Last year Dave Berry (Trakka’s Director) embarked on a journey from Sydney to Darwin in his Volkswagen Jabiru motorhome. We found out how he got the most from his 12V house batteries, especially when he wanted to stay put in one spot for a few days. We estimate you will get approximately 1.5 – 2 days without solar and without needing to charge. Adding solar approximately doubles the time you can spend camping (3-4 days). We’ve got a few life hacks up our sleeve.
Using your LED lighting sensibly is important. This is the main reason we fitted many lights, so you can select to have on only what you need whether it’s for cooking a meal or reading a book in bed. Our mood lighting (under benches or near steps, depending on the Trakka model) comes with a dimming function. At maximum dim it uses only about 50% energy of a light on full brightness.
Another key point is to lower ambient temperature. Dave does this by putting blinds up on sun side & roof vents (another reason why we fit blinds to all our models) and as the sun moves away, lower the blinds. Lowering the awning will also help to keep the side panel of the vehicle cool. Have your 12V fan on for circulating air & leave doors open if in shade. Keeping the temperature low means your fridge is going to cycle less often as will shutting the fridge door as quickly as possible. You can also keep refrigerated food in labelled plastic containers because you will be more likely to know where things are and need to keep fridge door open for a shorter amount of time.
If you going to lock up your car up in middle of day inside could easily exceed 50 degrees. If you’re comfortable where you’re staying you could lock your van based or coach built motorhome windows on the second locking point so it allows fresh air in. On your return turn, start the engine as this will not only boost your house batteries but also your front cab air con can assist with cooling the interior down.
Finally be diligent in checking your voltage everyday on your electronic control panel (we’d check twice a day without solar). The best time to do this is in the morning when it’s always going to be at its lowest. If the 12V house batteries are sitting around the low 12’s, idle engine for 30 minutes… don’t worry it uses minimal fuel. If you have solar, do this before the solar starts charging (around 9 AM) because when your solar does kick in, the batteries will already have a decent boost.