Where Can I Fit a Dual Battery System?

Depending on your vehicle, there are a few options when it comes to where you can fit a dual battery system. Today we’re gonna run you through the most popular options to fit a dual battery system and which common vehicles they are best suited to.

Under Bonnet

So, first up, let’s chat about an under bonnet dual battery system. This option involves fitting two batteries under the bonnet of your vehicle. In some cases, the vehicle actually comes with two starting batteries as standard. In this situation, we’d replace both batteries, one would be replaced with a high-powered starting battery and the other would be replaced with an auxiliary or dual battery.

In other cases, if the vehicle comes standard with one starting battery and an empty space somewhere for a second battery, we would leave the starting battery and fit an auxiliary or dual battery in an empty space under the bonnet.

Under bonnet has to use a deep cycle usually calcium type of battery. For most people, the under bonnet is an ideal dual battery solution as it keeps the auxiliary battery out of the way without having to take up space somewhere in the vehicle.

Under bonnet systems can be fitted to a number of popular four-wheel drives including the Toyota Landcruiser Prado, or Hilux, a Nissan Navara, a Ford Ranger PJ or PK, the Holden Colorado and Rodeo the Isuzu D-MAX and MU-X, some Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees and VW Amaroks.

Under Tray or Canopy

Next up is a great solution for a ute. The under tray or canopy setup. This is quite a popular option for people who have a ute with canopies or under tray storage as it keeps your battery locked away without taking up space in the cab of the vehicle.

The versatility of this option is what makes it so popular. With so many options for sizes and types of batteries on the market today, there are very few limits to what type of system we can install under the tray or in a canopy.

The main downside of this setup is that you will lose some storage space in your canopy or in your tray. This is where our next and newest option comes in.

In-Cab

We have recently developed an in-cab dual battery solution for utes and dual cab vehicles that is our best space saver yet.

This system involves fitting a lead crystal battery behind the rear seats of dual cab utes. This frees up the entire canopy or tray and allows for a more secure and protected dual battery system. We can customise the location of plugs and sockets, put them anywhere in the vehicle and also fit anything else that you may need.

Due to the design and size requirements, this type of system is limited to a select group of vehicles. At the moment we can put this in the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50s.

If you have a different vehicle, get in touch, we’ll do some measurements and see if it’s a suitable option for you. If you want to know a bit more about our in-cab dual battery solutions, check out another video here:

Portable Battery Box

As awesome as these three in-vehicle systems are, they do have one major drawback, you need have the vehicle close by to power everything. This isn’t so bad when you’re parked up in one spot for a while but if you want a bit more freedom, this is where our final option comes in.

The portable battery box.

There are so many variations of portable battery boxes on the market. There are pre-made boxes with all the outlets and sockets you will ever need and maybe some that you never actually will use. However, if you’re after something a little bit more suited to your specific needs, we have a range of custom portable battery boxes available.

We have four standard options available that are assembled in house. Or you can choose to have one made that is completely customised with the sockets and plugs that you need and the isolator or DC-to-DC charger of your choice. The main benefit of a portable battery box is that it’s portable.

You can remove the box from your vehicle and set it up in camp to run a fridge or lights. Perfect for those who like to venture further off the beaten track.

So, these are the most common options available for where you can fit a dual battery system.

Which one do you prefer?

Let us know in the comments below. If you’ve got any other questions, you can give us a call, 1300 227 353 or contact us online.

200 Series Toyota Landcruiser Dual Battery System Options

Hi, Andrew here from Accelerate Auto, Electrics and Air Conditioning. I just had a look down in my workshop and realised we’ve got five 200 Series Toyota Landcruisers getting fit outs today.

It’s actually not that uncommon for us at the moment. So I thought that we’d do a quick video, we’d do a runaround, and then this afternoon, we’ll show you what we’ve been busy doing today.

200 Series Toyota Landcruiser Dual Battery System – Install #1

This is one of the ones that we’ve finished today. This one’s had pretty much one of the most common jobs we do to these 200’s.

