Batteries ...again

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Stacetop, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    Sorry to ask an age old question but I tried searching and couldn't find the right answers.

    This weekend our leisure batteries failed within 24 hours- I had suspected something was up so they had been charged out of the van to see if that made a difference - it didn't. We do spend a lot of time off hook up.:Smile:

    So after just over two years I need to buy 2 new leisure batteries. My current ones were unbranded AGM 110ah and we thought they had been well maintained with the use of solar. The battery compartment is inside the van so I will need either Gel or Agm, or a sealed LEAD Acid type.

    I would rather not have to keep replacing them every two years so what makes are recommended and are value for money.

    I have read A and N caravans report on the Bosch new generation car batteries and they recommended these as leisure batteries but has anyone tried these?????

    Thanks
     
  2. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Two years seems a very short life for batteries. What charging system do you have and is it compatible with AGM batteries? Similarly, how is the solar charge handled: regulator type, settings etc.
     
  3. jb0371

    jb0371 Read Only Funster

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  4. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    We have an electroblok ebl99 with lr1218?? Solar regulator should be fully compatible!

    Until new year we never had the battery run down either so not sure where it's gone wrong!
     
  5. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    What setting is the EBL battery selector on: Blei-saüre or Blei-gel, and do you know whether whatever is is set to is appropriate for the batteries you have?
     
  6. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    ALL batteries sulphate and are therefore only good for a limited number of charges. using a quality conditioning charger periodically will extend their life span by de-sulphating the plates.

    I recommend and use Alphaline batteries at £66 delivered next day for 110ah with 4 year warranty
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALPHALINE...tEquipment_Accessories_SM&hash=item3a8c8cc0de

    yes a decent traction battery will perform better but costs twice the amount at least. so a SLA leisure battery works out cheaper per years use

    make sure your charger is set correctly too, as they have different charging regimes between SLA and GEL. using the wrong setting will mean batteries will die prematurely
     
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  7. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Same here we wasted money on so called leisure batteries in the past but never again. Now have 3 traction batteries as recommended by jonandshell and a big Ctek charger and never been short of power since. Just returned from 2 weeks in the alps skiing only ran the genny once for about 2 hours.
    You know what they say Buy quality Buy once.
     
  8. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    Our EBL is set to gel at the minute.
     
  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I would have thought your EBL setting was appropriate.
    You mentioned reading the A&N website guidance; did you notice the following advice?
    Most Motorhomes built prior to 2009 are unlikely to be suitable for AGM as the Alternator trickle charge voltage is often too high. Consult your Motorhome manufacturer before switching to an AGM battery.
    I realise your present AGMs are neither Bosch nor Varta, but wonder whether the alternator is to blame. Another culprit might be the LR1218 since the float charge output from it is 14.2V.

    Returning to your original question, I too was considering the Bosch S5 or Varta equivalent when it is time to change. I will certainly not be using AGM. My Hymer has the EBL99 and currently I have 2 x 110 Ah Elecsol (sealed lead-acid calcium technology). They are about five years old and I had a solar panel (with LR1218) fitted three years ago. However, the A&N website refers to the Bosch S5 / Varta Silver Dynamic in the context of most people using EHU predominantly. Before switching, I was planning to talk to them for further clarification (but hopefully that will still be some time away). Last Autumn, I was at Peter Hambilton's for some work and discussed batteries with him. His recommendation was any decent sealed lead-acid type with calcium technology. He did not recommend AGM or Gel, given the price.

    Sorry for the ramblings above - hope this helps. Why not give the chaps at A&N a call to see whether they think the Bosch S5 / Varta Silver Dynamic type is suitable for your typical usage pattern?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  10. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    :thumb:I am with you on this :Wink::BigGrin:Plus you saved me looking for the link :thumb:
    terry
     
  11. Steve304

    Steve304 Read Only Funster

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    Hi JeanLuc, please confirm that you are referring to the Bosch S5 which is a car battery rated at 77 ah. This seems an odd choice when we are always being told to use Leisure batteries, due to their different way of coping with the need to recharge more frequently.

