Leisure Batteries

#1
I am the second owner of a Dethleffs Esprit Comfort which was new to its original owner in August 2016. It has covered 12,000 miles. We added 4k of the 12k since May 2018. A month in the Outer Hebrides, two weeks on the Isle of Mull and five weeks touring France proved no trouble until towards the last week when we suffered power issues. On our return the leisure batteries were tested and failed to hold a 12v charge. They are original fit 95 Ah Vartas.
Comments please?
 

Edina

Moderator
#2
It sounds a good opportunity to assess your charging/power requirements and possibly replace with higher capacity batteries.
 

jagmanx

Full Member
#3
We only have a single 85 AH battery
We bought the vehicle in 2010 (2006 model)
After leaving it in cold storage over 2013/14 with no solar the battery held some charge but not enough
We replaced it with a banner battery (same capacity) in 2015 having already installed a 120Watt Solar Panel.
I am a bit obsessive in monitoring the battery voltage but it has never fallen below 12.6 V
I appreciate some will say this is not a valid way to check the battery but it seems to work...
On a sunny morning the battery is up to 14V by 10am
We only run hit water and heating (mainly am)
We only use vehicle from April to September
So with 2 batteries you should be fine (with Solar)
However it does seem that if batteries have been fully discharged then they never really recover..
Go solar and if necessary replace the batteries
I do not concur with Edina's post we manage perfectly well (IN THE SUMMER) on one battery with solar
 

Edina

Moderator
#4
We only have a single 85 AH battery
We bought the vehicle in 2010 (2006 model)
After leaving it in cold storage over 2013/14 with no solar the battery held some charge but not enough
We replaced it with a banner battery (same capacity) in 2015 having already installed a 120Watt Solar Panel.
I am a bit obsessive in monitoring the battery voltage but it has never fallen below 12.6 V
I appreciate some will say this is not a valid way to check the battery but it seems to work...
On a sunny morning the battery is up to 14V by 10am
We only run hit water and heating (mainly am)
We only use vehicle from April to September
So with 2 batteries you should be fine (with Solar)
However it does seem that if batteries have been fully discharged then they never really recover..
Go solar and if necessary replace the batteries
I do not concur with Edina's post we manage perfectly well (IN THE SUMMER) on one battery with solar
That was the reason I suggested he assess his needs, because the usage varies with the user's demands.
 


jagmanx

Full Member
#5
That was the reason I suggested he assess his needs, because the usage varies with the user's demands.
I do not disagree with that Just thinking 2 LBs should be enough (with solar) which was why "I did not concur"
As you suggest we all have differing power needs.
 


nabsim

Full Member
#6
Your batteries should last longer than that if used properly. Check what type they are and check what charging profile is set. Something is amiss unless they have been mistreated. I wouldn’t replace until firther investigation to find the problem
 


Molly 3

Full Member
#7
Varta have a very good reputation ,should last longer than 2 1/2 years
 


Trek

Full Member
#8
Molly3 and Nabsim are both correct in my experience

Though no battery will last if they are abused ie fully discharged water levels low etc


How many batteries are you talking about ? One ,two or more ?

Are these the Varta leisure batteries whose model range usually starts with LFD xx?

Do you have solar panels on roof ?

Do you leave camper for long periods of time so batteries can flatten ?

Is camper permanently connected to a mains hook up .

Place on bench check water levels and top up if necessary with distilled water and then change on bench with a stand alone charge for 24 hours and test again

If you have two batteries the perhaps its just one of them that has failed and this will drag the other down
 


#9
On pressure testing one battery was below 12v and the other less than 10v so assumed they had been abused and replaced with two 110Ah gels.
 

nabsim

Full Member
#10
On pressure testing one battery was below 12v and the other less than 10v so assumed they had been abused and replaced with two 110Ah gels.
f your previous Varya's were 95Ah were they also Gel? Its worth checking what charging profile is set on your chargers (mains and B2B if fitted)
 
#11
I am the second owner of a Dethleffs Esprit Comfort which was new to its original owner in August 2016. It has covered 12,000 miles. We added 4k of the 12k since May 2018. A month in the Outer Hebrides, two weeks on the Isle of Mull and five weeks touring France proved no trouble until towards the last week when we suffered power issues. On our return the leisure batteries were tested and failed to hold a 12v charge. They are original fit 95 Ah Vartas.
Comments please?
The mileages are not relevant. What matters is how much power you are taking out of the batteries, and how you are recharging them. Varta are generally one of the best brands, but it is very easy to destroy a battery.

Reduce the battery to less than 50% charge and you have used 1% of the battery's life. Do the same thing a second time and you lose another 1% or more.

