4WD BATTERIES FOR EXTREME CONDITIONS

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 17:50
ThreadID: 110890 Views:3695 Replies:12 FollowUps:21
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Hello All

My first post here. I'm sure it's been covered to some extent many times but had trouble finding things exactly on topic.

I work in extreme conditions at this time of year. Ambient temps above 40 degrees almost every day, but often reaching 45 and higher. January had ten days in a row over 45.

The corrugations just smash the vehicle about also.

I run 280 watts of solar panels and the 160 Watt panel is banging in around 12 amps at this time of year. The sun is brutal.

The challenge I have is batteries currently. Also electrical but will confine this discussion to batteries.

I've currently got red and yellow Optimas under the bonnet with a third Full River under the vehicle and about to be wired in.

The yellow Optima performed okay - about 5 out of 10 - but has hardly any storage. Around 66AH. It's just on two years old but is buggered.

My fridge is pulling about 6 to 7 amps and runs at least 23 hours a day at this time of year. So up to 160AH just running the fridge at this time of year daily.

Plus another 30AH for other gear I'm running.

So I need a second battery with 100AH - 110AH if I can - the more the better - but it must be able to withstand the heat and corrugations.

Everyone seems to have a view on batteries but there is very little actual experience and knowledge in this area that is easy to track down.

Most retailers are a waste of time and focus on selling their particular products rather than the right solution.

Would appreciate input from those that genuinely know what I'm describing.

Cheers.



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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 17:56

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 17:56
What about Exide EXTREME? I use two in Parallel for my very thirsty fridge that runs an inverter. They last 3 to 4 years, made for offroad, corrugations etc!! Michael
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AnswerID: 544952

Reply By: Bigfish - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:17

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:17
I had 3 full river 100amp/hr batteries in a large fish tube mounted in the back of my troopy. Also 1 under the bonnet. Had 3x 80 watt solar panels on roof. Ran a 100lt trailblazer,60 lt engel and 30 lt engel. Could last a couple of days in 35 degree NT heat and humidity. I also had a Honda 2kva generator. I also had a c-tek 20 amp charger. During the day if camped for a week or so I would run fridges off generator and charge batteries. At evening I would leave all on till I went to bed (say 9 o,clock). Switch all back to batteries and run a 12 volt fan or 240 off inverter. Bloody humidity wwas a killer. 8 o,clock next day back to genie. So about 12 hrs on batteries and 12 on generator. Honda was frugal on fuel and nice and quiet.
I would invest in a good charger and generator if your going to be pulling around 200amps per day. That's a lot of battery power. I would also look at getting all batteries the same size and make. AGM for safety and corrugations..even gel..
Even with 4 100amp/hr batteries your pulling down to 50% continuously every day.
AnswerID: 544954

Follow Up By: DQB - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:57

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:57
Cheers mate. I have 280 Watts of solar going in during the days and haven't room for the gennie. Have stayed away from the gennie if you get my drift.
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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:28

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:28
Hi DQB,
You can get 100Ah Optima batteries.

I have 2 / 80ah yellow Optima batteries being charged by 160W solar panels, with 2 engial 40lt fridge freezer running 24/7/365 for 3 years now and spend 7 months of the year in the top end (wet season) with average temp 40+ deg. they have handled the rough roads and the heat very well.
AnswerID: 544956

Reply By: River Swaggie - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:42

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:42
I'd stay away from Century Batteries they leak like sieves in harsh areas (that includes marine and deep cycle)... I've learnt my lesson and will only use fully sealed batteries for The High Country in future..

Cheers
AnswerID: 544958

Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 19:13

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 19:13
Maybe you had a bad batch? Mine 2 have been running great for the last 3 years.
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FollowupID: 832418

Follow Up By: River Swaggie - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 12:45

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 12:45
Nah mate certainly not, if you head over to 4x4earth a number of members hav/had issues with them leaking and won't buy them again like myself...



Cheers
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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:45

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:45
DQB - Here's some of my tips based on long experience.

