Whether you are out on a family trip or decided to drive across the country, a superior quality battery for camping is required. A good battery system allows you to enjoy your camp set up during the night and still have your fridge running the next day. Your battery system should allow you to charge your mobile devices or cameras, keep your food warm and drinks cold, able to run lights, water pump and be able to fire up the camper trailer the next day for another great day of camping.
Most camper trailers include a battery setup standard, it just varies on how simple or complex the system is and what it will run. The size of the system is also another point to be aware of. This is generally dictated by the space available in the trailer. In the camper trailers that have the space for a two battery set up it allows you to have up to 240 AMP hours of power or more. For reference this amount of power is enough for a whole weekend.
The addition of a solar panel or panels to your set up will see that you are always maintaining charge. If batteries and solar are not a solution for you and your camping set up, you can also go for other alternative power sources like generators, but you should note that generators are not accepted at all camp sites.
In a Bluewater Camper Trailer we offer a range of battery setup’s depending on the model and also offer the ability to upgrade. Below we have highlighted some general points for understanding the battery and charging system in our Bluewater Camper Trailers.
NOTE; your batteries will still charge from the Anderson plug connected to the vehicle, whilst the battery is switch is off making sure the 50amp breaker is switched on.
Never store your battery in a discharged state, the battery could continue to lose more power over time and make it difficult to recharge the battery fully if taken too low. Keep your battery fully charged and in a cool and dry place with plenty of ventilation and remember to keep checking the charge level and recharge if required.
Charging your battery
Correctly charging your battery is crucial in maintaining performance. Overcharging your battery can damage the internal structure of the battery while undercharging can shorten its lifespan. The trick is to find the correct voltage for your battery, which in the case of AGM deep cycle batteries, is 14.7v. While it is possible to charge your battery using a traditional petrol generator, most have insufficient regulators and can damage your battery if left too long. For safe and effective charging, find a good 240v battery charger, charge from the car or consider using a solar panel with regulator for a cheaper and cleaner power option.
Charging from the car
When charging from the car via the front Anderson plug fitted on your camper, in most cases its best to have fitted a DC-DC charger in the camper for optimum performance. The reason behind this is most cars now have a low volt output alternator (smart alternator) if you are charging from the car without the DC fitted you may not get a full charge into your batteries due to the low volt output of the alternator, the DC-DC helps generate more power to the battery so they charge to 100% capacity.
Charging from the Solar Panel
The cost effective and environmentally friendly power, consider using a solar system to charge your AGM deep cycle battery. This method is especially useful for those who are without access to grid power. The power they produce can be run through a regulator set to charge AGM deep cycle batteries. While the fluctuation in power levels of 12v solar panels would damage a battery if left unregulated, using a regulator such as a MPPT Solar Charge Regulator ensures the correct voltage is consistently fed into the battery.
If your camper is fitted with a DC-DC that has a solar input, place the solar panels in the sun. You then connect the Anderson plug on the solar panel into the Anderson plug inside the battery door, the DC-DC will have a built in MPPT regulator built inside the unit so there is no need for the panel to have one. If your camper trailer does not have a DC-DC charger the panel needs to be regulated and should be mounted on your solar panel. You will then need to connect the Anderson plug on the solar panel into the front Anderson plug on your draw bar of your camper.
Using a Battery Charger/240-volt installation
A 240v ‘smart’ charger, such as the Projecta Automatic 12V 21A 6 Stage deep cycle battery charger is a great tool to accurately charge your deep cycle battery. If your have a battery charger mounted in your camper and the 240v installation package, plug the charger lead into the side of the camper, this will activate power to all 240v power outlets and the battery charger will light up. If nothing happens then the 240v trip switch is off, located next to the power point under the seat also.
Make sure the battery charger is set on battery type – Normal – and the amps on – 21 amps. It can then decipher the voltage that best suits that type of battery, meaning you don’t need to worry about overcharging or even removing the battery from the charger when it’s finished as it will go into float mode once full.
When you are plugged into 240v power you do not require solar, as the battery charger we just mentioned is charging the batteries for you.
NOTE: We do not recommend leaving the charger running all the time while in storage.
It is not recommended to take your batteries power below 50%, sometimes this is unavoidable but try not take the battery below 20% as it can damage the battery cells. If this does happen, charge them to 100%, otherwise your batteries may not hold its charge again. The more you maintain your battery charge the longer it will last.