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leisure battery (which to buy)


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Hi been a long time in Spain our leisure battery failed in our 3 and half year old Auto Cruise on our way home from Spain leaving us with no power in the freezing Pyrenees. We need to replace it and I have read many articles saying that lots of battery retailers exaggerate the power of their batteries. Our current battery is a 120 amps and I would like to keep at least the same power if not more. I have looked at two one is a standard 125amp is is £95.00 the other I have seen is Elecsol 125, this is £40 dearer but says it can be left in a discharged state without damage.

Has anyone any advice before I actually buy one.


Thanks Franki

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Can not state from personal experience but have been reading on a forum recently that the after sales service on Elecsol batteries is not all that could be desired and getting a replacement if needed is difficult, so is the extra cost worth it.
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You will get excellent advice on what to get from one or three experts on here, when they pick up. In the meantime, you will improve their responses if you can give a bit more information on your existing battery, and on your van.


Easy first: what model Auto-Cruise, and is it a mid-2008 model?


Existing battery: what is the makers name on the battery? 120Ah is good for an OEM battery, what exactly does the label say: are there any other numbers beside that 120?


Can you get any more information from it, e.g. a model number, designation, etc (should be on the maker's label).


Is it a gel, conventional lead-acid, AGM or what type?


Can you give the length, width, and height of the existing battery, and could any of these dimensions be exceeded for the replacement? If so, what, within reason, would be the largest battery dimensions that could be installed? Could you install two, for greater capacity, and would you want to?


Three and a half years is a bit short for a battery to fail. I assume it is the original? Has it had a hard life?


I think you will be advised that the Elecsol is not 125Ah but simply an Elecsol 125, and is properly rated at less than 120Ah, possibly under 100Ah.

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Another question or three,


1. Do you have solar panels?

2. How deep do you discharge your batteries, difficult to answer I suspect, so do you ever flatten them so the volts is geting lower and lights dim etc.

3. Are you wild camping a lot or just the occasional night or few days. Bit of a profile how you use your batteries helps decide whether budget, premium or better quaity is required.

4. To reiterate previous quesions, existing size. capacity ( got that 120 Ah) and type. Make and model even better. Sealed flooded, Open flooded (has removable caps) , Gel or AGM. ( Make and model wil give me all this,

5. Where is battery located and has it got a vent tube?

6. What kind of heater does your Motorhome have, and do you ever use an invertor.

7. How long do you generaly drive for between night halts where you do not have hook up and so using batteries again


Ok Ok I know a lot of questions, but main reason is to make sure you get something which is more likely to meet your needs.


As to Elecsol, unless you have solar panels and are prepared to add water to them periodically you can forget them. Brian is indeed correct the 125 is a model number and a lot less Ah in reality and not a particularly high quality battery. Ignore any marketing blurb it cannot sulphate or can be left discharged... utter nonsense.






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It might also be worth looking at this earlier forum thread:




As Franki has been considering a standard 125Ah battery, or an Elecsol 125, as a potential replacement for his present dead battery, it seems reasonable to assume that the latter is 'conventional'. If that's the case, then an appropriate capacity/size conventional leisure-battery from the Banner or Platinum ranges (that were favorably reported on in MMM's July 2010 article) would be as good a choice as any.

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Hi Brian and other helpful folks,


Thanks again for your interest. You are right I didn't give much detail, however I didn't want to take up too much of anyone's time, however it seems you genuinely interested and from the number of visits to our original letter it seems lots of people are interested to help.


So here goes I will give as much info as possible and hope it doesn't bore anyone.

We have an 08 Autocruise Starburst (took delivery May 08). The battery is fitted in a plastic box underneath the floor in the seating area, it is a marine and recreation energy squadron, model SFL120.12v 120ah, the only other thing on the label is 200 cycles at 60% d.o.d. This is the original battery that came with the vehicle.


Our exact problem is the computer system shuts down after about 3/4 hours of very very light use i.e two or three lights (2 of which are led's). We arrived back to the UK (home) the computer said 13.9 volts 100%. However using nothing at all but the computer panel on the system shut down within 24 hours. I re-charged the battery and disconnected it and left it 24 hours, when reconnected it was still 100%. I therefore assumed it most be something on the van draining the battery, however this wouldn't explain why it only last a few hours with lights.


I then took the vehicle to a battery specialist (varta), but not a motor home specialist. They assured me the battery is no good.


