Batteries for Vans & Buses
There are a few types of battery out there, but for vans, RV/Motorhome setups and caravan type setups your best bet is probably a deep cycle battery. Deep cycle batteries allow a deeper discharge cycle with limited effect on the life span of the battery (the lifespan of a non deep cycle battery can be dramatically reduced if it’s discharged by more than half during a cycle). Having said this, you will need to do a bit more investigating to decide your best option for your battery bank.
But assuming you are using deep cycle batteries and following on the first five steps, here are the next steps:
Take the total from Step 5 and multiply it by 140%. This gives a bit of a buffer so you don’t run your batteries completely flat.
For each appliance list how many Amp-hours (Ah) it takes to run (have a look on the appliance or it’s manual)
Divide the total from Step 5 by the Amp-hours in each battery of battery bank (deep cycle batteries can range from around 110 to over 200 Amp-hours). This gives you the least number of batteries you will need.
Our setup in Yeye consists of 4 x 110 Amp hour batteries (I estimate we’ll need around 270 Amp-hours per day). To date, this has powered our needs without any dramas. We typically run 2 12V monitors, water pump, lights, fan, toilet and charge our phones, computers, speakers, etc… with it. Having said this though, we are usually pretty careful where we park so that we can get some good unblocked sunlight on our solar panels.
If you have any doubts, you should contact your local battery specialist for tailored advice, but at least you’ll be able to give them an idea of your power requirements.
More on solar panels to come shortly, stay tuned!