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Yet another battery question
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userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 21 August 2018 9:34 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Boris - 2018-08-20 12:28 PM

...As for the VB, it is huge and not like any car battery I have evver seen before...


As far as I’m aware the starter-battery fitted to a current-model Fiat Ducato is neither particularly ‘huge’ (for a motorhome) nor anything special. The norm seems to be a black-coloured FIAMM-badged 95Ah or 110Ah wet-acid ‘maintainable’ battery.

As shown in the photo in Allan’s posting of 21 August 2018 8:44 AM above, there is a lot ‘stuff’ (“A” in the photo) perched above the battery’s positive terminal, but this has no effect on the battery’s type.
userplwsm2000
Posted: 21 August 2018 5:53 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I couldn't help noticing those two small red wires in your photo Allan,
It would appear they come straight off the positive battery terminal and so are not fused.
One of them almost touches the negative terminal.
A!though they are insulated, a bit of vibration could eventually wear through the insulation and create a dead short across the battery.
I am not sure where they go, but I would like to see an inline fuse if it were my van.



(Fiat Starter battery cabling.jpg)



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useraandncaravan
Posted: 21 August 2018 7:03 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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It was just a picture I snatched off the web, but you are right it doesn't look good.

useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 1:48 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Brambles - 2018-08-21 9:18 AM

Hi Allen,
You are wrong, I do not only look from a battery point of view. I have been involved in vehicle electrical systems a long time and know everything has to be taken into account and invariably is a balancing act. of many different aspects.



Brambles, this reply isn't meant as a 'you are wrong, I am right argument', it is about trying to increase knowledge on the subject, something our website has always championed. See this web page as an example : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/battery-charging-faults.php

I am losing my battle against Cancer, so I am working hard to pass on my knowledge before I go.
Please read this reply in that context, regardless of my 'headmaster' writing style, when you read it.
There is also another reason I am spending so much time on the reply, which you will get to later.


I didn't mean to suggest you didn't have extensive auto electric skills, apologies.
I know lots of people who work on vehicle electrics as their specialist role, but not one has any knowledge about motorhome leisure battery charging systems - The huge variety of mains charging systems deployed, how they are now so totally integrated, the very subtle nuances of Alternator charging or even the slightest clue on Solar and it's impact.

We don't know anyone who has more than a basic view of how a Motorhome/Caravan charger works, although they do usually understand how a Car battery charger works and a split charge relay.
For example most people believe, even one 'Technical' specialist at Roadpro we spoke to, that a Leisure battery charger will charge up a battery in 'Boost' mode until it is 'fully' charged and it then drops to a lower voltage 'Float/trickle/whatever'.
It doesn't, the difference is only subtle but the end result worlds apart.

Most leisure battery chargers (including many Solar chargers) charge for a set 'timer' period (typically 4 hours) and then drop to Float mode, regardless of whether the battery is fully charged or not. That results in a very, very different outcome in terms of battery 'charged state'. One might end up fully charged, the other still a discharged battery.

Lets take a typical German 18A charger, introduced around 2005 and still the basis of other units today. It is USED IN MORE MOTORHOMES WORLDWIDE than any other so very, very relevant.
It charges at 14.4v for just 60 minutes, then drops to 13.8v float voltage and low 'trickle' current

You can see that even at a theoretical 18amps charge rate (which it will never achieve for more than 5 minutes because it will get too hot) it will put a paltry max 17Ah into a fully flat 100% DOD battery and the remaining 93Ah will be put in at 13.8v along with a 'trickle' current.
Total charge time would need to be over 120 hours or MORE than 4 days on a Yuasa YPC.


In a scenario where the Leisure battery bank is taken to 90% DOD (only 10% left) and there are two 100Ah YPC AGM batteries, you can see charge times of 8 days won't be enough.
Obviously, batteries treated using Car Battery charging practise will never reach anything like their laboratory tested life capability.
A major reason we see AGM's with less than 18 months life, even the very most expensive AGM won't survive sulphation attack.


So in the above example which is far from unique, and there are literally hundreds of variations across the hundreds of chargers, the chances of someone putting the charger on for 'a day' hoping the battery will fully charge will probably suffer a sulphating battery if it is ever discharged deeply.

But it is worse than that because we know only a single motorhome charger that is specifically designed to bring up a battery from flat. That charger is the only one that has specific circuitry that will 'probe' the battery for it's state before it's charge process begins.
Most motorhome/caravan chargers will just fail under the strain or not charge the battery at all.

That is why all motorhome/caravan specific battery advice says to keep it above 50% DOD.
Trouble is, automotive 'knowledge' gets applied to motorhomes/caravans.


So why don't motorhome/caravan chargers work like Car battery chargers?
Because they are used differently, again the difference is subtle but the end result can be catastrophic.
There are people on this forum approaching their sixties who will remember every battery charger we ever bought in our younger days, said to remove the charger leads once the battery was charged. Don't leave it unattended for long, because of the risk of gassing/damage/explosion.

Caravan chargers became prolific when EHU started to be rolled out in the 1970's and caravans sat on EHU for weeks during a 3 week holiday. If one of these batteries faulted, and they usually did as people started off using old car batteries, the battery would never 'fully charge' so not drop down to the 'safety' 13.8v trickle charge.
So it continued to be charged at 14.4v for days, even weeks at a time and if you were lucky you would just be gassed with Hydrogen and Oxygen.
If you were not so lucky................

Some caravaning 'oldies' on here may remember the 'safety' campaigns that resulted, stipulating batteries must be located in lockers, trays, etc. Whose idea was it to put those great big Gas lockers on the front of the early caravans, and then put the battery in there with it? I guess it was better than in the habitation area though.


The charger industry responded by making chargers safer and specific to the requirement and usage by using safety 'timers'.
So why don't the 'technical specialists' in the magazines that advocate upgrading the charger, make absolutely no mention of this continued need, etc.
Or even an explanation of how a proper motorhome charger works?




