Leisure battery charging

Aug 23, 2005
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The magazine, and to be fair our caravan dealer, say that a leisure battery charger will cost upwards of £80. Halfords however offer an automatic charger, which specifically states that it will handle deep cycle leisure battery charging, at £30 and Towsure, who you would think ought to know, offer one at less than £20. Does anyone have any thoughts or comments as I neither wish to pay more than I need to for a charger nor risk damaging my leisure battery through buying too cheaply!

Thanks

Graeme
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Graeme,

I have one of the Halfords chargers which I have been using on my Leisure Battery and more recently a car battery. I have had the unit for over a year and it works great.

With the more expensive units you can leave them on the battery all the time and it will just trickle charge the battery. I have one of these for my bike as well which I use during long periods of not riding.

Go for the Halfords one, it won't let you down.

All the best

Mark
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Graeme and all,

There could be a significant difference between the type of unit your caravan dealer may be offering and the chargers from Halfords etc.

The units designed to be fitted in caravans have a dual role and thus are more correctly called power supplies. These differ from chargers in that they produce a smoothed output, and can be legitimately used to power some items of 12V equipment without the battery connected, and of course the are capabale of charging your battery aswell.

Battery chargers (as differentiated from power supplies) are designed to only charge batteries, and their output may not be smoothed. In fact for a charger without a battery in circuit its output can swing from 0V to 22V, 50 or 100 times a second depending on the type of rectifier used in the secondary of the transformer. This is like turning the power on and off 50 or 100 times a second.

Connect sensitive equipement such as a television to such a device, and firstly it may not work because of how 'lumpy' the voltage is and secondly the very high peak voltage may damage some components.

Battrey chargers must always be used with a battery connected. The internal impeadance of the battery dynamically tracks the the output from the charger, and it uses the excess voltage to dump current into the battery. This effectively smooths the output and makes the power useable.

Power supplies use additional components to control the output voltage, and to ensure it is smooth. For compliance with safety regulations, the output has to be controlled quite acuratley, and the components do do this add considerable expence to the product.

This could explain some of the cost differential, but haven't you noticed how 'special' appliances for caravan and boat always seem to cost more anyway?
 
Mar 16, 2005
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I am seriously thinking of changing out my standard caravan power supply for a more sophisticated which will ensure my battery is always in top form so I can get the best out of my caravan mover.

Can anyone recommend such a unit, where and how much they paid for it and are they easy to change over.

Thanks, John
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I am seriously thinking of changing out my standard caravan power supply for a more sophisticated which will ensure my battery is always in top form so I can get the best out of my caravan mover.

Can anyone recommend such a unit, where and how much they paid for it and are they easy to change over.

Thanks, John
John

You are liberty to do this, but to fully charge a leisure battery your require a higher voltage output than is permitted under CE regulations for use in caravans. It not a great deal of difference but some items of equiepemt in the caravan may not work or could be damged if you exceed the 13.8V of the regulations
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi John,

I use an Exide solar panel charger to keep my leisure battery topped up when the caravan is not in use and this works very well cost me
 
Mar 14, 2005
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John

You are liberty to do this, but to fully charge a leisure battery your require a higher voltage output than is permitted under CE regulations for use in caravans. It not a great deal of difference but some items of equiepemt in the caravan may not work or could be damged if you exceed the 13.8V of the regulations
So John is not a liberty to do this, John will be breaking regulations that exist for a good reason. To fully charge a battery more volts are required, about 14.7. At this voltage the battery will be giving of gasses which could explode so charging to this level must be done only in a well ventilated room.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I am seriously thinking of changing out my standard caravan power supply for a more sophisticated which will ensure my battery is always in top form so I can get the best out of my caravan mover.

Can anyone recommend such a unit, where and how much they paid for it and are they easy to change over.

Thanks, John
I believe that when receiving a charge from a standard caravan charger the battery only gets about 80% of a full charge and this causes sulfation, unless the battery is periodically charged using a car /leisure charger then life of the battery is considerably reduced. To overcome this problem you can now purchase a 100 apm carbon fibre cell battery with a 5 year guarantee for
 

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