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Replacement Leisure Batteries
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userMikebs
Posted: 9 June 2019 7:59 PM
Subject: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Hello,
The time has come for me to replace my two leisure batteries on my Autocrusie Starspirit.

Presently I have 2xAGM's placed on their sides. Following an email discussion with A&N caravan services I find myself in a dilemma. It has been suggested that AGM batteries are not the best option but my sunken storage area in the floor does not allow batteries to be installed in an upright position and hence I can't use convential lead acid batteries.

The existing batteries have been installed for some years without causing any problems that I am aware of. My control panel does not permit choosing battery type.

Has any body else been in this position and what did they do.

Thanks for any suggestions
userbounty hunter
Posted: 9 June 2019 8:12 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Location: Skelmersdale ~ Carthago Opus 6.1 2006


Gel batteries can be used on their side
Gel filled batteries can be used on their sides or at an angle…. Gel batteries were also used in bikes (like the early Yamaha YZF-R1) where the battery had to lie on it’s side in the bike. Because the Gel batteries use a gel state battery acid, it doesn’t move around in the battery so won’t leak...

John
userMikebs
Posted: 9 June 2019 9:42 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Hello Bounty Hunter,
thanks for taking the time to reply.

I think my setup is unsuitable for gel, quoting from A&N website, "Gel's also need a special charge profile for Solar and mains chargers".
userBillggski
Posted: 9 June 2019 9:56 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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AGM is absorbent glass mat, where the acid is soaked into a matrix to prevent spillage.
https://www.intercel.eu/questions-and-answers/what-are-the-differences-between-agm-and-gel-batteries/

https://discoverbattery.com/EN/battery-101/general-charging-information-for-agm-and-gel-batteries/

Edited by Billggski 2019-06-09 9:57 PM
userspirou
Posted: 10 June 2019 4:31 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Gel batteries will possibly be more tolerant of wrong charge profile and can also be on their side. If you're seeing voltages around 14.2-14.4 during absorption phase then go with gel, if higher (14.8) then you might actually have an AGM charger, but it's unlikely.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 10 June 2019 8:16 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Mikebs

It might be useful to know when your motorhome was built, as the Starspirit model was evidently marketed pre and post the takeover of Autocruise by Swift and also on the X244 and X250 chassis.

When a motorhome’s electrical system includes the capability to choose the ‘type’ of the leisure-battery, the choice is more often made by moving a switch on the battery-charger than via the motorhome’s control-panel.

As mentioned in this recent forum discussion

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Lazy-control-panel/52225/

the electrical system fitted to Autocruise motorhomes apparently depended on the vehicle’s age. However, whatever system your Starspirit has (unless its original specification has been changed) there’s no persuasive reason to think its charger will have a charging-regimen that can be altered from the common-or-garden ‘wet-acid’ setting to gel or AGM.

AGM batteries can be installed on their sides, whereas gel batteries can be positioned in any orientation (eg. upside down if wished). As I understand it, a primary disadvantage of using an AGM battery as a motorhome leisure-battery is that it requires a higher voltage in order to attain full charge (more technical information here)

http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/agm-batteries.php

but - despite your Starspirit’s electrical system not allowing a specific AGM charging-regimen to be selected - your 2 x AGM batteries have been OK for several years. Gel batteries should also be charged using a different regimen to that recommended for wet-acid or AGM, but (as Spirou says) using a wet-acid regimen to charge a gel battery should not harm that battery.

Have you researched which batteries you can install in the floor’s storage compartment - as that may force your hand? You haven’t identified the present batteries (make, capacity, dimensions) but gel batteries suitable as motorhome on-their-side leisure-batteries will tend to be relatively small capacity and relatively high cost (though that’s probably true of AGM batteries too).

Do the leisure-batteries HAVE to lie on their sides under the floor, as I’m very doubtful that a Starspirit would have had that arrangement originally? If you could put low-height conventional wet-acid batteries upright in the floor compartment, or locate the batteries elsewhere and use the floor compartment for another purpose, you would avoid having to choose between (expensive) gel or AGM batteries.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 10 June 2019 11:09 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Mikebs - 2019-06-09 7:59 PM

Hello,
The time has come for me to replace my two leisure batteries on my Autocrusie Starspirit.