What we’ve done today is we’ve installed a second battery using a genuine second Toyota tray. This is actually the version that only came out with one battery, if you know. So we’ve used the genuine second tray in the other side.

And we generally end up installing some kind of light bar or spot lights.

We’ve done a few of them. I’ll show you them later, but this has got the Titan Light Bar on it. We’ve installed that today.

We’ve installed the REDARC BCDC1240. We’ll show you some close ups of that mounted behind the grill to help its cooling.

We’ve installed an RACQ Deep Cycle Battery on this one. The reason why is the customer’s a tourer, and obviously with RACQ, nationwide warranty, no better battery for a tourer out there. Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but will definitely do its job, and anywhere you are in Australia, you won’t have an issue.

We’ve also installed Anderson Plug that we’ll show you down the rear, and various outlets in the back.

As I said before, we’ve used the factory Toyota tray. We do this ’cause one thing that’s very important with these systems is to use at least 105 amp hour battery.

There are other systems around where they fit a smaller battery up in the back corner. You just do not get the fridge run time that everybody’s looking for. With 105, you’ll get at least two to three days, and it’s really what you need in a system.

So whenever you’re looking at any different 200 Series dual-battery system, always ensure that you’re gonna get at least 100 or 105 amp hour battery, and then it’s very important with them. We have a lot of customers who are disappointed with the performance when they use a smaller battery.

Okay, so here we are down the back of the car. The main reason why we installed this dual-battery system is so the customer can run his fridge and charge various things at the back here. So the reason why we’ve got four outlets is we’ve got a cigarette socket, and Engel and a USB socket, and a volt meter to top it off.

Okay, so one other thing we’ve done on this vehicle is they come out with a factory cigarette lighter that’s obviously wired to ignition.

We’ve replaced that cigarette lighter with a dual-USB port that’s actually wired to the auxiliary battery permanent power, so that means you can charge your iPads and so on with the ignition switched off, or anybody in the back has constant power to running any sort of devices like that while you’re travelling.

We’ve also run an Anderson Plug. The reason why I’m showing you this one is we actually use the Trailer Vision Anderson cover. It’s really neat. We don’t see many people using these, but we think it’s pretty much a necessity on the back of such a good-looking car.

200 Series Toyota Landcruiser Dual Battery System – Install #2

I’m gonna show you yet another 200 Series Toyota Landcruiser Dual Battery System fit out we’ve done today.

This one, we’ve used the Supercharge All Rounder 105 amp hour battery.  So again, that’ll give you two to three days running with your fridge in the rear. We’ve also fitted some King Spotlights.

Always a challenge, but they’re going on quite well. And this one, we’ve used the REDARC 1225 BCDC in the front. And that’s really most of it.

We’ll show you some close ups of what we’ve done in the bonnet.

Okay, and here we are down the back of the vehicle. Now, it seems to be our standard, but we keep having our customers want to do it this way and see it this way, and we keep doing it.

So what we end up doing is cigarette socket, Engel socket and then dual USB socket with a volt meter, as well. Seems to work quite well. Give customers all the options.

One thing we do a bit differently is we run a couple of separate feeds down here. You’ll find sometimes it’s easy just to run one feed and loop it all up.

What that means is if you have a problem in one circuit, everything goes, so you’ll notice up the front, there was a couple of different fuses. And that fuses this all individually.

Okay, and another touch that we’ve added to it, even though we fitted the Kings Spotlights, we actually have fitted a factory looking switch, rather than using the one supplied with the kit.

We used this and it makes it a much more professional install and actually fits in with the other switches quite well.

If you want any more information on 200 Series Toyota Landcruiser dual battery systems, light bar installations, or you have any questions in general that need to be answered, feel free to comment below, contact us online or give us a call on 1300-227-353.

