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Helpful ReplyHot!Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive

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carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/09 17:57:29 (permalink)
Twinfan - have you tried just connecting it up with the croc clips directly to the battery under the bonnet? That would be my "Plan B" if I can't get the cigar lighter adapter to work. I'll let everyone know if I can find a way of feeding the wires out through gaps in the bodywork without having to leave the panel itself out when I try connecting mine up over the weekend.
 
Edited to add - I hadn't seen a couple of posts when I replied to this, there seems to be a fair bit of wiring with the kit overall, at least a metre and a half I would say between the panel and the connector for the Optimate and probably the same between the Optimate and the connector for the croc clips, so I would think there's enough length to reach the battery even with the panel inside the car. The only worry I'd have is leaving the connectors out in all weathers but mine do have rubber covers over the connecting plugs.
post edited by carolinewoodley - 2020/04/09 18:01:01
Twinfan
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/09 18:32:23 (permalink)
Right, I'm connected up via the croc clips now so we'll see how that goes.  The kit is promoted as having weatherproof leads so all should be OK.
 
The croc clips connection to the control unit under the plastic cover and bonnet, I've fed the cable to the drivers side around the wiper panel and into the car where the windscreen/top of the door meet.  The control unit sits in mid-air over the drivers window air vent, so I can see it from outside the car, and the solar panel is sitting at an angle on the armrest.
 
The only part outside the car is therefore a small piece of cable, however it's tucked under the top corner of the wing near the windscreen base.  No-one can see it and it will only get minimal weather exposure.  This might just work!
 
As an aside, the control panel is now showing the battery as 'green' not 'red' or 'amber' as earlier.  Better connection maybe?
 
EDIT: it's swicthed to maintenance mode and is showing red/amber so the battery is between 21-40%.  I've got to go out shopping in the car tomorrow, so once it's had a good run I'll bung it back on the solar charger and see if it can keep it topped up...
post edited by Twinfan - 2020/04/09 18:46:52
carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 08:04:30 (permalink)
Hi Twinfan, just connected up my car too and I think my installation sounds pretty much identical to yours, croc clips on the positive of the battery and the earthing point (the leads are only just long enough to reach when you pull the two wires as much apart as they can go, but thankfully they do!), wire to the charger controller fed through to the right of the plastic wiper shield and through the gap in the bodywork between the top of the drivers' side door and the windscreen A pillar, charger dangling in midair next to the vent and the panel on the seat. The only disappointment for me is that the panel is too big to be attached directly to the window with the suction cups so I've had to balance it at an angle on the steering wheel and seat (luckily I am a shorty so my seat is a long way forward anyway! ) but hopefully it seems stable there and won't fall down.
 
Currently the battery is showing green (which is good) and the red light is single flashing which according to the manual means the battery is between 90 and 100% charged anyway. Hopefully with a lovely sunny day in prospect (though sad and annoying as I can't get out to drive the car ) it will be into maintain mode by this evening. 
 
 

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Motorhead
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 09:19:01 (permalink)
Sounds like a good result all round there.
 
Caroline, although Dave hasn't had any luck with the power-point(s) on his 718, you may just want to give the one in the passenger footwell a try. I'm sure someone with a 981 has said that it remained live for conditioner connection, and despite the possible problem with the low charge current, it may provide an alternative method of connection.
 
Jeff

987.2 Cayman S
North Beds (R10 & R24)
AdrianJ
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 09:46:11 (permalink)
Good morning,
 
I have a battery conditioner/charger using the footwell socket, all fine and has charged and maintained the charge for the last couple of weeks. I saw some posts when researching (I am naturally a little obsessive and had time on my hands) and looks like the footwell the default for a lot of the dealers. I didn’t do anything with the ignition which has been mentioned before, just plugged in and then powered up the CTEK unit.
 
If anyone is interested I do have an AA solar panel, with crocodile clips or OBD connections. Just gathering dust after a short spell in a horsebox so not looking to profit.
 
Take care all!
Adrian
carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 09:52:45 (permalink)
Thanks Jeff, at the moment I'm not worried about weather issues as the connector between the croc clips and the lead to the charge controller is not just under the bonnet but under the plastic cover that goes over the battery as well. I also got a spare rubber weatherproof cover "thingy" to go over the connector with the cigarette lighter adapter I bought, and that fitted the croc clip connector as well, so I think there isn't any going to be an issue with damp or rain getting in (not that there's any sign of rain here at the moment anyway). However I'll probably give the lighter socket a go at some point as then everything is inside the car which is both easier and safer. Will let you know how I get on! 
 
