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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Also I think if you are charging 2 batteries from the same Ctek then I would say that they should ideally be next to each other and same age, amps make etc, otherwise the system will get confused. I don't think the system is clever enough to distinguish and focus on each one individually.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanners View Post
    Thanks - I will look into the temperature sensor issue. My Ctek unit plus the 105ah aux battery is in the back (air-conditioned) drawer system area of my vehicle, and the 90ah aux battery is in the engine bay. I am not sure where the Ctek linked temp sensor is located. It could be that if the Ctek detects a high temp in one of the aux batteries it will shut down voltage to both?
    If the installer got it correct, then your temperature probe is on the 105AH battery in your vehicle right next to the + terminal, flat on the battery. It is way to short to reach the 90AH battery in the engine bay which one would expect to be the culprit as a result of the hot temps there resulting in the Ctek cutting back on the charging amps.

    So of this is the case, then I'm thoroughly confused. But my money is also on that temp probe being somewhere where it shouldn't be. The Ctek cannot properly function without it being installed correctly.
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  4. #23
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Fluffy has a point that the 13.5V odd could have been perfectly normal. My first thought however is still that something between the main D250S and Smartpass isn't playing nicely, some temperature confusion, the one cutting the other back. I can't quite remember how the Smartpass should be installed in such a system, but IIRC the D250S and Smartpass also mustn't be so far apart.

    We should also remember that any battery will struggle to keep up with the hunger of a 90l NL fridge in 39 degree heat, I've been there, in those temps a fridge almost constantly runs. On that trip I quickly learned to really really keep fridge openings to a minimum and I was glad for my Romer cooler box to act as a buffer. If it wasn't for solar then vrot meat and warm beer would have been a given.
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  5. #24
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    My common sense tells me the temp prope is there for a reason, although it could be over sensitive.

    But I,ve heard cutting the prope wires (disconnecting them) solve the problem for not charging in high temperatures , whether it is true or not I don,t know.
    Maybe someone else who tried it can give us some informative information whether it is true or not without damaging or compromise functionalty of the Ctek 250S charging system.

    Sorry to derail the OP' s question.

    What I did experience during the extreme heat in December is that the the 20A limit on the Ctek 250S compromise maximum charging abbilities from the alternator to the battery/s in the hot circumstances where the fridge running about full time .

    To overcome this a expensive Smartpass is needed with the Ctek250S. Or maybe a bypass solenoid system with a manual high ampage DC switch / circuit breaker to utilize the higher available power from the alternator to charge the auxilliary battery/s .

    I,m not sure running a solenoid system and a Ctek 250 S in parralel in the engine bay to the same Auxilliary battery/s can be done without interfering with the Ctek 250 S cycles and functionalty?

    Wonder or it can be done or what other alternatives are there?

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    What are you using the smaller battery in the engine bay for, or is it wired in parallel with the big 100Ah battery which is in the back of your vehicle next to the fridge?

    In theory with the CTEK and 100Ah battery in the back of your vehicle you should have no temperature issues with the CTEK, but as said that tempreture probe must be on your battery, even some experienced installers get this wrong and just leave the probe dangling somewhere.

    I still don't quite get how your system is configged, how the Smartpass and engine bay battery links in to the system.

    Any chance you and your friend who had similar issues on your trip have very similar systems which was also installed by the same workshop?
    Not sure if this helps but please see pics attached of
    - Front Aux battery in engine bay
    - Back Aux battery in back of vehicle
    - Ctek unit in back of vehicle (Dual + Smartpass).
    The number of connections to the battery terminals would be consistent with the batteries being connected in parallel and with the Ctek unit?
    Thanks
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  7. #26
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyPeeler View Post
    My common sense tells me the temp prope is there for a reason, although it could be over sensitive.

    But I,ve heard cutting the prope wires (disconnecting them) solve the problem for not charging in high temperatures , whether it is true or not I don,t know.
    Maybe someone else who tried it can give us some informative information whether it is true or not without damaging or compromise functionalty of the Ctek 250S charging system.

    Sorry to derail the OP' s question.

