To have a second habitation battery or not? (1 Viewer)

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Aug 27, 2014
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On my recently acquired van, it came with 2 habitation batteries, but as one was ancient and clearly had it I took it out. This has left me with one 80ah battery - a normal car battery which I don't think is in great health anyway and will be getting changed very soon.

The question is, do I need 2 batteries or not?

The van was built with only one, under the driver's seat. I reckon I can just squeeze a 100ah one in there, or I can get a 85ah in comfortably.

In terms of usage and loading - we want to use the van without mains hookup as much as possible, but we don't tend to stay parked up for too long - the maximum I can ever see us being parked up without driving the van somewhere is 3 days. We have a solar panel that I think is 120watt, but we holiday mostly in the UK so it's contribution may be limited! Equipment wise, we don't have any inverters, the battery will need to power the lights (as many as possible changed to LED but with 5 of us in the van the kids will leave lights on) and the blower motor for the gas warm air heating. We do have an LCD TV and a Oyster Satellite wotsit, but we don't really use it much - we prefer to have no TV on holiday, I wouldn't have bothered with the Oyster myself but it came with the van. Having said that - if we're somewhere and the weather is awful, sticking the telly on for the kids could preserve our sanity! On our first test run though, an evening of lights on and 90 minutes of telly made the battery run flat - but as I said, I don't think the current battery is great.

What do others find? Is a second habitation battery generally necessary, or is it only for those people who like to stay in one spot for extended periods with no hookup and/or run high current items?
 

Minxy

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Aug 22, 2007
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Since 1996, had Elddis/Swift/Rapido/Rimor/Chausson MHs. Autocruise/Globecar PVCs/Compactline i-138
I'm a little bit confused, I assume you have a separate battery for the engine (ie starter) and the one you are referring to as a normal car battery is what someone was using as a HABITATION battery to run the lights/equipment etc?

If so and as you have a solar panel fitted it would be an ideal time to get a matched pair of batteries installed as that will make most use of the power that your solar panel will generate as you'll be able to 'store' more of it and also mean that you don't need to worry about running out of power so quickly. As a second one was fitted previously and therefore the wiring will be in place, getting 2 to replace your old ones would seem to me the most sensible thing and also if one of them goes kaput in the future (which they can do) at least you still have a usable one.

If you only have one habitation battery you are likely to discharge it below 50% when you're not on hook-up etc and that is a no-no for batteries if you want them to last.
 

Cal54

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Apr 25, 2014
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Southport, UK
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Agree with MinxyGirl. Given that both of your leisure batteries appear to need changing it would seem an ideal opportunity to get a matching pair. Unfortunately twice the price but worth doing in my opinion.
 

Terry

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Dec 27, 2007
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Can't remember ;)
Hi as been said above--
to give you an idea my usage sounds pretty similar to yours -blown air heating,bit of tv/dvd lights etc,I only have 1 x 110 amp hr L/battery and can do 3 days without hook up -
I would fit a new one under your seat and the other elsewhere -you say size 85 amp hr under seat and fit 110 where the other was giving you a 194 amp hr battery -I go for the cheapest FLA I can find @110 amp hr =£56 or £65 from ebay I get around 5 yrs out of them so I don't see any point in paying 3 or 4 times the money to do the same job but that's your choice ;)
You don't need matching size batts (charger only see's one big battery) and also when paired up a starter batt and L/B make ideal combo -one gives a lot of current instantly and the other more slowly to compensate each other (y)
Now I leave it to the others to shoot me down in flames ;):D cannot find the tin hat smiley :LOL:
terry
edit BTW only aprox £120 to change both
 
Apr 18, 2009
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Not long enough!
If it was anything like my old Pescara you will struggle to get anything more than a 85amp under the seat, I did try but out of the normally priced ones no chance:doh:

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Nov 3, 2013
3,181
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C/van since '73 .M/h.2009
Hi.
There is no substitute for Power. I have been lead to believe a Car battery gives short bursts of power,whereas a Leisure battery gives out a constant charge for longer ? So,it would be worth asking the experts on here,i am sure they will put "You" and or perhaps "Me" right
We have two 110 L /batts,plus Solar panel,this set up works for us.
Tea Bag
 

Lenny HB

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Oct 18, 2007
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I agree you can never have too much power. The solar panel with give you a fair amount of power May to September, but outside those months the output falls rapidly. If you are planning to keep the van more than a couple of years well worth investing in better quality batteries.

May add some confusion but worth reading this thread.
 
