battery questions and going nuts (1 Viewer)

Aug 17, 2012
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I am trying to decide one battery or two leasure batteries - and then what kind
i have bought a van with 2 pooped wet cell batteries - few month ago went to france and soon realised they were pooped - a bit of use and they dropped to about 11.1 - anyway - i have lotsa of questions
i use ehu during the year but go off grid 3 weeks a year when on aires in france and spain. so i think lifepo4 is over kill.
so its between cheap wet cell and AGM i think, i have a smart alternator and factory fit solar panels. I think im right in thinking i would need a B2B charger to charge EFB & AGM but im guessing i would be fine with couple of NORMAL but decent batteries like a Platinum 100ah.
Also, the solar panel is controlled by what exactly - how many volts does that send to the batteries. and if i did go AGM and B2B, how would that affect/ work with it - ie 14.6v from a B2B, but what would come from the solar panel ?
.
i have a smart alternator on my 2016 merc based autosleeper winchcombe and 2 pooped ( now 7 years old) normal 100ah batteries under the seat. so do i get 2 normal batteries for say 250 a pair - or Agm/Ebf and a b2b which would make the bill about 600 quid ?

I know a smart alternater drops to about 12.5 when it thinks the engine battery is charged but i get round that by putting on my headlights ( yes it really does work ) and it increases to about 13.6v
 
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Tombola

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If the leads work for you and cost.is a factor then stick with.
Solar panels need to go through a controller which I'm guessing is already in the van if panels are fitted. Follow the cables.
If it has been took out then mppt solar controllers are the best to make the most of the power available but cheaper pwm versions can be used with lead acid batts, just not as efficient.

B2b yes will get you charge as you drive aswell as solar. You don't say how much solar..possibly 100w panel if a factory fit job..and the solar controller and b2b should regulate the charge if you buy sensible.
Remember you can also always fit manual switches inline of both the b2b cables and solar cables if you'd like to manually switch them off...also comes in handy if you want to work on either device instead of disconnecting cables etc.
 
OP
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Aug 17, 2012
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I think I'm leaning towards ordinary as I don't have a clue what a charging profile is😟 unless you mean b2b thing. I thought AGM were the way to go over flooded ordinary batteries but needed a b2b, and now you mention gel ? Wtf is gel and where does it sit in battery benefit as a leasure battery ? I am soo confused.
 

funflair

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I think I'm leaning towards ordinary as I don't have a clue what a charging profile is😟 unless you mean b2b thing. I thought AGM were the way to go over flooded ordinary batteries but needed a b2b, and now you mention gel ? Wtf is gel and where does it sit in battery benefit as a leasure battery ? I am soo confused.
A charging profile is simply how the batteries are charged, so how many volts and amps and for how long, all you need to do is slide the switch on the charge source to the correct setting BUT the setting needs to be there in the first place so that's the first thing to check ;) so that's Mains charger Solar regulator and B2B if you have one.

As for batteries ordinary or flooded lead acid, AGM and Gel are all basically the same chemistry, with flooded the acid is just sat there, AGM the acid is Absorbed in Glass fibre Mat between the battery plates, and Gel the acid is in the form of a Gel, AGM are a bit marmite as some hate them and other have got on OK, Gel's are usually very reliable and tend to like a steady load rather than big loads like starting or big inverters, ordinary or flooded are the usually the cheapest but of course there are good and bad in any type but a good rule of thumb is go for something that is heavy and not too cheap, it certainly wants to be sealed as using a lot of EHU would dry out a not sealed battery, I would go Exide Gel personally as they are well sealed and heavy and as an added bonus they can be discharged lower than flooded or AGM so you get a bit more power to use when you are on an aire.

