What Makes the Dual Battery System so Essential for Camping

If you’re planning on going camping, odds are you’re going to need a portable fridge. For the fridge to work when the vehicle is parked, you’re going to need a lot of battery power, which is where dual batteries come into play. Such batteries are not just for convenience in order to keep food and drinks cool, but because you’re going to want to use them for essential things like lights and radios as well. I’ve already touched on the types of dual batteries previously, which is why I’m going to talk about exactly why they’re so essential when you want to go camping.

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Why Would you Need two Batteries

If you’re out there camping with your vehicle, odds are you’re going to want to have all of the possible amenities. You’re probably going to have refrigeration, some kind of AC, cooking, boiling, cleaning, phone chargers, and a lot of other things, all of which require power. While it’s technically possible that one battery is going to do the job, it’s also highly unlikely. And nothing quite ruins a good trip like running out of power in the middle of nowhere, which is why getting dual battery kits in order to install a second battery is a must. If your battery dies in the middle of nowhere, odds are you won’t even be able to start up your vehicle.

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Installing a Second Battery

As most vehicles come with only one battery, you’re most likely going to need extra hardware to install the second one. That typically includes a strong fabricated steel tray fitted in the vehicle’s engine bay. That tray must also be well-equipped to handle driving vibrations in order to prevent from destroying the 15kg, and sometimes more, battery. The battery will also need to be placed somewhere away from the hot engine because batteries don’t like heat. It will also need to be heavily fastened because such batteries are quite heavy, and you don’t want it falling out and causing heaps of trouble. The installation of a second battery can be performed by a seasoned handyman, just make sure that you consult with a professional first.

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Which Battery Does What

Typically, in most dual battery installations, the second battery will power all of the vehicle’s accessories, such as the fridge or cooking equipment, while the first battery will be unaltered from its original task of powering the vehicle and its basic equipment, such as lights and radios. However, there are some situations where due to a lack of space the second battery will need to be smaller than the first, which might cause some issues with powering some appliances. In those cases, you might have to come up with some creative solutions, such as configuring the tray to hold a small backup starting battery. The good news is that it’s all perfectly doable.

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Keeping them Charged

Simply put, the second battery can be wired into the vehicle with appropriately-sized wiring, a fuse for security, as well as a simple on/off switch. This will allow the second battery to be charged whenever you’re driving, and to be isolated whenever you’re setting up camp in order to power the appliances, such as fridge, camp lights, or cooking equipment. This will prevent you from using the main battery, and thus you’ll always have the power to turn on the vehicle. Virtually, the only problem with this is that you’ll always have to know which battery is turned on at all times. You don’t want to run out of power because you lost track of which battery is turned on.

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Automatic Solenoid Switching

When wired to the ignition system of your vehicle, a solenoid will disconnect the accessory battery automatically whenever the ignition is turned off. In contrast, it will reconnect the second battery to the main one in order for it to charge when the engine is running. With this approach, you won’t have to be concerned with knowing which battery is turned on because it will all be done automatically. The biggest drawback to this system is that the second battery is on when the ignition is on, even during cranking the engine. This may allow for a seriously flat accessory battery to pull down voltages at the engine control or ignition coil below the motor’s starting point. It’s not something that happens often when cranking, but it’s still important to be aware of nonetheless.

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Manual Four-Way Switching

This is the ideal setup for those who want to have the most flexibility in their setup when it comes to batteries. A four-way manual switch allows both batteries to perform either of the two roles, which is either starting the vehicle or powering its equipment, all while totally isolating the other battery. This is great if you want to operate the car’s radio and accessories without running the risk of flattening either battery. The only downside is that this is an entirely manual setup, meaning it comes down to the vehicle operator to switch which battery does what. However, due to the added flexibility, part-time travellers won’t have to lug an extra battery at all times.

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Having your vehicle fully operational with dual battery kits, if you want to go camping, is a must. While in some cases having a single battery might do the trick, if you want to have a comfortable trip without worrying about power, then having two batteries is the way to go.