Vlog 178: Carbonaura

At the time of filming this it was just over a week since the Crick Show where I had bought three new 100 Ah lead carbon batteries for my narrowboat. Having also bought some new wiring and dongle things to plug into my Victron inverter/charger, it was now time to pull out the old batteries and put the new ones in place.

For anyone claiming the order of the wiring on the bank doesn’t matter, have a little read of this useful article: http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

The batteries: https://batterystore.co.uk/plh-c100-pure-lead-carbon-series-battery.html

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  1. Hi David. I’ve just recently been introduced to your vlog’s and I really enjoy them. It’s taken a couple weeks but I’ve successfully watched the majority of them, except for a few of the “cruising only” ones. I’m in the US and own a 2001 16′ x 70′ Summerset houseboat, I’m guessing much like the wide-beam narrow boats only taller. I too have to deal with many batteries, 6 leisure batteries, 4 engine batteries, and 1 generator battery. My challenge is to keep them topped off with distilled water as they are not the sealed type of battery so at least twice a year, I check the water level in them and add water as needed. I’ve owned the boat coming up on 5 years and so far, I’ve not had to replace any yet (knock on wood) but I’m sure that opportunity will soon arrive.

    So here are my questions for you …

    After you had completely detached the batteries, did you check each to see if it was still holding a good charge and therefore MAYBE didn’t need to be replaced? Just curious.

    Was there a reason other than you only wanted to dig into the battery compartment once that you changed all at the same time?

    And is there a reason you didn’t change the engine battery as well?

    Keep making the vlogs. As I said, I really enjoy them.


    • Hi. Thanks for tuning in. The old batteries were definitely, categorically defunct and no need to check them, mere daily usage showed they were shot. I changed them all at the same time firstly because all the old ones were dead but also because it is bad practice to mix old and new batteries since the dying old ones can bring down the new ones. They are also of different types with slightly different charge profiles too so better to have them all the same. The engine battery was changed when I bought the boat and is in fine working order! Cheers

  2. I do have some valid experience in the area, although the battery technology HAS moved on a few light-years (that is a distance measure). Basic Juice has not changed much.

    Your batteries are connected “in parallel” (positives all connected together, negatives also but separately connected together). (Positive of one connected to the negative of the next one, whose positive is connected to the negative of the third one.

    At the voltages, currents, and wire-sizes you are dealing with, it does not make a Ha’penny worth of difference where on the positive buss of the negative buss connections are made.

    • Hello. Thanks. I’m very puzzled as to why so many commentators are trying to explain to me about serial and parallel battery banks because absolutely nothing has changed in this area. The old batteries were a parallel bank, the new batteries are a parallel bank and there was never any plan to change that. All that was being tweaked was the actual connection and feed points off that bank.

      In terms of it not mattering because they’re commonned, it is best practice to have them across the bank as I have now made it – see this link for more info http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

  3. Great to see a non-cruising type vlog David, and as a retired Electrician I enjoyed it immensely.
    You made a wise choice there with Lead Carbon batteries and they say if the discharge can be maintained to not fall below 30% DOD then you can expect at least 7,000 cycles or as they say optimistically 20 years worth of battery life.
    I enjoyed following up the tech details on these batteries, and wish I was financial enough to take my own house off-grid. It’d be nice to have an automatic function to either sound an alarm or switch off the down-stream draw on the batteries if it ever did reach 30% DOD though.
    Well done David
    David in Southern Tasmania

    • Thanks David. I will end up taking them down to 50% some times (recent days have had a lot of rain and little solar) but they seem capable of handling it and yes should last me years, I hope.

  4. Thanks for a very interesting series, I enjoy your vlogs muchly. Technically speaking, it doesn’t matter which of the three batteries are connected to outside as all terminals are commoned. But if you are happy with the way you have changed the wiring, that is what matters. The set up will work just as well the new way as it did the old way. I live in Australia and although my Cornish ancestry goes back to 1325. there is no way I will ever get to enjoy a long boat. But I love reading about your story, both in the boat and in the van. Thanks for the entertainment and pleasure you have given me. I suspect the postage on anything would eat up any profit you might otherwise make Russell

  5. Michael Higgins

    Great video on a slightly technical subject. I suspect that these batteries will serve you well David ;)

    • Thanks. I hope so! They’ve done well over the last three days when we’ve had non-stop rain and pretty much zero output from the solar panels, though I have had to run the engine for charging briefly on a couple of occasions (for the first time ever, I think)

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