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Terry

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Dec 27, 2007
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Hi, in my opinion you should buy one Lipo4 battery (100 amp £360) and another 100 w solar panel (£100)with your b2b ( £ 80 ish) and check your charger to see if it will charge lipo4 ? If not you can buy a charger ( £100 ish) total £560 /660 if charger needed. You will have more useable capacity from one lipo 4 (100 amps) than your 2x 100p Platinum batts (£150 ish each) save a lot of weight and future proof your van ie easy to add another lipo battery.
Remember you should only discharge FLA to 50%. Also you could save £100 by getting cheaper FLA instead of the Platinum ones 😉
 

suavecarve

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I m wondering if you need 2 batteries.
3 weeks on Aires and presuming no electric input so charging from solar and alternator.
Presumption that your usage of electric is not much (no ebikes gas fridge cooker microwave) then full SOC is likely to return quickly with solar and travel.
Forking out a few hundred quid on the off chance of not moving whilst it's raining in France or Spain and no hook up available seems overkill against the 49 weeks of 240 volt to me
 
Jul 29, 2013
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roadwarrior We have had AGM for five years in our existing van without problems and our previous two vans had them without any issues at all😊
 
Jul 29, 2013
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I’ve never had a B2B but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one, as far as I’m aware you can use one on any battery bank?🤔
 
Jan 5, 2014
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With your knowledge, and my own experience of Auto Sleepers and the Sargent control system I would suggest that you replace like with like! What is fitted at the moment has probably worked fine for the owner for the last 6 years, and until you understand everything you will likely become even more confused. It will be a lot cheaper as well! This is a very helpful forum but can be very confusing as there are so many options available!!!

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Lenny HB

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As you have an Autosleeper I doubt that the charger will have the correct profiles for AGM or Gel. IMO AGM are a waste of time for leisure use and often don't last long. Gel's are excellent but I doubt if your charger can charge them properly.

For your use I would probably stick with a branded SLA like Varta or Exide or for a cheaper option Hankook.

As you have a smart alternator you may already have a B2B most converters fit a B2B with a smart alternator as otherwise you get naff all leisure battery charge.
 
Feb 5, 2022
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Check the dimensions of your batteries!
I have just changed from single lead acid to 2x gel batteries as they were the only batteries to fit under the space available under my German pvc passenger seat.
My van has the capacity to charge lead acid or gel (ebl charger).
 
Apr 27, 2016
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so its between cheap wet cell and AGM i think, i have a smart alternator and factory fit solar panels. I think im right in thinking i would need a B2B charger to charge EFB & AGM but im guessing i would be fine with couple of NORMAL but decent batteries like a Platinum 100ah.
EFB is Enhanced Flooded Battery. It is charged in the same way as a standard flooded battery, but has a few extras in that it is sealed and the plates are a better design. But a B2B is always good idea with a smart alternator. You can fool it by switching on the headlights to some extent, but if it only gets up to 13.6V that's not ideal for charging anyway.

What distribution/fusebox is fitted? A Sargent unit, I guess. Since you spend a long time on EHU, I'd check that the existing mains charger is a smart charger. That will charge the batteries better, and keep them topped up without overcharging if left connected for a long time. The existing charger might be smart already - if it isn't, I suggest upgrading that.
Also, the solar panel is controlled by what exactly - how many volts does that send to the batteries. and if i did go AGM and B2B, how would that affect/ work with it - ie 14.6v from a B2B, but what would come from the solar panel
A solar panel bigger than about 10W has a solar controller, which controls the voltage and current into a battery. Some are better than others. The cheaper ones just prevent overcharging. The better ones control the loading of the panel to extract the maximum power, and control the output to optimise the battery charging while sensing the battery state. They are called MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) Controllers.

A solar controller, like any charger, will have diodes (electrical one-way valves) in the output, to prevent any back-feeding into it. It can be safely connected to a battery at the same time as a B2B or mains charger, and the charger with the highest voltage gets to do the charging, the others just back off. With any luck, they will both contribute to the charging.
 
Jul 5, 2013
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Check the dimensions of your batteries!
I have just changed from single lead acid to 2x gel batteries as they were the only batteries to fit under the space available under my German pvc passenger seat.
My van has the capacity to charge lead acid or gel (ebl charger).
Several LiFePo4 battery providers offer low profile versions to cover this problem. My lithium batteries are from KS and are only 190mm high, including the connection posts.
 
