Leisure Battery (charging)

Mar 14, 2005
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Hi fellow caravaners,further help is needed after having had a caravan mover fitted to my van I was told my existing 110 amp.hr leusure battery was shot away and that I needed a new one. It was only three years old and as I always use mains electric on site we never really use the battry, but I always do have it on charg while on site and when its home on my hard standing. This I was told is pobably the reason for the short life of the battery. I was advised to disconnect the battery when ever the van was not in use. As the van is stored at home on my hard standing up against a fence on the battery box side, this is very difficult to do when you want to use the van mover to park it. I would like to know your opinions on keeping the charger on in the van for weeks at a time, is this harmful to the battery and so should I disconnect the battery and push the van the last ten feetor so by hand? Also how often should you charge a battery in situ at home or on site?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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you can always use a trickle charger.these are used for motor bikes or cars that are laid up for log periods of time.they need to be plugged into the mains but they only put a charge into the battery as and when it needs it.they're not that expensive.optimate is one such product.hope this helps.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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My advice is ditch the leisure battery and fit a much smaller conventional car battery. I used to use a 110 AH leisure battery as I was told I needed this for my Truma Mover. It never seemed to hold it's charge. I thought about it and decided that, since the Mover uses what is effectively a pair of car starter motors, it would make sense to use a battery designed for the job. I fitted a relatively small battery (from a Metro - cost
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I'm no electrician, but most 'van chargers have a charging output voltage of only about 13 volts, whereas most trickle chargers' output is 14.4 volts - which is the level at which a leisure battery is fully charged, so as Alan advises give it a boost from time to time with a trickle charger, which will keep it at its optimum.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi,

A leisure battery is a bit different to a traction battery construction wise but they share some points. One of the worst things that you can do is not to use them, this will definately shorten their life. Witha traction (car) battery there is usually some use, leisure batteries can go for months without being asked to do anything. I would give the battery some use by disscharging it at the end of the season and then charging it up, I would do the same before the start of the season. A spotlight across it should do (only one) using a trickle charger between these exercises could help. I have a collection of 85A leisure batteries and I would expect to get 15 years from them. This is not a guess of my own but a figure from manufacturers web sites.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Leisure batteries discharge when not in use and need recharging at least every 2 months when not in use.

If the battery is not used,as such, or for very limited applications, it suffers memory effect, and will only allow the use of the memorised discharge.

Leaving a battery on charge for long periods is not good, as the distilled water evaporates and unless you keep a regular check on it, if it loses all the water, the battery will be fatally damaged.

Th echargers as suggested are good, if it has a maintainenance mode, but you still need to keep an eye on the electrolyte level. Severe cold also adversely affects batteries.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi,

The battery can be damaged by overcharging so keep it off charge when in storage and give it a charge every two months or so for about 12 hours. Another important thing to check is that the electrolite level is correct as this will evaporate, espacialy during periods of discharge or charging. There is no need to disconnect from the 'van so long as you can isolate it.

Regards

Pete
 
Mar 14, 2005
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For many years caravan battery chargers have been set 'low' at 13.8 volts which will keep your battery in a high state of charge but will not fully charge it. Two reasons for this, the first is so you can use the charger without the battery. Secondly and more importantly, fully charging a battery at 14.4 volts creates gassing which is greatly reduced at 13.8 volts, however it is not eliminated?. What I suggest is having the charger 'on' all the time has quitely reduced the acid levels and has not been replaced by topping up with distilled/de-ionised water. Your charger could also be faulty and giving to high a voltage.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi,

One or two points that I forgot to mention. There are two construction of leisure battery available, the older type is a gel filled battery, the newer is filled with a glass mat that is soaked in acid. Both of these are sealed and do not lose moisture, or if they do it takes years. The dissadvantage to the first type is that overcharging will blow holes in the gel. These holes never repair, so the capacity of the battery is reduced. The second type, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) do not suffer from this and so are a better buy. This type of battery is also better at withstanding ill treatment. I have read on a manufacturers site that you can use an AGM battery in a car but you have to increase the capacity by about 20%. I do have a son who put one of mine in his car and it seemed happy for about six months, when the car was sold.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Clive mentions different types of battery and battery construction. A traction battery is in fact similar to a leisure battery and is 'not' a car battery. A car battery is designed to allow large discharges in short periods of time but not to be fully discharged. In simple terms, both the traction battery, commonly used in fork trucks and the like is essentially a better quality leisure battery. Both these are designed to be discharged at a slower rate all the way until 'flat'.

Different construction methods like Gel and AGM offer various advantages over the standard 'lead acid',(wet) battery, however this latter type is by far the most common leisure battery.

Standard lead acid leisure batteries are sold as maintenance free or perhaps more correctly low maintenance, with various years of warranty. There is no such thing as free of, or low maintenance, if a battery lasts for the first few months, it will last several years. This would be regardless of warranty offered provided that is, it is maintained correctly.

It would seem whatever the construction method and type of battery, it is the number of plates used that most effects usable energy, life span and price. 15 is cheap, 19 is quality I do believe.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Actually the dealers answer at the start was the correct one. Disconect your lesiure battery at its terminals otherwise the charge will leak away. Take out of your caravan locker check the electrolite levels regularly top up with distilled water. charge about once a month with a charge with a built in over charge preventer. Car batteries can not be used instead of leisure batteries unless you have hook up all the time in which case they will make a better mover power source,
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Think carefully before removing your battery as your alarm won't work if you do and that will negate your insurance!! Also a Truma mover always draws current as it has no isolating switch, but a Powrtouch does have an isolator. Top up for a weekend each month that's what I do. Buy a simple test meter less than
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Actually both Truma and powertouch have automatic isolation relays on the control board. Both makes switch off after about 30 seconds of no use. Also the common Plug in Systems IDMx alarm has a good internal 'back up' battery
 

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