How to Get the Most Out of Your AGM Battery

Want to get the most out of your deep cycle AGM battery?

Hi guys, Andrew here from Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast.

Knowing how to correctly charge and look after your deep cycle AGM battery is crucial for optimising its performance and life span. In today’s video, we’re gonna run you through few of our tips on how to correctly use and maintain your deep cycle AGM battery.

Now just to clarify, these tips only apply to the AGM deep cycle and not your starting battery. Starting batteries are a completely different composition and are design to be used or maintained in a very different way.

So now that we’ve got the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff.

Discharging

Okay, so let’s get into discharging, first up. If you want this guy to live a while, the last thing you want to do is discharge it too much or run it too flat. Basically, the lower the depth of discharge you take it to, the shorter its life span is gonna be.

We recommend trying not to go below 11 volts. Anything below 11 volts and you’re really causing damage to the battery. Any sort of dual battery system we wire up, we’ll always recommend using a low volt, some sort of low voltage cut out or protection system to stop this guy getting discharged too much.

Storage

Now that we’ve covered discharging, a second thing really is storage. When you store the battery, you always want to store it at a fully charged state. If you leave the AGM battery stored for a long period of time, say anything over a month in a discharged state, sulphation will always occur.

We’ll go into sulphation a bit later, but just remember, if you want this guy to last a long time, fully charge it before you store it for any amount of time.

Charging

Okay, we covered discharging, we’ve covered storage, let’s talk about charging. An AGM battery has a different internal resistance to your old school battery and it also requires a different charging method.

Whenever you charge an AGM battery, you really need a late model multistage charger. A charger that will go through an absorption, bulk and float phase.

The old charger you got, the old Arlec one that you’ve probably got in the back, will just cook this guy and destroy it and turn it into a balloon. So, whenever you charge this guy, you want to look for a modern battery charger that has an AGM setting or will detect an AGM, and shows a multistage curve. You’ll generally see five, seven to 11 stages are normally covered by your good brand chargers.

When it’s in the vehicle, it’s a different chemistry to your normal starting battery. So, your alternator isn’t really designed to charge this style of battery. Whenever you fit an AGM deep cycle battery to a vehicle, we always recommend using a DC-DC charger that again, either detects the AGM battery or can be modified to suit the AGM battery.

It requires a different charge rate your normal start battery. A DC-DC charger generally will always protect the start battery against any discharge on the AGM battery. So, the old VSR solenoid that people used to use, not such a good idea. These guys, DCDC charger, and you’ll get a much longer life span out of them.

Sulphation – Enemy of the AGM Battery

Sulphation occurs when sulfuric acid within the lead acid battery reacts to a lead sulphate on the battery’s negative plates. This reduces the surface area of the acid on the plate and makes it difficult for the battery to hold charge. The best way to prevent sulphation, once again, is to leave this guy fully charged.

We hope these tips have helped you understand how to correctly use and maintain your deep cycle AGM battery.

If you have any further questions about battery care and maintenance, give us a call on 1300 227 353, or email us at [email protected] or you can even comment below.

Ultimate Land Rover Discovery 4 Towing Set Up

In today’s video, we feature a huge job that we completed on recently, the Ultimate Land Rover Discovery 4 Towing Setup for connecting up a new caravan. I’m gonna take you on a quick tour around it and let you know what we’ve installed.

Rear Vision Camera

The first thing that we have installed for these guys is a reverse camera. The screen for the reverse camera is mounted on the dash. Now, the camera for this is actually on the caravan. What this allows them to do is, while driving they can see behind you and it gives them the vision to see right behind the caravan and usually the two lanes either side. It’s fantastic when you’re driving on the freeway and need to overtake or merging lanes. You can see everything behind you. They are absolutely awesome and one of the must-haves I think when you have a caravan.

Electric Brake Controller

Next up, we have installed an electronic brake controller. As usual, we recommend the REDARC TowPro Elite. You can mount little dial for these anywhere. These guys have opted to have it mounted just down under the steering column.

Camera Feed & Trailer Plugs

At the rear of the vehicle, we’ve got several plugs that we’ve installed. The first one is what connects the camera. This plugs into the camera on the caravan and makes it work on the screen in the car. That tucks away neatly in here and we’ve got a plate that goes over the top of it.

The next one is the 12-pin plug. This connects everything in the vehicle to the caravan, so you turn your indicators on in the car, it’ll work the indicators in the caravan, also for brake lights and various other things.

We then fitted two Anderson plugs here. We’ve got the grey one and that charges the batteries in the caravan while you’re driving. This is a really great option so that you know when you arrive on site that the batteries are fully charged so you can set up to free camp and that sort of thing.

We’ve also now got a red Anderson plug here. We use the different colours to differentiate between what you need to connect to them. Red will only connect to red, grey will only connect to grey. And this one hooks up the electronic stability and control or the ESC. That is computerised technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing the loss of traction or skidding. That means that the caravan that they have purchased is equipped with that. It doesn’t come standard with most caravans on the road.

