Without a doubt, when we go 4 Wheel driving, we generally take a whole lot of different gadgets. Some make it more comfortable like fridges, and other things that keep us connected and capture memories like mobile phones, laptops, and cameras. Regardless, they all need a lot of battery power. If you only have one battery (the starting battery) in your vehicle then the chance of being able to power all your gadgets and still be able to kick your engine over so you can drive home is quite low.
How do you solve these charging problems?
Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as installing a second battery (which does solve part of the problem with more capacity). If you simply install a second battery without a battery management system attached to it, you could still find yourself stuck in the morning, with two drained batteries. There is where dual battery systems come into play. A 12v dual battery system will isolate the second (auxiliary) battery from the starter battery. This will ensure your starter battery always has enough power to start the car in the morning.
You might only need something as simple as the Smart Solenoid or smart battery isolator. These allow you to charge your second battery while you drive, while also protecting your starter battery from excessive discharge. If you’ve got fairly high power consumption, then you might want to look at another product called a DC to DC charger.
Just like charging methods, 12V batteries have also changed greatly over the years. There are options to suit all types of budgets and requirements, giving more flexibility when designing a dual battery system.
From increased energy capacity to weight savings to batteries safe enough to install inside passenger compartments there’s a whole lot more to battery technology than you may initially think.
The two major and clear distinctions are starting batteries and deep cycle. A starting battery is designed to give a quick burst of energy making it easier to start an engine. A deep cycle battery delivers less instant energy but has greater long-term energy and is designed for constant draining to near flat and re-charging, something a starting battery won’t cope with.
Other important differences come down to construction types.
Flooded Lead Acid Battery
Flooded Lead Acid Batteries are the oldest style of commonly used batteries. Also, the cheapest. If you were to crack open one you would find a series of lead plates filled with liquid acid. For safety, these must be mounted upright and away from passenger compartments. As they are not sealed, they can potentially also give off dangerous fumes. With that said, they can handle big short hits of power usage such as an engine starting. Making them the ideal starting battery.
Dual Battery system agm battery
AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) The construction of AGM batteries makes them essentially leak-proof. This means they are safe to mount on any angle, in any configuration and inside passenger compartments if required. The lead plates found in conventional lead-acid batteries have been replaced with fibreglass mats sandwiched together in a sealed housing. They have a slow discharge rate so are safe to sit for a few weeks at a time without being charged. But they can not deal with intense loads such as starting, therefore, they make an ideal auxiliary battery.
Gel cell batteries are the next step up from AGM batteries. The liquid acid is replaced with gel acid making them spill proof and maintenance free. Like the AGM battery, Gel Cell batteries can’t handle the intense load seen in starting.
Lithium batteries are the small powerful batteries found in compact devices like phones and laptops. This technology is slowly starting to filter into vehicles and it’s predicted that they will eventually dominate the industry. Popular for their light weight and power they have replaced heavy lead, fibreglass matting and gels with a lightweight chemical. They’re the ultimate in weight saving battery technology at the moment.