Updated 23/06/2018.
Note this page can change daily as thing change and unfold.  


The NCC Verified Battery Scheme promised such a lot when it launched a couple of years ago, but all it has delivered so far is confusion and inaccurate information. We want it to develop and have been asking for more honesty and openness, so far without success. 
We have been asking the NCC to publish the tests that prove the batteries perform as stated, because we have evidence many do not.
But the NCC have refused, don't seem to want to achieve the schemes stated aim to  -
" bring transparency to the leisure battery marketplace and help consumers select a product that’s right for them"?

Therefore we will be exposing the weaknesses with the scheme until change occurs.
This is only one part of our drive for improvement through the whole Leisure battery industry, right down to battery labelling.

STOP PRESS : 22/06/2018 EUROBAT, that used to be called Manbat, announce that their suppliers have agreed to the battery manufacture date change we requested some months ago. First big result!! 
Well ok, it is not a big result, but change it is.
Eurobat rang me on the 22/6/2018 to say they will be printing a CLEAR manufacture date on all their batteries so consumers can see exactly when the battery was manufactured.
Even a 30p bag of sweets has a manufacture or best before date, why have we had to wait so long for the same protection against some unscrupulous retailer trying to sell a battery that is already past it?

It will take a while for the new date change to filter through as so many different manufacturers are involved, but hopefully by early next year all their batteries in shops will have the new date label.
In the meantime they are going to help us create a battery date 'decode' web page, where you will be able to look up how to decode existing manufacture dates on your Yuasa, Varta, Exide, etc. 
All of the batteries date decode info in one place.
The plan is that the web page will go live soon, look out for it on this website. 

Well done Eurobat who are using their marketing might to improve our lot.


Eurobat have also just committed (literally at 14:00 Saturday 23/06/2018) to reviewing the way battery testing is carried out, and were already actively retesting three batteries.
They have also offered to supply and submit any batteries for retesting, at any Independent test house of our choosing, should we suspect there to be an issue. 
Second result!!

Eurobat really are dedicated to being the best and helping us consumers.  
 


Heard about the battery in the NCC 'Verified' scheme that is listed with nearly double the cycle life that the best boffins at Yuasa, Exide, Banner or Varta are able to economically deliver?
The NCC have 'verified' batteries with unusually high cycle life, and it wasn't approved using an Independent test. 

There is lots wrong with the scheme, but giving batteries false cycle life, is one of the worst. Lets start with the schemes aims.
 

The NCC verified scheme seems to be undecided on what it is for. 

Most Caravan and Motorhome owners want to buy a battery with durability. Yet the NCC web site highlights 'Capacity' is primary aim, the web page states :

"Batteries will be verified and labelled accordingly, into three categories: A, B and C, depending on their capacity and intended purpose".

It goes on to say,
"Category A is for batteries with a higher storage capacity for people who frequently use their touring caravan or motorhome away from an electrical hook-up".


Yet, traditionally anyone wanting more capacity, has always added a second battery, not changed to a different manufacturer and that is a good accepted practice. 
So it seems an odd aim that is already adequately address, but it also confuses by having low capacity batteries in the high capacity Category A and high capacity batteries in the lowest C category.

For example in the highest 'Capacity' category A, the Exide EP800 is listed as having a capacity of 95Ah. 
Yet in the lowest category can be found the Exide ER650 with a mega high 142Ah capacity. 
Category C is described as listing,  "batteries for users that require a lower capacity battery". 


If the aim of the scheme was somehow misdescribed by someone who didn't understand about Batteries, Caravans and Motorhomes, and the NCC meant that the batteries are being categorised according to their durability, not capacity, then why has the legendary Exide ES900 (as was the old Exide G80 and probably proven to be the most durable deep cycling Gel battery in Motorhome history) been placed in the bottom category? 
Surely it has proven beyond doubt in real world use that it deserves a place in Category A?

So again the scheme doesn't inspire confidence that the administrators have even the slightest clue?


So can we ask the NCC to restate what the schemes aim really is and explain how they decide which Category a battery gets placed into?



There are also other anomalies with other batteries having higher figures than we would expect.

We have cut open so many failed batteries that we have a pretty good idea of the durability of a battery, from what we have seen inside the case. Having see inside so many of these batteries, some of the NCC figures truly puzzle us. 
It is as though some figures have been deliberately distorted. 


Do you want to know how a Platinum 31Gel weighing 31 kilos manages a verified 1,000 cycles when the much heavier, 38.7 kilo, more technically able, highly respected Exide ES1200 Gel can only manage 600 cycles? 
  

