The Ultimate Dual Battery Education Video!

This video will teach you everything you need to know about Dual Battery Systems for Vehicles/Trailers & more.

 

Topics Covered:

• Dual Battery Fundamentals • Portable Battery Systems
• Battery Types & Maintenance • Caravan/Camper Trailer Installations
• Isolator and DC-DC Chargers • Solar Panel Education
• Vehicle Wiring & Installation Guide • Battery Chargers & Why You Should Have One
• Battery System Sizing  

 

 

I'm Klaeton. I'm the owner of Australian Direct 4WD Outdoor and also the owner of Kickass products. I've been specialising in dual battery systems and portable fridges for eight years. And it's a massive hole in the market for a detailed video on dual battery systems installations, wiring kits, batteries, chargers, DC chargers and all the gear that you need to get your caravan camper trailer or your vehicle set up for running vehicle accessories.

 

Now, these videos are going to be very in depth. I am going to explain everything that I have learned over the last eight years in the business. And I hope you really enjoy it.

 

The first thing that I need to do is explain the fundamentals of a dual battery system and why we need one. Many people these days wander around laptops, portable fridges, LED lights and that kind of thing when they are travelling or camping. Now, without a dual battery system installed in your vehicle, you would need to run those devices off of your vehicle's start battery which obviously runs the risk of flattening that battery so you can't start the car. But let me explain a little bit more  about your vehicle's starting battery. A start battery is like an athletic sprinter. It is designed to have a lot of power up front to start your car but it is not designed to run for a long time to have devices running for a long time.

 

If you do flatten this battery by running devices off of it for a long time, you damage the battery and you need to buy new batteries consistently. On top of that as I said, these are not designed for having devices drawing power for a long time which means that it will easily go flat and you won't able to start your car.

 

So these are called cranking or starting batteries and these are normally charged by the alternator which is the device that will charge the battery when you are driving. Once you car starts, basically this battery will start charging and then the vehicle's alternator will provide the power to run everything in the car so it is great when you are on the road, you don't need an auxiliary battery.

 

Auxiliary batteries is basically a way of putting a  second battery almost like a back up battery to run all of your auxiliary devices. Now, these are called deep cycle batteries and these are more like long distance runners. They are designed to have power drained from them for a long period of time. So the battery on my right here is what we call an absorbed glass AGM Deep Cycle Battery.

 

There are different types of batteries on the market. Here at Australian Direct and Kickass, we  sell the AGM style batteries because they were designed for the military and they have got excellent anti vibration and excellent stability. They really are the batteries to use in the market.

 

Now, you have decided to put two batteries in your setup. You have got your start battery and you have got your auxiliary battery. How do we make it work? How do we make them work together? Well, they are really simplified. You could just run a cable. You need to have a good quality cable and to connect these together. When the batteries are connected together, when this battery starts charging, so when you start battery is charging, the power will also go through the cable and charge up your auxiliary battery.

 

The problem is, when you discharge the auxiliary battery, when you run a device from this battery, it will do the same thing. It will discharge the start battery. So if you discharge this battery with a cable connected, you won't be able to start your car eventually. So we need to make a way to be able to charge the auxiliary battery but when the car is not running, disconnect the two so you can drain  that auxiliary battery all the way down but still leave your start battery full.

 

Now, the easiest way to do it will be to run a cable, get a pair of cutters, and when you stop the car, cut the cable. That is an inconvenient way of doing it though because every time you got back in your car, you'd have to get a new cable and wire them back together again.

 

The first thing that they did in the old days was they simply had a cable connected and they put a manual switch there. You can switch the batteries together and then you could manually switch them off. But people would forget to disconnect them. It is annoying. So, what people came up with then was some devices to automatically connect and disconnect the batteries. I am going to talk about that a little bit later in the video for you.

 

It is important to talk about the heart of the dual battery system which is the deep cycle battery itself. Australian Direct only sell AGM Deep Cycle Batteries as they are perfect for camping caravan and in-vehicle installations. An interesting fact is that AGM Batteries were designed for military use. They have got excellent resistance to vibration which make them perfect for travelling on Australia's bumpy roads. The reason that they are resistant to vibration is that the actual  plates in the battery are wrapped in an absorbed glass matting. That is where AGM comes from. Another fantastic feature of AGM Batteries is that they are completely sealed. This means that they can be installed in the rear of the vehicle, under the bed, or any covered up caravan or camper trailer safely.

 

AGM Batteries are maintenance free that means unlike old styles of batteries, you do not have to fill the batteries up with water or top them up at all. That does not mean that you don't need to look after them and use them correctly. It is important to know whether your battery is fully charged, discharged, or completely flat. And the easiest way to ascertain that is by measuring the batteries voltage. When you measure the batteries voltage, you want to make sure that nothing is taking power away from it so you don't have any devices running from it and that the battery is not being charged. So we want the battery to be measured when it's on its own, disconnected from everything or essentially not being charged, not having any power being taken out of it. How do we do that? We are going to do it with a voltmeter and in this case, I am going to show you how to do it with a multimeter.

 

Here, I have a multimeter that is set to measure DC volts. And to take a battery measurement is very simple. Black lead which is the negative on to the negative terminal of the battery. Red lead which is positive on to the positive terminal of the battery. Have a look over, 13.1 volts. That means that this battery is fully charged. We don't want you to have to always use a multimeter to take measurements and the battery boxes that I am going to talk about a little bit later have built in a volt meter where you can simply press a button and this button will give you the voltage of your battery.

 

Charging AGM Batteries.

It is important for an AGM Battery to get a full charge, a complete charge that is brought out to very close to 14.8 volts. Now, most modern AC powered battery chargers such as this one or solar panels fitted with a solar controller will automatically control that charging process. 14.7, 14.8 is what we call the bolt charge and it is kind of like taking a balloon and blowing it out with a big breath and getting the most of the charge in very very quickly. Once the battery is charged, we need to put it on to what is called an absorption or a float charge. Now, that is the  little breaths and just getting that battery right up to a fully absorbed and charged state. Like a balloon, if you leave it in the corner for too long, slowly the air will come out of it and AGM Batteries are absolutely fantastic at actually keeping that air in and in staying charged. They have got a very small discharge rate. But, in the float or maintenance mode, any charge that is lost over time will be replaced and it will keep your battery in a perfectly charged and full condition.

