Aux Battery

Submitted: Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 17:42
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hi everyone
looking to replace my aux battery ,it runs 40lt engel LED lights
an can be charged by solar panel ,
what are your,e suggestions
mechpete
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 20:00

Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 20:00
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Hi Pete,

A 100 or 110 ampere-hour AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) deep cycle is the most obvious choice. There are plenty of brands on the market and your choice could be based on price and convenience of availability. But I suggest sticking to well-known brands.

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Allan

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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 21:15

Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 21:15
Where is the battery going to be located?

What type of charging system are you using car wise?

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Follow Up By: Member - mechpete - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 07:59

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 07:59
it is mounted under the tray behind the cab
LHSide
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 10:18

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 10:18
What type of charging system are you presently using?

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Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 07:51

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 07:51
One of the new lead crystal jobs may be a cost-effective investment - if it lives up to the claims.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 08:33

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 08:33
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At over $1000 for a 100Ah Lead-Crystal battery and required dc-dc charger you would need to be a dedicated Early Adopter/
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 08:47

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 08:47
I've seen 500 from a retailer that has a reasonable rep.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 08:48

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 08:48
And the charger?
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 09:42

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 09:42
Depends what he's already got obviously.

But they're coming down in price anyway. Now $300 for a 25 amper. And in my opinion are highly advisable anyway. Alternator with isolator won't do bulk charge.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 10:58

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 10:58
Well Sigmund, he is unlikely to have a crystal charger if he doesn't already have a crystal battery is he? And it is important to have the correct charging algorithm:

From a Crystal manufacturer......"An important precondition for a battery’s overall performance is correct charging. If you don’t adhere to the steps indicated, you may damage your battery. The manufacturer or distributor of Lead Crystal batteries is not responsible for your battery’s failure if you don’t stick to the loading profiles stated.

A number of (230v mains) Lead Crystal chargers have been developed specifically for Lead Crystal batteries. We recommend using these in combination with your battery. To make optimum use of the Lead Crystal batteries’ unique properties and to be able to avail yourself of the guarantee, Lead Crystal batteries have to be charged correctly. The guidelines for this deviate from those for regular lead-acid batteries (AGM, Gel, Open lead-acid, etc.)."

Redarc have announced that their BCDC range of chargers are suitable for crystal batteries when set to the "A" profile (14.6v max) If you wished to preserve your crystal warranty you would be wise to ensure that your charging system is acceptable to the battery manufacturer. I have not seen an assurance of crystal compatibility from another charger manufacturer, but if Redarc can do it then I suppose it is possible for others too.

Your quoted "$300 for a 25 amper" is unlikely to be a Redarc at $359 on eBay but in any case, where is the point in laying out for a crystal battery then not utilising its charging rate of 40A at a cost of around $500 on eBay? Hence my "$1000".
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 11:50

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 11:50
Redarc DC chargers are now common enough.

Presumably a Projecta 25 A DC charger will work too. $300. Should be plenty for 1 x 100 Ah battery (and for 2 assuming a 10% norm). Has some advantages over the Redarc too.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 12:39

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 12:39
Hmm,

Redarc often say their chargers are suitable, others would beg to differ.

Looking at the specs of the 100Ah lead crystal battery, stated charge voltage 14.7V, float 13.6V.

Their actual charge chart shows 14.8V or there abouts for cyclic applications,
closest Redarc profile A is 14.6V charge and 13.3V float.

In other words you could use their AGM profile but it has not been specifically designed for Lead Crystal, but then neither is it designed for any specific AGM it is a compromise as they don't have user setting ability.

If one was intending to use this charger with a lead crystal that is only lightly discharged or long drive times occur often I would be doing some research to determine what effect the higher float voltage may have.

As for Lead Crystal, I have read articles claiming there the bees knees, and other indicating they are similar to an AGM, from what I have read the biggest advantage seems to be if you abuse them they will recover better then a conventional lead acid, though they appear to be dropping the cycles numbers when discharged to 0%.

From what I have read you wouldn't discharge then below 40% as the terminal voltage starts dropping and most equipment apart from lights is probably not going to be happy. I tried to confirm this but interestingly they don't have a terminal voltage versus depth of discharge graph for the 100Ah battery I looked at?

So it would seem discharging below 40% is not worthwhile, life cycles at 50% discharge seems similar to a conventional AGM, so the only real benefit I see is they may recover better if abused. If you look after your standard AGM they will perform just as well, or have I missed something?

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 13:28

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 13:28
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Yes Leigh, I would agree with that.

