Whether you are a proud 4×4 owner or you are thinking about buying one, you’ve likely come across the term ‘dual-battery system’ before. But what does it mean? How much does it cost to install a dual battery system in your vehicle and are they worth the investment?
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about dual battery systems, including the many applications they can be used for. Let’s get right into it…
What Is a Dual Battery System?
First things first, let’s define what a dual battery system is and what they do:
- A dual-battery system consists of two batteries installed in a vehicle, typically a primary starting battery and an auxiliary deep-cycle battery.
- The primary battery is responsible for starting the vehicle’s engine, while the auxiliary battery powers additional accessories and electrical devices.
- A dual-battery system incorporates a battery isolator or a voltage-sensitive relay (VSR) to manage the charging and discharging between the batteries.
How Much Does It Cost for a Dual Battery System?
Now let’s move onto the important ‘burning’ question: how much will it set you back?
The cost of a dual battery system can vary depending on several factors:
- Quality and Brand: Higher-quality components and reputable brands may come at a higher price – as it the case with most things in life.
- Battery Type: The cost can vary depending on the type and capacity of the batteries used. This will depend on your personal preferences and future needs.
- Installation: Professional installation will likely incur additional labour costs (we’ll look at DIY installation shortly).
On average, a basic dual battery setup can range from $500 to $1,500+, including the batteries, isolator, wiring, and labour costs.
Remember, these are just averages and are not to be taken as gospel. We’d advise contacting a few of your local garages to see what kind of money you’ll be looking at. They can also help advise you on the battery size and type most compatible with your vehicle.
Are Dual Battery Systems Worth It? (Benefits of a Dual Battery Setup)
Now, the question is: are they actually worth it? Should you save your hard-earned cash or splash out on a dual-battery system? Here are a few benefits to consider:
- Extended Power Supply: Dual battery systems provide extended power for running accessories without draining the starting battery.
- Reliability and Safety: Having a backup power source ensures you won’t be stranded with a dead battery, especially in remote outback areas or off-road situations.
- Versatility: Dual battery systems are not limited to camping accessories; they can power various electrical devices, such as fridges, lighting, winches, and communication equipment.
- Convenience and Comfort: A dual battery setup enhances your outdoor experience by providing power for extended camping trips, allowing you to run appliances and charge devices.
If you aren’t much of an outdoorsy type and rarely head to the beach for BBQs, then you likely won’t be interested in a dual-battery setup. However, if you do like to go on many an adventure, the extra juice is entirely worth your while.
Can You Install Your Own Dual Battery System?
Installing a dual battery system can be a fairly good DIY project for those with mechanical skills and electrical knowledge. However, if you are unfamiliar with what’s under the hood and you haven’t done anything like this before, we strongly advise against it. In any case, here are some considerations for DIY installation:
- Familiarity with Automotive Electrical Systems: Understanding the wiring and connections involved is crucial. One mistake can not only be dangerous, but costly.
- Tools and Equipment: Having the necessary tools and equipment for installation is essential as well. You can’t ‘jimmy’ or ‘jerry-rig’ a dual battery system in place.
- Safety Precautions: Ensure proper safety measures are taken, such as disconnecting the vehicle’s battery before installation. You’ll also need some appropriate PPE when diving under the hood of your vehicle.
Again, professional installation is recommended for those with limited experience or when dealing with complex electrical systems. It’s never worth the risk – especially when your hard-earned cash is in question.
Can Any Vehicle Have a Dual Battery System?
The good news is that most vehicles, including 4x4s, can be fitted with a dual battery system. Here are some considerations for compatibility:
- Available Space: Adequate space must be available in the engine bay or elsewhere in the vehicle for mounting the second battery.
- Electrical System Capacity: The vehicle’s electrical system must have the capacity to handle the additional battery and the power demands.
- Consultation: It’s advisable to consult with a professional or experienced installer to determine the feasibility and compatibility for your specific vehicle. Don’t go shoving it in and hoping for the best!
What Can Dual Battery Systems Be Used for Besides Camping Accessories?
Is there anything else you can use a dual battery system for besides powering your camping accessories?
Dual battery systems are versatile and can be used for many an application. Here are some ideas:
- Off-Road Adventures: Power winches, lighting, and recovery equipment for off-road adventures.
- Work or Trade-Related: Running tools, equipment, or powering auxiliary lighting for trade or work-related purposes (e.g., running an auto detailing van or working as a landscape gardener or tree surgeon, etc.).
- Emergency and Safety Equipment: Powering communication devices, emergency lighting, or medical equipment in emergencies.
- Recreational Activities: Running electrical appliances, such as portable fridges, sound systems, or charging devices during recreational activities.
And there we have it! Let’s finish off with a quick recap:
- A dual battery system is a valuable addition to a 4×4 vehicle in Australia, providing extended power supply, increased reliability, and convenience for various applications.
- While the cost of installation can vary, the benefits of having a dual battery setup, including reliable power for accessories and peace of mind in remote areas, make it a worthwhile investment for many 4×4 owners.
- Whether you choose to install the system yourself or seek professional help, a dual-battery setup can enhance your outdoor adventures and provide the power you need when you need it the most.
We hope you now have a much clearer idea about what dual battery systems are, how they can benefit you, and whether it is something you’d like to invest in. Either way, best of luck on your adventures!