Where do I put a second leisure battery?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by errpaul, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. errpaul

    errpaul Funster

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    We have an autosleeper pollensa and the leisure battery is in the engine compartment.
    Our current battery is only 85ah and we will be wild camping in coming months and through the winter, using an electric heater on a thermostat overnight.

    Therefore I believe we will need another battery, but I'm not sure where it would go, as I know it's best to keep them close together. Also I'm confused how to connect an inverter, as I know this should be as close to the battery as possible, so again this being in th engine bay causes a problem as far as I can see.

    I am aware that I may need to change the current battery once our exact requirements are worked out, but I'm not sure if I can fit another battery or have to go for one large one.

    We will get a generator to enable us to top up batteries as and when required, again dependant on how long we stay in one location without EHU.
     
  2. Johns_Cross_Motorhomes

    Johns_Cross_Motorhomes Trader - Motorhome & Accessory Sales

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    How are you going to use an electric heater on a leisure battery?

    There were some cheap 850w gennys about at one time, about £50 good enough to run a battery charger off.

    Peter
     
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi

    Sorry, I don't know your van so can't advise on the location for fitting your second battery .. but in any case, you can't run an electric heater from a battery .. A 1kw heater draws 83A at 12v ... totally dead battery in less than an hour ..

    For wild camping in winter without ehu the only way to heat is using a gas or a diesel fuelled heater.. but even these draw a considerable amount of power.

    A second battery will extend your stay and can be charged from a genny.. if you have a decent charger, but from my experience an ehu is the most practical way if you want to stay in the one location for more than a couple of nights..
     
  4. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    The only way you can do that is with an Inverter if its 240Volt or if you have a 12 volt heater
    in either case you will need 1/2 a dozen batteries:Eeek:
     
  5. errpaul

    errpaul Funster

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    We have a small electric radiator which has a thermostat and has various power settings...we used it camping but on EHU. The most used power setting by us is 750w. I'd hoped to be able to plug this in using an inverter. I know we wont be able to run it constantly, which is where the thermostat comes in. We'd use gas when awake.

    Are there any of these cheap gennys still about?
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I think you missed my post, 750w will pull 62.5A , you can't heat a van using battery power unless you have a trailer full of batteries..
     
  7. errpaul

    errpaul Funster

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    Ah yes, I did miss it, sorry :Blush:
    I feel a bit stupid now:Blush:, new to it all and had always used EHU when camping and although only had 3 weekends away in the last 6 wks of haveing our MH we have again always used EHU. Guess you just take it for granted.
     
  8. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi , sometimes we do take it for granted but we all had to learn and it's a steep curve but there's no such thing as a stupid question .. only stupid answers .. no one knows it all.. been doing it for 20 odd years but never stopped learning.. :Wink:

    Keep asking and good luck with the new van :thumb:

    Jim
     
  9. Tony Lee

    Tony Lee Read Only Funster

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    Wherever you find to locate the second battery (maybe under a seat and use a sealed battery) you will need to use large enough cable to reduce the voltage drop to ensure both batteries charge evenly. You also need to protect against short circuits by fitting a fuse and it is a good idea to have an isolating switch for each battery as well. Not a trivial exercise if you want to do it properly.
    If you have a suitable spot inside, it may be better in the long run to buy two AGMs and fit them side by side and re-run all the wiring to the new location. The engine compartment is a lousy place to put leisure batteries anyway.

    There are flued gas heaters that take up little room, don't cost the earth and that don't have a circulating fan so these would keep you comfortable and wouldn't reduce your battery life.

    While you are digging deep in your pocket, don't forget a gas alarm and a CO/smoke detector just in case.
     
  10. pudseykeith

    pudseykeith Read Only Funster

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    Hi. If you locate a second battery in the living area make sure that any explosive gases produced when charging it is readily able to be vented directly out of the van and not being able to accumulate. The gas produced is highly exposive.

