As with anything caravan related, the better you can suit your battery to your application, the better performance you will achieve. But with so many caravan batteries on the market, how do you identify the one for your set up? Well we are here to help!
Our caravan battery guide lays out the information you need to keep your gadgets running while you're off the grid – along with some information you never knew you needed.
The Best Caravan Battery?
Deep Cycle Batteries:
Lead Acid Batteries:
Gel and AGM are both Lead Acid caravan batteries. These are a traditional type of Deep cycle battery, with a typical size being around 100 to 120 amp hours.
A lead acid battery can be charged down to about 50% of its capacity before it needs to be recharged. This is referred to as "Depth of Discharge" So, a typical 200Amp hour lead acid battery bank contains 100 usable Amp Hours.
A 200 Amp Hour Lead Acid Battery bank weighs around 50Kg, which is quite heavy compared to the latest in Lithium.
Lithium Batteries are gaining serious popularity in modern caravan power system installations. A lithium battery has a Depth of Discharge of almost 80%. So, A 200 Amp Hour lithium battery provides 160 usable amp hours before it needs to be recharged.
Lithium batteries are half the weight of Lead Acid Caravan Batteries and take up a much smaller foot print.
The range of ePower B-TEC lithium batteries from Enerdrive all come with a built in Smart Phone monitoring system.
By Downloading the app, you can monitor the critical status of your battery in real time. You can monitor the following:
- Battery Capacity
- Battery Voltage
- Individual Cell Voltage
- Battery Current (Amps)
- Battery Event Information
- The Battery Status
- Battery Cycles
- Battery Alarms
- Temperature of the Battery
- Battery State of Charge (SOC)
- Battery State of Health (SOH)
The Btec range also comes with an internal Battery Management System or BMS. The BMS will monitor each cell within the battery and is designed to protect the battery from over charge, over discharge, over temperature and short circuit.
Due to the internal BMS, the Lithium Batteries are unable to be connected in Parallel to increase overall capacity.
Enerdrive eTIPS – Internal BMS Lithium Debate
The main reason to choose a Lead Acid caravan battery is price. They are extremely affordable. A good quality, sealed, 100 Amp Camec AGM battery will cost under $300 each. If weight and space are not an issue, you can keep connecting batteries in parallel to increase the overall battery capacity.
Anyone towing a Caravan, Camper Trailer or Boat is going to want to minimize battery weight and size as much as possible. So that is why so many people are pulling out 3 or 4 lead acid batteries and upgrading to one 200Amp ePower Btec Lithium Battery from Enerdrive.
At My Generator, we provide a wide range of smart chargers available to charge AGM or Gel batteries.
Lithium Caravan Batteries will require a special lithium charging profile. So to make life easier, the right size charger has been bundled up with the right size battery. Check out our Lithium battery packs here.
What Will My Caravan & Camping Battery Run?
When choosing a caravan battery that is right for you, you not only need to understand the difference between Gel, AGM and Lithium batteries, but you will also want to understand what your battery will run:
There are a few basic principles behind working out your run time and power requirements of your off-grid camping set up. You'll need to answer the following questions:
- How much will my appliance draw?;
- How big is my battery bank? and;
- How much charge will my solar panel or solar blanket put into my battery bank?
If this all seems overwhelming, don't worry; we are here to help! Firstly, you will need to understand how many amps per hour your fridge draws. Let's look at a typical example of a 46L portable fridge that draws an average of 1 Amp per hour, over 24 hours. Which means that in one day the fridge draws 24Amp hours. We have now calculated our load, which is 24 Amp Hours.
Now, let's say that our camping battery is a 50Ah lithium battery. A lithium battery has a 80% Depth of Discharge which means there are 40 usable Amp Hours (50*0.8 = 40). So if our 46L fridge is pulling out 24 Amps per day, my battery will run it for over a day and a half without any solar input!
Now this brings us to our Solar input. You could use either a Solar Panel or Solar Blanket to help run your camping fridge. A typical 160W portable Solar Panel that is in direct sunlight will provide an input charge current of nearly 9 Amps per hour. If the solar panel works off 4.5 hours of available sunlight, we have a total input of 40.5 Amps per day.
We now have 24 amps coming out, and 40.5 amps going in. This means that if the sun is available, our camping battery is going to stay charged up and we are given power indefinitely. This is how we are able to stay off-grid while camping!
With these products, we have more than enough power left over to charge mobile phones, laptops, led lights and 240V inverters. However, if the weather does decide to close in, and we lose sun all together, we will still get nearly three days of running our fridge.
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I Connect Lithium Batteries In Parallel or In Series?
Yes and no – be sure to check the manufacturer's specifications as each battery has different limitations. For example, Invicta Lithium Batteries are very versatile and some of the range can be connected in both series and parallel - look for the words "4 Series Functionality" in the title. View the product card and you'll see that you can connect these batteries in series or parallel (up to 4 batteries).
Enerdrive Lithium Batteries on the otherhand cannot be connected in series. You can however connect up to two only of the same size (ah) B-TEC batteries in Parallel. Enerdrive recommend that you only do this if you don't over load the max current of the internal BMS board from ONE OF THE BATTERIES.
For Example: if you connect 2 x 200Ah B-TEC batteries then do not draw more than 200A of DC current from that battery bank, as one (1) single 200Ah B-TEC battery is only capable of handling 200A DC.
The main aim of connecting two (2) of the Enerdrive B-TEC batteries is not to increase your maximum DC current output, but to double your storage capacity.
Double the storage equals double the time you can stay powered up and off the grid.
Be sure to always consult the Enerdrive user manuals for correct cable sizing, fuse sizing and wiring diagrams.
We now sell an Enerdrive battery bundle with a parallel kit - please click here to view this bundle.
Be sure to check the product manual for other brands series or parallel capability.
Can I Lay My Caravan Battery On Its Side?
Traditionally deep cycle batteries could only ever be mounted upright. However, more manufacturers are understanding the need to change the mounting orientation of the battery to accommodate space saving efficiencies. Refer to the user manual for each battery to determine which models are capable of being laid on their side.
For example, Enerdrive B-TEC Lithium Batteries cannot be laid on their side. However, Century AGM Batteries are able to. These batteries are spill proof - ideal for 90° side mount applications. Invicta Lithium Batteries can also be installed on either of its sides, however not upside down.
Enerdrive Lithium Battery Review: 200Ah Lithium Battery, 40A DC2DC + 40A AC Charger Pack
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Need help choosing a caravan battery for your setup? Give one of our experts a call on 1300 400 122.