Hi forum, I have been following the threads for some time now with great interest. My name is Chris and I have almost completed refurbishing my 1985 VW T3 here in Malawi. I bought a cheap Voltage sensitive relay and it worked well for about 2 weeks. Is it worthwhile using a more expensive one or should I rather embark one a different system for charging my leisure battery.
I just use a cheap ~$15 solenoid, never had one go out on me yet, & keeps my house battery charged even with minimal driving. I do have a cheap gas generator & battery charger for a backup plan though, or if I’m staying put without driving for a long period of time.
Thanks for the quick reply, Van Dweller. Is the solenoid wired the same way as the VSR and does it require manual switching? Cheers, Chris
The solenoid on mine is automatic. It goes from the starting battery to a circuit breaker, then to the solenoid, then to another circuit breaker, before going to my house battery. It is triggered by a wire that goes to the radio in the normal fuse panel, so that it only engages when the key is on.
The wire between the batteries was made from a heavy duty set of jumper cables. I can’t give you the specs on the solenoid or circuit breakers because they aren’t marked, and they were supplied by the battery shop that installed everything, but if I was to guess, I would estimate they are probably all rated around 150 amps. The whole system, including a used/refurbished house battery was installed for $80 in under half an hour and it has worked flawlessly for the last 11 years. (I did need to replace the battery 4-5 years ago.)
My current 100ah deep cycle house battery was purchased for $18 from a wrecking yard 4-5 years ago, and is still going strong. It was under 6 months old when I purchased it.
Thanks again for the feedback. Sorry to keep firing questions but I need to understand the system… So it seems that the leisure battery will, in your case, be assisting the starter battery with cranking the engine. Is that correct? and if so, it seems not to be such a bad thing considering the longevity of your leisure batteries. I reckon a standard starter solenoid would do the trick but maybe a slightly smaller version. Cheers, Chris
I don’t think starter solenoids are rated for continuous duty, so I would make sure to get one with the proper rating.
Great thanks. I will look for the right one. Cheers, Chris