    What I did experience during the extreme heat in December is that the the 20A limit on the Ctek 250S compromise maximum charging abbilities from the alternator to the battery/s in the hot circumstances where the fridge running about full time .

    To overcome this a expensive Smartpass is needed with the Ctek250S. Or maybe a bypass solenoid system with a manual high ampage DC switch / circuit breaker to utilize the higher available power from the alternator to charge the auxilliary battery/s .

    I,m not sure running a solenoid system and a Ctek 250 S in parralel in the engine bay to the same Auxilliary battery/s can be done without interfering with the Ctek 250 S cycles and functionalty?

    Wonder or it can be done or what other alternatives are there?
    Hi - as per the pics I have just posted you can see I do have the Smartpass but this did not help overcome my charging problems. Also, I have use this same configuration twice before in the Kalahari before in the cooler months (Apr & June) and had no problems. Not sure if the Ctek developers in Sweden know how hot conditions can get in Southern Africa?

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    This is the reply from Ctek support for the problem.
    The DS250S is triggering the charging at main terminal at 13.1V which is an issue when the Aux batteries are a bit discharged and power draw (Amps) increase in the charging state. By this the voltage drops below 13.1V and the DS250S assumes the main battery being to low.
    As the for morning hours, it is most likely not the temperature which is the indicator but the state of discharge of the main battery, requesting a higher charge voltage from the (smart) alternator.
    Ctek has acknowledged this issue and changed the input voltage in the new DS250SA to 11.5V

    As a patch they recommend the use of the solar input terminal (triggering the charging equally at 11.5V) in accordance to the attached diagram.

    I've done that with the help of the heavy duty (30 Amps) relay, the same type as used for the aux battery system on Nat Luna etc. and wired it up to a switch-over function as it has 2 contacts, one open, one closed in standby mode.

    The 2 contacts are important to allow switch-over function.

    Works like a charm.
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    Last edited by Kalahari Safari; 2019/04/07 at 02:15 PM.
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  10. #28
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Judging by the cables ties I would redo everything.

    I don't think the temp sensor is at fault - it will throttle the charge back, but still charge. You do need bigger or additional solar panels for stationery use. What lights were on and/or flashing. The sequence of led's lit up will help you diagnose the system.

    I would disconnect the battery at the front and test the rear battery first, see how well that charges first. Suggest the front aux battery be moved to the rear, maybe on top of the other with the ctek's mounted sideways. Ctek's are not designed for remote charging - how much of an influence this has I don't know.

    I would disconnect all wiring, download the ctek manual and wire it up correctly their way. The pictures are very easy to understand. Your smartpass has not been setup correctly - the starter battery side and for your fridge side, all the cables connected to the batteries need to be identified, you will need a multimeter. All the hard work has been done already, it's just a matter of reconnecting correctly. Remember to insulate or wrap cloth's around each cable that you remove to prevent a short.

    Positive terminal needs to be changed on the front battery. Do you have a smart alternator.

  11. #29
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by HobieDave View Post
    Judging by the cables ties I would redo everything.

    I don't think the temp sensor is at fault - it will throttle the charge back, but still charge. You do need bigger or additional solar panels for stationery use. What lights were on and/or flashing. The sequence of led's lit up will help you diagnose the system.

    I would disconnect the battery at the front and test the rear battery first, see how well that charges first. Suggest the front aux battery be moved to the rear, maybe on top of the other with the ctek's mounted sideways. Ctek's are not designed for remote charging - how much of an influence this has I don't know.

    I would disconnect all wiring, download the ctek manual and wire it up correctly their way. The pictures are very easy to understand. Your smartpass has not been setup correctly - the starter battery side and for your fridge side, all the cables connected to the batteries need to be identified, you will need a multimeter. All the hard work has been done already, it's just a matter of reconnecting correctly. Remember to insulate or wrap cloth's around each cable that you remove to prevent a short.

    Positive terminal needs to be changed on the front battery. Do you have a smart alternator.
    Thanks for the detailed response and agree with your points.
    If I don't get the appropriate answer from my installer who would you recommend as the best workshop in the Jhb area to comprehensively deal with 4x4 aux. battery setups?
    Thanks!

