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Post Info TOPIC: Free camping and power


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Posts: 8
Free camping and power

We have a small van and a 4wd and would like to free camp especially in national parks. We have a gas/elect fridge of course and 240/12vlt lighting with no battery.
Which is the best way to set up a battery in the van to power one or two lights and how long will it last? (We would be looking at a couple of nights )
How do I recharge it?
We stay in van parks the majority of the time.
Can I hook it up to charge when we are using mains power?
I am hopeless with electrics so would have to get an auto electrician to hook it up.
How much do you think I should pay?




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Posts: 14

there are plenty of options. Read the post about 20 down on Solar Power, look up web sites and books by Collyn Rivers adn the Solar Shop web sites for info but yes you can start with just a deep cycle battery (needs to be sealed type if inside van and installed in a secured battery box)  and a good quailty 3 or 4 stage charger that can work off 240 power when in parks. Also have battery wired to car via anderson plug for charging when travelling (needs heavy gauge wiring) . Work our how much power you will use and how long you want to free camp.  As a rule a deep cycle battery should not be run below about 50% charge so if you have say a 150Ah battery usable is 75 ah. I estimate to free camp we would use 30 amp hrs per 24 hours with fridge on gas. (use this link) 
Initially cost could be quite reasonable to set yourself up but the sky is the limit  Say battery $3/400 charger $150/200 electrical $150/200 .

happy hunting

-- Edited by Dazza at 17:58, 2008-04-05



Veteran Member

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Posts: 27

We installed a second car battery in our 4WD to provide power when we camped away from van parks.  We had it installed and wired in by a specialist (I am also hopeless with electrics).  The second battery was isolated from the car battery so that if we happened to run it down by mistake, our car would still start.
The second battery was charged up by the alternator when we travelled and also by an electric battery charger when we had access to power.  The setup was a pretty cheap option but we also only used it for lighting and I suspect that if we plugged in a TV or the laptop it would run down pretty quickly.  I think if I had a bit more money, I would opt for some solar panels and a deep cycle battery.

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