    I must admit that I have used these S5 batteries in cars before and always been impressed by their performance, but never considered them for my motorhome. As well as reduced cost, they are a lot lighter as well.

    Steve
     
  12. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Yes, that is what I am referring to although I have no experience of using them. The S5 and Varta Silver Dynamic are available in larger sizes than 77 Ah. Read this web page for more information.
    http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/battery-technology.php
     
  13. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I always reckon starter batteries are better for my purposes than leisure batteries. My house batteries have a periodic heavy discharge (Inverter) and are normally immediately (or soon after) recharged by solar.
    They aren't called on to deep cycle but occasional high amp discharge is required. Starter batteries probably have more appropriate characteristics. Traction batteries would be even better but much more expensive.
     
  14. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    Thanks for all the thoughts, it's confusing when u look into it.

    I am probably not looking to get another AGM , the ones I have are unbranded and I did get them at a reasonable price.

    I didn't realise the car battery page was aimed more at hook up we are more often than not off hook up.

    I will look at the cheaper lead acids on eBay.

    Those traction batteries that are 12v do they work the same as normal lead acid ones??

    Will the ebl 99 cope with 2 x 130ah or should I look at the 90ah??
    Thanks
     
  15. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    I have just spoken to the guy at easy start batteries and he has advised against the traction batteries as they gas a lot so I'm back to looking at a leisure battery vs the Bosch S5.

    I will give a and n a ring. It is confusing!
     
  16. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Just before you dive in and change both batteries it might be worth having them tested or check them closely yourself (I have presumed from your post you have at least 2 batteries)

    Last year I changed both of my gel batteries, nearly £200 each, once disconnected and removed I found that one was fine, but the failed one dragged them both down :Doh:
     
  17. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    Unfortunately I don't really know how to tell which is a dud! But even so I will not be able to get a replacement the same so both will have to go. Basic multimeter testing a showed they were both the same but something is definately a miss as they only lasted 24 hrs this weekend and went from 12.4 to 10.7 under a little load. In the past I could of been off hook up for at least 3-4 days.

    After speaking to A and N they do recommend the S5 for the EBL 99 although he would class our usage as heavy due to the fact we are off hook up a lot therefore discharging and then recharging via solar frequently.

    I just can't get my head round the fact it's not a leisure battery and it goes against what we are meant to need!
     
  18. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Obviously it will take longer to charge. If you look at the EBL page on A&N's website you will see that they recommend a battery bank size of 10 x the charging current. Since the EBL99 outputs 18 amps that suggests 180 Ah in total. However, I think there is a bit of leeway. As I mentioned, I have 2 x 110 Ah Elecsols (although there have been reports in the past that Elecsol stated their ratings in a non-standard way and that the 110 is actually a 100 Ah.
    I think you might be pushing things a bit with 260 Ah in the bank so 2 x 90 or 110 might be safer. There is always the option to add an additional charging module (LA1218) if you want to add a lot more battery capacity. But since you spend a lot of time off hookup, how are you charging batteries? If solar, then an extra charging module is not relevant.

    Out of interest, what did A&N recommend for your usage pattern, or are they still recommending S5?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  19. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    Our van has a Bosch battery that according to the receipt that came with the van was put in in 2009 and can't fault it never been flat yet:thumb:
    Don't know if I'd buy one though, I usually go for Chinese cheapys, always been ok on tractors and stuff:BigGrin:
     
  20. Stacetop

    Stacetop Funster

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    For our van they are suggesting that the S5 or Varta eq would be the most suitable and that the EBL would cope with a couple of them and they charge more efficiently and hold much more power. The resting rate is higher on the Bosch at 13v rather than 12.7 ish on Lead Acids.

    Forgot to add that we have a 90 w solar panel through lr1218
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
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