Charging batteries in campervan

Messages
1,252
Name
Trevor
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
Looking at getting a campervan and I don’t intend to use camp sites so will be unable to hook up the mains and I was wondering about the options with charging the laptop and camera batteries ect from the vans 12v system.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
 
Messages
252
Name
James
Edit My Images
Yes
#2
Id be reluctant to charge laptop and camera batteries from from the vehical battery, recipe for a flat battery. Had to jump many a car when fishing because someone did similar.

Cheap option would be a portable power pack, more expensive - whisper generator, I have seen Solar panel charged electrical systems installed but have no experience of these
 
Messages
1,030
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
We used to have one for mx racing, I had an extra leisure battery with an isolator, installed inside, so it would charge off the engine when running but flick the switch/isolator when parked, that way you never kill your engine battery.

You can go one step more and hook up an inverter to get your normal 240 supply.

But an extra battery, some battery cable or jump cables and cut the crocs:eek: off, in-line 12v isolator of sorts, job done.

Or run the engine all the time
 
Messages
6,441
Name
Ned
Edit My Images
Yes
#4
Leisure battery on a split charge system is what you want.

If you can't charge all your things off 12v then you want an inverter too, not too expensive.

If it's only for a few days then I would just use a decent powerbank/powerpack and a USB charger.
 
Messages
5,064
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
Yes
#9
Leisure battery on a split charge system is what you want.

If you can't charge all your things off 12v then you want an inverter too, not too expensive.

If it's only for a few days then I would just use a decent powerbank/powerpack and a USB charger.
Pretty much what I do with my motorhome.

Decent inverter with enough power to rapid charge camera batteries and odd print run. Pick uains when/if you get on a site and recharge power bricks.

Remember if you use an inverter to shut it down when you stop. On some makes of cheap inverters your batteries will still be drained (quickly) by the inverter. As my motorhome has a decent size garage, I have an extra 24v battery which has been a lifesaver at times bu space for it can be a problem.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
Messages
31,278
Name
Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
Edit My Images
Yes
#12
Another vote for a split charge system and a leisure battery for when the engine's not running. Leisure batteries cope better with near total discharge than normal car/van batteries but it's still best not to run them flat too often! I use a Hahnel UniPal Plus charger for all my cameras and USB devices as well as AA(A) batteries. I don't need vehicle charging for a laptop but if I did, I'd use an inverter.
 
Messages
5,064
Name
Steve
Edit My Images
Yes
#13
Another vote for a split charge system and a leisure battery for when the engine's not running. Leisure batteries cope better with near total discharge than normal car/van batteries but it's still best not to run them flat too often! I use a Hahnel UniPal Plus charger for all my cameras and USB devices as well as AA(A) batteries. I don't need vehicle charging for a laptop but if I did, I'd use an inverter.
Nod

I have the UniPal too

I managed to break one of my main Canon Chargers and the UniPal did the job!

Will be returning to Ireland shortly to restart my trip. My shin is finally repairing properly!
 
Messages
331
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
No
#15
If you have a mains supply then you can use a mains adapter. Without a mains supply, an inverter can be used to convert 12V supply to mains. I have a small portable inverter which plugs into either our car or caravan 12V sockets, If you can use a USB charger you can get 12V USB sockets or use a cigarette lighter type socket with a USB adapter.

Most of the motorhomes & caravans we have had came with separate leisure batteries for the habitation supply, many also have electronics which shut down the load to avoid over discharging the batteries. Motorhomes typically have one or more 90-100Ah leisure batteries onboard, some have solar panels too.

I have used all if these methods in the past without flattening the batteries.
 
Messages
1,529
Edit My Images
No
#16
Looking at getting a campervan and I don’t intend to use camp sites so will be unable to hook up the mains and I was wondering about the options with charging the laptop and camera batteries ect from the vans 12v system.

Any advice greatly appreciated.
I'd go for 2 batteries: a starter battery and a leisure battery - they're different technologies.

I'd use an online amp-hour calculator to calculate the size of the leisure battery needed and a 12v cable calculator to work out the cable size (It will be big, due to high currents) and fuse requirements.

I'd have a battery to battery charger between the alternator and the batteries, charging first the engine start battery and then the leisure battery.

Finally a decent sine wave inverter.

Should be able to run lights, radio, music, USB charging at 12v and other stuff at 240v.

If you want to upgrade to mains later, it's possible but it's out of my comfort zone. You'd need to somehow add a battery charger that could detect the engine running and not over charge and a relay that detected mains input and switched off the inverter plus the necessary safety kit.
 
Messages
3,991
Name
Allan
Edit My Images
No
#17
Your new campervan will most likely have a leisure battery installed with a split charging system so both batteries are charged when the engine is running. To make you self sufficient when not on mains power, fitting a good solar panel ( minimum of 100watts) and MPPT charge controller will keep you going for a good while most of the year. You also need a good size leisure battery, or two. A battery of 90 ah or more should be adequate but make sure it is a respected brand and a proper deep cycle battery. Two batteries would be better. We have a 120 watt panel and two 95ah batteries and a 1000watt inverter and we charge phones, cameras, tablets, a small rechargeable vac and run a TV and satellite dish with plenty of power left over.
A good suitcase generator is handy too for when the weather turns cloudy and the solar panel struggles to top your batteries up.
If money is no object, you could always look at an Efoy Cell ( https://www.efoy.com/ )
 
Messages
10,396
Name
Rich
Edit My Images
Yes
#18
Not sure if things are the same these days, but remember fitting something called a ZIG unit in our motorcaravan.
It managed the charging of a leisure battery and had connections for other things like lights and water pump.

We could go a week on a 75 Ah battery using a Calor gas fridge and heater, TV was a 12in B/W which was handy for the news and weather.
Mainly used the certified campsites that had just a tap and chemical toilet emptying facility, memorable times.
 
Top