Leisure batteries

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by kijana, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. kijana

    kijana Read Only Funster

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    Our RV has a whole locker full of leisure batteries. We carry two 120 a/h + one 90a/h standard lead acid batteries, giving us 330 a/h in total. I'm told I'm not supposed to mix batteries of different capacity, as the smallest does all the work, but I had a nearly new 90a/h battery lying about so wired it in anyway.

    Despite such capacity, we have exhausted the batteries during prolonged spells of wildcamping, since we're reluctant to run our huge genny & don't have solar panels (yet).

    So when I come to replace the leisure batteries, which can't be far off now, which type should I use?

    There appears to be a fundamental problem with leisure batteries, since there are conflicting service conditions.

    There are three broad types avaialble: 1) 'ordinary' lead acid car type batteries; 2) deep cycle wet batteries 3) sealed gel batteries. All of these types are designed to satisfy different requirements.

    Type 1) is found in cars as starter batteries. They like to sit there all day long, being charged by the alternator constantly, so they stay at the same voltage all the time. Every morning & evening, & maybe a couple of times in between, they have to provide high starting currents to get the donkey running, but only for a few seconds. Since alternators provide high current at low rpm, the battery never has to do much so will last a long time under these conditions.

    Type 2) like to be charged fully, then discharged down to 10 or 10.5 volts, then charged back up again. They don't have a problem with this, unlike type 1) which will only take a few cycles and then give up. What deep cycle batteries don't like is being kept at a constant voltage by trickle charging.

    Type 3). I don't know what these batteries like. I do know Trinity House use them to power remote lightouses, where a bank of gel batteries is charged by solar panels over summer, and keeps the light powered up over winter.

    So now let's look at what I want from my leisure batteries. I spend most of my time either on hookup in aires or campsites, or driving around (when the batteries will be under charge from the alternator). Occasionally, I wildcamp, maybe for a few days, when the batteries will fully discharge.

    So type 1) will hate being fully discharged when I'm wildcamping.

    Type 2) will hate being kept at a constant voltage when I'm not wildcamping.

    Type 3) I don't know about.

    So what do I buy when my current set give up?

    TIA

    Bruce
     
  2. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

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    FWIW the latest advice I'm always given is 'Buy the cheapest as the differing conditions they will be put under means they will only last a few years anyway'.

    My batteries are almost always on charge and never discharge fully so that advice AND your info means I'll have a relatively easy choice when mine give up the ghost...

    HTH
    Bryan
     
  3. fordy

    fordy Deleted User

    Hi if when you get a new set of batteries get a solar panel to keep up the charge then at the same time get a decent controller unit it will charge\float charge\bulk charge and also cycle the battery's IE drain and recharge at set intervals so as not to get into the full charge full time prob, plus you can have power allmost all the time when you are useing the bus:Smile:

    FORDY:Smile:
     
  4. johnsandywhite

    johnsandywhite Read Only Funster

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    :Cool: Hi Bruce (Kijana). As you know (??) we have Solar Power. But when we are Wild Camping we always get to a situation where the batteries will be dishcharged. Like you? We do not like running the BIG Generator when all we want to do is charge the batteries. For this reason, we bought a 900W generator. Runs for around 4/5 evenings on a gallon of fuel and has enough power to boil kettles for Tea/Coffee, wathc TV/Satellite and charge the batteries enough for the next days basic use. Buy the biggest/cheapest batteries that you can fit in your lockers.
    I currently have 2 x 105ah batteries charged by Solar which runs all the 220/240 volts that we require through an 800 watt Inverter. I also have 6 x 100ah batteries that are charged through a relay from the 2 x 105ah that I switch manually. These 6 batteries are intended to be used through an 1800/3000W Inverter for any 110/120 volt supply that we may need. :Wink:
     
  5. kijana

    kijana Read Only Funster

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    Thanks, chaps.

    JSW, M & I had already more or less decided to go the 'suitcase' generator route. I don't know what our 4kW Onan burns, but I'm guessing around 3 gph. Seems power crazy to use it just to top up the bartteries. Anyway, the dog doesn't like it being on... I was interested that you find 900W sufficient. I'm strongly tempted to remove the Onan, make a locker where it was, put the baby genny in that, and finish up with more storage space & less weight!

