STAY IN CHARGE

How to take care of your aux­il­iary bat­tery

Go! Camp & Drive - - Reader Story | Botswana -

With the Easter hol­i­days be­hind us, there’s a good chance your aux­il­iary bat­tery needs some main­te­nance. Per­ma­nent dam­age might even be hap­pen­ing to your bat­tery as you read this! But don’t fret, there’s still time to save your bat­tery and pro­long its life. Here’s what you need to do…

Alot can be said about bat­tery life and how it re­lates to recharge rates. In the in­ter­ests of sim­plic­ity, here’s the gist of it: A deeply dis­charged bat­tery must be given enough time to re­cu­per­ate. There’s a pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tion that a bat­tery can rapidly recharge in a short space of time. This is sim­ply not true for most bat­ter­ies. Un­for­tu­nately, very few bat­tery man­u­fac­tur­ers and fit­ment shops con­vey this mes­sage, and over­land trav­ellers are pay­ing the price. Us­ing a pop­u­lar 105 Ah (wet cell) deep-cy­cle bat­tery as an ex­am­ple, the graphs high­light a few lessons about dual-bat­tery own­er­ship. This graph shows how much us­able en­ergy can be drawn from a 105 Ah deep-cy­cle bat­tery. The high­lighted area de­picts the safe op­er­at­ing zone and equates to a 70 % depth of dis­charge. In other words: You don’t get 105 Ah from a 105 Ah bat­tery! Gen­er­ally, you can draw be­tween 70 and 75 Ah of us­able en­ergy from the above-men­tioned bat­tery be­fore en­ter­ing the deep dis­charge area – where bat­tery dam­age is ac­cel­er­ated and the life of the bat­tery is short­ened. What’s the moral of the story? Leav­ing a bat­tery in a dis­charged state will ac­cel­er­ate degra­da­tion and cause per­ma­nent dam­age.

Na­tional Luna is a 30-year-old South African com­pany that pro­duces the world’s widest se­lec­tion of com­mer­cially avail­able 12 V fridge/freez­ers. They’re also the pre­ferred sup­plier to most ma­jor off-road trailer and car­a­van man­u­fac­tur­ers, and a global dis­trib­u­tor of more than 200 out­door prod­ucts and ac­ces­sories.

The Na­tional Luna In­tel­li­gent Main­te­nance Charger has a five-year guar­an­tee and sells for R1 595 at all lead­ing out­door and 4x4 stores.

Whether you’ve fit­ted a so­le­noid sys­tem (see yel­low line), or a 20 amp DC-DC sys­tem (see red line), it still takes more than four hours of driv­ing time to fully recharge a 105 Ah deep-cy­cle bat­tery. This graph shows the recharge rates of a so­le­noid sys­tem and a DC-DC charger, where the al­ter­na­tor is push­ing out 13.9V.

NOW WHAT?

There are so many vari­ables at play when it comes to a dual-bat­tery sys­tem, but gen­er­ally the fol­low­ing rings true: Most dual-bat­tery users are un­aware that their aux­il­iary bat­tery is partially dis­charged, and be­cause of this, the per­for­mance and life­span of their bat­tery is com­pro­mised, re­sult­ing in fre­quent bat­tery re­place­ment – or the in­abil­ity to power a camp­ing fridge through the night. Of course, the sim­ple so­lu­tion to this prob­lem is to drive more, but for most hol­i­day­mak­ers, driv­ing four to eight hours to recharge a bat­tery is sim­ply not prac­ti­cal. Plus, there’s a good chance your aux­il­iary bat­tery won’t recharge fully, es­pe­cially if it was deeply dis­charged the night be­fore. It’s an ex­po­nen­tial prob­lem: Each day the bat­tery is not fully recharged, there’s an in­creased risk of tak­ing it into a deeply dis­charged state, which is dif­fi­cult to re­cover from. Thank­fully, the so­lu­tion is sim­ple. If you own an aux­il­iary bat­tery, you need a 220V main­te­nance charger to re­store full ca­pac­ity and en­sure that the bat­tery is kept at op­ti­mum health, ready for your next ad­ven­ture. Na­tional Luna’s new In­tel­li­gent Main­te­nance Charger en­sures that your bat­tery gets what it needs in terms of time and en­ergy to reach a fully recharged state. With years of bat­tery-charg­ing and main­te­nance ex­pe­ri­ence, Na­tional Luna’s on­site lab­o­ra­tory con­ducted a se­ries of tests on al­most ev­ery bat­tery charger on the mar­ket. The re­sults cul­mi­nated in the launch of an af­ford­able bat­tery charger that does ex­actly what a bat­tery needs. The eight-step recharge pro­gram in­cludes a di­ag­no­sis of the bat­tery’s health fol­lowed by an au­to­mated se­quence of recharge rates to re­cover, re­store and en­hance bat­tery life. Best of all, the charger is self-reg­u­lated, so it can be con­nected to your bat­tery for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod of time with­out the risk of dam­ag­ing the bat­tery or “over­charg­ing” it. The In­tel­li­gent Charger is suit­able for wet, AGM, GEL and cal­cium bat­ter­ies from 1.2 Ah to over 120 Ah. The re­duced power mode is ideal for small bat­ter­ies used in mo­tor­bikes or jet-skis, while “boost” mode is use­ful for pe­ri­odic main­te­nance of cal­cium bat­ter­ies or bat­ter­ies that have been se­verely dis­charged and are show­ing signs of re­duced ca­pac­ity. The Na­tional Luna charger also fea­tures two ca­ble op­tions, al­low­ing you to choose how to con­nect the unit to your bat­tery.

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