Presently I have 2xAGM's placed on their sides. Following an email discussion with A&N caravan services I find myself in a dilemma. It has been suggested that AGM batteries are not the best option but my sunken storage area in the floor does not allow batteries to be installed in an upright position and hence I can't use convential lead acid batteries.

The existing batteries have been installed for some years without causing any problems that I am aware of. My control panel does not permit choosing battery type.


Mike, It isn't that AGM batteries always cause 'problems' as such (although the risk of explosion and melting is heightened) but that on your charger they will never get fully charged, they will lose capacity faster and won't reach the 'double the 5 year life' of a good wet battery. It will also take longer to charge because it doesn't have the right charging systems
They might have been in place for 'some years' but did the AGM's last the alleged 10 years all the marketing claims for AGM's?
Most don't even last the 5 years of a good Exide or Varta wet battery.

I am guessing that you have the usual Yuasa Rec80-12 AGM fitted by most Dealers/Factory which is 259 L x 168 w x 212mm H?

Contrary to what you might have heard, AGM batteries do Gas off fluid. See the extract below from the Yuasa AGM Rec 80 webpage -

"Safety
Installation
Can be installed and operated in any orientation except permanently inverted.

Vent valves
Each cell is fitted with a low pressure release valve to allow gasses to escape and then reseal.

Gas release
VRLA batteries release hydrogen gas which can form explosive mixtures in the air. Do not place inside a sealed container".

VRLA batteries include both Gel and AGM.

Full details here, in the Safety section : https://www.yuasa.co.uk/batteries/industrial/rec-vrla-cyclic-use/rec80-12.html


Gel batteries could be used, but would take twice as long to charge up as the best wet batteries.


Edited by aandncaravan 2019-06-10 11:22 AM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 10 June 2019 3:28 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


5000500050005000100100
Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


These earlier discussions relate to Swift/Autocruise motorhomes and mention on-their-side AGM batteries being fitted to some models in some years.

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Second-leisure-battery-for-Autocruise-Rythm/47591/

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Mondial-leisure-AGM-battery-needed/47144/

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Hints-and-Tips/Extra-leisure-battery/18799/

https://forums.motorhomefacts.com/182-electrical/99608-autocruise-starburst-leisure-batteries.html

https://forums.motorhomefacts.com/182-electrical/95949-habitation-battery-autocruise-rhythm-campervan.html

It would seem that when AGM batteries were fitted they were branded “M-TEK” as shown in the attached 2010 photo of a battery on its side beneath the cab seat of a 2009 Swift Mondial. (I’ve rotated the original image 180 degrees to make the battery details easier to read.)

As Allan has said, when the M-TEK 85Ah battery became difficult/impossible to obtain, Swift advised that a Yuasa REC80-12I should be fitted as a replacement.

https://www.yuasa.co.uk/rec80-12.html

As I touched on above, if the Yuasa REC80 AGM battery’s dimensions match those of the batteries in Mikebs’s Starspirit, and those dimensions are critical to allow a pair of batteries to be shoehorned into the floor compartment, no suitably-sized gel battery may be available. The gel battery in this Tayna advert comes close but its stated height (including terminals) is 230mm.

https://www.tayna.co.uk/Leisure-Batteries-S45-1.html?ordering=Price-Asc&stype=cat&A-10=Gel&A-1=254,255,256,257,258,259,260,262&A-2=168



(P1010001.JPG)



Attachments
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Attachments P1010001.JPG (68KB - 149 downloads)
userMikebs
Posted: 10 June 2019 6:54 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

To help sort out this problem I have some more information which I probably should have supplied earlier.

The van is a pre swift model of 2007 vintage

The existing batteries were made by a company called Energy Squadron, who I believe stopped making batteries in 2012. I have checked all my motorhome documentation and cannot find any mention of these batteries ever being changed, certainly not in my four years of ownership. Possibly they are original but I very much doubt it.