Redarc say "Our engineering team have conducted laboratory testing to confirm that you can recharge Lead Crystal batteries with both the Manager and the BCDC In-Vehicle battery chargers. The BCDC “A” profile and the Manager current “AGM” profile can safely and completely recharge a Lead Crystal battery." Reference here.
So Redarc have not produced a specific 'Crystal' algorithm, they are simply applying their regular AGM algorithm. Close, but not precise. And it would probably be "experiment at your risk".

I would not wish to be an "Early Adopter" of this technology. I'll wait until Pat Callinan endorses it! lol
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 14:59

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 14:59
Excuse my ignorance gents......but all this talk of "lead crystal batteries" has me baffled.

I thought the new, you-beaut technology was Lithium batteries?

Are Lithiums now old hat and lead crystal the new, latest must-have item?

Or, per chance, is "lead crystal" and "lithium" one and the same thing?

I'm confused....(but nothing unusual about that!!!)

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 15:08

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 15:08
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Ahh Roachie, Lithium is 'so yesterday', Crystals are the New Thing.
We must all change-over ASAP.

All I can do is direct you here.

And I think maybe I won't "follow you". lol
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 16:16

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 16:16
Lead Crystal has been around for quite awhile but hasn't caught on, apparently they have made improvements to them of late.

I have gone Lithium, they at least have some track record over the past few years, so far very impressed, very flat discharge curb and quick to recharge. Didn't see the need to purchase new chargers as it appears my old unit is compatible with any of the new of the new batteries, according to the charger manufacturers and battery sellers, time will tell.

Gone with a very basic setup mainly just to see how they survive with minimum tech involved. If they die an early death then I know what doesn't work, if they survive ok then that will be useful data for those on a budget.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 06:01

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 06:01
As it happens, I am buying the 100AH one today after considerable research. The distributor recommends the REDARC BCDC andredard confirm it is ok.

I have seen reports from 2 serious Australian telcos using them substantiating the claims,

They are rated at 65c ( most AGM are 50 and not suitable for under bonnet use)
They get about 2500 cycles at 80% DOD, most AGMs get about 300.
They last longer at 80% DOD than a normal AGM at 50%
They accept 30% of C20 AH charge rate.

The 100 unit is rated at 110AH at C20 which is about fridge draw rate. At 80% DOD that gives me about 85AH of usable capacity. Equivalent to having a 170AH Aux.

They are considerably under $500 if you haggle. I'll see how it goes over time I Guess.

Specs
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 09:47

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 09:47
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Aha, an 'Early Adopter' eh Tony?

I'm sure you will advise here how it goes, but of course it will take some time to achieve a comprehensive assessment.

I have found a supplier near me who lists your referenced battery at $380.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 16:39

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 16:39
Yeah Allan - Bleeding edge customer LOL.

That price is very similar to what I paid. I figured the risk isn't too high at those kind of dollars.

Normally I would put 'Lead Crystal' in the ERP / Hyclone category but I have seen 2 very credible Telco reports confirming the deep DOD. Though they were based on a solar environment.

It can't be worse that the value for money that Optimas have.

It's sitting in the back of my car. I hope I did my homework properly and it will fit. Otherwise it might be going reeeaaaally cheap.

:-)
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Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 00:15

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 00:15
OR you could go with a rugged construction sealed maintenance free wet cell battery ..... AKA a marine battery ...... get most of the advantages of AGM, and pay half as much as AGM.

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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 13:01

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 13:01
That's what I did.

After I bought my Prado went to local auto sparkie, who has been in business 30 something years so he must do something right, to get it all checked out.

The second battery was stuffed so I asked what was best and he pointed to the stack of Bosch marine batteries in the corner.

Simple is best he reckoned

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 16:29

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017 at 16:29
Isn't a marine battery just a starting battery that had been ruggedised and has handles?
PeterD
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 22:14

Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 22:14
I've used Century Marine batteries on and off over the years and they now have "Just for Boats" stickers all over them! That won't stop me from using them.
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 23:54

Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 23:54
I had hoped someone with more knowledge than me might have explained what a "marine battery" is.

If you believe the advertising for my bosch it seems to be a sort of a crossover, with starting capability and some deep cycle attributes at a reasonable price

Given the type of traveling I do, I didn't need a full on deep cycle that could keep a fridge, lights etc running for days on end for months on the roadso this seemed a reasonable compromise. And AGM was not a good idea under the bonnet.

It hasn't been put to the test beyond weekend trips yet but so far it has kept the beer cold.

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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Saturday, Mar 04, 2017 at 18:01

Saturday, Mar 04, 2017 at 18:01
Generally a marine battery has a ruggedized construction, ie plates are locked in position etc. They generally have some deep cycle ability.

I use one as a aux in the car, it gets treated badly but they are cheap and I change them over when start to loose capacity.

