Battery Comparison

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 03, 2005 at 19:35
ThreadID: 122149 Views:5420 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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A.G.M. Batteries v Lead Acid.

Due to unfortunate circumstances we have had the opportunity to directly compare the performance of lead acid batteries against amalgamated glass matt.

Our van was fitted with three Power Dive AGM batteries, the early model, one of the first types available through Bushtracker.

When travelling the Buchanan Road on this trip I disconnected the power plug to the F250 in camp one night and lost all power in the van.
When I reconnected the plug the van powered up again, ergo, van operating off truck auxiliary battery.
After various tests we found that one battery had totally failed, maybe a broken internal connection, and this had caused the other two batteries to fall below 11 volts.
The Power Dive batteries will not recover from this extreme discharge.
The 2 “good” batteries actually showed 13.1v, the voltage dropped to 6v as soon as any load was applied. Took a while to work that one out.

The only batteries available in Kununurra were 3 x 100 AH maintenance free lead acid so we fitted them.

Now the comparison.
The AGM batteries would allow us to camp in poor solar conditions for 3 to 4 days without requiring a charge from the generator.
They re-charged quite quickly of a morning, the voltage came up nicely.

The lead acid batteries when fully charged would drop to 12v overnight, 24 hours was about the best service in poor solar conditions.
They were very slow to re-charge via the solar system, (4 panels).

So now we are down the Qld SE coast we are off to Bushtracker to get new AGM batteries.
Steve can have the lead acids for the forklift or something, they, in my opinion just do not do the job as they should.

So for those of you who are undecided about the type of battery to fit, I hope that this post assists in your decision making.

Regards to all.
"Do It While You Can"
Nobody is getting any younger.

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2005 at 20:33

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2005 at 20:33
Hello Bob, and fellow Boggers: An important new bit to help, and report on our new batteries and how they are going now....

This is what I have been living with for thirty years, and right up my alley!!! I have been living with solar systems and all battery systems on yachts and vans since the earliest Arco Panel systems became available in the '70s...

The problem with the normal lead acid Deep Cycle Batteries, is they have large plates and they consume about 1 amp of power input to just “warm the plates” or electrically excite them enough to begin accepting a charge. This wastes one amp of solar input per battery and knocks off the solar input from all marginal weather and morning and afternoon hours. That is the real problem with the wonderful Golf Cart type of batteries even more… They are often 6 volt, two in series, in pairs in parallel. I have experimented with them since 1981 when I ran a fleet of 12v trucks for a multi million dollar re-industrialization project in an environmentally protected plant. In all kinds of configurations on yachts, motorhomes, 12volt carts, etc; these are very good batteries, but only on large Mains Charging systems, as the plates are thick that they consume about 1 full amp per each battery just to excite the plates enough to begin accepting a charge… That is why you noticed such a difference Bob… Your solar input was grossly affected. The thinner plate batteries like AGM and Gel, would fracture plates if they were not padded by the AGM and Gel. That is why the liquid lead acid batteries have such thick plates in the first place, is primarily structural value and massive mains charging capability... But the thinner plates of the AGM and Gel packed batteries are far more efficient on solar, taking as little as .25 of an amp to excite them to begin accepting a charge, they are far more efficient with far less losses involved.

Someone might tell others that golf cart and heavy plate lead acid kinds of batteries are great…. Well meaning people often misdirect others, due to limited experience, and that is where we come in (I ride in, Ha!) to help: We would not recommend that anyone use those kind of batteries on Solar Applications… From what I understand Bob, you had no choice as that was all that was available in your area.. But the thinner plate battery style of Solar Block batteries, just are able to take the softer solar input better...

Now, on our new Batteries that we have been in R&D to develop, they are Hybrid AGM x German A-200 gel sealed maintenance free batteries… And they hold the record!! People have always been inadvertently able to kill their battery systems with overwork by adding extra load, TV’s, fridges, and more; just overloading the system we design with add ons… And there have always been a few that fractured on travel on the corrugation and with Patricide or Fratricide killed the others in parallel… In the past ten years with all kinds of batteries, there were always accidental early deaths and failures… BUT: No one in eight months now has been able to kill our new batteries… I am sure someone will succeed eventually, but this is a breakthrough. We believe these batteries to be the best value for money on the market right now, and are available to current Bushtracker Owners at a discount for replacement batteries at $200 each.

For notes and more please refer to:


And Post 1442 (Archives) Announcing new Battery, A-200 gel X AGM, 100 AH, and Discount for current Bushtracker Owners March 21, 2005

Kind Regards from the “Lone Ranger”

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 03:06

Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 03:06
Bob and Steve and all,

21 March Posting...Damn! the day after we left on our three month trip....and, guess what? Our three-year-old gel batteries were not holding charge via solar and/or tow vehicles dual system. Then, we had difficulty getting them above 12.8v from the Honda 20i genny.

Rang Bushtracker from Hay on Tuesday before Easter and Peter agreed that our batteries were "on the way out". So, with knowledge that the new Gel-Glass-Mat (GGM) were the way to go. I ordered 3 to be sent to our camp at Nuriootpa in the Barrossa where we were booked in from27 March until 1st April. Peter also advised that our charger would have to be recalibrated and to ring Omegalec at Wollongong to make arrangements. Did that and then posted our charger from Hay for the work to be done. The batteries arrived on the Tuesday, that's one week,...with Easter in the middle! Miraculous........Thanks Peter and Bushtracker.

Price $244 each...delivered. Don't know if that included the discount?

The charger took a little longer but arrived on 1st April in time for us to complete installation before heading to Flinders and Oodnadatta.

Good service all round, but Murphy struck again whilst fitting. The batteries were too high and too long to fit into the battery box. But with some VERY careful modifications with the electric chainsaw, they were in, connected and charged ready for the trip.

Performance? Once they were fully charged, we had no problems for the rest of the trip.

Thanks BTI, Omegalec, and, Australia Post (Wow!)

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 03:15

Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 03:15
Hello Rob,
Thank you for the appreciation comments... We do our best to take care of our Customers, that is why we are where we are today!! If we ever fall short, it is not for lack of trying... Ha!

We sell them for $250, a discount to Current Bushtracker Owners at $200 just to do the right think with Loyalty... However, the $44 was probably our cost to freight them... We cannot afford to absorb that as well. Depending on which ones you had from years ago, yes these ones are larger, 100 Amp Hour... And so far, knock on wood.... they have proven to be the best in service we have ever seen.

Anyways, just a post to tell you, yes you got the Discount... But we could not absorb the freight...

Kind Regards, Bushtracker
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Follow Up By: TripnTaps - Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 08:28

Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 08:28
Good grief!!! Electric chainsaw.....that mustv'e been nerve wracking stuff... bet you needed a couple of reds that night Rob..

Talk about back up service.... impressive!

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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 19:16

Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 at 19:16
Hi Ho Steve and Helen,

Thanks for the explanation Steve, I actually thought that $44 freight for those heavy things was quite acceptable. So thanks for the discount! It was sure better than the alternative of buying other batteries as Bob did. What did we do with the old batteries? We found a "Steptoe" in the little town of Burra who was absolutely delighted with them. He said he was going to charge 'em up to try to crank over one of his old P76's.

Helen, the little chainsaw is now a bit of gear I just couldn't do without. Apart from this delicate operation on the battery box, it is great for cutting up the wood for fires...even in a National Park campground it has been used for this, without attracting the attention of prowling rangers. The 20i Honda runs it with ease. It's a 1400 watt Metabo and it will again be joining the chainsaw dance at Copeton.

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