Leisure Batteries, is there a magic number?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by veevee, May 13, 2016.

  1. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Is there a particular number of leisure batteries which works best?
    For example do 2, 4 or 6 batteries operate better than 1, 3 or 5 ? Or is it providing the battery(s) are in good condition any number can be fitted as required ?

    Thanks
     
  2. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    as a basic rule of thumb, your battery bank should not exceed 10x the amperage of your charger current. most modern vans have a 20 amp charger as standard, so 2x 100ah batteries. what you actually need though depends entirely on your power requirements. then you need to fit a suitable way to keep the batteries topped up

    you also need to consider the payload factor as each battery is about 25kg and a big conventional solar panel is similar. so 4 batteries and a couple of solar panels can weigh in excess of 150kg with wiring etc all in
     
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  3. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    We have the payload Big1, it's more whether it's necessary to balance the batteries in pairs or any number of batteries ie 3,5, 7 etc works as well.

    Have already bought 2 x 130 W panels and suitable Schaudt LRM 1218 solar regulator to go with the existing Elektroblock 101. The original Gel batteries are now 10 years old and perform like they are. They are only 80 Ah each too and the battery box doesn't allow for larger capacity batteries to be fitted, but as they Gel batteries I was thinking of building a second battery box to house one or two more batteries. Our general usage is more away from mains power than with it so a good battery bank and solar charging is what we need.

    Thank you
     
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Doesn't matter how many batteries you nail together, your 12v system and charger only see them as one big battery.
    Differing AH rating or maker doesn't matter but age does...old ones aren't as efficient as newer ones due to age.
     
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  5. Stealaway

    Stealaway Funster

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    You need to get an handle on how much you use the batteries.
    How much do you take from the battery's on a ordinary day/night and then calculate if you are fully recharging them the following day.
    Simple really but nobody can help with your individual usage. We know we have a totally different demand to most others and almost always off grid.
    If your battery's wont get you through the day/night you need more, if you're not charging them the next day you need more solar.
    You seem to have enough solar, I would recommend 3 x 110A good quality battery's. This basically what we have but we also tend to move on every day.
     
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  6. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    Depends on your useage which only you can know.
    We're heavy users and have 3 x 120amh traction batteries. Have plenty of charging capacity works well for us.
     
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  7. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I try to get as much battery and solar as I can. Limitations are price/weight and roof space.

    As a rule of thumb I try to get as close to matching watts on solar with Ah on battery.
    For my set up, 500AH and 500Watts would be ideal not always possible though.

    As for the charger, I want the biggest charger I can afford that will run off a 1Kw generator. I have therefore installed a 50Amp Sterling charger. This means in an emergency I run the charger for a lot less time, or it chargers the batteries fuller in a specific period of time.
     
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  8. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    So from what you write Gromett as we will have 260W of solar the ideal for us will be 3 x 80 Ah of batteries.

    Thanks
     
  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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  10. rogher

    rogher Funster

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    You can have any number of batteries in a bank but they must all be the same. I’d buy fewer big ones rather than more smaller ones to obtain a given total Ah. All the batteries will be drawn down to the performance of the weakest one, so there’s little point in adding a good battery to a weak bank. Change the whole bank when the time comes.
     
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  11. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    It is just a rough guideline. I would go for 3 x 110 rather than 3 x 80ah if you can fit them in.
     
  12. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    The reason I try to roughly match is, if you have too much solar then your batteries will charge up and the excess power is wasted. If you have too much battery in relation to solar then you never get fully charged. It really is just a guideline that I use and it has meant I can get quite far towards the winter months at each end of the year with my set up.
     
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  13. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    It's only the original 80 Ah battery size/make that will fit, very specific battery box with very specific fittings. Understand your thinking and that you they are only rough guide lines, but appreciated all the same.
    In the next 2 months I'll be replacing the original batteries which is why my thoughts have gone to an additional battery. The heater fan is one of the bigger consumers in respect it's on a lot and mostly when there is no solar input at night.
     
  14. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    You can fit Varta LFD90 sealed lead-acid (90Ah). They are the same size / format as the original Exide gels. I now have two of them and they seem good. Benefit of lead-acid if you are off-grid a lot is that they recharge much quicker than gels.
     
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  15. veevee

    veevee Funster

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    Philip, there is a label attached to the battery box and instruction in the Manual which state that only Gel batteries are to be used, do you know something that I should too? I like Varta batteries and in fact fitted 2 of that model to our previous Hymer, worked very well.

    Thanks
     
  16. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Hymer always state that only gel (or more recently AGM) batteries should be used. It is a German safety thing in case you turn the van over I think.
    I have used sealed lead-acid for the last two changes; firstly 2 x 110 Ah Elecsol (now defunct) then 2 x 90 Ah Varta since early 2015. It is vital that you fit venting tubes to the outside (my batteries are in a tray sunk into the floor beneath the L-shaped settee so the tubes go through a hole in the base of the box - sealed with a blob of mastic). The theory goes that gels don't need venting, but one of the original gels fitted in my van failed and filled the van with gas so I would always vent any battery now.
    Don't forget that you must change the selector switch on the EBL if changing battery types: it is a small slider on the front plate marked "blei-gel / blei-saür". Whatever you do, don't be tempted to fit AGM as the EBL101 is not suitable for them.
     
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