Which Batteries To Buy?

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 08:57
ThreadID: 126172 Views:11928 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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Hi all.. We are again having issues with the batteries we have. They are only 12 months old AMPTECH AT 121000D 12V 100 AH. We had to get one of the three replaced last year shortly after we got them as it was boiling all the time! Rather alarming to say the least.... and smelly! Now, we find the other two are starting to heat up and smell as well. The battery shop here states that they are no longer being made, so we have the dilema of which ones to get to replace the faulty ones. We don't expect to get them under any warranty...or do you think we have a case? We are in a permanent site in Newman WA for at least the next 12months, and the charger is on all the time as we are parked half under a tree.
Any advice will be appreciated. regards, Jan & Easy
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Reply By: Bow & Nan - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 18:31

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 18:31
Before you buy new batteries check out the charger. Sounds as if you have a over voltage problem

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Follow Up By: Bow & Nan - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 23:58

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 23:58
Is the Battery Charger set to AGM

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Reply By: Motley - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 18:52

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 18:52
If you do need batteries, the Fullriver batteries from Alco (one of our supporters) have been good for us

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Reply By: Pam and Les - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 19:30

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 19:30
As you are going to be on 240v for the next 12 months you don’t really need batteries. I don’t know about the 12v system on the van, whether it will operate without a battery. I suspect not but can it operate on one as wired? As Greg says have the charger tested because once the batteries reach full charge it should trickle charge only. If it is OK then one or more batteries have a fault. But if it was me I would then check to see if the van can run on just the one battery and have no detrimental effect to the 12v system. As you are connected to 240v you don’t need a large amount of battery storage, in fact a standard car battery should be ample. So if the batteries are cactus one $150 battery would suffice. You would expect it to be at 100% charge most of the time.

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Follow Up By: F Troop - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 19:36

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2009 at 19:36
Hi Jan,
When my BT bats died in Kal, I ran the van on a single small car batt ( the boat's )and a 10 amp charger for 4 days while fixing the problem.
This worked fine
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Follow Up By: Taj Mah Tracker - Thursday, Nov 05, 2009 at 02:24

Thursday, Nov 05, 2009 at 02:24
We have been living on one 'loaned' battery for over a week, whilst we await delivery of replacement batteries under warranty up here in Cairns. The old batteries were 6 months old, the Supercharge 120AH glass matt type. I think they have a poor reputation and are being replaced with 100AH ones.
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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Sunday, Nov 08, 2009 at 02:45

Sunday, Nov 08, 2009 at 02:45
G'day Jan and Easy,

Having had a lot of leaking problems with the Bushtracker supplied AGM's...The last ones died at the beginning of this year.....I decided to be a BT Guinea Pig and try out the Optima Spiral Cell Batteries. Whilst I did consider the Fullriver's from ALCO, I really felt that the possible advantages of the Optima's claim of being "15 times less susceptible to vibration damage" was worth considering. They are only 75 amp hour and weigh 9kg lighter than the BT AGM's. They are very expensive at $480 each.

So, here's the first report.

We have had the batteries for 8 months and have been on the road for three months. All of May (Corner Country and Flinders) and then September-October, (Japarit Muster- Macksville and the New England Tablelands). About half of that time we were not on 240v power, so relied on solar, car alternator and a few occasions with the generator when the voltage dropped to below 12.3 and the amber light came on in the Pro-star 30 regulator. The Honda got the batteries up to 13.8 in less than an hour. This was at Japarit after we had been off power for 6 days.

Of course we won't be able to recommend that they are the best buy until we see how long they last. But so far we are very impressed.

We see the advantages of the Optima's as being:-

1. They are very quick to recharge.
2. They are 15 times less susceptible to vibrations.
3. They don't leak and can be mounted lying on their side if need be.
4. They are lighter....... 3 batteries saves 27 kg.

They disadvantages are:-

1. They are expensive.

Some may say that being only 75 AH would be a disadvantage, but our experience so far has been that they perform just as well as out previous BT 130AH AGM's.

Rob and Liz
AnswerID: 579256

Follow Up By: Rockgoc - Monday, Nov 09, 2009 at 02:35

Monday, Nov 09, 2009 at 02:35
Hey thanks for all that info. Easy will get onto them on Monday and see if he can get some sent over to us or find a local supplier here in the west. We need to get this sorted out as we are due to go away for 3+ weeks in December and I don't want to leave things as they are. The stupid thing is the batteries are behaving themselves now.......go figure! I am pretty fed up with it all actually as the original batteries were over 4 years old and we hadn't had one single bit of trouble from them, just that they were not holding a charge as well, and we had these new ones as a prize for winning a Bushtracker competition and decided to use them. Nothing but trouble!
Cheers Jan O
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Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Nov 22, 2009 at 22:36

Sunday, Nov 22, 2009 at 22:36
Had our BT electrics gutted and correctly done 2 years past. The contractor was expert at fixing BT electrics who described the BT electrical setup as utter crap. Installed 2 xtra panels at same time. When on power batteries do nothing. BT battery charger got dumped as described of dubious to poor quality. Dumped or changed a lot of equipment and flogged it to other BT owners as replacements. Since the new install everything electrical has been bliss. Previously constant battery failures. Money well well spent. 1 1/2 yrs past had the plumbing system rehashed for the better. John Guest fittings make things easy.
AnswerID: 579257

Follow Up By:- Sunday, Nov 22, 2009 at 22:46

Sunday, Nov 22, 2009 at 22:46
Righton Zil

If I were to order a new BT it would be written into the contract I would do the electrics and the plumbing.

