Charge of the Battery Brigade
Whether you’re an owner of a caravan, a mobility scooter, a narrowboat, a golf buggy or similar, you naturally want to keep your chosen battery in a good state of charge. If you do this, it will last much longer than one left standing with a low state of charge.
The service life of a leisure battery generally depends on how frequently and deeply it is discharged, and how soon it is recharged.
Most modern chargers will be three-stage – meaning that they bulk charge, then the absorption charge rate levels out the battery voltage, and finally, a float stage maintains the battery voltage at a lower level.
These good quality chargers are not generally expensive and most have been around for over 10 years.
Certain sophisticated chargers can be pre-set for particular specifications of a manufacturer’s battery but the difference is minimal and makes little difference to leisure applications.
The three main battery types – Flooded, AGM and Gel - need slightly different charge characteristics. Flooded needs the highest voltage and Gel the lowest; however the difference between Gel and AGM is minimal. The Flooded battery charger setting should not be used for AGM or Gel.
Do you need to match batteries with chargers?
Certain well-known charger and inverter manufacturers regularly state that only their batteries are suitable for their chargers. This can just be scare mongering as their chargers are very good and can be used for nearly any battery.
Certain Lithium batteries need their own specific chargers, but a drop fit Lead Acid replacement, like the RELiON batteries that DBS Leoch supplies, can be charged quite easily using the AGM setting.
AGM or Gel batteries are happy being charged from the alternator. This also applies to RELiON Lithium batteries.
What is important, though, is the charge current is at least 10% (preferably 20%) of the battery amp hour - so a 100ah battery is 10amps minimum but 20amps is preferred.
Making the right decision
So, as a battery user, what’s your takeaway from this one? Well, from a Return on Investment perspective, it’s worth a thorough consideration of the batteries best for your application, just as it is for the charger that you choose. With the technology currently on offer, the two are usually mutually compatible so make the decision that’s best for you!