• Gary Godderidge

Choosing a leisure battery

whether you want to camp on a vertical mountain in Wales, or some obscure farmer's field surrounded by cows, It'll be your leisure battery that keeps the lights on and Eastenders on the TV.

But any old car battery will do the job right? Well, actually no. At least not effectively. A car battery needs to... wait for it... start a car. This means delivering a lot of power quickly. A leisure battery, or deep cycle battery, doesn't need to do this, instead it's required to discharge a leisurely current (sorry), over a prolonged period.

Common types are Vented Lead Acid batteries, (VLA) and Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries. (VRLA). These types are commonly known as wet or flooded batteries, as they contain sulphuric acid. The older VLA's require regular maintenance and can smell quite a bit as they charge as oxygen and hydrogen gases are released. They must, therefore, only be used in well ventilated areas.

VRLA's are sealed and require no maintenance and so are safe to use in habitation spaces.

AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) is the newer incarnation of a VRLA battery, and has a lifespan of around twice that of the VLA's. It will also charge faster and generally outperform the VLA's in every respect. They cost a little more, but it's money well spent just for the extended lifespan. Being sealed, VRLA's can be seated upright or on their sides, making them much more versatile than VLA's.

Gel batteries are also a form of VRLA's and are pretty much top of the tree where leisure batteries are concerned. They will outperform everything else here, but are the most expensive, and just plain heavyyyy. If neither of these things faze you, and you have the space, Gel batteries are a no-brainer.

A word here on Lithium batteries. Since their inception in 1985, Lithium battery technology has improved in leaps and bounds, and can now be found in pretty much everything techy. Caravans and motorhomes have not been ignored in the lithium charge for glory, with a lithium battery weighing in at about half that of a VRLA, whilst losing nothing in power, and with a lifespan around ten-times longer.

They do have certain limitations however, and are crazily expensive, but as the technology improves still further, they are sure to drop in price. Watch this space!

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