That’s pretty much it, a really simple overview of this Land Rover Discovery 4 and the towing setup that we’ve done for it. If you do need any help or advice on what to set up in your car or caravan, you can give us a call on 1300 227 353 or comment below.

2 Top Reasons to get a Rear Vision Camera for Towing

If you are looking for a little more safety and peace of mind when you’re on the road travelling, we recommend installing a Rear Vision Camera for towing. The more visibility you have whilst reversing and driving, especially when towing a caravan or trailer, the safer it is for you, your passengers and other road users. This is why we recommend rear vision cameras for anyone that is looking to tow a caravan, camper trailer, horse float or any other trailer with their vehicle.

Rear vision or reversing cameras are becoming more common as a standard feature in modern vehicles. In fact, America has just recently introduced legislation to make reversing cameras a mandatory safety feature in all new vehicles.

When towing in particular, we recommend setting up dual rear vision camera’s. One on the rear of the car. This is great to use when you are hooking up the caravan or trailer as it allows you to see the tow ball/hitch. We recommend a second (dual) camera installed on the back of your caravan.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON DRIVER AWARENESS: It is possible for drivers to become over-reliant on reverse technology. while technology will greatly improve reversing and road safety, it should not replace active supervision!

Having a rear vision camera for towing can help in two main ways:

1. Increased visibility when driving

Now that you have your caravan hooked up, the total length of vehicle and caravan is usually more than double the vehicle. Which means you now have bigger blind spots. With a rear vision camera fitted to your caravan, you can leave the camera on while driving. This majorly improves visibility when merging or overtaking, very useful for highway driving!

2. Assistance for tight manoeuvring.

We’ve all been there – trying to get the caravan into a tight spot at a caravan park before the sun sets, narrowly avoiding a disagreement between driver and spotter. Well, with a camera on the rear of the caravan, this allows you to see behind the van and reverse it into that tight spot easily. Hopefully saving a few arguments in the process. 😉

Bonus Tips for Reversing Your Caravan

If you have recently purchased a caravan and don’t have much experience towing or manoeuvring, here are some quick tips for reversing. 

1. Take it Slow

If you are moving at a slower pace, you will have more time to make minor steering adjustments before you get yourself in an undesirable situation. Patience is critical, especially if you are new to the whole experience.

2. Use Your Mirrors 

Use your left and right mirrors to monitor the rear corners of the trailer, this will give you an indication of any trailer change in direction. If you see too much of the trailer on one side, turn the wheel towards that mirror to straighten up.

4. Shift Your Hands to Turn

Move your hands from the top of the steering wheel to the bottom. Moving your hands to the left will now move the caravan to the left and vice versa. Once you have established the right amount of turn, straighten up to the point where the vehicle follows the caravan on the same arc.

 

5. Getting out of a jackknife: 

If you end up in a jackknife position, there are a few things to do to get out of it.

  1. Stop immediately before you cause any damage.
  2. Turn the steering full lock away from the angle of the jackknife.
  3. Move forward slowly and this will straight the combination very quickly.

6. Reversing into a Caravan Site: 

When reverse parking, take it slow and if you can, set up markers to simplify your parking.

  1.     Remove your Weight Distribution Bars prior to reversing into the parking bay.
  2.     Identify any hazards in or around your site.
  3.     Take it slowly and use a spotter (or rear vision camera) to stop you from hitting anything or cause damage.

For more tips on Reversing a Caravan, check out this great article from Caravanning with Kids >> Caravan Reversing Tips for Newbies <<

For more information on Rear Vision Cameras for towing, click here

The specialised team at Accelerate Auto Electrics are more than happy to assist with any inquiries that you may have regarding Rear Vision cameras for towing your caravan or camper trailer. Get in touch with us on 07 5479 6652 or contact us here!

200 Series Under Bonnet Dual Battery System

200 Series Under Bonnet Dual Battery System

Hi guys, Briohny here from Accelerate Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast. Today we’re just gonna run you through a quick job spotlight of an under bonnet dual battery system that we’ve installed on this 200 series Land Cruiser.

So the Land Cruisers, depending on which model you have, will either come with two starting batteries under the bonnet or one starting battery under the bonnet. This one here had one, so it’s nice and easy to upgrade because there is already space in the engine bay for that second dual battery or auxiliary battery to go in.

So basically, what we’ve done is we’ve put in a second battery in here. We’ve put in a REDARC BCDC1225D, which has great options with solar input for you. And then we’ve also put in some power outlets in the rear of the vehicle.

So, we’ll just take on a quick tour of what’s in here. Under bonnet here, we’ve put in a supercharge allrounder 105 amp power. We’ve kept the existing starting battery that the vehicle had. If you came out with an earlier model 200 series Land Cruiser, you would have had two starting batteries under bonnet. If you have the 200 series with two starting batteries under bonnet from factory, we like to replace both of them. We put a high powered starting battery in there and then the auxiliary battery.

We mounted the REDARC BCDC under this engine cover here and they’ve cut a hole in the engine cover so that you can see all the display and lights on the BCDC and then we’ve run the Anderson plug for the solar input up next to the auxiliary battery for ease of access.

