Monday, March 26, 2018

Dead Car Batteries

This campground has no grid power. Some people bring generators. Others use solar panels. A few use a combination of both. For quite a few people they just use the electricity from their cars.

A lot of people don't realize that car batteries are a poor choice to power things. Car batteries have one job, to start a car engine. The are designed to give a quick burst of power to turn the engine over. Once the engine is running, the battery is quickly charged up again. Batteries designed to start vehicles have thin plates. Batteries designed to power things, like trolling motor batteries, have thicker plates. They are designed to discharge smaller amounts of power over a longer period of time.

The woman camping across from me left the hatch up on her van all night. The hatch light, over time, killed the battery stone cold dead. The park workers are used to jumping cars, as people kill their starting batteries all the time in this park. He was unable to start her car with his jumper.

I carry a 700 amp jumper battery and that usually starts up just about anything. It was fully charged, but couldn't do the job. The addition of one of my big deep discharge batteries was able to do the trick. My guess is that the battery in her car is on its last legs.

Up in the frozen north, car batteries are changed fairly often. It takes a battery in good condition to start a car on a cold morning. People don't mess around with half dead batteries. Here in the warm south it's different. Because it's warm, even half dead batteries on their last legs can start a car. Don't expect those batteries to do anything extra, as they can barely do their main job.

If you plan on bugging out, make sure your car battery is in top condition. The same goes for the whole charging system. It's a common failure point in vehicles. Nothing worse than a dead battery as you try to escape from the zombie hordes.



  1. I might add that yes one should maintain their BOV, as if their very lives depend on it. However, to depend on any gadget is to probably prepare to fail. For a multitude of reasons, gadgets fail.
    Therefore, it behooves one to be prepared to walk ! If you , through a disability must rely on gadgets, then you'd best have redundant backups !
    Which I know you do Sixbears...most do not.
    The bottom physically fit to
    walk !
    Do not place faith in stored food, know how to forage !
    By foraging, I do not mean hunting. While hunting can supplement food. Most hunters realize that you cannot be successful on a daily basis. Whereas foraging for things growing can sustain the knowledgeable.
    Mother nature has a sure fire method of balancing out that equation...

    1. Essential systems should be backed up. You life could depend on it.

      It sure makes sense to be able to go primitive. Foraging works better in some places or in some seasons. Pretty tough to do in snow country, but not impossible. You end up eating some pretty weird stuff. I lived 3 days on rock tripe once, just to see what it was like. Doable, but not enjoyable.

  2. Living in the deep south Texas south, we get about 4 years out of a rated 5 year battery, more or less. Summer is just as tough as winter up north. What we save on batteries is spent on getting A/C repaired - a necessity if you live in Texas, at least when stopped in city traffic.

    1. I had the AC in the van fixed last summer. Apparently it failed before we left. Not one of those things I could test when it was -27. We've been without AC in the south all winter. The van gets pretty warm sometimes. We stay hydrated and adapt.

    2. We should have thrown a bottle of gas at it while you were here. I think that I've got a can that will end up the can rusting out before I'LL need it. Mine both work good and last time I serviced either was two years ago.

    3. I tried gas but it wouldn't build pressure. Something is leaking somewhere. I hope it's on a part my mechanic installed as he'd stand by his work.