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Battery Advice Please


the hog
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Looking for some advice on leisure batteries please. I currently have a german van which has a gel battery. The built in charger has a switch for gel or ordinary batteries.

I am about to change the van for a new Swift. My question is can I use the gel battery in the new van or will its charger not be compatible with a gel battery?

Thanks in advance.

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Personally I have never heard of a gel battery but why not ask the dealer that you are buying your new swift caravan from and see if he knows if not look up adealer that sells german vans, what make is your german caravan??

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The Hog,

 

This might be a little long winded to answer a simple question, but here goes:

 

There are two types of "GEL" batteries, which are better known as VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) batteries. One (which is normally the cheaper) uses a thicker electrolyte than traditional "WET" lead acid batteries, and is referred to as "GEL". The other uses AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat), in which the lead acid is absorbed into the matting. These are also known as "DRY" batteries, and cost considerably more than either WET or GEL batteries.

 

Swift chargers are able to cope with all three types of batteries. For WET or GEL batteries, there is no need to change any settings, as the two types are fundamentally, the same technology. For AGM batteries, the switch on the rear of the charger (hidden under a sticker, below the CE mark) needs to be changes to the "GEL" setting.

 

However, you need to be sure which of the two types of VRLA batteries you have (GEL or DRY), before you change the charger function, as both types are sometimes sold as “GEL” batteries.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Ash

Edited by SwiftGroup

Swift Group Website: www. swiftgroup. co. uk

Swift Group Handbooks: www. swiftgroup. co. uk/caravans/handbooks

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Ash - there are three types of VRLA batteries, not two - VRLA batteries can be "wet", "gel" or "agm" - not just gel or agm - a few car manufacturers have been using wet VRLAs for decades.

 

Wet VRLA batteries are charged in exactly the same way as conventional wet batteries.

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Roger,

 

Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware that a WET VRLA existed, due to the large amounts of electrolyte used in a wet battery. Could it be that GEL is also called WET, as the gel created by the additional silica is still liquid, although with a much lower viscosity?

 

Ash

Swift Group Website: www. swiftgroup. co. uk

Swift Group Handbooks: www. swiftgroup. co. uk/caravans/handbooks

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Looking for some advice on leisure batteries please. I currently have a german van which has a gel battery. The built in charger has a switch for gel or ordinary batteries.

I am about to change the van for a new Swift. My question is can I use the gel battery in the new van or will its charger not be compatible with a gel battery?

Thanks in advance.

My van came with a gel battery fitted and a charger setup to do the job correctly. with the gel battery fitted the charger provides 18 amps to the battery whilst the voltage is allowed to rise to 14. 8v and then it keeps the voltage at that point whilst allowing the current to fall for 8 hours at which point the voltage is reduced to 13. 5v. If I switch it to ordinary lead acid battery use it does exactly the same but only keeps the constant voltage of 14. 8v for 1 hour.

 

having said that the gel battery is now at the end of it's life after 6 years having always been charged by the vans charger and the lead acid battery that is 2 years older and has been charged with a simple bench charger is still going strong

Bill

 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

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Roger,

 

Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware that a WET VRLA existed, due to the large amounts of electrolyte used in a wet battery. Could it be that GEL is also called WET, as the gel created by the additional silica is still liquid, although with a much lower viscosity?

 

Ash

Ash - a wet VRLA is "simply" a flooded lead acid battery with liquid sulphuric acid electrolyte but with gas recombinant chambers and a pressure release valve. They're available within the automotive battery and marine leisure battery sectors at significantly lower cost than gel or agm batteries. These are totally different in construction to sealed low maintenance batteries.

 

The late Robert Jackson shared my preference for VRLA batteries in caravan usage and would have been able to give us all chapter and verse on this, and many other subjects.

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Ash - a wet VRLA is "simply" a flooded lead acid battery with liquid sulphuric acid electrolyte but with gas recombinant chambers and a pressure release valve. They're available within the automotive battery and marine leisure battery sectors at significantly lower cost than gel or agm batteries. These are totally different in construction to sealed low maintenance batteries.

 

The late Robert Jackson shared my preference for VRLA batteries in caravan usage and would have been able to give us all chapter and verse on this, and many other subjects.

 

It's all here Battery types or here batteries

 

An AGM battery is not a gel battery. VRLA batteries are only gel or AGM not wet / flooded / SLA /maintenance free

Edited by beejay
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http://www. buchmann. ca/chap2-page5. asp

 

An extract from the above is:-

 

Driven by diverse applications, two designations of batteries emerged. They are the sealed lead acid (SLA), also known under the brand name of Gelcell, and the valve regulated lead acid (VRLA). Technically, both batteries are the same. No scientific definition exists as to when an SLA becomes a VRLA. (Engineers may argue that the word ‘sealed lead acid’ is a misnomer because no lead acid battery can be totally sealed. In essence, all are valve regulated.)

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Thanks for all the prompt replies.

At least I don't have to fork out for a new battery when I collect the new van. Just need to figure out which type of barrery I have. The handbook doesnt make it clear and there are no markings on the battery apart from the makers name (Exide).

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Thanks for all the prompt replies.

At least I don't have to fork out for a new battery when I collect the new van. Just need to figure out which type of barrery I have. The handbook doesnt make it clear and there are no markings on the battery apart from the makers name (Exide).

 

Might be worth contacting Exide via thier website they might give you all the info ?

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http://www. buchmann. ca/chap2-page5. asp

 

An extract from the above is:-

 

Driven by diverse applications, two designations of batteries emerged. They are the sealed lead acid (SLA), also known under the brand name of Gelcell, and the valve regulated lead acid (VRLA). Technically, both batteries are the same. No scientific definition exists as to when an SLA becomes a VRLA. (Engineers may argue that the word 'sealed lead acid' is a misnomer because no lead acid battery can be totally sealed. In essence, all are valve regulated.)

 

There are debatable references in that link. For instance, I think battery manufacturers would dispute the claim that SLA and VRLA batteries can never be fully charged which is, demonstrably, untrue. Providing the correct charging regime is used all batteries can be fully charged but limiting charging voltage to prevent gassing will prevent a full charge being attained. The answer is "smart" charging whereby gassing is restricted. VRLA batteries have valves which maintain a positive pressure in the cells as part of the re-combinant technology. The SLA battery does not have valves but has vents which release excess pressure caused by gassing.

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