Dual batteries are what you’ll need when you hit the open road but want to take a bit of home with you. Even if you are one of the most adventurous campers, sometimes a little bit of comfort is still necessary or just nice! If you are 4WD-ing and camping in the wilderness or out on the water, one of these comforts, or perhaps an essential, is a portable fridge. If you want to have cold drinks and keep your vehicle going, you will need dual batteries. Dual batteries are also going to be an essential product when you need to charge your personal devices. A phone will become a very important item pretty quickly if you are lost or in need of other help. You won’t want to compromise and run your car battery down, so a dual battery system is perhaps even going to save your life.
What is a dual battery system?
A dual battery system uses two batteries installed in a vehicle or vessel, for example, marine batteries, boat batteries or RV batteries. These all have one battery fitted already, which is used essentially to start and power the vehicle. With dual batteries, another battery is installed somewhere in the vehicle or vessel, and this other battery is used to provide power when it is parked. It will provide power for your accessories without running down your initial battery. Cold drinks and a vehicle or vessel that starts = win.
As far as vehicles are concerned, because they are designed to go places without a power supply, some 4WD vehicles come already fitted with an extra battery. Some have convenient space for wiring an extra one up. This is going to make the installation of your second battery much easier. Other vehicles don’t, so it can be a little trickier to sort out your dual batteries. However, there are products available that can help you out, such as special trays to help bear the weight and size of the second battery. It’s got to be firmly supported and held in place, so it needs to be installed correctly. Batteries can weigh around 15kg, so you don’t want that dangling in your vehicle. If there’s no capacity in the engine bay, it’s going to have to go somewhere else. That somewhere else will have to be a place that is not too hot as the heat will damage your battery, affecting the quality of your dual batteries.
You will also need to think about the type of battery you use for your dual batteries. That’s dependent on where the battery is going to be installed in the vehicle. While wet-cell lead acid batteries sit happily under the bonnet or in the back of the ute where they can have plenty of ventilation, they may emit harmful gases when charging, so they are no good for places inside the vehicle. If you do have to install your second battery inside the car, the best bets in this situation are deep cycle AGM, lithium or gel batteries. This is because they don’t emit heavy fumes and don’t leak or spill. Wherever you put it, take care that it doesn’t void your vehicle’s warranty where you install it.
How the dual batteries charge also depends on your setup. Ideally, you want both batteries to charge while the engine is running, but you want them to function separately when the vehicle is not in use. This will require you to connect a battery isolator. Using one of these means that the battery that powers the starting and functioning of the vehicle remains charged, but the other battery gets to work at cooling your drinks and charging your phone. When it comes time to leave your campsite, your vehicle will be able to start quickly and easily because the battery is charged. That’s the performance you want in the middle of nowhere.
What are the benefits of using dual batteries?
Cold beverages. Beyond that, though, there are all sorts of benefits of dual batteries, especially if you customise them. As mentioned, they can power your accessories, so they provide you with comfort and essential electric items. You can set them up to charge your battery from solar, really contributing to that off-grid feel. A low voltage disconnect is available that will automatically disconnect your appliances when the battery is running out of charge, protecting your battery. And, of course, a dual battery can be used as a backup if anything goes wrong with the original battery in your vehicle. It can also be used to give extra power if you need to get your vehicle out of a tricky situation. The overall benefit of a dual battery system? Peace of mind. And whether you camp or go out on your boat, that’s going to make your trip a whole lot better.
At Outbax, we can help you set up your dual batteries with a range of batteries available online for fast, automated shipping across Australia. We have loads of kits, including golf cart batteries and AGM batteries, to power up all your adventures.