Which Battery?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by nokaii, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. nokaii

    nokaii Read Only Funster

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    We need to replace our leisure battery and a unsure which one to replace it with (the one we have now is not the original)

    We presume we should go for the biggest on we can fit and think we have enough room for a 100/110ah (302x172x225) but having looked around at what's available are now more confused than anything, so

    Is the make of the battery very important? ie should we stick to Lucas, Varta or similar

    There are some that are dual use is there any reason we should avoid these?

    Does it matter if it's a Leisure or a Marine battery?

    What's the difference between Gel & lead Acid and does it matter to us which one we get?

    Can anyone give us any other tips before we buy?

    Thanks in advance

    Karen & Steve
     
  2. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Leisure battery buying can be extremely confusing... the various types, manufacturers and most importantly price.

    I use my van full time and have four solar panels which charge 3x 110amp "leisure" batteries. I use "cheapo" batteries which I bought at a motorhome show from Frank's Caravans at around £50-£60 each.

    There are those who buy really expensive gel type and/or deep charge ones with main brand labels and swear by them...

    How often are you using the batteries? How often will you be "hooked up" to mains? Do you have huge piles of cash? How long is a piece of string?

    For me... cheap and cheerful and when they stop working properly buy another one :Wink:

    JJ


    PS. I believe Gel batteries are less prone to "spillage" problems (suitable for wave riding boats) but I have never spilt any battery spillage trouble (touch wood) in my van(s)...
     
  3. nokaii

    nokaii Read Only Funster

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    Hi JJ,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Solar Panels - That's a whole new set of questions!!:Eeek:

    We are relatively new to all this and have only been out half a dozen times since we bought the van late last year. We have only been on sites with hook-up so far because we know the battery is duff. We will use van just for weekends and holidays whilst we're still working full time but we would like to stay on quieter sites (we presume less facilities less people) and be more self-contained, we would also like to try wilding at some point.

    We thought perhaps we'd have to pay around £80 for a new battery

    Karen & Steve
     
  4. dellwood33

    dellwood33 Read Only Funster

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    Just like JJ, I have "Cheap" Leisure batteries from a motorhome show and have experienced no problems with them. Acid fill types, so just check the levels periodically & top up with distilled water as required.
    My van originally had a single 85 Ah battery, but I replaced it with 2 x 110 Ah units and a solar panel. :thumb::BigGrin:
     
  5. nokaii

    nokaii Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Dick & Barbara
     
  6. BriantheSnail

    BriantheSnail Read Only Funster

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    Certainly wouldn't go for Elecsol. Bought one to give a bit more duration. 110Ah. This was to replace a 3 year old Halfords 80 Ah. Duration time was less with the Elecsol by about an hour. Local supplier said it needed several charges and discharges before it reached it's full potential. After trying this over a week I called him to say there isn't any difference in performance. He asked to bring it back to do a discharge( drop ) test. Not what you need for the slow discharge that a leisure battery is supposed to be designed for.
    Addditionally we have a 13 year old tractor battery 95Ah that performs better than the Elecsol.
    Anyway replaced the battery and added an additional one with Varta. Chalk and cheese. Duration time plus nearly two hours for a single 110Ah in comparison with the Elecsol. Varta batteries 15 pounds each cheaper also.
     
  7. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Karen & Steve go for the cheapest lead acid batterys you can get :thumb: and expect around four/five yrs out of them :thumb: anything more is a bounus :thumb: If you check them regular/3 mths and keep them topped up and charged they will last a lot longer.:thumb::Wink:
    terry
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Gell batteries need a special charger or one with different charge options for lead/acid and gell.

    i believe gell batteries are better as the electolyte is held in suspension in the gell and constantly covers the plate so slows down the sulphation proccess.
    with a lead/acid, the acid can settle out of the water when discharged and vigorous charging at 14.4v remixes it....but only so many times.

    sulphation kills batteries and is caused by over discharging and not recharging properly.
     
  9. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    If you are buying a 'leisure' battery, go for Banner or Varta. These are the only two makes on the market which fulfill the relevant BS-EN standards. These were recently tested by MMM magazine and performed well.
    Both these batteries are good for a 80% discharge and you will get what you pay for!

    IMHO, everything else on the market is not fit for purpose and the continual supply of these products by the leisure industry needs investigating by the serious fraud office!

    If you want to wild camp often and want the ultimate in battery endurance, dig deep into your wallet, look up your local forklift battery man in the local directory and buy a proper traction monoblock battery. Brands to look for are- Dyno, Trojan, Hawker and CMP.
    These are typically used in floor sweepers, golf carts, etc and will reward your investment with a long life for the small price of an occasional top up of distilled water.:Smile:
     
  10. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    Where did you get that one from, or did you make it up yourself?

    Doug...
     
  11. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    as an engineer Doug, you should have heard of stratification.


    Stratification

    A typical lead-acid battery contains a mixture with varying concentrations of water and acid. There is a slight difference in density between water and acid, and if the battery is allowed to sit idle for long periods of time, the mixture can separate into distinct layers with the water rising to the top and the acid sinking to the bottom. This results in a difference of acid concentration across the surface of the plates, and can lead to greater corrosion of the bottom half of the plates.[4]
    Frequent charging and discharging tends to stir up the mixture, since the electrolysis of water during charging forms hydrogen and oxygen bubbles that rise and displace the liquid as the bubbles move upward. Batteries in moving vehicles are also subject to sloshing and splashing in the cells, as the vehicle accelerates, brakes, and turns.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead%E2%80%93acid_battery#Discharge

    given more time i can find many more sites with the same results.
     
  12. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Good info John....

    the reason why GEL are generally used for UPS, emergency lighting in hospitals and emergency shut down systems in high risk industries such as nuclear power stations , off shore oil platforms, refineries etc..

    If your van isn't in that category ... basically a waste of money
     
  13. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    Oh yes I know it, but it does not apply in this case. a moving vehicle with the battery being charged and discharged will not suffer from the "acid settling to the bottom"

    The only thing that post did was to increase your post count!!

    Doug...
     
  14. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    No need to be rude Doug, maybe stay in bed a little longer if you wake up so grumpy:Laughing:
     
  15. tony_g

    tony_g Funster

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    'Dry fill'

    Just want to add my dumb question to the thread. My Burstner manual refers to 'dry fill' living area battery. Is that the same as gel? It also refers to a switch on the Electroblock/Rectifier which has to be set according to which kind of battery is fitted. I not only want to add a second battery but want to be sure the setting is correct.
    The dealer fitted a new leisure battery when I bought the MH in the autumn and, to put it politely, I am not 100% convinced the setting will be correct. :Laughing::Laughing::Laughing:
     
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