CAMPING – POWER AND LIGHTING
When you go camping, you need power to run your camp lights, fridges and electronic gadgets. Here you’ll find the answers to get the best combination for your needs.
Broadly, there are two different types of inverters available – modified sine wave and pure sine wave – and depending on the task, one style is better suited than the other.
Projecta Semi-Flexible Solar Panels are available with 100W and 180W outputs and are designed to be light and compact. They can be mounted on curved surfaces if required.
A range of six Pro-Wave Sine Wave inverters was released by Projecta in late 2023, including a 24V option and wattages up to 2700W.
Projecta’s IDC25 was a favourite DC to DC charger for many years, but the replacement IDC25X was designed to perform in temperatures as high as 90°C, making it suitable for under-bonnet fitment.
There’s no doubt that lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries are taking over deep-cycle-battery tasks for Australian bush travellers. The combination of fast-charge ability, deep-discharge resilience, constant voltage discharge, light weight and potentially long cycle life is unbeatable, despite the considerable cost penalty.
We’ve evaluated this power station on the basis of the supplied specifications, but we didn’t test it, for reasons that are spelt out below.
Very few of today’s 4WDs have under-bonnet space for a full-sized deep cycle battery to power a fridge and other camping equipment. One solution is a power pack.
Enerdrive has developed power solutions for utes, with varying capabilities, from basic system to a full on power station. The three models are Explorer, Traveller and Adventurer.
The EcoFlow Delta Pro portable power station has ample battery storage capacity to run a campsite, but also has the ability to be a mobile power supply for non-mains areas and a power boost for homes.
Redarc’s Manager30 can charge auxiliary Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries as well as lead acid, calcium and AGM batteries. However, some Manager30s can overcharge lithium batteries.
Projecta’s Intelli-RV range of power management systems for caravans and recreational vehicles has received some significant changes.
Before the availability of affordable solar panels you had to run your engine for a few hours each day, or power up a generator and risk the ire of other campers. Now, it’s possible to have ‘free’ fridge and lighting power from the sun, by way of solar panels, a regulator and an auxiliary battery.
Following three years’ development and testing, Projecta launched a 12V lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery range.
Projecta’s Intelli-Charge (IC) range is now more versatile than ever, following the inclusion of a new lithium-specific charging algorithm, in addition to wet, AGM, gel and calcium battery profiles.
Narva expanded its extensive range of Heavy-Duty RV (HDRV) accessories in mid-2022, with the introduction of 10 new 50A connectors that combine two popular accessories within a single mount.
Federal Batteries has responded to the market demand for lithium batteries with the launch of the Remco Smart Lithium Deep Cycle battery range that boasts all the most attractive benefits of lithium: lighter weight, longer lifespan, higher power density and faster charging.
In mid-2022, Projecta released an all-new range of Australian designed and engineered inverters that provided several benefits over outgoing models.
Before reliable solar/battery power became available, having a 240V inverter was a luxury few campers could imagine. Now, an inverter is pretty much compulsory camping gear. We’re indebted to Enerdrive for help in compiling this guide.
BMPRO has announced that its ProSmart monitoring system is available in a Premium version that greatly expands the number of functions it can perform.
Few tools are available in a much wider price range than electrical terminal-to-wire crimpers. You can spend as little as five bucks and more than four hundred.
Solar power can be a viable camping power source, but the portable generator/battery charger still has its place, particularly in situations where sunlight is unreliable.
The most common cooking and water-heating fuel used by Australian campers is liquified petroleum gas (LPG). It’s relatively cheap and readily available Australia-wide. However, there are fire and explosion risks with LPG and precautions must be taken.
ARB’s Power Pack attaches to a fridge and provides power while the fridge is being used away from the vehicle.
Stedi’s best selling work/reverse light is the 10W Mini model. Compact dimensions and bracket or flush-mount options give this light great versatility.
We’re all familiar with solar camping power, but wind power is also a viable way of generating electricity. Why don’t we see many mini-windmills around campsites?
Like most campers, we used to carry AA and AAA batteries with us to power lights, CB radios and entertainment kit, but the increasing number of USB-rechargeable devices has changed that situation for the better. We checked out some quality, rechargeable head torches.
The renowned German lighting product innovator, Ledlenser, has a range of rechargeable head torches. We chose two from the Zen Imports range to evaluate: the MH8 and the top-shelf H14R.2. Both can be recharged, or as back-up, can use AA batteries.
The new Compact Series of fast chargers and solar panels is designed to provide convenient power for smart phones, drones, laptops and other small, rechargeable devices.
Narva has launched a range of ALS – Advanced Lighting Systems – pen and utility lights that are multi-functional and 240V or USB rechargeable.
Narva has launched its ‘Advanced Lighting Systems’ (ALS) Head Torch range, featuring powerful COB LEDs and rechargeable lithium batteries.
Your 4WD came with a few spare fuses, but they won’t suit a lot of the after-market and camping gear you’re carrying. Battery chargers, power supplies, caravans, camper trailers and generators have a variety of fuses, from glass-tube types to blades.
Back in the good old days you could have any battery you liked, so long as it was black, heavy and full of easily-spilled acid. Now, there’s a choice of several different types.
There’s no doubt that being able to produce fire at will was early man’s greatest discovery. Fire gave heat, light and energy – important building blocks of society.