Aussie campers have been long aware of the benefits of running their campsite off a 12v battery, it allows you to stay off the grid for longer allowing you to keep a 12v refrigeration system running all your campsite lighting, keep your phone charged, play music and even if you have your setup sorted even a small 12v pie oven perfect for preheating all your favorite pie shop treats!
Whilst all the modern 12v accessories are designed to draw minimal power, the addition of all the accessories together often results in draining your vehicles battery well below a safe level, which is a costly mistake as replacement batteries are often extremely expensive not to mention the complexity of starting a vehicle with a flat battery, with things being made infinitely more complex when you drive an Automatic vehicle, requiring a jump start from a portable device like the Adventure Kings Jump Starter, again whilst this may get you started and allow you to drive your vehicle home, you will more than likely have to invest in a new crank battery, which gets expensive if you have to get yourself a new battery every couple of weekends.
This is a situation you may find yourself in, and if this is the case you should definitely consider some form of Deep Cycle battery for your camping setup, this may sound like a simple solution however it opens up many cans of worms.
The first question is whether you require a built in auxiliary battery setup, a standalone setup and also what style of 12v battery you want to install.
We are going to run through a couple of the pros and cons with our favorite setups to make sure you know what possible and what considerations you may need to think about for your setup!
Stand alone system!
A stand alone system is exactly what it says on the tin, essentially your setup will consist of a leak proof AGM Battery like the Adventure Kings 115Ah or the Adventure Kings 98Ah Battery located inside an Adventure Kings Battery Box, simple but effective.
A standalone system presents us with many pros, starting with the ability to set it up and leave it at camp, this helps us out in many ways, firstly we can do day trips whilst our setup keeps our fridge and camp lighting running, great for restocking with supplies.
The other pro to a battery box setup is the ability to plug in your USB devices directly to your battery box along with all your cigarette lighter accessories. The battery box even allows you to plug in any accessories fitted with an Anderson style plug for steady 12v power. The outer terminals on the battery box will also accept the alligator clips from your solar charging system making for a truly standalone system that will not drain your main battery on your vehicle.
Whilst the stand alone setup is great for not draining your vehicles start battery, it also has no way of being charged by your vehicles incredibly powerful alternator which can crank out a massive 100+ Amps of charging current which will charge a flat 115 AGM battery in under an hour where a powerful 250W Solar Panel system will only charge at about 13 Amps which could take 10+ hours of sunlight to charge your system.
A permanent system is a second (or third) battery located inside your vehicle this is called a “dual battery system” which piggy backs your AGM 115AH battery to your starter battery via a 12v Battery isolator or a DC-DC charging system. It allows you to charge your auxiliary battery extremely fast for when you are driving.
One of the fastest charging 12 V setups, and requires no setup at camp, modern isolators are extremely reliable and hassle free, and the ease of use is un paralleled, perfect for long distance touring and even weekend escapes as self-monitoring system requires no maintenance and is hidden out of view and less vulnerable to people stealing it.
The additional benefit to running a permanent setup is the many options you have for charging your setup, particularly if you have a DC-DC charger with a solar charging input. This means you have solar for when you are pulled up and parked, and an alternator when you are driving around!
A permanent installation involves finding a neat location to store your battery and mount your isolator. With DC-DC chargers you need to locate the charger close to your second battery to ensure the best possible charge with minimal voltage loss. Another con to running your battery on a permanent installation, is the lack of flexibility, meaning your camping setup has to be based around your car this is great until you aren’t allowed to drive all the way into your campsite…. Bummer!
To find out more about dual battery setups and the range of dual battery accessories you should head to one of our 4WD Supacentre stores call us on 1800 88 39 64 or visit us online at https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/products/battery-charger.html