Thumper battery systems

Submitted: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 12:27
ThreadID: 23060 Views:25216 Replies:10 FollowUps:4
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I was at the Sydney caravan and camping show this year and was looking for a solution for power when not at a powered site.
There was a stand selling a "Thumper" portable power pack. Basically it was a 75 amp hour battery in a nice case with provision for heavy duty jumper leads via an Anderson plug, plus a couple of hella outlets and a cigarete outlet. When it was opened up it looked like it had 4 sealed batteries inside the case.
As my use for the battery would be limited to several times a year I was unsure about having a dedicated dual battery set-up in my caravan. I didn't want a second battery permanently in the car as it would mean that the car would need to be near the van at all times we were there.
This "Thumper" would sit in the rear of the 4WD all year round and it had a dual battery charging system that wired back to the engine bay, which connected to the "Thumper" by Anderson plug.
It would charge whilst I drive around and then I would take it out and put in the caravan to use.

Has anyone seen or used a similar setup and is it a viable option? It wasn't cheap, approx. $700 - $800.00. This also included a small inverter so I could charge my laptop.


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Reply By: Hun - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 12:46

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 12:46
Hi Tony

I've got a 120 amp hour battery in the tray of my hilux dualcab hooked up [via anderson plug] to the main battery with a relay.the battery is inside a plastic case with cigarette lighter plugs a battery tester and a sturdy carry handle.its hooked up all the time and when needed it goes in the tent to run light and waeco 80 litre well but needs recharging every 2 days by hooking it to
the car.
Price...$440 fitted it supplied by battery world.

AnswerID: 111608

Follow Up By: Grinch - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:32

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:32
thanks. It looks like the Thumper might be a no go as someone else has posted a reply with their experience. I like the sound of your setup.
FollowupID: 367990

Reply By: Wizard1 - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 13:04

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 13:04
Bought one myself a few years ago for the same reason. They are a pain unless you have the means to constantly re-charge them. They may say they are 75 amp hours which isn't the case. They are a good source of portable back up power (we run ou2 12 volt shower from it) but do not rely on it to run your fridge for any length of time.

They take quite a long time to re-charge. You will need a 240 volt charger with a 12 volt cutoff otherwise the Thumper can over charge and explode, as I was informed by Waeco.

We still carry ours but rarely use it due to the hassle. We ended up getting a generator (we can run the aircon as well) and have the 12 volt fridge running off the second battery in the car much cheaper. You can get one at most caravan accessory places, 4wd accessories , etc.

You would be better off with one of those cases with the plugs, etc that use a 12 volt truck battery. We didn't fit a battery system to the van as we use gas for the van fridge and the gennie at night until bed time (which is when we re-charge batteries). The gennie is portable and multi purpose where a battery system isn't.

Prado TD
Jayco Freedom
Gold Coast

AnswerID: 111612

Follow Up By: Grinch - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:30

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:30
Thanks for the info. What generator did you get. Also is it better for a deep cycle or is cranking OK. How would I charge it, would it be OK to leave on charge or should I have a load on it when at home??
I have a 2003 Prado and am getting a Millard Horizon.
You mentioned a shower, is that inside the van?
FollowupID: 367989

Reply By: Wizard1 - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:45

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:45
We gat a Honda EU20, but I've heard of a much cheaper comparable gennie called Kipor.

Regarding your battery questions I would seek the advice of a battery shop or someone that specialises in 12 volt systems. Give 12 Volt Shop (Perth) a call.

AnswerID: 111628

Follow Up By: Grinch - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:59

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 14:59
any info on your shower, is that inside or outside the van
FollowupID: 367997

Reply By: prado-wolf - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 16:42

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 16:42
Hi Tony,

i have 2 Waeco fridges and a console cooler in the Prado and they run of 2 Tumper packs. depending on temp. the units last for 24-48 hours and they recharge via a direct connection to the battery up front.

I found the thumper unit good but only if you use your car regularly to charge them and also use the frige to draw from them. Old story use it or loose it.

I just bought a honda eu10i to charge the packs on extended camping and that works fine for me.

If you still interested , go to waeco's website because they are running the thumper out because of their new model and if i am correct , the current price was around 450.00 Aud.

AnswerID: 111646

Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 18:40

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 18:40
Like you, I did not want an expensive under bonnet system, just wanted portable bayttery power for fridge/camp lights. I usually unplug the fridge overnight, and it acts as an esky. Hook it (fridge) up when driving, to the vehicle battery/alternator system via rear mounted heavy duty cabling.