1. Batteries don't like heat. No matter what the type or make of battery, high heat levels shorten battery life. It pays to ensure batteries run as cool as possible.

2. Century make heat-resistant batteries right here in Oz, designed for our climate conditions - specifically high ambient temperature levels. They are amongst the best batteries built today for our conditions.

3. Caterpillar make batteries for their range of earthmoving equipment that are generally superior to most other brands of batteries.

4. If you are regularly draining a battery to below 50% of its capacity, you need a Deep Cycle battery. Century build a Deep Cycle Industrial battery that may be of interest to you.

5. Heavy duty batteries, such as Cat batteries, are designed to resist severe vibration and shocks, that are regularly encountered with bulldozers.
These batteries have their plates bonded to the bottom of the case, to prevent plate vibration which results in plate fracture and battery failure.
Run-of-the-mill batteries don't have their plates bonded to the case at the bottom.

6. You can help with vibration and shock reduction by mounting your battery on a sheet of 4mm thick insertion rubber, and placing same under the hold-down brackets.

7. Siting your battery so that it gets a regular flow of air over and around it (rather than being clamped inside a virtually sealed battery box that cannot get air flow through it), will help reduce battery temperature.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 544959

Follow Up By: DQB - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:56

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:56
Ron, good advice and largely what a professional fishing mate suggested who's advice I trust. Ie, the Cat batteries. I may just go with one of those.

Thanks also to the others who posted.

I have been running a deep cycle auxiliary battery - the Optima Yellow - but it's storage is 66AH. Nowhere near enough.

I have been thinking about adding some rubber to absorb some of the shock.

Appreciate the good advice.

Cheers.
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Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 19:31

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 19:31
G`day Mate,

Have a look here,.......http://powerstream.com.au/volt-0200-hour-p-171.html

Guaranteed for 5 years with an expected life of 20 years. Provided they are fitted as per instructions.
I have had two of these in my wagon since Jan 2010 as auxiliaries for the fridge etc.

I have two banks the same brand in the c/van.
One bank 2 @ 6v x 250 ah made year 2000.
and another bank of 6 @ 2 v x200 ah made year 2002.

ALL STILL PERFORMING PERFECTLY. Expensive but worth it for reliability. IMHO.

No affiliation with this mob, just a very happy customer.

Scrubby
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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AnswerID: 544962

Follow Up By: DQB - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 21:07
Excellent. Thanks mate. Will suss them out. How big are they relative to say an N70 and can they handle being under the bonnet with the heat?
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FollowupID: 832426

Follow Up By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:02

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:02
DQB,

Contact Ian at Powerstream RV regarding suitable location etc.
I am sure he will give you heaps of assistance and great service.

Just tell him Scrubby from Victoria said so. LOL

Scrubby.
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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Reply By: Mick O - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 20:42

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 20:42
DQB....Hmmmm one of my favorite places. That may sound very wrong if you're not a fan of Rudall River NP though.

Mate I'm all for the Powersonic range of sealed AGM batteries. I run 2 x 140 A/H in the back of the Tuck-truck and they have never let me down. Mind you your batteries are only one component in a well considered and equipped DC power system. Your batteries will only ever be as good as the way you mount and protect them, how you wire them and above all, what you use to (and HOW you) charge them.

Some reading that may assist your deliberations;

Building a DC power system

Redarc product review

Cheers Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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AnswerID: 544967

Follow Up By: DQB - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 21:06

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 21:06
Mate. Excellent. Thank you. We have a mutual friend in Newman and you gave me, indirectly, some advice on tyres which I took. So am running the Toyo Open Country and they have been fantastic. Albeit I've been getting 12000 ks where I've been working out of a set which is pretty good if you saw the country I've been working in

So I will read the materials you've put me onto re the battery side and get that sorted.

And yes, Rudall River one of my favourite stomping grounds. I actually went out to a very little place in the desert there last winter which was pretty awesome too.

How do the Powersonics handle the heat under the bonnet?

Thanks again.