YOU WRITE :

I am pretty sure many motorhome users take their flooded batteries way below 50% dod and probably do not realise, as many just use power until it runs out or at least starts to fade with no understanding or wish to understand exactly what is going on.

.


REPLY :
Yes they do and they just Pop, especially so if the battery bank isn't a supported size or the battery is tired. Just look at every Forum, from Swift to Hymer and search on 'mains charger failures', it is a huge problem. Logic suggests that every single motorhome/caravan charger from every manufacturer from around the World can't possibly be badly made, surely? So something is taking them outside their design.

Add into the mix a specialist AGM battery that not only sucks more current out of the charger and the risk of failure goes up again.
To tell someone it is ok to drop this particular Yuasa Golf buggy/industrial battery to 100% DOD and raise the charging load by doubling it even further isn't logical when it is documented so extensively their are issues.



A second example, and I suspect a reason Yuasa don't specify the YPC100 as a Leisure battery is because all the applications that Yuasa specify the battery for, have different charging systems again. These systems use charging currents optimised for VRLA batteries that would otherwise raise battery plate temperatures with the resultant short life. These batteries are designed to be discharged, using the long period overnight to recharge them ready for the next days use. There is usually a long, gentle recharge period followed by a lengthy steady load that replicates EXACTLY the battery testing carried out in the laboratory and an almost perfect scenario for this type of battery.
That will clearly earn it a very high 'cyclic rating that is unlikely to be realised in practise.

It clearly isn't how it will be used in a motorhome when Joe Bloggs runs his microwave for 10 minutes and raises the battery plate temperatures almost as high as the Chicken Balti; runs it down low over a period of 5 days before driving 6 hours across Spain at high charge rates and high temperatures.

VRLA Gel/AGM batteries have real issues with plate temperatures, just look at how Victron (in my view better than Yuasa for motorhome use because Victron are also REAL battery charger experts) show on their chart how an AGM battery can have it's life dropped from 7 years to 2 years, just by a 20 degree rise in plate temperature. That is a massive impact on VRLA battery life that is rarely documented or quoted as 'a disadvantage'.

The examples might be extreme, but motorhome 12v systems are being used in extremes compared to the 1990's. Not many people drove a Talbot from Glasgow to Portugal in several virtual none stop 8 hour sprints. The vehicle, and especially the seat would not allow it for one. Now it is done with ease, but that is a long time for an Alternators 14.4v to be 'floating' an AGM.

There are so many differences between the the optimum use of an AGM and the hammering it gets in a motorhome.


Maybe I am wrong but think these two things demonstrates how important it is that anyone giving battery advice understands, in great detail, the whole picture.
And that is where I want to ask you a favour? You are more capable and knowledgeable than any one I know in this area.
I might have sounded like a Head master telling off a pupil, but it isn't meant like that. That's just me. When the cancer takes me away, the joined up knowledge I have acquired will be lost.


Will you please think about expanding your charging knowledge, or maybe proposing/working with someone else on the forum?
Your battery skill is second to none and while Martin our charger repairer is continuing our company and maintaining the web pages, he is semi retired and can't take on my old 'role'.

Please have a good think about the idea, the guys on here know I am no one special, but through sheer experience and work have acquired a stack of knowledge which is uniquely integrated. No one else pulls together motorhomes, battery charging and batteries like we have.
Please help find a way of keeping that going?
Even if the contribution is just to feed Martin the odd correction to the web pages because we have it wrong or things have changed, it would be huge benefit to all.

Sorry if I am not being fair, but you have helped so many people in the past I know you are a good guy.


YOU WRITE :

You make some good points and some are valid and others debatable...too much has been mentioned for me to have time to address every point. The Yu-power battery technology has been around many years and is not really a new product at all.




REPLY :
I didn't say it was new, I know full well AGM's have been around years, but this is a new application for AGM's. It is only since about 2014 that the battery industry have specifically targeted the Caravan and motorhome arena and they haven't looked in any detail how they are really being used.


YOU WRITE :

One thing I do not know much about is the reliability and quality (and specs) of many motorhome charger systems. I looked up the PX300 specs and it appears along with previous comments you have made a reliable system so should handle a deep discharged Yu-power battery, That does not mean it will be good for all AGM batteries. Sometimes the ability of a battery to charge fast with low charging impedance is not a good thing as it takes chargers to it's current limit and acts like a short on Alternators. All I am saying is a slower charging battery is often desirable but equally not one with big charging losses. A good three stage charger should not have an issue with most batteries but your experience of reliability of chargers is far more important than any specification sheet.



REPLY :
Trust me I would never put the Sargent PX300 in anything other than the budget category. As I think I state in one recent thread, 'it is about the lowest spec charger we would recommend anyone considers'.


YOU WRITE :

I look at every battery application individually as what applied to one sytem and user may not apply to another . Sadly there is not a combination out there that will be the best for all users at a sensible cost and will always be a compromise.



REPLY :
I understand that, but strange how many people put 2 + 2 together ...........



YOU WRITE :

The next important thing is what happens when the battery fails. The Yu-power is calcium based and have never seen one with a cell fail short circuit but always high impedance so this protects the charging systems and the battery from overheating in battery fail conditions due to age and use.


REPLY :



I can't agree with you more, the way a battery 'fails' is it's absolutely most important characteristic in a motorhome. One we have championed for a long time.
However, once again, I suspect the automotive experience and the resulting disaster that can occur in a motorhome, is very different.

Because their 'automotive' use usually ceases before they actually 'fail', i.e. the Stop/Start electronics will flag to the car ECU that the battery is losing capacity, they are replaced in the vehicle long before they actually die and before plate break up takes place.
In a motorhome users tend to run a battery right to the very last. A bit more on that subject later.

