Battery and Power Management For Your Caravan
This article was initially published in August 2018 and has been updated in September 2021.
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 – 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, 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.
Functions of the Caravan Power Management System
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 Battery Management System’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 Power Management System 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 caravan battery and power management systems is designed to suit a variety of purposes. These are not generally available ‘over the counter’ and should be installed by professionals, 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:
BatteryPlus35-II-SI – a complete power solution for RV applications with in-built Battery Management System; 35A power supply for 12V loads and 20A multi-stage charger; inbuilt PWM 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 Trek3, RVView2 or Odyssey monitors.
BatteryPlus35-II-SR – 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 caravan power management system 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 Trek3, RVView2 and Odyssey monitors / Odyssey app.
BMPRO also has a range of J35 Power Management System units for deep cycle batteries, which have been designed specifically to suit the Jayco range of caravans and motorhomes.
Then there is the Genius, a battery management system 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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