The saga of van batteries continued...

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 20:11
ThreadID: 145259 Views:1296 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
Once again I seek guidance on battery specifications please.

I have had a good run from one Ultimate Xtreme AGM (new Nov 2016 Battery Word) 110 a/h + Century 120a/h AGM age unknown but similar age and seeking replacements.

I will be purchasing 2 matched units this time and I am told Cat batteries are good value, so I called Westrac in Guildford WA for a chat and advice.

Guy I spoke with had little knowledge of batteries and did say they don’t stock many deep cycle units in Perth but can bring them in from Melbourne.

He sent me a spec’s sheet but could not work out how many amp hours these are rated. so

From the sizes s on the stock listed I would probably take the (250-0476) if the ratings are up around the 100 a/h mark.

From the specs below is it possible to determine the a/h rate for that battery please? I do this just to assist your brain storming – it is supposed to be healthy for us but beyond me.

Thanks again – regards Phil


The specifications for my selection are as follows as the sheet will not copy and paste from the email or from pdf file dammit...
Power Watts per cell for 15 minutes to 1.67 volts per cell @ 77 degrees F (25 deg C)= 253
The dimension is close to the old batteries = 259 long x 173 wide x 216 height & 24 kg.
Discharge Rating in Amperes for 15 minutes to end voltage of 1.75 VPC = 127Maintence Free, Non Accessible - Absorbed Glass Mat
Terminals appear right locations

These batteries are permantly being powered by 2 x 80W (10 yr old) and 2 x 150W (4 year old) solar panels when parked up and assisted when trav elling by a DC/DC unit in the boot next to the batteries.
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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 20:21

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 20:21
Cant work out edit for this - Please note there is only 1 x 150 W solar in addition to the 2 x 80W old ones - cheers - Phil
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Follow Up By: Genny - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 21:41

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 21:41
Here's an old Exploroz thread regarding CAT batteries.

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 23:12

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 23:12
Thanks Genny - good wrap early but that last one put a very poor light on thr product. One cannot help but wonder if the issue was a 'one off' for some reason.

I believe most batteries can be rejuvenated if deemed dead after only one mishap, but you would think CAT would have sorfted that out foir an employee.

Cheers - Phil
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Reply By: tonysmc - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 21:41

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 21:41
In their specs for the 250-0476 it says -
AMP Hr @ 10 Hr Rate: 3.95
AMP Hr @ 20 Hr Rate: 140
if that is any help?
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Reply By: Member - Jim S1 - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 22:14

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 22:14
This any help ?
Cheers
Jim



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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 10:10

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 10:10
"10hr rate 3.95, 20hr rate 140" is clearly an error somewhere.
Cheers,
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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 23:00

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2023 at 23:00
Thanks Tony & Jim, but I have trouble corellating the figures for 10 hrs and 20 hours 3.95 vs 140 ... bit hard to follow, unless you know the mysteries of 12 volt electgrickery I guess - cheers Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 08:04

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 08:04
20hr rate is the standard .

Cheers
Jim
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Reply By: qldcamper - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 08:06

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 08:06
If your going for premium AGM Id recomend going for a hoghly regarded brand such as full river or trojan.
Caterpillar aim for a client base that has more dollars than sence that replace batteries on a time schedule and never bother to make a warranty claim if one does happen to fail, just replace them to get the wheels (or tracks) turning again, not worth the time to make a claim.
A lot of sites that run really big trucks with 4,6 or 8 batteries have changed to yellow top optima batteries because they cope with the heat and severe vibrations better than the cat batteries.
I personally dont think there is anything special about cat brand batteries except they may be more robust but usually heavy, just ask my back, fitted 6 to a truck last week.
Just a few facts for you to consider.
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Reply By: Member - DOZER - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 09:55

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 09:55
If this has been a continual issue with batteries dying, i would question the setup, starting with what plugs you are using for the dc-dc feed in from alt, followed by what size wiring? Are you getting VD across it? (voltage drop incase your wondering) Feel the plug after use, and if its hot, replace with better. Measure volts at your vehicle starting battery, and the feed in volts at the dc to dc wiring....(a dc to dc will only charge to the feed in volts)
On a good day, the best you will get from a solar panel is 10 amps, presuming you get that, is your regulator overloaded with 30 going through it?
Just food for thought
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 13:40

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 13:40
Thanks Dozer, I don't seem to have any issues with the system since I upgraded most of it early 2019.

The only mystery to me is I am vague about the size battery capacity I need to cope with the 3 Panels on top - originally total of 330 watts but no doubt reduced somewhat because of their ages.

So I am pondering if 2 x 100 /H batteries is adequate, over the top, or inadequate.

My original 110A/h battery didn't cope before I installed the solar and DC/DC charger but worked admirably since fitting those items and a second battery.