  12. #30
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanners View Post
    Sorry - answer to your 2nd question: I have a voltage display reading in the front cab for each of my aux batteries and can constantly monitor them.
    Did you measure your alternator voltage as well? This is important. As per Kalahari Safari's post quoting Ctek's reply, the CTEk will have switched off if the battery voltage did in fact draw the charging voltage below 13.1V. If it did do this, then their solution makes sense.

    But I very much doubt that this is what happened. It is very unlikely that your alternator is too small, old or faulty. My original Defender 60A alternator voltage dropped to 12.9V when hot, and this would have dropped out the CTEK charging circuit. My replacement alternator sorted this. Your alternator should not drop below 13.5V if in good nick. This could also of course happen (volt drop) if your wiring from the primary battery to your CTEK is too thin.

    Looking at your wiring, all looks fine at the CTEK chargers - I disagree with HobieDave - your smartpass has been connected correctly. You do not need to connect stuff to the bottom right terminal - you can run it straight off your battery. I would not mess with the wiring before determining your actual fault. I do however agree with him that it would be better for your second aux battery to be in close proximity of the first one. It simplifies and reduces your wiring, and removes the battery from the hot engine bay - batteries hate heat.

    I read the CTEK manual again, and learnt something - in my vehicle I actually only need the Smartpass, not both units, as my alternator is a smart alternator, and I do not need the solar controller. Also, something I did not know is that the Smartpass keeps the cranking battery topped up if the aux batteries are charged. A very handy feature, explaining why my starting battery does not lose any charge even if standing for a few weeks.

    But more importantly in your case, it states that "The D250SA optimises the charge voltage by increasing the charge voltage at temperatures below 25C/77F and reducing it at temperatures higher than 25C/77F. The functions is always active." Unfortunately it does not give more details. I assume that it gets this temperature from the temperature sensor, and not from a temperature sensor on it's circuit board.

    This is not good news, IMO. I would rather sacrifice some battery life in return for charging up the batteries at a faster rate and knowing that they are fully charged. This also partially explains the problems that I had in the past.

    The manual states the following about the temperature sensor in the Smartpass "SMARTPASS 120 protects the battery by switching off charging if the service battery temperature
    rises too high
    ". It would be nice if they gave more details.

    What would I do in your case?
    1. Check the cable feed to your CTEK, and check the input voltage to your CTEK on a hot day with discharged batteries.
    2. Trace your temperature sensors. They exit the chargers at the arrows
    Click image for larger version. 

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    3. Relocate them if necessary.
    4. If you are in a jam, and the units shut down and don't charge, short out the 2 connectors between the units. This connects the aux batteries directly to the alternator/starter battery, and does not damage the chargers. I had a cole hersee relay connected across here which I could activate when necessary

    Reading more about the temperature sensors, especially from the main charger, I think I would bypass it. I think some testing of the one on the Passthrough would be in order to see at what stage it switches the uit off


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  14. #31
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Its important to do a full test, voltage readings & status lights etc, to ensure all still works well.

    As i said previously post, i had exactly the same issue in extreme heat and it was definitely due to the heat. Only solution was to connect all three my Solar panels while stationary in the camp to top-up the battery.

    Another angle to the setup, i do not like the option of two batteries on one charger as you may have a faulty battery A and its pulling down battery B.

    What temp settings were applied to the NL?
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeml View Post
    Did you measure your alternator voltage as well? This is important. As per Kalahari Safari's post quoting Ctek's reply, the CTEk will have switched off if the battery voltage did in fact draw the charging voltage below 13.1V. If it did do this, then their solution makes sense.

    But I very much doubt that this is what happened. It is very unlikely that your alternator is too small, old or faulty. My original Defender 60A alternator voltage dropped to 12.9V when hot, and this would have dropped out the CTEK charging circuit. My replacement alternator sorted this. Your alternator should not drop below 13.5V if in good nick. This could also of course happen (volt drop) if your wiring from the primary battery to your CTEK is too thin.
    ........
    This is not the issue.
    A smart alternator is reading the main battery voltage and "decides" to lower the charging current by reducing the output voltage to avoid overcharging the main battery.
    In this the voltage drops and does not reach the required 13.1V to keep the Ctek operating.