 

Charging from your vehicle.

Vehicles made before 2006 as a general rule will put out very close to the 14.8  volts that it would take to give your AGM Battery a full charge. Something changed in the automotive industry around 2006 and that is that the manufacturers started considering and thinking more about fuel economy and emission controls. A lot of new vehicles made past through 2006 do not put out the full 14.8 volts. Some can be as low as 13 or 13.8 volts. And that causes a situation where the battery cannot fully charge from the vehicle's charging system.

 

DC-DC Chargers have been developed to combat this situation and I am going to talk about that more a little bit later on. Just a little more information about how to maintain your batteries to ensure that you get the longest life out of them. Always use a fully automatic mains powered battery charger. And that means a charger that is modern. The old school ones from your grandfather just charge and charge and that is no  good for your battery. It will overcharge your battery. Never connect the solar panel directly to the battery. Solar panels need to go through a solan controller or solar regulator which will do the same job. It will ensure that the battery is not overcharged. It is important to do your best to make sure that your battery stays as close to fully charged as possible and that means when you take power out of it, make sure you put the power back in whether from vehicle charging or from a solar panel or from a battery charger.

 

A lot of time, people will discharge their batteries, they will come home, leave their caravan, camper trailer or car in the driveway and just leave them in that discharged state. That leads to what we call to battery sulfation and it is the number 1 way to ruin your perfectly good deep cycle battery. A commonly asked question is "Can I charge and discharge my battery at the same time?". And the answer is "Yes, you can." If you are charging the battery with a solar panel or battery charger or in your vehicle, the amount of power that you are putting in take away the amount of power you are taking out is the total charges coming into the battery. So, for example, if there is more charge coming in than you are taking out, the battery is charging. If there is less charge coming in than you are taking out, the battery is discharging. It is as simple as that. If you are smart and look after your AGM Battery correctly, you can expect a really long life out of them. And if you want to learn more about maintaining and using your AGM Batteries, check out our Youtube page as we have got lots of good videos on that subject.

 

Do you remember earlier I talked about cutting the cable that joins the batteries together by hand? Well, that is silly and also silly is the old system that our forefathers used disconnecting the batteries with a switch manually. It was quiet often forgotten to use that manual switch and would result in flat batteries. A better solution had to be found.

 

Welcome the VSR or Voltage Sensitive Relay. What is a VSR? A VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) or Voltage Sensitive Switch is a device that will detect when your vehicle start battery is charging. When your vehicle start battery is charging, this device will engage and it will connect your auxiliary battery and your start battery together so that it can charge together at the same time. When you switch the car off, the start battery is not charging anymore, this device will detect that and it will disconnect your auxiliary battery from your start battery. And that means does not matter how much you discharged the auxiliary battery, you still  will be able to start your car. This is the VSR.

 

I will open up a VSR and just give you a quick overview of what is inside. Essentially, there are two terminals. One is for the vehicle's start battery to connect to the positive line from the vehicle start battery. The other side is for the positive line from the auxiliary battery to connect to. And the wire up is very simple. I am going to show you some more about that later.

 

Now, there are two types of VSRs. There is standard VSR which is this black one. This one will only sense the starting battery of the vehicle. This is our more premium VSR. It is a little bit more expensive. It has got a switch on it. What is handy about this switch is when you do flip the switch, it will actually connect the auxiliary battery to the start battery. So, if you do drain the start battery of the vehicle say by leaving the radio on in the car which is not connected to the auxiliary battery or the car slides, you can actually flip this switch. It will connect the auxiliary battery to the start battery, you can wait about 10 minutes and you can actually jump start your vehicle from the auxiliary battery. Very handy. There are also some extra cables on the back and there is more information about what they do in the product listings.

 

This cable here will allow you to connect the lights in the dash if you want to. There is a manual override wire here which is generally not needed but there is more information on the product listing. That is really the difference between these two VSRs. So, you have got the standard VSR and you have got the override VSR.

 

In the old days, we had a hand operated switch then the VSR was created. Now, technology has improved again and there is a new device on the market and it is called a DC-DC Charger. There is a lot of talk on internet forums and there is a lot of people chatting at pubs and in bars with their mates about DC-DC Chargers. And I have got to be honest, a lot of information that is getting around is incorrect. So, I want to give you the low down on DC-DC Chargers and why and when to use them.

 

Most of the vehicles manufactured from 2006 onward have smart charging systems in them. And the manufacturers are really thinking about fuel consumptions and emissions. These charging systems do not put out the full 14.8 volts I talked about earlier to give your battery its full bolt charge. They are not thinking about your auxiliary battery. All they want to do is maintain the start battery in your vehicle. This means that your auxiliary battery will never get to a 100% full charge from these charging systems. Now, there is a solution and that is the DC-DC Charger. I will explain to you what the DC-DC Charger is and how it works.

 

The function of a DC-DC Charger is to ensure that your auxiliary battery gets the correct charge voltage regardless of what the charging system in your vehicle is doing. Now these chargers also operate as a voltage sensitive switch so that will ensure that when the vehicle is running, they charge and when the vehicle is not running, they will disconnect just like a VSR.

 

Now, the DC Charger we are focusing on this video also includes an MPPT Charge Controller. These are famous for being the best controllers in the market and they can put out up to 30% more charge than a standard controller. These chargers as you can see, normally come with the cables, you have to wire them yourself and that can be quite a bit of work. So, what we have done is we have wired them into our portable battery systems to make the job easy for you and I will show you them a little bit later.

 

What should you use for your installation, a VSR or a DC-DC Charger? Let me put it like this; if your family is not going to go without food or water or accommodation, then just bloody go for a DC-DC Charger. Truly, you might have to spend a bit more but it will guarantee your batteries are charged perfectly every time. It is just the best needs of charging when you are using your vehicle. If your vehicle is made before 2006, a VSR really is an acceptable option. And if your vehicle is made after 2006 and you want to save money, you can still use a VSR.

 

But you remember earlier in the video I said to give your battery a full  charge it needs to come up to 14.8 volts? Well, if you have a newer vehicle, it is not going to give the battery that full charge and to get a long life out of your battery, you need to give the battery 100% charge. So, you can install a VSR into a newer vehicle but as I keep on saying, if you can afford to do it, just get a bloody DC-DC Charger truly. I will also note that with the older vehicles, if you want to, you can still install a DC-DC Charger. You can install a DC-DC Charger into any vehicle.