Derek Uzzell may remember us documenting exploded AGM batteries, it created quite a discussion on the forums some years ago. Maybe as far back as 2014?

Because AGM's only operate within a very narrow window of temperature, charging and usage (as already discussed) when they fail in a motorhome it can be horrific, almost always taking the charger with them.
The way they fail, IMO, makes them the most dangerous battery to fit inside a motorhome by a very long way.
AGM batteries are more prone to thermal runaway. They break down and get hot. the heat makes them break down faster and the subsequent faster breakdown generates even more heat, so they breakdown even faster.
The resulting destruction of the plates, and we have cut open some where the charger failed before explosion, is astonishing. The resulting debris, we think, then blocks the valve.
Boom.
It's makes heck of a mess, not just the damage from the lumps of plastic, but the acid destroys so much.


Of course those people who are experts say these are the best technology battery to fit under the Passenger seat............ NOT.

Better still, you can mount it on it's side, which you can imagine will result in the safety venting valve becoming blocked earlier..........

Mount it inverted and the valve, at the top of the battery now sits at the bottom and blocks even sooner, very rapid route to explosion. However, because explosion takes place a bit earlier it sometimes results in less acid around the habitation area.

The vehicle we saw with a CTEK car battery charger fitted "that can be left permanently connected" was one of the worst we have seen. One lump of plastic was almost the entire end of the battery casing and was embedded through a kitchen door. I honestly think it would have taken off a leg if someone had been in there, yet the van was just 10 months old.



I said I would write more on the subject of motorhome owners, in our experience, they typically use batteries right to the very end.
They are used to a Starter battery being 'past it' when it won't start an engine, which is usually before the total break up of the plates.
They maybe apply the same thinking to the habitation area battery knowing it's dead when it won't power the lights or the charger keeps blowing up, alternator burning out, etc.

If the owner has spent £650 on a pair of batteries, they will really want value for money.
To find another £650 (especially for someone who may have only recently bought the vehicle s/h and wants like for like) is a huge barrier to replacing them.
So it tends to be the expensive AGM set-ups that suffer the most serious battery explosions.
Another reason why we think expensive deep cycle batteries are not good news, apart from the disappointing real world lifetime.


In my opinion, any company that recommends an AGM leisure battery inside the habitation area should be prosecuted. To say it can be mounted on it's side or inverted should get a life sentence, if you saw the damage we have seen it would break your Heart to see and listen to the owners.
The battery industry clearly haven't given it even the slightest bit of research.


Are you beginning to see a pattern here on just how just subtle different use of a battery can be and the outcomes so different?
So if I put you in the category of those looking at battery usage from it's 'Paper Spec', not real usage.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 2:11 PM
userBoris
Posted: 22 August 2018 3:26 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Oh dear - I fear an apology is in order as I seem to have inadvertently started something here which was never intended or envisaged. It was just Allan;s remark about not having EHU on permanently powering PX300 on a YU-POWER battery. Over 40 years of caravanning and running classic cars, I became paranoid about batteries going flat when car/van was not used daily. All our wheeled units had Optimate battery conditioners fitted and had their fluid levels checked and topped up weekly. NOT ONCE did we ever have a car fail to leap into life at first push of button or turn of key. Much to the envy of my friends who felt my Optimates were a waste of money. Our first two Mohos had EHU chargers for the LB only which I supplemented by wiring in a CTEK for the VB. With the purchase of a new Swift Bolero we acquired smart charging for both batteries so continued to leave EHU active whenever van was not in use. I have been happy with this for 7 months - until I read Allan;s warning -hence my cat having been thrown into the pigeons.
Allan's offer is exceptionally generous and much appreciated. BUT Is it really necessary? Brambles says not and it seems that Swift have been knocking out Kon--Tikis, Rios, Escapes and Boleros )with Command) for a few years now without either MMM or Swift forums being flooded with failure complaints. Our van is unlikely ever to be used off-grid so will my present set up and usage not work well for the foreseeable future? If the YU=POWER Fails, then replacing with a new YUASA wet-flooded battery would not seem the end of the world. Either that, or it might not fail at all Brambles suggests. I am in awe of the knowledge which both you gentlemen possess, but I am looking to be practical here and therefore practical advice would be welcome please. I guess there are hundreds of owners out there in the same boat as me and blissfully ignorant of whether they are doing right or wrong.
My apologies again for delay in responding, but as Allan will understand, hospital appointments do mess up one;s normal routine!
Thank you again,
Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 4:13 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Brambles, the last line should have read,
"So sorry if I put you in the category of those looking at battery usage from it's 'Paper Spec', not real usage".


Boris/Barry, no problem at all, I was just hoping to use your vehicle as a Guinea pig model to show how the voltages the battery manufacturers think are being applied to AGM batteries are well awry.
Because you don't go offgrid or discharge the battery much at all, the AGM battery will hardly get used. If you are lucky you have 2 - 3 years before battery life issues arise and if you are only ever on EHU you are unlikely to ever have issues from the battery only being 85% charged by the Alternator.


Maybe some other owner might fancy a free motorhome 12v test diagnostics session?



You are obviously clued up on the need for ultra low long term storage float charging of batteries (not to be confused with ordinary short term 'float' voltages) if you employed the Optimate.
As you probably know it maintains a perfect battery manufacturers recommended 13.2v long term float voltage.
Additionally half of that time it is 'on', it is actually 'idle' deciding it's next move. Every now and again it will wake up and tune the battery. Very like the Victron chargers with 'Storage float' for long term motorhome battery maintenance and the same 13.2v storage float.

The Optimate is a very nice piece of kit and the best possible way of maintaining any battery that is long term 'idle'. Definitely not to be confused with the lesser competition that don't work half as well.

