which battery class would I need.... (1 Viewer)

Nov 30, 2022
85
44
Funster No
92,704
MH
Autotrail Apache
Looking at getting a new leisure battery but need a little help with the class 1,2 & 3 malarky...

We're prob going to do mainly sites with EHU & service points but will do a couple of "wild camping" weekend jaunts as well no doubt..

So can some one please tell me which one to go for.. Also there is this bit about AGM/GEL/LEAD battery bit as well I'm not entirely sure on what one to go for but then again isnt there something to do with charging the battery as well... We have a 2007 Fiat Ducato Autotrail Apache 634L so how would i be able to tell if my charging gear is suitable with certain batteries or have I totally miss read it..

Again many thanks in advance for your advice and input all is much appreciated..
 
Feb 9, 2008
8,963
18,758
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
Your charger is probably restricted to lead acid battery and I would stick to that as your going to spend much of your time on hook up. Consider Solar to top up your batteties when off grid. Get a decent lead acid battery too. Excide is a decent brand.
 

Tombola

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 21, 2020
4,964
16,090
Merseyside
Funster No
78,053
MH
Rapido 8094DF
Exp
Since 2004
Stick with leads..you won't go wrong if you are mostly on hook up if an average power user.

Autotrail wiring is quite thin and to get into lithium etc would be pointless..
 

Hoovie

Free Member
May 16, 2021
1,249
1,689
Funster No
81,251
MH
Autotrail
Your Motorhome will have a Sargent unit, probably an EC325.
To be frank, if an EC325 the charger in that unit is not really that suitable for charging any batteries, being a fixed voltage 13.8V. If you happen to have the unit replaced at some time it might be an EC328, which does have a better charger fitted, although still very limited in current.
Sargent would say the unit is ok for standard Lead Acid or AGM. I'd probably got for Lead Carbon as the best "drop in" replacement which doesn't involve lots of tweaking. Lead Carbon will be best to cope with the poor charging of the mains charger,

The Autotrail wiring is perfectly fine for the capabilities of the charger fitted, so if all you intend to do is replace the wiring, no need to be concerned about that.
If you upgrade the mains Charger, you would end up connecting the new charger direct to the battery probably so would use new cabling for that.
Replacing the split charger is a bit more complicated and there are various ways to do that.

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,140
152,918
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
With the charger in your van van it is only suitable for a SLA (sealed lead acid) if it is as Hoovie and a single stage charger batteries don't last very long with that type of charger as they will never gat a full charge. So I wouldn't spend too much on the batteries but if you are keeping the van for a few years it would be well worth replacing the charger.
 
OP
OP
S
Nov 30, 2022
85
44
Funster No
92,704
MH
Autotrail Apache
Your charger is probably restricted to lead acid battery and I would stick to that as your going to spend much of your time on hook up. Consider Solar to top up your batteties when off grid. Get a decent lead acid battery too. Excide is a decent brand.
Am looking into getting solar panels in the not so distant future...
 
OP
OP
S
Nov 30, 2022
85
44
Funster No
92,704
MH
Autotrail Apache
Your Motorhome will have a Sargent unit, probably an EC325.
To be frank, if an EC325 the charger in that unit is not really that suitable for charging any batteries, being a fixed voltage 13.8V. If you happen to have the unit replaced at some time it might be an EC328, which does have a better charger fitted, although still very limited in current.
Sargent would say the unit is ok for standard Lead Acid or AGM. I'd probably got for Lead Carbon as the best "drop in" replacement which doesn't involve lots of tweaking. Lead Carbon will be best to cope with the poor charging of the mains charger,

The Autotrail wiring is perfectly fine for the capabilities of the charger fitted, so if all you intend to do is replace the wiring, no need to be concerned about that.
If you upgrade the mains Charger, you would end up connecting the new charger direct to the battery probably so would use new cabling for that.
Replacing the split charger is a bit more complicated and there are various ways to do that.
Think mine has the EC225 - prob worse charging a battery than the EC325 ...... So it looks like l'll be looking at lead batteries then... many thanks for your advice - much appreciated
 
OP
OP
S
Nov 30, 2022
85
44
Funster No
92,704
MH
Autotrail Apache
What AH would be best to go for - is it a case of higher the better or doesn't it really matter?

Also if im looking at getting solar panels would I need to get two batteries or would just the one be enough....

Will prob look at getting at around the 150w - 200w

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,140
152,918
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
What AH would be best to go for - is it a case of higher the better or doesn't it really matter?

Also if im looking at getting solar panels would I need to get two batteries or would just the one be enough....

Will prob look at getting at around the 150w - 200w
Depends how many nights you want to do off grid and the time of year.
 