Using a smaller version of the Thumper, the Urban, for a campsite power pack away from vehicle. Have done it like this for years - I usually use this set up about 20 to 30 nights a year - repacked it once when it died.

Urban sits in rear of 4 x 4 and is recharged from vehicle/battery by heavy duty cabling.

Great benefit is that it can run two 12 V lights for a few hours each night and still have heaps of grunt to kick my 6 cyl petrol over next morning, should the under bonnett Exide Extreme die. The Urban has heaps of CCA's - from memory 6 or 700 CCA's. I recharge the Urban as I travel about the following day.
No expensive isolators.
No battery trays.
No labour costs.


AnswerID: 111668

Reply By: ferris - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 19:14

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 19:14
g'day Tony,

Have a look at making your own. I made the equivalant of the biggest thumper for under $500 including a 300w inverter. Source all the bits n pieces from your local autoelec and then put it together. It doesn't look as pretty, but saved heaps of $$$$. Deep cycle battery $175, battery box which included a built in volt meter, circuit breaker etc from supercrap $100, inverter $150, extra Hella plugs and cigarette sockets $50. Plus a couple of hours putting it all together.
Cheers Ferris
AnswerID: 111674

Reply By: Russ - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 20:19

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 20:19
I have had a Blue Apple Thumper for about 5 years and swear by it. Had it set up with a good quality charging kit in the Hi Lux and now it sits in the back of the Land Cruiser charging from a Redarc in car charging kit.

We use it to run the Engle, fluro light, shower, pump for the air mattress etc. Have also use it to charge up the mobile phone.

Like any battery it needs a power source, so if you plan to camp in one spot for several days, sure it will go flat. Time depends on the outside temperature, but you will get up to 50 odd hours if it is not too hot.

Not sure how much other batteries are, but with the Thumper, when the cells have had it, you just get repacked. A couple of years ago it was about $200 to have it repacked.

I am pretty happy with mine. Doesnt take up much room, cheap source of power and can be carried into the tent or any other place if needed.

Blue Apple (at Strathalbyn S.A.) also have been more than helpful with ensuring that I was happy with the battery and had it set up properly. Great after sales service.

You need to buy what suits you and your budget.


AnswerID: 111685

Reply By: bob - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 20:46

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 20:46
Grinch, Ive got the above 75 amp battery pack. which included the heavy duty recharge kit. Ive found this kit more than adequate to run my 80L engel. I basically purchased the pack for the same reasons you mentioned.
AnswerID: 111689

Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 21:31

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 21:31

For what you want the thumper will proably do the job. The waeco site states that the batteries are 48amp hour ( check this). They are on special in the factory direct area. ( Waeco site)

I would also suggest the purchase and fitting of RAPS 12R or 12R-U accessory to allow for better charging of the battery. Run these to the rear cargo area and plug your thumper into them. ( Waeco site)

Your lpatop will require a pure sine wave inverter ( a 12 volt adapter would be cheaper and better if available, for your laptop).

You will need to charge the thumper regularly even when not in use.

The thumper will be fine for a couple of 1 amp lights and would run a low draw 12 volt fridge such as a 40 litre Engel for 12-15 hours or a little more without a charge. ( Run the lights for days)

My thoughts


AnswerID: 111701

Follow Up By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 21:33

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 21:33
Woops please excuse my typing ---long day ( spelling)

FollowupID: 368055

Reply By: viz - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 21:19

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 21:19
Had a Thumper for about three years now - it runs the campsite and 35l Auto Fridge. A good unit, but needs to be trickle charged periodically when not in use (Arlec have an automatice charger than varies charge output depending on what the battery needs). I charge it in the car off a rear cig lighter socket, but not real happy with this as I think it can overcharge. I also have it in between the fridge and car system to absorb the start-up spike (30 amps+) of the fridge. I understand it has two batteries (series? parrallel?) inside and if one goes down it will take the other with it. Next time around I will get a gell battery and put it in one of those ready-made cases, with all the plugs and wiring already attached.

One good thing with the Thumper - it will start a 6 cylinder diesel quite happily by itself - and that is a bonus - a battery that can be safely run flat repeatedly AND able to cold crank an large engine... (though not both at the same time! :)

If you are in Sydney this shop is good:

I have flattened my credit card there a few times... ;)

AnswerID: 111847

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