Backup Battery: Best or El-Cheapo?

Conventional wisdom seems tb that for the operating battery you get the most per dollar by buying the best.
But what about a backup battery - i.e. one that will just sit there for 3-5
years, get charged occasionally-but-not-often-enough, and be used for the occasional jump start when the "production" battery gets run down for some reason?
Seems like that backup battery will die of sulfation no matter what. So I guess the question is whether the "best" battery will endure sulfation enough longer than an el-cheapo battery to pay for the diff.
Anybody know?
--
PeteCresswell

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Greetings,
My preference for the type of service this back-up battery will see is to get one that you can visually check and fill the electrolyte yourself, regardless of brand. In addition, keep it on a trickle-charger "battery maintainer" while it's sitting in your garage. They even make battery maintainers that advertise that they prevent and reverse sulfation, although I have no first-hand experience. I just use a simple, cheap maintainer from Harbor Freight ($4.99/ea. on sale) for my riding mower and ATV in the off-season and never had an issue.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberB292 (Advertised at $7.49 on the search page, $9.99 on the product page, and I've picked several up for $4.99 in their stores)
Just my two cents worth - Jonathan

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Per Jonathan:

It's in the vehicle at all times - just not connected. But that raises a good question: is there any such thing as a smart trickle/floating charger that gets it's input from the vehicle's regular battery? I'd think that would be a big step towards extending the life of a backup battery - considering that in the past I probably haven't topped it off nearly as often as I should have.
--
PeteCresswell

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sent into the ether:

Pete, Why not buy the wireing kit and hook up the second battery. As I Understand it, the battery does not input into the system so it cannot drain off the charge but gets charged when it needs it.
I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it! (That is what my X-wife told me) snipped-for-privacy@charter.net Remove the x for e-mail reply www.outdoorfrontiers.com www.SecretWeaponLures.com A proud charter member of "PETAF", People for Eating Tasty Animals and Fish!!!
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Per Dan, danl, danny boy, Redbeard, actually Greybeard now:

Any idea where to look for such a kit?
A few years back, I got something that purported to be a controllable bridge between backup and regular batteries, but the installation wiring was so intimidating that it's still sitting in my garage. In that case, the wire required was *extremely* heavy and there were length limits - because, I assume, it had to carry starting current.
Something that just spliced the spare into the charging part without endangering anything would seem to need much smaller wires. But my guess is that there would need to be some kind of middleman to determine how much (if any) charging the spare needed as compared to the regular battery.
--
PeteCresswell

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sent into the ether:

I thought the owner of a small repair garage I used to go to before I moved said GM or Napa had them for about 20.00 and it took about 1/2 hour to install. I moved before I could get him to order me one. I am looking at small campers for my 1/2 ton and will go with a second (Deep Cycle) battery when I get one.
I am also going to look for solar panels for on the roof of the camper for a third battery mounted in the bed. If I cannot find a suitable solar panel for a reasonable price I will go with an isolator system and get a larger size alternator if they make one.
Hope this helps.

I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it! (That is what my X-wife told me) snipped-for-privacy@charter.net Remove the x for e-mail reply www.outdoorfrontiers.com www.SecretWeaponLures.com A proud charter member of "PETAF", People for Eating Tasty Animals and Fish!!!
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On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 10:20:19 -0600, "Dan, danl, danny boy, Redbeard,

Forgot to mention my truck has the bracket/platform for a second battery in the engine compartment. All that's needed is the tie down and the harness.

