Jump to content
Gavin Smith

Battery questions from a newbie

Recommended Posts

I bought a little 90's Elddis starter van last year, which we used on pitches with EHU, which I understand means the battery is usually charged to about 80%. Over the winter, I finally removed the battery and brought it home, as we're doing some off-grid caravanning this year. It's charging on a 4A Maypole charger at the moment but I had a few questions if someone could help me. I've Googled and read lots of stuff on this forum but I read conflicting messages, usually about whether the battery should be vented or not.  So, here are my amateur questions:

 

1. I've attached a photo of the battery. I presume if this was an AGM battery, it would have said on it, so I guess it's not one of those. Is it a valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) battery?

2.  It has, what I assume, is a little black plastic vent at the back right. Presumably this is where I'd attach a venting hose. Is this required when charging in the house? It's charging in an airy kitchen. In the caravan, it's in a hatch on the outside, so I would guess it doesn't need vented?

3. I remember my dad used to unscrew something on the top of a battery when he was charging, and leave it off slightly. My amateur guess is that this isn't required with this type of battery?

 

Of course, the battery may well be knackered, it's an old battery from an old van, but it seemed worth a good charge. It has rapidly charged up to 13.1V in about 20 minutes of charging and climbing.

 

Thanks so much for any advice.

IMG_0884.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not an AGM - the six plugs with cross-slots are the cell caps, remove them and top up the cells with deionised/distilled water before recharging - unless the charger is a "smart" type, don't leave it charging more than 24 hours - you need to check the voltage with no charger attached, after it's rested for an hour or two.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That will be an ordinary flooded/wet lead acid battery.  This is my goto resource on batteries and charging regimes / testing them :  http://www.batteryfaq.org/  Well worth a read imho,

 

Definitely check the electrolyte is covering the plates and top up if necessary with deionised water.

Check out Maypole's website and/or the manual to see if it is a smart charger or dumber older style, they do both types https://www.maypole.ltd.uk/Automotive/Battery-Chargers

 

At 75 Ah capacity you are going to have a fairly limited off grid capability.  Many will suggest getting a solar panel to help with that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like an ordinary, probably cheap, car battery. Your charger will do just fine, but don't leave it on for more than 24 hours. Open the caps while charging and stop if it starts to gas freely.

The battery will do fine as long as it holds a charge. A bigger capacity, proper leisure, battery will keep you going longer while off grid, if you want to spend the money..

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you ever buy a new battery, check its size in all 3 dimensions first before you buy to ensure it fits in the battery compartment.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Car batteries are not best suited for wild camping as the battery is flattened and will effect its life a leisure battery gives more cycles .

 

 

Dave

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate the comments, thanks for all the pointers.

 

It says "Leisure Power" on it so I was hoping it was a leisure battery and not just a car battery. Either way, it's not going to be enough capacity for off-grid getaways, but I'm hoping it will be enough to provide a bare minimum to get started as money is tight. I do intend to upgrade to a good AGM leisure battery in a few months, probably something like this: https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15901771/platinum-agm-plus-leisure-battery-agmlb6110l-100ah-15901771

 

The Maypole charger is a 4-stage "smart" charger. The battery appeared to reach 14.4v or 14.5v after just a few hours and now it's on the way back down to (I presume, from what I've read) 13.8v. So hopefully this means it's not a knackered battery...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should fit the vent hose when fitted to the van. The vented hydrogen gas will contain some acid mist as well, which will of course attack other surfaces. Seen this in cars where the vent tube was accidentally left disconnected. Just run the tube out of the batter locker via one on the EHU cable cut outs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Gavin Smith said:

I appreciate the comments, thanks for all the pointers.

 

It says "Leisure Power" on it so I was hoping it was a leisure battery and not just a car battery. Either way, it's not going to be enough capacity for off-grid getaways, but I'm hoping it will be enough to provide a bare minimum to get started as money is tight. I do intend to upgrade to a good AGM leisure battery in a few months, probably something like this: https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15901771/platinum-agm-plus-leisure-battery-agmlb6110l-100ah-15901771

 

The Maypole charger is a 4-stage "smart" charger. The battery appeared to reach 14.4v or 14.5v after just a few hours and now it's on the way back down to (I presume, from what I've read) 13.8v. So hopefully this means it's not a knackered battery...

 

You will need a AGM charger so check your charger has a selector for AGM batteries .

 

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, CommanderDave said:

 

You will need a AGM charger so check your charger has a selector for AGM batteries .

 

 

Dave

What is different about that charger?

 

My Halfords leisure charger has a swith for sealed type or normal.

My smart charger does not have a switch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, David 38 said:

What is different about that charger?

 

My Halfords leisure charger has a swith for sealed type or normal.

My smart charger does not have a switch.

 

AGM needs a higher voltage to get full charge - the "winter" setting on many smart chargers can be used to achieve that.

Edited by Black Grouse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks but not too much higher in the case of my car the alternator was changed as was giving too high at 15.2 v.  Now it is 14.9 v after starting reduces slightly after about a minute then reduces slowly to 14.2 v

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Gavin Smith said:

 

 

The Maypole charger is a 4-stage "smart" charger. The battery appeared to reach 14.4v or 14.5v after just a few hours and now it's on the way back down to (I presume, from what I've read) 13.8v. So hopefully this means it's not a knackered battery...

That's perfectly normal for a flooded battery, 14.4v immediately after receiving a top up to full, of which the surface charge dies away after a few hours down to around 13.8v, or even a little lower.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gavin Smith said:

I appreciate the comments, thanks for all the pointers.