Sep 16, 2010
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2 x Banner 100 Amp batteries will complement your set up and maximise your solar output. That is our set-up (with a 100watt solar) and we only used a campsite once during 3 months last spring in Spain (and we watch TV, charge laptop , toothbrush and phone from a 300watt inverter )
PS. Banner is a very good, reasonably priced leasure battery.
 

Wildman

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May 30, 2008
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we have 4 x 110 amp/hr and 320W solar, have managed to run out of power once or twice, never use sites or hookup. Any amount of nightime TV will kill one battery in no time at all.

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Khizzie

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Jul 26, 2014
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Not quite the thread, but if you do fit an additional leisure battery does it have any major effect on (1) the vans alternator, (2) on the van built in battery charger...probably been debated many times before but please be gentle with me iam an idiot.
 
Sep 16, 2010
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Hi Khizzie.. All your "extra" batteries will be wired in parallel , so any charging source will still only see a 12 volt battery.
 

Lenny HB

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Oct 18, 2007
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Not quite the thread, but if you do fit an additional leisure battery does it have any major effect on (1) the vans alternator, (2) on the van built in battery charger...probably been debated many times before but please be gentle with me iam an idiot.
Most Motorhomes have an uprated alternator and generally the leisure battery do not see the full output of the alternator due to voltage drop across the cables. for the on board charger the A/H capacity of batteries should not exceed 10 times the chargers rated out (also need to take into account the starter battery), however most people who fit large battery banks do so because they spend a lot of time of grid and rely on solar panels for charging the batteries therefore do not worry about upgrading the charger.
 
Apr 12, 2010
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since 2007
On my recently acquired van, it came with 2 habitation batteries, but as one was ancient and clearly had it I took it out. This has left me with one 80ah battery - a normal car battery which I don't think is in great health anyway and will be getting changed very soon.

The question is, do I need 2 batteries or not?

The van was built with only one, under the driver's seat. I reckon I can just squeeze a 100ah one in there, or I can get a 85ah in comfortably.

In terms of usage and loading - we want to use the van without mains hookup as much as possible, but we don't tend to stay parked up for too long - the maximum I can ever see us being parked up without driving the van somewhere is 3 days. We have a solar panel that I think is 120watt, but we holiday mostly in the UK so it's contribution may be limited! Equipment wise, we don't have any inverters, the battery will need to power the lights (as many as possible changed to LED but with 5 of us in the van the kids will leave lights on) and the blower motor for the gas warm air heating. We do have an LCD TV and a Oyster Satellite wotsit, but we don't really use it much - we prefer to have no TV on holiday, I wouldn't have bothered with the Oyster myself but it came with the van. Having said that - if we're somewhere and the weather is awful, sticking the telly on for the kids could preserve our sanity! On our first test run though, an evening of lights on and 90 minutes of telly made the battery run flat - but as I said, I don't think the current battery is great.

What do others find? Is a second habitation battery generally necessary, or is it only for those people who like to stay in one spot for extended periods with no hookup and/or run high current items?

If you tend to stay on sites with hook up then one is OK, but if, like us you travel around, stay on a mix of aires sites, and other stopovers, two batts + solar is by far the best.
Phil
 

Khizzie

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Jul 26, 2014
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Thanks for your info Guy's much appreciated.
Hi Khizzie.. All your "extra" batteries will be wired in parallel , so any charging source will still only see a 12 volt battery.
Most Motorhomes have an uprated alternator and generally the leisure battery do not see the full output of the alternator due to voltage drop across the cables. for the on board charger the A/H capacity of batteries should not exceed 10 times the chargers rated out (also need to take into account the starter battery), however most people who fit large battery banks do so because they spend a lot of time of grid and rely on solar panels for charging the batteries therefore do not worry about upgrading the charger.

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katyjune

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Jan 31, 2013
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i agree the extra battery power would come in handy, and we have the space, my problem is the poor payload,never weighed one but they are pretty heavy. if we are staying any more than 4 nights we look for a site , we have a 120 solar and 1 battery always managed with that.
if i put another battery in couldnt think what i would leave behind to make up the weight.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
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On the coast in West Sussex
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i agree the extra battery power would come in handy, and we have the space, my problem is the poor payload,never weighed one but they are pretty heavy. if we are staying any more than 4 nights we look for a site , we have a 120 solar and 1 battery always managed with that.
if i put another battery in couldnt think what i would leave behind to make up the weight.
Approx 25kg - 30kg
 
Jan 28, 2008
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7 years campers before that
batteries are your power storage the more batteries the longer you can survive of grid 2 6volts trojans and 180 of solar in ours not had any problems with power
 

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