Purchased these batteries on the 1st May, 2016, most specifically because of their ‘3 year warranty’, (which has now risen to 4!).
Great deal for £70 each, you would think.
Here’s the bumf I read before buying the batteries for my narrowboat.
A 4 year warranty!
My 35w fridge and a few 20w lights and the occasional 32w TV would be fine, you’d think…..
It’s not the case.
Winter bye bye
After one winter, these batteries are useless, or as the guy at Kwikfit put it, “totally dead“.
When the weather turned colder, back in January, suddenly it was like some one turned the lights out, or dimmed them at least….
One day, they were charging up fine, and discharging over the course of a day or so.
The next day, after one or two days of harsh weather, they were discharging within around 2-4 hours.
Now that has dropped to 2 hours.
All my food will rot.
I will catch food poisoning and die.
After charging, 2 leisure size batteries hold charge for 2 hours. That’s day-time usage, with only one device running, a 35w Shoreline RR46A fridge, on a setting of 1 (the lowest).
At night, it’s the same environment with the addition of some lights, (low wattage LED).
Testing the operating environment
One of the problems with a narrowboat being that the contacts can become corroded, causing a slight short, which can place an extra strain on the batteries.
I wondered what had gone wrong, so measured all the appliances, such as the lighting, water pump, 12v sockets, and the 12v loom in general.
I did this by
- fully charging the batteries.
- isolating the batteries from 12v mains
- connect the mains (check loom)
- connect the lights
- connect the waterpump
- connect the fridge
It was obvious, once the fridge was connected, the charge started falling off quickly.
So I checked the fridge.
Shoreline RR46A fridge
This is a 12v marine fridge. Cycles at around 30% on a setting of 1, (the lowest).
Energy usage around 35w, which is the usage on lowest settings, taking into account a fridge of this age.
You can find out about the Shoreline RR46a and it’s operating specs and the power usage in the manual. It’s actually the manual for the Danfoss BD35f compressor that runs the Shoreline RR46A fridge Danfoss_bd35f_compressor.
Nothing abnormal here.
Some stats on standard fridge run times.
|Month||Location||Cycles per day||Total cycles|
Throughout the life of the battery[s], the charge has never dropped below 10v: Operating range has always been in the range of 10.5v to 13v.
That means to say, the batteries have never been below 2/3 full.
I’ve been living on the boat the whole time. Times which I haven’t, it’s been in Marina.
The ABS 110LP batteries are NOT holding charge.
Eventually, having eliminated any other causes, I contacted the supplier ABS batteries in Stockport to activate the warranty.
After exchanging emails, spoke to someone called Andy at ABS (Stockport). Told him all about my problem with the batteries, and he agreed to exchange and upgrade them!
He said that the batteries were not suitable for anything other than ‘light usage items‘, which in comparison to the promotional bumf, which says they’re not suitable for ‘huge use items‘(!?)
Not particularly clear in the English language. Inferal doesn’t really do it when writing technical specs….
We arranged to pick them up yesterday, (Monday), and I’ve now got some of these
Had to go to Stockport to pick them up.
Connected them up, with results as above.
What made the big difference was not the usage, but letting the charge fall off in the winter, when the weather was cold.
Although I didn’t do this in any major way, when buying cheap batteries like these, you’re going to need to keep them topped off, especially during periods of cold, and NEVER let them run flat.
I did keep mine topped off to around 2/3, but it clearly wasn’t enough.