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 05, 2017 at 13:26

Sunday, Mar 05, 2017 at 13:26
The modern sealed maintenance free rugged construction battery .... it may have "marine", " earthmoving" or "4wd" printed on it pretty much has the following.

Heavier and or more plates with wrapped or packed with glass mat, to dampen the plates from vibration and to stop the electrolite slopping around and getting agitated and to retain the electrolite with the plates in other than flat and level situations. ......... not unlike an AGM battery.

Calcium, possibly antimoniy and other possibly propriatary metals have been added to the plates to reduce gassing, increase life and improve performance in general ...... not unlike AGM

Changes in electolite chemisty to compliment the changes in the plates, to reduce gassing, promote recombination, surpress sulphation, increase life and improve performance in general .... not unlike AGM.

What sealed maintenence free rugged construction batteries don't have is all the free electrolite tipped out ( which is what an AGM battery is) ..... because there remains an ample surplus of electrolite in the battery it will withstand heat and certain types of abuse better than most AGM.

Pretty much all the technologies that allow AGM to exist are employed in all sealed batteries to a greater or lesser degree.

In my opinion AGM is heavily oversold and in many situations of no benefit and of no advantage in most situations.

One thing AGM does have, is the ability to travel in and be stored with general freight ...... so there are a lot of companies that can and will sell you nothing else, because they do not have the facilities to store or transport wet cell batteries.

AND because AGM sells for twice, of an equavalent wet cell ...... good salesmen can make at least twice as much selling you AGM.

Then there is this "Deep Cycle" thing ..... many people have the eroronious idea that deep cycle will withstand being heavily discharged better ....... this is not the truth ...... deep cycle is designed to withstand being at lower states of charge for longer and to deliver low discharge currents over a long term more efficiently.

Hammer a deep cycle day after day, it will die just as quickly as a similar normal battery.

Most RV uses, the battery use is short term cyclic discharge ...... being hit fairly hard over a day or a few days and then hammered up to charge as fast as possibly ....... this is half way between a deep cycle application and a starting application ........ this is exactly what marine batteries are expected to deliver .....

The actual situations where AGM is actually required or of any real benifit would be very few indeed.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Mar 05, 2017 at 14:31

Sunday, Mar 05, 2017 at 14:31
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Yes Bantam, there seems to be much in what you say.

I have been fooling with all sorts of batteries for at least 70 years (yes, seventy years). In that time there have been many changes (advances?) particularly in lead-acid technology and product marketing. Some of it seems rather like the promotions for petrol additives in the 1950/60's best described as "Whizzbang".
But the more I look at lead-acid multifariousness, the more confused I become.

Way back in the 1950's at the Woomera Range my job included the provision of about 350 garden variety lead-acid 12v batteries which needed two 'battery attendant' fellows to distribute, charge, and generally maintain. Their duty (the batteries, not the attendants) could best be described as light-cycling and they were all of normal auto starting-battery type...... there was no other type at that time! Their charging regime was brutal to say the least..... connected to a 'high' voltage charger in a series chain and brought to the boil !!!!
They survived, for a time...... although we did have a fair graveyard.

A few years later when I began camping in a Subaru, the auxiliary battery supplying my Engel was a regular starting battery charged directly from the alternator via an ignition-controlled relay. That battery did the job and survived for at least 6 years as I remember.

Then later I fitted the Troopy with you-beaut deep cycle AGM's and found that they really do not like engine-bay temperatures and maybe high charge currents so had to go to fancy and expensive means to keep their replacements happy. They do the job but........!
Now I read testimonials from blokes who just use crankers to run their fridges and say that they are getting 7 years or more of service.

To get back to what you were saying Bantam, is there so much real difference in this "Deep Cycle thing"? And just what is the difference between "marine", " earthmoving" or "4wd" batteries. In fact I would believe that labelling anything "marine" or "4wd" instantly inflates its price by a considerable margin.

Now that the Troopy is equipped with fancy dc-dc chargers etc and deep-cycle batteries I guess that I'll leave it all in place, but another time I may well return to my roots with regular cheap crankers charged straight from my you-beaut 120 Amp alternator. No more 'Absorption' and 'float' nonsense.

Thank you Bantam for helping me to perceive reason and science!

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Sigmund - Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 10:46

Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 10:46
Here's some desk research on lead crystal tech. A bit old now.Click
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 13:33

Friday, Mar 03, 2017 at 13:33
Had a quick browse of that doc. As you said, a desk review of available information, no hands-on testing etc.

What I found interesting was that their "client" was a float-charge industry - most likely telecommunications. So I was not surprised that the word "vibration" did not appear anywhere in the 33 pages. How these batteries would stand up to vehicle use on corrugated tracks is something the early adopters will no doubt discover one way or the other. I look forward to their feedback in the years ahead.
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