Photo by Voyagerix via iStock
When you head out on overlanding adventures that last days, weeks, months, or even years, you need to have reliable power. Since you won’t always have access to shore power at a campground, this means having a bulletproof solar power system on your overlanding rig.
So what do I mean by bulletproof? Well, that means something that’s efficient, reliable, and offers you multiple options for generating power.
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about various products you need for a smart solar setup that gives you an easy-to-use system that’s got multiple power options. In this article, I want to focus more on how to make your solar power system efficient and reliable.
Building a Bulletproof Solar Power System: Invest in a Battery Management System
One of the best things you can do to create a solar power system that is efficient and reliable is to get yourself a battery management system.
For starters, a battery management system like my REDARC Manager30 charges and maintains my batteries for me. There’s no fuss or muss! And since systems like this work with all sorts of batteries (like my Briter Products Lithium batteries), you get the peace of mind of having a well-maintained and managed solar power system regardless of the batteries you use.
Let’s zero in on the measures of efficiency and reliability for a moment…
Since you don’t have to mess about with overseeing the process of charging your batteries, you can use your time to do other things like setting up camp, cook dinner, or fixing minor issues with your overlanding rig.
See how the Manager30 can extend your off-grid trip in the video below:
The other efficient thing about a setup like this is that your batteries are always charged. This means that no matter the time of day you need to power up, your battery management system will have your back. There’s no deploying your solar panels and waiting around for them to trickle-charge your batteries. Instead, you get instant power.
On top of that, efficiency is improved because systems like the Manager30 include a battery isolator and a DC charger, which means you can charge your batteries from your rig’s alternator and your solar input at the same time.
Of course, battery management systems like this can also be plugged into shore power. So when you’re off-grid, you can rely on the power inputs from your vehicle battery and solar inputs to keep the second battery charged. And when you’re on-grid, you can plug in and charge up without having to deploy solar panels or drive around to draw power from your vehicle.
See how to install this system in the video below:
From a reliability standpoint, companies like REDARC are known around the world for their well-crafted, durable battery management systems. REDARC, in particular, is a favorite of overlanders because they have spent years and years developing and testing the Manager30 – and it shows.
When you’re overlanding, you will encounter temperature variations, dust, mud, snow, rain and a variety of other conditions that can wreak havoc on your electrical system. Since the Manager30 was developed and tested in Australia – home to some of the most rugged terrain and challenging conditions in the world – it is more than capable of withstanding use and abuse on your adventure.
And that’s just what you want in a bulletproof solar power system – something that is tried and true, reliable, and durable for the long haul.
A Battery Management System is Convenient, Too
Photo by Oleh_Slobodeniuk via iStock
One of the complexities of solar power systems for overlanding rigs is that you have to figure out how to manage your power usage. What’s more, you also have to determine if you need to get higher capacity batteries or different-sized solar panels to up your power production.
But with a battery management system, you don’t have to worry about those things. Instead, you get the convenience of relying on the battery manager to track the charge history as well as your power consumption. The Manager30, for example, gives you easy-to-read logs on these measures, enabling you to quickly make decisions about what you need to change in the system to ensure your batteries are always charged.
This kind of convenience is precisely what you want when you’re overlanding. You have tons of other things to worry about – don’t make your solar power system one of them!
Why a Bulletproof Solar Power System is so Important
If you’re like me (and the guys from All 4 Adventure in the video above), you have a refrigerator, water pump, lights, an electric heater, a phone, tablet, laptop, camera batteries, and various other things that require power. All those accessories can add up to a significant power draw.
Relying on your vehicle’s primary battery to run all these accessories is just asking for trouble. Whether you’re three miles from home or three thousand miles from home, the last thing you want to do is try to turn your engine over to find that its battery has no juice left.
So, at the heart of a bulletproof solar power system that offers you efficiency, reliability, and convenience is a battery management system. It is something that makes your life on the road much, much simpler and removes the stress of worrying about whether you’ve got the power you need when you need it.
If a REDARC Manager30 battery management system sounds like something you’d like to invest in, you can learn more about it here.