently).

    Another vote here for the ctek btw and you don't actually have to permanently fit it. I haven't, its disconnectable on mine (ie unplug mains, unplug 12 volts and bobs yer wotsit, ready to use elsewhere. ) mine might take a hammering if I run my fridge of it as its an Electrolux but fortunately that's 3 way so no need for 12 volt other than when driving. mines the 7 amp one.
    Surfari likes this.
  14. You can change the mcbs in the garage units if they are not double pole can't you marc? @Dicky ??
    paul2590 and zed like this.
  15. ^ You certainly can. The difficulty is finding suitable double pole MCB/RCBO which are one module wide. I fitted the larger two module wide MCBs in my van, but it meant I needed a 6 way consumer unit - which is not small.
    Edit: Note that double pole MCBs require a Live & Neutral feed each, which may mean you cannot use the bus-bars supplied with the consumer unit.

    However, various TLB contributors found these:

    In this thread:
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
    Iain McAvoy and zed like this.
  16. For gawd sake, I've bought the CU recommended on here, and as someone else said, is the one supplied in the JK kit, but now find out its not right and I got to spend the same amount again on 2 chuffin mcbs ?
  17. Brilliant, thanks all, plenty to chew over. :)
    All change. :) Pop-top, shiny paint, T4 engine, sink, cooker without grill, petrol heater (of course), 240v for cheap heating, a big table, chopped out bulkhead and revolving seat, built in charger, headbanger locker - everything I've always kicked against in fact. If I could fit in an oven somewhere I would. :D
    jivedubbin, Richard W12 and Dicky like this.
  18. I forgot fridge.
  19. MXS 10 appears to be only a fiver more than MXS 7 - what's the catch?
  20. Oops .... I'm going to buy the other one then

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