New battery?

I bought my ute about 5 years ago and in all this time it has only ever had the battery it came with. It is, excuse my ignorance, one of the old style that you put distilled water in.

Anyway, the battery has never given me any grief in those 5 years, I can't remember if I have EVER needed to put water in it and it just keeps going. I've left my ute sitting for about 3-4 weeks at a a time, just in the garage and when I walk up to it, turn the key and she fires pretty much straight away.

The reason I'm wondering about my battery is, I'm planning on a 7 day trip, driving every day and this will be my first trip with a fridge so I'm not sure if the battery will be OK or not??

My ute is an '84 Hilux, so no computers etc.

I don't want to buy a new battery unless I have to, but I don't want to wake up on day 2 with a dead battery either.

Any ideas or advice? Is there a way batteries can be tested to see how much life they have left in them?

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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 11:38

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 11:38
You could take it to a battery dealer and get them to load test it.

Or if you have a decent battery charger to charge up your battery after this test, plug your fridge in and let it run for 24hours set to the temp that you'll be running it on the trip. and see if the vehicle will still start. That's presuming your fridge is one of the 240/12 volt engel/waeco/ evakool types that only draws 3 to 5 amps when running.
AnswerID: 405174

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 11:58

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 11:58
Siringo, your' certainly stretching it....

After 5 years, any starter battery will show signs of ageing in the form of positive grid corrosion.
At this age, the positive grids are certainly more prone to breakage for this reason.
So, mechanical stresses or vibration already could make it go tits up on your trip.

The corrosion products on the positive grids will also reduce the current carrying capacity, increase the internal resistance and some active material shedding would have taken place over time which means less capacity available for extra loads like your fridge.

Notso already suggested this simple capacity test.
It becomes a bit of a gamble really - why not just replace it with a new one, as your existing one will most likely spit the dummy within the next 12 months anyway?

By doing so, you're only throwing 20 bucks or so in the bin, but this is cheap insurance really.

Best regards, Peter
FollowupID: 674887

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:09

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:09

If you intend running a fridge off your one and only battery, your first investment should be a low voltage discharge device, unless one is built in to the fridge.

It is very easy to discharge a battery entirely without one and this is the quickest way to destroy a battery beyond recovery.

The size and type of fridge you intend using will determine if running it off a single battery is wise or not.

A 40 litre compressor fridge like the Engel or Waeco, you may get away with, providing you charge your battery every day. Anything bigger and I would be rather paranoid that the vehicle doesn't start in the morning.
And as for a three way fridge, there is no way I would be running it off the battery unless the engine was running.

Not only is your standard wet cell battery fairly old, but they are not really designed to "deep cycle" which it would be asked to do in running a fridge for an extended period of time.

Proper deep cycle batteries have thicker plates and are designed for deeper discharge than a standard starting battery, which is designed for a high amperage drain over a very short period.

Some people will tell you a single starting battery is all they use, but they are just tempting disaster.

At least with a low voltage cutout device, you will protect your battery as much as possible and even if the fridge cuts out (risking the contents) you should be able to start the vehicle.

The best test you can have done on your battery is to have a load test performed on it. This and checking the individual cells with a hydrometer will determine if any are "on the blink".


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AnswerID: 405176

Reply By: Siringo - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:28

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:28
Thanks for the replies. I've just been reading the 'Battery Power' article on this site and have got a bit more knowledge on things now.

Now I am wondering if I should maybe get a 'power pack' and keep my current (no pun intended) battery???

From what I've read my fridge (an Evakool 47 litre) needs to run off a deep cycle AGM type battery, but these types of batteries are no good for starting a vehicle.

I think from what I read it says you need a wet cell for starting and an AGM for fridges etc. If possible, I'd like to stick to a single battery. Is there a type of battery I can use that will run my fridge and winch (just remembered that) and start my vehicle with as well??

Thanks again.
AnswerID: 405180

Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:32

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:32
There are "Hybrid" type batteries that have the characteristics of both Deep Cycle and Cranking batteries.

I think the Exide Extreme is one example but talk to a dealer.

FollowupID: 674889

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 10:28

Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 10:28
"Now I am wondering if I should maybe get a 'power pack' and keep my current (no pun intended) battery??? "

If your prepared to have a second battery then first check the price of a "power pack" then you will realise a good AGM Deep Cycle battery will be much less expensive, will give you far more performance too.

