Best house batteries for under the bonnet

Submitted: Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 11:30
ThreadID: 135296 Views:11659 Replies:13 FollowUps:24
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I haven't been online for a while. ?? I've got a battery problem - the 'house' battery. I bought a Ultimate Extreme UL120 120AH 925CCA Dual Purpose AGM Battery from Battery World 17 months ago for $470. It has died, even though I looked after it very well. I have a solar panel which continually trickle feeds the battery, which is what you need for deep cycle batteries.
Anyway, the battery casing has cracked - like it expanded under heat, and it's dead. Sure, we drove 17,000kms last year up to Cape York and across the NT on dirt roads. But, the vehicle has hardly been used in the last year, and now the case has cracked – it was OK last year.
I'm a bit P'd off that an expensive battery that was recommended to me has died so soon. Other people have told me that AGM batteries don’t respond well to heat, but the Battery World salesman says this isn’t a problem in a Landcruiser Troop Carrier. He also says it’s my fault because I tightened the battery clamp too much.
Anyway, can anyone recommend a 120Ah deep-cycle battery which can handle rough conditions and survive under the bonnet? Where can I find a battery supplier who can give me good advice?
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Reply By: mountainman - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 11:44

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 11:44
Ive had a great run from trojan batteries

but being under a tray than under a engine bonnet is different

take a look at the CAT range of batteries
youll be surprised just how cheap they are.
AnswerID: 612689

Follow Up By: Member - neville G (QLD) - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 15:58

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 15:58
I bought a pair of Cat batteries as recommended on the forum, lasted just over twelve months and carked it out in the wild west, had to replace both, not cheap
Cheers
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Reply By: RMD - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 12:49

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 12:49
The Battery World man must live closer to the sun that us to not think under a Landcruiser bonnet is cool enough for a Deep cycle AGM battery.
How long has he been selling batteries would be my question. Shows little understanding of the issue.
The under bonnet temps in hotter weather and especially during long drives would be quite high. ie, not touch or hold by hand.
AGMs don't like operating hot and under the tray as perviousl;y mentioned is far better.

The only way I would use a battery like that is,
If I can insulate it from radiant heat, LOTS of that under bonnet and supply it with cooler ambient air via a flex hose from beside the radiator, not hot but cool flow to the insulated battery housing.
Then it won't warp.

If it was receiving a fair charge rate and getting hot via the engine then it will expand and buckle.

Remember, the battery world man is likely to be just a salesman and nothing is hs fault..
AnswerID: 612690

Follow Up By: Member - DrRob - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 14:18

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 14:18
Thanks. The battery didn't buckle - it just seems tighter where the battery clamp was, and cracked there. And this didn't happen when I installed the battery clamp...

I don't really have space elsewhere for the battery, so it has to be under the bonnet. Does this mean I have to go back to a lower-capacity lead acid battery, or are there other options?
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 13:20

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 13:20
I have had a good run from my 2 x 130amp SSB AGM batteries. Now mine are in the rear tub. SSB advertise that their AGM batteries are ok to use under the bonnet. Warranties apply also. Check out this supplier for more info and good deals.
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/12-VOLT-130AH-1000CCA-SSB-DRYFIT-BATTERY-AGM-DEEP-CYCLE-DUAL-PURPOSE-HVT86LD-/281959279530?hash=item41a6152baa


I have the 80 amp stop/start battery (SSB) under the bonnet and it is performing well with no leaks or bulges. I live in FNQ so the under bonnet is always hot.
AnswerID: 612691

Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 14:25

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 14:25
Have always used AGM under the bonnet. 3 years seems to be it for me. Had to replace them before this trip and the bloke at 12v suggested I try their new EXT-HC sealed wetcell Deep cycle as it is better suited for under the bonnet. Comes with a 3 year warranty so they must have some confidence in the product.
Dave.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:17

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:17
David M
Looks like the heat stole at least 4 years of life if they only lasted 3.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 14:08

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 14:08
Needed some more batteries at Christmas, so bought 2 of "Allrounder" 120 Amphr sealed deep cycle units from RTM (Road Tech Marine). They've done 2 double crossing trips over the Simpson in past 2 months, powering an 80L Engel upright fridge and an Ironman 30L used as a freezer, and some LED lights. At no time have they dropped below 12.2v overnight.