OP
OP
S
Nov 30, 2022
85
44
Funster No
92,704
MH
Autotrail Apache
Depends how many nights you want to do off grid and the time of year.
there seems to be a lot more to all this that what I imagined... it wouldn't be that many prob 2-3 nights tops and also at anytime of the year as we plan to use it quite a bit as I work a 4 on 4 off shift so it could be a case of "come on love" lets go away for a couple of days if you get my meaning....
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,140
152,918
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
there seems to be a lot more to all this that what I imagined... it wouldn't be that many prob 2-3 nights tops and also at anytime of the year as we plan to use it quite a bit as I work a 4 on 4 off shift so it could be a case of "come on love" lets go away for a couple of days if you get my meaning....
In that case at least 2 x 100 ah batteries and 200 Watts of solar.
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,140
152,918
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
so until l get the solar I can just add another 100 ah battery & also as long as its the same type battery....
Only if the current battery is not much more than a year old, otherwise the old battery will drag the new one down to its level.

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 
May 31, 2015
11,825
45,219
Cornwall
Funster No
36,638
MH
Ducato PVC
Exp
Getting Better
As Lenny HB said but I’ll add a decent controller and bypass your charger, that will keep the batteries charged when you’re not on ehu…😎
 

Hoovie

Free Member
May 16, 2021
1,249
1,689
Funster No
81,251
MH
Autotrail
Think mine has the EC225 - prob worse charging a battery than the EC325 ...... So it looks like l'll be looking at lead batteries then... many thanks for your advice - much appreciated
Interesting. my Autotrail Cheyenne 635 is the same model year (I am thinking) as your Apache 634 so would have expected the same unit. The Apache was a slightly lower spec than the Cheyenne I believe, but surprised they changed Sargent units (the EC225 looks identical to the EC325 in all ways and same charger specs. Maybe the 325 replaced it and our van builds straddled the changeover time?)
Anyway, I really would recommend that you get a better and separate Mains charger and just leave the one in the Sargent unit permanently off. It will charge and look after your new batteries a LOT better, whatever you buy, and as a benefit will also allow the EC225 to stay cooler, which is always a good thing with electrics and electronics to prolong service life.
FWIW, I don't use any of the charging features of my EC325 for all the reasons above.
 
Feb 9, 2008
8,963
18,758
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
Your Motorhome will have a Sargent unit, probably an EC325.
To be frank, if an EC325 the charger in that unit is not really that suitable for charging any batteries, being a fixed voltage 13.8V.
Why would Sargent install a charger that was not suitable for charging any battery ??? Not being familiar with the EC325 I did a bit of googling and found this.

You should not connect any device direct to the battery on the EC325.​

The Sargent EC325 unit has a very sophisticated mains charger. If 240v is connected and the battery is low it will 'isolate' the battery from the Motorhome and switch a small 12v power supply into it's place to keep things ticking over.​

It will then 'super charge' the battery at up to 18v and 25amps. Anything connected directly to the battery will get hit with these higher volts.​

A Battery Master style unit should not be fitted, for obvious reasons.​

Because the charger voltage can reach 18v, a Gel or AGM battery should not be used for the habitation battery. Ideally it should be a Silver technology based battery like the Varta LFD90 as these will cope with 18v charge better than most.​

The 4 pin Solar connector is almost directly behind the gap in the fuses on the bottom left in the image above..

Solar Panel Input Connector Pin Function Wire Colour :
1 Positive (+) input RED
2 Not used -
3 Negative (-) input BLACK
4 Not used


SMART CHARGING
Once the solar panel is installed, use the EC control screen to select the charging mode, either Habitation battery only, Starter battery only or both (Smart mode).
SMART – This turns on the solar smart charging feature. When a solar panel is fitted the energy from the panel is automatically directed to the vehicle or leisure battery according to the charge state of each battery and the operation of the mains battery charger.
SMART is the default setting.
LEISURE – This setting will cause the energy from the solar panel to be directed to the Habitation battery only.
VEHICLE – This setting will cause the energy from the solar panel to be directed to the Vehicle battery only.

 
Feb 9, 2008
8,963
18,758
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
What AH would be best to go for - is it a case of higher the better or doesn't it really matter?

Also if im looking at getting solar panels would I need to get two batteries or would just the one be enough....

Will prob look at getting at around the 150w - 200w
You need to do a bit of maths. If you can, work out your energy usage you expect to use when off grid. Double that and you have more or less arrived at the size of your battery bank if using Lead Acid (This allows for up to 50% discharge of your battery bank). As for solar, I would advise 200W minimum but never forget the maxim of get as much up there as you can. Build flexibility into your plan to accommodate changes going forward). You may well want to spend more time of Grid, so do it once and do it right. Lecce is becoming expensive.

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Hoovie

Free Member
May 16, 2021
1,249
1,689
Funster No
81,251
MH
Autotrail
Why would Sargent install a charger that was not suitable for charging any battery ??? Not being familiar with the EC325 I did a bit of googling and found this.