    Listen carefully to what the funsters have posted, they poses a wealth of experiance

    Pudseykeith. :thumb:
     
  11. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Hi, welcome to the world of wild camping, you do NOT need heating at night only an extra duvet or two, we have been as warm as toast down to -15, yes minus fifteen. go to bed to watch the TV or read and stay warm. If all else fails they do say sex generates a fair bit of heat, hee hee

    I would not recommend gas heating overnight, you might not wake up in the morning.blown air heating eberspatcher etc will be ok but still uses a lot of battery power

    B&Q or Homebase were selling an 850W genny for around £80 they are relatively quiet and have a 12v output as well as 240 so handy for battery charging. Don't be tempted by cheap solor panels, my 50Watts of cheapo panels only provide milliwatts unless in full sunshine, and then only 1.5 amps rather than the 3 amps the manufacturers claim.

    If you do add a second battery you should really replace as a matched pair or the smaller/older battery will pull the new one down to its level. Use suitable size cabling to reduce losses and add fuse protection.
     
  12. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

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    We have a Pescara and the same problem, one Leisure battery under the bonnet, we do have a solar panel on board and a small 850w genny in the back box.
    The place that I had thought of adding a second LB was to have a Beanie Box fitted.

    Regards

    ShiftZZ
     
  13. New Rover

    New Rover Read Only Funster

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    What am I doing wrong?
    I only have one 85AH leisure battery and I have no need to fit another. Very seldom do I use campsites, preferring to move on every day to a new location so the battery is being recharged every day. Like Roger (Wildman) says, use a higher tog Duvet or throw another blanket on the bed. I never have heating on in the van when we are sleeping but I do put it on for a little while in the morning before SWMBO gets up to make the breakfast.
    Am I roughing it?
    Granted if I was to park up somewhere for a week or so I can see the need but until then 1 battery is good enough for us.
     
  14. errpaul

    errpaul Funster

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    Sounds like the best way to keep warm...unfortunately not best practice with our 9 year old son in the overcab!! Need to make sure our next MH is bigger with a separate room at the rear...bit more private:Wink::Wink:
     
  15. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    As others have already mentioned, running a heater off a battery is a no go....flatten it within minutes.
    Nothing wrong with a leisure batt in the engine comp.....in fact some purpose built mh's/campervans fit them there as standard, so if it's good enough for them.......it's good enough for anyone. As for where to fit a second leisure battery depends mainly on what available spare space you have remembering to vent the battery if you fit it inside.

    Trekking round a local breakers yard i came across a van with a complete Eberspacher diesel heater fitted. A very rare find! These heaters are extremely efficient and cheap to run but very expensive to buy new (over £600). I wouldn't be surprised if it's still there too as not everyone knows what they are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  16. errpaul

    errpaul Funster

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    Thanks everyone for their replies so far. I reckon we'll give it a go with the current leisure battery and see how it goes. Then decide which way to go with batteries. Leaning towards one big capacity though and keep it in engine bay.

    So I'll need to fit an inverter, and I guess then try and fit this as close to the battery as possible....any suggestions??
     
  17. Tony Lee

    Tony Lee Read Only Funster

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    How and where you fit it depends largely on what size it is.

    What are you going to use the inverter for?


    BTW. Fitting a starting battery in the engine compartment may be acceptable (and note that many vehicles go to a lot of trouble to provide special ventilation shrouds to help the starting battery survive) but there is very little within an engine compartment that wouldn't last a hell of a lot longer if it were outside the engine compartment. Many manufacturers nowadays mount the battery anywhere BUT in the engine compartment. Unless your leisure battery charging system is fitted with battery temperature compensation (and even if it is), the engine compartment is the WORST possible place to mount it. If some MH builders do mount it there, it is only because they can't be bothered finding a better place.
     
  18. errpaul

    errpaul Funster

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    It'll be used for small kettle, TV/DVD, various chargers (phone, camera etc).
    There's a 1000w one on sale in Maplins at the moment so was thinking of getting that one.
     
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