The market for quickly-rechargeable, light and compact batteries is huge. One or another battery will eventually evolve. When it does, electric-only vehicles are likely to have a range unthinkable using fossil-fuels. Moreover, in the meantime, hybrids are an excellent compromise. Furthermore, see also Electric Vehicles – Hybrids.
Batteries & Battery Charging
Globally, there is move to electric vehicles. Apart from minor rubber tyre particles they are virtually emission free.They are also about 80% efficient. If, however, their electricity is from fossil-fuelled power stations, their emissions are similar to year 2020 petrol-fuelled (or hybrid) vehicles.
In the 1930s, German archaeologist Wilhelm Koenig claimed that whilst excavating an archaeological dig near Baghdad (Iraq), he uncovered a small clay jar. It had a plug that sealed the opening. That plug had a copper tube with an iron rod inserted into it. If filled with an acidic liquid, the device functioned as a basic battery. Koenig and others made similar versions that generated up to two volts per unit.
Lithium-ion and lithium-iron-phosphate (a lithium battery rival) are two types of rechargeable batteries. They share some similarities but differ in high-energy-density, long life-cycles, and safety. Lithium-ion is used in smartphones and laptop PCs. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFEPO4) is that used in RVs etc.
Lead acid batteries for caravans are still a viable buy. They are made in different shapes, sizes and capabilities. All work in a basically similar way. Energy is stored within them as a result of electro-chemical reactions between lead plates and a water/acid mix (called electrolyte). They are charged by imposing a voltage across them that is greater than the voltage ‘within’ them at the time. The greater that voltage difference the quicker and deeper batteries charge. When battery voltage reaches the charging voltage, charging ceases.
Battery charging quickly and deeply by a generator is very possible but only if you know how it has to be done. This article shows why and how.
Blade fuse problems in caravans include fuses and fuse holders burning or melting. Fire risk is high because the fuses may continue to conduct. Ongoing current flow, however, may heat the fuse holder to burning point. This article by RV Books explains why and how to overcome the risk.
Lighting for caravans has changed. Now, by far the most practical and least energy drawing are LEDs (light emitting diodes). This article shows why.
Speeding battery charging from generators is cheap, effective and relatively simple. This article by RV Books’ Collyn Rivers explains how to do it.
Initial charging of a deeply discharged battery is generally limited to a basic dc-dc charger’s capacity: not the alternator’s. Dc-dc chargers under 20 amps thus usually take longer to charge close to flat batteries to half charge. Thereon, charging is hugely faster.
Battery charging and battery chargers are often misunderstood – causing batteries to die before their time. This article explains why and how to avoid it.
Fuel cells for RVs are non-polluting and ultra-quiet. Whilst initially promising their initial and running costs still excludes general RV use.
Twelve-volt caravan systems may be twin-wire or chassis return. Twin-wire is usually best. This article explains why – and which to choose to avoid problems.
Connecting caravan batteries is often misunderstood. This article explains what’s possible, and why and how to do it successfully.
All lead acid batteries, AGMs and gel cells, generate explosive gas. Even though most are sealed, makers stress that battery ventilation is vital still. Confusion exists over this. Around 2000, some battery makers began to claim that no ventilation was required. Or, ventilation, is advisable but not necessarily essential. They withdrew this advice, however, shortly after. Many batteries thus have a warning notice as below.
Variable voltage alternator problems with caravans and motor homes arise when charging auxiliary batteries. Here’s why and how to fix them. These alternators are, in particular, installed on many post-2013 vehicles.
Despite their very small batteries LiFePO4 jump starters really do work. This article by Collyn Rivers explains how and why. A lot of power (the rate at which energy is used) is needed. The amount of energy (the ability to perform work) required, however is surprisingly small. In the days of vintage cars, a strongish 55 kg (120 lb) girl could hand crank start a 4.5 litre Bentley with relative ease.
Lithium batteries in caravans and motorhomes pack a lot of energy but need specialised knowledge to use safely and reliably. Here’s how and why – and how to install and use them.
Knowing how to tell caravan battery charge is not easy. Get this wrong and good batteries are scrapped and bad ones retained. Here’s why, and how to tell.
Imported RV electrics are often not fully compliant. Their owners often wrongly believe they are. They cannot legally be sold unless remedied.