Additional Batteries

Was just wondering. Our van has two batteries. We are thinking of upgrading to four. Do all the batteries have to be the same? ie. 100A deep cycle.
What is the difference between a 100A battery and 160A battery? I know absolutely nothing on electrics.....so no laughing please!!!
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 19:09

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 19:09
Phill, in very basic terms (and I'm not being condescending here) the 160Ah battery should last 60% longer than the 100Ah one.





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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 19:31

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 19:31
Not condescending at all LOL. I thought that obviously it would be something like that but needed to check. Do you know whether I could mix AH's?? I think the ones in the van are 100's, but its away on its first service. I was thinking that if the consensus of opinion dictates its worth it, I'd get a pair of 160Ah's. I've seen the Korr Batteries advertised through this site.
Cheers GB

Phill
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 20:00

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 20:00
I'm certainly no expert Phill, but I would think a set of all the same Ah rating would be more manageable for your charger. You should talk about the charger's specs to your battery supplier before you leap in. You may need to upgrade the charger too.

It can be a little bit of a minefield.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 20:26

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 20:26
Phil,

No problem mixing different amphour rated batteries.....BUT.....

It is very desirable that all batteries be of similar type and in similar condition. Hard to achieve if adding new batteries to existing ones. You will certainly increase your storage, and the new ones "should" add about 160% to your existing capacity. In practice, assuming that they all have the same basic chemistry, it is the tiredest battery that will largely determine the output of the whole battery bank. The same chemistry is very important - mixing for example some calcium style batteries with standard ones will limit the calcium batteries' charging opportunities to those of the others; they will never achieve full charge.

The big question in my mind is why? Do you need more storage, or would more charging capacity better meet your needs? You might find Electricity for Camping a useful read. It discusses how to assess your storage needs and charging options.

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 21:13

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 21:13
Hi John.
Appreciate your time.
Firstly the van is only 3mths old so I guess the batteries will be about 5-6.
Reasons for adding? Honestly???? Just seemed like a good idea. LOL We have heard a few of the better grade vans have 4 batteries (Bushtracker, etc). We have opted for a 220 compressor fridge rather than the usual three-way fridge. We currently have 2 120W solar panels on roof and are going to be fitting another 150W panel. We also intend to have a foldaway (big as we can get) to move around ground level, entering the system through the Anderson plug.
Again, I am no expert and trying to cover our needs or even exceed them, if that is possible.
The way things are at some sights, we would like to be less reliant on power and have longer breaks in bush.
Appreciate your input mate. Thanks

Phill
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 21:42

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 21:42
John.
Just read your article. EXCELLENT. Very helpful. When I get the van back I'll have a look at exactly what we've got, then seek advice from an auto electrician.
Thanks for the pointers to your article. Nice one.
Cheers
Phill
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 22:26

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 22:26
Phill,

You may well find the existing batteries are more than adequate for your needs.
Try them out first to see how long you can draw on the power from the battery bank, while being supported by the solar panels when stationary.

Only if your experience determines that the two existing batteries, plus the solar panel support is not adequate enough, should you need to upgrade to higher capacity batteries. In this case two 160Ah batteries may be better than two 100Ah and two 160Ah batteries as any method of charging them, may also need upgrading.





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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:53

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:53
Thanks Bill.

I may add one battery then and see how we go. I am not sure of the charger system without looking at it. As I say the van is at the agents being serviced.
We are on a bit of a delay there as when I phoned them Friday, apparently they can't get the wheels off!!! They've all been cross threaded. Not sure how they could have done that at the factory. It sounds very unusual. Thats a lot of nuts!!!!
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:58

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:58
Make sure they fit new studs on the hubs....

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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 09:11

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 09:11
Thanks GB.
I'll phone them today and insist. The guy at the agent on Friday told me he was going to contact the factory. Not sure what they are going to discuss. I am a little worried to be frank. I am just glad that we didn't get a puncture at Mount Augustus recently. That could have been devestating. Would never have thought to check that we can get the wheels off when we took possesion of her.
I know its no connection but I thought she swayed more than I expected, could anything be linked to this problem????
Right off to work. Got to dash.........
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 13:36

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 13:36
Tail wagging will be caused by either too much weight behind the van axles, or the van is riding high at the hitch.