All About Anderson Plugs – Colours, Sizes & Uses Explained

If you’re looking to get a dual battery system in your vehicle or you’re towing a caravan or camper trailer, chances are you have probably heard all about Anderson plugs. Put simply, an Anderson plug is a specialised plug we use to connect devices that use high-current circuits.

Sizes & Colours

Anderson plugs come in a range of sizes and colours, the most common being the grey and the red 50-amp ones. You can get up to a 350-amp. The bigger the current, the bigger the Anderson plug we need.

A red Anderson plug will only fit into a red Anderson plug. We can’t connect, basically, a red and a grey. The only real reason you’ll have the different colours is so that you always remember to connect the right accessory into the right accessory on your caravan circuit or car.

When to Use an Anderson Plug

Charging Circuits

The Anderson plug is designed to handle a high, continuous load, so this makes it ideal to use in charging circuits. The most common use that we install Anderson plugs for is charging the auxiliary battery in your caravan or camper trailer when driving.

It’s fitted to the rear of the vehicle like this one here. This is the ideal alternative to running a charge feed through your 12-pin plug. Too much current charging through a 12-pin plug can cause the pins to melt as they’re not large enough to handle the current from most modern alternators. Having an Anderson plugs means you can safely pass more charge through to your caravan’s battery charge system, keeping the caravan batteries charged up while you travel to your next destination.

Solar Panel Connection

Another common use for Anderson plugs is to connect a solar panel via a regulator to top up your batteries. We often fit these to four-wheel drives and caravans with dual battery systems in an easy to access location so they could easily top up their auxiliary batteries via the solar panel without having to run your vehicle.

Powering ESC (Electronic Stability Control)

We’ll also regularly fit another Anderson plug to your tow bar if you’ve got a caravan that requires power to ESC, which is electronic stability control. Although your ESC can be run through a 12-pin if necessary, we recommend using an Anderson plug because it’s a more secure connection when driving, and ease of disconnection if you’re going off-road. It’s common practice to use a red Anderson plug for ESC and a grey one for your charge feed on the back of your car so you can easily identify them.

12 Volt Accessory Power Alternative

Due to their secure locking design, Anderson plugs also make great alternatives for powering high-draw 12-volt accessories such as fridges and air compressors. Anderson plugs are much more robust and hold a more secure connection than the standard 12-volt cigarette socket. They’re particularly good for those of us who like to venture off the beaten track.

I hope this video has given you a bit more information about what Anderson plugs are and why we recommend installing them as part of a dual battery system in your four-wheel drive, caravan, or camper trailer.

If you have any further questions about Anderson plugs, give us a call on 1300 227 353, contact us online or comment below.

Battle of the Deep Cycle Batteries: Calcium, AGM, Lead Crystal or Lithium

Its one of the most common questions when installing auxiliary batteries and 12 Volt power systems in vehicles and caravans…

Which type of deep cycle battery is the best?

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer. With so many battery options available on the market, it can be difficult to know which type would be best suited to your needs. In most cases, it will depend on what it is being installed into, where you want to put it, and how you want to use it.

In saying that however, there are four types of auxiliary batteries we recommend if you are looking for a 12-volt power solution.

Types of Batteries 

To help you decide which one is going to be best suited to your setup, we’re going to break down each option.

First up, let’s explain the difference between each type of battery’s design.

Calcium 

Calcium replaces antimony in the plates of the battery, giving it some advantages including improved resistance to corrosion, no excessive gassing, less water usage and lower self-discharge. This makes calcium the ideal option for under bonnet dual battery systems. If used in a deep cycle situation it is recommended to use a charger that has a calcium charging mode to get the maximum life out of the battery.

AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)

AGM is traditionally the most common option for auxiliary battery systems. In the internal construction of the battery, there’s a fibreglass mat between each of the internal plates. The purpose of this mat is to absorb the acid in the battery, so there is no chance of leaks if any damage occurs to the battery.  

Lead Crystal

Lead Crystal Batteries first came on the scene in 2009 so they are a relatively new deep cycle battery option. The technology found in lead crystal batteries uses an advanced patented formula, a type of composite SiO2 electrolyte developed to completely replace traditional acid battery solutions. 

