Choosing the Best Battery for your Caravan or Recreational Vehicle
Motorhome, RV & Caravan Batteries - What are the most popular Batteries for Caravans, RV's & Motorhomes ? Let's look at your options when it comes to getting the best power solutions and what size battery you need for your caravan ?
Understanding the best type of battery for your caravan or motohome is essential before hitting the open road for your retirement or camping adventures.
Deep cycle, gel or conventional car battery? Let's look at the best portable power options for caravans, motor homes and recreational vehicles. Including dual battery set-ups and a look at the accessories that you'll need to give you power for whatever of life's luxuries that you want to take away with you! The power requirements for caravans and recreational vehicles is often dependant on your needs for comfort and connectivity to the outside world while you are off on your camping adventures. Whilst the efficiency of many 12Volt appliances is improved especially with the newer inverter options and LED lighting options in this day and age batteries and solar can now replace your generatrors and gas bottles with better efficiancy and cleaner renewable power that is better for the planet and more cost effective in the long run.
With portable refrigerators, televisions and lightweight microwaves, kitting out motor homes and caravans with the comforts of home is easier than ever before. Of course such luxuries require power and while parking up at a powered campsite is one solution, many of us want to explore more eco-friendly options, such as free camping.
Installing a battery into your caravan or motor home is great way to provide and store the energy for your electronic devices without the need for mains supply or noisy generators. Conventional vehicle batteries may be a cheap option but need to be kept fully charged by your car’s regulator in order to function. After a few days of camping, don’t be surprised if your battery has run flat.
By contrast, absorbed glass mat (AGM) deep cycle batteries can be recharged when flat (although this is not an ideal method) from solar panels or charger and are designed to have power drawn from them over a longer period of time. Gel batteries also provide sustained power and produce no gas when charging, making them perfect for use in your caravan, motor home or boat.
Designed to work with 12 volt devices and compatible with solar charging, both AGM deep cycle and gel batteries are an increasingly popular option for caravan owners. Still not sure which portable power option is right for you? Give one of the Aussie Batteries & Solar experts a call or read to find out more about the best batteries for your caravan.
Types of Caravan Batteries
As well as providing reliable power, AGM deep cycle batteries are “unspillable”, making them perfect for caravan or motor home installation. The thin sheet of Boron-Silicate glass mat between the lead plates keeps the battery’s acid in place, unlike the free flowing electrolyte found in wet cell batteries. Weighing as little as 9.35kg, AGM deep cycle batteries add minimal load and fit easily into most caravans’ storage lockers. Their sealed design and hardwearing exterior also ensures that they can withstand road vibration without dangerous leakage.
With electrolyte mixed into a paste between the lead plates, gel batteries offer the same non-spilling and non-gassing properties as their AGM deep cycle companions. If properly cycled and charged, a gel battery can last longer but will require a special charger due to its increased sensitivity to voltage spikes.
While AGM deep cycle batteries can be charged from the car battery when driving, this method requires expensive cabling and becomes useless once the vehicle is parked. Fitting a mounted solar panel to the roof of your caravan or motor home or investing in portable solar panels provides a free and reliable energy source for the duration of your trip. The 4-stage charger built into the solar regulator also helps to extend battery life.
After being placed in the sun, the solar panels are simply connected to a regulator such as the 20A Tracer MPPT Solar Charge Regulator. The regulator converts the voltage and amps from the panels into the correct format for charging your battery. The most popular types of solar regulator are the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) which operates at around 70% efficiency and the Multi Power Point Tracking (MPPT) which operates at 97% efficiency and transforms excess solar voltage into an increase in current.
An alternative to charging from solar is investing in a good battery charger, such as the 12V 3amp 7 Stage UltiPower Automatic Desulfation Deep Cycle Battery Charger. Suitable for charging both AGM deep cell and gel batteries, the charger displays the charge voltage and current and comes with heavy duty cables and clamps. Unlike conventional chargers, automatic reverse pulse desulfation chargers maintain battery cells while charging and avoid the higher voltage that can cause overcharging.
When using a battery charger, it’s important to know the correct voltage as overcharging can compromise the battery’s internal structure. Most modern chargers will have settings for AGM and gel batteries but if you’re using an older charger, ensure that you match the rate of charging to the battery type. Remember, AGM batteries require 14.7 volts while gel batteries need only 14.4v.August 14, 2018 | By Nathan Gathercole| Comments
Nathan is the owner of Aussie Batteries & Solar, and has been immersed in the battery industry for many years. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, he enjoyed taking full advantage of the spectacular outdoors on offer, and has turned this passion into a thriving business. As the saying goes, "Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life".