Weight is important for your batteries too. Each battery is likely to be an extra 30kg in your van. Find out your payload (ATM minus TARE) and see what effect this will have.

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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 17:26

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 17:26
Phoned them this morning. New studs fitted.
As far as I know, the weight is all good. Nothing excessive. She doesn't ride high at the hitch. Have WDH and Sway bars, the cam type.
Will see how that goes for now and seek a second opinion down the line.
cheers
GB
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 07:39

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 07:39
As well as the electrical side of things, don't forget the extra weight of batteries etc counts in your load allowance. I read somewhere a 100 AH battery weighs about 35 kgs.
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:53

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:53
Noted Rod.

Thanks mate.
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:22

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 08:22
Hi Phil

Looking at your existing setup you are close to possibly having what you need.........I will clarify that by comparing our set up to yours and what you already propose to do..

you will have
390 w of charge on the roof once you add the third panel you stated and
already have two of 100 ah batteries
a compressor 220 fridge

we have
390 w of panels (3 x 130)
3 x 100 ah batteries
220 L compressor fridge

our setup is nicely in balance and as a rough guide our 24 hour usage is around the 70-90 ah........obviously dependent on the ambient..and we dont watch TV but we do use a diesel heater for an hour or two in winter .....everything else is all 12v......only on rare occasions have we dropped our SOC to around 65% and only for a day or so at the most

we have an anderson plug on the outside for portable panels....we have them..never needed them and no longer carry them ( our Solar controller is a PL60 and so is designed to handle increased inputs...we can also monitor the in / out and be concious of the SOC of our batteries

So bottom line before you spend unecessary $.....maybe the 390 w you propose and one extra battery...may have you in balance.....subject to extra draw of other electronic appliances you may use compared to the above

Just make sure that whatever you add to the existing system can be handled by the solar controller and the battery charger you have......and if you do add...watch your wiring size.....dont just copy what is there assuming it is the correct size.....voltage drop from undersize cable is the killer of 12 v systems
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 09:03

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 09:03
Hi Bungarra.
Sounds pretty close our two systems. We are the same in usage really. The only time we'll use a TV is when the other half wants to watch the Hawks, or when the Arsenal are on for me. We don't really believe in TV when we are on hols.
We do use our laptops and camera's a fair bit.
I will check the specs of the charge system when I get the van back. I have put an explaination in Bill's post. I do know the controller is a 30Amp, whatever that means!!! LOL A friend we met on the road told us to get that when we proposed first getting the van. The only other thing I know about the charge system is that we don't need to do anything. It automatically switches for car, mains, solar.
I hope you don't mind me asking you again when I get the specs. I like to be a little bit informed when I go to get stuff done as they are bound to throw loads of options at us.
My personal feeling is even if our current set up is adequate once the new panel is added, I would like to have something in reserve. I like the sound of adding maybe just one more battery, a 160AH rahter than two. I reckon we'll leave the fold away panel until deemed necessary. Although saying that, it could be handy for times when we may pick a slightly shady spot.
Our problem with all this experimentation is that we both work and and don't get long enough minor trips to really run to its limits. So most decisions have to be made of the paperwork and math LOL.
Thanks again for your time in replying.

All the best

Phill
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Reply By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 14:11

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 14:11
I reckon one other battery would be more than enough esp with two lots of solar. Can you also charge your van betteries by linking with the car via an Anderson plug? You can just let it idle for 15/20 mins or so on site, perhaps apply a little tickle on the pedal to help it along - doesn't take much running of the car to give them a boost and that's a last resort but easily done but..........you'll be wishing it was raining and no solar power when you see Robin bangin em in for United ;-))
AnswerID: 491927

Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 17:31

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 17:31
Steve every time I hear from you I get a good laugh. Love it!!! Tell you what, I hope you do give us 20million pounds plus. I'll be laughing. He'll get injured again and be of no use to anyone. He's had one full season in all the time he's been with us and look at him. Such a high opinion of himself, its gone to his head. SIGN HIM PLEASEEEEEE LOL

Anyway, back to matters in hand. I hear you about turning the Cruiser on for a while but want to avoid irritating others around us. I am a conscencious kind of bloke LOL. Treat others as you'd want to be treated yourself etc. LOL

I am angling towards one more battery and two extra panels. Need to get the girl back so as I can check the charge system etc to make sure its up to the job.

