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Thread: Battery choice for infrequently used vehicle.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Battery choice for infrequently used vehicle.

    I have a vehicle which goes long periods between uses. I have been fitting traditional wet cell lead acid batteries to it, but these tend to self discharge between uses. I am considering using 38AH AGM batteries. I think these are deep cycle style, as they don't seem to have a CCA rating. My vehicle pulls less than 100A when cranking. My question is, do you think the 38AH AGM will have a reasonable lifespan in this application? I am hoping the AGM batteries will have a lower self discharge rate and survive longer in this vehicle.

    Aaron

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
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    I don't think you'll find a lead acid battery that likes being left for months at a time. A trickle charger of some sort would be best, either solar or mains. Unless the vehicle is buried in a coal mine the solar panel can be put on the roof of the building and wired to a plug. I got nearly 10 years out of a stored vehicle battery that way, it only died because a small branch fell on the panel and blocked it.

  3. #3
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    Can we ask what sort of vehicle?
    Cant speak of AGM but can of lithium. I used a Little Lithium in a toyo 4age powered clubman car that i had. It could sit for 6 weeks over xmas and still start first kick. Not great in freezing temps though but then neither was the car.
    Wouldnt put on in my Defender though.
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  4. #4
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    I have 6 Land Rovers that get used infrequently (some hardly ever) all have lead acid batteries.
    Five of them have secondhand batteries, when the daily driver complains on startup a new battery is fitted and the old one passes to a Land Rover.

    Every few months I charge all the batteries, some of them are now 6-8 years old. All the cars start without issue.

    Maybe fit an isolator to the battery so you are 100% sure there is nothing draining it and charge occasionally.


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  5. #5
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    I use one of those number plate sized solar trickle chargers on a farm vehicle at a mate's place. Only gets used when I'm up there, so say 3 to 6 times per year. Starts the vehicle every time. Battery analyzer indicates that it's still good for 700 CCA after 3 to 4 years like this.

  6. #6
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    To the OP. The AGM's you've described do indeed sound like deep cycle batteries. These will die in short order used as a cranking battery, even if as you say the cranking current is only 100 amps. You'll find a couple of decent crank cycles could bring them down low enough to shorten their life.

    Also, these too will self discharge if left for long periods and should still have some sort of maintenance charge.

    I would suggest, like others - to use a small solar panel or if there is a power point close, a small trickle charger on a standard lead acid battery.

    My 101 is left sometimes for months between starts and I never have an issue with my battery - I have a battery isolator on it. Don't leave the battery connected to the vehicle - if you don't have an isolator, remove the earth terminal from the battery - you could have some parasitic draw dragging your battery down.


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  7. #7
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    Oct 2017
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    I've previously used the trickle chargers but a recent spate of garage fires around town has put the wind up me a bit. Having worked for a power tool company, one of the engineers told me to unplug everything at night as these small chargers are great at starting a house fire. I've always been nervous about the car trickle chargers and stick with good brands, that said the recent garage fires that have convinced me that battery isolator switches are the way to go.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zcoota View Post
    I've previously used the trickle chargers but a recent spate of garage fires around town has put the wind up me a bit. Having worked for a power tool company, one of the engineers told me to unplug everything at night as these small chargers are great at starting a house fire. I've always been nervous about the car trickle chargers and stick with good brands, that said the recent garage fires that have convinced me that battery isolator switches are the way to go.
    You may we'll be right there due to the massive influx of cheap untested crap on the market over recent years. Most people think 'Why spend $100 on a small charger when this $20 ebay job does the same thing'

    I wouldn't be concerned by leaving a good, name brand charger running and in reality there are 1000's of these doing their thing year in year out without issue but buyer beware - you make a good point well worth heeding. Battery choice for infrequently used vehicle.


    1977 101 FC - 'Chucky'
    1986 Classic RR - 'Thing'
    1976 Series III Tray
    1997 Honda CBR1000F
    2003 L322 - Gone to a new home.

    'Love with your heart - use your head for everything else.' - CaptainDisillusion

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,293
    My vehicle is a M151A2. It is 24 volt. In the past, I have started it while the battery isolator was isolated. I traced the circuit through the radio power supply. This was going through a 30 amp fuse. I haven't accurately tested the cranking current, but know it to be comparatively low. Since the main batteries have died, I have used a pair of decidedly secondhand 7AH gel cell batteries to jump start it.

    These are the batteries that I am looking at. Needing two, the price becomes more of an issue.

    Aldi catalogue valid from 26/09/2018

    These say they are AGM. Is this the same as what we called gel cells?

    Aaron

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