So, in the rear of the car, we’ve mounted all your accessory sockets. So the top one here is the dual USB, they’re a fast port charge and then two cigarette sockets. So this is typically where you’d put your fridge and you can charge it all out of the back with the auxiliary battery.

So if you’re interested in getting an under bonnet dual battery system for your Toyota Land Cruiser or Prado, you can comment below, drop us an email at [email protected] or give us a call on 1300 227 353.

What are the Different Types of Car Batteries?

What are the Different Types of Car Batteries?

We all know how inconvenient it is when your car won’t start! Understanding a bit more about car batteries, how they work and how to look after them might help you to avoid a no-start situation. 

Below you will find all the information you will need regarding the right battery for your car. We also cover how to maintain and charge your car battery to ensure you get the most out of it!

What is the right battery for you? 

You’re not sure which battery is right for your car? That’s ok, depending on your vehicle, you may need to consider carefully what battery is right for your vehicle. We have compiled a list that explains three common types of batteries, what they are made up of and what situations they are best suited for.

Calcium Battery

The Calcium Battery is your standard lead-acid battery starting battery. The calcium replaces antimony in the plates of the battery. This improves the resistance to corrosion, reduces water usage, eliminates excessive gassing, and lowers self-discharge. These are an under bonnet battery, good for high levels of heat and designed for a large, fast output (like starting a car). These come in two main designs, most commonly with the posts at the top and the Din Style battery, which is mostly found in European cars.

Valve-Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA)

Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) batteries are another common battery type. VRLA batteries are designed to be low maintenance and are fully sealed, making them unable to be serviced. The fully sealed design also means that they will not spill if tipped or inverted.
The most commonly used varieties of VRLA batteries are Absorption Glass Mat (AGM) and Gel Cell batteries. Both the AGM and Gel Cell batteries typically work best in deep-cycle applications (like auxiliary car batteries, marine vessels and caravans).

The AGM Batteries are becoming a popular choice in Marine and Deep cycle batteries. The absorbed glass matting material holds electrolytes so they never spill. This design also allows for faster-charging capabilities as well as better performance under heavy load conditions.

The Gel Batteries are similar to the AGM batteries in the sense the Electrolytes are mixed to paste, meaning the battery will not spill. In regards to charging, the Gel Cell batteries will tolerate regular flattening situations better than any other Deep Cycle Battery. It is also important to keep in mind flattening a deep cycle battery will drastically reduce its lifespan. Both AGM and Gel Cell Batteries have specific discharge and charge requirements to maintain their optimum performance levels. It is best to check with your local auto electrician or battery retailer to find out if you are using your batteries correctly.

Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) Batteries

The Lithium Batteries, as their name gives away is a battery that uses Lithium-Ion batteries. These are not so common in most vehicles, however, they are being used more often in hybrids and electric cars. The reason they are uncommon is due to the fact they store a large amount of energy while only weighing a fraction of that of a traditional battery, Super lightweight! There is one major downside however, the Lithium battery lifespan is on average about three years. This means they need to be replaced much more frequently than traditional batteries.

 

How to maintain your car battery

Want more KM’s out of your battery? Who doesn’t?! When it comes to your car batteries, maintaining them is key for top performance. There are a few factors that could affect the performance of your battery. Things like weather, age, and battery type can all play a role.  Here are some of our top tips from our specialised auto electricians to reduce the wear on your battery and keep battery powering on for as long as possible!

Top 10 Tips:

  1. Keep your car batteries charged. Ensuring your battery is always charged keeps the chemical balance in-check and reduces the wear on the battery.
  2. Electrolyte levels topped up. This depends on your battery. As we mentioned above, if you have a maintenance-free battery there is no need for you to check the fluid levels. Car batteries that require maintenance regularly need their levels checked. The Australian summer can be a battery killer, the heat speeds up the reaction between the electrolyte and lead plates, frying your battery. So, FLUID IS IMPORTANT.
  3. Refit battery heat shields. Battery shields protect your battery from excessive heat, this can lead to overheating and swelling which is not good.
  4. Turn off all lights before you leave the car.
  5. Ensure your battery terminals are cleaned and any build-up is removed.
  6. Inspect your battery for any leaks, bulging or cracks.

Looking over your battery regularly for any wear is important in ensuring you get the best use out of it. If you have found any visible wear on the battery, or if it is getting a little sluggish to start, then it could be time for a new battery.

How to charge your battery!

You have a flat battery, and you need to charge. First off, if you notice that there’s a lot of wear on the battery, it might be best to get a new one instead of charging it. Here are a few steps on how to charge your car battery to good as gold.

  1. Identify your battery type and find a charger to match that battery. Every car is different so it is important to only use the correct charger.
  2. Turn off the electrics and turn off the battery charger too.
  3. Carefully follow the instruction on the charger. You may need to remove the battery or you can just take off the cell caps. It is important that you follow the instruction to keep you and others around you safe.

Once you have connected your charger, the battery can take up to 12 hours to fully charge.

 

If you have any questions regarding car batteries, our specialised team at Accelerate Auto Electrics are more than happy to assist. We offer FREE battery and starting system checks, so pop in and see us at our workshop in Maroochydore or contact us online here!