At about $220 each, I reckon they're good value. They should be alright under the bonnet..........if you don't tighten them too much. :-))

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 15:12

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 15:12
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Hi Rob,

Batteries seem to be 'Flavour-of-the Month'. Look back a little on the Forum and you may see that.

There is absolutely no question that AGM batteries do not fare well in the engine bay temperatures. Heat is death to batteries. Even the flooded crankers would be better off in a cooler location. The Battery World salesman is "blowing smoke up your a**se".

I too have a Troopy. My first AGM in the engine bay failed at a short life. I measured engine bay temperature on an easy drive on a moderate day. It hit 70 degrees in a very short time and was still climbing.... Imagine what it may reach lugging through sand dunes? I installed a heat barrier and brought the temperature down close to ambient. The replacement battery has lasted 6 years but is now low in storage capacity and is being replaced.

And don't even think of wrapping the battery up in one of those commercially flogged "insulation jackets". That is a sure-fire way of actually increasing the battery temperature. Some salesmen should be shot!

As for finding a battery supplier for good advice...... good luck. But I will send you a Member Message with a suggestion.


Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:22

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:22
In this case battery salesmen should be electrocuted or burned at the stake seeing the issues are heat and electrons.
I am all for electrocution lessons. Teach 'em slowly via an electric fence, only 12volts.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 05:39

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 05:39
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A correction on the above "6 year battery life".
I found the receipt for the original battery. It was bought 5 years ago.
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Reply By: 9900Eagle - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 15:38

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 15:38
A lot of BT50 and Ranger owners use these under bonnet and I haven't heard any complaints.

SSB agm under bonnet batteries
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:13

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:13
The Fusion CBC series are suited to both starting and deep cycle and if you read the blurb, they say they are suited to under bonnet applications, so might be worth considering.
http://www.fusionagmbatteries.com.au/tabid/337/cid/2/Products/CyclicBatteriesAGM(DeepCycle).aspx
AnswerID: 612695

Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:29

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 17:29
The issue is not so much suited to under bonnet but needs to be suited to "in oven" too. Not enough awareness or emphasis on the heat value the batteries receive. The whole inside of the engine bay is blasted with 80C + temps.
Battery specs are far less I believe.
A battery is a living thing, not an inert bit of steel.
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Reply By: rocco2010 - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 18:02

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 18:02
I am an auxiliary battery novice but it seems with batteries it's not always a case of you get what you pay for.

My local auto sparkie (family business for 30 years so you would hope he knows his stuff) tipped me into a Bosch marine battery.

No big claims for super performance or long life and no inflated price to match the claims.

Supposed to have some of the attributes of a true deep cycle and also able to stand the banging around in a vehicle used on rough tracks.


If it lasts a few years for $220 I will be happy with that.

When I hear of some of the prices for the latest high tech you beaut batteries I think you would want something better than a pro-rata three year warranty.

I might also mention the OE starting battery in my 2013 Prado still going OK. But experience tells me that this might be its last winter.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 612697

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 19:00

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 19:00
.
"it seems with batteries it's not always a case of you get what you pay for."

Rocco, that is one of the most astute things said on this subject.

The advertising claims made by many battery purveyors is often nothing less than pure deceit to line their pockets with your gold. They rely on the complexities of battery technology to wave magic wands and bemuse the public with rhetoric. You don't have a chance.
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Allan

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Reply By: skulldug - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 20:10

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 20:10
Rob, Rita,

Some of the gurus here will tell you to buy AGM and dc/dc charger but the economics and performance figures just don't add up.

