Alternative to Solar Panels, extra set of batteries

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by themountaintiger, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Ok, im going for it, this could be a stupid idea, but lets express it anyway to more experienced motorhomers...

    I have 2 x 110amp batteries. When not on hook up, and on the third day of motorhoming my batteries tend to be 'dying'. I asked onece upon a time about adding a third battery, but was told that to put full charge back into all three may be difficult unless travelling a long distance....

    Ive been looking into addition of solar panel, but other comments re "may not be worth it depending on how used".... and "in winter, perhaps when more power is needed, less light is available" for the solar panels etc etc...

    Is it not a valid solution then, (subject to space) to simply add a couple more batteries in a seperate circuit, with which a flick of a switch, could be used instead of the 2 used up batteries??

    This would then give me 5-6 days use if required. I appreciate that I would have to recharge both sets up again, but wouldnt this be a vaild alternative solution to solar panel??

    Any thoughts appreciated.....









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  2. lunarman

    lunarman Funster

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    Rather than add more capacity, think of the added weight you will be carrying. Why not reduce your consumption. Have your changed you light bulbs to LEDs it is surprising how little power they take.

    I still think that you would be better off adding a solar panel.

    Lunarman
     
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  3. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Yes that would work if you have the space and weight allowance.
    I think there are more than a handful of folk out there with more than 1 battery bank.
    The ideal situation being a roomy garage and quick release battery clamps. A simple swap from one pair to the other.
    The problem being that if you discharge a set then you may go 3 days or more leaving them discharged? not good for batteries
     
  4. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    This is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string". Adding more battery's is OK if you can recharge them when needed, but as a general rule its not a good idea to ad a new battery to old.

    Solar panels are very useful if you can expose then to the sun, there is something that can help you gather as much as is possible, have them/it facing the sun, I.E. a flat panel with collect about 1/3 of what a panle that is tilted and turned to face the sun.

    Then you must always consider what you consumption is going to be, I.E your consumption must equal your ability to recharge and the golden rule never, NEVER have a flat battery, a flat battery is dieing at a rate far greater that a full charged one.

    Doug...
     
  5. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Hi Lunarman

    Well I have plenty of payload at about 700kg, although I appreciate more weight = poorer fuel consuption (but I wasnt worried about that with my boxes of wine comeing back from France!!)

    Yes done all the light bulbs to LED's which saw a reduction in usage. Ive never actually run out of power on day 3, but the batteries tend to be getting to 12.3v from memory.. Im always perhaps overly power consumption aware as soon as im up on the ramps...

    Its just that I dont think I would ever be away from hook up for more than 4-5 days, so its not like I would need a solar panel where other funsters might need to...






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  6. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    yes im aware of this. My current 2 x 110amp batteries replaced an 85amp one. I would buy another 2 x 110amp batteries, but these would NOT be added to the current 2 batteries. They would be used instead of...but rather than taking off the batter clamps from one set to another, just thought there might be a way of electronically switching between sets.

    But from what I hear of solar panels, in winter when you would have more battery use, the less light available would make it less likely that they would charge your batteries to a sufficient level, hence the carrying around of 2 extra batteries makes more sense....?







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  7. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Ok. this is how I would play it.

    I would add the additional batteries,
    but uprate my alternator wiring to give more charge when travelling hence charging the batteries back up quicker.

    I still do think that there are many bennefits to having solar panels though. Its not using the battery power, its how you can get it back in that matters, and every little bit helps. :thumb:
     
  8. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Ok, thats something I hadnt realised, that the batteries that have been discharged may not be good for batteries..... I dont think that this would be longer though than the one or two days after they had run out... Thanks for this info...ill look into that a bit more...

    :thumb:







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  9. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    12.3V is 70% charge remaining.

    The only guaranteed solution to what you are describing is a genny.
     
  10. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Im not against solar panels....im just learning..... I can imagine two thirds of the year solar panels would charge sufficiently, but in winter im unclear...Ive never had solar panels so im just picking up on other funsters experiences..

    Getting the power back into the first set of used batteries I was thinking I could do back at home, however I just need to find out if by leaving these batteries for a couple of days without charge, would I be damaging them...








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  11. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Perhaps i need to be more relaxed about just using battery power then if the 12.3v is 70% remaining. I tend to keep looking at the control panel figure and wipe away the beads of sweat as 12.7, becomes 12.6, 12.5 etc etc.







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  12. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    From memory, and I know many will disagree, the difference between a leisure battery and a cab battery was always that a Leisure battery could be discharged and recharged without developing a fault. That is why they are different.

    There's a lot of difference in the construction . Simply put, a Leisure battery is capable of being discharged to a "flat" state, repeatedly without damage, but a "car" battery will quickly become useless if subjected to the same treatment.

    However, how long it should remain in a state of discharge for is anyones guess. Don't know what the finanaces are like fella but if I had the cash, it would be a built in Genny all the way. :thumb:
     
  13. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    To the first paragraph I would say KISS (keep it simple)

    To the second, Your consumption must be no greater than your ability to recharge, no matter how you charge. Remember battery's that spend a lot of time flat have very short lives.

    Doug...
     
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  14. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Built in genny, solar panels just seems so difficult/messy though compared to adding a couple of batteries, for whats amounting to approx 6 occasions a year ill be in that particular situation....


    hmmmmm!!!
     
  15. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    The voltage the Brian quotes must be taken after the battery has had time to settle after a charge or a discharge, taking the voltage during activity is not the batteries true voltage.

    Doug...
     
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  16. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    If it's for six times a year, I wouldn't bother doing anything other than adding a third battery. I have a swift (a big one) and even in winter I can go days without turning my Honda on on two 120 leisure batteries, a family of 4 heavy usage lap top geeks with DVD playing.

    Now you put it like that try this, change your lights to LED, change your TV for a 12v (if you have one) change your sat receiver for a 12v one, dispense of Inverters and send it all 12v.

    The biggest consumption will be the blown heating in the winter, so turn it off sooner and wrap up warm :thumb:
     
  17. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    And do a power inventory. We can manage at least 4 days on 110Ah. Now if you need double our usage fine but at least identify the loads then if anything can be improved you'll know what.

    If you went the 4 battery route, if you can't charge them all fully when needed you are no better off after the first discharge.

    Hate gennies or HATE gennies you can be sure, summer, winter, rain or snow that you will always have charging available.
     
  18. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Solar panels messy you say?
    They dont have to be
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Ok, well all lights are led, tv is 12v, dont have a sat reeceiver and dont use an inverter......But if I added a third battery (to the 2 I already have) would a journey of say 120 miles be enough to charge all 3 batteries back up? Or perhaps this wouldnt matter as I would be more or less coming back home from the 5/6 day break.....??







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  20. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    I saw your fitting them post. Most impressive.

    Although I went the ready made £40 posh brackets, but I did only pay £150 for my panel. :thumb:
     
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