07-11-2018, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Area Code 530
It may sound like heresy considering the current popularity of dual battery systems, but after 50+ years of what is now called "overlanding," my opinion is that simpler is almost always better. There is less to fail and what does fail is easier to repair.
Dual battery switching mechanisms fail all too often, and high output alternators sometimes wreak havoc with modern computer managed electrical systems, and sometimes these computer managed alternators do not even fully charge an AGM battery. I have been on the trail with too many offroaders who have experienced dual battery or high output alternator issues to have much desire for either "upgrade."
Are dual batteries really necessary if all one is going to power are some lights, ham radio and CB, a 12v fridge, and occasionally a winch? Not really. The stock battery and charging system is more than sufficient to power a winch for most pulls, the exception being very long, technical recoveries and even then it is usually possible to let the battery recover for a few minutes and then continue. CB and ham radios draw very little current when not transmitting; LED lights are energy misers. Most 12v fridges do not consume so much electricity during a 24-hour period as to prevent the vehicle from being started, and in such an occurrence a small lithium ion jump pack can quickly resolve the issue. In this context the expense of a dual battery system seems extremely high in relation to any real need.
It is my opinion that a single high quality, high capacity battery that does not require a special charging profile, the stock charging system, and a small lithium ion jump pack as an emergency back up will be sufficient for the vast majority of overlanders, even those with 12v fridges. For stays longer than a weekend a solar panel can provide additional capacity without requiring a running engine, the consumption of gasoline or the making of noise.
I have yet to run out of electricity for my winch, lights, communications and Engel 12v fridge with this basic set up, even on extended trips "off the grid."
Area Code 530
'06 Jeep "LJ" Rubicon, '46 Bantam T3-C trailer
Past Jeeps: '49 Willys Wagon, '54 CJ-3B, '65 CJ-5,
'83 CJ-7, '97 ZJ