When it comes to 12V power options for your 4WD, everyone’s needs are different. For instance, the needs of a single bloke who’s hitting the beach for a weekend of fishing is far different to those of a family of four who are on a six week trip to the Kimberley. There is such a wide variety of 12V power options available these days, so finding a setup to suit your specific needs is easily achievable.
If hitting the tracks on the weekend it your thing, you may not need a dual battery system. Portable battery boxes are the perfect choice for day trips or weekends, thanks to their versatility and the ease with which they can be used.
When it comes to long distance touring on the other hand, having a long-term power solution is essential. Some people run little more than a fridge in their 4WDs, while others run a whole range of appliances such as TVs, laptops and phones. Either way, you need a constant source of power, and that’s where a dual battery system is a necessity. The number one thing to be sure of when setting up a dual battery system is that the battery your 4WD uses to start its engine is protected. A standard solenoid setup will do that, but won’t charge a deep-cycle battery to 100%. To ensure that your 4WD’s alternator is capable of charging your second battery to its capacity, you will need to install a DC-DC voltage control relay such as the Baintech Dual Battery Kit or a DC-DC charger such as the CTEK D250S Dual. A normal 4WD alternator only charges at a fixed voltage and will only charge your battery to around 75%. This is good enough for starting purposes, but if you connect your fridge the battery’s depth of discharge is greatly increased, which reduces the number of cycles the battery can achieve. A DC-DC charger will not only protect your starter battery but will maximise it’s life and performance.
There are a ton of other options that you need to consider when looking at 12V power options as well. Things like inverters, solar panels and distribution boards all have their advantages when being run in a 4WD, and they’re things that we’ll be having an in depth look at over upcoming issues.
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