Up until now we only stop in Aires for 4 or 5 nights with approximately 6 hours driving in between each stop,but we do hope to spend a little more time in the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada perhaps 3/4 nights without moving, so I would like as good as possible.


The dimensions of the battery are 320mm x 170mm and 220mm high, it would be possible to fit a slightly larger battery into the box but no more than 330mm x 200 x 250. The battery is sealed and does have a vent tube.


Cost is not the overall thing, we just want to have a reliable supply, it would be really good to have two batteries however this would involve moving the wiring and cutting the floor to fit a larger box. I don't know who could do this and whether it is just total overkill. We do have an inverter although we don't use very much but again it would be nice to have capacity if we do want to.


Sorry this letter is so long, I have given all information I can think of and once again can only thank you for taking the time and trouble to read and hopefully be able to offer your advice.



Frank and Sandi


forgot to say I did see the article in this months MMM, when I went to Banner batteries web site only three batteries came up two of which was Lucas are they a subsidiary

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Hi thank you so much for looking into this for us.


We looked at the batteries you suggested, we were slightly disappointed as they were both 105ah.

We were hoping to increase if possible our current 120ah or at least stay the same.


Whilst we were on the site we looked at two other batteries the first one is Enduroline calcium model number exv135, this is 135ah and if its a good make the one we would favour, it also has a four year warranty.


If that one is not recommended the next one we saw was a Numax cxv 35mf this was 120ah.


Looking at the reviews it seems Tayna are a good company to deal with. There were 10 reviews for the Endura line all positive.


Look forward to hearing from you.


Thanks Frank and Sandi

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No need to apologise for length of post, the more info the better.

The Squadron you have is really a marine dual starter and deep discharge, not the best of choices for leisure use in a Motorhome at all. 200 cycles spec...you can get 500 cycles spec now.

It is also short of 120 Ah and more like 100 Ah and will only have a rated depth of discharge of 40 or 50%. So therefore the available capacity for a useful life is around 45 to 50Ah. With a life of only 200 cycles this will drop off fairly quickly and give a lot less.

Lucas is a licenced trade name now owned by Manbat of Shrewsbury and nothing to do with Banner, unless of course Manbat import from Banner (Austria) and rebadge. I do not believe they do and would just sell under the Banner name if they did stock them. Another trade name they use is Numax. The Numax closest equivalent to the Squadron is the Numax CXV30 which is rated at 113 Ah but most likely again comes in reality a lot less. However we will work on say 110 and is again rated at 50% so that’s 55Ah available

Now jump to the CXV31MF from Numax, it is slightly longer, and taller, and is 24.9Kg (where the CXV30 113Ah above is only 23.5 kg ) yet is only 110 Ah. Strange and reinforces me saying the CXV30 is lower capacity and I wonder if it is actually 103 Ah not 113 and is a typing error in the specs. I don’t know.

If looking for an equivalent sealed flooded there is indeed a lucas which could replace your battery and 330mm long and is the equivalent to the Numax CXV31 above if not identical. So for these we can work on available capacity of 55 Ah.

. From the same stable of sorts there is an Atlas BX battery, the XDC series but I am not able to confirm availability in UK so appears a no go.

Looking at others, I know what I want to suggest but are all too long for your 330 max length. Pain in the butt!

****** Now to look at your CXV35 (120 Ah)which does not exist in the Numax catalog so presumably is fairly new addition. It appears the same physical size as the CXV31 but is coming in a lot heavier at 29Kg. Now we are beginning to get closer to what is good. It is probably the same casing as the 31 but filled with a lot more lead and taller plates. You still have the same issue of 50% dod so we have 60Ah available to get a reasonable life assuming the 120 rating is not exaggerated. This is far superior to what you had with the Squadron.

I am going to stand out on a limb here and suggest the endurolines are identical to the Numax batteries but come with a 4 year guarantee. These are Tayna’s own badged version. Problem, is I cannot confirm specs and possibly with the smaller models they are the heavy duty versions of the numax or indeed where numax rate at say 120AH they rate at 115Ah, a bit less. I have to say I really do not know the story here, but generally you can compare the others physical size with the numax series and work out the better deal.

Basically am now going to look at Flooded in the Banner or Varta ranges and found a Varta which I think maximises using the space you have against capacity ( 105 Ah - dont worry it is equivalent to what others call 110 or even 120) but there are two in the range so lets clear that up.

