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How does the leisure battery work in my campervan?

With an Achtung Camper campervan you will be fitted with a second leisure battery to run your campervan electrics from.  This works automatically and ensures that your main car battery will never run flat.    The leisure battery automatically charges whenever the car is running.

When stopping somewhere without power for a few days in your campervan (or if you don’t have a 240 volt connection in your van) you’ll be able to run your fridge, lights, TV, charge your mobile phone and laptop without a problem.  You will be able to stand stationary with your van and not turn it on for 2-3 days if it’s colder weather and about a day if it’s quite hot.  After a certain amount of time if you haven’t started the van and have been running all of these appliances your leisure battery will go flat.  You will notice if it’s flat because your fridge will turn off.

If you have noticed your leisure battery is flat have two options:

  • You can go for a long drive (3 hours minimum to fully recharge your battery).
  • You can idle your van for about 30 minutes to get it up to a good charge and then get your solar panels out and connect them which will recharge the battery.

If you are free camping and plan on spending longer periods in the one spot we’d suggest getting out your solar as soon as you arrive and placing it in a nice sunny position so you can forget about it and have unlimited power.

Powering up your campervan – The difference between 12 volt and 240 volt.

Powering up your campervan – The difference between 12 volt and 240 volt

Many people don’t understand the different uses and requirements for 240 volt and 12 volt in a campervan or caravan and you don’t want to spend money on features or products you won’t be able to use so here’s a quick rundown of the two:

240 volt power is what you have in your house and run your normal household appliances from.  A normal rectangle shaped double powerpoint socket that you plug appliances into at home is 240 volt.  A microwave for example, can only run on 240 volt.  The issue with 240 volt in your campervan is that you can only use it when your van is ‘plugged in’ to an external power source – 240 volt power in a caravan park.  Without this you will not be able to turn on your microwave.

A 12 volt power supply can be used without ‘plugging in’ your campervan to an external power source as it runs from your van’s inbuilt leisure battery.  Surprisingly, camping fridges, TV’s, laptops and mobile phones run on 12 volt.  12 volt power outlets look like the cigarette lighter socket in your car – and to use them you’ll need an adaptor called an ‘inverter’ which is about $70, the size of a coke can and available from electrical shops like Jaycar or you can purchase a Dometic inverter directly from us.

Be careful with appliances that are traditionally 240 volt but have been manufactured for the camping industry in 12 volt.  Things like a 12 volt kettle will take about 20 minutes to boil and drain a lot of power from your main battery.   Some mini 12 volt hairdryers can be the same.  It’s worth asking the question before you purchase any 12 volt camping items as sometimes it might just be easier (and quicker!) to do things the old fashioned way!