I’m looking for a bit of battery advice!
I have read that AGM leisure batteries are the best given that we’re looking for conventional use: fridge, lights, a few 240v plugs etc. And to be used a few times a year probably for a few months total per year. The thing is I’ve just found some ‘dry charge unissued Cat 354-3613 12v 90AH batteries’ for a third of the price and was wondering what people might think of them? Does anyone know how they might work well in this case? Would they work with solar? Sure power? Split charge to my alternator?
Too big of a gamble for me… Not only have I never heard of them, I couldn’t find any specs on them either. Since it appears they were military issue, but no hint as to how old they are, there’s a good chance they’re only good for salvage.
I’ve been getting my house batteries used from either junk yards or battery recylers. Generally for under $20. Here in the USA, the batteries have dates on them so you can tell how old they are, and I’ve been able to get ones only a few months old, and they’ll last 5-6 years.
Generally, it’s best to cut your power needs to bare minimum. Inverters and powered fridges are very inefficient. Solar panels are just something else to sell you, rather than being a best choice. 12v appliances are much more energy efficient than 240v items on an inverter.
I’m a full timer, and I use an ice chest. A block of ice will last for a week for under $2.00, a 12v compressor fridge will cost upwards of $500, and likely won’t last longer than a year or two. I went through 3 of them in 5 years. Just not worth the money to me. I charge my house battery mainly while driving, that covers me for about 99% of the time. For the other 1% of the time, I have a generator and a battery charger. No solar. Even when I had solar, I still needed the other charging sources to make it work. Deleting the solar changed nothing other than the added cost and headaches, and my house batteries last 5x longer now too. If you do need to run something that’s 240v, the generator can do that too. My generator only cost $99 new, and the battery charger was only $29, both combined were both cheaper and better than solar.
Heating and cooking are best accomplished with a fueled appliances, not electric. I choose kerosene/diesel, but propane is another popular choice. I aslo have both kerosene and battery powered lanterns & lights, so IF my house battery system died, it would only be a minor inconvenience instead of a catastrophe.
40+ years of experience have changed me. I no longer believe in the latest & greatest, now I believe in cheap, simple, reliable, and easy to replace.