    This is the exact design for a "smart" alternator and has been acknowledged by the Ctek manufacturer, thus improving the new generation D250SA (SA standing for Smart Alternator).

    Even when the second issue, the 13.5V charge is at the alternator's terminal, the connections and voltage drop to the Ctek could be below 13.1V depending on the resistance of the wiring and the connectors.
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  17. #33
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    I see some of you state the lower voltage on the DS250 dropout is 13.1v? To my knowledge its 12.8v. Am I wrong?

    Eg when voltage from main batt and alternate reach 13.2v and above, DS250 will start charging and when it drops below 12.8v, it will stop charging.
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik du Toit View Post
    I see some of you state the lower voltage on the DS250 dropout is 13.1v? To my knowledge its 12.8v. Am I wrong?

    Eg when voltage from main batt and alternate reach 13.2v and above, DS250 will start charging and when it drops below 12.8v, it will stop charging.
    Possibly right.
    The kick-in is 13.1V so the drop-out could be 12.8V (need to consult the manual again).

    However, the 0.3V in difference might become an issue if you have voltage fluctuations from connections or when switching on additional loads, once dropped out at 12.8V it would need the 13.1V again to restart.
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  19. #35
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrik du Toit View Post
    I see some of you state the lower voltage on the DS250 dropout is 13.1v? To my knowledge its 12.8v. Am I wrong?Eg when voltage from main batt and alternate reach 13.2v and above, DS250 will start charging and when it drops below 12.8v, it will stop charging.
    I have observed this many times on a digital voltmeter installed very close to the D250S.

    The Ctek only wakes up once 13,1V is reached on the cranking battery.

    Haven't checked for dropout voltage though.
    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2019/04/08 at 01:21 PM.
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  20. #36
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Agree, wakeup between 13.1-13.2 and tested dropout around 12.8v
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  22. #37
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Apart from checking wires etc, how is the aux batteries?

    Ctek is not very clear on the temp thing, only says it will reduce charging with higher temps, but I know many do have that issue that it stopped charging?


    I only once experienced that the ctek stopped charging, bit that was when the fridge was not connected, but normally it goes to float and stays there after an hour or so.
    Last edited by JLK; 2019/04/08 at 03:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    This is not the issue.
    A smart alternator is reading the main battery voltage and "decides" to lower the charging current by reducing the output voltage to avoid overcharging the main battery.
    In this the voltage drops and does not reach the required 13.1V to keep the Ctek operating.

    This is the exact design for a "smart" alternator and has been acknowledged by the Ctek manufacturer, thus improving the new generation D250SA (SA standing for Smart Alternator).

    Even when the second issue, the 13.5V charge is at the alternator's terminal, the connections and voltage drop to the Ctek could be below 13.1V depending on the resistance of the wiring and the connectors.
    Correct, if the alternator voltage in fact drops below 12.8V, causing the CTEK to switch off. That is why I asked for the alternator voltage. I would be very surprised if this was the case.

    If however it was the case, then it would be very easy to wake up the alternator by shorting the input and output terminals on the CTEK thereby connecting the aux battery directly to the alternator.


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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    Not having read all the replies to the original question. However, my first impression was that it was caused by a smart alternator and a Ctek unit not made for smart alternators. Normal D250S and not the D250SA. Maybe check that first.
    I experienced the exact same as described and that is what the problem was.

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    Default Re: Ctek 250S + aux. battery problem

    A thought: if you have a smart alternator, you could actually disconnect the D250SA and only use the Smartpass 120. The smart alternator, being smart, should charge up the aux batteries a lot faster than the old fixed voltage alternators. It might not have the same charging stages than the D250SA. If you have solar panels, get a separate solar charger, which is cheaper than the D250SA in any case, even if it is MPPT.

    I might go this route. I'm not using the solar input in any case as I have a bigger MPPT charger installed. I just want to confirm my "smart" alternator voltages first. Anyone know of an accurate compact dual voltage volt display for my dash?


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