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How to calculate your 12v requirements

Storing power in auxiliary batteries is the most common way to ensure a reliable power source for using the myriad of appliances that make today’s travelling experience more comfortable, enjoyable and safe.

REDARC, an Australian Electronics company, designs and manufactures charging solutions to keep auxiliary batteries in top condition. Its range includes Smart Battery IsolatorsIn Vehicle Battery Chargers, and Battery Management Systems – but how do you know what is the right system for your needs? Consider the following:


What type of traveller are you?

  • How will you travel - Will you be towing a camper or caravan, or just live out of your vehicle using a tent or staying in cabins?
  • Type of touring – Do you aim to live off the grid, or do you plan on staying in service towns?
  • Time on the road – Are you considering regular weekends away or a two-week road trip vs an eight-week remote desert crossing?
  • Type of traveller - Do you want all the comforts of home with you such as refrigeration, lighting, and electronic equipment (i.e - phones, tablets, cameras, etc.)?

How long do you want to stay?

Will you set up and stay put for days on end, or will you be moving daily? This is important for how you recharge your batteries.

Of course, what works for you today may change down the track, so at least consider you may want to expand your setup in the future.

Working it all out

When thinking of the best solution, performance and function needs to be considered. Something that exceeds needs in terms of power and reliability, and is easy enough to use, that you can tell what’s happening at a glance.

It is of course all related to the application - how you want to use the system, all day every day – once a week – once a month, and what you want to run on the system, a fridge – lights - laptop – hair dryer. There's a lot to consider.

The first step is working out your power consumption for the items you will be taking with you.

Let’s take a snapshot of what are the common devices which are run in today’s power thirsty serious tourers:

12v power requirements12v power requirements

This is a worst-case scenario in terms of temperature, having the fridge and freezer working really hard. Therefore, you’d need a battery bank of 204Ah to keep the everyday discharge to around 50% for best battery life and have plenty in reserve just in case.

The batteries should be installed in a cool place to help with longevity, like the rear of a vehicle or inside a caravan or camper. With a battery bank of this size install location is critical in terms of structural strength of the mounts and vehicle balance.


You’re in charge

Now you must consider keeping the batteries charged up – it’s all well and good having a big storage capacity, but you only get out what you put in. This is a crucial area because knowing how much charge you have left at any given time allows you to make adjustments in advance, well before it’s too late to be doing anything.

Relying on a 12v gauge gives you an indication, but only provides part of the answer. This is why having a gauge that calculates the amps being used and the amps being recharged back into your battery bank can give you a more accurate reading as to what capacity is still remaining in your batteries.

This where where the Manager30 battery management system really shines. With a battery monitor, it provides real time information allowing you to decide to stop recharging our other appliances such as camera batteries if you are down on overall capacity.

With a whopping 30A output The Manager30 won’t even break a sweat as it takes charge from 110V mains or generator power, solar and vehicle inputs, to pump the battery bank up to 100%.

The best tip we can give you is take the time to work out your power load requirements. And when doing so, don’t be too thrifty in your calculations! The answers you get from this activity will put you in the best position to talk about battery capacity, and how you will go about recharging.

Stay in charge.


Take the REDARC Hilux product tour to find out what products are best for your overlanding, power management and towing needs.