I have been a Lithium (lifepo4) user for 5 years in our caravan and 2 years in our vehicle and would never go back.

EV Works will sell you an excellent Winston lithium battey but you need to be open minded.

To respond to the last part of your question - give EV Works a call.

Cheers

Skull


AnswerID: 612700

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 21:47

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 21:47
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DrRob is seeking a battery for under the bonnet of his Troopy................

And you recommend Lithium Skull? Yeah right. Good call mate!!!!

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Follow Up By: skulldug - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 22:08

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 22:08
Allan,

I certainly am recommending lithium.

Perhaps you need a little more experience?

Sorry Allan - I mean recent experience.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 22:21

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 22:21
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Your'e right Skull, I have not had direct experience with Lithium..... but I can read EV's technical data.............

"High temperatures during charging may lead to battery degradation and charging at temperatures above 45 °C will degrade battery performance"

I have measured temperature above 70c under my Troopy bonnet on a mild day.

"Under the bonnet" Skull....... get it under your bonnet. LOL

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Follow Up By: skulldug - Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 22:33

Monday, Jul 24, 2017 at 22:33
Allan,

Perhaps your troopie is running hot?

Anyway what are you doing measuring temperatures under your bonnet? A good Scotsman would understand what I mean. LOL
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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 at 05:33

Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 at 05:33
Skull,
it is not hard to take the engine bay temp of any 75 series tojo. Firstly place hand on bonnet, if you burn your hand it has been running, if you don't burn your hand it hasn't been started.

They are shockers for high under bonnet temps. Most owners place kilts on their batteries for cooling purposes. : – D
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Reply By: Member - graeme W (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 at 18:04

Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 at 18:04
DrRob. I have been running full river AGMS in engine bay of my hilux since new (one 120 and an 85 in the engine bay), I replaced them at ten years of age and transferred one of them to my van. Voltage rarely gets below 12.6 overnight running two trailblazers , one as a freezer. They normally read around 13 volts resting. Bunbury batteries charged me $320 for the 120 amp full river and the antenna store in bunbury has 120-amp bosh AGMs for $300. I noticed in one of the replies that two allrounders were getting down to 12.2 overnight, That is basically flat and running batteries down like that will shorten there life considerably .They are calcium lead acid and not really suitable for the task , From memory they also require a higher charge rate. When you say you have a solar panel what does the regulator charge and float at. The net and people like Batum and Allen on this forum would give better advice that any battery place. They are just salesman
cheers Graeme
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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 at 19:55

Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017 at 19:55
You have to run the same horse, on the same track, at the same temp, on the same day for a true result.

You also need to have the same size rider on the back.

AGM and flooded also have different soc points as to how flat they are.

To get any accurate info, the ambient temps have to be the same, the fridges have to be the same, the batteries have to be fully charged and they have to be set at the same temps.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jul 30, 2017 at 00:09

Sunday, Jul 30, 2017 at 00:09
As you may have heard me say before I believe that AGM is being heavily oversold and may have no advantage at all to the customer, but will yeild the seller more that twice the profit that a similar flooded battery will.

AND there are heaps of people on the AGM band wagon ....... some of them buying cheap chineese crackers and slapping a label on them .... Don't get me wrong there are some very good batteries coming out of china ...... but there is plenty of crap too.

The unfortunate truth is that heat kills batteries and degrades every performance factor measurable.
the optimum operating temperature for any type of lead acid battery is around 20 to 25C .... below that the cold slows the chemical reactons till at some point they simply don't work at all .. above that and every degree above that degrades the life and performance of the battery ..... regardless of price or construction.

One battery manufacturer states that battery life is reduced by 50% for every 10deg above 25C ...so 35C 50%of best, 45C 25% of best, 55C 12.5% of best and so on. .... 70+C ..... HELL

heat is realy realy bad for batteries and probably THE worst place a battery can be located in under the bonnet.

