Choosing a NCC Verified Battery
Previous MMM features highlighted that some totally unsuitable batteries were being sold for leisure use (motorhomes and caravans, etc). To combat this, a scheme was assembled by the NCC (National Caravan Council) with the help from many industry experts. Its aim was to make battery selection easier and safer for the end user and leisure vehicle manufacturer. The scheme is applicable to lead acid batteries only.
How are the batteries judged?
Apart from physical characteristics, there are two parameters that are important in judging a battery’s suitability for an application. These are:
- Ampere hour capacity (Ah). In simple terms, this is how much energy it will store
- Durability or how long it will live. As the life of a battery is directly related to how it is used, the main clubs have guidelines stating that users should not discharge a battery beyond half of its rated ampere hour capacity. This, in jargon, is 50% depth of discharge (DOD). The measure here is how many charges and discharges it will do at 50% DOD until it is unable to do it anymore. This is also called life cycles. The greater the number of life cycles, the longer the battery will live.
The NCC scheme requires verifiable data from battery suppliers to support the claimed Ah capacity and life cycle figures.
What classes of battery are there?
The scheme separates out three categories of batteries.
Class C. This is the least expensive category and is intended for those who go to campsites with an electrical hook-up and have minimal off grid usage, such as the occasional use of lights. Batteries in this group must have a minimum capacity of 60Ah and a minimum life cycle figure of 70 cycles.
This is the intermediate quality category for motorhomes needing higher power consumption, but are still generally used with an electrical hook-up. Batteries in this group must have a minimum capacity of 90Ah and a minimum life cycle figure of 200 cycles.
This is the highest quality category. This is aimed at motorhomes are frequently used without an electrical hook-up. Batteries in this group must have a minimum capacity of 90Ah and a minimum life cycle figure of 350 cycles.
Power hungry applications
For motorhomes with higher power consumption (for example, those using a diesel heater) but still generally used without an electrical hook-up, it may be more practical to use multiple batteries from Class A to provide the required storage capacity than to specify a single battery of the required capacity.
Where battery size is not limited by the battery box size, batteries larger than 90Ah can be accommodated as well as two 6V batteries connected in series. If you can do this, look for batteries within the same family classification as those with verifiable data.
How to tell if a battery is NCC approved
You cannot simply judge a battery by its name, as all manufacturers make a range of batteries of different capacity, durability and price to suit myriad applications. Manufacturers of verified batteries are entitled and encouraged to display the NCC classification on them at the point of sale.
The up to date list of verified batteries in each category including their physical properties can be found BY CLICKING HERE then click on the ‘Find an NCC Verified Leisure Battery’ link.