Unlike camping in parks and campsites with a mains power, enjoying the outdoors in your 4WD vehicle or RV may require not just one, but two batteries. This is especially true if you're planning to stay in an off-grid location since you need to get as much power as you can from your battery without needing a recharge. It's also the reason why your car battery alone will not be enough to power your entire trip, hence, the development of dual battery systems. What is a dual battery system? This is basically a vehicle battery setup wherein you add a secondary battery aside from your starter battery to run additional gear and accessories. The best type of battery for this would be deep-cycle batteries, which are designed for extended periods of use. A deep-cycle battery would be able to provide you with a continuous stream of power even at an 80% discharge level, ideal not just as a camping battery but also as a caravan battery or a home battery. Even better, go for lithium deep-cycle batteries like LiFePO4. You get both an increased capacity, longer lifespan, plus an intelligent BMS that ensures maximum safety and performance with every use.
How Does a Dual Battery System Work?
One of the first things to learn about a 4x4 dual battery setup is that the two batteries function independently from one another. While your vehicle is running, your starter battery coordinates with your alternator to power your ride and when it switches off, your second battery works to power all appliances or devices you have on board. Now this separate function is made possible through the use of a battery isolator, which automatically disconnects your starter battery from your auxiliary battery so that you only draw power from one battery at a time. This is crucial because it ensures that you won't drain your engine's battery and prevent it from starting up. Also, if you only have portable power sources, having a secondary battery will keep your camping experience comfortable by effectively running all your electronic essentials such as mini-fridges, fans, and lights.
How To Install a Dual Battery System?
Most 4WD or RV owners go for 12V dual battery systems. Some even pair it with solar panels for better power output. If you're instaling a dual battery system for the first time, it's best to get help from a professional. However, if you have experience in setting up batteries, you can also do it by yourself by following the basic steps.
First, mount your auxiliary battery on your rig and make sure you have all the necessary cables ready, then disconnect your starter battery. Next, set up your Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) near the main battery and keep it away from any moving parts or parts that heat up. Attach the lugs to the bare ends of your cable by removing around 15mm of insulation and crimping them in place. Place the heat shrink over the lug and apply heat for a water-resistant seal. After this, use the black wire of the VSR for earthing the relay, then connect the main battery to it. Earth your secondary battery and put the VSR in the mounting plate. Connect the negative lead first to the starter battery then to the second one and test your batteries using a multimeter.
To make installation a bit easier, you can opt for dual battery kits that include everything you need to get started plus a comprehensive instruction guide. Also, in cases where you have additional appliances inside your vehicle, you can choose a battery with a higher capacity like a 24V battery or install a lithium dual battery system instead.
What Are the Benefits of Having Dual Batteries?
Whether it's for a 4WD or caravan battery setup, having a dual battery system offers a lot of perks. For one, you can instantly power everything you need the moment you decide to have a stopover. Need a drink? Quickly pop it in your fridge and wait while you warm up a snack with your mini microwave. Aside from increased power output, dual batteries eliminate the risk of draining your battery, which can be extremely inconvenient in the middle of camping. You get extra peace of mind while you're out and about in case of a battery failure, plus, having two batteries actually reduces the risk of fire as well, so that's another less thing to worry about. Currently, the most common names when it comes to this kind of vehicle system would be the Kings Dual Batteries and Redarc Dual Battery Systems.
More from Outbax
Installing the best dual battery system requires quality batteries. At Outbax, we have some of the most reliable deep-cycle LiFePO4 packs that you can get as your auxiliary battery. We even have slimline lithium batteries if space is an issue. A lot of our rechargeable lithium batteries are compatible with solar panels, which we also offer here. We have flexible solar panels, fixed solar panels, and solar panel kits—whatever best fits your vehicle. We are the experts when it comes to camping power so aside from portable batteries and solar essentials, we have inverter generators and power stations too. Shop now and gear up for your next adventure on the road!