One or two leisure batterys

Aug 17, 2019
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Need some advice we do a lot of off grid caravaning all year around rallys with our local da i have had my battery on my van for about 4 years now its still ok but talking to a few other campers they have two batterys on there caravan i have a 220w solar panel fitted to the roof and had no problem in the past but i always tell our lass to watch what were useing in the winter months so would fitting two leisure battarys linked together help me stop stressing this time of year when were away on our weekend rallys
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Surely if you’ve been okay this far why change unless you are going to use more power. Your solar panel is a good size and I assume you’ve got Led lights and other energy efficient techniques. Unless your battery is showing signs of age why have another with the attendant increase in weight and connections.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I've always been led to believe that linking two batteries together wasn't a good idea because the weakest battery will always drag down the other one to match it. I think I would try to arrange to use one whilst keeping the other on charge in the car.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Plug, what Amphere size is your present battery, I understand your concern, but having only once gone off grid, for three days, I prefer to be on Grid.
As an edit, the weight of two batteries, the weight and would you modify the caravan to carry the second one or carry it in the car and swop over, when run down . Lots to think about.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Plug,

Several contributors to this forum use solar panels to facilitate caravanning off grid. Their experience suggests panel rating in the region of 100 to 150W in conjunction with a battery of about 110Ah seem to be sufficient to keep them powered almost unlimited.

Caravanning usually needs some care in power usage, changing lights to LED's makes a big difference, and remembering to turn things off when you have finished using them is a good habit to learn.

Unless your battery is much smaller than 120Ah I don't think you should have a problem.

I suggest you continue to use your present system, and see if you really do have a power shortage before deciding to over complicate your caravanning.
 
Aug 30, 2018
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I believe that for a weekend, you should be fine with 1 battery. However being a belt and braces type person I have fitted 2. 2 identical 90Ah batteries fwiw. The issue is the appalling performance of roof mounted solar panels in the winter. I had a 150 W panel on the roof early last December my system logged a grand total of 3.5Ah put back into the battery. This wasn’t a problem the batteries coped for 3 nights, but they were at a lower voltage at the end of the stay than at the beginning.
I have a simple volt meter that you can plug into a 12v socket, over a new year it was obvious that the voltage wasn’t increasing before about 930 am and stopped charging by about 2 00pm. This is simply because the sun is too low in the sky and day light so short during the winter months. Compare this to the situation on a sunny day in June. Then the batteries can be fully charged before 9am.

My very unscientific rules of thumb are Solar panels don’t keep up with demand from the end of October to the beginning of March and that a free standing panel can be 2-3 times more effective than a roof panel during the winter months.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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As above; weight and complication have to be a consideration. My only thought is that you might be worrying your existing battery is getting to be approaching end of life; they usually give a bit of notice but sometimes a cell goes and they just die instantly. At that point you are probably on holiday and miles from the nearest shop! Saying that we had our 100amp leisure battery (Yuasa-good quality) for 4 hard years (motor mover, occasional offgrid without a solar panel that nearly totally flattened it) etc and it came with our first caravan, so we've no idea how old it was-you can be lucky! Don't know what others thoughts are on that-bit like playing Russian roulette-if you buy a spare you just know your original is going to run and run ! :evil:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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JezzerB said:
As above; weight and complication have to be a consideration. My only thought is that you might be worrying your existing battery is getting to be approaching end of life; they usually give a bit of notice but sometimes a cell goes and they just die instantly. At that point you are probably on holiday and miles from the nearest shop! Saying that we had our 100amp leisure battery (Yuasa-good quality) for 4 hard years (motor mover, occasional offgrid without a solar panel that nearly totally flattened it) etc and it came with our first caravan, so we've no idea how old it was-you can be lucky! Don't know what others thoughts are on that-bit like playing Russian roulette-if you buy a spare you just know your original is going to run and run ! :evil:

You are right about battery life. We had one that lasted the 9 years we had the caravan, and whilst most trips were on EHU there were still occasional summer weekends off grid even just before we sold the van. It also had to power the motor mover to at the end of each trip. But when not being used the battery was always totally disconnected or removed and put on the CTEK charger for periods. But you dont know when they plan to fail, as a good road jolt could dislodge material from a plate and that's it done for.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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In another environment (marine) I have 300W of panels, and 3x110AH batteries in the domestic bank. All those batteries are replaced as one unit. We have no equivalent of EHU (unless in a marina and haven't visited one of those and hooked up for three years) but we do get the benefit of the engine alternator charging the 3 domestics and 1 engine start via a split charge relay when we run it. This prioritises the engine battery and doesn't click over to charge the domestics until the engine batt voltage equals that from the domestics. obviously the main difference is a couple of 25kg batteries extra in 9 tonnes of boat doesn't have the same impact as it would do on a 150 kg payload (which is what my Cabrera is) but the last ten years working this way convinces me that solar is a huge part of off grid generation...
 
Jun 17, 2011
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We do a lot off grid. I have 120 amp hour battery, 4 years old and classified category A, 80 watt panel on the roof. This works well March to September and we watch tv in the evening. Over winter I add a portable panel, 90 watts which really works better than the roof one. I have a spare battery in the car boot just in case. Main worry is the mover at storage.
 

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