Want to know how the Leoch Xtreme 1750 using just 21kg of Lead can break the laws of chemistry by delivering a 'verified'  600 cycles? Even the highly acclaimed, Exide EP800 with 26.5kg of Lead can only manage 360 cycles


Did I tell you the story about the DBS Energy GPT 12 with another mega 2,000  'verified' cycles?
No? Well read on because,  what you thought the NCC scheme was about is very different to reality.



The secrecy about how the verification process works is strange when you would expect most battery manufacturers to want proof that their battery 'does do what it says on the Tin'.
Requests have been made for copies of the Independent Tests, but the NCC say the results are 'Company Confidential' so can't be released.What the NCC mean is they are not always submitted so they don't have them to publish.

As of the 15 June 2018 the NCC Verified Battery Scheme website stated -
"Battery verification comes via a comprehensive, industry leading, testing process conducted by suitably certified and audited test houses". 
Clearly this statement is intended to lead consumers into believing that audited test houses have carried out a testing process for the NCC to Verify those test results. 


So to learn all about these tests and what they involved, on the 14th June 2018 we went on a tour of a certified battery test laboratory.
They showed us what a BS EN battery test involves, we talked to the technical staff and took an NCC 'verified' battery with us for testing to see how it compares to the NCC "verified" rating.
We also showed them some of the documentation proving that the NCC are not using BS EN tests to verify all of the batteries, falsifying results, exactly as shown above. The lab staff were stunned by what our evidence revealed.



Did you know the NCC verified scheme doesn't carry out, or initiate, any independent verification of ANY type, especially not testing? It requires the battery manufacturer to supply it's technical Brochure with the ratings. Then uses those to 'verify' the batteries cyclic ratings and durability.

When the scheme was conceived, one of the original proposals (still part of the scheme now) was that a battery could be 'tested' for just 6 charge/discharge cycles and then a 'Guess' made as to many cycles it might have in reality.  
A manufacturer can therefore submit a battery with a claimed 2,000 cycle life and submit data to show it has been through 6 cycles of the test 'to prove the battery has 2,000 cycles'. 
Can you see how that might be open to abuse, to the consumers huge cost?  
   

We are putting a battery through a full, real BS EN 50342 test to see how it compares to the NCC's own figures.

It will take a while to get the battery test results, but we expect a cycle rate at least 50% less than the NCC 'verified' figure. 

We have more batteries scheduled for testing. Watch this space. 



In the mean time all of the testing we have done suggests that you should be safe buying big name battery manufacturers products from the NCC scheme. 
Yuasa have already shown us full and complete BS EN test data for some of their batteries, hopefully others will come forward with their test data to prove a full test has been carried out.


Whatever you do, the very good phrase, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is", is always a great guide.   




All the above, questions what the scheme is trying to be and the integrity of the data, but the third, most serious issue in my book, is that the NCC scheme is promoting AGM batteries that are unsuitable for the application the scheme claims they are 'Verified' for, see here for information on AGM batteries. 

So regardless of the exact 'Verified' process, they are also proposing consumers buy batteries that, in almost all Caravans and most Motorhomes, will have very short and destructive lives. Damaging expensive Motorhome/Caravan chargers as they go.


The NCC Verified Battery scheme pushes the fitment of AGM batteries into vehicles that the NCC must be aware will not allow the batteries to perform any where near their optimum. 

It is now universally accepted (and documented extensively on the Forums) that most Motorhomes and almost ALL Caravans will not have suitable charging systems for AGM batteries. 

They will be aware that ALL AGM battery manufacturers state that an AGM optimised charging system must be used with AGM batteries for them to perform at their design capability. 

Most Caravan chargers will not only fail to get the battery to perform fully, but an AGM battery will actually suffer damage on some of the 13.5v Chargers installed in around 50% of Caravans

For an AGM battery, that costs double that of a quality Wet Acid battery, this usually results in premature failure, damaging the charging systems inside the Motorhome as the AGM batteries deteriorate. 


Did you know that Audi/Volkswagen are no longer using AGM batteries in their vehicles? The whole group has either already switched back to wet Acid technology, or is in the process of doing so, including Skoda and Seat.

Allegedly BMW are doing the same. For sometime the best BMW Dealers have been replacing prematurely failed AGM batteries with Wet acid Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB) to good effect. 



