Battery condition - guidance please chaps

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by JeanLuc, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I think I know the answer to this but would appreciate a second opinion from one (or more) in the know.
    I have 2 x 110Ah Elecsol batteries - they are over 6 years old. Most of our time is spent off-grid but we have a 135W solar panel that keeps them topped up very well between April and October.
    Last September, the system shut down on us unexpectedly in France when I thought the batteries would still have had a decent level of charge. That was after about 4 weeks without hook-up. Following 2 days on hook-up we carried on for another 2 weeks without problem, relying only on the solar panel and alternator when driving.
    I have just been doing some rewiring and took the opportunity to disconnect the batteries and test them. They were previously fully charged but had rested for 48 hours without any load before I proceeded with a test.
    Here comes the question. After about 6 hours discharging one battery using a 21W bulb, it appeared to recover charge OK after resting, to around 12.5 volts. I then proceeded to do the same test with the second battery. This time, before disconnecting the lamp after 6 hours, I tested the voltage across the terminals whilst it was under load - 9.2 volts! At that level, the EBL would have shut down the system (as it did in France). I think it is time for two new batteries - Agreed?
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Agreed. I'd replace them with two Banners. (y)
     
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  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    in September the solar is not working at its best due to the low angle of the sun. However your test shows a marked discrepancy between the two batteries and at 6 years old they have done well.
    So yes time for some new ones, try battery megastore at tewkesbury.
     
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  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Less than 2 amps would not drag the on-load voltage to 9.2v.

    A fully charged starter battery may show that voltage while starting the engine....400amps load or more.

    6 years from elecsols must be the exception...certainly not the norm, which could be why they stopped trading.
    evidently nothing but trouble and a three year warrenty not worth the paper it was written on
     
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  5. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Thanks all - you have confirmed my thoughts and I'll get a couple of new ones.
    Not sure about the Banners Jim although I accept that they are good batteries, they are not sealed and this is an internal installation. I do have vent tubes already though.
    I have been thinking of getting Varta 'professional leisure' which are sealed and use calcium technology. They also make the low profile that the Hymer requires model LFD90
     
  6. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Mine came with 7 yr warranty but I didn't buy or choose them myself.
     
  7. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Not sure either, I've been told they don't need venting but don't know how true that is. I think @Techno100 prefers another brand of battery, but can't remember the make.
     
  8. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    A number of brand names cover the same battery Jim
    from Alphaline to Numax but it is a DC31 125ah 4 yr warranty at around £85 delivered.

    Banner are not sealed and require topping up if overcharged. Sealed batteries have labyrinths to keep the electrolyte from leaving the confines of the unit.

    Typical example
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/125Ah-Han...478?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item3aa5042536

    The battery terminal connections offer superb flexibility for adding extras
     
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  9. kaasbroodje

    kaasbroodje Funster

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    Fwiw I fitted a Varta LFD180 and am delighted with it.

    Previously had an Elecsol 220ah (from Vanbitz) and a sealed calcium 225ah Xplorer (from Alpha Batteries)

    This one, supplied by Eurobatt, holds a good charge, I get a good 24hrs longer than before, even in cold temperatures.

    This despite it being 40ah smaller on paper...

    Not a scientific study, just my observation (y)
     
  10. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    although you have had a good life out of your batteries, this does highlight a potential issue of multiple batteries

    when we bought our used MH I couldn't make sensor of the 12V side of things, (mainly my lack of knowledge and understanding) but massively aggravated by one of the two batteries fitted having failed

    On charge all seems well, off charge nothing worked

    I opted to replace both, but then found out one was completely gone the other was still very good and has gone on to give 2 more years good service for a friend in need, but the one failed battery completely skewed the voltage from the pair, dropping the combined voltage well below 10V despite one having nearly 13V

    I am sure you are well aware of this Philip, just adding this to a thread to possibly assist other low tech MHers like me
     
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  11. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Thanks for all the observations and suggestions everyone. I know Techno has had good experience with the Alphaline and I have not discounted it. But having spoken to the Varta technical people and done a bit of research, I'm tending towards 2 x LFD90 (professional dual-purpose). I think for all practical purposes, Varta's 2x90 Ah may be the same as Elecsol's 2x110 Ah; I seem to remember that there was some controversy over the way Elecsol quoted their capacities (not using the 20 hour standard).
    I am limited to the size / format of the original equipment Exide 80Ah gels 353 x 175 x 190 high and that is the same as the Varta LFD90.

    In case it is of interest to anyone, I specifically discussed with Varta, the matter of using the their Silver Dynamic (same as Bosch Silverline) as recommended by A&N Caravan Services. These are starter batteries that are designed to recharge very quickly. A&N state on their website that they are better for motorhome use than a standard leisure battery. Varta said that whilst they were delighted to have their batteries promoted, they would not recommend the Silver Dynamic for leisure use and that they were the people who had to honour their product warranty.
     
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  12. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Given your specific fitment I'd stick with your plan (y)
     
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  13. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    I've recently replaced my failing 3 year old Elecsols with Banners. They are sealed other than the need for the single vent tube (ie individual cell caps are sealed). Mine are under the drivers seat & are vented via the vent tubes.
     
  14. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Not really John. Philip is in good company, as ours lasted just over seven years. (y)

    I was very pleased with our Elecsols, and had one in a caravan for some years before.

    With good advice and help on here from Jon (@jonandshell ) we, and Forestboy are on Trojan traction batteries on our Hymers. They are great batteries, but do need monitoring for electrolyte levels ocassionally, so no good for installation under "difficult to remove" seats.

    @Jean-luc , Philip, I am pleased to read Varta's response to the A&N article re the Silver technology batteries. Good luck with your replacements. (y)

    Cheers,

    Jock.
     
  15. ebo

    ebo Read Only Funster

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    Anyone know if the Sargent PSU2007 would cope with charging two 125ah together? Is there any issues around the more batteries you have? Andy's link to the Hankook seems a great deal.
     
  16. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Apart from never completely charging them, no problems at all!
    Sargent don't really make a great split charge system, their cables are too thin and the resultant voltage drop ensures only minimal charging current with the engine running.
    EHU charging would be fine though.
     
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  17. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Should not be a problem but a phone call to Sargent will put your mind at ease. Technical dept 01482 678981
     
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  18. WAG2CRU

    WAG2CRU Read Only Funster

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    I am no expert on batteries but after many years of sorting out charging systems and batteries on sailing boats, which is a challenging environment for batteries, I found Merlin Power Pack multi purpose batteries to give excellent performance particularly the 113ah 31T which is a Trojan battery and seems ideal for motorhomes. Have a look at power-store.com.
     
  19. ebo

    ebo Read Only Funster

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    Thanks jonandshell & Techno100 emailed Sargent came back with fast reply 'wont be a problem'
     
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