Battery Info (from original datasheet) :-
Dimensions (L x W x H) 260 x 169 x 237 mm,
weight - 24.5Kg
Key Features
AGM Cyclic technology
300 cycles@70% DoD
10 year life*
Totally sealed
Maintenance Free
Unspillable
Safe to transport
Flame retardant
*for standby use

Regarding storage, the existing batteries are held in place with clamp. There is only a couple of mm spare headroom so this limits the height of any replacement.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 11 June 2019 8:27 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


This 2012 forum thread

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Hints-and-Tips/leisure-battery-which-to-buy-/26707/

refers to a 2008 Autocruise Starburst with a (moribund) Squadron Energy FL 120 leisure-battery located in a plastic box underneath the floor in the seating area. As the motorhome was under 4 years old at the time, it can be assumed that the battery had been factory-fitted when the Starburst was built and that Autocruise was using Squadron batteries at that time. So there is the possibility that your batteries are the original ones.

This file relates to Squadron Energy batteries

https://www.selectsolar.co.uk/downloads/08002BA_AGM.pdf

The L x W x H) dimensions of an Energy SFL 120 were 330mm x 173mm x 240mm - this was a tall wet-acid battery and plainly could not be fitted into your Starspirit’s under-floor compartment. Your batteries are shown in the AGM - AGM Long Life section as “AGM 85” and there similar dimensioned batteries in the ADC - AGM Deep Cycle and SGEL - Ultra Deep Cycle listings.

Largely academic though, for - as you rightly say - Squadron batteries ceased being marketed in the UK in 2012.

Tayna offers this battery that has the correct dimensions

https://www.tayna.co.uk/leisure-batteries/motobatt/mb85-12/

but this is AGM type and (other than being cheaper from Tayna) I don’t know how it compares performance/longevity-wise with Yuasa’s REC80-12I

https://www.tayna.co.uk/mobility-batteries/yuasa/rec80i/

A few gel batteries have dimensions that should (may) allow them to be used as replacements for the present Squadron batteries. However, given the cost of fitting gel or AGM batteries as replacements, plus the fact that your Starspirit’s charging system will almost certainly have been specifically designed for charging wet-acid batteries, I’d still want to explore fitting one or two wet-acid batteries instead.

Obviously, if I saw where the floor compartment was in your Starspirit and what the practical constraints are I might immediately reject that idea, but if the compartment were (say) in the base of a seat-locker I’d be considering making a modification to permit upright wet-acid batteries to be used.
userMikebs
Posted: 11 June 2019 10:23 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Hello Derek,
thank you for your very detailed and comprehensive reply and links. AGM's are certainly a lot more expensive aren't they.

I think considering the constraints of my present system I will have to purchase AGM's. As others have pointed out the existing batteries have lasted a good few years lets hope replacements will last as long.

I have hopefully attached a photo of the battery storage area. It is in the floor area, amidships. The picture only show one battery, the other one is at the bottom of the the picture.





(battery_well.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments battery_well.jpg (56KB - 187 downloads)
userspirou
Posted: 11 June 2019 11:26 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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I don't suppose you could fit a single big battery facing up, rather than two on their side? Seems an odd battery arrangement
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 11 June 2019 12:12 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


The area of the base of the compartment will be around 260mm wide by 474mm long. It’s not easy to estimate the compartment’s depth (200mm?) and then there’s the matter of whether the compartment’s ‘lid’ just rests on the edges of the compartment or the lid's underside also penetrates into the compartment.

There are wet-acid batteries with a height of 175mm (example here)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VW-CAMPERVAN-95-AH-MULTIPURPOSE-BATTERY-175MM-OVERALL-HEIGHT-UNDER-SEAT-FIT-/170843872943

but two of these would not fit into the compartment and fitting just one would redice the overall battery capacity from the present 170Ah to 95Ah.

The trouble is that the dimensions of batteries are fairly standardised, and as capacity rises so do the dimensions. For instance Varta LFD90 or LFD75 batteries both have the very common height of 190mm. Even if that height of battery could be accommodated in Mike’s Starspirit’s battery compartment, it would not be possible to put two LFD75s or LFD90s in and the overall capacity would consequently fall. A single Varta LFD140 would have acceptable capacity, but it’s too ltall (223mm).
userMikebs
Posted: 11 June 2019 12:20 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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Having had a look at the battery compartment yesterday I also think that the compartment is not vented, but I am not an expert in these matters.

The clamps are also unable to accommodate anything much taller than the present size.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 11 June 2019 2:23 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Although the clamps are designed for a battery with the narrow width of the Squadron product, that’s not really a show-stopper as it should be easy enough to replace the clamps with a different restraint system, Similarly, even if the compartment is not vented, only a small hole would need to be drilled in the wall or base of the compartment to permit the vent-tube of a wet-acid battery to be led out of the compartment to the ouside air below the motorhome. The stumbling-block is the depth of the compartment.