Cheers mate.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:00

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:00
Ahhh how is Joseph? Mate, it's all about wrapping a little bit of insulation around them and making sure they have a bit of air flow when needed. Again it's how you treat them at those critical times and that's what I really like about my Redarc BMS unit. It let's me know just what temps the batts are operating at. This allows me to consider the variables accordingly.

Do you have an option of mounting a battery or two away from the engine bay?

Great to know that the Toyo's are working for you. You wont find better mind you at 12K per set, you must be working in some god awful country!!! What sort of weights are you carrying?

I'd be keen to know of your secret Rudall location ;-)

Cheers

Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: DQB - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:12

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:12
Yeah mate, he's good. Just read your battery set-up and reckon I might run with that. I need to learn this electrical stuff and now starting to get a sense that I am getting a feel for it sufficiently not to scare me away. In the past the technical stuff has scared me away.

Yeah, Joe banged this Full River 130AH number under the vehicle for me which just needs to be hooked up. But will wait before doing that until I properly understand your set-up.

Running an 80 Series Cruiser. 3.6 tonne is probably half the problem but finding a vehicle I can afford and that will do what I need it to do is a big challenge. All have weaknesses. At some point I may switch to a dual cab and bang a canopy on the back.

Happy to share this desert location with you. Bang me an email. Am a bit cagey on giving away places to the general masses if you get my drift. You'd probably enjoy it out there. I spent a week there.

Email is: sales@hughbrown.com

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:11

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:11
Mate I just found your website, love your photography work.

Let me know if you need someone to carry your gear :)
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FollowupID: 832449

Reply By: Tuco - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:07

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 22:07
Have these under the bonnet of our 2012 patrol wagon. Good so far ...
http://www.superstart.com.au/Products/ProductList/tabid/108/mode/details/bid/7/Default.aspx
AnswerID: 544973

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 07:15

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 07:15
DQB,

I can't add anything to the good advice above, but it's worth saying again that heat is a killer of batteries and if you can get them away from the engine they will live longer.

Cheers

John
J and V
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AnswerID: 544978

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:44

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 10:44
I have had the OKA on the road for 12 years
The original crank battery was replaced after 2 years with unknown life.
The replacement were twin "4WD" HD batteries. They lasted 3 years.
Replacement was a single large calcium. It lasted 2 years.
The next replacement was a Fullriver HGL 120Ah AGM. It is now 5 years old and going strong.
I reckon the previous batteries were shaken to death by corrugations. They are under the chassis, not subject to engine heat.

The first batch of house batteries were also Fullriver HGLs and they lasted 5 years with full time daily cycling. The second batch of Fullriver DC house batteries are now 5 years old and will last some more years yet I reckon.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 544982

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 15:08

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 15:08
DBQ
I am guessing you are still confused.(and I don't blame you)
Just by a good quality wet cell deep cycle battery and when it is buggered buy a new one .
That's all I do.
simple is good I reckon.

Cheers
AnswerID: 544988

Follow Up By: DQB - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 22:39

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 22:39
Hey Mate. Wish it were that simple. I'm pulling a lot of power out of the batteries during the day because I park up for long periods. So need good storage capacity but also something that will handle the extreme environment under the bonnet up here. Have tried the simple route for too long and hasn't really worked. So need to up the ante a little. Cheers mate. And I do ordinarily like the KISS route.
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Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 08:54

Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 08:54
DBQ

Fair enough. Everyone has different power requirements
I only run a 40 litre Engel.
I buy a Century wet sell every 3 years or so.

