Batteries – For Caravan /Motorhome/Off Grid use

When we go to our naturist club,we always stay in the Cabinchaletshed which is off grid and has no power whatsoever. We do have a couple of batteries one which runs the lights and the other which runs the other electrical appliances. So far we’ve not had much success hooking it up on a solar circuit but we can charge it up from time to time. Both are leisure batteries but how does decide exactly which one to buy. I found somewhere online this handy guide which hopefully may be of use.

Have you ever had a problem with the leisure battery on your caravan or motorhome? Maybe you’ve been wondering what the difference is between a leisure battery and a car battery? If you are relatively new to caravanning and haven’t had to deal with the battery yet, chances are you’ve never given it a second thought. Whichever category you fall into, owning and holidaying in a caravan means you will need to deal with a leisure battery regularly, making a basic level of knowledge invaluable. Aside from enabling you to maintain your battery in a way which will prolong its life and keep your costs down, being able to recognise the signs of potential damage in a leisure battery is essential for the safety of anyone using your holiday accommodation.

First things first: what is a leisure battery?
A leisure battery is the power source for the 12V appliances and equipment in a caravan or motorhome. These batteries are designed to provide a steady level of power over a prolonged period of time and are used by the lights, T.V, kettle, oven and similar appliances in some outfits. Basically, they are the part that makes your caravan into a comfortable, habitable accommodation, rather than just a vehicle. If you intend to buy a brand-new battery, bear in mind that leisure batteries normally are not supplied with new builds, although you will usually get one included in a new motorhome. Check with the dealership when arranging the purchase to make sure you have time to source a leisure battery before you plan to take your first trip, if one isn’t due to be provided.

Is a leisure battery just a different name for a car battery?
No, a leisure battery and a car battery are two very different power sources. It may be possible to use each of the batteries in the other’s place in the short term, but it is not advisable due to the different ways in which they produce energy. A car battery is designed to provide a burst of energy to start the engine when required, whereas a leisure battery will release a lower level of energy over a prolonged period of time in order to power appliances. Due to the difference in intended purposes, leisure batteries and car batteries are not constructed in the same way. A car battery has thinner plates and different separators, which mean that it is not as well-equipped to deal with a prolonged period of use for a lower level of energy, and vice versa for leisure batteries. There is a type of battery which can perform well at both functions, an AGM battery, but this is not commonly used.

Types of leisure battery
Most leisure batteries are lead-acid batteries, although we will provide information on some alternatives later in the article. Within the category of lead-acid battery, there are a few different types available:

Standard starter batteries – also known as calcium or cranking batteries
Standard leisure batteries – also known as auxiliary or deep-cycling batteries
Semi traction and traction batteries – also known as deep-cycling batteries
As well as these lead-acid batteries, there are a few alternatives which may be used as leisure batteries in certain circumstances.

Gel batteries – These are used in vehicles such as jet skis and quad bikes, which have a higher than average risk of crashing. The use of gel inside the battery removes the risk of damage from being tipped over and, therefore, the risk of injury from leaking corrosive acid. Some imported caravans and motorhomes are now fitted with gel batteries for extra protection in the event of an accident.
AGM batteries – We mentioned these briefly in the section about car batteries v leisure batteries. AGM, or Absorbent Glass Mat batteries comprises of lead plates and compressed glass fibre in each cell. Combined with specific manufacturing processes, this makes the battery capable of a much longer lifespan than a lead-acid one. However, it is also more expensive to produce. As well as being able to withstand a greater number of charging cycles, AGM batteries have the advantage of being functional as both starter and leisure batteries.
Maintenance-free batteries – While conventional batteries have removable caps to allow the acid levels to be checked and topped up with deionised water, some manufacturers are now producing what is described as a maintenance-free battery. This is a sealed unit which cannot be topped up, built due to the fact that batteries which are not charged in excess of 14.6V rarely need this done anyway. If 14.8V or more is used, it is important to regularly check the electrolyte level of a battery and replenish as required.

Why should I use a leisure battery?
You will need a leisure battery in order for most of the 12V appliances in your caravan or motorhome to function but, even if it wasn’t essential, there is a very good reason for choosing to use a leisure battery rather than powering the devices directly from a mains charger or similar. The secondary function of a leisure battery, aside from powering appliances, is to correct any irregularities in the power supply, keeping you and your appliances safe.