Varta 81153 and Varta 81154 . The terminals are different but I do not now if there are any other differences physically. You can see both on the Tayna website. The more expensive does state 2 year guarantee. I would rather suggest open flooded rather than sealed flooded so you can top up but nothing I find will fit without dropping the capacity a lot to 80Ah to fit in 330mm length. You need a tall battery.

So looking at the Varta 81153/54. These are there answer to the numax CVX31 for leisure use.

Now the Varta is only rated at 105 Ah, but with the Varta you will have a 60% depth of discharge and still get good life because Varta have some clever technology and chemistry they use and own the licence to. This means you have a useful usuable capacity of 63Ah. Now the numax etc batteries above are dual deep discharge and starting so have compromises as such. The Varta is a semi traction design. So we have 63Ah now instead of 60 Ah as before. Ther is another advantage with the Varta. Should you take down below 60% say to 80% then it wil recover as long as you do not do too often. The numax etc, will not like 80% dod and not recover so well.

The Varta also has much lower water comsumption. What is annoying is all these batteries are sealed against maintenance so cannot be topped up so no advantags there.

The self discharge of the Varta is lower. So in storage with no trickle charging over a few months the Varta is better.

Now a really big plus. I do not know whatteh charge efficiency of the Numax battreis are,. No idea at all, but Varta have a reputation fior tehor battreries having a lower charge resistanmce so charge quicker and faster. This is a big plus and desireable if you are charging from an alternator with no solar panels.

I have also wondering about the more expensive route of AGM batteries. One of the reasons I think AGM will be good for your 4 night halts without any charging, the AGM will cope much better with this than a flooded and also in effect gives you higher capacity yet again because you can discharge much deeper. Same problem, cannot find a suitable capacity to fit in your available space.

Looking at gel you are going to cost a heck of a lot more but an exide or sonneshien 85 Ah will fit and as you can discharge deeper will give good service life but no reserve for when you occasionally discharge to say 80% depth of discharge but here you potentially have 68Ah of useful capacity but little or no reserve and cost a heck of a lot. £235 v £130.

So having gone full circle I come back to the Varta batteries above. If you are prepared to modify the box then your options improve and there are Banner, Varta, Bosch(Varta) or Exide batteries which whilst not cheap are the better batteries to go for. This is not to say there are not other good bramds as well, but very many are purely budget brands.

I think and hope I have justified why I suggested the Varta I did and you will see it is actually the better choice technically even though the spec is massively lower at 105 and not 120.

I am still confused by the Enduroline at 135Ah because that is just not physically possible in that casing size as far as I work it out.

Do I have to read over everything I have written and improve the way it is laid out…tell you what, read, digest and ask questions and I will try to clarify.

I am knackered now!!! Darn, I could have said all the above in one sentence.


Varta 105 x 60% = 63Ah, Numax is 50% = 60Ah,go figure, varta lower water consumption, longer life,go figure, varta recharge rate faster than Numax, go figure.




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Hi Brambles


My goodness you have gone to a lot of trouble, you must be shattered. Thanks for all the technical information we shall take your advice and get a Varta ordered tomorrow.


We hope to be back on the road again in a couple of weeks heading back to to Costa del Sol and it would be a nice feeling not to worry like we did coming over the Pyrenees in the heavy snow, waiting for the snow ploughs. This is Sandi and it wasn't a nice feeling when we stopped knowing the power wasn't going to last. Especially when you looked out and the waterfalls had frozen (very pretty) and nearly all the Aires had NO water or electric. Quite a lot of sites were closed and if they were open the facilities were off due to the bad weather. We still had a lovely time but knowing when we go again we have peace of mind.


Thank you once again, we can see how much work went into finding the best one for us. It's worn me out having to sit and type it for Franki and listening to the technical jargon!!! We do love our motor home and I really miss her when we come back home, some of the lovely places we have gone to and intend to go to is a lovely feeling. We do take her to places where a motor home shouldn't go like really high passes hoping there isn't anything coming the other way, and also some villages where we wonder if we will get out. That's the fun of it all and we love it.


Thank you once again for your help


Franki and Sandi


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Its us again Brambles


Hope we aren't pushing our luck, but I have thought of a complication which may or may not effect our choice of the Varta.


Our camper is fitted with a digital control panel, we don't like this as most of the functions are inaccurate, but that aside it has a function of system shut down when the battery is low. We can't over-ride this.


Is is as I think that if this is set to shut the system down at 50% it will not allow a battery such as the Varta to use the 60% its capable of.


