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mrbigglebongs

Lithium battery recommendations?

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Posted (edited)

Basically it's dawned on me that I'm absolutely murdering my AGM battery. My van is mainly stationary at the moment, and without solar and with the restrictions driving and getting a boost on my B2B charger isn't really an option. The voltage is hovering around 12.6 which isn't great.

So I've been looking at the Lithium option, was wondering if anyone had any experience with brands/models? There's an Ultramax battery (random brand) doing a 100aH one for under £500 which seems like terrific value. The more established brands are at least another £150+

Just wondering if the cheaper one may be substandard in some way.

Any thoughts?

Edited by mrbigglebongs

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12.6 volts is about 90% charged and AGM batteries are much more tolerant of low states of charge than 'wet' batteries.

 

A quality AGM battery can be had for £190 with a 5 year guarantee Halfords AGM and that's a rebadged Yuasa.

You can get 25% off with a Halfords trade card, or you know someone with one. They do home delivery.

I've got one in my car and one in the caravan, although the latter is in my shed currently, attached to a CTEK.

 

Obviously there is a considerable weight saving with lithium batteries - the one I listed above is 27 kg.

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, onewheelonmywagon said:

12.6 volts is about 90% charged and AGM batteries are much more tolerant of low states of charge than 'wet' batteries.

 

A quality AGM battery can be had for £190 with a 5 year guarantee Halfords AGM and that's a rebadged Yuasa.

You can get 25% off with a Halfords trade card, or you know someone with one. They do home delivery.

I've got one in my car and one in the caravan, although the latter is in my shed currently, attached to a CTEK.

 

Obviously there is a considerable weight saving with lithium batteries - the one I listed above is 27 kg.

Out of interest, (my caravan battery was shot this winter I was expecting to replace it last year), the one listed is for a Stop Start engine would that be ok in a caravan? I'm asking because with standard acid batteries there are different types for various applications.

Also would the caravan charger be acceptable for use with the one listed?

 

Going to buy a new battery once the caravan is back in use.

If you are an AA member you get 10% off at Halfords. 

Edited by Wellys and Mac

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I have AGM battery on the car and I know the alternator is designed for it and if I charge at home a charger has to have  AGM  quaulities.    Do the caravan makers put equipment in the caravan that is best for AGM batteries and other types?

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, David 38 said:

I have AGM battery on the car and I know the alternator is designed for it and if I charge at home a charger has to have  AGM  quaulities.    Do the caravan makers put equipment in the caravan that is best for AGM batteries and other types?

No they dont and a lot of AGM batteries slowly die because they are continuously undercharged when used with a caravan.

 

here is some info - https://www.centurybatteries.com.au/content/documents/battery-Talk/issue-2-battery-Talk-battery-charging.pdf

 

You'll note that AGM requires a slightly higher absorbtion voltage than normal flooded or SLA batteries aven though the float voltage is around the same. Most caravan chargers are actually power supply units and are fixed at 13.6-13.8v and so will never fully charge a lead acid battery.

 

Floating a standby battery at that voltage is fine but doesn't do a battery that's being cycled much good because it never gets a decent charge.

 

Some solar controllers as well as some smart chargere are adjustable to take into account differing battery types and so should be set correctly. IMO if you are going to spend a lot of money on an AGM  battery then you really need to make sure that you've got an appropriate charging regime for it if you want it to last.

 

Gel batteries are even more twitchy when it come to charging them as they must never be overcharged. I've also seen racks of VRLA (valve regulated lead acid) where all the valves have popped off where the chargers were wrongly set

 

I've been buying cheapish middle of the road batteries for the past nearly forty years (both for caravans and boats) and I look after them. Never letting them go flat, never leaving them in a discharged state and giving them a bit of a stir with a decent smart charger every couple of months so they do get fully charged to 14.4-14.6 volts.

 

They usually last around 7-8 years or more (my present van battery is a Numax thats been on the van since 2011 and it's still OK - this van has a solar panel, so I don't bother boosting it because the solar controller does it).

 

I can't see the point of paying twice as much for a battery that probably wont last me twice as long.

Edited by matelodave
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Does the battery come with a charger?   A Lithium battery needs a different charging profile.    Another question to ask is what happens when it goes flat.  A lead acid battery the voltage drops as you discharge it, so effectively you get a warning.. As I understand it, a LiPo battery can deliver full voltage then fall off a cliff.   

If I were you then , unless you have specific needs, I would either not worry or fit Solar to keep what you have already got charged.    

 

FWIW, we have a pair of Varta 90LFD batteries that are used mainly off grid and solar keeps them healthy in off grid storage. 

 

Lithium has become sexy all of a sudden, a bit like mppt solar regulators,  and a lot of people want to jump on the bandwagon. 

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A lot of 12v Lithium batteries have their own battery management system built in so they can be used with normal chargers so it something that should be taken into consideration when buying one.

 

TBH unless I was going to use it up in space or down on the sea bed or I was sailing something like the Vedee Globe race where it would be everso difficult to replace it I still don't think that they are worth the cost for use in a caravan at the moment.

 

You can buy a lot of replacement SLA's for the price of a Lithium and I'm not sure that I'd now live long enough to get my investment back, but each to their own.

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On my van I have fitted a 20 amp ciggy lighter socket in the wet locker, which also has a 240v mains socket. The ciggy lighter socket is wired direct to the leisure battery via a suitable fuse. Primarily this is for running a 12v pump for the air awning.

