Leisure Battery 12V Supply
A leisure battery or deep cycle battery is designed for long slow discharges and is different from the vehicles main battery which gives very high starting current for a few seconds.
The components of a standard campervan electrical system are detailed below. However systems can be designed in many different ways and incorporate different sources of electricity to suit different requirements.
We wouldn’t advise anyone using the vehicles starter battery to power any appliances (except for emergency). Leisure batteries are designed for regular discharging and re-charging unlike standard batteries. We recommend you purchase the best leisure battery you can afford and also shop around to get a good deal. The size of the battery is also important so if you will be using 12 volt electricity a lot then a larger capacity battery is essential.
A battery receives a better charge the closer it is to the alternator. Finding space under the bonnet for the battery is not always possible. Also batteries don’t charge as well in colder conditions so keeping them externally might not be good if using your camper in cold conditions. Depending of the type of van purchased keep this criteria in mind when designing your system.
Leisure battery Fuse
When batteries are charging they can sometimes give off gas (depending on the voltage of the charger, see below). At times fuses spark when they fail so a battery enclosure is a recommended part of a 12V system. The enclosure should be vented and the fuse fitted outside of the enclosure.
Fixed Battery Charger
Chargers can have different outputs. We usually stick to the conventional 13.8V type which allows the use of accessories whilst the battery is charging. Higher voltage chargers may charge quicker but can make the battery gas and potentially harm your appliances.