Engel smart battery pack- anyone got one?

Hi guys,

I have a 75 series cruiser and do some extended camping trips in pretty remote areas for work. My current vehicle doesn't have a duel battery system and I don't really want to spend the money on one if I didn't have to. I don't have any skills/equipment to hook one up myself. The engel battery management system was recommended to me as a good alternative, but I need something that I could start the cruiser off if I got into trouble and had too. The guy selling it said I could but I'm skeptical. Anyone have any experience with these? Or suggest a good alternative
Cheers
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 07:40

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 07:40
Allthough I don't have one, I have read up on it and it does have some good features for an "all in one box". But it still needs an AGM battery added and would need to be connected the the Vehicle's charging system to be really practical.

An alternative to the Engel, is the Sidewinder Flyer.
Derek from Sidewinder is a business member of this site. Again it needs wired to the vehicle charging system and a suitable size AGM battery added, but it comes with all cables, connectors, etc. to provide a complete "dual Battery system".

When you add a second battery to your vehicle, it needs to be "separated" from the starting battery so the starter is not drained by accessories such as fridges. This results in a dual battery system in any form, usually with an isolator incorporated to separate the two batteries, but allow charging of the auxiliary one, after the charging battery has been given priority.

As far as having a portable dual battery system that can be also used to jump start the vehicle in an emergency, the Blue Apple Thumper may be the answer.
Again, it comes with all cabling, etc. to provide an in-car charging system with a built-in isolator, but already has the battery cells inside so you don't need to include a separate battery. The Thumper comes in several configurations, but the one I would recommend for portability is the 75Ah+ model. The Thumper includse a pair of jumper leads that connect to a heavy duty Anderson connector on the side of the case.

Both the Flyer, or Thumper, do not have a built-in dc-dc charger, but with the cable kits supplied by both suppliers, the chances are that you don't need the dc-dc charger when mounted in the back of your vehicle.

The Engel also incorporates a dc to ac inverter which may add practicality, but really just puts extra drain on the auxiliary when in use.

I am fortunate in having both the Flyer and Thumper, which I can connect to the vehicle's charging circuit via the supplied cable kits and Anderson connectors, and I have not found it necessary to have a separate dc-dc charger.

I do however, have a Ctek D250S dual dc-dc charger incorporated into my camper as the longer cable run results in an increased voltage drop, which the dc-dc charger overcomes by boosting the supply voltage. This solution also enables the addition of solar panel charging when stationary at camp for longer periods.

The correct solution for you can only be decided by yourself, based on your particular needs and I hope I have not confused you further.
Regardless of any of the solutions mentioned above, the result will be a "dual battery" solution which you definitely need to keep your starter battery healthy.

Bill


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AnswerID: 506615

Follow Up By: Racey - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 08:33

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 08:33
When an Engel is operated as a freezer, a 75 amp/hr Thumper will NOT keep the frig going overnight. Currently in the process of changing the battery to a 130 amp/hr AGM connected to a dc-dc charger. To be honest I think the Thumper's are over priced.
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FollowupID: 783628

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 19:16

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 19:16
Racey,

If you add the cost of a smart battery box (such as the Flyer) then add an AGM battery, the cost is similar to that of the Thumper.
So, in my opinion they are not overpriced.

I like the Thumper for its true portablility, at least the 75Ah one is.
Anything larger than this, either the 105Ah Thumper, or a Flyer with a 100Ah AGM battery or greater and you lose that portability due to weight.

I use the Flyer with a 100Ah AGM battery enclosed for my auxiliary battery in the back of the Colorado's tub. But it is hardly portable.

I use the Thumper when using my tent, where I remove both the Thumper and the Fridge from the vehicle and place them under the awning where they are convenient.
As the Thumper has three 12v sockets, you can connect more than one device to it at the same time.
Supported by an 80 watt solar panel and with my 40L Engel running at about +4 degrees, plus a fluro light, I can get an indefinite length of time without the need for additional charging.

Add the extra functionality of using the Thumper to jump start any vehicle if required, or used to run something like a 12v impact wrench
or air compressor, and you start to see its versatility.

In this way I keep both the starter battery for it's primary use and the auxiliary battery to run the fridge while in the back of the vehicle.

Although I do not run my Engel as a freezer, I would dispute that a 75Ah+ Thumper would not run it overnight, if required.

Before I had the solar panel array, I could run the Engel on a continuous cycle for two days, at around the 4 degree mark before the voltage dropped too far and neaded recharging from the vehicle alternator.

Bill


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FollowupID: 783689

Follow Up By: Racey - Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 at 09:09

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 at 09:09
Bill, When I bought my thumper 4 years ago I paid $650, not sure of the current price, now I will get a 130a/h battery box etc for a lot less. When I bought the Thumper I would have agreed with you regarding 75 a/h should runn the Engel as a freezer, which is why I bought it. However, In practice, when set at around minus 17-18 degrees the frig runs about 90% of the time. On 2 occasions the battery has been down to 10 volts (flat) and the frig up to 1 degree. To overcome this I have been leaving the frig connected to the van batteries overnight (an extra 200a/h). With the new set up I wont have that problem - touch wood.

Life is a big learning experience.

Regards
Jon
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FollowupID: 783737

Reply By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 08:02

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 08:02
QUOTE "I have a 75 series cruiser and do some extended camping trips in pretty remote areas for work. My current vehicle doesn't have a duel battery system and I don't really want to spend the money on one if I didn't have to"

IF your doing extended camping trips you will need a REAL dual or triple battery system with solar.

The other thing is you want something the start the Cruiser off of...... get it done professionally as it may save your life!

Do you want to do it cheap and have it not work 100% or do you want to spend the money and have it work 100% for years to come?

I would also be asking the guy who recommended the Engel pack if he understands your needs and has and does he use one him self..... surprised he didn't tell you you could get 6 days out of the Engle battery pack running your fridge.

My piece of advise would be go and see someone who specialises in automotive auxiliary battery systems for remote applications.
AnswerID: 506618

Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 11:58

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 11:58
I agree with the olcoolone, go and see the auto sparkies that do the proper fit out from what I have read you need it. When in remote areas don't cut corners before you leave have everything working correctly. that is my opinion, and what I do.
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Reply By: Michaeljp - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 13:48

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 13:48
The Engel battery pack is the same as the Arkpak. I have an Arkpak and it does everything you want it to do. I have a 120amh battery and solar panels for extended stays in the one spot. I also bought the dc-dc Arkpak charger for charging on the go. I didnt want an dual battery setup either and the Arkpak was the answer.
AnswerID: 506636

Reply By: Austates - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 14:13

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 at 14:13
Thanks guys, I've definitely got some things to think about. Obviously I don't want to cut corners but I also don't want to pay for gear I don't really need. I was planning on going to talk to my auto electrician but wanted to have a bit of an idea before hand.
Sorry I should have mentioned I'd get a 120amp AGM battery to go in it. I had explained my situation to the guy in shop and that was his suggestion, mind you he wasn't a specialist auxiliary battery retailer. As the product is relatively new, (replacing an older model) he didn't have one, but said they had been popular.
AnswerID: 506642

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