    I guess we've missed out on the cheapo Kipur gennies. Any recommendations for an alternative? I like Honda quality, just don't like their price!

    You certainly seem to have the batteries for everything. Think I'm going to need the genny space for some extra batts! Then all we need is a giant invertor (bet they don't come cheap).

    We have been told about an English guy in Portugal who gives good prices on solar panels there. We hope to meet up with him when we go there next Spring, but if anyone has his email or phone number we'd be pleased to have it.

    Thanks as ever

    Bruce
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Bruce

    I'm of the same mind as you to buy a 1kva genny, torn between the Honda EU1 at around £580 or the Sterling 1,000 at £300 ..
    If I knew that the Sterling was of the same or similar quality to the Honda it would be a no brainer but I can't find out much info on the Sterling.. :Sad:

    http://www.snellyvision.co.uk/store/power/generators/1000w-digital-generator/prod_37.html
    However, I wouldn't ditch the on board genny because it can run both air cons..
     
  7. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    My advice is buy the Honda. I have had the big expensive (grey import) 2kw suitcase genny for 3 years, it runs all day and night on a snifff of petrol and its so quiet you will Forget to turn it off.

    If the 1kw one is the same build quality as the 2 then I would bite the bullet and buy it. it will give you years of quiet service and you can run your PC on it all day without a fear of a spike because of its stable inverted power:BigGrin:

    The copies that I have seen, including the Kippoor really do pale in comparison
     
  8. johnsandywhite

    johnsandywhite Read Only Funster

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    :Cool: Hi Bruce (Kijana). I used to run the 900W generator when Wild-Camping with the old Coachmen Classic. It had a True-Charge 40 fitted. I could (just about all at once) run the True-Charge 40 charger, the TV and Satellite and boil a 600 watt kettle. It cost us 120Euros around 5 years ago. You can now buy them for less than £50 at various places. It is a cheapo that is branded with different names. Never let us down in the 3 years that we used it. :Wink:

    :Cool: BTW. I bought my 110 volt Inverter from Canada :-

    http://tinyurl.com/2nzp5o
     
  9. kijana

    kijana Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Jim & John both

    Both at opposite ends of the scale. Choices - who needs them?

    John, what was the make of your 900W genny?

    I'll look into prices, but there's no point in guarantees or dealer backup when you live in a different carpark every other night. . . so maybe 2 cheapies will last as long as one dearie?

    I know removing the Onan is radical, but we really have hardly used it in 10 months. Yes, it will run the aircon, but it needs to run it for several hours to make any appreciable difference. And that's a lot of petrol.

    Space in lockers is just so important when your van's your only home - that and payload. I just keep thinking of how much of each I'd get ripping out the Onan.

    And think of the carbon credits I'd gain!
     
  10. johnsandywhite

    johnsandywhite Read Only Funster

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    :Cool: Off hand I cannot remember. We left it in the UK because we weren't needing it at the moment. You can see several similar ones that have different badge names on them on ebay:-

    http://tinyurl.com/2p4rbs
     
  11. kijana

    kijana Read Only Funster

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    OK, no worries John.

    I've googled generator and found loads. Even found a 4 stroke fairly cheap.

    So I'll get back to trying to make a decision. Should slow me down for a while.
     
  12. stephens

    stephens Deleted User

    batteries

    hi you three the best and cheapest are lead acid of a good make and change them all at the same time , as long as they are not in the van with you. gels do not give out as much plus are very expensive .hope you areall well steve jill and lessie.
     
  13. Marion

    Marion Deleted User

    Thanks for that Steve and Jill (and not forgettting Lessie - Bruce is still thinking - I believe. In case you didn't get my email we're fine just internet is virtually non-existent - hopefully see you in May
    Marion
     
  14. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi, there was a very detailed artile on the dark side on l/batts writen by a l/b maker(about 6 pages)in it he gave a v/good account on all batts but ended by saying what others have told you, lead acid were the most cost effective and cheapest.Wish I had kept it but I have changed computers and not yet got around all my favs etc,plenty on my plate getting used to vista:Rofl1::Eeek:
    terry
     
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