Lead-acid battery safe handling
Due to the flammable nature of batteries and the corrosive properties of the acid within, proper safety measures must be followed when handling batteries.

Getting the most from your leisure battery
Apply a thin layer of Vaseline or grease to the battery’s terminals ans always use high quality clamps. If spring-loaded clamps are used, ensure that their steel contact surfaces do not rust. Regularly check that the electrolyte level covers the lead plates on the battery. If not, top up with deionised water as required. Always wear full safety equipment when inspecting and maintaining the battery. Check regularly to make sure the gas relief tube remains fitted securely and correctly.Recharge the battery once it falls below 50% power. Never allow a battery to completely run flat as this can greatly reduce the lifespan.Remember to care for your battery when your caravan or motorhome is to be unused for a period of time. A trickle charger is a good idea in this situation.Never leave the battery uncharged. A white deposit, caused by sulphation, will form on the plates, rendering the battery unusable.Remember that a battery needs a charger with an output of at least 10% of the battery’s capacity. For example, a 90Ah battery will need at least a 9 amp charger. Any less will significantly reduce the capacity

 

What affects a battery’s performance?
There are quite a few factors which may affect the performance of a leisure battery, including temperature, age and the size of the battery.

Temperature – The colder the temperature, the poorer the performance of the battery. The amp hours rating which is stated is based on a temperature of 25C, with each degree lower causing a 1% drop in performance. For example, an 110Ah battery operating in 15C temperature will actually perform as a 100Ah.
Age – Most batteries will not last more than around five years due to a decrease in performance over time
Consumption – If a high number of appliances are run from a battery, it will discharge quicker and therefore need to be recharged more often. This frequent recharging will cause the battery to degrade sooner.
Size – The more appliances you need to run, and the more power-hungry those appliances are, the bigger your leisure battery will need to be. For example, a motor mover will require a large battery. You should also consider the time of year you tend to travel, due to the reduction in performance caused by cold weather.

 

Sunshine Delight

The Bank Holiday came and went and as usual it was a working one for me,which meant today,Tuesday,would be my designated day off instead of Monday.Fortunately for me the temperatures held up and today also saw the 30°C+ temperatures see on the three previous days.

This afford me a clothes free gardening day and meant I could stay clothes free until around 5.30pm.

Always up early I was out and in the garden at around 7.30,first deadheading the plants on the extended patios before doing a first water at around 8am. There was dew and hazy mist around but the heat was already begining to rise at around 9.

Once the watering was done,I took advantage of the early start to cut back and trim the hedge on the right hand side and the bush half way down on the left. It took about and hour and looked much better as I cleaned up the cuttings from the lawn.

Next was cutting the lawn,which I’d not done for over a week and meant too I could pick up all the smaller bits in the mower box that I couldn’t pick up by hand.The temperatures were scorching so I took time out and went inside for a break and to do some housework.

At about 2.30 I ventured outside to cut the lawn edges all around before doing a second watering and finally to havest my beetroot crop.

For a first attempt and with free seeds from a gardening magazine I was pretty please,although some suffered from being to close together.

With that done,I tropped off indoors for a shower and to rest again after all it is my day off work.

Staying Put

Club days

15th – 18th August

After a day at work we decided to spend as much time as we could, hopefully catching some sunshine at the club,topping up our all over tans ahead of our holiday in September.

We arrived on Thursday morning and as usual the forecast had changed and the temperature had dipped. We never the less stripped off and enjoyed what sunshine there was for the rest of the day.

In the evening and after a couple of drinks we turned in to watched a film that my beloved had chosen Blue Velvet.

This film was lets say interesting but even so we watched it all the way through before nodding off.

Friday was a complete washout really as far as the the weather was concerned,as it rained almost continously. We breakfasted,read for a while,then decided to do a little bit of shopping, before returning in the evening to once again watch a film.

Saturday dawn bright and sunny and once again it allowed us a clothes free day,although the breeze and the temperature wasn’t always so scorching.

After another evening spent watching TV and reading Sunday was very much a return to the trend of friday, which was totally the reverse of what the forcast said,so at around noon we packed our things,put on our clothes and headed home just as the heavy rain arrived.

