If you’re planning a brief trip off road then you may be able to get by with a fridge powered by a 12V cigarette lighter socket. Anything more and you’ll need a dual battery system. There is no way you want to be stranded in the outback because you’ve ran all your equipment from your main battery and now the engine won’t start. When you’re trekking around Australia it won’t be just a cold beer from the fridge you need. A warm shower, safety lights, computers and radios need a reliable dual battery system.
Why get a dual battery system?
There are two reasons to get a dual battery system. Primarily it’s to stop you using the battery power from the starter battery. A cold beer is going to be no good to you when you can’t get your engine started. Secondly, it provides a 12-volt battery source that makes your life camping so much easier and pleasurable.
Pictured: DBM Dual Battery Management
What is a dual battery system?
We’re not going to get too technical here, because we don’t need to. The point is that when in camp there is no need to use the starter battery. All the power runs from the second battery. In the most basic of terms, a dual battery system is a system where two batteries are used to run everything you might need on your off-road trip. Battery one has the starter battery and as this is essential to the starting of your vehicle it is reserved for all items that can be charged when the vehicle is running. This includes things like phone chargers and in-car entertainment systems. It also has the alternator that will ultimately charge both batteries. The second battery is used for fridges, external lighting, and axillary power sockets. The components that make up the dual battery system includes the two batteries, safety fuses, cables, terminations and connectors, isolator and earthing and grounding.
Pictured: Dual Battery System set up
Best fitting for a dual battery system
Enemies to effective batteries are heat and vibration so it’s important to find the right spot for your second battery. With the use of strong steel trays and special fixtures, it can be fitted to offer the best position and give minimal vibration. Or you can get cases for the battery so that you can bring it inside the vehicle. A battery management system improves the charging speed, manages automatic switchover of batteries and has a status bar. This way you can visualise and monitor battery levels.
Key considerations when setting up a dual battery system:
- Make sure you use the correct sized cable that is run with minimal brands in cool areas
- Read manufacturers guidance and instruction, as fitting instructions can vary slightly
- Ensure the battery is fitted in a cool, secure place
- Use a good battery management system so you can make the most of your battery charging capacity and monitor battery levels
A dual battery system will make your life a lot easier for any trips that take more than a day or two.
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If you would like some help in getting the right gear for your 4wd, please feel free to contact us or visit 9 Pritchard St, O’Connor WA 6163 Australia.