Lithium (LiFePO4)

The ultimate lightweight power solution. Lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) is the safest of the mainstream li-ion battery types. Lithium Batteries can have up to 60% more usable power than their lead-acid equivalent. Add in the fact that they are approx 50% lighter and 30% smaller makes Lithium a superior alternative for caravan, camper trailers, boats or any other application where weight/space saving is a priority.

Now let’s look at the specs.

NOTE: Due to its limited application options we have not included Calcium in our comparisons below. 

Each battery has its own pros and cons. We’ve included some of the most important stats in the table below for comparison.

 

 AGMLead CrystalLithium
Temperature-18°C to +45°C-45°C to +65°C-20°C to +65°C
Usage Life2-3 years8-12 years5-6 years
80% Discharge Cycle @ 25°C500 – 8001300 – 1500> 2000
80% Discharge Cycle @ 40°C250 – 4001000 – 1200> 2000
Weight of 100Ah Battery28kg28kg16kg
Shelf Life (No Top Up)12 months24 months12 months

If you like crunching the numbers, you might enjoy these cost estimations from the team at Big Red Caravan Parts.

Please note: The prices and figures in the table are a guide for demonstration purposes only and do not reflect the actual price of the batteries. For more information on these figures visit the Big Red Caravan Parts website.  

AGM COST:

Given that a AGM battery should only be taken to 50% of DOD to optimise battery life the actual cost of this battery is:

100Ah x 50% DOD = 50Ah

Power Cost = $245/50 = $4.90 / usable Ah

Cycle Life at 50% DOD (@ 25°C) = 500 cycles which equates to 1.4 years of daily use

Cycle Cost = $245/500 = $0.49 / 50% DOD cycle

LEAD CRYSTAL COST:

Given that a lead crystal battery should only be taken to 75% of DOD to optomise battery life the actual cost of this battery is:

100Ah x 75% DOD = 75Ah

Power Cost = $515/75 = $6.87 / usable Ah

Cycles Life at 75% DOD (@ 25°C) =1695 cycles which equates to 4.6 years of daily use

Cycle Cost = $515/1695 = $0.30 / 75% DOD cycle

LITHIUM COST:

Given that a Lithium battery should only be taken to 80% of DOD to optimise battery life the actual cost of this battery is:

100Ah x 80% DOD = 80Ah

Power Cost = $1715/80 = $21.43 / usable Ah

Cycles Life at 80% DOD (@ 25°C) = 2500 cycles which equates to 6.8 years of daily use

Cycle Cost = $1715/2500 = $0.67 / 80% DOD cycle

So, what’s the best option?

As always, it depends on how often you want to use it, what you want to run and your budget.

We’ve put together a couple of example scenarios/lifestyles to give you an idea of what option suits best in certain situations…

The Weekend EscaperYou get away a couple of times a year, usually on long weekends and not too far from home. 

Recommended Battery: AGM or Calcium

For those who don’t get away too often, cost efficiency is usually top of mind when it comes to choosing a battery. AGM is usually the most affordable and reliable option for the occasional adventurer. Calcium is also suitable for under bonnet vehicle dual battery systems. Provided your AGM batteries are maintained correctly when not in use, they should see you through a few years of weekend escapes.

The ‘Whenever-I-Can’ AdventurerYou spend every available moment adventuring off the beaten track, often travelling for a week or so at a time. 

Recommended Battery: Lead Crystal 

If you enjoy the work-to-live kinda lifestyle, and you are willing to spend a little more on your set up, Lead Crystal is the way to go. The fast charging capabilities and resilience to deep discharging make Lead Crystal an ideal option for those extended trips off the beaten track. These batteries can be even be discharged all the way down to zero without causing damage to the battery (though it is not recommended to do this too often).

The Full-Time TourerYou love the caravan life on the road travelling around the country in your little slice of luxury. 