Did you know that Banner, the maker of the first AGM's fitted in a motorhome on a large scale rollout, have revised their battery range. Go on the website, it is full of new EFB Leisure batteries, AGM has been sidelined the big new trend is a reversion to wet Acid technology based EFB. EFB batteries work well on almost any charger or Alternator.


Clearly the claims made for AGM's a few years ago are not being realised in the field. 


We were highlighting premature AGM Motorhome battery failures in 2014, some that didn't last 18 months. See here for more info on the limitations of AGM batteries.


The NCC promotion of the fitment of AGM batteries into unsuitable vehicles, one very specific recommendation is Caravans with Motormovers, is going to stimulate sales of those batteries.


As we all know the NCC is not an independent company, but funded by and for the industry.

So why is the NCC creating an air of secrecy, nominating AGM batteries into an unsuitable market and listing batteries with a technical spec that any battery expert will tell you is impossible to achieve using the technology stated?



Either way, the AGM mis-selling issue is completely separate to how Battery manufacturers get a battery listed in the 'Verified' scheme. At the very, very least it needs to provide better advice that ONLY if the correct battery manufacturer specified chargers are in place, are AGM an option. 

Even then, they are rarely the best battery option. A Motor mover equipped Caravan, especially a big van, needs to have good reasons to use anything other than a flooded battery, This is because of the heat generated inside the battery during the long duration operation that Motor movers can be running for.





As one very technical, highly respected person recently said on the Forums, "tells me that the NCC scheme is basically fiction". 

I think others are coming to the same conclusion, but the suffering of those misled by the scheme isn't fiction. 
It isn't just the misselling of the batteries, there are those who have bought 'verified' batteries from the scheme only to find they fail early, damaging the Caravan or Motorhome electronics as it fails. Those failures can generate big Dealer bills of hundreds of pounds. 
One motorhome owner who contacted us thought she had an issue because the NCC verified battery failed at just over 12 months and she wanted us to find the fault because, "I can't afford more big bills".
 
Only when she came to see us did we find out about the Alternator failure and the charger repair for which the Dealer charged over a £1,200 for the two, yet she had done everything right. All she was guilty of was trying to buy a verified battery that turned out to be villainified.





Thank you to everyone who offered help and support, really appreciated.

We need to point out again that we do not  have any evidence that any of the big name battery manufacturers have done anything wrong. The support we have had from the Battery manufacturers has been exceptional.
Some have already supplied BS EN test data to prove the batteries stated performance, despite the NCC saying the data is confidential. 




On the 05/04/2018 we received a response from the NCC in relation to our request for copies of the Independent Battery test results.

We wrote,

"Hello, Please may we request copies of all the NCC Verified Leisure Battery test results that are used to compile the schemes Tables?".



They wrote back,

"You ask in your email for copies of all the data we have used for verification, unfortunately I am
unable to share this with you because, as I’m sure you’ll understand, this information is
commercially sensitive and remains the property of the scheme’s members. 
Sharing this data
with a third-party would be a major breach of the code of confidentiality we have to operate
within.".


I am sorry NCC, but I don't understand why the specification of a battery is commercially sensitive?
Why would a battery manufacturer want to keep secret that the batteries tested capability is an exact match to what is printed on the label? 


When the scheme launched in October 2015, it stated, "The scheme is designed to bring transparency to the leisure battery marketplace and help consumers select a product that’s right for them".



That is all we want, transparency, honesty and openness. Publication of the  BS EN data test results on the web pages and removal from the table of those batteries that don't have a BS EN 50342-6 rated test.
Also warnings about the damage that AGM batteries may suffer on Caravan and Motorhome charging systems. 

If anyone from 'Which' magazine or the Trading Standards is reading this, we could do with some help here!!




                                   Campaign for Better Battery Labelling


We want to work with the industry towards clearer battery labelling. Through this campaign to drive change with the NCC scheme, we have now gained links to the big battery manufacturers and a voice. Trading Standards want battery labelling to change for the simple reason it is hard to prosecute a rogue selling a Starter battery as a Leisure battery if the labelling is so confusing. 

Mandated labelling might happen if we can create a good standard 



We have talked before about a 'Traffic Lights' label on the battery. Is this what's required?
We love the Yuasa new labelling scheme, it is clearly aimed at helping the consumer by delivering more information in a friendly, easy to understand way. But can it be enhanced further with more colour?


If you look at the image below you will see all key symbols, both circles for presumably Leisure specifications and 'squares' for Starter battery, like cranking amps, etc. grouped together at the bottom left. See at the bottom right, symbols of a Motorhome, Caravan and Boat, obviously a proper Leisure. How beautifully clear is that?