 

In this video, I am focusing on portable battery systems. But before I do that, let us talk about the old school or the real manual labor way of doing it. You take your battery, you get a battery tray, you mount the battery down, you need to install circuit breakers, you need to install ring terminals, all of your cabling, Anderson plugs, you need a way of telling the voltage so you have to wire a volt meter in, you need control boxes so you can plug your fridges and things in. It is a real lot of work and if you change vehicles, it is a nightmare. You might as well sell the vehicle with it included.

 

So, the new way of doing things is just to have it all already done, portable, you can move it around. Let us talk about portable battery systems.

 

A portable battery system is the new way of doing things. You can move it around, you can install it in one vehicle and swap it to the next vehicle. You can put it in your boat. If your friends are down at the campfire and you want to take your fridge for the afternoon, you can pick up your portable battery pack and you can take it with you. Not only that, they are not exposed to the under bonnet vibrations and heat of the old style of installations.

 

Now, I am going to run you through our range and explain to you the features of them. They really are the ultimate way to install a dual battery system in your vehicle, or caravan, or camper trailer.

 

The first portable solution I would like to show you is our battery box only. Now, this battery box can take our 120A power AGM battery which is our most popular battery on the website perfectly, fits perfectly in it. But it is also a large battery box, bigger than most of the boxes on the market. A lot of the boxes don't have the features of this plus they won't fit the larger style batteries which is what we need when we are installing camping fridges and that kind of thing.

 

What is included in this box? You see on the front and I am not going to get into too much detail because there is more details on the website for the particular product. But you have got cigarette lighter sockets. You have got all different plugs and sockets on the unit that you can plug in your cig sockets. You have got USB. You can plug two USB outlets into this; your iphones or the kids' ipads, etc. You have got the voltmeter. Now, the voltmeter is critical and it is in all of these units to tell you how much power you have got on your battery. Anderson plug on the front and Anderson plug on the back.

 

Installing your battery is really simple. You see that we just have a negative cable and we have a positive cable. You just connect that to the terminals of your battery and you are away. This unit comes on its own. You can buy just as it is or it is also packaged out with a VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) and a charging kit. So, on its own  or with a Voltage Sensitive Relay and a charging kit. We even have a package that includes the battery.

 

This is the battery box with DC-DC Charger built in, all the same features as the standard battery box but this has the projected DC-DC Charger built in. We have wired this all up. It is all being hand made for you. Solar panel, unregulated solar panel can plug straight into it. It has got an MPPT input. Your vehicle charger will go straight through the DC- DC Charger and this unit is available on its own or with the DC-DC wiring kit that you require to install this unit.

 

When it comes to choosing the correct portable solution for your situation, it really is up to you. If you want to stick to a budget, the battery box on our its own. You can couple that together with one of our Kickass Batteries, your own battery, or even a package with a battery and a charging kit.  

 

The DC-DC Charger is definitely a recommendation if you can stretch yourself to it. And if you want a jump start, these are the ultimate flags you plunge, the Kickass packs. Now, these units are the premium units because they have got everything included. They come with the charging kit that is suitable for them. So, whether you go for the basic units which come with the VSR or the DC-DC unit, they come with the correct wiring kit for that installation. Massive advantage with these kits is, as I said, the cables are already included as standard but you get this heavy duty jumper leads, plugged in simply like that. And these are no budget variety, heavy duty you can almost use them for hand exercising.

 

These packs would jump your v8 diesel engine, really really powerful. So if somebody else gets a flat battery, you can jump start them, excellent feature of the Kickass packs!

 

Now, very similar to the battery box, you have got all your six sockets, you have got your volt metres, you have got your USB charging points, and is very similar between all of them, Anderson plugs on the sides here. So, you got two Anderson plugs on the standard packs.

 

This is the 80A Pair Pack comes with an 80A Pair AGM Battery built in. This is the 110A Power Pack. Here we have the 110A Power Pack with the DC-DC Charger built in. This is the flagship model may I say. DC-DC Chargers built in, cable kits included as I said with all of these units. You can plug in unregulated solar panels straight into it, you plug  your alternator straight into it, no need for a VSR, all included.

 

Now, I know you are eager to get on the tools and you want to get in there and get them installed. So, let us get to the fun bit. Let us show you how to wire one of these things up.

 

One last note before we go any further, it is your responsibility to take any necessary safety precautions when installing a battery wiring system into your vehicle and this video is a guide only for your reference.

 

Before we begin running the cables through the vehicle, the most important thing is to make sure that the vehicle is in fact charging. Now, everybody should have a voltmeter or a multimeter to test voltage. If you don't have one, you need to get one.

 

What I am going to do is connect up the positive and the negative and check the battery without the engine running. Now, this battery is a little bit low, it is 12.23 volts. It should be 12.7 to around 13 volts if it is a healthy charged battery. That being said, let us start the car up and watch that voltage rise. We hope that it is going to rise right up to about 14.8 volts but in a lot of vehicles, it will only be 13.8 volts. Sometimes less. But we want to make sure that this charge right goes up.

And you can see that the voltage is starting to climb and in this case we are at about 14.13 volts. So, we know that the vehicle is now charging. And you see when we turn the vehicle off, the voltage comes down again. Now, the ideal charge rate for AGM battery is 14.8 volts. A lot of newer vehicles will only  come up to 13 volts or maybe 13.8 volts. Now that is enough to charge the batteries but not completely and that is why I do recommend the DC-DC  Charger.

 

Once you have confirmed that the battery is charging though, you know everything is working, we are ready to start running the cable. If you are installing a portable battery system with a DC-DC Charger, you need our standard wiring kit. I will show you what is in that.

 

Heavy duty Australian cable. This is more than heavy enough to install any portable battery system in your vehicle. You notice that we have pre-crimped the Anderson terminals for you,for easier setup. But if you want to change the length, you notice that we have got spare ring terminals, you can cut the cable and change that length.

