Without a battery, you're back to basics when you go camping, especially if you're not at a campsite with access to mains power. You still need a power source for vital things like lighting, keeping your fridge cool, and charging your phone. At Speelberg, we offer a wide range of household batteries for campers, caravans, boats, or your outdoor camping vacation.
There are different types of batteries you can use for a boat, camper, or caravan. The underlying technology determines their suitability for this use, including lifespan and power output during daily use.
Even within the category of lithium batteries, there are differences in the technology used. The latest and most stable technology for campers, caravans, and boats is the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery, also known as an LFP or LiFePO4 battery. This battery technology is increasingly used in electric cars, gadgets, and electric bikes. The LiFePO4 battery is also more commonly used as a household battery in the electrical system of a caravan or camper due to its increasing affordability. Unlike other batteries, LiFePO4 batteries can handle deep discharges very well. For example, a 100Ah battery can be almost fully discharged, providing between 80% and 100% of its power without damaging the battery. In addition, LiFePO4 batteries have a long lifespan and retain their capacity over time. They have very low self-discharge, which is useful when the camper or caravan is in winter storage or not used for a long time. Typically, the battery self-discharges at a rate of 1% to 2% per month, and it can be stored with a low power level without causing any damage. Furthermore, LiFePO4 batteries are lightweight compared to other types of batteries, weighing about half as much as a lead-acid battery. They are also more compact due to their high energy density.
Looking for an affordable lithium battery? Check out our Carbest batteries.
An AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) battery uses different technology than a lithium battery. By absorbing the chemicals in fiberglass mats, the AGM battery is much better suited for use in a camper, caravan, or boat than a gel battery or a lead-acid battery. AGM batteries are sealed and, in many cases, can be placed in different orientations, including lying flat. Read the manufacturer's instructions for specific details. Like other deep cycle batteries, AGM batteries can be deeply discharged, providing up to 80% of their available power. Unlike gel and lead-acid batteries, AGM batteries can be charged very quickly.
A gel battery converts the chemicals that generate energy into a gel form. This allows the battery to be sealed, making it better suited for use in a boat or recreational vehicle. Gel batteries can often be placed in various orientations, including lying on their side or upside down. Gel batteries are maintenance-free and have low monthly self-discharge. They require a specific charging profile. Therefore, ensure that the battery charger you use is suitable for gel batteries and properly configured. Failure to do so can have a significant impact on the battery's lifespan.
Although lead-acid battery technology has been around for a while, it is still widely used. A lead-acid battery uses chemicals in liquid form, which makes them less suitable for use in campers, caravans, and boats. These batteries can release harmful gases when they become hot or overcharged. This also means they are not maintenance-free and need occasional refilling with distilled water. If you use them in a closed space, such as a battery box, make sure there is ventilation to the outside. Due to their long-standing presence in the market, lead-acid batteries are widely available and the most affordable option.
By connecting batteries in parallel or series, you can increase capacity or achieve higher voltage.
In a parallel connection, the positive terminal of one battery is connected to the positive terminal of another battery, and the negative terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the other battery. This keeps the voltage the same, for example, 12 volts, but doubles the capacity. Connecting two 100Ah batteries in parallel would result in a total capacity of 200Ah. This can only be done with two batteries of the same type and capacity. Note that not all lithium batteries can be connected in parallel.
In a series connection, the negative terminal of one battery is connected to the positive terminal of another battery. This doubles the voltage, for example, 12 volts becomes 24 volts. The capacity of the battery remains the same; for example, two 100Ah batteries connected in series would still have a capacity of 100Ah. Again, it is important to ensure that the capacities of the batteries are the same. Furthermore, not all lithium batteries can be connected in series.
With the exception of lead-acid batteries, modern batteries are maintenance-free. However, maintaining the battery is still an important aspect. A poorly charged or deeply discharged battery will have a short lifespan, which is a waste. There are various devices available to help maintain the batteries in your camper, caravan, or boat. For example, battery guards can shut off all consumers when the battery reaches a certain discharge point. A battery management system (BMS) monitors the battery and can also automatically shut off consumers or provide a warning for manual intervention. Additionally, you can monitor your daily energy generation and consumption to ensure proper battery sizing. A negative energy balance will result in battery discharge and a lack of power. You can recharge the batteries using a relay, a solar panel, or a battery charger when connected to the power grid.