Haven't been to check the condition again but will do so later when I go out for my daily "exercise allowance", it's been a very sunny morning here and it would be good to see if it has got to the point where it is maintaining rather than charging yet.
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 11:58:13 (permalink)
Sounds like a plan Caroline. As we've discussed, it may be that the charging current is too low, and of course unlike a mains conditioner I wonder what happens in low-light conditions (or does the charger switch-off if it's unable to supply 2-amps?), so that probably won't help.
 
All this current talk about conventional battery conditioners, solar chargers and active/inactive power-points makes me wonder whether or not a permanent 'sticky' post would be useful under Cayman Faqs, in which everyone could chip-in with their experience to provide a permanent reference point and avoid tedious repetition of the same questions.
 
Now, if we had a Regional Secretary we could ask them to do it.! 
 
Jeff

987.2 Cayman S
North Beds (R10 & R24)
carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 12:17:11 (permalink)
Hi Jeff, from the manual I got with mine:
  • The solar charger controller goes into Battery Monitor mode when there is no current from the solar panel, or there is not enough current to charge, and the 3 coloured LEDs (red, amber, green) tell you how much charge is remaining in the battery. I am guessing (although the manual doesn't say explicitly) the "Solar" LED (i.e. the one that indicates it is connected and receiving current) is not lit or flashing.
  • When it's connected and charging the "Solar" LED flashes and the coloured LEDs light to say whether the controller is in SAVE mode (red LED, after the battery has gone completely flat), charging (amber LED) or maintaining (green LED).
When I first connected mine up the solar LED was flashing and the green LED was lit which seems to indicate the battery was pretty much topped up, although I'm a little sceptical of that as I haven't used the car for a week and even then only for 10 miles to the supermarket and back. Before that it was 2 weeks since I drove it albeit for a long (100+ mile) drive, just before the lockdown was declared.
 
However I have noticed that it doesn't drain much anyway (to be fair, I do the double click thing to stop the internal motion alarm when I lock it normally anyway) and have been able to leave it 3 weeks before without any problems starting. As I only bought the car last September I have no idea whether the battery is a new one (Brooklands Service Centre did give it a service and maybe they replaced it then?) or whether I am just lucky that it's an old one in good condition anyway. When I get out for my run later today I will have a quick look at the status then to see if it's changed, if not then it's possible the charger really is maintaining.
GordonT
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 12:52:20 (permalink)
As an aside, but regarding charging points, when I bought my car it had a CTek lead already wired to the battery. Routed as described earlier in this post, it is inconspicuous and so convenient - and guarantees a good connection. The car has been on trickle charge all Winter, apart from occasional outings. I’ve just wired another car similarly (albeit with a different lead for a £20 smart charger).
 
I thought about the issue of wiring to battery terminals or to another earthing point. The reason for not using terminals is the risk of explosion from a spark when connecting/disconnecting. As the connections are permanent there really isn’t an issue.

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CLIFFWILKINS
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 14:33:44 (permalink)
 
 
Now, if we had a Regional Secretary we could ask them to do it.! 
 
Jeff


 
Let's not rush into this only been 7 months to appoint a new RS 
post edited by CLIFFWILKINS - 2020/04/10 14:35:47

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Twinfan
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 14:55:09 (permalink)
GordonT
As an aside, but regarding charging points, when I bought my car it had a CTek lead already wired to the battery. Routed as described earlier in this post, it is inconspicuous and so convenient - and guarantees a good connection. The car has been on trickle charge all Winter, apart from occasional outings. I’ve just wired another car similarly (albeit with a different lead for a £20 smart charger).
 
I thought about the issue of wiring to battery terminals or to another earthing point. The reason for not using terminals is the risk of explosion from a spark when connecting/disconnecting. As the connections are permanent there really isn’t an issue.




Apparently if you use just the battery and not the charging post you bypass the car's own battery detection systems. What effect that has I don't know, although if you're maintaining a full charge probably not much.
AndrewT
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 14:59:22 (permalink)
I think we’re looking for a Register Secretary not a Regional Secretary but after all this time any sort of secretary will do.....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretarybird
 

Andrew.
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Motorhead
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 17:05:58 (permalink)
OOPS..!!  Typo error there I'm afraid chaps.
 
But yes Andrew, anyone would be welcome right now. However, given the distribution of Cayman ownership throughout the UK, maybe longer-term the Club should have a rethink about how it organises Register support.
 
I can't believe that it's taken so long Cliff, and still we haven't heard anything. In fact I was mulling this over this morning and I've decided to contact Dave Carnaffin again for an urgent update.
 
Apologies for going off-topic.
 