 

This is an ingenious fuse system that we have set up for installing to your start battery, ring terminals, waterproof fuse. We also include a spare fuse for you and Anderson plug on the end for easier connection. Zip ties for securing the cable into place and of course the Anderson plugs which I will show you later when we do the install. Now, this kit is perfect for those of you who are purchasing one of our DC-DC Charger portable battery systems. And remember that we generally package them together with the right kit.

 

Now, there is one variation and that is for those of you who want a battery box without a DC-DC Charger charger. Then you are going to need a VSR so the variation on the kit is the same kit, exact same kit, with a VSR included. If you are installing a battery box without a DC-DC Charger, the kit that you need includes the VSR. The cabling kit is long enough for you to either install a battery pack in the rear of the vehicle, in the cargo area or the tray of the ute. It is even long enough to go right down to the tow bay area of the vehicle, for charging your caravan or camper trailer. I will note and I will show you later on if you want to do a battery pack on the rear of the vehicle and charge your caravan or camper trailer, you will need to buy an upgrade kit which is I will tell you about our extension kit.

 

We have three options when you run the long cable that comes included the wiring kit.

 

Option #1: We are going to install an Anderson plug on the rear of the vehicle for charging a caravan or a camper trailer only. Well, we start at the starter battery. Now, we run down either through the firewall and under the step threads or easiest is to go along the chassis rail. We run the cable all the way to the rear of the vehicle and we put an Anderson plug on the back and that is where you connect the caravan or camper trailer.

 

Option # 2: You want to install your portable battery system in the rear tray of the ute or the cargo area of your vehicle, easy! From the starting battery, down to the rear of the ute or the cargo area of the vehicle, Anderson plug. Make sure that you have located the cable in Anderson plug in the rear of the cargo area or the tray of the ute where you want to put the battery system and make sure there is enough slot to make it so you can move it around easily.

 

Option # 3 is for those of you who want everything. You want to have a battery system in the tray of the ute or in the cargo area of your vehicle, and you also want to charge your caravan or camper trailer. What you do is you use a standard long cable that comes with our kit and you have to purchase the additional tow bar extension kit which will allow you to run the lead from the rear of the vehicle.

 

Now, what you are going to do, run a lead, the standard lead, down to the rear cargo area or tray of the ute and Anderson plug. Then, you are going to buy our upgrade tow bar kit. You are going to run the Anderson plug from the rear tow bar area of the vehicle. You are going to run that up and put an Anderson plug right next to the Anderson plug you just installed. So there will be two cables in the rear of the vehicle. One, going to the start battery and one going to the tow bar Anderson plug. It is as simple as that.

 

The first step in installing the battery system is we take this lead. You see it has got two ring terminals, inside of here is a fuse. What is a fuse? If there is a short circuit, if the wires ever have an issue in touch together, the cable could without a fuse burn out. This little fuse will pop and we are kind enough to give you a spare fuse as well if that does happen. But that is included for your safety.

 

The first step is simply connecting the red on to the positive terminal of the battery and the negative on to the negative terminal of the battery. Now we have installed the ring terminals to fuse the Anderson plug adaptor. That is the first part done so we are just going to leave that there for the time being and we will get the next step.

 

This is a long cable included in your wiring kit. What we need to do is get that down to where we need it, in the rear of the vehicle. Earlier, we installed the Anderson plug to the battery. We need to make sure that we start and give ourselves enough slot under the bonnet to connect up to that and then we need to run it down. There are two ways to doing it. The easiest is to drop it down through the engine bay and run along the chassis rail underneath the vehicle. Now, we have got zip ties included to do that and that is by far the easiest way to do it. That is not always possible. The other option is to run through the firewall and you can lift up these step treads here and you can actually run the cable underneath the step treads down to the rear of the vehicle. I am not going to get to the detail on exactly how to do that because every vehicle is different. I hope you use your common sense, take your time, and make sure you secure the cable in place correctly.

 

The standard cable is long enough to go down the tow bar section of the vehicle or you can install into the cargo area of the vehicle. You cannot install to both the cargo area and the tow bar with this one cable. If you want to do that, you need to get our tow bar extension kit. And in this installation, we are going to install to the cargo area and to the tow bar. I am going to show you how to do that later by including the tow bar extension kit. One more note before I forget, if you are going to do the tow bar and the cargo area, the first thing you are going to do is run the standard cable into the cargo area first. Here I am in the cargo area of the vehicle and I have ran the cable all the way down. I just want to make a little note about the long cable. You notice here that we have got the Anderson terminals crimped on but we don't  have the Anderson plug on there. We have done that to make it easy for you to run, you don't like the big bulky Anderson plug on the end. If these terminals are too bulky to run through the grommets, you need to run them through or maybe you want to change the cable length. We have included spare Anderson terminals so you can just simply cut them off and crimp them on later.

 

Here is a pre done cable. This is installed from the front of the vehicle all the way down to the rear of the vehicle. And you see that I have connected the Anderson plug on. So, this is connected directly to the battery via our fuse. This is the cable that runs down to the Anderson plug in the rear of the vehicle. All I need to do to complete the installation is connect the ring terminal fuse Anderson adaptor, the Anderson plug on the end of that to the cable that goes down to the rear of the vehicle just like this.

 

If you are installing a DC-DC Charger, your wiring installation is complete for the rear cargo area of the vehicle. If you are going to install a unit with a VSR without a DC-DC Charger, I will show you a little bit later how to do a slight variation and install a VSR in line.

 

I am going to quickly test to make sure that there is power at this Anderson plug. And there should be power because this cable runs all the way to the battery via the fuse so there should be power permanently at this Anderson plug. And we will know  we have got it all installed correctly if we get voltage at this Anderson plug. So, to do that, I take my positive and negative probes on the multi meter and I am just going to carefully make sure that I connected to the little terminals inside the Anderson plug, positive and negative. And as you see, 12.7 volts. We have got permanent power to the rear of the vehicle. That is perfect as I said if you are installing a DC-DC Charger unit. If you do not have a DC-DC Charger unit, you need to install a VSR otherwise any battery that is connected directly to this cable will just drain down the start battery as you drain it so  the installation that we have done so far is for DC-DC Charger unit. And I will show you the VSR installation again later in the video.   

