Upgrading Caravan Batteries

Upgrading Caravan Batteries

Upgrading Caravan Batteries – A Conversation with the Experts

Batteries are a crucial component of any caravan electrical system, providing power when you’re off the grid. But with new battery technology constantly evolving, it can be confusing to know which type is best for your caravan.


To help make sense of it all, Luke from Performance Auto Electrical recently sat down with Mark from Independent Battery Distributors. Using Simon’s Supreme Caravan from @anothercrossonthemap as a case study, they discussed the pros and cons of different battery types and how to properly upgrade older caravans to lithium batteries.


The Lowdown on Calcium Batteries:

Calcium batteries are a very common choice for caravans, but they have some downsides. As Mark explains, they require a lot of maintenance and charging time – up to 20-22 hours to fully charge. This older battery technology also vents gas if overcharged, making placement an issue.


The Benefits of AGM Batteries:

Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries have been around for a while and are a step up from calcium. Since AGM batteries are sealed, they don’t vent dangerous gases. However, Mark points out they still have long charge times, needing 16-22 hours to fully charge.


Cycle life is also an issue – most AGMs last only around 240 cycles in a caravan setting. And they’re still heavy, weighing in around 24-28kg. An improvement, but still adding a lot of weight to your caravan.


Why Lithium Batteries are Ideal:

The benefits of lithium are numerous. Firstly, they’re ultra lightweight – Lithium batteries came in at 16kg

Lithium batteries also have a far greater cycle life, ranging from 1500 cycles up to 4000 cycles depending on the quality. And they can discharge 100% of their capacity, unlike AGM batteries.

With faster charging, lighter weight, longer overall life and no venting issues, it’s easy to see why lithium has become the top choice for caravan owners looking to upgrade their batteries.


Battery Management Systems:

Lithium batteries require specific charging profiles to maximise performance and life. Luckily, Simon’s caravan already has a smart Redarc BMS that’s programmable. After installing the new lithium batteries, Luke simply reprograms the Redarc manager to the proper lithium battery setting.


For other caravans, the right BMS or lithium-compatible charger is a must, Mark explains. While lithium batteries have some tolerance for irregular charging, a mismatched charger can damage the batteries. Always check charger suitability before upgrading battery types.