I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it! (That is what my X-wife told me) snipped-for-privacy@charter.net Remove the x for e-mail reply www.outdoorfrontiers.com www.SecretWeaponLures.com A proud charter member of "PETAF", People for Eating Tasty Animals and Fish!!!
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Per Dan, danl, danny boy, Redbeard, actually Greybeard now:

That's where my spare is right now.
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Per Dan, danl, danny boy, Redbeard, actually Greybeard now:

Have you checked out http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/ ?
I can't give a specific specific citation, but from my first read, it seems like buried in there there's a description of a problem with hooking up something that just trickles and trickles with no middleman to prevent overcharging.
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sent into the ether:

No but I do check www.batteryfaq.org when I have a battery question. It does sound familiar and there are probably cross referrences to each other. Cheap trickle chargers should only be used with timers. I never hook up any charger to my deepcycle trolling motor without a timer on it. I also do not believe in trickle chargers, preferring to charge a battery at as close a rate as I discharge it. The shortest life I have had for a trolling motor battery is 5+ yrs. Longest was just short of seven.
Also in referrence to solar panels, there is lots of good info on them in sailing groups and sites. Sail boat users have been using very nice solar units for years to charge batteries. I have not looked for that info for years but with the improvements in solar cells in the last few years I am sure a used unit could be had for a reasonable cost. Most systems have or it is easy to build a regulator system for charging to eliminate over charging.
I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it! (That is what my X-wife told me) snipped-for-privacy@charter.net Remove the x for e-mail reply www.outdoorfrontiers.com www.SecretWeaponLures.com A proud charter member of "PETAF", People for Eating Tasty Animals and Fish!!!
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Greetings,
Simplest thing to do is have the spare battery connected to a power source in the vehicle that is keyed to the ignition, making sure also that the circuit is de-energized during starting. That way it is only being charged when the vehicle is running and will not pull any power from the spare during starting. Put a small 1 amp fuse in the line so if there is any significant draw from the vehicle off the spare battery (and vice versa) it will blow the fuse and isolate the battery.
Do not store this spare battery inside the passenger compartment, however, as off-gassing could generate toxic gasses and ruin your day.
Cheers - Jonathan

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This will not work. If the battery is discharged, the charging current will pop the fuse. Plus it wil likely power up the the source its connected to.
Cheers
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VW put them in the cabin for 50+ years and that was never a problem.
Dave
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...and all of the major American truck makers used to make pick-ups with the fuel tank built into the back wall of the cab. I notice that they don't do THAT any more, either. I'm guessing that there's a good reason why VW doesn't put their batteries inside the cabin anymore as well. In fact, I know there is.
Cheers - Jonathan

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Apples and oranges....
I'm guessing that there's a good reason why VW

Please enlighten me.
Ok, I'll give you a clue. They quit putting the battery in the cabin because they quit building the rear engined Beetle in 2003, 65 years after it's inception.
The biggest problem with the in-cabin battery was when some lard ass would sit on the right rear cushion and short the seat springs to the battery posts. NOT out gassing.
Dave
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Oy, Ok here goes...
Outgassing is only ONE reason, not THE reason. Current federal motor vehicle design safety standards for new consturction vehicles prohibit the main battery from sharing a compartment with the same air circulation as the passengers for the following primary reasons:
1. Outgassing from overcharging can generate hydrogen gas, which is not conducive to an atmospheric environment where people SMOKE. 2. Accidents that may breach the integrity of a fluid based lead acid battery have the potential to discharge battery acid into the passenger compartment. 3. The potential for explosion during jump-starting.
Some models in the past 10 years did receive a waiver based on the argument that the battery that came with the vehicle was sealed and design limitations prevented an under-hood or trunk installation - rarely granted - but no model in current production is permitted to place a battery where it would share the same air cirulation as the passengers.
That being said, there are certain exceptions (as there are with all rules). Hybrids are being dealt with on a slightly different basis and the waivers are being granted based on a limited space/overall weight argument.
As for the cab-mounted gas tank example it IS apples and apples. One might be a Macintosh and the other a Granny Smith, but they are both apples.
Cheers - Jonathan

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My mother's 2001 Buick LeSabre has its battery under the back seat...
Jonathan wrote:

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into the ether:

It was a problem for several people I knew that had VW's.
I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it! (That is what my X-wife told me) snipped-for-privacy@charter.net Remove the x for e-mail reply www.outdoorfrontiers.com www.SecretWeaponLures.com A proud charter member of "PETAF", People for Eating Tasty Animals and Fish!!!
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You need a Battery Isolator, allows charging. A Fully charged battery will not sulfate.
Cheers
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