To accommodate the two Squadron batteries the Starspirit’s compartment must be at least 260mm wide and at least 474mm long (2 x 237mm).

Varta’s LFD60 battery is 246mm long and 175mm wide

https://www.tayna.co.uk/leisure-batteries/varta/lfd60/

so a side-by-side pair of LFD60s would cover an area of 246mm x 350mm (2 x the 175mm width) and, consequently, could easily fit into the compartment with sufficient space remaining to DIY a restraint system. The cables currently connecting to the Squadron batteries’ terminals might need to be altered to attach to the LFD60’s conventional terminal-posts, but the end result would be two high-quality wet-acid batteries appropriate for the motorhome’s charging system, an overall capacity of 120Ah and a cost of aboiut £140 for the batteries themselves. But the LFD60s are 190mm in height...

Now (based on your photo) it LOOKS like a 190mm-high battery would fit into the compartment, as 190mm is only 21mm more than the Squadron battery’s169mm width - though there might be a conflict with the underside of the compartment’s current lid.

The simplest approach should be to replace the present batteries with AGM equivalents to the Squadron batteries (eg. the Yuasa REC80-12I) or identify a 'size-alike’ gel battery. Neither option will be cheap and the reservations you mentioned in your original posting would still apply, but in principle no DIY modifications should be required and you’d end up with 160Ah or so of capacity.
usercolin weston
Posted: 12 June 2019 4:43 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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I believe that the charger on my 2007 Autocruise Starburst is a 3-stage charger. When at home I leave the van permanently plugged into the mains. According to the voltmeters on the control panel the voltage of both batteries is 13.9V or being charged at 13.9V. Last Spring I suffered a no start when my starter battery failed after 11 years. I have not replaced my two leisure batteries which are laid on their side under the floor, accessible from inside the van. Most of the time I use an EHU when away from home although last year did the occasional night in Scotland relying on the leisure batteries. I will supply further details of the batteries and charger if that would be helpful. When my leisure batteries finally expire I will fit similar batteries again on the basis that the originals have lasted so long.

Edited by colin weston 2019-06-12 4:49 PM
userageingandrew
Posted: 12 June 2019 8:57 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: Hampshire. Hymer B544, 3.0 Auto


I’m following this thread with interest.

@Colin Weston, are your leisure batteries AGM and are they the original fit?. If so that means that they have more than exceeded 10 years of useful service.

The original poster Mikebs states that his AGM batteries have served him well for many years.

If AGM has served the original poster well, then his treatment of those batteries has suited them; he has probably not over-discharged them, he probably has not over-charged them, so replacing them with new AGM (or Gel) batteries seems to be the most sensible option. If he treats the new batteries to similar usage and charging regime as he did the old ones then he should get many years of good use out of them
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 13 June 2019 8:23 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


The other side of the coin is that, if the batteries fitted to Mike’s and Colin’s 2007 Autocruise motorhomes are the originals (and that’s a strong possibility) it won’t be possible to replace them with identical batteries made by the same manufacturers, as such batteries are no longer marketed. Mike’s are Squadron batteries and (if original) Colin’s are probably Squadron or M-TEC. (Details of Colin’s batteries and charger would be of interest.)

The chances are small that Mike’s or Colin’s motorhome has a battery-charger with a gel setting and approaching zero that there’s an AGM setting. In fact, in Colin’s case, his mention of charging at 13.9V strongly suggests that his motorhome’s charger is a traditional ‘caravan’ type.

If Mike or Colin decides to replace with AGM batteries, the Yuasa REC80-12I seems to be the preferred choice and a pair of these will cost around £300. But if the ‘logic’ of choosing AGM replacements is because the different-make originals lasted a long time, the in-use longevity of the Yuasa battery really needs to be researched and the following 2018 forum thread may be worth reading:

https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/2017-Swift-Leisure-Battery-Failure/50386/

I’ve got a lot of sympathy with replacing a failed product that has been satisfactory and reliable for a long time on an exact like-for-like basis, but that won’t be possible here.