(you can use a good AGM DC to start when your Cranking battery fails)

Maîneÿ . . .
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Reply By: Member - Damien L (Cairns) - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 17:12

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 17:12
Hi Matt, I have a 2004 hi lux, Mine lasted 5 years , which is good for where I live. If going on a trip I would be changing it before I leave. Up here 4 - 5 years is a good run for a battery. I have duel batts and the cranck batt was a Z70 and I replaced it with the same type. My sec batt is a deep cycle and it runs 2 ZEngle fridges and lights.
Love the bush

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AnswerID: 405215

Reply By: Siringo - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 17:20

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 17:20
Thanks again for the replies.

I've started looking into those 'battery box' type second battery setups, they look like a good way for me to go.

Has anyone had any experience with them? I'm wondering what a good brand might be and what to look for.
AnswerID: 405218

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 20:16

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 20:16

I have current experience with them.

My advice is to invest in a quality power pack such as the Blue Apple Thumper, or the Sidewinder "Flyer".

I have both and they each come with In-Car charging capabilities.

The Flyer is a battery case with lots of extras, including a built-in Isolator to protect your starting battery and will take whatever sized battery you choose. An AGM battery is the safest and most practical with the ability to charge quickly and fully from the vehicle alternator, even while running your fridge.
Derek from is an advertiser on this site.

Flyer Battery Pack

The all up cost is around $750-$850 but you will end up with a solution that will last for years.
The flyer is $395 then a good sized AGM battery is around $350 for a 100 Ah unit.

The 60 Ah Thumper is also around the $750 mark and has an added advantage of providing jump start capability if your oldish starting battery deteriorates further. Larger capacity units are also available.

Blue Apple Thumper

As I have both I can give a little bit of other information for your reference.

The Flyer is excellent but with a 100 Ah battery inside is bloody heavy for portability. This unit is strapped in the tub of my dual cab and is my auxiliary battery system running the fridge etc, while travelling.

The 75 A/h AGM Thumper is more portable and this is placed in the annex of my camper or in front of my Oztent to run the fridge, which I remove from the vehicle.

Either of these choices will be a practical solution to your needs.



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FollowupID: 674957

Reply By: Siringo - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 20:44

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 20:44
That's a great help Bill. Thanks very much. I'm looking at both of those units now, so your advice is greatly appreciated.
AnswerID: 405259

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 09:33

Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 09:33
I've had a few friends who have stuck with a single cranking battery (rather than spend $1000+ on a dual battery setup) and had no problems whatsoever (they will say less problems than a dual battery setup), and their battery lasts fine.

What they do is:
- use a battery that is less than say 3 years old
- fit the biggest wet cell cranking battery into the space available (usually an N70 Exide Extreme or Century Overlander)
- have a low voltage cutout on the fridge
- use up to a 40l fridge that has a low power draw (later series compressor-type)
- Drive the vehicle for at least half an hour during the day.
- They go away with friends (can jump start in an emergency).

If you don't want to do all of the above, then get a second battery or jumpstarter.
AnswerID: 405325

Reply By: Siringo - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 09:31

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 09:31
Gee whiz, I thought selecting a fridge was a tough decision. I never thought I would spend so much time trying to work out how to power the blasted thing!

I've gone from, dual batteries to power packs and back to just putting in a new single battery.

Anyone have any experience with Exide Orbital Extreme 750cca batteries?

I've worked out I'll consume about 65amp hours per night with fridge and ligths etc so I think if I get at least 120 amp hour battery I should be OK.

AnswerID: 406837

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:17

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:17
Exide Orbital 34XCD
Xtreme Cycle Duty - Purple Haze

? 750 CCA
? 50 Amp Hour

Looks like a terrific Cranking battery :-)
Need 2 for 100 ah (~$360)

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FollowupID: 676640

Follow Up By: Siringo - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:32

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:32
I was looking at this on eBay -

I can't find out its amp/hour rating anywhere, not even on the Exide web site????
FollowupID: 676642

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:52

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:52
This Orbital Extreme battery 750 cca is a different battery to the one I've loaded above and appears to be twice the price too ???

Maîneÿ . . .
FollowupID: 676644

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