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UK Caravanning (uk.rec.caravanning) A forum for the discussion of caravanning undertaken by residents of the United Kingdom, whether in the UK or abroad. It encourages the interchange of views on the merits of models of caravan, makes of tow car, accessories, caravan sites, caravan clubs, and other related topics. The term caravan is to include trailer vans, motor caravans and trailer tents.

Leisure battery questions



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old February 3rd 08, 04:27 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Dave[_10_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2
Default Leisure battery questions

Hi All,
Our outdoors club uses a 110Amh leisure battery to power a number of
laptops and other bits. We've had it maybe 3-4 years but it's probably
only used 6-7 times a year and is always recharged for each use.

I'm just doing a bit of maintanence on it and noticed a few worrying
things. Firstly, the battery voltage even after charging is not higher
than say 12.3 volts. When new, I know that this was over 13 volts.
Also, under load the voltage falls to say 11.8 volts which worries me
a bit although the various adaptors and inverter still seem to run ok
at that voltage.
Secondly, the green\black\white indicator on the top of battery is
black indicating that it requires charging even though according to
the charger, it is fuly charged.

So I guess my question is: Should I worried, given that it seems to
work although I'm testing it to see if it holds its power at the
moment. We usually run it loaded for 7-8 hours at a time. Is there
anything I can do to improve it or will I just have to ditch it and
get a new one?

One thing about this battery is that it is damn heavy. I mean
ridiculously heavy. (a 2 man lift) Is there some kind of leisure
battery that can hold a similar charge but is a sensible weight so it
can be moved around whilst not in a vehicle?.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions,
Dave
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old February 3rd 08, 10:02 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
howie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 38
Default Leisure battery questions


"Dave" wrote in message
...
Hi All,
Our outdoors club uses a 110Amh leisure battery to power a number of
laptops and other bits. We've had it maybe 3-4 years but it's probably
only used 6-7 times a year and is always recharged for each use.

I'm just doing a bit of maintanence on it and noticed a few worrying
things. Firstly, the battery voltage even after charging is not higher
than say 12.3 volts. When new, I know that this was over 13 volts.
Also, under load the voltage falls to say 11.8 volts which worries me
a bit although the various adaptors and inverter still seem to run ok
at that voltage.
Secondly, the green\black\white indicator on the top of battery is
black indicating that it requires charging even though according to
the charger, it is fuly charged.

So I guess my question is: Should I worried, given that it seems to
work although I'm testing it to see if it holds its power at the
moment. We usually run it loaded for 7-8 hours at a time. Is there
anything I can do to improve it or will I just have to ditch it and
get a new one?

One thing about this battery is that it is damn heavy. I mean
ridiculously heavy. (a 2 man lift) Is there some kind of leisure
battery that can hold a similar charge but is a sensible weight so it
can be moved around whilst not in a vehicle?.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions,
Dave


is it maintainence free or can you test each cell with a hydrometer ? i know
you can get a car battery load tested (and presumably leisure batterys too)
that way you will know for sure if its starting to fail .
H


  #3 (permalink)  
Old February 3rd 08, 10:09 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Dougal
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 91
Default Leisure battery questions

Dave wrote:

Hi All,
Our outdoors club uses a 110Amh leisure battery to power a number of
laptops and other bits. We've had it maybe 3-4 years but it's probably
only used 6-7 times a year and is always recharged for each use.

I'm just doing a bit of maintanence on it and noticed a few worrying
things. Firstly, the battery voltage even after charging is not higher
than say 12.3 volts. When new, I know that this was over 13 volts.
Also, under load the voltage falls to say 11.8 volts which worries me
a bit although the various adaptors and inverter still seem to run ok
at that voltage.
Secondly, the green\black\white indicator on the top of battery is
black indicating that it requires charging even though according to
the charger, it is fuly charged.


Sales promotion devices - ignore them.

So I guess my question is: Should I worried, given that it seems to
work although I'm testing it to see if it holds its power at the
moment. We usually run it loaded for 7-8 hours at a time. Is there
anything I can do to improve it or will I just have to ditch it and
get a new one?

One thing about this battery is that it is damn heavy. I mean
ridiculously heavy. (a 2 man lift) Is there some kind of leisure
battery that can hold a similar charge but is a sensible weight so it
can be moved around whilst not in a vehicle?.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions,
Dave

  #4 (permalink)  
Old February 5th 08, 11:50 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Neil
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 468
Default Leisure battery questions

On Sun, 3 Feb 2008 09:27:22 -0800 (PST), Dave
wrote:

Hi All,
Our outdoors club uses a 110Amh leisure battery to power a number of
laptops and other bits. We've had it maybe 3-4 years but it's probably
only used 6-7 times a year and is always recharged for each use.

I'm just doing a bit of maintanence on it and noticed a few worrying
things. Firstly, the battery voltage even after charging is not higher
than say 12.3 volts. When new, I know that this was over 13 volts.
Also, under load the voltage falls to say 11.8 volts which worries me
a bit although the various adaptors and inverter still seem to run ok
at that voltage.
Secondly, the green\black\white indicator on the top of battery is
black indicating that it requires charging even though according to
the charger, it is fuly charged.

So I guess my question is: Should I worried, given that it seems to
work although I'm testing it to see if it holds its power at the
moment. We usually run it loaded for 7-8 hours at a time. Is there
anything I can do to improve it or will I just have to ditch it and
get a new one?

One thing about this battery is that it is damn heavy. I mean
ridiculously heavy. (a 2 man lift) Is there some kind of leisure
battery that can hold a similar charge but is a sensible weight so it
can be moved around whilst not in a vehicle?.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions,
Dave


OK questions first-

Is the electrolyte level the same in each of the cells?