Personally, I‘d be reluctant to replace a pair of elderly Squadron or M-TEK AGM batteries on a 2007 Autocruise motorhome with a pair of Yuasa REC80s (or a pair of gel batteries) because of the cost and because I’d know that the vehicle’s charging system wasn’t optimised for AGM or gel battery types.

I’d definitely want to explore fitting two (or even three) Varta LFD batteries instead, as the charging regimen would be more appropriate and the overall cost should be less. However, if it were practicable to install the Vartas where the AGM batteries currently are, some modifications to the existing cabling/restraints/venting would be required. Converesly, if it’s not practicable to fit the Vartas, or it’s not acceptable to make modifications, there will be no option but to choose more AGM batteries or similarly-dimensioned gels.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 13 June 2019 10:27 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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colin weston - 2019-06-12 4:43 PM

I believe that the charger on my 2007 Autocruise Starburst is a 3-stage charger. When at home I leave the van permanently plugged into the mains. According to the voltmeters on the control panel the voltage of both batteries is 13.9V or being charged at 13.9V. Last Spring I suffered a no start when my starter battery failed after 11 years. I have not replaced my two leisure batteries which are laid on their side under the floor, accessible from inside the van. Most of the time I use an EHU when away from home although last year did the occasional night in Scotland relying on the leisure batteries. I will supply further details of the batteries and charger if that would be helpful. When my leisure batteries finally expire I will fit similar batteries again on the basis that the originals have lasted so long.


Colin, You might have a 3 stage charger, but one optimised for Wet batteries, it won't be able to provide the 14.8v that AGM batteries need to perform optimally. Similarly the Alternator output voltage at the Leisure batteries will be way to low. As a result the AGM's will take longer to charge, up to twice as long as the wet acid batteries Derek has suggested, and after a while will fail to reach 100% charge, We found 85% was typical.

But in any case you write, "Most of the time I use an EHU when away from home" which would result batteries hardly ever being cycled at all.
Virtually unused in real terms, which might explain the long life time.
With such use of not cycling the battery, you would have probably got the same life from a pair of budget Starter batteries.

Your use is very, very different to average Motorhome buyer who is spending more time 'off grid'.

Even so, considering the disadvantages of AGM batteries not being charged fully and taking such a long time to charge it seems odd to me that you would opt to stay with the same set-up for such a huge premium when you don't actually need high cyclic batteries.

.

In the picture of Mikebs's batteries the plastic battery terminal covers were clearly not designed for those batteries, suggesting the batteries are not original.



Edited by aandncaravan 2019-06-13 10:38 AM
usercolin weston
Posted: 13 June 2019 3:04 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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I can confirm that my two leisure batteries are 'Squadron agmlonglife ENERGY'. I can't give further details at the moment as the thumbwheels holding the battery clamps are almost seized solid. They must protrude through the floor and have accumulated 12 years of corrosion!!
The handbook quotes: 'A 3-stage charger is fitted to optimise charging of GEL and AGM type batteries, rated at 25A'.
I appreciate your comments regarding the fact that I seldom cycle the leisure batteries but that's fine, maybe they will last a further 12 years by which time I will probably have expired or given up driving.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 13 June 2019 3:23 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
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colin weston - 2019-06-13 3:04 PM


The handbook quotes: 'A 3-stage charger is fitted to optimise charging of GEL and AGM type batteries, rated at 25A'.
I appreciate your comments regarding the fact that I seldom cycle the leisure batteries but that's fine, maybe they will last a further 12 years by which time I will probably have expired or given up driving.


That is interesting, we have never come across a 2007 - 2009 Autocruise with an AGM 14.8v mains charger.
What charger is fitted in your vehicle,not an Amperor by any chance?




Edited by aandncaravan 2019-06-13 3:39 PM
usercolin weston
Posted: 13 June 2019 4:12 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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The charger is part of the Autocruise Energy Management System, see my recent post on 'Lazy Control Panel'. The tooling for the Control Panel and Modules A and B are apparently owned by Energy Management Products Ltd 'nrgmp.com' who designed these components originally. I guess they would know details of the battery charger. The picture of the charger in my handbook shows no name. The charger is located under the passenger seat. I will try and find some details tomorrow but it is not very accessible.
In the handbook under battery charger it also states: 'The energy manager monitors charge current and calculates true charge transfer into the system to predict battery life'. When driving, the charging system switches between batteries so maybe it charges the starter battery and the leisure batteries differently?
userageingandrew
Posted: 13 June 2019 8:06 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: Hampshire. Hymer B544, 3.0 Auto


Hello Derek,

Yep, I think that clarity on the chargers' capability is key, as is how Mikebs uses his van.