Whatever AGM's I put in the van will no doubt outlast my caravanning years as I approach that dreaded 79 mark this year. :O))

Thanks for your thoughts. Cheers - Phil
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 14:04

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 14:04
Battery requirement is (almost) unrelated to your solar capacity.
Battery capacity needs to satisfy the loads when there is no charge available.
Solar capacity (and other charge options) needs to be sufficient to recharge the batteries after use.
It is true however that extra solar capacity can give higher confidence in the next solar recharge, even if sun conditions are poor. So... extra solar can allow reduced battery capacity.
You can not have too much solar.
Just adding extra batteries is a bit like opening a new bank account without increasing your income. Costs will increase, and you will not be better off financially.
Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Happy Explorer - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 08:36

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 08:36
You can't explain it much simpler than that Peter.
And I agree totally with the "You can not have too much solar" comment.
I have 400w of solar feeding 2x140ah batteries. With my usage the batteries rarely (if ever) get below 85% charge. Just makes for a trouble free system.
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Reply By: bobsabobsa - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 15:05

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 15:05
CAT have now only 12 months on stationary battery , 36 months if it is a starting battery
Ask when purchasing to be sure
I got caught out with this little gem
I would look for a better deal in the warranty department
Bob
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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 15:08

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 15:08
Give iTechworld in WA a ring and talk to them. You may find that a single Lithuim drop in battery would suit you.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 15:19

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 15:19
Thanks Dodger, I have given that option some consideration - particularly in regard to shedding weight, but my Enerdrive regulator would need replacing as well and adds to the cost again.

Certainly would be my choice if I was just starting out.

Cheers - Phil
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Follow Up By: Happy Explorer - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 08:44

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 08:44
Hi Phil
Check with Enerdrive on that. My Enerdrive 12v to 12v charger is programable.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 13:16

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 13:16
Good idea - I did check the unit on the Enerdrive website a few years back and noted on my receipt it was not suitable for Lithium, but who knows what changes may have occurred in the advances of technology these days - maybe a simple adaptor is available. Will ask the question - cheers , Phil
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Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 13:46

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 13:46
According to iTechworld their batteries are a straight drop in and will work with most charging regimes.
As I said give them a call and they will advise you.
EG. I have a bmpro system in my 2018 Jayco Outback 19ft van and I replaced the agm batteries in it with just 1 x120amp Lithium from them just after I purchased the van and it has worked real well with the BMpro since install NOV 2018.

Cheers Dodg
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 17:06

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 17:06
Enerdrive confirm it does not cope with Lithium :O((
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Reply By: 2517. - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 08:40

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 08:40
From my experiences the brands of batteries is not as important as keeping the batteries charged,adding more solars fixed my problems,I think you need a minimum of 200W per 100amp battery.
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Reply By: Tim Owen - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 13:41

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 13:41
I started that old ExplorOz thread all those years ago. I never ended up buying CAT deep cycle batteries. I ended up buying AGMs from Battery Value Pty Ltd and had a very good run with them ... in fact they were only replaced last year ... so 10 years or so. I would have gone that way again, but the freight charges from Qld to Vic is a killer.

I decided to give the Kmart ANKO AGM's a go. I've got 2 of them ... 160Ah in total. I can't remember the details now, but there were very good $ per kg and $ per Ah. I've had a fridge running on them 24/7 and solar recharge since installation ... and no problems so far. We recently spent a week out bush stationary with 2 fridges running ... I normally turn one of the fridges off in an extended stay situation, but I decided to carry an extra panel on this trip, and we had clear skies most days - so kept it all on. Batteries were showing 12.8V when we packed to leave. Agree with the 'you can never have too much solar' theme.

BTW I still use CAT cranking batteries ... but they have increased in price substantially. I nearly hit the floor when I paid for the last one. Not sure they are the value they once were.
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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 17:17

Friday, Jan 20, 2023 at 17:17
Latest in my research is the DC/DC Powertech MB3690 will handle Lithium but I have to obtain the necessary dip switch configurations for this now discontinued product and await a call from them.

Good news is the Enerdrive can be bypassed, bad news is the CTEK 240 charger is incompatible and quite expensive to update.

May just stay with new AGMs, cheaper, simpler and my van upgraded weight can deal with it.

Thank you all for your contributions, as usual these have been informative and constructive responses and most helpful.

Happy motoring all - regards - Phil
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 at 08:46

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 at 08:46
The weight of AGM's is a guide to their capacity.

At 24 kg I would expect those CAT batteries to be only 70Ah to 80Ah max.

Eg. Ritar & Fullriver (both quality batteries with Fullriver having the edge - at higher cost than the Ritar)

Ritar 100 Ah = 29Kg

https://www.ritarpower.com/uploads/ueditor/spec/DC12-100.pdf

Fullriver 100Ah = 30.6kg

https://www.springers.com.au/shop/product/hgl100-12c-fullriver-hgl-12v-100ah-agm-battery-685

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 at 11:18

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 at 11:18
Thanks Cuppa,

I did go ahead with two deep cycle Century's. They should cope with my needs and though not as light some, collectively I have shed a few kg's from the last 110/120 combo.

Cheers - Phil
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