Is the electrolyte level covering the plates in each cell?

What does the voltage read, while the charger is connected, operating
and telling you the battery is fully charged?

How does your battery charger tell you the battery is fully charged?

Can you/have you checked the specific gravity of the electrolyte in
each cell with a hydrometer?

Now then-

The voltage of a fully charged, new battery should be very close to
12.7v(although this does vary with temperature), after it has been
left standing for a day or so. It should not be as high as 13v unless
the battery has only just been charged and not been allowed to settle.

If your voltage reading is 12.3v immediately after charging, then your
battery charger is lying to you! It should read as high as 13.6v, and
then slowly drop to about 12.6v as it settles.

A voltage reading of 11.8v is not unlikely if you are drawing a fairly
large current when your battery is in use. If it quickly dropped to
around 10v, I'd be concerned!

BUT, depending upon the answers to the questions above, I strongly
suspect that your battery charger is consistently under-charging your
battery! This will have shortened the life of the battery by a
certain amount, but that's not to say it is now defunct, it may still
have a good capacity IF it is properly maintained and FULLY charged
after each use.

Tips:-

Do not place ANY trust in those coloured indicator things!
The only true indication of a battery's state of charge is an
electrolyte specific gravity of around 1.25 or more in each cell.
Store your battery insulated from the cold ground.

And finally:-

In my experience, all 110Ah flooded cell, leisure batteries weigh
pretty much the same, and are all very similar in dimensions. My own
caravan battery is a 110Ah leisure/semi-traction battery. I wouldn't
have thought it a two man lift - unlike my 130Ah Gel cell battery
which weighs about 120 lbs! If you want lighter - you'll have to get
an 85Ah one!

HTH

Neil

(Reply via NG please)
  #5 (permalink)  
Old February 8th 08, 07:04 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Dave[_10_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2
Default Leisure battery questions

Thanks for the comments. I've unscrewed the caps and had a look
inside. The water seems to cover all metallic parts and be roughly the
same height in all cells. However, there are a couple of things, I've
always been confused by. Firstly, should these caps be off (or
loosened ) during charging?.

And secondly, the charger (from halfords) has 2 settings - one is
'sealed' and one says 'standard'. Which one of these should I be
using?.

I'm charging the battery at the moment and will get back to you on
voltages. Sounds, from your description that the battery is a bit worn
but generally ok.

Ta in advance,
Dave
  #6 (permalink)  
Old February 8th 08, 07:06 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
tony h
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 33
Default Leisure battery questions

Neil wrote:
snip

whilst on the subject of batteries, does anyone know whether 'bat-aid' is
actually any good? much cheaper than a new battery!


  #7 (permalink)  
Old February 9th 08, 12:57 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Roger Mills
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 418
Default Leisure battery questions

In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
tony h wrote:

Neil wrote:
snip

whilst on the subject of batteries, does anyone know whether
'bat-aid' is actually any good? much cheaper than a new battery!


I've not tried that one. Many years ago I used some stuff called "Re-Volt"
which revived my car battery - for a while, at least.
--
Cheers,
Roger
______
Email address maintained for newsgroup use only, and not regularly
monitored.. Messages sent to it may not be read for several weeks.
PLEASE REPLY TO NEWSGROUP!


  #8 (permalink)  
Old February 10th 08, 12:42 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Gordon Austin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 253
Default Leisure battery questions


"Roger Mills" wrote in message
...
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
tony h wrote:

Neil wrote:
snip

whilst on the subject of batteries, does anyone know whether
'bat-aid' is actually any good? much cheaper than a new battery!


I've not tried that one. Many years ago I used some stuff called "Re-Volt"
which revived my car battery - for a while, at least.
--
Cheers,
Roger
______
Email address maintained for newsgroup use only, and not regularly
monitored.. Messages sent to it may not be read for several weeks.
PLEASE REPLY TO NEWSGROUP!

If a battery starts playing-up, I have always found it is best get rid of
it, as you will find it will let you down without any other warning,
whatsoever, usually, just when you get back to the van at night after
sundown and its pouring down with rain and you are unable to get your car
close enough, for one reason or another, to plug that in.!!!
Gordon


  #9 (permalink)  
Old February 10th 08, 08:45 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Neil
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 468
Default Leisure battery questions

On Fri, 8 Feb 2008 12:04:10 -0800 (PST), Dave
wrote:

Thanks for the comments. I've unscrewed the caps and had a look
inside. The water seems to cover all metallic parts and be roughly the
same height in all cells. However, there are a couple of things, I've
always been confused by. Firstly, should these caps be off (or
loosened ) during charging?.

And secondly, the charger (from halfords) has 2 settings - one is
'sealed' and one says 'standard'. Which one of these should I be
using?.

I'm charging the battery at the moment and will get back to you on
voltages. Sounds, from your description that the battery is a bit worn
but generally ok.

Ta in advance,
Dave


It is not necessary to remove or loosen the caps on a modern battery
while charging it. It used to be standard practice in the 50's and
60's, but construction has changed over the years.

Of the 2 settings, "sealed" could refer to a sealed or Valve Regulated
battery, or it could simply refer to "maintenance free" conventional
lead/acid battery which has no removable cell caps, and hence does not
have the facility to check and top up the electrolyte. The definition
of "sealed" for your charger should be found in the instructions for
the charger. It could be important, as if it refers to a Valve
Regulated battery, the charging voltage at maximum should be 0.3v
higher than for a "maintenance free" conventional battery.

In your case however, as you obviously have access to the electrolyte
in the cells, the setting must be "standard".

Use of a hydrometer is the best indication of the condition of a
battery and is to be recommended if you have access to the
electrolyte.

Some voltage readings should shed more light.

Neil

(Reply via NG please)
 



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