Battery and Power Management For Your Caravan

For those venturing off the blacktop and into the Australian bush, there are a number of must-haves in order to remain safe and enjoy a level of comfort that makes the trip worthwhile. The list begins with a well set up vehicle but extends to plenty of water, good shelter, and adequate and reliable power for the necessary electrical appliances and fittings that are such a significant part of our modern lives.

Modern battery systems for our RVs leave those of recent decades in the dust. The advent of reliable, efficient and cost effective solar technology, along with the associated charging, management and monitoring equipment that keeps them operating at their optimum has created a revolution in the way we go camping and the levels of comfort we can enjoy out there.

Specialist companies, such as BMPRO – an industry leader with 50 years of experience in producing power solutions through parent company Setec – have made it possible to maximise time, safety and comfort in the wide variety of often hostile and, at best, tough environments.

POWER MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

In the past, we separately installed batteries, mains chargers, DC-DC chargers, solar regulators, and isolators along with the necessary fuses, switches, monitors and all the other gear we needed and did our best to ensure that they would all work together. It was complicated and messy and, all too frequently, they wouldn’t, which would mean lots of head scratching to try to work out what had gone wrong.

Then came integrated power management systems (PMS), also called Battery Management Systems, which included all or most of those functions in one unit, designed to work seamlessly to maximise the performance of our battery setups.

A Power Management System firstly protects a battery and its ancillary equipment. Whether it is installed in a multi-unit setup, with two or more lead-acid batteries, or it is handling the delicate job of balancing the load or charging requirements, a PMS’s job is to monitor and report all aspects of the system’s functioning, and shut down any area which is operating outside the parameters of safety. This information is generally communicated through an appropriate monitor or alarm.

The second major function of a PMS is energy management. This involves measuring and calculating the current state of charge, the rate of charge or discharge, time left before a system shutdown or a full charge state is achieved, all within a series of preset limitations according to the system and battery type. It includes a low voltage disconnect which will prevent a battery from discharging to an unrecoverable point.

BMPRO range of power management systems

BMPRO’s range of power management systems is designed to suit a variety of purposes. These are not generally available ‘over the counter’ and should be installed at manufacture, so talk to your RV’s manufacturer or BMPRO to determine which unit is best suited to your needs.

The BatteryPlus35 range by BMPRO are all 35A systems, designed to suit particular requirements:

  • BatteryPlus35PM – a complete power solution for RV applications with in-built PMS; 35A power supply for 12V loads and 20A multi-stage charger; requires an external regulator for solar panels; auxiliary DC input; 14 DC outputs; multiple battery protection features; adjustable battery charging profile for deep cycle lead-acid batteries; electronic resettable fuses; designed to communicate with the BMPRO Trek display and monitoring unit.
  • BatteryPlus35SR – designed specifically for RV applications; combines a 35A power supply for 12V loads; 30A solar MPPT; 20A multi-stage DC battery charger; 12 x 10A and 2 x I5A DC outputs; auxiliary DC input; electronic resettable fuses; multiple battery protection features; and CAN bus connection for BMPRO accessories.
  • BatteryPlus35HA – high-amp PMS designed for high amperage battery charging and is lithium capable; includes 12V 35A power supply, 30A multi-stage DC and solar MPPT charger (420W, 30A, 25V maximum input); multiple battery protection features; fully equipped to charge deep cycle batteries; 12 x 10A and 2 x I5A DC outputs; automotive standard electronic resettable fuses; designed to communicate with innovative accessories such as the Trek display and monitoring units.

BMPRO also has a range of J35 Power Management System units for lead acid batteries, which have been designed specifically to suit the Jayco range of caravans and motorhomes.

Then there is the Genius, a PMS offering complete power solution for RV applications. Fully equipped to charge deep cycle batteries, it has enhanced management capabilities including boost, float, store and trickle charge modes. It can also charge through an optional DC input. It has multiple battery protection features. The low voltage disconnect facility protects the battery against excessive draw. This device also hosts a thermally controlled fan to ensure noise levels are at a minimum.

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4 thoughts on “Battery and Power Management For Your Caravan”

  1. Currently running 2 105 deep cycle battery with 320 watts of solar through battery plus 35pm,can i attach another battery and inverter through this system, tia .

    1. Hi Michael,

      It is always best to only add new batteries to other new batteries at same time. Adding a new battery to an older bank of batteries will result in unbalanced system and reduced capacity. In regards to an inverter you would need a BC300 Commlink if the inverter is attached to the main batteries but if running with a separate battery you can not connect to BP35. It would need to be independent.

      Safe travels.

  2. Darrell Bright

    Hi! I have a BMPRO Battery Management System J35B, with one Battery and one 120W Solars panel. Could i have installed and extra battery (in line both new and same size and brand) a second in line battery and increase the solar to an additional 120w panel. If so would i need another regulator on that solara panel or would the existing one do. Also if you dont mind can i improve the DC charger set up. I’d live to have my system with a daily (24hr) 30 amp usage. Whatever is required i will have my local Jayco RV repairer do this work as i would like to know how everything works, Thanking you.

    1. Olga Kustova

      Hi Darrell,

      You can add a second battery in parallel to system. Ideally the second battery needs to be the same as the first one in the system, same Ah size, same brand, same battery type and made in the same batch number.
      The J35B can have up to 300w of solar going to it, so you could put another 120w panel on the roof. Ideally to do this the solar panels should be identical to stop conflicting issues.
      If you want to use portable panels to charge the batteries, this is a great option as you can get more effective charging from chasing the sun, it is easily done. What you need to do is to fit a BC300 shunt and comm link to the system. This will become the new earth for the batteries and will allow you to run the portable panels with the regulator directly to the batteries.

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