Leisure Battery Sizes (1 Viewer)

ChrisA1

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I'm looking at installing a Leisure Battery and wondered what people's thought are on what is the best size/class to get. Not planning on being off grid for large periods of time so I'm thinking I don't need an A. Is a B a big improvement on a C? Everything refers to powering a motor mover as the main difference, but what is that in real everyday appliance terms? Say with the kids if I wanted a TV for a few hours, a lamp at night for a while and possibly say a fridge etc, over a maximum 2 day period, what do I need? I did have a quick look in my local Halfords earlier today but a few more opinions before I decide would be much appreciated. Many thanks
 

pappajohn

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Ignore the A, B and C ratings.
Batteries are rated in amp hours or watt hours... More commonly amp hours.

The most common capacity is 110amp hour.
It shouldn't be discharged below 50% to prolong its life so the real use is 55amps.
You can work out your avarage usage by adding all the wattage of the appliances such as TV at maybe 36 watts (3amps) per hour, halogen lights maybe 10 watts (0.9 amp) each per hour.
Watts divided by volts (12) equals amps

Unless your fridge is a compressor fridge it should ideally be run on gas or mains.
They consume too many amps to run on a leisure battery
They do run on the engine battery but only when the engine is running.
If space and funds aren't a problem two batteries are much better than a single battery.
That would, of course, double your capacity and time off grid.
 
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You are referring to the NCC battery rating scheme which is a complete con. They claim to independently test the batteries but they don't. They just rely upon the information the battery sellers give them without verifying it.

Look at the capacity, rated in Amp hours, which is a good start. Find out how many amps each appliance uses (divide stated watts by 12 to get a rough guide) then multiply it by the number of hours you will use it to get the Amp hours. But then remember that a standard battery should not be discharged below 50% capacity so divide the actual capacity by 2 to get the usable capacity. Spend some more money on a Gel battery and you can discharge it to a lower figure, I think 80% but I may be wrong on that.

I am sure somebody like @Lenny HB will be along soon to help you choose which make is best.
 
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Ignore the A, B and C ratings.
Batteries are rated in amp hours or watt hours... More commonly amp hours.

The most common capacity is 110amp hour.
It shouldn't be discharged below 50% to prolong its life so the real use is 55amps.
You can work out your avarage usage by adding all the wattage of the appliances such as TV at maybe 36 watts (3amps) per hour, halogen lights maybe 10 watts (0.9 amp) each per hour.
Watts divided by volts (12) equals amps

Unless your fridge is a compressor fridge it should ideally be run on gas or mains.
They consume too many amps to run on a leisure battery
They do run on the engine battery but only when the engine is running.
If space and funds aren't a problem two batteries are much better than a single battery.
That would, of course, double your capacity and time off grid.
Surely no-one uses halogen lights anymore!. On a slightly different matter we have diesel heating and it takes alot of battery power to get started (glow plug). A lot of people say because of this they start the engine to reduce battery load but from my understanding is the energy supplied to the hab battery will be very low and make little difference unless theres a b2b
 
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funflair

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When you are looking at battery specs dont forget to look at the weight, OK lithium is different but with lead technology so Flooded, AGM or Gel heavy is good, if you are not going to be a big user Flooded lead acid would be OK but if you want more capacity and reliability I would go for Gel as they can be discharged to 20% capacity, yes they are more money so you have to balance it all.

Whatever you do I would add a bit of solar if you haven't already.

Oh and don't forget to check what you charger will support.

Martin

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Fit the biggest one or two you can. If two, fit the exact same battery at the same time.
Don't run fridge's on battery, use gas.
This is a simple tip and AGM or Gel type are best.
Phil
 
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ChrisA1

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Brilliant, thanks all. Can anyone provide me with a link for well priced AGM/Gel batteries please?
 
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Lenny HB

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Gels are probably the best value for money, a bit more expensive but you get more capacity for a given size as it is safe to discharge to 20%. They have an incredibly long life at least 6 but 10 years plus is quite common but the do need a charger that is able to charge them correctly.

Otherwise a good quality flooded from Vata or Exide.

AGM, best place is the rubbish bin, totally useless for leisure use and you will be lucky if they last a couple of years before losing capacity.
 
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ChrisA1

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Are wet batteries safe with the gases they give off? I read somewhere this is something to consider when choosing a Leisure Battery.
 
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Lenny HB

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For a Gel Sonnenschein GF12065Y it is 78a/h (not 75 quoted by Tayna) is almost identical to the Exide ES900/G80, Sonnenshein are an Exide company and make the Exide Gels.

Don't even think about AGM, totally useless for leisure use, even the car manufacturers are ditching them due to reliability problems.

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Lenny HB

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Are wet batteries safe with the gases they give off? I read somewhere this is something to consider when choosing a Leisure Battery.
The Varta LDF range which is a good battery for leisure use is sealed but is does have vent tubes and it is best to vent it for safety in case of fault conditions.
 