It is possible that the batteries have lost capacity, but it is very unlikely that both batteries are actually failing to hold a charge.

Some battery faults do stop a battery holding a charge, but for it to happen to two of them at the same time would be unlikely (though not impossible).

I suspect the accuracy of the test. My advice is that you remove both batteries, charge them up separately (for at least 36 hours each) then leave them for a week. If the voltage is still over 12.5v a week later, with nothing connected (meaning that it is indeed holding the charge), then put a load such as a 10 watt lamp on for 24 hours and see what the battery voltage does over that time. It should remain above 12v throughout. Repeat the same test with the other battery.

A battery is only a tank of electrical power. You need to take out less than you put in, or they will become empty over time. But you failed to say what loads you are putting on the battery, so it is impossible to assess.
 


#12
On pressure testing one battery was below 12v and the other less than 10v so assumed they had been abused and replaced with two 110Ah gels.
I think you made the right move in fitting Gel batteries:). My 2001 Hymer has the original SL80 Sonnenschein Gel Leisure Battery 12V 80Ah battery fitted, and it's still going, I fitted a 140w Solar Panel last year. The MH has sat around for some considerable time in the last few years, covering 1-2,000 miles at best per year, but overall it has done over 100,000 miles. I am in the process of reassessing my Solar and battery needs. Never used the microwave and always wild camp, so that is my aim. I also have an electric bike now, I let her have a go last week, she couldn't believe how much fun she had on it. I suppose I will be buying a second bike for the summer now, then a higher output alternator.

If replacing the battery I will be fitting 2 of these https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12V-110-...=item1c7bdb194f:g:teQAAOSwjDZYkdTS:rk:33:pf:0

They are not the same size or fit as my original battery but I can work around that for the extra benefits and warranty that this battery will give me. With Gel batteries you have to make sure that your charging circuits are set up correctly, they have a maximum voltage as stated by the manufacturer. My SL80 is max voltage of 14.4volts, the Powabloc is 14.7volts, under engine power my leisure battery is charging at 14.51volts and I think it was slightly higher under mains, so I wouldn't keep it connected to the mains for long periods of time. Need more sun to check the Solar.:rolleyes:

I will be doing a test like hairydog suggests in post 11, but with a 5amp load, I will also see what my low voltage cut out disconnects at, on both the Gel and Lead Acid battery setting. Once I get the figures I should be able to gain some knowledge of my battery condition and system settings.:)
 
#15
I think Edina was correct with the post as was jagmanx. We all have different ways of using our MH, so different load levels on our system, we should also be aware that different times of the year and how much static / driving around will make huge difference to what power we have available.

I am running a test to see what I can get out of my battery. I have only had problems over the winter period, say 4-5 month, and when not travelling around much. Once I've got that info I will be able match it with what my expected loads are at various times of the year.

From the original post I think it's difficult to know when, where and what the last week involved. Well I wasn't sure.:cautious:
 
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#16
I am the second owner of a Dethleffs Esprit Comfort which was new to its original owner in August 2016. It has covered 12,000 miles. We added 4k of the 12k since May 2018. A month in the Outer Hebrides, two weeks on the Isle of Mull and five weeks touring France proved no trouble until towards the last week when we suffered power issues. On our return the leisure batteries were tested and failed to hold a 12v charge. They are original fit 95 Ah Vartas.
Comments please?[/QUOT
In my experience batteries can last for years or fail in a short period. When two batteries are employed very often one will be not taking charge as well as the other so the good one will be telling the regulated it’s charged up ie 13.8 v and the poorer battery may be well below only part charged. If batteries are connected in series this doesn’t happen but that means two 6 volt batteries.
 
#17
In my experience batteries can last for years or fail in a short period. When two batteries are employed very often one will be not taking charge as well as the other so the good one will be telling the regulated it’s charged up ie 13.8 v and the poorer battery may be well below only part charged. If batteries are connected in series this doesn’t happen but that means two 6 volt batteries.
I see your point but as the batteries are connected together all of the time they should balance out . I have a Gel battery and will be replacing with Gel due to still having the original battery some 18 years old, capacity has dropped a lot but still usable. They don't take a charge as quickly as other types of batteries especially compared to AGM. I intend to fit one below the seat and one in a portable battery box, connected by a Anderson type connector, then I can remove and use this battery as a separate power supply and jump pack. I remember the 3 day week, no mains power, my sister lives a mile down the road in a farm and had no power for 8 weeks, (in Hampshire), due to The Hurricane and they regularly get power cables down. I expect it will be like my snow tyres, I buy 4 and it hasn't snowed here since getting them, but before that cut off quite often as live in a hilly area.:cautious::cautious::cautious::cautious:
 


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