Jeff

987.2 Cayman S
North Beds (R10 & R24)
carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 17:10:26 (permalink)
OK so I've just been out, the car is now in shade so the solar panel is not charging, and in maintain mode it is saying the battery is currently between 12.1 and 12.29V (40-60%), so it will need more charging tomorrow. That's closer to what I would have expected after a week standing in the garage and only a short run last week, so I'll leave the car out overnight as tomorrow is going to be another sunny day, and let's see where it gets the battery to after then. I might also move the panel outside the car, to see whether that makes much difference.
 
Edited to add, I can confirm that when the solar panel is not delivering charge the "solar" LED is completely off.
 
 
post edited by carolinewoodley - 2020/04/10 17:11:41
Twinfan
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/10 18:36:44 (permalink)
Sounds good - mine is very similar showing red/amber on the indicator with the panel off. I had to move my car a couple of times today to access a broken drain I was fixing so I've probably wasted a day of charging unfortunately.
 
Hopefully I'll be up a step or two tomorrow 
carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/11 17:35:51 (permalink)
Another quick update, it seems in my case the panel really needs to be outside the car to charge the battery properly. When I checked it this afternoon with the panel still inside the car it was in "monitor" mode and still showing red and amber LEDs lit even after nearly 2 days in the sun. So I moved the panel out (now on the roof of the car fixed with the suction cups, I am hoping this will not mark the bodywork!) and initially it showed the red charge LED, but about an hour and a half later, and even in shade now, it is still charging and the amber LED is now lit. I'm going to leave it out for another hour or so but will put it back inside the car overnight, and then get it out again tomorrow morning. Hopefully doing that will get it to green and maintaining within a few hours.
 
My suspicion is that when it's inside the car both the attenuation of the glass and the fact that part of the panel is in shade due to the roof, means there isn't enough charge unless the sun is shining directly onto the panel to charge the battery, and I think it may well have been in "monitor" mode most of yesterday even though it was a bright sunny day. It might be interesting to see, once it is in "maintaining" mode, whether I can then leave the panel inside the car and that will be enough to keep it charged.
 
Anyway I'm glad to see my money wasn't spent in vain, when I went out to check this afternoon and saw basically no change I was thinking I might have to swap the 20W panel for a bigger one, but I'll see how it goes like this and hopefully I won't have to.
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/11 18:23:46 (permalink)
Caroline,
 
It sounds as though you've found an acceptable solution. At least the unit's actually charging the battery and keeping it topped-up sufficient for occasional use. It doesn't have to be charged fully in order to crank the engine and get it started, and now that temperatures are rising, lower cranking amps will be required.
 
Jeff

987.2 Cayman S
North Beds (R10 & R24)
Twinfan
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/11 18:45:48 (permalink)
I'm finding a similar thing so I repositioned my panel inside the car earlier today to try and get more sunlight. During the day it's charging with a green light but at night it's showing red and amber on the monitor.
 
Like Jeff says, as long as it maintains what it currently has that's an improvement over doing nothing. I'm hoping after several days mine will switch to amber only on the monitor, but as long as it doesn't drop to red only that should be good enough.
post edited by Twinfan - 2020/04/11 18:48:18
carolinewoodley
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/12 09:37:55 (permalink)
HI Twinfan, yes I'm getting something similar. When I went out to put the panel back inside the car last night there was no charge, so it was in monitor mode and showing red (i.e. less than 12.1V across the terminals). However when I went out about half an hour ago to put the panel back on the roof of the car the panel was charging (inside the car) and the LED was showing green, which according to the manual means it is now in "maintain" mode and the battery is basically fully charged.
 
I'm not sure these LEDs make much sense, unless the drain from the alarm and the clock etc. in the Cayman means the battery voltage is lower than 12.1V when there is no actual charge to it? ie maybe the voltage doesn't really have any relation to battery condition in the Cayman.
 
One thing that is interesting and may be relevant is that I've noticed on the battery monitor (if you get "car info" up on the right hand instrument cluster on the dash) when I'm driving the voltage is often over 14V, but when I'm sat in traffic and the stop-start is engaged (i.e. the engine is off) it can go down to about 12V-ish. Maybe there's just something odd about Cayman electrics? I know there is an in built battery monitor system in the 981 (which is why you have to use the earthing point to connect the negative charging lead rather than the negative terminal of the battery) so maybe that is having an effect on what the Optimate charger sees when there is no solar current?
 
I'm not an electrician though (car or general!) so frankly I'm just guessing - perhaps someone with more experience of car (and especially Porsche) electrics might have a better explanation?
Twinfan
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Re: Some Advice Please Guys & Gals, with this COVID19 and we cant drive 2020/04/12 10:09:24 (permalink)
Good point about the current draw affecting the voltage monitor, I hadn't thought of that. My car has an alarm and a tracker active so the battery is always working. My dash voltage states 12v+ so maybe the solar panel is working better than we think!
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