Cheers mate.

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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 20:28

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 20:28
LOL - The Godfather won't go near 20m with his sicknote history. 12/15m maybe?? Dunno. Probably paper talk.

Agree, I don't like too much engine noise but I don't have to worry about a rattly old 200 series ;-)) I used to be quite discerning with starting my old Defender up......but really, just a bit of common sense. Without wishing to sound too patronising, just don't over invest in too much gear when you'll probably not use half of it. You only need to see my garage and shed (I'm sure others will identify with) full of stuff that accumulates and becomes surplus to requirements as we evolve and change our rigs. Der Fuhrer still gives me the 3rd degree as she uncovers yet another under or unused gadget that my enthusiasm was unable to resist.
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Reply By: Logix- Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 15:31

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 15:31
Hello,
Just reading your questions and answers.

Upgrading to 3 or 4 batteries is not as easy as adding more batteries and cables,

Firstly the Batteries Must all be the same age, model, make and usage, The cabling must be all a minimum of 50mm2, the connections from the battery to the chargers and load must be crossed linked between all batteries.

The charger must be capable of charging the batteries from 50% SOC or DOD to full in a minimum of 12 hours, there for the capacity of the battery charger must be 10% minimum of the full capacity of the battery bank that it is trying to charge, regardless of Solar,

There for 400 amp hours of batteries and the charger must be a minimum of 40 amps. If your free camping and running of a generator, i would go up to a 60 amp charger.

There is a rule of thumb, never parallel more that 3 batteries, as the chances of dropping a cell in a battery increases.

You can achieve the same amount of amp hours using 6v batteries in a series parallel system, charging and usage on a typical battery bank using this will have a far less chance of having issues with the battery system failing. IF you had 4 batteries in parallel The chances of failure is high, when it does fail the system will then have to be completely replaced.

The best way to achieve better battery storage is knowing when the batteries are 100%, 75%, 50%, ETC A good quality battery monitor will give you enough info to the guide you with your usage and charging status.

12.8 static voltage is fully charged, 12.5 static voltage is 50% 12.1 static voltage is flat. It is also recommended to only ever drain your batteries to 50%.

Question, Trivia
If you have a portable generator, you plug it into your caravan, motor home or Camper, do you have the same level of protection, from the safety switch as if you where plugged into mains power?? to protect you from electrocution.

Logix


AnswerID: 491934

Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 17:35

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 17:35
Hi Logix
Funny enough the technician doing our service mentioned 6v batteries as an alternative. He said he wasn't up on it, but would check with their electrical guy.
I am sure we have a battery monitor but can't confirm off the top of my head. Need to look in the van.
From your advice, can I take it that you can't add a 160AH to x2 100AH batteries?
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 20:56

Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 20:56
"If you have a portable generator, you plug it into your caravan, motor home or Camper, do you have the same level of protection, from the safety switch as if you where plugged into mains power?? to protect you from electrocution."

Only if it has Multiple earth neutral (MEN) link..... it the only real way to get a RCD to work on a generator.
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FollowupID: 767565

Follow Up By: Logix- Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 19:49

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 19:49
Arsenal Phill,
I would personally persist with the batteries you have, understand the time you have before it reaches 12.4 volts and when they need replacing plan, enquire and speak to many people that specialise in Batteries and Solar, no back yarders or doddgie experts.

I was involved in a design of a battery system using 2 x AGM 6 volt batteries, achieving 400 amp hours. 400 watts of Solar ( Achieving 42 amps in full sun at 50% SOC ) 60 amp charger and 50 amp DC to DC Charger.
Customer is stoked and the system on average NSW sunlight does not have to plug in between 5 days of free camping.

Olcoolone,
Great response and yes your correct, How many people would be under the impression that plugging in a generator to there motorhome/RV or caravan they are protected.

Logix
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