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PedroT

Limited battery life

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During our recent tour of Outer Hebrides we had occasion to wild camp on a couple of occasions and I must say watch out or you may end up without any battery voltage after maybe 3 nights off grid. The solar panel giving a “Max” 100w is just not powerful enough to to keep up with the very modest demands of summer off grid caravanning and I am thinking of fitting a second battery in parallel with original unit to allow for a more robust outcome when no plug-in is available!!

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8 minutes ago, PedroT said:

During our recent tour of Outer Hebrides we had occasion to wild camp on a couple of occasions and I must say watch out or you may end up without any battery voltage after maybe 3 nights off grid. The solar panel giving a “Max” 100w is just not powerful enough to to keep up with the very modest demands of summer off grid caravanning and I am thinking of fitting a second battery in parallel with original unit to allow for a more robust outcome when no plug-in is available!!

 

The Western Isles are so far north that even the mid-summer sun is at a low angle for a roof-mounted panel - a free-standing one would perform better. .

 

Adding batteries won't increase energy generation rate - adding a solar panel would.

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My 90w roof mounted panels aren't as good as my 50w freestanding panel ;)

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Points taken, I was really thinking that by doubling battery capacity( 2 batteries) would allow for a longer off-grid period, after having spent time on -grid charging both batteries. On the Bailey Unicorn, if you find you have dropped your voltage to a certain level, the solar panel does not attempt to recharge. I think the system assumes that a “Deep discharge” has taken place and won’t allow for a trickle charge from panel.

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Cheap generator to recharge the battery? Many have 12v connection specifically to recharge batteries.

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59 minutes ago, TenStar said:

Cheap generator to recharge the battery? Many have 12v connection specifically to recharge batteries.

The 12v output from most generators is worse than useless for charging batteries. If using a generator far better to connect a battery charger to it to charge the batteries a 1kw generator should power a 30amp charger.

 

J

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The weight of adding a second battery, circa 23 odd kg has to be another consideration. I sometimes take another smaller, 60 Ah portable battery that I carry in the car so not load up the van. This battery is used exclusively for the TV system, relieving the van's battery of that non essential duty. I have wired things up so it can be recharged in and by the car, but in 11 years I have only done it once to prove the system, my usage has not found that perceived need was required.

My panel is an 85 Watt but for optimum performance is portable so can be best aligned to the sun, and placed to avoid shadows. The solar controller automatically charges the portable battery as well as the van's battery, hence the in car recharging facility not being needed.

Even with all this, winter camping off grid for longer than a weekend is not that practical, requiring too much restraint on power use that it rather spoils being out.  

 

 

Edited by JTQ

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36 minutes ago, JTQ said:

 I sometimes take another smaller, 60 Ah portable battery that I carry in the car so not load up the van. This battery is used exclusively for the TV system, relieving the van's battery of that non essential duty. I have wired things up so it can be recharged in and by the car,

 

 

On several previous cars I too had wiring done in boot to charge a battery but my last two cars the towbar fitter said no to providing that.

Is this he just didn't want to do it it or is it bad for modern car electronics or even illegal?

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3 minutes ago, David Park said:

On several previous cars I too had wiring done in boot to charge a battery but my last two cars the towbar fitter said no to providing that.

Is this he just didn't want to do it it or is it bad for modern car electronics or even illegal?

It is illegal to carry a battery in the boot unless it is "properly secured" ( as with any load). There is also the issue of damage potentially arising from any acid fumes, and the potential for explosion unless properly vented.

The likelihood of any problem is low, but the risks are there. .

He is just watching his back! 

 

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46 minutes ago, Stevan said:

It is illegal to carry a battery in the boot unless it is "properly secured" ( as with any load). There is also the issue of damage potentially arising from any acid fumes, and the potential for explosion unless properly vented.

The likelihood of any problem is low, but the risks are there. .

He is just watching his back! 

 

I'm not sure it's actually illegal but it's certainly unwise to carry an unsecured battery in the car boot. Especially when you consider the the mess if it tips and spills.

Most so called sealed batteries aren't actually sealed but maintenance free and have vent which would allow the batteryy to leak acid if tipped.

 

Recharging a second battery in the boot, although sounds like a good idea will still take a many hours of running the car engine, either by driving around or  setting the car engine at a fast idle.

 

If you take 25a/h (300w/h) out of a battery then you've got to get 30a/h back in ( batteries are not 100% efficient) and even a 10 amp charger will take a lot more than three hours to do it because of the battery's charge acceptance capability. It can't accept it all in one go.

Edited by matelodave

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My battery is in my four decades old Labcraft TP 2, designed specifically for that task  as a portable unit and sits well out of harms way in the footwell behind the driving seat.

What illegality is anyone seeing?

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25 minutes ago, matelodave said:

I'm not sure it's actually illegal but it's certainly unwise to carry an unsecured battery in the car boot. Especially when you consider the the mess if it tips and spills.

 

There is a specific offense relating to improperly secured loads, most commonly used for instances of lorries shedding, or likely to shed their load. However it could be used for items which could slide around in the boot of a car into the back of a passenger,

 

8 minutes ago, JTQ said:

My battery is in my four decades old Labcraft TP 2, designed specifically for that task  as a portable unit and sits well out of harms way in the footwell behind the driving seat.

 

I do not believe that there is a detailed, and all encompassing legal definition of what constitutes "properly secured", but what you describe sounds like secure to me.

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52 minutes ago, Stevan said:

It is illegal to carry a battery in the boot unless it is "properly secured" ( as with any load).

 

I would be most interested to see which particular act and section makes it illegal to carry a battery in the boot! It’s certainly news to me as someone who was involved in road traffic legislation for 30 years.

 

What about a crate of beer, or a can of fuel or a large bag of shopping, or a couple of paving slabs, or a bag of cement etc??

 

The only possible offence I can think of is “Using a motor vehicle in a manner likely to cause danger “ but I cannot see any likelihood of getting the battery scenario to court, let alone getting a conviction.

 

Most car boots are pretty much sealed from the rest of the car anyway. Slightly different for estate cars of course. If I was going to carry one anywhere it would be in the rear footwell. To those who claim a sealed battery will leak I suggest you get hold of one and tip it upside down and see just how much electrolyte ileaks out over a few minutes! They have a vent system for gas, but it doesn’t allow liquids out.

 

Andy

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I always had a battery charging facility in the boot of my cars, including a well strapped in no spill battery box.  However I found a second 40w freestanding solar charging system more efficient, the second system was for charging the second battery.

When I dismissed the crtv and bought a ledtv I didn't need the second freestanding system or second battery as my 50w freestanding was more then enough to keep the battery, full so didn't need a

 The second system has now been fixed to the roof for charging the battery while the caravan is stored, along with another 50w.

As I said back in May, the 90w roof mounted isn't as efficient as the 50w freestanding, and when in storage at this time of year the caravan has to coupled to the mains now and again.

 

I have been to quite a few RTAs and seen what damage debris flying around in the car does, this is why I had a properly secured battery box

 

 

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I would have another 100w solar panel fitted as it is simply connected to the one already installed as said your lucky to get 20 ahr a day and April /May the sun is still low . My 160 w will produce about 6a at its best with sun overhead at midday on a clear sky .

 

As said it is getting the power put in that your taking out each day or you simply end up with 2x flat batteries .

 

 

 

Dave

 

 

 

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