 

Now, the cabling is complete, the best part is putting the battery system and testing it so we are going to do the DC-DC boxes first because we have not put the VSR in yet. You notice on both of these units, DC-DC mounted on top and on these boxes, slightly different configuration but you see, we got normal Anderson plugs. Still a little note with any Anderson plug apart from the special ones for the DC-DC Charger, you can put power in and take power out. And you can even do powering out at the same time. But we are not going to connect to the normal Anderson plugs. There is a couple of other Anderson plugs; one says alternator input or vehicle input and one for the solar panel.

 

And slightly different configurations but you will see that each one has got an alternator input Anderson plug. So, we are going to take the lead and we are just going to plug it straight into the vehicle input. And that will connect into the alternator input on the DC-DC Charger. Once the DC-DC Charger detects that the vehicle is running, then after a couple of minutes, it will kick in and begin to charge the battery. So, let us test that now. Now, the car is just being switched on. And you see that the voltage on the battery pack is 12. 8 volts. This battery is almost completely full. Now, the alternator light is on so the DC-DC Charger has detected that the car is running. The DC-DC Chargers have a special feature that basically waits a little while until it kick in and start charging and that is just to make sure that the vehicle's start battery gets to charge to get a good charge into it before the power starts going down also to the DC-DC Charger in the power pack. We are just going to wait now and we might need to fast forward the video but soon you will see the charging light come on and then this voltage will climb up. Firstly, it will go to a bolt voltage of 14.8 volts and then once the battery is fully charged, that could take sometime, it would cut back to the float mode of around 13.8 volts.

 

You can see now that the charging lights come on and watch that voltage start charging. You see the voltage coming up, that means that the DC-DC Charger is charging the battery and everything is installed correctly. When we switch the vehicle off, you notice that the charging light is going to stop flashing for a minute and very shortly, this battery pack will be completely disconnected from the start battery which means that even if you discharge this battery pack with your fridge or whatever you are running from it, it will not affect the charge on the start battery of the vehicle. These packs do not have DC-DC Chargers built into them and that means that a VSR needs to be installed. If I was to connect the cable without a VSR to one of these battery boxes and I drain this battery box down or the portable pack down, it will drain the start battery with it. So now, I am going to show you how to install a VSR into the same wiring kit, you can use exact same wiring kit, but we need to install the VSR in. Let us do that.

 

If you are not going for a DC-DC Charger unit, you need to install a VSR. The DC-DC Charger itself has an isolator built in to isolate the batteries when the car is not running. Whereas, the battery box is without the DC Charger or the battery packs without the DC Charger, we need to have an isolator fitted. It is not as hard as it looks and I am going to show you how to do it.

 

Here, we have a standard VSR and you see it is quite simple. It is really just the switch. You see some red paint on this side and it says "Sense Battery", this is for the positive cable coming from the starter battery to go to. Then, there is a brake of course and the other terminal for the auxiliary battery to connect to, that is the positive cable that goes down to the auxiliary battery in the rear of the vehicle. I am going to show you how to install this in line now.

 

Let us just imagine this is a twin core cable going to the rear of the vehicle. What you need to do is take a sturdy knife and locate under the bonnet of the engine bay a place where you can fit a VSR unit. Once you have located that, mark it on the cable. Carefully, in the middle of the cable, make an incision and cut the insulation that covers the two cables. You see when I open that up, I can get the positive cable out. There is a positive there, red, and the negative. We will leave the negative cable in place. We are just going to cut the positive cable. So I have got some cutters here, I am just going to cut that. And let us just imagine the side with the silver handle is coming from the starter battery and this other side is going to the auxiliary battery. I need to strip this off. This is the positive cable coming from the start battery. Now the cable going to the auxiliary battery and you will see that I have got those strips and ready to put the ring terminals on. I put my ring terminals on. Now, I am doing this quickly just to give you an idea. You can take your time. The first one crimped on. And now, I have got  the side that is going to the auxiliary battery, just about crimped on.

 

Okay. So, two ring terminals; one coming from the start battery and one going to the auxiliary battery. As I said with your VSR, we have got the red or the one that says "Sense" which is for the start battery and the other one is for the auxiliary battery. Simply take off the knots and as I say, I am doing this quickly and all I do is I put the wire that is coming from the start battery on to the terminal and I put a knot in place. And then, the wire or the lead is going to the lead of the vehicle on to the auxiliary battery terminal, put a knot in place. And obviously, I would take a spinner and I would tighten them up but this is just an instructional video.

 

Now, you can see that I have done that for you. You can see that there is another bit of black wire here. What is this black wire for? Well, this needs an earth to operate. So, this earth wire can only go to the negative terminal on your starter battery or you can put a ring terminal on this and just fix it to the chassis of the vehicle because the chassis of all vehicles is already earth. You see this little cover? Pop the cover on. You can clean all of these up and make it much cleaner than I have in this demonstration. That is your VSR installed. You see the positive coming in from the starter battery and going out to the auxiliary battery, this little earth wire as I said, ring terminal, imagine this metal here as the chassis of the vehicle, make a clean connection and that will give it the earth so this unit can operate.

 

Now, what this device will do is connect both of the batteries when the vehicle is running and disconnect it when you switch the vehicle off. It is as simple as that. There is a little light built in  that will show you when the device is connected and that light will switch off when the device has not connected, when it has disconnected the batteries.

 

Now, that you know how to wire up a VSR, I am going to show you how and where to install it. You see, this is the one I wired up just before and I have just cleaned it up a bit. You can probably clean it up better than me. I did mine in a bit of a rush but you see I taped it up and made it cleaner. We want to install it in a lead that runs through the rear of the vehicle. Now, this is the one that we installed earlier. Anderson plug here going straight down to an Anderson plug in the back. There is no VSR because this is set up for the DC-DC Charger, it does not require VSR.

 

What we need to do is essentially run the VSR through that line. We have not pre-crimped or set the VSR up for you that is why you need to wire it yourself because it depends on whereabouts in the vehicle; you have space to put it. A lot of vehicles is tough to find a spot for VSR under the bonnet. What you need to do is take this long cable when you are doing the install. Make sure you have got enough length. Install your VSR in the engine bar as the first option. Ensuring as well that this earth wire goes to the vehicle chassis. You can also tape the earth wire into the negative cable if you want to or you can go to the negative terminal on your starter battery. Once you found the spot, you have got the cable set up and it is installed, fix it into place and the VSR is done.

