Battery dilemma for a Jayco Dove.

Hello all,

We are novice vanners and recently became the proud owners of a secondhand 2005 Jayco Dove Outback.
When I say recently I mean we've owned it for three months but because of work commitments we haven't used it yet....but we are going away this weekend for the first time. Should be a laugh!
We are off in 6 weeks for a three month trip from Brissie to Exmouth in WA and therein lies our problem......the large sealed battery in the camper is dead (had it checked by Battery World) they suggested we buy a new one (of course) at a cost of $450!
After checking around we found we can get one for a hundred dollars cheaper BUT it's a 'High Cycle Marine' battery. Now at the risk of sounding like a miser -

Question 1. Will this battery do the trick OR do we need a 'special' van battery?

Question 2. How do we maintain a battery once we buy one (except for the trip). Do we need to charge it regularly?

Question 3. Why do all the bills come in just before you take a holiday? LOLOL



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Reply By: Notso - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 19:48

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 19:48
You'll get a whole lot of opinions on this one. It depends a bit on whether the battery is in an outside vented compartment or inside the van.

There are plenty of batteries that will do the job for you and a marine type battery is robust and would do a good job.

There are some really important thinmgs about your van battery installation.

1. You need a decent charger
2. You need a decent method of charging the battery from the vehicle when you are driving.
3. Don't ever leave the battery sit till it goes flat otherwise you'll kill it real quick.

4. No matter what I say here get some good advice from a pro. I mean someone who understands 12 volt systems.

AnswerID: 410366

Follow Up By: Whaleshark - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:00

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:00
Thanks for your info Notso.....

The battery is in the van under the seats.

We don't have a charger yet, but understand we should get a 'smart charger'?

We do have an Anderson pug installed for when we are driving.

We have spoken to several different people at caravan shows and at 'battery places' but we seem be getting different views and information, which confuses us evn more. So I thought I should go to the people who use these guys.
FollowupID: 680270

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:25

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:25

for inside mounting I'd go the VRLA AGM way (valve regulated lead acid, absorbed glass matte) - these are truly sealed batteries which won't give you fumes like the flooded marine type batteries, and can be discharged more deeply more often.

There is a really useful FAQ on AGM batteries:FAQ AGM

Just hit the follw up button at the bottom of this post to ask away.

Best regards, Peter
FollowupID: 680274

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 07:39

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 07:39
Peter offers sound advice.

Whatever you get, ensure it is an AGM type.
A normal lead acid battery generates explosive gas when charging and should only be used in a well ventilated area.

For any use inside, an AGM battery will ensure safety is maintained and they are quicker to charge too.


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FollowupID: 680343

Reply By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:10

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:10
Just like Notso, I am not an expert. However, I have previously owned a Jayco outback camper. The charger that Jayco instal is absolute rubbish!!!. I blew up a $300 gel battery in 2 years because I relied on the Jayco charger. When I say blew up, it swelled by about 10% and would no longer take a charge. I would like to think that I know a little more about them now. I would suggest you talk to an expert about replacing your current charger. As far as a battery is concerned you don't need a marine battery but you really should instal an AGM battery. I am assuming that you intend to instal the battery under the seat inside the camper. Depending on how long you intend to stay away from 240 volt power you will probably need anything from an 80 to a 120 amp hour deep cycle AGM battery.(that shouldn't cost you as much as $450, I just bought a 120a/h for $335) Remember you should run your fridge on gas while ever you are parked up. It will flatten your battery very quickly if you run it on 12 volt. That means that all you are running off the battery is your lights. There is a guy who advertises on this site and is based in Brisbane who can probably help you resolve the problem. Derek Bester at ABR Sidewinder. He has written some of the articles contained here about batteries and electrics. If you have the right set-up you won't have to worry about charging the battery, it will happen automatically while you are driving. As far as after the trip is concerned Derek will give you the right advice.
Bills!!! There is a well recognised mathematical principle that states that the closer you get to a holiday the more money you have to spend!!! lol:)

AnswerID: 410367

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:22

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 20:22
Hi Lynnie, I recently purchased a "Supercharge Allrounder" deep cycle battery supplied by Exide batteries. It is 105ah and is designed as a starting battery for vehicles with the ability to be discharged to supply auxilliary power. It is a lead acid battery but is sealed so fluid top up is not nescessary. I'm sure a battery like this would suit your needs. I paid $220 for it with 2 year warranty. The model no. is MRV70L. They do have the same battery with terminals reversed to suit the opposite application.There is also an auxilliary bolt terminal beside each main terminal. Regards,Bob.