 

It says "Leisure Power" on it so I was hoping it was a leisure battery and not just a car battery. Either way, it's not going to be enough capacity for off-grid getaways, but I'm hoping it will be enough to provide a bare minimum to get started as money is tight. I do intend to upgrade to a good AGM leisure battery in a few months, probably something like this: https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15901771/platinum-agm-plus-leisure-battery-agmlb6110l-100ah-15901771

 

The Maypole charger is a 4-stage "smart" charger. The battery appeared to reach 14.4v or 14.5v after just a few hours and now it's on the way back down to (I presume, from what I've read) 13.8v. So hopefully this means it's not a knackered battery...

 

Have a look at the instructions for your Smart Charger.

 

A decent Smart Charger will monitor battery, charge at the required rate, then when the bat has reached 90% -100% charge, will stop charging to prevent cooking the bat.

 

The fact that yours reached 14.5v and is now dropping down to 13.8v or so shows that this has happened.

 

The charger then monitors this voltage then when it drops to a pre-determined level will start to charge again,sometimes described as a float or maintenance cycle,there a few variations depending on the Smart Charger.

 

The charging sequence on my CTEK is in 8 stages,  which ignoring step 6 (recondition) is as follows.

 

1 - 4) charges up to 100%

5 )Stops charging and monitors battery volt drop to determine if the battery is able to hold the charge.

7) Float @ 13.6v

8) Pulse, this stage monitors voltage to  keep the bat at 95% - 100%, the pulse is a bit of a misnomer in that the charger will start a short charge @ 12.7v till the bat  reaches 14.4v, ( fully charged ) then it sits back monitoring again.

 

These sequences allow for a charger to be constantly attached without cooking the battery.

 

The above figures presume a reasonably healthy battery.

 

So, @ 13.8v your battery is technically fully charged and if monitored over time you may see it creeping up to 14.7v again, but this depends on your charger.

 

A note on volt drop on a battery just taken off charge, and disconnected from the charger, ( measured with a DVM ), you may initially see around 14.4v,  dropping  fairly quickly to around 13v, then a day or two later to be stable @ 12.7v  - 12.5v, though it looks scary it's nothing to worry about, unless it keeps dropping over the next couple of weeks.

 

The initial high readings that drop to a stable reading are caused by what is known as surface charge, one of the reasons that when testing a battery that has just been charged with a conductance tester ( in or out of a vehicle ) a small load is applied to the battery, switch headlights on for a min. etc. to dissipate the surface charge.

 

Edit typo's. 🙄

 

 

 

Edited by Silversurf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi sorry to ask something about my battery, put it on charge this morning soon went up to 13.7, 6 hours later just checked its reading 14.2 my question is  it safe to keep it plugged overnight. I am not charging on a charger its in the van. Thanks Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Paul64 said:

Hi sorry to ask something about my battery, put it on charge this morning soon went up to 13.7, 6 hours later just checked its reading 14.2 my question is  it safe to keep it plugged overnight. I am not charging on a charger its in the van. Thanks Paul

Probably safe enough.  But do remember to check it in the morning.

 

:blush: Went in my van a few days ago to find I'd left mine on charge for a month or so. I usually only do it for a few days every few months. :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The battery is date stamped in the upper right corner - it looks like 0922 which would be week 22 2009 but if the last two characters are 05 (which they look like) then it is likely to be 22nd September 2005. Either way it is way too old and should be replaced.

Look at the own-brand batteries in Halfords - they are made by Yuasa, one of the best manufacturers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

 

Look at the own-brand batteries in Halfords - they are made by Yuasa, one of the best manufacturers.

 

Halfords are not known for reasonable prices so would it be better to get a Yuasa elsewhere?

Europarts I think are same group as Halfords what name are same batteries there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

The battery is date stamped in the upper right corner - it looks like 0922 which would be week 22 2009 but if the last two characters are 05 (which they look like) then it is likely to be 22nd September 2005. Either way it is way too old and should be replaced.

Look at the own-brand batteries in Halfords - they are made by Yuasa, one of the best manufacturers.

Genuine question,

 

If it works,  holds and takes a charge. What is the problem with how old it is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Jiffy176 said:

If it works,  holds and takes a charge. What is the problem with how old it is?

Nothing.  But older = more charge-discharge cycles = reduced capacity.  The 75 Ah originally may only be 7.5 Ah now.  Only way to know (without an £hundreds battery test meter) is to apply a load and watch the volts drop to a set level ... see the batteryfaq for how to.

 

SWMBO has a small mobility scooter and the 2 x 22 Ah VRLA batteries last about 3 years before the distance they'll go becomes an issue (i.e. the scooter conks out an I have to push her back to the car).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There isn’t one! 

 

Many car batteries will last 7+ years without failing.

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

 

Many car batteries will last 7+ years without failing.

 

Andy

 

Unless your wife leaves the dash cam on for nearly ten days over Christmas .and results in a flat EFB on her car .

 

Got it back up to near 100% but you can tell it is reduced efficency so new battery needed .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, CommanderDave said:

 

Unless your wife leaves the dash cam on for nearly ten days over Christmas .and results in a flat EFB on her car .

 

Got it back up to near 100% but you can tell it is reduced efficency so new battery needed .

 

That’s why you should always wire any dashcam into the “ignition”circuit. When the ignition is switched off so is the camera so your scenario cannot then happen. 

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Woodentop said:

 Either way it is way too old and should be replaced.

 

Batteries don't need to be replaced by age, unlike tyres - they need to be replaced when performance degrades - that's entirely dependent on the charging regime and usage pattern - I've had batteries still in good order at 15 years old but they never had a hard time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own an Elddis Avante 550 2019 model, when the caravan is on the drive I would like to remove the Leisure Battery and top it up using a smart battery charger. 

I would want to use the mains hook up whilst the caravan is in situ on the drive without the battery installed - the question is - would this affect the alarm system ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...