Does he use the van off-grid most of the time or, like Colin, does he mostly use EHU? This fact alone will determine what total battery capacity needed, whether he needs 1 or 2 batteries, and together with charger capability, determine the battery type best suited.

The point I was making was that AGMs have served Mikebs & Colin well for years and it would be a shame to regress to flooded cell batteries now.

Regards
Andrew
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 14 June 2019 8:10 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Details of the complex Autocruise Energy Management System are in this 2008 Owners Handbook

https://orbit.brightbox.com/v1/acc-jqzwj/Swift-Group/handbooks/pdfs/000/000/046/original/2008_AC_Handbook.pdf?1472743494

This 2008 handbook suggests thar the battery-charger has a 25A output, but does not contain the statement A 3-stage charger is fitted to optimise charging of GEL and AGM type batteries, rated at 25A that Colin quotes earlier from the handbook of his 2007 Autocruise Starburst.

I’m doubtful that Allan’s battery-terminal theory can be used as a reliable guide to the age of Mikebs’s batteries. Similar covers were fitted to an under-cab-seat M-TEC AGM battery (photo earlier in this thread) fitted to a 2009 Swift Mondial and the likelihood is that, as Autocruise and Swift were installing wet-acid leisure-batteries back then as well as AGM type, they fitted covers appropriate for standard wet-acid battery terminals rather than specific covers more suitable for the AGM battery terminals (assuming such covers were available). Given motorhome manufacturers’ propensity for corner-cutting, it’s to be applauded that the batteries actually have terminal covers

12V batteries usually carry a ‘date of birth’ (though cracking the date-code may be tricky). If the age of Mike’s and Colin’s batteries is felt to be really important, checking for a date of manufacture on the battery may be worthwhile. However, as it seems to be the well known that Squadron ceased marketing batteries in the UK in 2012, it’s reasonable to assume that the Squadron AGM batteries on Mike’s and Colin’s motorhomes are at least 7 years old.

The options seem plain enough

- replace the Squadron AGM batteries with dimensionally similar batteries that can be installed on their side. This will require little effort to do, but a choice between AGM or gel type will need to be made (which is what this thread’s original enquiry was about).

- or explore fitting upright wet-acid batteries instead. The cost of the batteries should be less, but (assiming doing this were practicable) some modifications would be required.
usercolin weston
Posted: 14 June 2019 3:12 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


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Location: Cheshire Autocruise Starburst 2007


I managed to have a look at the label on the battery charger under the front passenger seat with the aid of a torch and mirror. The label states Autocruise but no other manufacturer. It states that it is a 3-stage charger rated at 25A.
Having had the van since new I can confirm, as previously stated, that these leisure batteries are the original fitment.
To any other owners of similar Autocruise models with this arrangement of battery storage, check that the battery clamp bolts have not seized. I am having difficulty releasing the bolts despite applying WD40 at the base of the screws from inside the battery box. Now it has stopped raining I have been under the van and cleaned up the protruding bolt ends and sprayed with WD40. The captive bolts and plate appear to be attached to the underside of the battery box with adhesive and needless to say one of the plates has rotated.
When I finally release the clamps I will supply some further details of the batteries which are currently obscured by the clamp.
I have contacted Energy Management Products to see if they can provide any information regarding battery charging for this model. Will give feedback when/if I get a reply.


Edited by colin weston 2019-06-14 3:15 PM
userMikebs
Posted: 14 June 2019 3:49 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
Having a look around

Posts: 31
25


Hello Colin,
I eagerly await any further info you can find regarding the Autocruise charging system. It does seems that we both have the same charging system from what you have described.

Regarding the clamps. A mechanic friend had a look at mine and they were also seized and couldn't easily be released. In the end it was easier to destroy one and replace it with a nut & bolt. The other clamp did release after some persuasion..