Note that for your motorhome, when battery manufacturers talk of Float voltages, it is almost all the short term float, not permanent 'storage float' charging.
Yuasa quote a storage float of 13.2v for most of their industrial batteries that sit permanently on charge in data centres, etc.
So I would guess that the YPC's 13.6 float is not a storage float voltage and that just as Classic car starter batteries never last long on the 'usual' quoted 13.8v Float, your AGM's will suffer on 13.6v long term, but time will tell.



I have added the chart that I missed off the last post showing how just 20 degrees rise at the plates drops an AGM's life from a claimed 7 years to just 2 years.


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 4:38 PM




(Victron Energy Battery Temperature small.jpg)



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Attachments Victron Energy Battery Temperature small.jpg (43KB - 211 downloads)
userBoris
Posted: 22 August 2018 6:24 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Posts: 23



You make this sound like an opportunity not to be missed.We have a NE and Yorkshire tour planned and booked starting from Monday 16th September with first stop pff at Newark. We can leave earlier and travel up to CMC site at Chapel Lane arriving late pm and then drive up to LLandudno Friday. This could give us all day there Saturday and then leave Monday 16th to drive back to Newark and the original plans. We shall have 3 nights at LLandudno but we do not expect you to cover any of the costs here (we insist on this)
Would this timetable work for you?

Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 6:43 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Yes that works for me, I will PM the details.
If you get there early enough on the Friday I will come up to you then, I don't mind 'working' early evening on this, that will give you all the weekend to see the area.

Please take a look at the Campsite 'Local attractions' page as there is so much to do in the vicinity and further out to Snowdonia, etc. http://www.tanybrynfarm.com/local-area.php

I think the site charges £14 a pitch, so we can argue about who pays when you turn up.

I am guessing that you have not read the web page on 'Long Term EHU', because it contains info from the Yuasa web site on this very subject, quick extraction below -


The Yuasa web site states : "Batteries used in these (long term float) applications should be changed every 2 years or more frequently.
Continuous charging, even from a well-controlled charging system, will result in internal degradation of the battery. This could result in the battery not giving its predicted output when required even though the battery appears to be fully-charged.
Ensure that the battery is always kept in as high a state-of-charge as possible without causing excessive overcharge".



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 7:10 PM
userBoris
Posted: 22 August 2018 7:31 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
Having a look around

Posts: 23



Thanks Allan, Do we book the site direct? IYour comment re permanent EHU usage does cause me concernof course as it is against my normal instinct, Even changing to a new Yuasa L36-EFB won't overcome this then will it? Any suggestions here/ My old habits ans paranoia could be an issue for me here!
Barry
useraandncaravan
Posted: 22 August 2018 8:40 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Yes, book the site direct, it is nothing to do with me, they are just a really lovely couple, David and Karen, who let me work from there. Many sites won't let technicians work from them.


The Sargent ECxxx unit you have is fairly easily able to have Heart surgery.
Not hard to remove the Sargent PX300 'standalone' charger' and wire up another that is both a much better charger and has a low 13.2v 'storage' charge feature. It is even optimised for AGM charging capability (Aaargh, sorry I had to wash my mouth out then).

That isn't work I can do because of my illness, but easy enough for your own 'local' man to carry it out when you get back home.

I will run through the options with you so it is easier to get it all sorted after your 'holiday', if that is what you then decide to do after a ponder.


Not sure I made it totally clear in the offer, but just need to confirm you are happy to ratify the test results and for me to publish?




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-22 8:43 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 24 August 2018 1:54 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-17 10:09 PM

rupert123 - 2018-08-17 9:12 PM

I have to disagree about Tanya, brilliant service and very fast delivery plus good prices.


I can't disagree about the pricing and delivery, but mis describing batteries as they did in Alan I's email is not brilliant service.





Picking up again on the original Post and comments about Tayna, the customer below ordered two batteries from Tayna specifically specifying they must be a matched pair. When one arrived almost flat, and clearly degraded. One subsequently turned out to be manufactured in 2017 the other had no date. He took it up with them but they were "unhelpful" so he contacted Exide, response on that here -

"I phoned Exide customer services in the UK. He told me they had several of these batteries in stock from a few days old up to 3 months. He also said the 12.26 V battery was not fit for purpose and should be rejected. We both agreed Tanya pulled one over me by sending one new one and one they had been holding in stock for a very long time.
This explains the old style label and the low Voltage. Both batteries have now been returned to Tanya and I await a full refund. When I told him about the AH rating he stated it was 100 AH but then he checked the technical spec and agreed there was an anomaly and something was wrong. He said he would take the matter up internally and I have not heard from them since. Tanya denied they had sent an old battery from stock but the guy I spoke to said we have none in stock and these were sent directly from the manufacturer but prior to placing the order I was told they were holding one in stock. So Tayna have been found out on this occasion. I still want these batteries and will try again towards the end of the year".


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-24 1:57 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 26 August 2018 8:59 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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This thread started with someone worried that discharging their two Habitation area batteries down to 50% seemed to place a big load on the charger when charging them back up, as the charger seemed to run flat out for a while.
A reply came in on a slightly different subject, saying it was ok to use AGM batteries which will try and draw even more charge current and load up the charger even further.
They also advocated that taking AGM's down to 80% DOD, creating a further loading on the charge, was also 'OK'.


You can see there is an anomaly.

We responded saying AGM batteries don't work in motorhomes for all sorts of reasons, not just the above, but primaryily because the typical motorhome environment is alien to their design.


To demonstrate this, I offered Barry/Boris a free 12v diagnostic check on his new Swift built motorhome so we can build a 'Real World' example test case that will demonstrate how the charging voltages at the Habitation area batteries are no where near the 'theoretical' voltages the industry think are being achieved.

With the flawed charging conditions in a motorhome, most AGM batteries will not have the '£200 super life' the industry promise, potentially also damaging the charging systems.


