BATTERY MANAGEMENT IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL 12V SYSTEM
The best 12V system is an unsung hero. One that hums along quietly in the background, doing its thing without any nasty surprises.
The crucial component of such a setup is an efficient battery management system. In order to keep your batteries topped up and
your accessories firing on all cylinders, there are three components that can’t be overlooked: 240V charging, DC-DC charging and solar charging.
While the ability to top up your system with the aid of mains 240V current won’t be much use while you’re out camping somewhere remote, it remains the most efficient way of topping up when your rig’s parked at home or you’re spending the night at a powered site.
DC-DC charging involves topping up your 4WD and/or camper’s auxiliary batteries from your vehicle’s power supply when on the move.
While it’s possible to simply run cable from the alternator to auxiliary batteries, voltage drop can be an efficiency-sapping problem, particularly when charging your camper trailer’s deep cycle power cell. A DC-DC charger will do the job, although a multi-function battery manager is your best bet.
Topping up your reserves with solar power is efficiency at its finest. Plus you’re doing the environment a favour; what’s not to love?
One fact that can’t be ignored is that unregulated output from solar panels can damage batteries. It’s absolutely recommended to connect your solar array to your batteries via a proper solar regulator in order to avoid damage.
MULTI-FUNCTION BATTERY MANAGERS
These devices are the way to go if you want a hassle-free charging experience, without the guesswork or occasional thrill of unresponsive appliances or vehicles.
Modern units like REDARC’s The Manager 30 and The Manager 15 will charge and maintain any auxiliary power source through AC, DC and solar inputs.
While a top of the line charging setup will set you back something to the tune of $2K, they’re dead simple to install and will reliably power up lead acid, gel, calcium, AGM, lithium or iron phosphate power cells.
Top line charging systems will function as solar regulator, battery isolator and load disconnect controller, all while maintaining your charge on the move and providing remote battery monitoring.
These units offer inbuilt charging profiles to power up lithium batteries, which offer the most efficient storage capacity on the market relative to size and weight.
Another attractive feature of REDARC’s battery management systems is green power priority. While the system is designed to charge an auxiliary from multiple sources simultaneously, if 12V solar power is available, it will be used before topping up charge from other sources.
Upgrading your rig’s 12V system with a modern battery manager is a shortcut to fewer headaches and ultimately a better 4WDing experience.