Lithium Batteries

Why have we gone totally Lithium? 

We have done the math over years of battery use and our only regret is that we should have done it sooner. It's cheaper. AGM, Deep Cycle, Lead Crystal, Lead-acid. We have run all of them. None last. Batteries, in general, don't like to be run flat - and camping generally means lights and food comes first - battery health comes a sorry last.

Lithium is seemingly quite immune to degradation from overuse and the energy supplied is strong right until flat. They also have virtually limitless charge cycles (a very long life).

Running a fridge in your Truck

One of the best things you'll ever add to your van, truck or car is a fridge. Add the fridge and you add a new set of issues, keeping it powered and clean. 

Here's what I've learned in brief in 20+ Years of portable fridge use:

  • Spend the money on a low current draw fridge. The more you spend on the fridge, the less you'll spend on the really expensive stuff, like batteries.
     

  • Multiply the power your fridge uses in Amps/hr by 24 hours - at 40 Degrees Celcius (do this as a worst-case scenario - if you're in Aussie your car will hit over 60 degrees in the sun).
    You'll get a figure like this:
    2.4 Amps per hour x 24 hours = 57.6 Amps. 

  • Now that you know how many amps you need to store - You can buy the batteries. Lithium batteries run at full power until flat, then they just cut out.
     

  • Your battery charger can be one of two types. Solar or DC-DC or possibly both. Older vehicles showing 14.5 Volts at the battery when running can use a simple dual battery Isolator switch - Redarc does a great one - check your alternator's voltage output first as most modern cars have voltage management built-in that render a simple isolator completely useless. 
     

  • If you rely on solar - you will get about 6 hours of charging time per day (as long as you're not in the shade) So you need 10 Amps per hour to deliver you the 60 Amps required . That's a big panel. 250W would almost do it. 
     

  • If you rely on DC-DC chargers - You'll need to be running the engine for about three hours a day to fully charge the batteries - presuming you have a 20 Amp/Hr DC-DC charger.  (20 Amps per hour x 3 hours = 60 Amps/hr). Go to a 40 Amp charger and you'll be able to halve the driving time.

  • Combinations of DC-DC and Solar Regulator can charge faster - if you have the room on the roof for panels why not!? The Redarc BCDC 40 or the Enerdrive BCDC 40 is a great option in this case as they manage power from both solar and the alternator and rams it into the battery as a combo. 

For happy fridge use! 

  • Don't run an inverter

  • Don't buy Chinese anything

  • Don't buy a fridge and try run it as a freezer

  • Don't run heaps of batteries and forget about the input power. Power In must equal power out.

VICTORIAN WINTER KIT
Price: $830 + Shipping

This kit suits customers that have/do the following: 

  1. Low power fridge - 32/40 Litre Engel is lowest in our experience - with the fridge temperature set to between 0-4 degrees

  2. Drive more than half an hour per day

  3. No room or no desire for solar panels on the roof

  4. Leave fridge on all day every day with infrequent re-fills (keep the fridge full!)

Kit includes:

  • Victron 18 amp/hr DC-DC charger

  • Cabling to reach from Battery to charger, charger to battery and battery to accessories plug shown. 

  • 3D Printed accessory plug, 1 cig socket, 1 Anderson, 1 Engel plug. LED Voltage monitor built-in. Flush mount.

  • Invicta 20 Amp/hr Usable, Lipo4 Lithium Battery. 

This combination works well in casual/daily drive vehicles living predominantly in cooler areas (Victoria, Tassie) where its handy to leave your Engel on and carry a few cold drinks etc. The Lithium battery weighs around 2 kg and can be mounted in kick panels saving space. One hour of driving, even at idle, will close to fill the Lithium battery each day. 

Installation is simple. Run the long cable from your car battery to the rear cargo space in your car, connect it to the Victron DC-DC Charger, Connect the DC-DC charger to the battery, mount the accessory panel in an easy to get to panel. Connect the accessory plug to the battery.

 

Download the Victron Connect App all your battery and charging stats are displayed on your phone. Job Done!

The "Frugal Use" Kit is expandable up to 4 times its storage size, with the option to keep adding Batteries where necessary. Add $419 for each additional battery.

Workshop Calculations on battery/charger needed to do the job below:

You can substitute your own figures into these charts for a good estimate of the battery / charger combo you'll need to do the job. 

TOUGH TOURING AUSTRALIA 1/58 Tarnard Drive, Braeside VIC 3195 Australia

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