DUAL BAT­TERY FACTS & FABLES

If your aux­il­iary bat­tery isn’t plugged in to a Na­tional Luna In­tel­li­gent Main­te­nance Charger, it might let you down when you’re far from home…

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Na­tional Luna is a 30-year-old South African com­pany that pro­duces the world’s largest se­lec­tion of com­mer­cially avail­able 12 V fridges/freez­ers. They’re the pre­ferred sup­plier to most ma­jor off-road trailer and car­a­van man­u­fac­tur­ers, and a global dis­trib­u­tor of more than 200 out­door prod­ucts and ac­ces­sories.

Are­cent sur­vey re­vealed that most peo­ple with a dual-bat­tery sys­tem in their ve­hi­cle be­lieve that driv­ing for a few hours will re­store power to their aux­il­iary bat­tery. It seems many peo­ple think that the long drive home will be more than enough to top up power. False! This is a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion and one that raises sev­eral other ques­tions re­gard­ing dual-bat­tery sys­tems…

HERE ARE THE FACTS

All bat­ter­ies need time to recharge. There are no short cuts or spe­cial sys­tems that can make the recharge process any faster than the bat­tery can han­dle. In most cases, a DC-DC dual-bat­tery sys­tem can even slow down the recharge rate within the first few hours of driv­ing. If left unat­tended, a par­tially dis­charged bat­tery will start to de­grade, thereby re­duc­ing its life­span. Sim­i­larly, a fully recharged bat­tery can­not store en­ergy in­def­i­nitely. It will dis­charge slowly over time. All bat­ter­ies re­quire a main­te­nance charge to en­sure max­i­mum per­for­mance and life. This can be achieved us­ing an in­tel­li­gent main­te­nance charger.

You might be won­der­ing if the term “main­te­nance charger” some­how re­lates to a “trickle charger”. This is a bit of a grey area be­cause most con­ven­tional trickle charg­ers cause more dam­age to a bat­tery than good. Many of us are fa­mil­iar with – and per­haps even own – a low-cost 220 V bat­tery charger, com­monly sold by au­to­mo­tive stores. What you might not know is that these charg­ers are not self-reg­u­lat­ing and don’t have the re­quired charge stages. The trou­ble isn’t nec­es­sar­ily with the charger it­self, but rather with the AC sup­ply – be it from the mains or from a gen­er­a­tor. A non-reg­u­lated charger typ­i­cally fea­tures a fixed step-down ra­tio that can’t make al­lowances for fluc­tu­a­tions in the sup­ply volt­age. As a re­sult, the volt­age ap­plied to the bat­tery could be higher than what the bat­tery can han­dle. Over time, con­stant high volt­age can dam­age the bat­tery or even cause it to over­heat and leak. It’s dif­fi­cult to know which charg­ers are reg­u­lated and which are not, which is why Na­tional Luna re­cently launched a self-reg­u­lat­ing in­tel­li­gent charger that will au­to­mat­i­cally di­ag­nose, re­cover and charge all lead-acid bat­tery types, in­clud­ing flooded (wet cell), MF, VRLA, AGM, GEL and cal­cium bat­ter­ies. Best of all, the charger can be per­ma­nently con­nected to your bat­tery and you never need to worry about it!

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