Very little of the original remains in our van now.
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Follow Up By: Rockgoc - Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:33

Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:33
OK Zil, would you care to elaborate on who did the upgrade ...where they are situated etc? We got a new battery charger from BT when we put the new type batteries in the van and I am not convinced that the charger isn't faulty. My partner does not entirely agree with me, but I am sick of the whole saga. Up until we replaced the old batteires we had never had any problems with them. I would LOVE to never have a problem with amy of it again. Sick and tired of having to get up many times a night to either turn the charger off or on according to the warning it is giving!!
regards, Jan O
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Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:08

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:08
Was a young guy Matt with a BT in WA that put me on to Landline in Albury. Another vanner with Matt had his solar and electrics reworked after getting a bum install job in Brisbane. He could not speak high enough praise of David as I do now. He had a string of BT, Kedron and Sunland vans lined up doing major electrical work. David is now only doing corporate design and stopped doing repair work on vans and then stopped all van work. Had the plumbing redone by one of Davids workers Collin. Plumbing once I saw it done would tackle myself now. Our BT is probably 100kg lighter after dumping all the BT electrical crap and excess batteries. Could not believe the wire cutting and crap was chucked out the door of the BT. David runs a forum of which I am a member. Travel and tech info is good. Members photographs are a gold mine of information. Membership requirements are strict. Content and dialogue make it worthwhile. If you dont contribute on reasonably regular basis you are also out. I like the trip reports and raport there among members. Miranda nick named David as Eveready as he is heavy duty like the battery. We always drop in and see him or invite him and his wife down to a bbq on Murray River.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:15

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:15
That sounds like "GeezerDave".

He's either loved or hated on several caravan forums. I've seen a lot, and I mean a LOT, of negative comment on these forums about the man so my natural reaction would be to tread cautiously.

However, internet forums are free and easy places to post negative comments (I hope this is not interpreted as one) so a liberal pinch of salt might apply as well.

FollowupID: 851990

Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:49

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:49
Ern is not only a negative comment but find it hightly offensive. I was hoping this forum may be different to other public forums. Obviously this forum is filled with the same rat bags that frequent other public forums. Whoever administers this forum can cancel our membership. Thankful did not pay the subs to belong. We are now proud to call David and his wife our friends. We attended a CMCA rally for a presentation and met Collyn Rivers. CR stated David was one of the few in the industry with excellent knowledge. We have been sincerely grateful to be recipients of his expertise and knowledge. Thankfully the calibre of members on the RVtravel forum are significantly higher calibre than here. My wife and I are infuriated by your comments.
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Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:50

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 03:50
Our apologies to Ern. See Stephen is the black pig.
FollowupID: 851992

Follow Up By: CD & JW - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 08:32

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 08:32
Zil, I didnt think Stephen meant anything negative. Hope you rethink.
I have always found this a very informative and friendly forum with occasional misunderstandings (that happen everywhere) quickly rectified.

Of course you are correct Stephen - we should always tread cautiously and test any info posted on any forum. Just because it is in print doesnt make it true blue, but certainly found Zil's sharing of info interesting and worth a follow-up.

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Reply By: Turist - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 22:11

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 22:11
In order to comply with the request made by Zil his membership has been terminated.

Members may also be interested to know that the details supplied as part of Zil’s registration process are suspect to say the least.

"Do It While You Can"
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AnswerID: 579258

Follow Up By:- Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 22:30

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 22:30
Who's thinking what I'm thinking???????????????
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 23:10

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 23:10
oink, snort, snuffle, oink

(translation: Zil = GeezerDave = any number of other nom-de-nets stirring caravan forums as is his modus operandi)

oink, snort oink

(translation: cheers)

Actually I was beginning to worry that every time I submitted a post here, someone resigned!!

Pretty soon I might be last man standing.

Thanks for the supportive MMs too.

FollowupID: 851995

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 23:52

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 23:52
I must say that I agree entirely with the comments and actions taken by Turist.

The person using the Nick Name "Zil" gave a very unusual surname and a Telstra check shows that there is no one listed as having a phone number in Australia with that surname and the only contact that he gave was a gmail account that anyone could start.
He also registered on the site and then the same day started bagging the Bushtracker Caravans and other makes. In the past we have found that genuine owners would never do this.

Enjoying the friendship of BOG members

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