Barry/Boris is now not sure if/when he wants to take up the offer and because of my Cancer, time is short and I can't delay.
So I am asking any one with a late model British built Motorhome to help us with this.

We will carry out the check for free and pay for your first nights stay at the Campsite we work from near Llandudno. I am happy to work around you and do it at the start/end of a weekend so you can turn it into a 'mini break'. See : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/north-wales.php

We won't change anything on the vehicle, just take real world charging voltage readings while you ratify the recording of them. Not in an artificial workshop environment, but on a real campsite.

Obviously I need to publish the results but you will have 'editorial control' over everything except the figures which obviously need to be as recorded.

It needs to be a late model vehicle to ensure 'age' related issues don't distort the results, like tarnished connections, etc.

Anyone who can help, please email aandncaravanservices@gmail.com




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-26 9:04 AM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 29 August 2018 4:44 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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I am sorry, but I really had to post this from the Roadpro/Banner website -

"Banner Running Bull AGM batteries are NOT suitable for use as leisure batteries in motorhomes or caravans. They are designed specifically for use as engine starter batteries for START/STOP vehicles with regenerative braking systems".
See : https://www.roadpro.co.uk/catalogue/02b03-banner-running-bull-agm-batteries


Some people may remember that it was this exact same battery that Hymer bought in vast quantities to roll out as Leisure batteries and we reported multiple premature failures and even explosions.

Others may be aware they are NCC verified as being in the 'Best Category A' section for Leisure batteries.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-29 5:06 PM
userarthur49
Posted: 29 August 2018 6:54 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Well done Allan .....

Incidentally the C&MC magazine Sept 18 page 114 contains an article headed "Leisure battery choice".

I won' t go into the ins and outs but, of the NCC scheme C&MC states "Our view is that this scheme has been effective in improving matters .......... [the scheme] verifies capacity by averaging six full charge-to-full-discharge tests .... "

So C&MC are still supporting the NCC Scheme though no detail is given about who does the tests above
useraandncaravan
Posted: 29 August 2018 7:39 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Arthur, thank you.
As the 6 'cycle' test is specifically mentioned in our 'assessment' of the NCC, someone is watching what we write and defending.

That is a good sign they feel they need to!!



useraandncaravan
Posted: 30 August 2018 12:14 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-29 7:39 PM

Arthur, thank you.
As the 6 'cycle' test is specifically mentioned in our 'assessment' of the NCC, someone is watching what we write and defending.

That is a good sign they feel they need to!!





Arthur, thank you again for the Info, I have just been emailed a scan of the page you speak of.
While they do still support the NCC verified scheme, for the first time EVER, there is advice to actually avoid AGM batteries!!
So they ARE reading/listening to our campaign page.


The article states something like :-

"In general, it's probably best to avoid AGM batteries unless you are absolutely sure your charger is suitable, as the otherwise excellent performance counts for little if the performance is compromised through damage by inappropriate charging".


That warning has never before been published by a magazine/club. Even last months MMM big battery articles promoted two AGM's without any warning on charger suitability.


Hopefully that will change and the NCC front page will also start warning people about AGM's?
Another success.


Thank you, I might have missed that if it wasn't for you


This is one man off to bed now, VERY happy.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-30 12:20 AM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 31 August 2018 9:20 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-26 8:59 AM

This thread started with someone worried that discharging their two Habitation area batteries down to 50% seemed to place a big load on the charger when charging them back up, as the charger seemed to run flat out for a while.
A reply came in on a slightly different subject, saying it was ok to use AGM batteries which will try and draw even more charge current and load up the charger even further.
They also advocated that taking AGM's down to 80% DOD, creating a further loading on the charge, was also 'OK'.
We responded saying AGM batteries don't work in motorhomes for all sorts of reasons, not just the above, but primaryily because the typical motorhome environment is alien to their design.


To demonstrate this, I offered Barry/Boris a free 12v diagnostic check on his new Swift built motorhome so we can build a 'Real World' example test case that will demonstrate how the charging voltages at the Habitation area batteries are no where near the 'theoretical' voltages the industry think are being achieved.

With the flawed charging conditions in a motorhome, most AGM batteries will not have the '£200 super life' the industry promise, potentially also damaging the charging systems.


Barry/Boris is now not sure if/when he wants to take up the offer and because of my Cancer, time is short and I can't delay.
So I am asking any one with a late model British built Motorhome to help us with this.

It needs to be a late model vehicle to ensure 'age' related issues don't distort the results, like tarnished connections, etc.




Today we got our chance to take some charging voltages from a 2018 model Rapido with CBE equipment installed. The CBE installation usually performs better than many other charge/controller systems, so a good 'Test Case'.


The customer has asked for a second AGM battery to be installed alongside the awful Platinum AGM already in situ at the back of the vehicle under the fixed bed.


The vehicle has Solar, a poor installation in several ways which was charging the AGM habitation battery at a constant 13.8v. No provision for Solar charging of the Starter battery which was sitting at 12.9v.


With the Fridge off totally, we started the engine.
The Alternator just about raised enough charge to the habitation battery to increase it by 0.1v to 13.9v
Starter battery charging went up to 14.4v confirming a good working Alternator.


We then activated the Fridge on 12v to create a 'normal driving' scenario and the load caused by the Fridge/Freezer resulted in the Starter Battery charge voltage dropping 0.2v down to 14.2v.
The habitation battery charge also dropped to 13.8v.
13.8v is the exact same voltage used by mains chargers to 'trickle' charge a battery.
Engine revs were increased slightly to maximise alternator output. No change to the charge rate.

These are typical 'real world' voltages at the batteries in a real travelling situation.
13.8v is a long, long way off the 14.7v AGM's require.
Very different to the theoretical 14.4v the industry perceive takes place.