Just to hammer it down hard ...... heat kills batteries.

Anyway, if you are going to kill a battery why kill an expensive one.

Thousands of AGM batteries are sold into a certain early death each year.


If ANY battery salesman tells you that their AGM is fine under bonnet ask them to show you the battery live V temperature curves for that battery ..... betya they have never seen them, nor know where to find them.

But they will take your $500 with a confident smile.

Yes there are AGM batteries that have better temperature tollerance than others.

One commonly sold AGM battery lists a maximum recommended operating temperature of 45C, with no other maximum operating temperature stated.
The same manufacturer offers another series of AGM batteries with a maximum recommended operating temperature of 55C and an absolute maximum operating temperature of 71C ... assuming temperature compensated charging ...... BUT offers only 55C as an absolute maximum without temperature compensated charging. .... so unless there is a temperature sensor on the battery we are back to 55C.
The above may not be universal but would be typical.


There are also vehicles that have higher under bonnet temperatures than others. .... so hows that 70C+ under bonnet sounding

So these guys that are offering Guarantees for under bonnet use of AGM are playing the odds. ..... OH YEH .... ask them for the terms of their guarantee in writing before you part with your cash.

The other thing when selecting an AGM battery ...... look and ask for spec sheets, if they have not got em or don't publish em .... don't buy that brand ..... I mean sheet with performance curves, recommended operating temperatures and real technical stuff not just a table of sizes or a glossy brochure.

OH yeh ... buy a battery that has the same name stamped on it as is above the door of the factory .... at least you have some thaught that the bloke who made it thinks it's OK.

ANYway back to recomendations.

I'd strongly recommend a sealed maintenance free rugged construction battery that may be sold as "marine", earthmoving", 4WD, or "enhanced flodded cell" battery ..... that will have most of the good technologies of AGM, but they did not tip the spare acid out before they sold it to you.

I have had a good run with "Supercharge seamaster gold", yes the Catapilar batteries continue to have a good rep but pretty much any good sealed maintenance free wet cell battery will last better than AGM in a hot environment ...... even if it does not it will cost you HALF what a similar quality AGM will.

Don't get over obsessed with "Deep Cycle", it probably does not mean what you think it does.

hope this helps.

cheers
BUT above all .... ya gota do something about that temperature ...... you are likely to double the real life of any battery for every 10C you reduce that temperature till you get to 25C.
AnswerID: 612758

Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Sunday, Jul 30, 2017 at 12:03

Sunday, Jul 30, 2017 at 12:03
Hi Bantam,
Thank you and also Allan B. for a interested read re. batteries.

I have a 4 year old Supercharge 4WD battery under the bonnet of my Prado.
It was recommended to me by my auto electrician because of the reason that I only had room under the bonnet and we usually only stay in one place for 2 days at most and drive every day when touring.
It is a 850 CCA rated battery and is still testing at around 700 CCA.

So far I am happy with the way it performs and its long life, if I was going on a Canning trip I would probably replace it, but it will stay there for the moment.

William

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Reply By: Member - DrRob - Monday, Jul 31, 2017 at 17:18

Monday, Jul 31, 2017 at 17:18
Thanks for all your replies and learned advice.

The decision I made was to go for a sealed Delkor 100Ah deep cycle battery under the bonnet. It was half the price of the old AGM but with a little less capacity. So, fully in line with Bantam, but before I got his message.

The other option was to use up some of my cupboard space for an in-cab AGM, but this would have required a full rewire - replacing the old, manual cole-Hersey switch - and the costs and time required for this.

I seriously looked at Lead Crystal batteries ($600ish) from Betta/ Deltec. The specs look great, but I couldn't find anyone who could vouch for their lifespan.

Thanks again for the helpful advice.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 at 15:32

Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 at 15:32
I don't think you will regret.

As for the lower capacity .....yeh well I'd trust Delkor's figures before I believed "super fantastic" brand figures.