Good luck with the right combination

Cheers
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FollowupID: 832503

Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 23:02

Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 23:02
Just out of interest and regardless of the hot it is where you are does your fridge usually draw 6 to 7 amps that's a fairly big drain on your system that's almost like trying to run a 3 way fridge off batteries. I thought my older style Evakool fridge/freezer was a bit power hungry drawing 3.2 amps considering the improvements that have been made these days in power consumption and insulation.
AnswerID: 545045

Follow Up By: DQB - Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 23:14

Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 23:14
It's about ten years old mate. Hence the big drain. Plus it's running almost 24 hours out here because of the heat. I've installed a third battery which is yet to be wired up. Working through Mick O's notes to save reinventing the wheel and get things right once and for all.
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FollowupID: 832538

Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 23:32

Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 at 23:32
Yeah that's how old my fridge is I was just mentioning it because it seem to be costing a lot to get enough power supply to keep it running and maybe in the long run upgrading the fridge would be the cheaper alternative even though initially it could be a big outlay depending on what brand and size you get. But it would be cheaper than replacing batteries every couple of years because as you know they're not cheap. I'll be looking at upgrading my fridge in the next couple of years when I start to do more trips just as an example my neighbour recently purchased a 45 ltr fridge and it's been around 34 deg here in Mackay on average since before xmas and he was running it at 2 deg of an Arkpak with a 120 ah batt and the batt only dropped to 70% capacity over 4 days which is brilliant. I'm impressed with it and it's convinced me I need to upgrade.
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FollowupID: 832540

Follow Up By: DQB - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 10:14

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 10:14
Yeah mate, it is something I've considered, but the bottom line is that the fridge is having to run at least 23 hours of the day. Simply because of the heat. So even if a more efficient fridge were drawing only four amps, that's still 92 amp hours plus the other fruit that I'm running. So the system needs to be integrated to the extent that it takes in storage, input charging (eg, solar, alternator) differential charging rates and efficiency of the stuff that I'm running. Even if I did upgrade the fridge these other areas still need to be looked at. I've got 280 watts of solar feeding in but that's only around 130 amp hours being pumped in assuming that you're working the solar for about eight hours a day.
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FollowupID: 832552

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 11:47

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 11:47
Duty cycle of the fridge is largely about insulation, or lack of.
Fix the insulation, fix the duty cycle.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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FollowupID: 832555

Follow Up By: DQB - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:05

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:05
Hi Mate. What are you referring to specifically?? Cheers.
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FollowupID: 832556

Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:09

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:09
Understand what you're saying I've done a bit of work around Newman, Telfer and a few other places over there and it doesn't cool down a lot at night. Mine would probably use around 73 ah where you are but have you checked out the power consumption of some of the new fridges my neighbours Techniice has an average of 1.48 amps running for 23 hours that's around 34.04 ah day give or take a bit so you can definitely get some big power savings and there are fridges drawing less than that on the market. Any way good luck with yours and keep up the fluids.
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FollowupID: 832557

Follow Up By: DQB - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:58

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:58
Yeah, thanks mate. It is in the back of my mind that thought. It's all money and just need to prioritise the spend. I'll scope the fridges out you mentioned. Any ideas on their reliability? And is there much difference between the fridges these days? Engel always used to have the edge in quality.

Yeah, out here when it is 45 plus - I had ten successive days this month as an example - the temp inside the vehicle is somewhere around 60 degrees plus. The heat puts pressure on everything. Battery on GOS cooked. Battery on phone cooked. Computer won't work outside when it's above 35. Inverter cooked three days ago. It's one thing after another. But all just part of the challenge of being out here at this time of year which I love.
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FollowupID: 832559

Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 14:17

Friday, Jan 30, 2015 at 14:17
Apparently one of the 4WD magazines done a recent fridge comparison test. Not sure about the Techniice reliability only heard of them last year when my neighbours mate bought one but they do run a Danfoss compressor like most of the others fridges digital temp control which is a better way to control the fridge temp and you can get an insulated travel bag. A friend bought one of the new Engel Eclipse last year the case is made of poly and it's working great. Their about $500 cheaper than the similar sized model made of steel with the same sawafuji swing motor. I have an Evakool combination fridge/freezer that's why mine draws a bit more power but when the time comes I'll see what others are available to compare it against.
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FollowupID: 832562

Follow Up By: Old Grumpy - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015 at 18:31

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015 at 18:31
Just a BTW re fridges, I purchased a homely Evakool Fridgemate with Danfoss compressor, the theory being that it can be repaired pretty much country wide. Have read of digital units failing which are return to factory jobs. Just sayin'.
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