 

The second option is to install the VSR in the rear of the vehicle and I will show you how to do that now. If you have not got space under the bonnet or you just don't want to install it there, you can always install it in the tray of the ute or the cargo area of your vehicle like I am going to show you. The main thing is that the VSR is before the final Anderson plug is going to plug into your battery packs or battery box.

 

Imagine this cable here is a lead coming down from the start battery of the vehicle, it will go through the VSR unto your plug. You need to remember in any installation, this earth wire either needs to tape into this earth wire and strip a little bit of the installation back and connect it there and put some tape around it, soldered. You can connect it to the chassis of the vehicle in this installation.

 

In the ute, you can securely mount it on the side if you want it to or if you want to be super tidy, you can run the cable through and install it in the wheel cavity of anywhere that is out of the way, fix it into place and then run your cable out. This is a bit of a rough demonstration but run the cable out, ready to plug into your battery box or portable battery pack.

 

Now, that the VSR is installed in line between this Anderson plug and the starter battery, let us check to see if it is working. The first thing we need to do is see if there is any power at the Anderson plug at the rear of the vehicle. I have got my trusty multimeter, positive unto the positive, red unto the positive, black unto the negative. There is no voltage. That is right! That is because the vehicle is not running. The vehicle needs to be running and the start battery needs to be charging before the VSR engages. So, let us start the car up and see what happens. There is voltage and the voltage is climbing that is because the VSR is engaged and is now connected the start battery to the cable at the rear of the vehicle.

 

What happens now if we switch the vehicle off? Let us see what happens. It automatically disconnects again. The VSR is working. Now, a little note is that the VSR does have a little red light on it and you can see when it is engaged when the batteries are joined together, the little red light will be on the unit. When this lead is plugged into a battery or a battery pack without a DC-DC Charger, it will begin to charge when the vehicle is running. When you switch the vehicle off, it will make this lead completely disconnected from the start battery which means that you can drain that battery or battery pack without the VSR down as much as you like and your car will still start. It is as easy as that. We have now tested the system for a VSR installation.

 

The final step of course is check that your battery pack is charging. This is a lead VSR is installed. I am going to plug into the Anderson plug on the battery pack. You see that the volt is 12.6 volts, let us start the car up. There you can see the voltage is rising as the battery charges. Let us switch the vehicle off, that voltage will start coming down again. There you have it, portable battery pack installed with the VSR Isolator, done!

Here is a bit of an extra information for those of you who have your own battery and you do not want to buy or use a portable battery pack. Take your battery and just connect one of our ring terminals to Anderson adaptors which are available in the store. I am just going to do this quickly just for example's sake.  This will give you a connection to your battery. If you have got a VSR installed in the line, all you would need to do is just connect these together. This battery will charge when the vehicle is running and disconnect when you switch the vehicle off. Now, let us imagine in this charging line here, there is no VSR and it is just a straight through set up for a DC-DC Charger. We have it out on our website one of our modified DC-DC Chargers that have got Anderson plugs on it. The lead coming down from the starter battery will go into the alternator input, the lead will going into your battery goes to the charge output and then you will have another Anderson plug here to plug your solar panel into. That is how easy it is if you want to set up your own battery on its own.

 

I told you that in this installation, we are going to go to the rear cargo area or tray of the ute of the vehicle and then we are going to add the Anderson plug to the rear of the vehicle using our optional upgrade which is our tow bar extension kit. So, we are going to that now but just a note if you do not want to go to the cargo area or the tray of the ute, you can just run this cable run right down to the back of the vehicle and that is for charging the caravan or camper trailer. Let us get the upgrade kit installed.

 

What we are trying to achieve with the tow bar extension kit is to put an Anderson plug on the rear of the vehicle, anywhere that is convenient. And then, run a cable up inside the cargo area of the vehicle or the tray of the ute and have an Anderson plug that is the same length and in the same place as the Anderson plug that we have already installed. Let us get that done.

 

The first thing I am going to do is take this rubber protective cover, put that over the Anderson plug, just over the back like this. This is the one  that is going in the rear of the vehicle. That is ready to go. Here is my cable. So, I am going to put the Anderson terminals that are pre-crimped; positive into the positive, negative into the negative. That is now fitted into place.

 

Next step is to fix it where I want it in the vehicle. I have decided I want it here and let us mount that into place. You want the Anderson plug to  be accessible because what you are going to do later is you are going to run a lead down the A frame of your caravan or camper trailer with an Anderson plug on the end that will be level with the trailer plug so you can plug into it. So, make sure it is in a good position.

 

Using the included zip ties, I am now going to secure this cable up underneath the vehicle and then I am going to run it into the rear of the vehicle where the cable was installed earlier. And make sure that those cables are the same length so we will have two Andersons in the back; one Anderson from the starter battery and one lead Anderson plug that runs down to this Anderson on the rear of the vehicle. I will just get that done, will show you the next step.

 

I have now completed the Anderson plug installation on the rear of the vehicle. I have ran that cable underneath and securing it with zip ties and here is the cable. And you notice that it has just got the Anderson terminals on the end. And what I want to do is make that the same length as the lead that I have got coming down from the starter battery. If the cable is too long, remember we include some Anderson terminals for you so you can cut the cable and cut it for length. I am going to put the Anderson plug on; negative to negative, positive to positive. It is not included on the kit but I do recommend labeling which cable goes to where. I am just going to quickly do that now.

 

I have named this one here "cable coming from start battery" and I have labeled this one "cable going to Anderson on towbar". Now I know which one is which. I will show you how to set the best of this up.

 

Connection option # 1 is when you are using a DC-DC Charger box. It is really simple. I take the lead that says "charge coming from the start battery" and I will plug it into the alternator input on the DC-DC Charger box. What that means is the charge is going to come down here into the DC-DC Charger. When the DC-DC Charger detects that the vehicle is running, it will switch on and it will start charging the battery in the pack.

 

Next, I am going to take my lead that says "lead to the Anderson plug on the tow bar". I am going to plug it into one of the normal grey Anderson plugs that means we are going to have charge coming through into the power pack. It will be charging the battery. This lead to the tow bar is connected and the charge will continue down to the Anderson plug at the rear of the vehicle.