 

During the season when my van is at home I connect the EHU, switch off the onboard charger, and plug the CTEK into the wet locker.

 

Obviously when we are away the battery is only float charged at 13.6 volts.

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I've just got a Powerxtreme X20 with built 8n charger. We only use a battery for the mover and when mains goes off.

Obviously not been away to try it yet but I shunted the van twice the normal distance out of storage and it was till ¾ charged.

Company have been really great to deal with in the Netherlands and it has a 5 year warranty. I know they do bigger ones but without the built in charger.

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I replace our 85amh wet battery with a  110 amh AGM back end of last year.

not yet used it in anger because of this dreadful virus. But I also added one of these. Hopefully whilst travelling it will keep the battery topped up and run the fridge properly. 
Still cheaper than lithium

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0658/7343/files/BBC1225_caravan_model.pdf?11091381068632727602

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jiffy176 said:

I've just got a Powerxtreme X20 with built 8n charger. We only use a battery for the mover and when mains goes off.

Obviously not been away to try it yet but I shunted the van twice the normal distance out of storage and it was till ¾ charged.

Company have been really great to deal with in the Netherlands and it has a 5 year warranty. I know they do bigger ones but without the built in charger.

£400 - I could buy at least 4 ordinary 100a/h lead acid batteries for that - they should last around 6 years apiece, that would keep me going for at least 24 years.

 

Do you reckon that your's will still be OK in 2044 (I probably wont, as  even if I live that long, I'll be 97 )

Edited by matelodave
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2 minutes ago, matelodave said:

£400 - I could buy at least 4 ordinary 100a/h lead acid batteries for that - they should last around 6 years apiece, that would keep me going for at least 24 years.

 

 

 

Good thinking.

Another piont for the £400 do these batteries hold more than the usual 100/110 amp.?

If they do I can see them be of use when in a field with no mains hook up.

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2 minutes ago, matelodave said:

£400 - I could buy at least 4 ordinary lead acid batteries for that - at say 6 years apiece, that would keep me going for at least 24 years.

 

Do you reckon that your's will still be OK in 2044 (I probably wont, as  even if I live that long, I'll be 97 )

I didn't pay anywhere near that. I need it for the weight saving and the fact that I can take my solar controller out and I'm going to try the van PSU and see how we get on. If not I've built a relay set up that will isolate the battery when the mains is on and reconnects when it goes off.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, David 38 said:

 

Good thinking.

Another piont for the £400 do these batteries hold more than the usual 100/110 amp.?

If they do I can see them be of use when in a field with no mains hook up.

20a/h (= 240watt/hours) is a lot less than 100a/h, even if you only discharge a 100a/h lead acid battery to 50%DOD you should still manage 50a/h (=600watt/hours) so the capacity of the lithium battery is significantly less.

 

Although you may be able to drag a high current for a short period in the end a 20a/h battery will only power your 2 amp telly for 10 hours whereas the 100 a/h lead acid should manage 20-25.

 

Granted that the number of discharge cycles for the lithium is a lot more than a lead acid battery but in the end you have to decide what suits your requirements (and your pocket). I usually do a cost/benefit calculation to decide whether spending a lot up front will really save me in the long run, or give me a significant advantage over going for something a bit cheaper. That doesn't mean that I go and buy rubbish but I try to to work out the best compromise between cost and longevity taking into account potential reliability and safety for the intended purpose

 

As I said I can get a 100a/h battery for less than £100 with a four year warranty that should last me 6 or more years if I look after it. In six years time, hopefully I can get another one, again with a decent warranty and I should still be a couple of hundred quid better off.

Edited by matelodave

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Thanks all, I appreciate the general advice. Was looking for more opinion on which LiFePo4 batteries to go for but I presume the uptake is still pretty low with it being new-ish technology.  

 

I know there's an argument about price/lifespan advantages of regular lead acid but as OP where I'm getting undone is I can't keep my AGM battery in a recharged state and I'm certainly not going to get more than 2 years with it being regularly at 75% SoC whereas it needs to be at 100% as much as possible. I understand Lithium doesn't have this problem and what appeals to me is I can use 80Ah out of it rather than 47.5 Ah out of my 95Ah AGM (less still as it loses capacity due to improper storage)

 

Thus I can only see Lead acid being an option via solar or being on ECU most of the time.

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https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/elevating_self_discharge

 

If you are worried about self discharge then you are probably better off with a solar panel assuming that you are located where the panel isn't shaded or subject to shading - lithium batteries aren't immune from it.

 

According to this an 80a/h Litium battery would set you back over £700 - https://www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/12v-80ah-relion-lithium-ion-battery-rb80-d/ That would buy a decent solar set up,  several lead acid batteries and a week away in the caravan.

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You could buy two new “ordinary” lead acid batteries and swop them about every few weeks and STILL have a lot of change from the cost of a single LiPo.

 

Do you actually NEED to leave a battery in your caravan? If it’s storage then do you need the battery to power an alarm? If so ask your insurer to quote you for not having an alarm. I bet the increase in premium will be pretty minimal so it would take many many years to break even when looking at the cost of a LiPo.  You could then take your AGM battery home and keep it topped up there so it’s always AT 100% when you need it. (And save yourself a LOT of money) 

 

Just a further suggestion. 

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I'm a big fan if LiFePO4 batteries but it does not make sence for most caravanners that only uses the van for a few months a year and usually on electric.

The van has not yet got a LiFePO4 and may not get it but the boat will get it this summer.

 

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