Suggested newsletter item for Sidewinder newsletter – From Greg (Brisbane, QLD)

During a recent trip, I was discussing with my travel companion what would be on the must have list for any recreational vehicle (electrical naturally).  The basics would be for all no matter if 4WD, caravanner or camper, and have been narrowed down to my top five fitted electrical systems and parts.

1. Dual battery isolator system and auxillary battery.  More and more we are equipping our vehicles with fridges and other electrical devices requiring charging without risking draining the main battery.  An isolator managing alternator charge to main and auxillary battery, plus an auxillary battery mounted under bonnet or in a battery box in the back is a must I think.

2. Dual battery monitor.  Modern vehicle charging systems manage charging voltage and it is imperative to be able to easily see what is going on.  You need to know what level of charge your batteries are receiving and the situation at both start and end of day.  Battery state of charge is a critical aspect to the longevity of modern batteries and to be able to see the simple basic of voltage levels in both batteries is a stress free way of keeping an eye on this.

3. Accessory / charge cable to the rear towbar with Anderson style connector.  Connected to the auxillary battery, this access point has so many uses.  On the road it provides a secure charge point from the vehicle charging system to a towed trailer or van.  In camp, you can run power to camp accessories such as shower, electrical devices, or tent lights etc via extension lead (say 6m of 6mm2 cable).  You can also connect a battery charger to this point or a regulated solar panel.  No bonnet lifting or leads deforming door seals. You could also tap off it to provide an interim connection point in the back of the vehicle to connect various accessories.  Of course it must be of suitable cable size to eliminate voltage loss (minimum 10mm2 cable) and be suitably fused.  

4. A good 240v battery charger.  In vehicle charging or solar for that matter is a slow system which seldom charges batteries to their full capacity, which again is a critical key to their longevity.  A 240v charger is the most efficient to achieve this. Choose a multi stage quality unit which can deliver sufficient charge matched to your battery capacity.  As a rule of thumb, a charger with output amps of 10-20% of battery capacity is a good start (ie 200Ah battery capacity, use 20Amp charger).  Various batteries have different levels of input charge limitations but this is a good guide.

5. 12vDC to 240vAC inverter.  Despite many accessories now able to run on 12v, many camp necessities do not so a 240v source is still needed.  Choose a pure sine wave model and from my experience a 600w minimum size.  This will run many household items that you take with you.

Thank You for your input Greg.



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