I'm fairly new to caravanning, so forgive my stupidity.
I've got a cheap caravan and have had a load of fun in it (last year towed it the length of France!).
The charger in it has never worked (I don't think...) so I've just used a regular car battery from the scrappers with a regular car battery charger.
This is all well and good, but over winter, it's not plugged in in the storage yard, and the battery slowly over time loses charge until it's knackered.
I don't think there are that many solutions to this, but wanted to ask if I'd missed something. I presume the best way to avoid this is to connect it to a solar charger, though I don't see many people doing that. That, or just bring the battery home with me and connect it to a conditioning charger.
Have I missed something? What does everyone else do?
Personally, I think if I had my caravan in storage I would bring the battery home when I wasn't using the van. It is much easier then to keep an eye on the state of charge and top it up when necessary. Solar charging panels are an excellent idea, but they need to be angled very accurately to get maximum effect from them. That isn't always possible in storage sites, and if you put a panel in a window you may go back to it and find another caravan or vehicle blocking it.
My 'van came with a 40 watt solar roof panel which has worked brilliantly.
The 'van is stored in a non-shady spot (sunny is going too far in NE England) and the panel has kept the battery topped up to max. Since July 2014 when I bought it, the battery has never been off the caravan and is always fully topped-off when I visit - even through the winter.
------------- Camping Gear expands so as to fill the space available for its transportation.
You can recover failed batteries quite often, however, you need a decent quality computer charger that will restore it.
A decent battery should not drain over the winter unless something is still connected in the van. A prime culprit is the TV booster box. The answer is to always disconnect the battery when not in use. If you do remove the battery and take it home, it only needs a couple of sessions top up from a battery charger over the winter. Leaving a trickle charger on all the time is simply not necessary.
Quote: Originally posted by Hairywol on 04/2/2016
Looking back at the original post again it sounds like you've had great fun abroad in your caravan. It must be worth spending a few quid to get a proper charger and a proper battery.
You have me bang to rights there. Yes, we had so much fun in it that in theory I'm saving up for a bigger, better van so don't want to spend much on this one. I accept, of course, that a new battery/charger probably falls into the 'not expensive' category...
My van is in storage over winter, but I do leave the battery in place. I use a 10watt solar panel charger connected directly to the battery (a 75AH one. The panel sits in a south facing window and trickle charges the battery very well. Many people here seem to be obsessed with maximum output from the panel, well you don't need much for trickle charging!
------------- The Sun always shines on TV.(and not on my caravan!)
Reptile, don't bother spending a load of money. I blew 22 grand on a new Bailey a year ago. They allowed it to leave the factory with a wiring loom which did not connect to the built in solar panel, which must be just for show. Just take your battery out and keep it charged up if you want it to last. That's what I have to do because I keep the caravan in storage in France.
Basic rule of thumb take your batteries capacity and multiply it by 11% and that is the size of solar panel that you need to keep your battery topped up WITHOUT needing a solar controller, a little under or over does not matter
Just take battery home and put on charge with RAC charger from ARGOS £20( maybe £2/3 more since I bought mine).
check acid level if not maintance free and top up with distilled water to just above plates, replace plugs and connect crocodile clips to correct poles, plug into mains and switch on, press button on charger for car sign(middle one) and leave.
When battery come to fully charged about 13.7 volts charger will turn off till battery drops about 11.4 volts and then trickle charge till back to about 13.7 volts.
I had a Numax 110AH Battery (green cased) which lasted over 10 years till I over topped in a hurry and knackerd it using above method and never failed to be tip top at beginning of season.