Clearly, even a wet acid battery with it's legendary high tolerance to a variety of voltages is not going to charge quickly or fully from this Alternator set-up.

A pair of AGM batteries down at 80% Depth Of Discharge will never get fully/fast charged even on a continuous drive down to Sicily.
Adding a second AGM battery will create even greater loads, potentially dropping the charging voltages further with subsequent slower charging.


The CBE kit was installed ok, but the wiring/connectors were woefully undersized by Rapido, yet still twice as good as most UK built motorhomes.


Tip :
If you Deep discharge a pair of habitation batteries down to 80%, the load created may result in a voltage drop so high, the batteries may hardly charge at all compared to a shallow discharge load had been placed on the Alternator.

Increasing the battery bank size doesn't always increase the battery Ah capacity, unless you stay within the limits.


We would advise the best operation is to stick to quality, efficient wet acid batteries, like the Yuasa L36-EFB and Varta LFD90, and discharge to a MAXIMUM of 50% DOD, ideally only 30% for the best compromise between usefulness and life.


Voltage is the key to good charging, the optimum is to load the alternator as light as you can for maximum charging. Think of it as MPPT Solar charging.

Maybe even leaving the Fridge 'off' for the first 10 miles of the journey to eliminate its load on the wiring.
Avoid AGM batteries.

This page has some idea/tips at the bottom to help optimise charging times, particularly if you wish to raise the battery bank size, see the last section : http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/add-a-second-battery.php




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-08-31 9:46 PM
userarthur49
Posted: 31 August 2018 10:03 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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aandncaravan - 2018-08-30 12:14 AM

aandncaravan - 2018-08-29 7:39 PM

Arthur, thank you.
As the 6 'cycle' test is specifically mentioned in our 'assessment' of the NCC, someone is watching what we write and defending.

That is a good sign they feel they need to!!





Arthur, thank you again for the Info, I have just been emailed a scan of the page you speak of.
While they do still support the NCC verified scheme, for the first time EVER, there is advice to actually avoid AGM batteries!!
So they ARE reading/listening to our campaign page.


The article states something like :-

"In general, it's probably best to avoid AGM batteries unless you are absolutely sure your charger is suitable, as the otherwise excellent performance counts for little if the performance is compromised through damage by inappropriate charging".


That warning has never before been published by a magazine/club. Even last months MMM big battery articles promoted two AGM's without any warning on charger suitability.


Hopefully that will change and the NCC front page will also start warning people about AGM's?
Another success.


Thank you, I might have missed that if it wasn't for you


This is one man off to bed now, VERY happy.



No problem Allan
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 1 September 2018 8:11 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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aandncaravan - 2018-08-31 9:20 PM

...Today we got our chance to take some charging voltages from a 2018 model Rapido with CBE equipment installed. The CBE installation usually performs better than many other charge/controller systems, so a good 'Test Case'.

The customer has asked for a second AGM battery to be installed alongside the awful Platinum AGM already in situ at the back of the vehicle under the fixed bed...


Allan

Was it ever explored why the 2018 Rapido motorhome had a Platinum AGM battery under its rear bed?

I could understand Rapido installing under a fixed bed a habitation battery that required no venting, but - if Rapido did do this - I would not have anticipated that the battery would be Platinum-branded.

Historically Rapido has remained faithful to Banner when factory-installing habitation batteries and, consequently, if Rapido had fitted an AGM or gel battery, I would have expected that battery to be a Banner product.

It’s been reported in the past that, when a Chausson dealership receives a motorhome, the vehicle will have no habitation battery pre-fitted. The dealership then has the responsibility for choosing an appropriate battery that will meet the eventual buyer’s requirements or wishes.

However, as far as I’m aware, a Rapido motorhome has always had at least one habitation battery in place when it has left Rapido’s factory in France and that battery has always been Banner-branded.
userspirou
Posted: 1 September 2018 8:19 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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So the cables going to habitation battery are 0.5mm2 or what? How can it possibly drop so much? Mine are anything but ideal but nowhere near so bad
userarthur49
Posted: 1 September 2018 9:02 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Derek Uzzell - 2018-09-01 8:11 AM

Historically Rapido has remained faithful to Banner when factory-installing habitation batteries and, consequently, if Rapido had fitted an AGM or gel battery, I would have expected that battery to be a Banner product.

It’s been reported in the past that, when a Chausson dealership receives a motorhome, the vehicle will have no habitation battery pre-fitted. The dealership then has the responsibility for choosing an appropriate battery that will meet the eventual buyer’s requirements or wishes.

However, as far as I’m aware, a Rapido motorhome has always had at least one habitation battery in place when it has left Rapido’s factory in France and that battery has always been Banner-branded.


Could be Derek that the motorhome was fitted with Banner by Rapido but dealer changed it. That happened to us in Feb this year with Autotrail V-line. We tend to buy from dealer stock and when we first viewed the van it was fitted with a Banner (Energy Bull?) battery. When we picked up van it had a Numax fitted. Dealer told us Banner was knackered as it had run down too far too often ie abused and neglected. (We have 2 x LFD90s now)
useraandncaravan
Posted: 1 September 2018 11:15 AM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Derk, He has only just replaced the original, he wrote,

"The original battery in place was a banner 95751 which failed and when I checked it all the cells were low on fluid. I hadn't realised it was not maintenance free. It wouldn't hold a charge after that".

He then bought two Platinums, "bargain at £169 each" installed one with an intention to get the other added later.



Spirou, It isn't just the cable length and thickness it is the myriad of connections, relays, control box PCB tracks and other paraphenalia in between. It all takes a toll under high loads.
Just the 19amps load of a Fridge/Freezer is a big enough load to cause voltage drop and even just 0.4v is going to make a BIG difference to the charge rate.