I'm not sure how to put down whats in my mind but perhaps with your knowledge you will understand what I'm trying to say, in short would it be better to have 120ah battery that can only dis-charge 50% (60ah usable), or a 105ah battery which can dis-charge 60% (63ah usable) but would only be able to use 52.5% because our b*****y computer decides to shut us down even though there is capacity left.


Does this make sense to you sorry to be a pain, however you have been so much help it would be a shame not to get the right battery.


Frank and Sandi


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Hi Brambles,


I have read you reply as regards Elecsol I have 2 x 110 amp which I charge with 2 x 80w solar panels and a epsolar MPPT tracker.


I have never been happy with my Elecsol from new and ended up adding a second, my feelings are the 110 amp are near 95 amp, however, I have never top up my Elecsol I thought they are sealed. A few years ago I had a caravan with flooded battery and would require top up at least once a year.



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Hi Frank and Sandi.


I do not think you have anything to worry about. I cannot believe a system woud shut down at 50% , its too difficult to monitor voltage for 50% and would depend on load and temperature too much. It is more likely to detect 10.5 volts (flat basically) and then shuts down.

The Varta and many other battereis now add silver to the plates, or could be tin and many other excotic materials in vaying amounts. Some will add just a tiny amount of silver so they can claim its a silver calcium, others a lot more. Anyway this all affects discharge voltages.

I would nt worry about it.


Another way of looking at it is the Varta will give much longer life than the Numax at 50% discharge repeatedly.

So in the 1st year or 2 then lets assume you do get more from the Numax, then in the next view years you will get more from the Varta. Swings and roundabouts.

If when charging from the alternator over say a 6 hours drive the Varta reaches say 85% full charge, and the numax only 80% then you have more available from the Varta. remember the Varta will charge quicker than the Numax. The Varta will be 35% available of 105, and the Numax only 30%of 120 (36.75 and 36), not a significant difference. The numax of couse is also not 120 but less in reality.


I see clearly the point you are making and is quite clever you actually noticed it.

I really find it hard to believe it cuts of at 50%, thats is asking for trouble in practical use of batteries.

Can you give me further information on the make and model of on board control panel and system?



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Hi melvin.


Elecsol a few years ago did start introducing some sealed flooded batteries maybe this is what you have. I would suspect they use as lot less water, but as you have mentioned are still way over speced on capacity. I do not like sealed for maintemance batteries, all it takes is for you to have a scorching hot summer and they will consume a lot of water and you cannt top it up. Not many know this but for batteries being supplied to southern hot countries they use a lower specific gravity of acid to compensate for the change in charge voltage required and gas less when fully charged hence consume less water in hot climes.

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Hi Brambles, my neighbour still have our old flooded 85 amp battery, it is over 9 years old and abused, but just keeps on working.


I will probably change my elecsol batteries next year, one will be 5 and the other 4 years old to Varta. Thanyou for an excellent article and advice.

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Hi Jon (Brambles)


Us again. I'm sorry but the saga goes on. I went to a motor home dealer and looked at the possibilities of modifying our battery box to accept a much bigger battery, I could do this myself but I am worried it may not considered completely secure and may fail an m.o.t. So I think thats bast ruled out.The dealer say's they could fit two batteries but would lose valuable storage space so again so again would rule out unless it proves really necessary.


So then, I came home and went on the Tayna web-site to order a Varta battery as you advised, I noticed there was no option for a duel connector so I phoned Tayna. They were very helpful and advised me non of the Varta range have duel connections, they recommended the Endura line 135ah, I explained to them I had looked at this battery but believed there is no way it could be a genuine 135ah in that size, their salesperson assured me that it was genuine, he said 'quote' it is packed full of lead and you know that when you try to pick it up.


I am thinking of taking a chance and ordering one of these batteries as they say it is 135ah and also has the duel connections I require.


I do however value your experience and really would not like to do anything you didn't think was correct. So could you let me have your thoughts.


Once again I apologise for this being long winded, however from the number of people reading, commenting and saying your replies interesting I think it will prove to be worthwhile


It might be worth mentioning the Endura line has a four year warranty, this is pretty impressive don't you think,they must be confident in its abilities.


Thanks once again

Frank and Sandi


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Interesting, lets see what I can find or work out. Maybe not much because Tayna source the batteries and depends what specs they can email me but time I got myself a copy of the specs for these batteries. Of course I forgot the Squadron had dual connections but you can always change your clamps for ones providing the extra connection point.


