Something very important to consider in caravans and campers is battery maintenance.. Batteries aren’t cheap and correct battery maintenance can mean longer life from your batteries and there’s a few things you can do to make sure they last a lot longer, in this article we’ll outline how you can get the most out of your AGM battery. The batteries in your MDC caravan or camper are an AGM type. That’s Absorbent Glass Mat. What it means is the sulfuric acid in the battery is actually kept in a glass matting. What that does is it makes them spill-proof. Originally designed for automotive and aircraft use they’re a very, very good battery and they’re a deep cycle. They’re a 100 amp-hour battery, which means you get about 50 usable amps from each of them. These will have very little discharge over a period of storage, but some of the things that can influence that discharge are the items that are connected to it during its dormant period.
If you’ve got an MDC caravan or camper, you will have one of or two of these items installed in it. One is a smaller seven-stage charger called Intellicharge 15 amp , which you’ll find in the smaller campers that will have one or two batteries.
There is a larger charger that has a much higher output, the Projecta Intellicharge 35 amp. You’ll find them in the caravans and the campers that have a much bigger battery capacity.
There is also the IDC25 DC-to-DC controller. If you have a Robson or one of our caravans, you’ll have one of these which controls the solar panels on the roof, regulates them, and also operates the Anderson plug on the drawbar. It will also make any vehicle with a smart alternator charge the batteries while you’re driving.
Every one of these has what we call a back draw. A mains charger or DC to DC charger while dormant, not being in use, not charging the batteries, will draw back a slight current from the battery. If you have two of them, we’re talking about a 10 milliamp back draw at any time. Sometimes a little bit more. That will slowly over time drain the batteries. Weather conditions such as cold weather isn’t favourable for batteries. That’s why you also never store them on concrete. Always keep them up out of the way and store them in better conditions, not really cold conditions. To make sure your batteries do last a long time, you need to charge them regularly. In the manuals and in our videos, we will state charge them at least monthly. That’s critical because over a month these guys will draw enough to start lowering the battery down to its threshold voltage of 12.05 volts. You don’t want it to drop below there. As soon as it starts dropping below there, you can actually do damage to the battery.
They get a condition called cellphate. A deposit starts to build up on the plates and eventually they become unrecoverable and they’re a throwaway item. Send them off to the recyclers. To prevent that, charge a battery regularly. With Projecta seven-stage chargers, it is okay to leave these batteries on charge all the time. A seven-stage projector charger will go all the way down to a trickle charge, which is a minuscule charge that will keep the battery in peak condition, peak charge for long periods of time. These batteries are also used for uninterruptible power supplies in phone exchanges or to protect computer equipment, that sort of thing. They are able to take a full-time trickle charge, no problem at all. That is how you keep them in tip top condition. Your IDC25 controller is a three-stage charger.
If you have a caravan that’s sitting outside, it will constantly top up your batteries and will go down to a trickle charge as well. If you’re using a caravan cover, remember you must plug in and charge via the seven-stage charger because your solar panels simply aren’t going to work underneath that cover. So, folks, look after them, charge them regularly. The Projecta products in your trailer are the right gear to take the best care of your batteries. If you simply pack your camper up, leave it with no charge for a period of time, your batteries will deteriorate to a voltage which will make them unrecoverable and you’ll be up for the cost of replacing them.
That’s everything you need to know about maintaining the AGM batteries in your MDC caravan or camper. Remember, regular maintenance charging is critical to your battery lifespan. For more great tips and Masterclass videos, go to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook so you can see each episode as it’s posted.