What Is A Dual Battery System?
Heading off road for a 4x4 camping trip? You’re going to want auxiliary power. Without a secondary power supply, you won’t be able to run any 12v accessories, such as your camping fridge, lights or water pump, which is essential for today's campers!
The solution? A dual battery system. Dual battery systems are a secondary battery system (in addition to your normal starter battery) that is used for external power. A dual battery system requires more than just a second battery though. For a typical dual battery setup, you’ll want to connect your secondary battery to your starter battery, allowing you to charge both batteries from your alternator. This requires the appropriate wiring, like one of our wiring kits. The only other requirement is a battery isolator. A battery isolator automatically disconnects your two batteries when your car is off, so you can’t accidentally use power from your starting battery and potentially run it flat. You’ve got two options here - A Dc/Dc charger or a VSR, which can each act as a battery isolator for your 12V dual battery system.
What Else Can I Add To My Dual Battery System?
When it comes to customising your dual battery system, there are countless options and accessories you can add to improve your setup. Some common accessories include:
LVD - A Low Voltage Disconnect automatically disconnects your appliances from your battery when your battery power is low. This helps prevent running your battery flat and causing battery damage, especially as AGM batteries aren’t made to be run completely flat. Add one of these between your battery and your appliances to prevent running out of power!
Voltmeter - A voltage meter allows you to check battery voltage levels and maintain awareness of your system. Although not essential for a dual battery system, It’s an important add on for troubleshooting and to help stay in control of your system.
Solar Power - (Dc/Dc) - Want to charge your battery from solar? Simple. For this, you’ll need to run solar power from a 12v solar panel directly through a Dc/Dc charger, which on the other end is attached to your battery. Alternatively, you can use a MPPT or PWM solar controller, which essentially does the same thing - regulate the solar energy from your solar panels to your battery. The main difference is that a Dc/Dc also acts as a battery isolator, whereas a solar controller by itself does not. Battery Tray - If you want to secure your battery with an extra layer of protection, you may want to fit your battery system with a battery tray.
How Do You Install A Dual Battery System
Installing a dual battery system can be simpler than it may sound. If you haven’t done this before, we recommend working off a dual battery wiring diagram, or even better, check out our dual battery system educational video here.
Firstly, you’ll need to decide where you want your dual battery to go - in your canopy, tray, or behind the rear seats? We don’t recommend installing your secondary battery in your engine bay, as this can damage the battery and void your warranty. Compare the battery measurements to your space and ensure your battery will fit.
Have you got the appropriate wires to connect both batteries? Most dual battery kits will include the correct wires, but if you’re not buying one of these packages you’ll need to determine what size cable you need for your new battery. To do this, measure the length of cable required to reach your isolator, and find the amp rating for what you are planning on powering. These will help you determine the cable diameter needed to carry the load. We find that using Anderson plugs makes everything a lot easier as they provide better connections & can easily be removed and interchanged.
Lastly, test your system! With everything wired up, you should be able to run your 12v accessories. If you’re not getting any power to your accessories, try using a multimeter to identify the source of your problem. Check out our multimeter video here if you need more help!