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Ok, Have spoken to Tayna and got more informnation on specs. Now being a untrusting sceptical sort I am going to check it out further as I now know who makes the batteries for them and will get back to you. One thing for sure Tayna are extremely helpful and don't generally bullsh£t like some battery suppliers.
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Here's an old chestnut or two - some of my favourites!


Have you checked that the battery is charging from the alternator?

The fuses in the split charging relays just under the bonnet in front of the engine battery are prone to getting wet and cruddy and then corroding and not making contact. Remove, check, clean or replace!

Do you have a digital multimeter - very handy bit of kit and every van should carry one - and widely available for a tenner or less!

With a mutimeter you can check the battery voltage with and without the engine running and with the engine running it should be about 14.2 to 14.4 volts - disconnect any solar panels, switch off the 12v at the control panel and ensure ehu is not plugged in first so that nothing else can distort the readings.

The engine alternator wiring is such that it will only allow about 10 amps to get into the battery so fully charging a 110 ah battery will takes a few hours of driving.

Brambles is right about Tayna - very helpful - I bought two new Varta batteries from them about two years ago and they are working well.

I have an older Starburst on the previous chassis and I fitted a second battery between the passenger front seat and the bad base where there is exactly enough room. I interconnected them with heavy 30 amp cable and 30 amp fuses. Makes the seat swivel less useful but it was never very useful anyway!

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As you use your van in winter, I'd be a bit inclined to suspect the original battery has been discharged below the level it can tolerate (40-50%) on a number of occasions. That seems likely to explain why it has expired after only 3 1/2 years. Changing to one of the batteries Jon (Brambles) suggests will take the usable capacity from 40-45Ah to 60-65Ah, so maybe a 50% increase. However, even with one of these, it will not like discharging much below 60% capacity. It seems fairly likely, from your pattern of use, that you will still stray into the danger zone from time to time, and it is difficult to monitor whether this is happening in real time, because batteries need resting time to recover from being charged or used before they give reliable indications of their capacity.


I would therefore suggest you give some further consideration to the possibility of fitting two batteries, as now will be the ideal time to do this.


For best results both batteries should be as nearly as possible identical as respects chemistry and age, but need not be (I think I am correct it saying) as regards capacity. So, for example, you might add just a 50% increase in actual usable capacity by installing a smaller (say 50-60Ah - or whatever is the nearest match of identical type) additional battery, if you can find space for it elsewhere, or you could possibly more than double the existing capacity if, having found a space, you find it could as easily accommodate a physically larger battery. (This assumes you install the direct replacement into the existing box.)


Whether this would guarantee the hoped-for benefit in actual usable capacity, would greatly depend on whether you would spend enough time driving between stops to get that increased capacity fully re-charged. Notwithstanding, it would offer you a useful "safety-valve" against getting caught out somewhere, as you describe, and would mean you should be able to sit it out, within reason, without losing heat and light.


I assume, as you said you had spent some time in Spain, that you have spent at least some of that time on campsites with EHU, so would be starting your journeys with batteries pretty much fully charged. If correct, and you are then taking extended stops en-route, your problem will most likely be that the time spent driving between stops has been insufficient to put back via the alternator what your have taken out while stopped, so that your battery charge state has progressively see-sawed into the sub 60% danger zone. If this is the case, my suggestion of increasing capacity may not help since, if you are not fully re-charging the existing capacity while driving, you wouldn't fully re-charge an increased capacity either.


However, my understanding is that batteries charge fastest when their capacity is lowest, and that most alternators have ample output for larger battery capacity. So, assuming you start your journey with batteries fully charged, and that your rate of consumption while static en-route is reasonably constant (so that even with increased overall capacity you would still only remove about the same number of Ah from the batteries), and even though you may not achieve a full charge between stops - so still progressively depleting the batteries as you go - your overall state of charge should not have dropped into the sub 60% danger zone by the end of your journey. Then, the increased capacity would protecting the batteries from becoming discharged to a damaging extent. If then, when you get to your final destination, you can immediately connect to EHU and quickly get the capacity back up to full charge, they should come up smiling.


This is all based on my understanding of your travel pattern (which you will know all about :-)), and also of how batteries respond to charging/discharging (which Jon knows far more about than me - so I hope I'm not just causing confusion, but if I am, my apologies to all!), so is only offered as a suggestion, and is very much subject to expert moderation! :-)

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