It is typical of what we see.
Run down your own batteries to create a load and do the test on your own van and then tell me what you see, I would be surprised if it isn't approaching 0.5v

The Schaudt Elektroblock EBL 99 of Mr Nash's Burstner we saw just an hour before the Rapido had only a 0.2 v drop in the same test, but this manufacturer 'Group' take the Fridge feed from the Starter battery with all sorts of 'small' but contributory design features, meaning the drop at the Habitation battery is usually much less than the average, but still too low for ideal.

I think the manufacturers (and the B2B manufacturers in their instructions) need to be taking a feed for both charging and Fridge direct from the Alternator via a single run, fat cable all the way to the 12v controller.

Some of the systems still use the basic electrical design of a caravan, adapted for motorhome use, but not optimised. They just haven't get up with the demands of the modern motorhome.



I know, lets ask the Industry body, the NCC, to look at the issue and come up with some recommendations and then verify those with good practise................

Or would that be a bit like the 'Payloads' fiasco being campaigned by Motorhome Fun?


Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-01 11:40 AM
userspirou
Posted: 1 September 2018 12:36 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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Willing to repeat with logging software, maybe even tomorrow but please let me know exactly what the starting conditions were. What was the leisure and starter battery voltage at start of test?

We have a dometic AES fridge, I presume you want it on max cooling power when on? I will cover the solar panel for the duration.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 1 September 2018 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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


aandncaravan - 2018-09-01 11:15 AM

Derk, He has only just replaced the original, he wrote,

"The original battery in place was a banner 95751 which failed and when I checked it all the cells were low on fluid. I hadn't realised it was not maintenance free. It wouldn't hold a charge after that".

He then bought two Platinums, "bargain at £169 each" installed one with an intention to get the other added later...



OK - I just thought it peculiar that a 2018 Rapido would have a Platinum AGM battery.
useraandncaravan
Posted: 1 September 2018 2:38 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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spirou - 2018-09-01 12:36 PM

Willing to repeat with logging software, maybe even tomorrow but please let me know exactly what the starting conditions were. What was the leisure and starter battery voltage at start of test?

We have a dometic AES fridge, I presume you want it on max cooling power when on? I will cover the solar panel for the duration.



Derek, I suspect the high fluid loss in an even shorter time than 'normal' failure will be down to the Solar solution, it was very poor. Cheap components, but professionally done.
We have supplied tips so he can address this himself.
To help him with this I am also updating the Solar Power web pages (had chemo yesterday so can't do much today, zonked, but bored) with charts to show how the angle of the sun in the sky, day length power generated, plus comparisons between Aberdeen and Portugal, better show how things pan out.




Spirou, I would isolate Solar a few days before and let the batteries discharge.

The voltages will be whatever they are for your particular vehicle, just ensure the batteries are discharged enough to generate a charge load similar to that after a nights stopover.

So long as the Fridge is 'on' that is all you need, it won't draw more power for being on 'Full'. Many older ones don't even have the thermostat wired in the 12v circuit, more often than not the thermo just functions on Gas and 230v.

Just create conditions as close as you can to your typical 'stopovers' before then 'driving off' and charging everything up. That is when you will be close to the true loadings.


However, bear in mind that in your case, because you have slower charging Gel batteries, which take less current so place a lower load, it may not be the usual AGM/wet loadings, but I would still expect a noticeable voltage drop.




Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-01 2:54 PM
userspirou
Posted: 1 September 2018 10:14 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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So the discharge part of the test is finished and the results themselves (see attached current vs voltage chart) are quite interesting on their own. An explanation is in order though.

Data was logged at 5 min intervals from the Victron BMV700 battery computer. The leisure battery is a TAB Motion Gel 125Ah (C20 rating) which we got fresh from the production line on December 2016 (so getting close to 2 years old). Battery was on charge by the solar panel on a dark, rainy day after coming back from a trip last night and NOT fully charged. Starter battery is the original FIAMM and it was at 12.62V when I started the test, will measure again tomorrow before engine starts.

In any case, leisure battery voltage was 13.3V when I covered the solar panel then turned on and plugged in everything I could think off apart from fridge and heating. You will notice the current line (orange) is not a straight line as whatever I plugged in (phone, various lamps, computer via inverter etc.) eventually got charged. All the lights and the radio add up to 4 amps, the rest were variables. There's a bump 1h into the test when current goes to 2A when I turned off some lights by mistake, followed by turning on the inverter to charge the logging computer (7-6A).

@ 2h20min into the test I turned everything off and let the battery rest for half an hour. Then I turned on only 2 lights (0,37A) for another hour and finished logging data after again turning everything off (EBL included) for the night.

But the interesting part, quite possibly somewhat baffling for beginners, comes when you look at the voltage line (blue). It dipped immediately from 13.3V to around 12.8V and effectively continued dropping for the entire discharge until the low point at 12.36V.

However, when discharge current eased mid test, as I mistakenly turned off lights, the voltage went up! As it did when I turned everything off later on. It shot up by 0.3V within a minute after current went to 0 then more gradually to 12,78V when I turned back on just two lights and again the same situation after that second mild discharge. Remember, there was no charging being done in between. This "sponge" behaviour is why voltage is a very, very bad indicator of state of charge while under load or charge conditions and why a battery computer (from Victron, Votronic/Büttner, Nasa Marine, Bogart Engineering, Mastervolt etc.) are a very useful, if not essential tool.

All in all, I discharged by 12.32Ah over about 4h total. For the record, our deepest discharge ever with this battery was 20.19Ah and previous minimum voltage was 12.48V. 10-12Ah is about average discharge level during skiing season for us so it should be representative. I will continue with the charging part of the test as Allan described tomorrow and I'm guessing the resting voltage in the morning will be in the 12.80-12.85V range. Would anyone care to bet?

