With 18 Years experience of over landing in Africa and with more than a thousand vehicles that I have led across the border, as far as Uganda, I have experienced a lot with regarding to dual battery systems, deep cycle batteries and charging systems. I’ve seen technology evolve from a cooler box packed with dry ice to fridges connected directly to the vehicle’s main battery. Then solenoid systems took over the market and today we have vehicles with Smart Alternators, Absorbent Glass Matt (AGM) batteries and best of all, the technology of DC to DC chargers.
People have argued for many years about which split charging system is the best, but with the latest alternator and battery technology, one needs to admit that time does not stand still and that we need to migrate away from old solenoid technology, which served the market very well for many years, to new DC to DC charging technology.
Most vehicles still make use of older battery technology (Lead Acid Battery) as their main cranking battery; therefor the alternators are designed to charge the Lead Acid Battery. However, with the use of an “intelligent charging system” the unit can be programmed to specificallycharge different auxiliarybatteries (Absorbent Glass Matt, Lead Calcium and Gel) which are commonly used in the industry.
It is important to remember that the battery is mainly a storage tank and will not determine the efficiency of thesystem. The most important factors are the efficiency of the charging system and the condition of the battery. Although driving time also plays a role, it is not as important as the other two factors. DC to DC chargers will always charge the second battery to 100% of its capacity while the same cannot be said of the old technology Solenoid systems. A solenoid system will initially charge a depleted battery quicker to a certain point but will not be able to charge the battery to full capacity. It will take a little longer for a DC to DC charger to charge the same battery, but it will restore the status of the battery and charge it to full capacity. It is extremely important to use the correct charging method. If incorrect charging methods are used it may result in premature battery failure or permanent battery damage.
The InterVOLT DCC Pro DC-DC charging system endured vigorous testing in Africa that has led to some impressive results. The greatest benefit is the unit’s ability to perform at 20% at temperaturesbeteen 50 and 85 degrees Celsius (All other chargers in this category will switch off at 50 degrees Celsius). It will also remain effectiveto an operating humidity of up to 98%. The DCC Pro has a multitude of features that include great benefits like:
- Unit is IP67 rated, matched with the temperature performance above this unit can safely be fitted under the bonnet of the vehicle.
- The under bonnet charging system is dust and waterproof.
- The unit comes standard with an in cab display giving you accurate battery performance from the comfort of the driver’s seat.
- The display system allows you to keep track of two individual chargers from one display monitor.
- Built in MPPT solar controller allows for optimal charging in the sun.
- The unit will correctly charge AGM, GEL, Deep Cycle Calcium and Lead Acid batteries.
- The unit works with all the new technology Smart Alternators currently available and will give true 25 Amp charging.
TheInterVOLT DCC Pro DC-DC charging system is 100% Australian manufactured making it able to withstand the harsh conditions of the Outback and Africa while maintaining a constant output under extreme temperatures. As a standalone power conversion unit, you require no modification to your vehicle’s original wiring and no changes are made to the manufacturer’s electrical system.
Once installed, the InterVOLT requires no maintenance and all necessary values are displayed on the cabin display which is included with the InterVOLT. Many other brands only display battery voltage while the InterVOLT display gives a Real-Time indication of charge rate, current usage as well as charging phase. The ability to connect more than one unit to the display is unheard of in the industry. Monitoring up to four batteries at once allow any user to maintain batteries in a trailer or off road caravan during travelling.
So what is my recommendation? I would choose a Flooded Wet Cell Deep Cycle batteryand will opt for the DISCOVER MIXTECH EMX. (Source it from a reputable battery dealer for proper fitment and warranty purposes) They are much less expensive than a Dry Cell, EV Traction battery and will perform equally well if connected to aInterVOLT DCC Pro DC-DC charging system,available from Opposite Lock and numerous 4×4 outlets.I would also recommend that you connect your second battery to a 220 Volt maintenance charger like a CTEK MXS 5.0 or NOCO Genius G7200 when not in use for long periods.
Andre van Vuuren
FLY AFRICA SAFARIS