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Leisure batteries - how long should they last?

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Old 23-07-2012, 10:06   #1 (permalink)
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Default Leisure batteries - how long should they last?

My leisure batteries don't seem to last very long.

After about 3 hours the lights are dim, and the water pump is struggling.

I'm not doing anything particularly strenuous - just a couple of lights (conventional bulbs) on of an evening, ignitors on the hob for cooking dinner, bit of radio...

The batteries seem to die very quickly. Any thing I can do to test their health at home (I keep a multimeter in the van for checking them)?

I suspect they've been on the van for a ver long time, and are probably about tatered.


how long would a healthy couple of batteries last me?
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Old 23-07-2012, 10:15   #2 (permalink)
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does not seem very long I agree, but you need to quantify matters If your leisure batteries are a pair of PP9's you are doing very well, Do they start out fully charged (13.8V with no load) Do they hold that charge 24hrs after charging has stopped. Do you have solar (am guessing not) how many lights do you have on and for how long, TV, Fridge,waterpump, anything else running. is there a noticable discharge with everything switched off. How old are the batteries what sort are they. And finally how long is the piece of string that I have in my pocket, hee hee.
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Old 23-07-2012, 11:19   #3 (permalink)
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3 of us just had 3 days out in ours without hookup.
but i stupidly left the fridge on 12volt for an hour (which does still work with the engine off, its a german and electrobloc thing.) so really started with about 18Amp down from a full charge and before setting off home i checked and was down at 12.6 volt or 84% according to the display.
and that was using the heating a bit (it was cold in cumbria)
lights for 4 hours a night and the usual tv and water pump.
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Old 23-07-2012, 13:50   #4 (permalink)
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While, as Wildman says, there are a lot of variables we don't know, two batteries of any capacity should last a lot longer than that. Do check that there is no large drain with everything off and that your charger is working (two more uses for your meter) If all is otherwise OK your batteries have had it.
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Old 23-07-2012, 15:09   #5 (permalink)
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I bought a new battery not long ago and it came with a two year guarantee. So there's a clue of the manufacturer's confidence in the product.
My last van I had for ten years and it was fitted with three leisure batteries. They were all renewed soon after I bought it, (I changed the original and fitted two others.)
All three required changing again just last year. This is only personal experience but gives some idea of how long they can last. They were always being topped up by a solar panel on the roof, through a regulator that would not allow overcharging. I believe that this was in part the key to their longevity. If a battery charge is allowed to get too low it will never recover.
You might want to consider changing your lighting, conventional lamps/halogens use a lot more power and will drain your batteries faster than modern LED units.
Food for thought...
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Old 23-07-2012, 20:15   #6 (permalink)
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OK, so trying to cover off all Wildman's q's

I have 2 batteries, they are labelled L85. No idea of age - I wouldn't be surprised if they're original (1997) and it spent the last couple of years before I bought it pretty dormant, so they've probably not been cycled very often in recent times.

Just been for a trip out to the shops to charge them up - I get 12.9V on one, 12.88V on the other (nothing switched on, 12V circuit switched off)

Pretty much they are good at that for about 3 days before there's any drop if I leave it and check the V's.

No solar.

Probably have 2 or 3 lights on (single very small bulbs) for 3-4 hours before things start to struggle. Some people try to have more lights on than that, but they find them quickly extinguished
No TV allowed in my van! Radio and iPod is your lot.
No fridge on, that'll be running on gas (I thought you could only get 12V with engine on - what witchcraft is that aba??)

Other things usually being powered: Water pump (and that I'm a stickler for only having switchwd on when I need it); a bit of Heating; the occasional loo swish; lighting the hob.
Like I say, nothing particularly strenuous.

One thing that did occur to me... could it be that I inadvertantly have the inverter on constantly?? I don't think so, the 230V sockets aren't working when on batts, but I must admit to not knowing what switch does what on the box thing I was told was the inverter (here's a piccy of the thingy - taken running on hookup) - there's no instructions, and little in the way of identifying features! I leave the switch in that position - it only lights up green on hookup or on the kippor...

string? about 3 inches?
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Old 23-07-2012, 20:21   #7 (permalink)
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I don't think thats an inverter (even though it's inverted or did you stand on your head for the pic)
It looks like a 20A power supply/charger.

If your batteries have been left flat for any length of time, which you indicate they may, then they will need replacing. They are 85Ah batteries I think and using those few things you mention should last for days not hours. I think they've had it.
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Old 24-07-2012, 10:54   #8 (permalink)
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Hi jimothy,

Agreed with Reallyretired, I'm afraid that you're going to have to invest in a new set of batteries.
You sound to have a simple van life, without all the add-ons and so called "necessities", so your batteries certainly ought not be quickly drained. If they're original, you have had your moneys worth.
As Reallyretired says, you have been mis-informed about the "thingy", that's the charger that will replenish the batteries when you are hooked up.
An inverter is a device that changes 12V battery voltage to mains voltage.
It's a clever box of tricks but it's operation depends on healthy batteries and plenty of them! From the sounds of it, you will never need one.
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