Charging the batteries (andersen plug)

Hi everyone,
I've a bit of a newbie question:

we've a couple of batteries in our camper trailer that we charge via an Andersen Plug from our car as we travel. We use the batteries to power our fridge and lights.

However, the last couple of camping trips that we've done have been for longer stays (7 and 4 nights respectively), and not too far away from home, so the batteries didn't get a decent opportunity to recharge.

It's likely that the next trip will be similar, so I'm concerned that the batteries won't have sufficient charge for our stay. I need an alternate method for charging.

I imagine that there'd be a product out there somewhere that would connect to the Anderson Plug, that I could connect a regular 240V lead to, in order to charge the batteries.

I'd appreciate any recommendations that folk may have for such a product, and how long do they take to charge, in your experience?

Thanks in advance,
Adam.
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 17:07

Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 17:07
G'day Adam,

If you just want to keep it simple then your suggestion is reasonable - after a week or so of use you accept that the batteries are going to be discharged a fair bit (depending on use), but then if the drive home is too short for your car to charge them, charge them from the mains when you get the chance.

A simple solution would be to buy a decent multi-stage charger (I like Ctek, but there are plenty of others) and use the crocodile clips to connect to your battery and away you go. If you're set on using the Anderson, then cut the crocodile clips off and install an Anderson so the charger will plug straight into the trailer Anderson. (You could then put another Anderson onto the remaining leads on the crocodile clips so you can re-connect the crocodile clips if you want. That retains the versatility of the charger).

The size of the charger (in amps) will depend on the total capacity of your batteries, but I would think that a 7 to 10 amp charger would cover the average camper setup.

There are many other considerations for power and charging camper batteries, but you only asked about the one aspect, so I've confined myself to that.

Cheers
FrankP

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Reply By: Member - Tony Z (NSW) - Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 17:45

Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 17:45
Hi Adam F, sounds like you may need a solar panel to charge the batteries while camped and not have 240v available. There is plenty of info on here about charging batteries!
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Reply By: Adam F - Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 08:08

Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 08:08
Thanks Frank, for your advice. I'll look into those. Tony, love the idea of solar, but as most of our camping is done down here in Victoria... ;)
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 12:49

Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 12:49
You're welcome, mate.

I concur with Tony and John re solar. Don't dismiss it altogether just because you camp mostly in Vic. Yes, there is less sun for solar, if I can put it that way, but that doesn't make it useless and if well set up it will increase the length of stay available to you.

I have fixed and portable solar on my hybrid camper, which is heavily dependent on 12V. Like you, I camp extensively in Vic (but not in winter) and find my solar as effective there as anywhere else. I find shade from trees is the most limiting factor, which is why I have the portable panels as well as the fixed. Always moving them to dodge the shade :-)

If you ask the question you'll get heaps of info here. Also, look at Collyn Rivers' article on Solar Power.

The other articles in Power and Electrics are well worth a read, too.

Cheers
FrankP

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 09:11

Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 09:11
Hi Adam,

Suggest that you may find Electricity for Camping a useful read.

I think Frank's suggestion is probably the easiest way to go. There are many options though and I wouldn't rule out solar - depends on your usage and travel patterns.

Cheers

John
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Follow Up By: Adam F - Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 10:41

Saturday, Jun 08, 2013 at 10:41
Great artiicle - lots to digest!

A.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Jun 09, 2013 at 11:50

Sunday, Jun 09, 2013 at 11:50
Hi Adam,

You have already received some good advice, but I would like to add a little for your consideration.

Some vehicles do not have high capacity alternator outputs and voltage drop over long cable runs can add to the problem, resulting in lower than optimum voltage at the remote end.

The addition of a dc-dc charger wll overcome this and provide a multi-stage charging regime for optimum battery capacity in the shortest time.
If the charger also has solar panel input you will have the best form of dual charging capability for your camper batteries.

My camper already had an AC charger, but as I rarely go near caravan parks and powered sites, I added a Ctek D250S Dual dc-dc charger.
It has input ports for both alternator and solar panels and will choose the best input if both are active at the same time.

I use an 80 watt folding panel which is adequate, but a 100 or 120 watt folding panel can be obtained for a reasonable price.
I made up an additional lead to bypass the panel's on-board controller so I can use the better technology provided by the Ctek D250S dual charger.

Very happy with the result.


Bill


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