Hopefully, you will also note how clear the other labelling graphics are and see, for the very first time on a mainstream battery, that it  publishes it's cyclic ability on the casing. We have seen Test data for this battery and it actually achieved nearer 230 cycles, but they did not want to overstate the spec. so print 200 cycles. This is one battery that will outperform it's paper specification by a big margin.

Note also the new graphic showing Watt hours, a much better guide to real capacity than just the Ah rating. 

To have the real Cyclic Life printed on the battery case is a first.
This is a major step forward, well done Yuasa. People have asked for this clarity for years and finally Yuasa have delivered. 

I think we have found a manufacturer who really wants to drive change in the Leisure battery market place to help the consumer make a really informed choice on their purchase. Lets hope all the big players want to join in to create an informal European standard.

This battery is truly a leader amongst batteries in so many ways that are good for the Leisure community.

Just thought that we need a 'Voice' for Boat owners. Is there anything special they need in terms of labelling?
Anyone reading this who can feed the boating community requirements into a potential standard?

It may not get off the ground but worth a try, we have come a long way in a year?

So can we improve it with colour and will Yuasa work with us?


For example :
Battery Cycles could have a Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Light Green Circle with the actual number of cycles printed in the middle of the circle? Red would indicate a low cyclic light duty battery, say below 70 cycles. Orange a semi medium duty between 70 and 130 cycles, Yellow a semi heavy duty between 130 and 190 cycles, Green a high cyclic battery between 191 and 299 cycles. Light Green 300 and above. Etc


The resting Battery Voltage could also have a colour code that somehow reflects a VRLA's nearer 13v compared to conventional 12.5v?


Special Charging voltage requirements also as Red/Yellow/Green Circle with the number of 'Charging volts' printed in the middle of the circle? Where a battery needs a high 14.8v the circle might be Red to indicate it has special charging needs, or Green if it will tolerates a Caravans 13.8v Power Supply/Charger, etc


Tolerance to being left on long term permanent charge from Electric Hook Up/Solar could also be a Red/Yellow/Green Circle with the ideal Float voltage in the centre. Red for very intolerant and maybe a low 13.2v, Yellow for quite tolerant and 13.4v, etc


The background colour of just the graphics on the label, not necessarily the whole label, might be Pale Orange to indicate Wet Acid, Pale Green for Gel, Pale Yellow for AGM, and Pale Blue for Lithium. or whatever, etc.


Maybe we should have a 'Price band' traffic light so I can see in a table those batteries which are low cost and those that need a mortgage?


This same colour coding could also be used to very good effect in a Table of 'Approved' battery characteristics. 
Anyone looking for a medium cyclic Gel battery would just look at the rows in pale Green and at the columns in Yellow.




Designing something like this is something I am not good at.
Please may I ask for help?

Is there someone out there who is good a graphics who could design something that I can tout around the big battery companies?
It will no doubt change quite a bit as more minds come to bear on the subject so it doesn't need to be perfect, just something that demonstrates the concept visually.


I am going to ask Yuasa to supply a L36-EFB that will be the prize for the best Approved battery scheme Table/Chart using colour in PDF/Word/whatever. 
So not unlike the verified scheme but where the colours reflect the labelling on the batteries themselves. See more on this below.
See what Yuasa say. They did offer a battery for me to evaluate, but a think a prize for this battery scheme might be better?.






        Suggested  New Code of Practice for Leisure Battery Manufacturers.


1. Adoption of the new labelling standard.


2.Labelling should be clear and unambiguous. Using model names that cause confusion with the batteries capacity should be avoided. 



BS EN 60896-11:2003 is supposedly the standard to which all Stationary batteries are tested, but this is more aimed UPS back-up batteries, not Leisure batteries.

There is no standard specifically for Leisure batteries, but one is in progress of being created internationally.

The one in common use Internationally is BS EN 50432-6:2015. 

All batteries on the Approved battery scheme should be tested to these standard and the data made public.



We would like the scheme to deliver what it promised when it was launched. To look after the consumer, be open and transparent. Not be secretive about how the batteries are rated for the scheme.


However, we are running out of patience as it is sometime since we first contacted the NCC and directed them to what we saw as issues with the data. 






                                                             Battery Date 'De-code' page.


This page will try and publish data on all the Battery manufacturers coded ways of printing a date on the battery.

If you know the how to decode an Exide battery date, or any other battery manufacturer please email us the details.