Edited by spirou 2018-09-01 10:31 PM




(dischargeTest125gel.png)



Attachments
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Attachments dischargeTest125gel.png (24KB - 232 downloads)
userkevina
Posted: 1 September 2018 11:21 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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I'm in the middle of a test on my 5 year old gel batteries which have been heavily used for 4 months annually, half of which whilst on skiing trips using very little hookup.

I disconnnected them 5 days ago whilst reading 12.70v on the multimeter, the only load being a nasa monitor (control panel off and dump valve open). 24 hours later they had risen to 12.77v and they have remained there ever since.

It does indeed seem that the thicker plates in gel batteries have a huge "sponge" effect. I've always been aware that the recharging Ah seemed to fall short of what I'd expect from a supposedly depleted battery at, say, 12.2v (typically use >30Ah per day skiing). If I was able to let the batteries rest long enough without freezing I'd expect a significant recovery.

Disconnect your BMV700 Spirou, and you'll get another dozen or so millivolts!

Edited by kevina 2018-09-01 11:40 PM
userspirou
Posted: 2 September 2018 2:14 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 


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all I can say is... lesson learned and point taken Allan

First off, resting voltage was 12.83V so my guess yesterday was spot on.

I'm attaching 2 voltage/current charts, one is from the first segment of alternator charging after a night at rest. The second is the entire charging sequence until now. As I didn't see a point in keeping the engine running forever I switched off and hooked up to 230V. Then did two more tests with the engine running later into the charging cycle to see if battery SOC had any significant effect.

I've marked it on the charts but please consider the different logging intervals during engine ON and EHU ON charging.

During the engine ON scenarios I turned on the radio and fridge to load the leisure battery. As you can see it has quite an impact on the current going into the battery, and the voltage is a miserable 13.7-13.9V even after a significant time in absorption while on EHU. Obviously even lower during the first charging phase. In general the difference compared to what EHU was supplying was 0.2-0.3V under no load.

I don't want to bore you with more details but if anyone is unclear about anything regarding my test, just ask.



(chargeTest125GEL.png)



(chargeTest125GELfull.png)



Attachments
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Attachments chargeTest125GEL.png (32KB - 240 downloads)
Attachments chargeTest125GELfull.png (62KB - 243 downloads)
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 4:21 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Spirou, It isn't often I am wrong, I think the last time was at 10:59 03 April 1984........................

Thank you from everyone on the Forum for going to so much trouble, you have hopefully just advanced many peoples knowledge.


Can you see how creating a bigger battery bank by adding batteries, especially AGM's, impacts all charging Alternator and 230v mains to the point they won't charge at all well.
In the case of a couple of big AGM's, just not at all?


That was why I was so impressed with Weldted's very simple, low cost but clever solution that makes such a difference to both Fridge efficiency and battery Alternator charging on the move.


His idea was to connect a small (low cost 650 watt, it should NOT be high power) Inverter to the Starter battery. The 230v output cable runs into the 'Wardrobe' to where the RCD is located.

A cut is made in the cable between the 230v EHU input box and the RCD and a female 16amp connector put onto the EHU input.
The existing RCD connected cable has a Male connector added and so does the new 'Starter; Inverter.
When you want normal EHU you 'reconnect' the female from the EHU inlet to the male going to the RCD.
When you want to 'power the van' from the Starter battery connected Inverter, you just switch 16amp plugs.
It is impossible to connect both Inverter and EHU supplies at the same time.


If you turn off all 230v appliances (except the Fridge) and start/run the engine with the Starter Inverter connected up to power the van 230v circuits by plugging the Inverter 16a plug into 'the RCD', it will be this circuit that runs the Fridge on 230v (no load on the 12v at all so zero drop) and it will be the Starter battery (actually the Alternator) that also now powers the mains 230 charger to charge the habitation batteries.

It won't matter if the Inverter only gets '13.4v' instead of 14.4v, because the charger will still get 230v to charge the batteries at 14.7v or whatever you decide the charger output is.

The Fridge works more effectively on 230v, with thermostat operation so actually now only on 30% of the driving time instead of most vans 100%, 12v time, runs cooler, etc.


In many vans, just as Welted did, you will need to augment the mains charge for optimum performance, I think he bought a Victron, which also had 13.2v long term float charging to further preserve battery life again.

He reports very good results, and you can see that just removing Fridge 12v from the equation has a positive impact.


In my opinion a much better solution to a B2B as it adresses two primary issues and far more flexible, see : https://forums.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/Motorhomes/Motorhome-Matters/Technical-Alternator-or-Inverter-charging-/48365/

For example it turns the engine into a more effective short term 'on site generator' as well with almost double the 'generation' power if you optimise the mains chargers, batteries, etc.

The peak load on the Starter battery is only a few amps more than 'in raw 12v mode' so very efficient, when the Fridge reaches 'temperature' on 230v, obviously that load reduces, so the overall loading is less exceeding that of the usual B2B which often creates other issues as the usually bypass the existing vans electrics/control.y .

Obviously if anyone adopts it you should employ a qualified 230v electrician, for maximum safety and all other safety warnings apply.





Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 4:51 PM
useraandncaravan
Posted: 2 September 2018 4:55 PM
Subject: RE: Yet another battery question
 
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Sorry second to last sentence was wrong, what reads as :

"The peak load on the Starter battery is only a few amps more than 'in raw 12v mode' so very efficient, when the Fridge reaches 'temperature' on 230v, obviously that load reduces, so the overall loading is less exceeding that of the usual B2B which often creates other issues as the usually bypass the existing vans electrics/control".

Should read

The peak load on the Starter battery is only a few amps more than 'in raw 12v mode' so very efficient, when the Fridge reaches 'temperature' on 230v, obviously that load reduces, so the overall loading is less. Exceeding the efficiency of the usual B2B by quite a margin. They can also create other issues as they usually bypass the existing vans electrics/control.



Edited by aandncaravan 2018-09-02 4:56 PM
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