You should not connect any device direct to the battery on the EC325.​

The Sargent EC325 unit has a very sophisticated mains charger. If 240v is connected and the battery is low it will 'isolate' the battery from the Motorhome and switch a small 12v power supply into it's place to keep things ticking over.​

It will then 'super charge' the battery at up to 18v and 25amps. Anything connected directly to the battery will get hit with these higher volts.​

A Battery Master style unit should not be fitted, for obvious reasons.​

Because the charger voltage can reach 18v, a Gel or AGM battery should not be used for the habitation battery. Ideally it should be a Silver technology based battery like the Varta LFD90 as these will cope with 18v charge better than most.​

The 4 pin Solar connector is almost directly behind the gap in the fuses on the bottom left in the image above..

Solar Panel Input Connector Pin Function Wire Colour :
1 Positive (+) input RED
2 Not used -
3 Negative (-) input BLACK
4 Not used


SMART CHARGING
Once the solar panel is installed, use the EC control screen to select the charging mode, either Habitation battery only, Starter battery only or both (Smart mode).
SMART – This turns on the solar smart charging feature. When a solar panel is fitted the energy from the panel is automatically directed to the vehicle or leisure battery according to the charge state of each battery and the operation of the mains battery charger.
SMART is the default setting.
LEISURE – This setting will cause the energy from the solar panel to be directed to the Habitation battery only.
VEHICLE – This setting will cause the energy from the solar panel to be directed to the Vehicle battery only.

I don't know where the above information was gleaned from (It wouldn't be from Sargent, I am sure of that), but all I would say is don't believe all you find on the internet ;) For one, the EC325 does not have a "Smart Charging" Feature.

Why would Sargent install a charger that was not suitable for charging any battery
Depends on your perspective. I don't regard a Power Supply that outputs a set - and maximum - 13.8V as being an adequate charger for a battery that requires a 14.2V, 14.4V or 14.7V charging voltage to be correctly charged. Others may do and that is their opinion and no problems with that.
 

Hoovie

Free Member
May 16, 2021
1,249
1,689
Funster No
81,251
MH
Autotrail
My information came from here. They repair Sargent stuff.

I would love to know how to enable "the EC325 Smart Charging function" as as far as I can see it doesn't exist. If you know how, please let me know and I will see where the controller on MY EC325 is hiding it away :). All I can see is possible is selecting between Vehicle and Leisure Batteries and that decides which one (and only one) battery gets used - and charged.
As far as going to 18V, never seen that occur on the EC325 I have in the limited time I use the charger on it. I have read about that apparent feature in the past but as said, never seen it, and nothing in the documentation on the product talks about it. I am extremely doubtful it is as they (A&N) describe and I would certainly be doubtful that "The Sargent EC325 unit has a very sophisticated mains charger" from what the Sargent data says.

one major potential problem with the 18V thing is the charger output goes to the battery selected on the control panel - and if the Starter Battery is selected, the charger could be putting 18V into the starter battery and everything that is connected to that. Opps!
 

Hoovie

Free Member
May 16, 2021
1,249
1,689
Funster No
81,251
MH
Autotrail
Doing a search, found the 325 manual (not available on the Sargent site as far as I can find now) and they do mention the 18V on it.

"The EC325PSU incorporates an intelligent 'offline' battery charger that disconnects the leisure
equipment from the battery while it is being charged. This process allows the charger to use higher
charging voltages and to accurately control the charging current. No other equipment may be
connected directly to the battery while charging is taking place. This intelligent battery charger draws
power from the power converter (see 3.4) when the mains 230v supply is turned on and from the
vehicle alternator when the engine is running, therefore the leisure battery is always charged via the
intelligent battery charger.
Higher voltages may be present at the battery (<=18v). Do not connect ANY equipment to the battery
while the charger is operating. Failure to comply with this warning may lead to equipment damage and

damage and will affect the battery charger performance"
Must assume that this feature is not enabled when the Vehicle Battery ("Aux" on the CP) is selected to avoid damaging anything connected to the Vehicle Battery?

Have to say I would not describe that as a "very sophisticated mains charger" and not surprised that:
1) The Charger in the replacement EC328 is a normal (proper!) multi-stage charger and
2) While various EC Units are available for exchange from Sargent, the EC325 is not and owners are directed to the EC328.
Sounds to me like an even bigger reason to get a replacement Mains Charger if you have a EC325!
Also this 'feature' is in place via the split-charge system interestingly, so a replacement Relay or B2B could be a good idea as well.
 

Join us or log in to post a reply.

To join in you must be a member of MotorhomeFun

Join MotorhomeFun

Join us, it quick and easy!

Log in

Already a member? Log in here.

Latest journal entries

Funsters who are viewing this thread

Back
Top