Battery swap

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Jandc, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Jandc

    Jandc Read Only Funster

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    Our new to us Carthago 2014 C Tourer 143 has one Exide gel 80amphr battery. We had, about 4 months ago, bought 2 new 110amphr lead acid batteries for previous van and have kept these. We have solar panel and are off grid quite a lot.
    Could I ask the experts
    1) can and should we swap the batteries
    2) do we need to do anything other than cover the solar panel when we disconnect the battery
    3) will it effect any of the control panels etc or is it simple swap
    4) do we need to do anything with the charger

    Sorry for stupid questions but we don't want to mess things up, neither do we want to pay dealer rates for something if we can do it easily. We did the deed OK in our previous van

    Thanks for your help
    Janis.
     
  2. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    It depends on the precise equipment that your Carthago has (charger, solar controller etc) but in principle I would do the following.
    • Either cover the solar panel to exclude sunlight or disconnect its +ve feed into the solar regulator.
    • Pull all fuses between habitation battery and charger and between starter battery and charger (for example, in my Hymer with a Schaudt Elektrobloc there is a 50 amp fuse next to the hab. batteries and a smaller fuse next to it - and a 50 amp fuse next to the starter battery and a 30 amp one for the fridge supply next to it).
    • Ensure you change the battery selector for the charger from gel to lead-acid. Your instructions should explain the location of this. On some systems it is a small slide switch on the charger but there may be other methods of doing it - e.g. via a control panel. Failure to do this will cook your batteries as the gel programme runs the second main charging stage for much longer than is required by lead-acid.
    Depending on the control panel system used in your van, you may then need to reprogramme it with details of the new larger hab. battery capacity, otherwise it will not be able to record the amount of power used and remaining.
     
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  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    1) If you swop lead acid for gel, unless they are in a vented locker, they need vented to outside the van ..
    2) Remove the fuse(s) for the solar panel feed, and any other main fuses beside the battery
    3)Don't know your control panel so can't answer
    4) The charger should have a selector switch for Gel or Lead acid

    If the new batteries are not fitted next to each other the interconnecting positive cable must be fused at BOTH ends..
     
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  4. Jandc

    Jandc Read Only Funster

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    Many thanks to both for your quick response
     
  5. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    If you let us have the numbers of the new batteries we can work out if they are vented to atmosphere, or like many of the better ones have an internal expansion chamber so gases are contained during charging and then reabsorbed when charge finished
     
  6. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    The C tourer has a CBE charger and control panel & charger, I would check with CBE/Carthago if any procedure is needed when disconnecting batteries, sorry I can't help with CBE.
    Where the batteries are located in a C Tourer you would definitely need to fit ventilation tubes to the outside world with wet cell batteries.
    If it was me I would add another Gel battery, it would give you a bit more capacity as Gel can be safely run to 80% DOD although they do take longer to charge.

    Also have you had a measure up as the Gel's are a low profile battery and height wise not a lot of space above them in the C Tourer (my mate has one), there are only a few 90 A/H batteries the same height, not seen any bigger batteries in a size that would fit.
     
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  7. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    You say the original is an EXIDE Gel 80ah, this is measured and quoted at the 5hr discharge rate at the more standard 20hr rate it would be 100 or 110ah.

    I'm with Lenny in the "put another Gel on" camp.

    Martin
     
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  8. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I have read that before and was going to make the same point, then I checked the Exide website and they state that the capacity is measured at the 20 hour rate - see image below (the ES 900 is the model concerned).

    I too would probably go for another Gel if the original is only 2 years old. Having said that, I switched to Varta 90Ah lead acid last time!)

    upload_2016-4-23_9-30-51.png
     
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  9. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    @JeanLuc I take your point, when these EXIDES were badged G80 I am sure they quoted 5hr, now the same battery is badged ES900 and indeed they quote 20hr rate so I wonder if this is when things changed.

    Martin
     
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  10. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    I knew they now quoted them at 20hr rate but didn't bother commenting as they will still out perform a wet cell with the advantage you still get a long life at 80% DOD.

    The Duel battery in this chart is one of Exide's top quality flooded cell leisure batteries which will out perform most other flooded cells (traction batteries excepted).

    upload_2016-4-23_10-23-13.png
     
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  11. Jandc

    Jandc Read Only Funster

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    Thanks all, perhaps we need to put money to another gel. Would we need to buy 2 new ones as we did with lead acid?
     
  12. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Just add one more Gel to the one you have already, if its same type and size all should be OK.

    Martin
     
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  13. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Others with more knowledge of gels may differ, but if it was me, I think I'd add one extra to match the original. As you have a 2014 van, the existing battery can have had only 18 months - 2 years use. Provided it has been used carefully and the battery has been kept charged, it should be in good condition.
     
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  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Gel's usually last around 6 years or more often see reports of 9 years. I would do a thorough check on existing battery and if it looks OK add a second.

    To check it get it fully charged, disconnect the solar panel then:

    Load it with a 5 amp load (turn lights etc., on in the van) run for 4 hours, turn off load wait an hour and check voltage, that will be a 25% discharge.
    Repeat above, you will then be down to 50%.
    Repeat above and it will be 75% discharged.

    Do not go below 75% discharge and before someone says never go below 50%, 75% won't harm a Gel battery and certainly not on the odd occasion they can stand 80% regularly and still give a long life.

    If you figures are as in this table or better battery is in good health.

    upload_2016-4-23_18-37-35.png
     
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  15. Jandc

    Jandc Read Only Funster

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    Thanks again. Very interesting regarding life and discharge rates. Will check it tomorrow
     
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