Soulful & Sunny

10th – 13th August

As the mid summer break arrived we had a number of things planned as well as going to the club for a spot of relaxation. We both had 10 days off and apart from one day which I had to work, we hoped that we’d be able to rest up and not do too much rushing around.

We left home on the Saturday morning and dropped our things off at the cabinchaletshed and enjoyed a few hours of naked relaxtion,before heading off for the evenings entertainment in Southend.

The entertainment was a gig at Chinnerys on the seafront featuring Soulfly, led my one time Sepultura founder Max Cavalera.

The atmosphere was charged as Soulfly went through their set, adding a few covers in, along the way.

The set consisted of the following songs:

The Summoning

Under Rapture

Fire / Porrada

Bleed / Plata o Plomo

Prophecy

Arise Again

Babylon

No Hope = No Fear

I and I

Tribe

Ritual

Dead Behind the Eyes

Encore:

Rise of the Fallen

Back to the Primitive

Feedback!

(Max led a singalong to Ace of Spades beforehand)

Jumpdafuckup / Eye for an Eye

Crazy Train

I was driving so I didn’t have a drink,but we stopped on the way back for food at McDonalds (of all places 😳) before turning in around 1am.

At easter during a day stop over at the club I started reading Eric Clapton’s autobiography and through the two breaks so far this summer I’ve managed to finish it.

It’s proved to be as interesting as Neil Young’s autobiography last summer. Clapton delved into his time with John Mayalls Bluesbreakers,Cream,Blind Faith,Derek and the Dominoes and his solo career, as well as personal relationships with George Harrison and Patti Boyd.He also goes into detail about his addictions to drugs and alcohol.

It’s well worth buying if like me you are a big music fan.Next read…Bob Dylans autobiography which I’m told is a little bit different.

Definitely Maybe at 25

Chock full of heroic, gigantic pop monuments

Lou Thomas Review

In August 1994, just a few months after Kurt Cobain killed himself (and the grunge movement that he’d become the reluctant figurehead of), Oasis’ debut Definitely Maybe was released.

To put this seismic attitude shift into perspective: Kurt’s working title for the final Nirvana album, In Utero, was I Hate Myself And I Want To Die. Definitely Maybe’s most popular song is called Live Forever.

So how did two punters from Burnage, an unremarkable area of Manchester, become so famous? Despite the fact that the second album, (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory, sold more copies and propelled them to tabloid superstardom and 10 Downing Street, the answers are all here.

The album kicks off with Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, which Noel has since said was the end of everything he wanted to say as a songwriter. He’s right in a sense, as it’s easily one of the greatest songs about being up on stage ever written. On arguably Liam’s greatest ever vocal performance he goads all-comers with: “You’re not down with who I am / Look at you now you’re all in my hands tonight.” And that’s without even considering the attendant guitar riffs that snag your brain like barbed wire on your best jumper. If you’ve got a mate or relative who’s having a bad time of it, play them this, then watch them grow 10 feet tall and walk down the street like they rule the whole world.

Although at this point it’s easy to imagine the faces of every other British band of the time sadly searching the classifieds for a new vocation, there are still 10 more tracks left. How about Supersonic, a sky-scraping anthem about individuality adopted by the masses? Or Cigarettes and Alcohol, a brash T Rex paean to hedonism? Or Bring It On Down, a non-stop, no-messing punk stomp to certain death or glory?

It’s easy to trot out the tired argument that these Mancs don’t have the power of The Stone Roses or The Smiths because the songs don’t have the wistful, melancholic air that one comes to expect from songs emerging from that rainy Lancashire city. Is it true to say “It’s just Beatles songwriting with Sex Pistols attitude”? Maybe. But have these songs transcended the Conservative-greyed and Britpop-glossed years in which they became public property to become heroic, gigantic pop monuments in their own right? Definitely.

