Lithium Battery Top Tips
Leisure Batteries come in many different shapes, sizes and types, no wonder it’s difficult choosing the right one.
Leisure Batteries discharge (run flat) as you use your on-board 12v devices/appliances/accessories (example: inside LED lights), but don’t forget, appliances like your fridge, heater, cooker need 12v to run the PCB control panel and ignite the LPG.
If you are in the South West, we are happy to help solve your battery issues, whatever your battery needs.
Like many things in life, it helps if you have knowledge and a process to follow. In this article we will layout our thinking around Lithium Batteries, and answer some of the common questions: Why, What, How and Installation.
Heads up, we have a vested interest in Lithium Batteries, hey, we sell them 🙂 But you could be anywhere in the world reading this article, so you may need to find a trusted supplier/workshop near to your home, so this article is about us sharing our thinking, so you are more informed when you start having Lithium Battery conversations. If you like this article, please let us know 🙂
Why choose a Lithium Battery?
This starts with why do you need to change or upgrade your battery. The best place to start is to build a 12v Audit, list all your appliances and accessories, and calculate how many Amps you need per day. If you are planning to go off-grid, add a margin and this is your start point for your battery specification ie if you use 70 Amps per day, invest in a 100 Ah battery. See example plan on the right of the page.
Here are some of the reasons owners upgrade to a Lithium Battery:
We feel this is the biggest advantage. A standard lead-acid battery can charge at a rate of up to 10 Amps.
However a Lithium Battery can be recharged faster, as they can take charge rates of up to 50 Amps.
But what does this technical speak mean?
Let’s take two 100Amp/Hr (Ah) batteries, one is lead-acid, the other lithium.
The lead-acid is recharged at 10 Amps / hr, and takes 10 hours to recharge.
The lithium battery can take a recharge rate of 50 Amps, the charging system can provide 50 Amps, therefore the battery is fully recharged after two hours of charging.
If you build a 12v system within your leisure vehicle that can charge faster, you will be able to go “off-grid” with more ease for longer.
Lithium batteries, although the same size, weigh up to half as much as your lead-acid leisure batteries. They have also been designed to supply more amps for longer meaning you get more power!
Lithium batteries can be fitted on their side, space is not usually an issue.
The ultimate bonus of a Lithium battery is how you can discharge it to as little as 20% and it will not affect the batteries lifespan. This is dissimilar to a Lead battery, as discharging it as low as 50% can cause damage. Lithium batteries charge will last longer, and if looked after will last you longer.
Choosing a leisure battery
What’s important when choosing a leisure battery?
Physical size is important, double check the battery location, your new battery will need to fit into the space provided in your caravan or motorhome.
What is a Leisure Batteries Capacity & Usage?
Amp Hours (Ah), this is the rating a battery is given, which indicates how long your battery will last, based on your power consumption. In theory a 100 Ah will deliver 1 Amp for 100 Hours.
Cycle Times (CT). This is how many times your battery can run low and be recharged. Think of this as your Return on Investment (ROI), how many recharges will you get for the purchase price of the battery.
Leisure Batteries are usually charge in one of three ways:
From the engine’s alternator when you are driving.
From a charger connected to a 230v mains hook-up.
From solar panels.
Where should my leisure battery be located in my vehicle?
A key factor often not explained to owners is gases given off during the charging process. This is important when the battery is located inside the habitation area of your caravan or motorhome. Your leisure battery should be in a sealed unit, which is vented to the outside. If it is not vented externally, hazards include:
Risk of explosion / fire, gases are flammable.
Risk to your health, gases are poisonous.
Leisure Battery Price / Cost
To compare, here are three leisure battery types, spec. & prices are approx. batteries are based on performance of a 100Ah size or equivalent:
Lead-acid Leisure Battery
Based on a fluid electrolyte, sometimes referred to as wet.
Gives off gas when being recharged.
Weight 23 KG (Heaviest)
Operating Temp -5>45 °C
Depth of Discharge 50%
ROI £0.87 per charge (Least cost effective)
Gives off minimal gas when being charged.
Weight 18 KG
Operating Temp -15>45 °C
Depth of Discharge 50%
ROI £0.65 per charge
Weight 14 KG (Lightest)
Operating Temp -20>60 °C
Depth of Discharge 100%
ROI £0.21 per charge (Most cost effective)
At Bristol Caravans, fitting is based on time taken for a straight swap, no modifications, or additional fixings. But we recommend you review your full system and consider how your new lithium battery is charged, consider:
Battery to Battery system
230v high amp charger
Fancy new AGM or Lithium Battery, please give us a call with your vehicle’s make, model, age, and information on the current Leisure Battery fitted.
Prices may change, correct in May 2021.