Recommended Battery: Lithium 

When touring full time in the van, every kilogram counts! This is where Lithium Batteries truly are a cut above the rest when it comes to saving on weight and space. Thanks to the weight/space savings, you can fit a much larger system, allowing you to run more high draw appliances in your van. With a powerful enough system, you could potentially run a washing machine, coffee machine and even Air Conditioning!

As you can see, all the options out there for deep cycle batteries have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your situation, lifestyle and budget.

If you do have any further questions about the various battery options available on the market our technicians are on ready to help. Give us a call on 07 5479 6652 or contact us online.

Mazda BT50 Lead Crystal® In-Cab Dual Battery System

Hi guys, Briohny here from Accelerate Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast. Today we’re gonna run you through a quick job spotlight, a custom, in-cab Mazda BT50 Lead Crystal® Dual Battery System. 

This is one that we’ve put one in today and we’ll just show you in a little bit more detail, exactly what we’ve done. So we’ll start up the front of the car. So just behind the battery here under bonnet we’ve got a 250 amp midi fuse holder.

It’s got a 50 amp midi fuse down here as well. We’ve got a REDARC BCDC that goes behind the seat. It’s a 1240D, and so that needs 50 amp midi fuse.

So we then run an 8 B&S cable. Now that goes basically from the battery here and it runs up the engine bay and it runs down along inside the car and along the kick panel trim. It’s all hidden under there, and then it goes under the carpet in a void, and up behind the rear of the seat to where the battery is.

We’ll take you down the back and have a look at the other stuff that’s in the car. This is the custom alloy slimline bracket that we’ve had made. Also the 100 A/hr Slimline Lead Crystal Battery. What happens is your battery sits in the bracket and this is fitted behind the seat of the car. We’ve had the bracket made so that we can bolt it in so it’s all secure. It has a mount for the REDAC BCDC, the 1240D.

We’ve gone for the 1240D over the 1225 because the Lead Crystal Battery likes to be charged at about 30%. With 108 Amp hour battery, it needs like a minimum of 30 Amp hour’s going into it. We also have some tie down straps.

And then in here, we’ve got a 6-way fuse box, this allows us to run six different circuits out of here, and we can run them to wherever you need in the vehicle.

In this particular one, we’ve got them in the rear which we’ll show you in a second. And we’ve also got two Anderson plugs here, so our standard one comes with a solar input and them this has been charged from the battery.

For this particular vehicle, this one is already mounted in the car, but you’ve got two grey Anderson plugs and we actually have a solar output in the rear of the vehicle. This customer has requested that all of his power outlets be mounted in the rear of the car. They can be mounted wherever you want.

Typically in utes, people put their fridges and everything in the back here, so that’s where they like them. You can have any combination of outlets. This one has gone for a dual USB port. A voltmeter that’s reading the dual battery. It’s got two cigarette sockets.

It’s also got two Anderson plugs. The red one here is to input your solar into. Whether you have got a blanket, you’ve got a portable one or you could even put a fixed panel mounted one on the roof, that’s your solar input option.

And then you’ve also got an Anderson plug option, so you might be running a compressor, I don’t know, whatever you’ve got with an Anderson plug on it.

These mounts, or power outlets, can be mounted anywhere in the vehicle that you want to. These are all fused individually, so the Anderson plugs are each running a 6 mm cable, coming from the fuse box. The cigarette sockets have got a 5 mm cable each, and then there’s a fifth cable coming for the USB and the voltmeter.

In the rear of the car, we’ve now mounted the bracket, the battery, we’ve connected up all the cables. Now to get these in here we also had to move the jack mount and the tool bag mount. We actually pull the carpet back, cut them out, remount them and then bog and repaint it all in there, so there’s not gonna get any rust or anything like that.

This is pretty much all ready now to get rear seat back in and give back to the customer.

If you’d like a custom Lead Crystal® Dual Battery System in your dual cab, you can give us a call on 1300 227 353, comment below, or contact us online.