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You can Caravan without the Orange lead
Store your battery when not in use in a dry, frost free place and give it an occasional charge.
Never stand a battery directly onto a concrete floor as this can damage it. Talking to caravan owners who do not rally, it would appear that the most common reason for not trying rallying is the fact that they would not be on mains electricity for the duration of the rally and are worried about the caravan battery not lasting. It is true that modern caravans are designed for connection to the mains supply but it is also true that it is quite possible to last for a five day rally on a fully charged battery - providing care is taken with the use of electrical items.
Some of the biggest culprits when it comes to drawing current from the battery (and therefore discharging it faster) are:
1/ The halogen (filament) lights fitted to modern caravans that take far more current than the fluorescent lights that were standard until a few years ago, so only use those lights that are necessary and get into the habit of switching off unnecessary lights
2/ The blower fan fitted to the heater 3/ A colour television - only have it on when you are watching it.
Calculating battery requirement
If you add up the total watts used e.g. 240 + 10 + 25 + 500 = 775 watts
To work out the total number of amp hours you divide by the voltage
(12v) 775 watts /12 volts = 64.5 amp hours.
This is ample usage for normal weekends so don’t be afraid to use any of these items,
but only use them for as long as is necessary.
Always leave home with a fully charged battery. Remember that the battery condition meter in the caravan only gives an indication of the charge of a battery; the fact that it is 'in the green' doesn't mean that it is fully charged.
Always fit the largest battery possible, modern caravans will accept a 110 Ah battery in the battery compartment but be warned these are a lot heavier than an 85 Ah battery and need a fair amount of strength to get them in and out safely.
Dropping a 110 Ah battery onto your toes will not do the battery any good at all - but it will do a lot more damage to your toes!
Just to be on the safe side, for rallies that last longer than a weekend, take an extra fully charged battery.
For extended holiday rallies the marshals will often have access to mains electricity and will often have a battery charger available, however this varies so check with the marshal.
Many rally visitors these days use a solar panel that gives a useful battery charge during daylight hours. Solar panel technology has advanced a lot in recent years and they can give a useful change even on overcast days. Although this is unlikely to fully replace all of the charge taken from the battery during the day, the graph below illustrates how a battery that would normally last for around 4 days can be made to last for 14 days. The actual extra time gained depends on many different factors, e.g. how much current is drawn from the battery, the capacity and health of the battery, the weather, etc.
Reproduced from Solar Solutions website Panels vary in power from around 18W up to 50W, which is about the largest panel that is physically manageable (size not weight), panels can be stood on the ground or, with a bit of modification, they
can be placed on the roof of the caravan which gets them out of the way.
Caring for your battery
A battery must always be stored in a fully charged state, so make a point of charging it as soon as you return home from a rally, failure to do this can result in the battery plates 'sulphating up' which can drastically reduce the life of your battery. Check the acid level at regular intervals and top it up to the correct level using only distilled water, never let it drop below the top of the plates, but don't overfill it either, and never be tempted to put in extra acid to try to rejuvenate a tired battery, it has no effect and
is a dangerous practice.
Hopefully this will encourage members who have yet to try a rally for the above reasons to give it a try.
Estimated Hours you will use it without a re-charge