Going on road trips and camping adventures in your caravan has its perks. Aside from the freedom to go anywhere you like, you also get to have a temporary shelter no matter where you end up staying in. Of course, to be able to enjoy this fully, you need to have a good caravan battery aside from your vehicle's battery to keep your appliances onboard running. Whether you have an air conditioner inside your RV and a few comfort appliances like a microwave and a mini-fridge, having a reliable power source will make your entire camping experience a lot more convenient.
Usually, the most recommended type of battery to use as a service battery inside a caravan would be deep-cycle batteries. Deep-cycle caravan batteries will be able to supply you with stable power even at an 80% discharge rate, so you get to use your electronic devices for longer. Even better, go for a lithium deep-cycle battery, such as a LiFePO4. Aside from a better depth of discharge, you also get a battery that is incombustible and equipped with a built-in battery management system (BMS) for top-notch performance. While conventional lead-acid batteries like AGM caravan batteries also fare well in a caravan battery setup, these batteries can only be discharged down to 50% and have a higher risk of catching fire.
Speaking of BMS, caravans should ideally have their own battery management system too. This is important to help minimise the risk of system failure and common battery issues. Having a caravan battery monitoring system will also help you maximise your battery's efficiency, whether it's a lithium battery kit for a caravan or another type of battery.
What Is a Caravan Battery Management System?
A caravan battery management system acts as a central hub that controls major battery processes including charging, monitoring, and protection. This can either be a single device with a display screen or multiple devices organised in a pre-wired box or surface. A good battery management system for caravans should be able to perform all the necessary battery tracking functions such as charging your battery from multiple sources—solar, vehicle battery, and mains power. Your caravan battery's parameters like temperature, voltage level, depth of discharge, and even water tank levels should also be well monitored. Aside from this, you should be able to get data from your BMS on appliances that are currently running through your battery bank.
Why Is a Caravan Battery Management System Necessary?
Having a battery management system for caravans provide helps boost your power source's efficiency and gives you additional peace of mind as well. In an off-grid camping setting or when travelling out on the road, knowing your power requirements is crucial to be able to prepare the correct battery size that will supply you with ample power the entire time you're away. However, despite having a good estimate of your energy consumption, constant changes in the weather and other unexpected circumstances might have you stuck in a remote area longer than expected. In cases like this, your caravan battery management system's job is to provide you with real-time data on your battery's performance to help you better manage the amount of power that you have. It’s always handy to know how much power you're consuming from using your portable washer down to checking your mobile phone. Also, if you're using solar energy and have caravan solar panels mounted on the roof of your vehicle, your caravan battery management system will also give you data on how much sun exposure you can get in every location for maximum solar energy yields.
What Are the Most Popular Caravan Battery Management Systems?
Just like in camping batteries, Enerdrive also tops the list when it comes to battery management systems for caravans. Enerdrive has an established name even in the caravanning field because of the quality of its lithium caravan batteries, caravan battery accessories, and other accessories. Their caravan BMS is divided into three types. The first one is the canopy system which is a compact power solution mostly geared towards 4WD battery systems. Next, it offers the DIY System Charging Boards which are suitable for users with basic electrical knowledge and professionals who are after a more convenient installation. Lastly, Enerdrive offers the Pro Series Lithium Battery and Charging Board Kits. It comes with a pre-wired board and a lithium battery pack with an external BMS mounted to the board as well. This battery management system is not suitable for DIYers as it requires you to reach out to Enerdrive after installation to ensure all safes built into the system are functioning properly.
Another well-known name for caravan battery management systems would be the BMPRO range. It's characterised by its modular design that allows users to add more items to improve performance and usability. Their most popular model, the BMPRO Battery Plus 35 or BP35 even has advanced features including a built-in solar charge controller and AC input for lithium batteries.