The winter months can be a hard time for your leisure battery. It’s probably not in proper use, but you still might need it to power any alarm or tracker you have on the caravan. You want it to be in optimum condition when it comes time to use it again.
The best way to keep your battery in its best condition is to fit an intelligent charger. This equipment will allow you to keep your battery connected through the winter, keeping your alarms and trackers functioning properly.
You need not feel any concern about over-charging your battery, intelligent chargers constantly monitor the power to your battery. This can be the ideal way to keep your battery in prime condition for the new season.
How long does a leisure battery last? Well, it depends…
Leisure Batteries For Caravans
If you’re new to caravanning, you won’t have thought too much about batteries. There’s so much more you have to get to grips with. Whatever your hopes are for your holidays this summer, without your leisure battery functioning properly, it will not be an enjoyable time.
Gain some basic knowledge of batteries because it will become part of your caravan lifestyle. From looking at basic maintenance, cutting costs and understanding when your battery isn’t fit for purpose any longer. Not forgetting the safety aspect for your family when you use the caravan.
Batteries, if not constantly charged, will gradually lose their charge. And if you allow the battery to run down flat, then you cause internal damage and compromise its lifespan.
If you have solar panels fitted to your van, then this is another excellent way to keep your battery charged through the winter. Unless you have a tiny solar panel fitted, don’t hook it up directly to the battery, this can cause overcharging and ruin your leisure battery.
Instead, feed the power through a regulator or charge controller. There are three types of controllers from the basic on/off switch, meaning it’s on and charging until it reaches a certain level, then switches off. Coming back on when the charge level drops again. These are better than nothing, but not efficient.
The best type of charge controller uses a technology called maximum power point tracking (MPPT). This system is far more sophisticated and attains charge levels in the 90 to 95 per cent range.
What Is A Caravan Leisure Battery?
Your leisure battery provides the power for all your 12V equipment in your van. This battery provides a regular level of power over longer periods of time. They differ from a car battery in the way they deliver power. Car batteries supply a burst of instant power to start the car’s engine.
Your battery transforms your caravan from just a vehicle into a home on wheels, by powering lights, a TV, stoves, running water, showers, you get the idea.
Different Caravan Leisure Batteries
The majority are lead-acid batteries. The rate at which they self-discharge depends on their age and manufacture. The battery’s electrolyte levels will require checking often.
There are newer innovations in battery design coming to the market.
Gel Battery – this battery type has gel in place of the acid. With no acid inside, these are safer. For now, they are only available in imported caravans.
AGM Battery – Absorbent Glass Mat batteries comprise lead plates and compressed glass fibre in each cell, filters the acid inside a battery, making it tougher in use. Extending the lifespan of the battery.
Maintenance-Free Battery – The normal lead-acid battery requires topping up. But with these newer maintenance-free versions, they are a sealed unit and need not be topped-up.
Best Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Caravan Leisure Battery
- Prevent rust from forming on the battery terminals by spreading a little vaseline on them.
- Buy high-quality clamps, not cheap versions.
- Ensure there is no rust build up on the clamps.
- Use only deionised water to top up your battery. Keep a regular check on the water levels. Don’t let them drop because this will reduce the lifespan of your battery.
- Never allow your battery to drop below 50% charge capacity.
- Take proper precautions with your battery during winter storage periods.
- Don’t leave your battery in an uncharged state.
- Your battery needs a charger with at least 10% of its capacity. Anything less and you risk reducing your battery’s capacity.
What Will Affect Your Leisure Battery Performance?
There are numerous things affecting the performance of your battery. It’s to your advantage to learn as much about them as you can:
- Temperature – Cold really affects the performance of batteries. They quote the amp hours rating of your battery at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Every degree below that will cause a 1% decrease in performance.
- Age – Frequently used batteries have a lifespan of only 5 years.
- Consumption – The harder you make your battery work, the more the performance will drop. When it’s used more, the charge depletes faster, meaning it requires charging more often, reducing its lifespan.
- Size – The more work you require a battery to perform, the bigger it will need to be. And the time of year also has some impact, because colder weather reduces the battery performance.
Problem Indicators From Leisure Batteries
One important factor you must take notice of is a rotten egg or sulphurous smell coming from your battery and be boiling to the touch. This is a sign of overcharging your battery and permanent damage is imminent. The unpleasant smell is gasses being released from your battery, and there is a danger of the gases exploding.
You need to act, but do not detach the battery from its charger, before you disengage the charger from mains power, under any circumstances. It’s always a good idea to make regular checks on the temperature of your battery because even without the nasty smell, a hot battery is often a sign of trouble.
In summary, you now have a great deal more information about caravan leisure batteries and hope we have answered your question about how long does a leisure battery last.