Discussion in 'Top Tips & Tricks' started by robarb38, Feb 1, 2015.
Interesting read here
They are still basically starter batteries and I've yet to know of anyone who has used them as a leisure battery for any length of time so there is no history of them in this situation. Ifthas been discussed several times on O&A if you do a search on the O&A forum you will find a few threads discussing them.
I had a complete dilemma when it came to renewing our leisure batteries last year.
After 2 years our cheapish from eBay AGM batteries were dying/not much use. We are regularly off hook up and run 2 batteries with a 90 watt solar panel on the roof. The batteries were great until last new year when they started to fail having spent 4 nights off hook up running the blown air heating.
As our batteries are inside the hab area and unvented this left me with a hard decision, ideally I wanted something that would perform to our off hook up needs. Our wiring was set up for 2 batteries and not being technically minded that wouldn't be easy to sort due to the way the caravan engineer had done it. So I need two batteries that wouldn't need venting. The most logical answer was to replace them with exide gel, the ones the manufacturers would put in. These cost a lot though!! So after looking at every single battery on the market and days researching. I took a risk and bought 2 bosch s5 batteries car batteries. We have almost had them a year and touch wood they have been fine. They don't seem to settle at 13.1v as suggested its more normal like 12.7 or 12.6.
We have only spent weekends away this winter but had the heating on 24/7 mostly on low though like no 3 boosting only to 5 when i was particularly cold. We also watch tv for a few hours each evening. Under strain on heating and TV the batteries showed 12.3v/12.4v most of the time but during the night without the tv and heating on to about no 3 they were showing 12.5/12.6 again. When daylight came the solar panel would assist but only very little due to the low sun.
Overall I would suggest its too early to say if these perform any better but I would guess they are probably working as well as standard leisure batteries, the question is how long will they last? I guess time will tell!!!
As a total ignoramus on this subject really looking forward to the comments from the very helpful members here on these matters
I still think gels have a lot going for them the main advantage being you can use them safely down to 80% DOD, disadvantage being they take much longer longer to charge. Due to the 80%DOD a 80a/h gel is equivalent to at least a 110a/h wet cell.
Gels are not that expensive when you consider they often last 6-8 years plus, on my last van I gave my Exide gels a good test after 5 years they performed as well as new batteries.
The Sonnenschien SL75 is the same as the Exide G80, part of the Exide group & they make them for Exide they were about 15 quid cheaper but I have noticed the Exide has dropped in price, so for about £150 you can get a battery that will last a very long time certainly worth considering if you camp off grid a lot.
If thats the current cost of the exile (£150) then that would of been my preferred choice, but as I said the bosch s5 seem ok at the moment. My van had an exide in it when i first got it but it wasn't working very well after only 3 years but I think that was down to miss management of it by previous owner. If I was buying 2 today I would go for 2 exides if (£150) over the bosch S5's at £98 each.
Tanya batteries have the Exide G80 for £149.90 & the Sonnenschien SL75 for £146.96 they are the same battery they determine the specification in a slightly different way hence one says it's 80a/h and the other 75a/h but they are exactly the same battery as I said Sonnenschien make the G80 for Exide.
I have a couple Banner AGM's in my van, the van is only 6 months old how long they will last I don't know we don't do sites and never use EHU so if the do die after a couple years Gel's would be my favourite for replacement.
One guy with a Hymer has just replaced 7 year old Gel's another one has 9 year old Gel's still going strong, treated with respect they do last a long time. Also Gel's are more tolerant of constant charging from Solar, where the voltage is kept up at 14.2.
No comment other than Silver Calcium batteries are no good for deep discharge applications and industry avoids gel batteries like the plague!
PS where did this 'gel cells can be discharged to 80% but a wet cell can't be' come from?
Industrial wet cells, including the 7 yr old ones on our motor home, get discharged to 80% all the time. Starter (leisure) batteries shouldn'the go deeper than 50% DOD, I agree.
Too many battery myths floating about the Internet. .......
No one has mentioned industrial wet cells on this thread and I assume you are talking about traction batteries yes they are good but a normal wet cell which is what we were talking about has a recommended DOD of 50% which you agreed with.
Some people do appear to dislike Gels but from mine and other Hymer owners experience they perform exceptionally well in the Motorhome type of environment.
But they certainly like to push Bosch and Varta to the extreme.
Do they not realise there are many other manufacturers with possibly a better product.
Sterling battery to battery charger. The criticism is utter rubbish in the link. You can set the charge rates to many different voltages. I have been using them in yachts for years and the battery being charged is agm and is at least 10 years old. It runs the bow thruster and anchor winch which take very big currents.
I thought that too Christopher, when I read the article, but assumed they might be referring to an earlier model of B2B.
I did think that 2 x Bosch S5s might have been a better bet, however, I am assured by Jon above, (and other notably knowledgeable and experienced persons, re battery power), that 2 x 6v Traction batteries, rather than 2 x 12v leisure batteries, is definitely the way to go.
I'm very happy with our 2 x 6v Tractions after 12 months use, mainly off grid.
If you read about Sterling he states that there never has been anything yet invented that wins over a normal wet battery. The gels just mean you can't service them as they're sealed
My 2 x Exide G 80 s are 8 years old now and still going strong. I will certainly replace them with the same type when the time comes.
Gel are not liked in the marine world as they are slow to charge and cannot be part of a sytem unless your charging regime can sense and deliver different voltages.
Basically you need with lead acid of all types 14.4v when charging. Most alternators output from 13.8 to 14.4. Older and newer respectively. Even at 14.2 my old 2000 peugeot will be 25% slower to charge than at 14.4v. If you have GOOD quality open lead acid then you can usefully charge at 14.8v but do not do that with cheap ones like numax or they will fall apart literally. So trojans and the like its fine.
Once you start charging at high voltages you will stress your old alternator as the amp output will considerably more than 14.2 or14.4. . So if you regularly use 50% of power a stronger properly ventilated alternator is best such as the prestolite (as used by balmar).
But to get large amps out you need an external alternator controller such as the stirling. At least they sense battery temp etc and stage charge And float when the job is done.
I had to upgrade the pathetic standard wiring in mine to carry the increased amps. These vehicles seem to be designed only to be on EHU!
Hi Phil, ours are the same 2 x G80 as yours and still chugging away, I contacted EXIDE recently and told them what we had and that we were running a 2kw inverter off them and was there anything better in their range, the response was basically NO the proof is in the fact that you still have these batteries and still running an inverter off them with 8 years or more on the clock.