Jan 17, 2013
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I have a 2018 Auto-Sleeper Bourton. I think your system will be similar. The battery charger is a Sargent PX300 and as Lenny says is best suited to flooded batteries. The solar charger is a very cheap PWM and many owners upgrade to a MPPT charger. Depending on your Sargent control panel you may have the smart charging profile that will give you charging to both the leisure batteries and the vehicle battery. Quite a few owners bypass the Sargent system and install a MPPT dual battery solar charger.

The Auto-Sleepers owners forum will have chapter and verse on this and are very helpful.


https://www.autosleeper-ownersforum.com/

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Last edited:

hja

May 8, 2020
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I can’t comment on all the technical stuff up above, but what I would say, given that more sites in the uk are metering electricity are you more likely to opt for off grip in the uk in the future and would that effect your choice?
 
Jan 8, 2013
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i use ehu during the year but go off grid 3 weeks a year when on aires in france and spain. so i think lifepo4 is over kill.
so its between cheap wet cell and AGM i think, i have a smart alternator and factory fit solar panels. I think im right in thinking i would need a B2B charger to charge EFB & AGM but im guessing i would be fine with couple of NORMAL but decent batteries like a Platinum 100ah.
Also, the solar panel is controlled by what exactly - how many volts does that send to the batteries. and if i did go AGM and B2B, how would that affect/ work with it - ie 14.6v from a B2B, but what would come from the solar panel ?
I would suggest that you will need at least 200W of solar power to have a reliable electrical charge/ supply.
The solar controllers are designed to charge batteries at an optimum rate depending on the size and state of charge.
In my experience the charging voltages on wet batteries seem to take care of its self no mater from which supply.
If you have room for two 100ah battery you could have room for bigger ones - that only tend to be a little taller.
 

JJ

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IMO AGM are a waste of time for leisure use and often don't last long
Mr Lenny HB is well known for his anti AGM batteries war (I believe he had one once that let him down) but I know many, many experienced long time motorhomers (me included) who have used AGM leisure batteries for years and years without any trouble.

I believe with all the stuff posted on here about electrics leads many less experienced vanners to spend fortunes on stuff like MPPT solar controllers/chargers and B2B thingies etc etc which are not really needed at all.

If I were the OP I would remove his old pair of batteries and replace them with new ones (same spec) and carry on enjoying his van.

If one is only spending 3 weeks off EHU one doesn't really need all the pricey palaver...

JJ :cool:
 
OP
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roadwarrior
Aug 17, 2012
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thank you everybody - a lifetime of experiance is very obvious ... much as i love gismos and technology, as i said hand on heart i cant really justify spending lots of dosh for 3 weeks a year off grid - so im gonna go with 2 decent ordinary batteries for a couple of years till the wife retires - then its 3 months at a time hopefully .. who knows eh ..

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Jan 8, 2013
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Mr Lenny HB is well known for his anti AGM batteries war (I believe he had one once that let him down) but I know many, many experienced long time motorhomers (me included) who have used AGM leisure batteries for years and years without any trouble.
If you spend most of your camping on EHU then the AGM and any other batteries are going to last years
 
OP
OP
roadwarrior
Aug 17, 2012
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truth be known im just marking time till she retires thrn it will all change i really hope, out of curiosity, how long have I gotta wait after thr 90 limiet before i can go again ?
 
Dec 22, 2018
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You haven’t said what batteries you have or what your usage is.

I have one of those Yuasa L36-EFB. Apparently Halfords have it rebadged. A bit better than bog standard lead acid. A good option if you don’t want/need to go crazy expensive - and it sounds like you don’t.

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OP
OP
roadwarrior
Aug 17, 2012
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so 90 days after my 90 days i can go again ?
 
OP
OP
roadwarrior
Aug 17, 2012
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Halfords Leisure Battery HLB700 = Yuasa L36-EFB - is that it ?​

halfords is another 70 quid more ... is that right ?
 
Dec 22, 2018
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