 

One more variation is if you want to put the battery pack sometimes maybe in the rear of the vehicle or sometimes in your caravan or camper trailer, what you can do is just plug these two together and that will mean that this connected to the Anderson plug on the tow bar. That is for DC-DC installations.

 

The second option is a battery or a battery box without a DC-DC Charger. Let us imagine that we have got the  VSR installed, charged from the starter battery, goes into the included double adaptor in the tow bar upgrade kit. The lead to the tow bar with the Anderson plugs to the other side of the double adaptor, they are both plugged in. And it is as simple as this. Just plug that into your battery box. Now, with this setup this way, you can now have the battery box installed but you will see that these cables are connected anyway. So, if you want to, you can actually install the battery box or a battery in a caravan or camper trailer because the lead connected by the double adaptor all the time to the Anderson plug at the rear of the vehicle. So there, your two options.

 

Do you like my little caravan? This is my little caravan. It is all I can afford because our prices are just too good. Oh, just jokes! This is an example of a caravan and here you will see my little drawer bar, this is where you put the trailer on of course. If your caravan or camper trailer is not already wired up, you are going to need our caravan or camper trailer wiring kit. And I will show you how it works.

Everything that you need to do the job is in the kit. Same as our in vehicle wiring kit, we got the long cable ready to crimp the Anderson plugs on to the ends. I am just going to make it easier and use the cable that I have already done just for the example. You essentially need to run a cable from the draw bar level with the trailer plug that is on the camper trailer caravan already down to wherever you want to put the batteries. This is since going in the back of my little yellow caravan.

 

This is a little lead I have made up, let us imagine the Anderson plugs are on the end and I am going to do this in a rough fashion but you get the idea. Take the zip ties that are included and secure the Anderson plug along the A frame of the trailer and make sure that it is long enough to reach the Anderson plug on the rear of your vehicle  when the caravan or camper trailer is connected with it. I will continue zip tieing. I will make it very neat. Make sure you put the brakes on your caravan. Now, I have got my Anderson plug at the rear of the caravan where I want to connect the batteries to be charged and I have got my Anderson plug at the front of the draw bar. I have got my little rubber cover. I want to put that on the plug on the front of the trailer. That will protect it from any water or dirt or anything like that. And remember, as always, we have got our spare Anderson  terminals if you want to cut the cable and make it shorter. Let us go to the next step.

 

The next step is to install your battery box either with a DC Charger or without a DC Charger or just a battery into the caravan. I am going to start with a DC-DC Charger and this is for a wiring kit in a vehicle without a VSR. All you do it take this lead at the back of the caravan where I have installed it, plug it into the alternator input. That is it! When the caravan is pushed up and connected to the Anderson plug on the rear of the vehicle and the vehicle starts up, the power will come down the line and DC Charger will turn on and start charging.

 

A slight variation is if you have a DC-DC pack in the rear of the vehicle and you have adapted it as I showed you earlier, you do not need to have a DC Charger in the caravan. You can go for a battery box without a DC Charger or just a battery. The DC-DC box in the back of the vehicle will do the isolating and the charge boosting for you.

 

The second option is a battery box without a DC-DC Charger and for that, you will need to have the VSR installed in the vehicle to isolate the cable here when the vehicle is not running. Simply plug it in and you are connected. When the caravan is connected to the back of the car and the engine is running, the VSR will engage and charges battery box. A note, before I showed about the double adaptor, you can have  battery in the caravan and a battery in the back of the car if they both do not have DC Chargers, that is fine as long as VSR is in the line, it will ask later when the vehicle is not running and it will come down from the start battery, it will charge the first battery and then come through and then charge the second battery as well.

 

If you are using one of our battery boxes, they are already fused, there is no fuse required and that have already got an Anderson plug. But what if you want  to connect to an existing battery? Well, included in the caravan camping trailer kit is this Anderson plug with the fuse and the ring terminals, you might have seen these before. This fuse will protect if there is a short between the battery and the draw bar of the caravan Anderson plug. Simply connect it up. Here is your Anderson plug connected to the battery.

 

If you have got a VSR installed in the vehicle and you do not want to use a DC-DC Charger, just plug it in and this battery will charge once the car is running and the VSR has engaged your way. It is as simple as that.

 

What about if you have already got your own battery in your caravan camping trailer and you do not want to buy one of our DC-DC Charger boxes but you want to have a DC-DC Charger installed? It is easy. On our website, we have got a custom modified unit with Anderson plugs. All you need to do is find the alternator input charge lead, run the Anderson plug in the rear of the caravan to that, plug the ring terminal adaptor (it is a little bit messy here) connected to the battery to the charge output from the DC-DC Charger, DC-DC Charger is installed. And remember, obviously, you are not going to need a VSR installed because the DC-DC will do the isolating for you. You can plug your unregulated solar polar into the MPPT input that is left over.

 

And that is all of the options that you have for setting up charging system in your caravan or camper trailer. We are ready to hit the road, plug me in.

 

As you can see now, we have got the Anderson plug on the rear of the vehicle running down the A frame of the trailer, cables are running down the A frame of the trailer and charging our battery. That is how simple it is to connect your caravan or camper trailer with the charging system that you have installed in your vehicle. Testing the installation is exactly the same as all of the tests we did before in the rear of the vehicle. The only difference is that the caravan is connected to the Anderson plug on the rear so when you think about it, essentially, all we are doing is extending that lead that is running from the start battery and down through the caravan to the Anderson plug.

 

If you do have any questions or any problems, check out our Youtube channel because we will have fault finding videos that will get into the various slight complications that might happen to help you out if you get stuck.

 

Let us talk about solar just for a quick second. I know many of you are going to want to go off grid and stay in all the free camps instead of getting squashed up in a caravan park. So, we specialise in a range of solar panels. Our solar panels are absolutely top quality from our glass and aluminium models through our brand new ultralight canvas panels. These things are amazing. So we have got a range of panels to suit your needs.

 

Just a quick chat about that, if you just want to run water pumps and lights, and maybe a laptop, a 100 watt panel is great. If you want to run fridges from 0 to 70 liter, 150 watt meter panel will be great. From fridges 70 litres up to about 100 litres, 200 watt solar panel. If you want to go upto fridges slides and then that 200 litre uprights that kind of thing or a couple of fridges, 250 to 300 watts. And I will note that there is no reason why you cannot go to a bigger solar panel if you can afford it and you have got the space, it is not going to hurt if you have too much solar.

