Why Leisure Batteries?

Discussion in 'Water Fed Pole Cleaning' started by WinWiz, Jan 3, 2014.

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  1. WinWiz

    WinWiz Member
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    Hi guys,

    (this is a great site btw)

    I was working with another window cleaner for a few months last year and we used his van. He had an old Omnipole system. It had a second car battery in the back of the van driving the pumps. He doesn't have to charge it every night.
    My new Pure Freedom system has two leisure batteries. And PF aren't the only company that prefers fitting leisure batteries.
    Why don't they fit standard car batteries? Wouldn't it be less hassle to maintain?
     
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  2. Tuffers

    Tuffers Hero
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  3. Smurf

    Smurf Banned
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    Funny enough I was going to say the same thing tuffers but that link now saves me the hassle of explaining
     
  4. WinWiz

    WinWiz Member
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    Wow that's great guys. Thanks so much.
    So am I right in saying that GEL batteries are the best for window cleaning?
     
  5. WinWiz

    WinWiz Member
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    And... If keeping the amps up on the battery is the most important thing and the voltage reading can be a bit vague, can I buy an amp meter that is easy and safe to use?
     
  6. spruce

    spruce Grand Master
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    #6 spruce, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
    They are very expensive and according to some there is very little electrical advantage of a GEL battery over a wet cell unit. From a safety point of view then a GEL is better as it has no liquid to drain out if the vehicle overturns in an accident. It also needs a special battery charger and you can't use a split charge relay to boost the charge. (Vehicle alternators will peak at around 14.4 volts and the max you can charge a GEL battery is 14.2v. Anything higher will damage it.)

    I have a 110 amp leisure battery in my Citroen Relay. My first leisure battery lasted 3 1/2 years and the second is now 3 1/2 years old. Battery is charged every couple of nights even although its connected to a split charge relay.

    I'm a bit confused what you mean by keeping the amps up on the battery on the subsequent post The quantity of electricity that is available from your battery is measured in amps. A volt is a measurement of the pressure of the electricity used to deliver that current.

    So in theory an 85 amp battery fully charged will power a electric appliance for 10 hours if the appliance is drawing 8.5 amps.
    The way to check the current (as in time) state of charge of a battery is done with a voltage check across the terminals. The best time to get an reasonably accurate reading is to wait the 4 hours until the battery has completely settled down and it's voltage stabilised.

    If you have a split charge relay and you make your way home from work, your alternator will be pushing between 13.8 and 14.4v depending on the state of discharge of your leisure battery. When you switch the engine off, the voltage across the leisure battery will slowly stabilise (drop) until the battery reaches its actual state of charge.
    If you don't have a split charge relay the battery will show a lower state of charge and slowly climb.

    Putting a voltmeter across the battery too early will give you false state of charge in both of the examples.
    I have a combination voltage and amp meter gauge in the van connected up permanently to the leisure battery. If the battery has had a bit of a workout or hasn't been supplementary charged for a few days, then the amp meter gauge is an indicator of what amp charge the alternator is applying to the battery. If it’s around 6 - 7amps, then the battery needs a supplementary charge.

    Do you need to buy a volt meter? They aren't expensive and are a useful tool provided they are used correctly.

    I use an intelligent battery charger for supplementary charging of my leisure battery. Do I wait for 4 hours before putting the charge on? No I don't. If I put the charger on when I get home and leave it on all night, the battery is fully charged in the morning. The battery will take a little extra charge from the alternator on the way to work - the battery charger peaks at a charge voltage of around 13.9v when my alternator will charge at the slightly higher rate of 14.4v.

    The reason why I invested it a combination volt and amp gauge was so I could see what was happening with the battery during a working day. I had no clue how much current (amps) each of our pumps drew on my 2 man setup using controllers at our preferred flow rate setting.

    When I put my son's van together I was so concerned that he could flatten his 85 amp h leisure battery in a couple of days and so included not only a split charge relay but also a change over switch so he could use his van battery to finish the day's work.
    Through experience we found out that he didn't need the change over switch as he never used it and bench charging his battery every couple of days was more than sufficient.

    This combo gauge has also helped me understand how little difference a split charge relay actually makes when we do very little mileage to and from work.
    For example; If I'm on my own and am out working for 8 hours, my assumption is that with residential cleans I will spend around 4 hours actually cleaning the glass. If my pump is drawing 4 amps per hour, then I will use about 16 amps from my battery that day. If I start the day with a fully charged battery then the only replenishment the split charge relay will do for my leisure battery is say 10 minutes moving the van (compact work) and 10 minutes drive home.
    If the alternator is recharging the battery at 7 amps per hour, then all that has been put back into the battery is 2.33 amps. This leaves a deficit of 13.6 amps for that day. If the following day is identical and I didn't recharge the battery that night, then the battery will receive 30 minutes of charge that day (to and from work and moving the van). So over 2 days my leisure battery will receive 5.8amps but will have lost 32 amps, a deficit of just over 26 amps.
     