AnswerID: 410368

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 21:14

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 21:14
Bob you suggest "It is 105ah and *IS DESIGNED AS A STARTING BATTERY* for vehicles with the ability to be discharged to supply auxilliary power"

However the SUPERCHARGE Allrounder MRV70L is definately only a 12 month warranty according to their website, as to being 'supplied' by Exide ??


Maîneÿ . . .
FollowupID: 680283

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 06:33

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 06:33
Hi Mainey. This battery was purchased from the local Exide battery dealer and is included under their 2 year warranty. It was supplied from their Exide wholesaler. Bob.

FollowupID: 680338

Reply By: OREJAP - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 23:25

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 23:25
Hi Lynnie, We have an outback dove & I have a 176AH Deep Cycle in my front boot...No battery inside van. I charge my battery with a 15amp Projector Battery charger which gets the battery up to 13.8 to 14.4 volts I run the lights at night & a 40 Ltr Engel 24 hrs per day. I charge my battery about every 4 days with a 2.8 KVA Generator obviously where there is power available we use that. I found the best advice came from numerous members on this forum especially the professionals that are in the solar & Battery professions....however the other members with their years of experience are very helpful too. I also charge the battery whilst driving with the use of an Anderson Plug. I just plug the connection on the camper into the plug on the towbar (next to the tow plug) & after driving a few hours the battery is recharged back basically to what I would want. There are some great deep cycle/marine batteries out there & advice from an auto elect could be helpful after you explain what you want the battery to do for you. Also mention you will be driving on very rough roads (if that is the case) some batteries cannot handle constant vibration & plates inside them have been known to collapse & permanately ruin the battery. Remember the most important exercise is to work out what you will be "taking out" in power from your battery and what you will be putting back in. Sometimes solar panels do not replace what has been used. Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 410395

Follow Up By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 09:03

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 09:03
Hello Orejap,

interesting that you mention battery failure caused by rough road conditions.
Yes, the grids in modern lead acid batteries are made from lead/calcium/tin alloy to give them a certain hardness.
But given the millions of corrugations on many dirt tracks, it's this hardness which can make the grids prone to breakage.
Enter the world of spiral wound AGM technology which uses a softer pure lead/tin alloy in a tightly wound electrode/AGM/electrode configuration held in place by cylindrical plastic containers.
These batteries have enormous current capabilities, are vibration resistant, and are deep cyclable with a shelf life of two years (the pure lead/tin alloy offers the lowest self discharge rate of them all).
They're used in applications where they're getting jolted around all day long, upside down, sideways, they just won't break.
FYI, I've attached some photos to this post.
For any questions, just 'follow up' or send me a message.

Best regards, PeterImage Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be Found
FollowupID: 680353

Reply By: Whaleshark - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 15:26

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 15:26
Thankyou to everyone for your help and advice about a battery for our Jayco. We will do some more looking, with a bit more information under our belt now.

Only have one question AGM a brand or a 'type' of battery?

Only 5 weeks until we head off into our adventure and while we don't intend to do much 'free camping' at all, we would still like to know that if the need arises we can rely on a good battery for our power.

Many thanks and happy travels....

AnswerID: 410772

Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 17:42

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 17:42
AGM is a "type" of battery, a design, Google is your friend :)

FollowupID: 680768

Reply By: R&J Batteries - Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 16:37

Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 16:37
$450 sounds VERY steep to me. Most vans use around a 100Ah these days. Contact our Brisbane office - they will look after you.

1: AGM is a type of battery - not a brand. Highly recommended when using 'inside' the van due to no gas in normal use.

2: Charge it as often as possible. Batteries wear out with use.

3: Thats what Credit Cards are for?

AnswerID: 410918

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