Battery Charging Systems -Caravan/Camper Trailer

Submitted: Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 14:55
ThreadID: 12187 Views:2967 Replies:4 FollowUps:10
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Has anyone had experience with the ARRID Model BCT20 Twin Charge unit fitted to handle the charging of a deepcycle battery in a caravan or camper trailer. Manufacturer claims it can deal with voltage losses from the battery installed in the front of the car AND by its design adjust the output voltage so as to charge the caravan house battery to 100%. Also claims to use "pulse technology" to help prevent sulphation. Cost is about $300.
I've also been quoted $78.00 fitted by an auto electrician for a device (brand unknown) supposedly to do the same thing.
Fundamentally I still believe you get what you pay for, but......
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Reply By: Member - Penguin (NSW) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 15:10

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 15:10
Hi Rosscoe,

I looked at one of these units a while ago and the guy at All About 12 Volts in Sydney told me that it would take about 5-6 hours to fully charge a 100 A/H battery. That's a lot of driving in a day but hopefully, you're not flattening your battery every day.

From what I can tell, it's a great way to get over big voltage drops caused by a long wire run from the alternator to the camper. The input voltage simplisticly drives an inverter which in turn drives a three stage battery charger.

I have heard positive comments about this unit on other forums.
AnswerID: 54975

Follow Up By: oldbuddy - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 20:57

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 20:57
Hi,

I looked at these units too and found that they were basically a constant output voltage unit (13.8-14.0V from memory) rather than a fully three stage battery charger. Reports are that they do a very good job however the last 30% or so of a top up charge could be quite slow as the battery voltage floats up.
They are still lots cheaper than an inverter and smart battery charger and more convenient. I have this system in my van for the odd time when the solar does not work. I run a 350W sinewave inverter (safe for lots of other applications) and a 15A three stage charger.
If you want a cheaper and similarly functioning unit, try the Engel battery boost charger - does the same thing as the ARRID but is limited to 10A. Can be bought from Campmart in Brisbane for $134. Very compact and convenient - output is 13.8V from memory.
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FollowupID: 316728

Reply By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:11

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:11
from what I can see on the net it's a 20 amp charger, so if you had a half flat 100 Ah battery it would take less than 3 hours to recharge.

If you flattened your deep cycle 100% then it would take 5-6 hours - but doing that would not be good for any type of battery.
AnswerID: 54978

Follow Up By: Rosscoe - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:33

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:33
Thanks Peguin and Nigel,

The battery in the van is a Century 75AH unit. I'll be fitting a low voltage cutout so hopefully it will never be more than 40% discharged. Sounds like the charging time will be reasonable.
Now I need to consider investing $300.00 or wait and put that towards Solar panels and a good solar regulator. I comfortably got 4 days out of the van battery over Easter after fully charging the battery on the bench before I left home.
I also have a dual battery system in the car which gets used mainly for an Engel Fridge but can be used for the camp via a rear mounted Anderson Plug if necessary. The van fridge is a three-way absoprtion unit so it runs on gas when we are stopped and mains is not available.
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FollowupID: 316668

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 17:05

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 17:05
you really don't want to charge a wet cell deep cycle at more than 20 amps anyway.
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FollowupID: 316676

Reply By: Topcat (WA) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:49

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 16:49
I have been using Arrid products for quite a few years, now mainly for solar energy management & found they are a good product. Rotronics bring out a similar charge unit to the Arrid Model BCT20 for around the cost you mentioned. I run a Rotronics twin charger for use on the road which senses the charge in both start & aux. batteries & put a charge in the aux. battery when it senses the start battery is over 75% fully charged. This unit has been in use for over 15 years & has been performing well without any problems. You will find more info on Rotronics Products at http://www.rotronics.com.au/ if you are interested. Cheers.
AnswerID: 54982

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:03

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:03
sounds like who ever owns your local repeater did it right :)

the one here is not very high, has only omni antennas and ancient equipment.

but still if two handhelds couldn't do that distance from hilltop to hilltop i'd be checking the batteries.
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FollowupID: 316702

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:04

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:04
sounds like who ever owns your local repeater did it right :)

the one here is not very high, has only omni antennas and ancient equipment.

but still if two handhelds couldn't do that distance from hilltop to hilltop i'd be checking the batteries.
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FollowupID: 316703

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:37

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:37
hmm - seems the system has gone haywire - I posted that to a different question...
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Reply By: William - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:45

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 19:45
Cheapest and best way is to put a 12-240v inverter in the vehicle and a 240v charger in caravan or camper trailer.
AnswerID: 55005

Follow Up By: Boeing - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 21:47

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 21:47
William, Am I right in thinking that what you are saying is that whilst you are driving you would have the battery charger leads extending from the vehicle to the trailer/caravan.If so can this be done at a fair length say 3 or 4 meters?

Thanks

Mark
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Follow Up By: Lynn2 - Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 22:05

Monday, Apr 19, 2004 at 22:05
Hi William,
If the inverteris in he vehicle and the battery charger is in the caravan I have 240V AC running from he vehicle to the van. I don't think so.... at least not for this little brown duck!
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FollowupID: 316745

Follow Up By: William - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 07:48

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 07:48
Mark you run the 240v from the inverter to the trailer/caravan and use the battery charger on 240v in the caravan/trailer. Use a standard Clipsal water resistant extension lead housing. When not in use, make a dummy up for the other side to seal the socket end. Works like a charm. I have not come across a small compact 240v water resistant plug and socket suitable for mounting on the back of a vehicle. I have a mate with a Prado that mounted a Clipsal caravan flap type outlet on the back door of his vehicle. There is sufficient depth in the back door to take it.

Lynn2 obviously you are totally ignorant of doing anything the proper and correct way. Go and get some proper education.
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FollowupID: 317015

Follow Up By: Boeing - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 10:57

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 10:57
Thanks William, I have a 60 series cruiser (not the barn door model) so there should be a few places that I could fit the caravan flap type of outlet. It also has a 75watt panel on the roof and I am considering getting another and having this as a free standing set up. Given this senario, when camped would it be better to just run the fridge (autofridge 39 litre) and light (12 volt) from the battery located on the camper which is being charged by the charger via inverter which is being run off the second battery which is in turn being charged by the solar panel/s (what a mouth full!) or just run off the second battery being charged off the solar panel/s. The 12 volt power to convert to 240 volt power via inverter or the sums (calculations not $) involved is where I get unstuck.

Thanks for your assistance

Regards

Mark
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FollowupID: 317056

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