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  7. keir

    keir Guru
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    Spruce, you mention voltage outputs from alternators being 14.4v, i take it thats vehicle specific? I have an 06 focus 2.0tdci, When i first started wfp i used the car battery itself via the power socket on the tow bar, fine no problems......but my journey to work is only 5.5 miles so i do 11 miles all day.
    But after a few months i burnt my alternator out, and sods law i was on a weekend jaunt to cornwall when it decided to go lol...but what i then found out was the charging system on my focus is a so called intelligent system

    What this means is when the car picks up a sufficient voltage drop of the battery the alternator kicks in and dumps 18 volts or more into the battery until it thinks its right, then stops. So unlike normal alternators like yours i was asking way too much of it in the 11 mile journey because instead of just kicking in and out periodically as designed mine was working overtime all the time especially in winter using fans,headlights,heated screen front and rear as well as running a pump all day no wander it shat its pants lmao
     
  8. spruce

    spruce Grand Master
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    My son in law's 04 plate Ford Connect also charges at 14.4v - no higher. Charging at 18v is going to do damage to other electrical items. Ford have started messing with ECU controlled battery charging which I'm told SIL's van also has. His leisure battery is connected via an intelligent Split charge relay and he has had no problems and when the combo gauge was on his van it never charged above 14.4v.
    Someone else on another forum also mentioned that his Vauxhall Vivaro peaked at 14.4 volts as well.

    I can't offer any suggestions as to why the alternator failed but I would hesitate to say that it was using the cars battery to run your wfp pump. There are lots of windies who use the van battery and haven't experienced any issues. I think you were unlucky. The chap across the road went through 3 starter motors on his TDCI Mondeo before he realised that his failing dual mass flywheel was the cause of these failures.

    The alternator is matched to meet all the cars equipment loads and the battery is just there to start the cars engine. Once the engine has started the alternator is what provides all the current the car needs. The alternator will provide the same output, whether the engine is idling or revving down the motorway. I'm not totally sure if a car's starter battery will accept a faster charge than a leisure battery via the alternator. I did notice that Webasto recommend that if you are using their diesel block heaters, then your journey needs to be as long as your preheater was working. This indicates to me that starter batteries don't charge at a fast rate.

    We have never managed to run our pumps off the van's battery successfully. My son's dog has tripped the change over switch on his van several times and he has ended up with a flat battery after 4 days. When we put the system into my SIL's Connect we also tried to use his van's battery. Unfortunately that also went flat even although he does more mileage. We later discovered that the latest Varistream uses a small amount of current even when switched off. Over a week a fully charged leisure battery lost 25% of its charge due to the drainage. So it could have been that he could use his van battery after the isolator switch was fitted, but we had put a leisure battery in by then so we have stayed with the way it is now. SIL does around mileage of 20 miles to and from work and he very really has to charge his battery as the SCR manages to just keep up.
     
  9. keir

    keir Guru
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    Mmmm interesting

    Maybe mechanic talking out the top of his head, what i do notice though which sort of backs up what he said though is when i start the car and switch the fans onto 3 or 4 then put heated windscreen on to speed up any clearing, after a minute or so the fans appear to speed up, its like they are drawing off the battery to begin with then the alternator kicks in!!!
     
  10. spruce

    spruce Grand Master
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    I don't know TBH. a faulty sensor can throw up all sorts of strange things as can a poor earth. I'm afraid that as most mechanics are parts fitters - being able to identify the problem is another story. The old troubleshooter doesn't seem to be around as much these days. In the motor trade we found the best trouble shooters worked for the AA and RAC. If they recovered a car to our workshops, 9 out of 10 times they diagnosed the problem/fault correctly and sadly our mechanics relied heavily on their input.

    If the computer identified a fault code that was the start, but sometimes a fault code was thrown up because of a result and not the cause. That left them totally confused as does them seeing the result of a problem but no fault codes on the computer.

    The other issue is that a mechanic is not a computer whizz kid, and unfortunately, cars are made and designed by computer whizz kids. Most of the electronics of a modern car are way above the mental ability of most mechanics as that type of industry doesn't attract rocket scientists like Nasa does.

    Another problem is that most mechanic are on a weekly performance bonus, and searching for a problem is time consuming and a bonus loser. Easy to say "sorry no fault found" even although they didn't even look. Sometimes the car wasn't even moved out of the car park into the workshop and the customer found it in exactly the same parking as he had left it in the morning. My experience is that mechanics aren't very bright either.

    My Citroen Xsara Hdi Estate has a fan dial on the dash that has 2 sections. The right side allows you to select the fan's speed. The further clockwise the setting the faster the motor turns. Off is in the centre. To the left is an automatic adjustment that lets the software dictate the speed of the fan and it depends on the inside temperature of the car. On automatic the fan hardly rotates when the car is first started and its cold. Once the engine starts to warm up the internal fan suddenly speeds up taking advantage of using every scrap of warm air coming in to warm the cabin up to the preset temperature as quickly as possible. Once that temperature is achieved the fan slows down.

    In the summer the fan starts blowing full out if the car has been standing in the sun and slows down once the temperature in the cabin reduces.

    From our own experience, that heated front windscreen and rear window took some current on our Ford Fiesta. I loved that heated windscreen.
     
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