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Energy usage is an individual thing, depending on your lifestyle. However, there's a reason most MHs come with a leisure battery of about 100 amp-hours. That will last nearly everyone on an overnight stop, and many for a whole weekend away. Especially in summer when you're not using the lights and heater so much. Bearing in mind that most leisure batteries shouldn't be discharged below 50%, that means 50 amp-hours is a good starting point when thinking about energy use.

If you want more, you'll realise that a 100 amp-hours battery weighs nearly 30kg, which is as much as most people want to heave in and out of a restricted space. So to get more, you add a second battery in parallel. In fact many have four.

There are two types of fridges. A standard kitchen fridge uses a compressor with an electric motor and runs entirely on electricity. There are 12 volt versions which recently have become quieter and more efficient, and are becoming more popular. Even the most efficient ones use quite a lot of power, but that can be catered for if that's what you want.

However most motorhome fridges are the 'absorption' type. A heater drives the circulation of the complex refrigerant which magically produces cooling. The heater can be gas, 12v electric or mains electric. Many have all three heaters installed, and a control circuit that automatically selects between them. Also they are quieter than compressor fridges. To make the battery power last, they are usually run on gas while not connected to the mains.

The other approach is to add solar panels. A 100 watt panel will struggle to produce 50 amp-hours even on a long sunny summer day, but it is enough for some, and at very least will extend the time before you need to recharge.
 
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Apr 27, 2016
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Are wet batteries safe with the gases they give off?
Battery technology has moved on. The reason the old batteries produce gas and need topping up has been discovered and the problem solved. Basically it was due to impurities (eg antimony) added to the lead to make it stronger. Alternatives were found (calcium, silver etc) so that gas is no longer produced as a routine part of the battery cycle.

However if there is a fault (with the battery or the charger) then gas can be produced, and a vent is provided so that the gas can be safely ducted away.

The old-style batteries are still available (they are cheaper and still OK for many applications), so be careful when selecting a battery.
 
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Minxy

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In our Globecar (Fiat Ducato) we have 2 x Sonnenschein GF12065Y Gel batteries located under the driver's seat so they don't take up valuable space elsewhere. We got them from Tayna which seems to be the place to go for them at a good price.
 
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funflair

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And don’t forget “old style” will need topping up(y)

Martin

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Ivory55

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Just make sure you’re van charging system is suitable for gel batteries or it will be an expensive lesson to learn.
 
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funflair

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How can you find out if your van charging system is or is not ok for gel battery’s
There should be setting options on the charger, if not I guess it is just flooded lead acid.

What system have you got.

Martin
 
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ChrisA1

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Slightly off on a tangent, but do I need an inverter next to connect a TV to my leisure battery? I see some Tv's come with the 12V connector on them but then how do i connect that anyway? Some sort of adaptor?
 
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Slightly off on a tangent, but do I need an inverter next to connect a TV to my leisure battery? I see some Tv's come with the 12V connector on them but then how do i connect that anyway? Some sort of adaptor?
Buy a TV that is 12volt powered as well as the 240volt. Inverters are very wasteful of your precious battery power. Aldi online were selling a Medion 22" TV/DVD combo for £130 ish recently as an example or go top of the range Avtex if you want to burn £350.
 
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Hankook are good batteries and they do an xl 31 model that is 130ah at the battery megastore. About £100.00 and same size as the 110ah.

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venting a battery is very simple its just a small bore plastic tube usually about 6mm and it just goes through the floor to atmospherethere will be a push on stub on the battery
 
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thebriars

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But then remember that a standard battery should not be discharged below 50% capacity so divide the actual capacity by 2 to get the usable capacity. Spend some more money on a Gel battery and you can discharge it to a lower figure, I think 80% but I may be wrong on that.

Its far more complicated than that. Of course you can safely discharge a lead acid battery down below 50%. Yes it will have an effect on reducing its life span, but that is equally true also for a gel battery. You can usefully discharge either battery down to about 80%. After all you are not going to do this every day of the week. Generally a decent lead acid battery should last at least 5 years. However a gel battery will cost 2-3 times the price, so you are looking at a lifespan of 10-15 years.

However, and a big however, either type of battery is usually killed off by fully discharging it. At best with a bit of love and care and a smart charger it can be recharged, but it is never the same again. With a leisure battery it is easy to fully discharge it when the van is not in use simply by leaving something like the TV amplifier on or the tracker or alarm. Then its bad enough with a cheapo lead acid battery but a real ball breaker with an expensive gel battery.
 
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Stu63

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I've just bought our first motorhome. Leisure battery was ok but now drained. Unfortunately, we can't get it close to home to charge with 240v mains and there is no power supply where we store it. If I replace it (previous comments in this thread duly noted!) can anyone offer any suggestions to keep the battery up to spec? I had wondered about solar panels to keep it topped up. Would this be sufficient?
 
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