 

Now, let me show you quickly how you can connect them up to a portable battery systems. I am sure you remember that our standard box without a DC-DC Charger does not have solar regulator so you need to ensure that your solar panel goes through a regulator before you connect it to this box. That is the same for a battery as well if you are just connecting it directly to battery.

 

DC-DC Charger box has an MPPT Solar Regulator input so you can plug in unregulated solar charge straight into it. And we also sell this DC-DC Charger as I showed before on its own so you can connect it to battery on its own on your caravan or camper trailer. I am going to show you with one of my solar panels here how you can go regulated or unregulated. So I am just going to spin this solar panel around and show you that now.

 

The lead that I am holding now with the Anderson plug on the end connect directly to the output of the solar panel itself. You see the little junction here at the back, this is the unregulated output from the solar panel. So, if you are going to connect this directly to battery without a solar controller in between, it will overcharge. On this panel, you will see there is a regulator on the back.

 

So, firstly, I am going to show you how to run the panel through the included regulator on the solar panel and charge your battery without a solar controller. Output lead from the back of the panel goes to the input lead on the solar controller. See that goes through the little solar panel picture then there is the battery picture. I will connect the long lead that comes along with this panel and I am going to go and plug it straight to one of the Anderson plugs on our battery box without a DC-DC Charger just like this. Solar panel is now connected to this battery box via the controller that is built in to the solar panel. It will not overcharge and the solar panel will now be charging this battery

 

Now, I will show you how to bypass the in built solar controllers on the panels and go into your charge input on your DC-DC box or on your DC-DC Charger. Unplug this cable, now I have got the lead coming straight out of the solar panel, plug the lead directly into that, remember to never plug these directly into a battery without a controller.

 

We are going to go into a MPPT input now. Unregulated lead plugged into the input for the MPPT regulator and now this pack is being charged through the DC-DC Charger. It is really that easy and that leads us to a typical setup. We have got your vehicle charging setup for when you are driving and you want to charge your batteries. And when you get to the spot that you want to camp, we are going to do a solar panel running into the solar box, plug out fridge in, solar panel is going to charge the battery, battery is going to run the fridge, fridge is going to keep the beers cold, and I reckon you bloody well deserve one making all the way to the end of the this video and hopefully getting your dual battery system installed.

 

I am just going to touch on a couple of small things before we finish the video then me and the boys who have made this video are all going to get together and we are going to crack open a non alcoholic beer because that is all the Australian government will let us do in a video like this.

 

Battery Chargers

If you remember right back in the beginning of the video, I talked about looking after your batteries and I said that you do not want to leave them in a discharged state. Well, we cannot always guarantee that we are going to be doing enough driving to fully charge the batteries with our in vehicle charging setup. We just might not be doing the kilometres necessary. We can use solar panels but maybe it is older cars so maybe we are not staying in that one spot long enough. There is always going to be a situation where you are going to need an AC Battery Charger. Everybody has got to have one. They cannot be the one out of your grand dad's shit either. It has got to be a modern charger that is fully automatic.

 

A rule of thumb when sizing battery chargers. Minimum of 10% of the capacity of the battery. So for example, with our 120A battery over here, a minimum of 10A, 12A. We have got a 12A charger that will do that for your perfectly.

 

The bigger the charger, the faster you will charge your battery. If you got a 100A battery theoretically, 10 hours, you will charge it up with a 10A charger. If you have a 20A charger, it will take 5 hours. So the real advantage with a bigger charger is it just charges quicker. So, if you are stopping in a caravan park, you are not there for a long time, maybe you want a bigger battery to charge this quicker. But otherwise, you can just go for a smaller charger as long as it is 10% capacity.

 

Now, most battery charger manufacturers include their chargers with alligator clips. Why? Because it is a simple connection for a normal battery; black on the negative, red unto positive and you are away. Plug it into the power point, make sure you set the right battery type. Now, with these batteries, it will either be AGM, wet or let acid.

 

Some people do not want to do that or if you want to connect to one of our battery boxes, just buy an Anderson plug off our website, cut the alligator clips off, put the terminals on the end, click in an Anderson plug, then you can plug the charger directly into your battery box.

 

We have got 12A chargers on the website. We have got 20A chargers, 30A chargers and may go up. Remember, you ca not put in more than 30% of the battery's capacity. So for example, with a 100A battery, you would not want to charge it more than 30A.

 

Final note, people who want to charge from generators. Your generator needs to go through a battery charger, the battery charger connects to your battery. That is a good reason why you might want a bigger battery charger because you do not want that generator running for hours and hours with a small charger. Please never try and charge your batteries from the included 12V output on your generators. It is not good, you will kill your batteries.

 

And that is all you really need to know about our battery chargers.

 

Congratulations! You are incredibly patient person. I am sure you are really really educated now. I have taught you everything I know and remember that our Youtube channel has got more videos. People are going to be asking questions. I am going to be making more videos. Now, without further ado, I hope you celebrate.

 

At Australian Direct, when we are installing dual battery systems and when we are at work, we are not allowed to use alcohol and I suggest you do not drink too much when you are doing your installation yourself. I want to introduce the crew, all the guys that have helped out. We are going to have a German Blitburger zero alcohol beer.

 

Without further ado, I would like to introduce Laetone. Laetone is the technical guru, my order electrical guy. He is the guy that I come to. He has got all the answers when I need them. Ladies and gentlemen,  big round of applause for Laetone Gravolin.

 

The tools that you need for this job; pair of pliers, anything that you can get underneath the beer.

 

Charlie is our gaffer. I do not actually know what a gaffer is. I have got no concept of what a gaffer is but Charlie, thanks for helping us out today mate. And the man behind the camera, without further ado, a big welcome, put your hands together, ladies and gentlemen for Daniel, from Sunshine Coast Video. Come on mate and grab yourself a non alcoholic beer. And Klaeton Sheehan, myself, the owner of Kickass products, Australian Direct. This video has taken a bloody long time. We all need a beer. Thanks for watching! Check out our Youtube page. Give us folks a call if you need a hand, we are here to help. Cheers boys!