I hadn't realised my "little" question would generate so much traffic. Thank you all for your replies. The knowledge on this forum has helped meal a great deal.
usercolin weston
Posted: 14 June 2019 4:17 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


Keeps coming back for more

Posts: 170
1002525
Location: Cheshire Autocruise Starburst 2007


Hello Mike,
I have found this forum so helpful in the past. Are you sure that you need to replace your batteries? Are they not holding the charge? I had to email Energy Management Products as they were away on some project so not sure how long it will take to get a reply.

Edited by colin weston 2019-06-14 4:19 PM
userMikebs
Posted: 14 June 2019 6:43 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
Having a look around

Posts: 31
25


Hello Colin,

On a recent 3 day stay off grid the batteries only effectively lasted for two days where as previously they would have lasted for the duration .

I do have a CTEK battery charger MXS_5 so I might have a go at reconditioning the batteries but I'm sure how effective this process is.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 15 June 2019 10:07 AM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 
Forum master

Posts: 2265
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Location: Conwy, North Wales


Mikebs - 2019-06-14 3:49 PM

Hello Colin,
I eagerly await any further info you can find regarding the Autocruise charging system. It does seems that we both have the same charging system from what you have described..

I hadn't realised my "little" question would generate so much traffic. Thank you all for your replies. The knowledge on this forum has helped me a great deal.


The usual charger fitted in the Autocruise's around that time was the Amperor 250, 25a charger with a single profile of wet acid.
If you look at your own units you will see there is no switching facility on the charger, it is fixed for a wet acid profile only.

There are a few threads that have questioned the suitability of this charger for anything other than wet batteries, like this one : https://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/amperor-25amp-charger.127672/ where one owner wrote to Amperor.

"I did get a response from Amperor when I emailed them. They said that although it was meant for a lead/acid battery it should be OK for gel batteries as well but to check with the battery manufacturer that their batteries can accept a charging voltage of 14.5".

We have repaired many Amperor's in the past, and were even re-sellers for the chargers for a while till they closed shop, so we know the electronics and functionality in detail.
Although the very last versions had their voltage raised slightly it is still too low for an AGM to charge fully or quickly.


Edited by aandncaravan 2019-06-15 10:24 AM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 15 June 2019 12:04 PM
Subject: RE: Replacement Leisure Batteries
 


5000500050005000100100
Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Mikebs

I’m wary of your idea to use the “RECOND” option of your CTEK MXS 5.0 battery-charger with your AGM batteries.

The latest version of the MXS 5.0 charger has a specific AGM charging regimen

https://www.ctek.com/products/vehicle/mxs-5-0

but the original MXS 5.0 (I have one) does not.

For both current and previous MXS 5.0 models the RECOND option applies 15.8V for (as I understand the CTEK instructions!) up to 8 hours. This option is designed to desulphate batteries and - when the battery is normal wet-acid type - the battery should be expected to vent gas during the RECOND phase.

The CTEK documentation for the earlier MXS 5.0 does not advise “Do not use the RECOND option with AGM or gel batteries" but on this YouTube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84jg8spF7oU

a 4-week-old comment from CTEK Support relating to AGM and RECOND says

Hi. RECOND shall be used to Wet lead acid batteries once or twice a year. A wet battery is where the electrolyte is fluent within the battery (Not GEL or AGM batteries!) The charger will automatically fully charge before starting the RECOND, and it will continue with maintenance charging until the charger is disconnected from the battery or another mode is chosen. Best regards CTEK Support

It has to be said that this advice seems to be at odds with what’s said on another CTEK webpage relating to the MXS 5.0 with the AGM charging feature

The RECOND and AGM options operate individually or together...

A GOOGLE-search on “CTEK AGM RECOND” may also be of interest.

I think there’s a fair chance that, if you use the RECOND option on your AGM batteries that can currently cope with 2 days of off-site usage, you’ll damage them. Given that your 2007 Autocruise motorhome has the same Squadron AGM batteries as Colin’s 2007 vehicle (and the clamps on your motorhome were also seized) there’s a reasonable likelihood that your batteries are also the originals and now 12 years old. If you use the RECOND option and it harms the batteries, I guess this won’t much matter as it seems that they are on their way out and you were planning to replace them anyway - and you MIGHT get lucky and RECOND MIGHT do some good.

However, I suggest you ask CTEK about the advisability of running RECOND on your AGM batteries before doing it, telling CTEK whether your MXS 5.0 charger has the AGM selection feature or not.
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