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Hi Guys, Markand Simone here, we have a topender and live in it full time. The van is FOUR years old and it appears now we are having BATTERY problems. We have had no problems to date however, we just left a powered site with the batteries fully charged travelled app. 4 hours with a redarc DC to DC charger topping up the batteries showing 100 percent when we arrived at our free camp. We free camp for months at a time so we have a good idea on usage ran the inside fridge Engel's and lights for a couple of hours off to bed to be woken by Low Battery alarm

i am an electrician but i cannot load check the batteries, I am preparing myself for new batteries if required my queries are as follows

1.Has anyone replaced 3x120 amp hour batteries with Kedron recently and what cost were they?

2.Has anyone replaced with Lithium? and do you need to change the Battery Charger when you do, and what cost are they, we are still working and trying to reduce weight in the Topender so we are prepared to spend the extra$$$$$'s.

On a positive note we are extremely happy with the Redarc DC to DC charger very compact and works well, will definitely include one in a new van.

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Hi Mark & Simone,

Re battery prices, don't know were you are geographically at the moment, when I replaced my three AGM's I went to Alco Batteries www.alcobatt.com.au (they have many branches around this great country)....your in the trade you will be able to get a trade discount....my three batteries from Alco $750 from memory (about 18 months ago)

Re lithium batteries, if you do a search on this site you will find a couple of threads on this very subject I think all your questions on lithium batteries & charging will be answered there.

Hope your wallet doesnt get bashed about to much....LOL

A tip for you & everyone.....When replacing batteries, open front cover & undo the nuts securing the gas struts to the van body, you can then SLIDE the the cover to the left & remove it.....making it SO MUCH EASIER to lift the batteries in & out

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Hi Mark and Simone agree with Tony hope your wallet does not get bashed to much :o

We just this last week we went through the same situation and had to buy 3 new Century deep cycles at $410 EACH .

Last year an auto electrician replaced one battery and said that the others were ok well he was wrong and the new one was damaged already.

Not happy .

So the tip is always buy three new ones

Good luck

John

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Hi Mark,

You shouldn't be paying any more than $270-300 each for the Ritar 120AH AGM batteries - plenty of sources including Kedron and Springers. Ring Tom @ Kedron and I'm sure he will sort you out.

Redarc have communicated their DC-DC charger is not compatible with LiFePO4, so if you change to these you will need to find a new DC DC charger.

I don't actually use one between the tug and van - solar will keep things topped up a lot better than the car can while travelling - no different to if you were camping for the day... Do you need the DC DC while camping?

If you can change the parameters of your charger and solar regulator, you can optimise for LiFePO4. Over voltage and under voltage protection is mandatory to make sure you don't push the LiFePO4 over it's limits and kill them.

I would also recommend a battery monitor (AH meter) to keep an eye on things.

If you are happy with your 180AH usable capacity, 260AH LiFePO4 would give about 210AH usable capacity and cost would be about $1500. Weight just 36kg instead of the current 96kg - 60kgs lighter - just slightly heavier than one Ritar AGM at 32kgs.

LiFePO4 size is 262 x 220 x 283H

120AH AGM is 328 x 170 x 210H x 3

So you will need a different battery holder - but only one, so you would get some boot space back.

Lifetime is expected well in excess of 10 years provided you do not over charge or over draw.

If you have the cash, and know how, go for it, but do the research.

David

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Thanks everyone for your help, we have rung Tom and have booked the van in for a service where we will load check the batteries and replace if necessary.

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Hi to all, just a close out on our Battery Issue.

We put the van into Tom for a service($650.00) plus!!! i personally will not have this service done again, Tom load tested the batteries and they came up fine.

We stayed at Lawnton showgrounds and had an early morning wake up call from the Xantrax alarm showing flat batteries.

I walked down to Springers and spoke to an extremely knowledgable and helpful gentleman who explained load tests dont always give a true indication of Deep Cycle batteries

We negotiated a deal on Full Rivers batteries for $350.00 each and $50.00 to come to the showgrounds and install and dispose of the old batteries.

Tom's best price on Alco batteries was $390.00 each. We have free camped heaps since and the new batteries are working a treat. thanks again for your help on this matter.

Safe travels Mark and Simone.

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Mark,

We are in the same boat re age of the van and batteries and will be looking for a new set before we go to Tassie at Christmas, one thing I have found is that when free camping by turning off the brake control charger it saves a considerable draw on the system especially if in cloudy weather. I think this charger is rated at 8 amps and my unit has the charge light showing all the time when not connected to the car, so I just switch it off and make it part of my routine when connecting up to switch it back on again.

cheers

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Hi

Reading these types of messages on batteries makes me wonder when ours are going to give up as they are 7 years old this year.

Cheers

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Mark,

We are in the same boat re age of the van and batteries and will be looking for a new set before we go to Tassie at Christmas, one thing I have found is that when free camping by turning off the brake control charger it saves a considerable draw on the system especially if in cloudy weather. I think this charger is rated at 8 amps and my unit has the charge light showing all the time when not connected to the car, so I just switch it off and make it part of my routine when connecting up to switch it back on again.

cheers

Do you have a separate charger for the brake controller? As far as I know, ours is charger via the 7pin plug - only while driving.

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Hi Mark and Simone.

I am very curious as you reasons for not getting that "service" @ $650.00 ever again? Obviously well over priced for what was done?

Cheers

Merv

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Eric,

In our van we can isolate the brake control charger from the van batteries by the flick of a switch in the boot.

cheers

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Eric,

In our van we can isolate the brake control charger from the van batteries by the flick of a switch in the boot.

cheers

Hi Laurie,

You could easily replace that switch with a relay with the coil powered from the tail lights, assuming you use your lights while towing (I do).

Nice simple solution to having to remember to flick that switch.

David

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David,

Thank's for that, might run out of time before we leave on Tuesday, but will keep it in mind as I must admit I have forgotten to turn the switch back on on several occasions.

Yes, generally when the van is on my lights are on, I have my rear view camera on the car powered up through my light circuit, I use this one when driving and choose to flick between the van and car camera to check things on the A frame.

Laurie

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