Tracks

1 Rock ’n’ Roll Star

2 Shakermaker

3 Live Forever

4 Up in the Sky

5 Columbia

6 Supersonic

7 Bring It On Down

8 Cigarettes & Alcohol

9 Digsy’s Dinner

10 Slide Away

11 Married With Children

Contributors

Produced by Oasis, Mark Coyleand Owen Morris

Mastered by Owen Morris

Release Details

LABEL – Helter Skelter

DATE – Aug 30 1994

Nymens & Anglesey

Early July

With the Holiday season upon us,we decided that we’d try to make regular visits to the club during this time. We also tried to disperse them around visits to some National Trust properties and/or other days out should the weather not be nice enough to sunbathe.

The first two days of were spent at the club, getting it ‘ship shape’ after so long away. Then by adding some improvements we hope of having some regular viewing entertainment, rather than spending all night drinking,as there is very little other entertainement to hand at the club.

Our day out to Nymens was on a lovely sunny day and we made good time at the Dartford Crossing and made it to Nymens in Sussex at around noon.

Nymans is an English garden to the east of the village of Handcross, and in the civil parish of Slaugham in West Sussex, England. The garden was developed, starting in the late 19th century, by three generations of the Messel family, and was brought to renown by Leonard Messel.

Ludwig’s son Colonel Leonard Messel succeeded to the property in 1915 and replaced the nondescript Regency house with the picturesque stone manor, designed by Sir Walter Tapper and Norman Evill in a mellow late Gothic/Tudor style.

He and his wife Maud (daughter of Edward Linley Sambourne) extended the garden to the north and subscribed to seed collecting expeditions in the Himalayas and South America.

The garden reached a peak in the 1930s and was regularly opened to the public. The severe reduction of staff in World War II was followed in 1947 by a disastrous fire in the house, which survives as a garden ruin. The house was partially rebuilt and became the home of Leonard Messel’s daughter Anne Messel and her second husband the 6th Earl of Rosse.

At Leonard Messel’s death in 1953 it was bequeathed to the National Trust with 275 acres of woodland, one of the first gardens taken on by the Trust.

Coming home wasn’t so good as the Dartford Crossing (Tunnel) from Kent was tailing back almost 10 miles adding a further hour to our journey. A couple of days later we made for Cambridgeshire visiting the lovely Anglesey Abbey.

Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust property near Lode and boasts wonderful gardens as well as a working 18th century watermill. It also has a classic 15th century house which feature a duet playing (piano and violin) in one of the downstairs rooms.

Anglesey Abbey is a country house, formerly a priory, in the village of Lode , 5 miles northeast of Cambridge.

The house and its grounds are also owned by the National Trust and are open to the public as part of the Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill property,although some parts remain the private home of the Fairhaven family.

Although the weather was not exactly wonderful we enjoyed our time looking around Anglesey Abbey.

‘Go naked: save the planet’ – A decade on

In 2008 this article appeared and over 10 years later it is still relevant and even more important in this era of climate change.”Go naked: save the planet” is the message from groups like Econudes.org,who claim living a naturist lifestyle could be the best way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

In an interview with The Independent, Naturist Life magazine editor, Suzanne Piper, says: ‘If anything, we predate the green movement, so you could argue that the greens are actually jumping on our bandwagon.

‘Back in the early Seventies, for example, naturism was defined as “a way of life in harmony with nature, characterised by self-respect, respect for others and for the environment”. ‘Even before then, in the 19th century, naturists always stressed their eco-credentials.’

Certainly, given the energy needed to manufacture garments, if we all stopped wearing clothing, far less energy would be emitted creating the clothes in the first place.But what about the energy needed to keep naturists in the northern hemisphere warm in their chilly houses?

Indeed, there’s a renegade group of naturists – Nudists Opposing Winter – who actually welcome global warming (explicitly on their website, http://www.weloveglobalwarming.org) and hope the world continues to get hotter.

Back to the pros, and even if northern-living naturists do need to fly to warmer climes to enjoy a naked holiday, the mere fact they pack so few clothes helps lower their carbon footprint.‘Nudist holidays turn natural laws on their head,’ says British naturist and writer, Liz Egger. ‘The scramble to cover every eventuality clotheswise is replaced by a disdain for apparel bordering on the obsessive. The immediate effect of this textile trimming is that my luggage, normally equal in volume to a medium-sized car, consists of just a small case.’

Could you be persuaded to leave your clothes at home for your next foreign holiday?A decade later both websites are still around but both seem to have changed course with one econudes barely updated and the other being more of a travel guide website.