Just check that the figures are at the same discharge rate ...... the real level playing field discahrge rate is the 10 hour, rate, but a lot of battery companies label their batteries at the 20 hour rate ... and generously then.

Remember you gota get some heat shielding and ventlation in there some how.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - DrRob - Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 at 22:04

Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 at 22:04
OK. Heat shielding and ventilation? What's involved in this? Can anyone show me an example?

This seems important, but I don't want to overheat the motor in the process...
Rob
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 at 22:13

Tuesday, Aug 01, 2017 at 22:13
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This is what I put in my Troopy. It has been effective in reducing battery temperature. It is aluminium foil-faced foam from Clark Rubber, doubled over to have foil on both sides. Cool air enters from aperture next to headlight and departs below firewall. It is positioned to make edge contact with bonnet.
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Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 09:44

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 09:44
Following on to allan's picture " if space permits" and practical to fit attach securely

small length of flex duct for aircond units ex bunnings one end front of engine where it gets bit of air flow run it towards batteries.

bit like what V8 supercars do for driver ventilation - not to be confused with the dry ice cool suits

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 10:52

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 10:52
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Yes Dean, space may not permit in SOME vehicles but Dr Rob was asking about his Troopy, and my example IS a Troopy with "permissible space".
Attachment at the rear is with cable ties to a short section of aluminium angle screwed to the firewall and at the the front by cable ties to an A/C pipe.

Flexible ducting is not required in the Troopy....... there is a generous cool air passage at the front directly into the ventilated battery space, passing out below the firewall.

The oil filter can still be changed, albeit with a little difficulty, and the whole heat shield can be removed, if need be, by cutting a couple of cable ties.

The use of a ventilated barrier blocks both radiated heat from the engine and the turbulent hot air in the engine bay from reaching the batteries but certainly, using flexible ducting alone to direct "cool" air to the batteries may be beneficial if it were preferred to not fit a barrier. However, the air from the duct will mix with the turbulent hot air in the engine bay to degrade its benefit.

NOTE: Enclosing the batteries in a space which is NOT force ventilated may be futile in protecting them from heat. Even if insulated, the enclosed battery space will eventually rise to the same temperature as the engine bay.
This also applies to the use of insulating wraps surrounding the battery. The battery may even get hotter under charge!! (Commercial purveyors of these products should take note)
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Allan

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 12:23

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 12:23
It is all to common for people to fail to grasp the principles of heat, insulation and ventilation.

Insulation of any form only slows down heat transfer.

If you want to keep something cool, insulation is only of value IF there is a cooling path that can remove more heat than flows thru the insulation.

Insulated battery jackets are only of any benift in either short run applications where the battery has a lot of time to cool down between heat exposures or in situations where we want to keep the battery warm.

Remember there is significant heat generated within the battery in both charge and discharge cycles.

cheers

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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 14:04

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 14:04
Rob.
Is the panel regulated? if so, what voltage is the battery with panel attached? the battery will gas due to under bonnet heat, and this is what has cracked your battery.
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Classifieds: Landcruiser 200 series /100 series 4 alloy rims with tyres and nuts GC

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Follow Up By: Member - DrRob - Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 17:09

Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017 at 17:09
Yes. The panel is wired in to a Steca PR1515 solar charge controller. This smart charges the battery, achieving voltages of 13.2V (from memory) when fully charged.
The heat was the problem, and the poor advice from Battery World.
I'll get the Clark Rubber for some insulation one day soon.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Aug 03, 2017 at 16:28

Thursday, Aug 03, 2017 at 16:28
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Dr Rob,
You asked for a photo. Was the one in FollowupID: 883172 helpful?
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - DrRob - Thursday, Aug 03, 2017 at 19:18

Thursday, Aug 03, 2017 at 19:18
Yes thanks Allan. Your under-bonnet configuration is different to mine, but I will be able to slot some insulation in - like you did. Now I've just got to find the time to get to Clark Rubber.
Thanks again, Rob
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