So you've purchased your caravan and decided on what appliances you will add in it for your road trips. It's now time for the best caravan battery setup to keep all your equipment up and running smoothly, no matter where you go. You actually have a lot of options for this. Either you haul a quality inverter generator with you, go for a classic battery + inverter pair, or install an entire solar setup for your caravan. However, when it comes to caravan batteries, it's highly recommended that you choose a lithium battery, preferably a LiFEPO4. Opting for this gives you both a higher capacity and improved overall safety with its built-in battery management system (BMS). A LiFEPO4 will also last you up to 10 years, so you won't have to keep replacing your battery.
Some caravan owners especially those who like to go on road trips a lot like to install a solar panel system instead. This is a good idea too since you get to save more due to the free energy you bank during the day. You can pick from different types of solar panels for this such as fixed solar panels or flexible solar panels. Make sure though, that you don't forget to have a solar charge controller because this is needed to regulate the power from your solar panels that flow into your battery. Also, a lithium battery caravan setup is your best pick too, if you're partnering it with solar panels. But before we go into all this, let's tackle the basics first, which is the caravan battery system installation.
How Do You Hook Up a Caravan Battery?
The first step to a battery setup for a caravan is to make sure you switch off the whole power. Before you settle down in your work area, check to see if no one is smoking and that there are no naked flames near you to avoid explosion. In some cases particularly for battery boxes that are not fully sealed, you can use a relief vent to safely emit explosive gas leaks out of your battery. This is not necessary for sealed batteries that have their own ventilation on the lid area though. After this, it's time to put your caravan battery onto the battery tray (if your caravan is equipped with one). Some battery trays are designed to be easily taken out of the compartment so you can safely mount the battery on it before putting it back inside the caravan.
Work on the terminals next. For some batteries, the one with the blue cap indicates the negative or neutral terminal, while the red cap signifies the live terminal. Check if your battery is fully charged using a voltmeter—it should read 12.7V for it to be completely topped up. Then, get your span ready and lightly grease the terminals. Start hooking up the positive connection first. Ease it down carefully and once it's nicely seated, you can start tightening it up. Remember, do not overtighten but make sure it's not loose because that will give a bad electrical connection. Work on the negative side after then put on the safety covers on top of each terminal when you're done for extra protection. Lastly, transfer it to the battery box and manoeuver the cables well so that everything is fitted nicely. Some caravans have an included strap to help you secure the unit in place too.
How Do I Charge My Caravan Battery?
You can recharge your caravan battery while driving your RV thanks to the engine alternator. For alternatives, you can also plug your battery bank into a 220V outlet in a service area or use other means like solar panels, fuel cells, or even a wind turbine. Keep in mind that although there are several ways to charge your caravan battery, doing it from the mains at least once a month for 24 to 48 hours is ideal to optimise your battery's lifespan. Here's a little tip: Do not use more than half of your battery's capacity and keep it fully charged in between two discharge cycles to make sure it lasts.
What Size Battery Do I Need For My Caravan?
Typically, a caravan lithium battery setup would include two 120amp batteries, with two 150W solar panels on the roof plus a 40amp AC caravan battery charger. This is like the standard setup for you to conveniently run basic 12V appliances and recharge your caravan battery through mains 240V power or a 12V solar panel mounted on the roof. Still, the best way to know how big of a battery you need for your caravan is to determine how much power you will be needing first. To do this, simply list down all the appliances you plan on using then add the approximate average amp draw you need over a 24-hour period.
More from Outbax
One of the best ways to power up your caravan is through a cheap battery + solar caravan setup. Thankfully, you can get everything you need for this in Outbax! We offer affordable batteries, different kinds of solar panels, and even solar panel accessories for easy installation of your caravan solar power system. Anything you need for your camping battery setup, we have them here! We have a range of LiFEPO4, solar batteries for camping, and even portable power stations you can bring the next time you hit the road or visit your favourite campsite.