Caravan 12V Leisure Battery Independent Test - Very Revealing!

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The following illustrates a test carried out in February of 2013, as a result of concern from several eminent people in the caravan industry about the suitability of a number of batteries labelled leisure, or deep cycle.

These batteries were being sold mainly by caravan and motor home dealers in the genuine belief that they were retailing genuine 12 volt deep cycle batteries to their customers.

The performance of many of these leisure batteries was suspect and the test were intended to check the accuracy of the performance claimed and the suitability of the construction

It was expected in 2012 when EU an directive was issued on the performance labelling of starter batteries that leisure products would be included but at the last minute they were excluded on the grounds of difficulty in categorising them, so no specific legislation exists, except perhaps the Trades Description Act?

The test was at the request of caravan journalist and TV presenter John Wickersham and carried out by myself.

The test was witnessed in part (some of the tests took 24 hours) by the following: Bailey Caravans, The Caravan Club, The Camping & Caravan Club, The Motor Caravanner's Club, Andrew Harris of the Motorhome Channel, and John Wickersham of Haynes Publishing and the Caravan Channel.

The tests were first to fully charge the batteries to 100% then check CCA (starting ability), weight followed by a discharge test (for true capacity).

READ MORE: Platinum Batteries Starter Guide - Getting the most from your Leisure Battery

They were then all cut open to reveal the internal construction which shows whether the battery is a purpose built unit or a starter battery labelled as a deep cycle or leisure battery.

A proper cyclic battery has its plates lined with fibre-glass. This type will achieve around 400 cycles (a discharge from 100% down to 50%).

The starter battery type will give usually around 80 cycles. I fully expected at least 3 of the brands to be genuine. I was in for a shock as eight of the 9 in the test were starter batteries labelled as a leisure or cyclic battery!

  Ah Claim Weight
Claimed
Weight
Actual
Volts Full
Charge
CCA Test Discharge Ah Discharge
time to
10.5 volts
Comments
1 90 24.60kg 24.20kg 12.90v 12.90v 791cca 92.30Ah 22hr.59min Capacity ok, thin plates, no glass matt,
it is a starter battery
2 100 19.60kg 15.40kg 13.20v 13.20v 398cca 39.70Ah 9hr.54min No capacity, small thin plates, 
this is worst of all
3 110 25.20kg 20.30kg 13.00v 13.00v 529cca 50.60Ah 12hr.36min Again no capacity, small plates, diabolical!
4 90 24.5kg 23.50kg 12.90v 12.90v 581cca 65.30Ah 16hr.16min Poor capacity, small plates, no glass matt,
it's a starter battery
5 100 22.50kg 22.40kg 12.90v 12.90v 760cca 102.10Ah 25hr.26min Good capacity, good cca, no glass matt,
good starter battery
6 110 25.00kg 20.90kg 12.90v 12.90v 763cca 64.70Ah 16hr.07min Poor capacity. small plates, no glass matt,
it's a starter battery
7 90 21.50kg 20.60kg 12.90v 12.90v 631cca 66.40Ah 16hr.32min Poor capacity, poor cca, poor starter battery
8 90 22.60kg 20.60kg 12.90v 12.90v 653cca 84.50Ah 21hr.02min Same supplier as 7, better capacity,
still poor starter battery
9 100 24.19kg 24.10kg 12.90v 12.90v 608cca 98.30Ah 24hr.28min Good capacity, thick plates lined with glass matt,
hoe it should be


In Row labelled 9, you can see the results for the Banner Energy Battery, which was the only battery to comply with its own labelling.

READ MORE: NCC Verified Leisure Battery (Consumer Protection) Scheme Now in Place

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