Powering gear on the road – cue the portable power pack

Being the pseudo techno geek that I am, I am going to have a bunch of gear – laptops, cameras, ipads, phones and a fridge to keep beers cold. These are normally plugged into an outlet that handily keeps them working without needing to much thought.

Living in the van is probably going to make that a little different. Cue the Portable Power Pack.

Portable Power Pack

All in all if you have no damn clue about this kind of thing, like me, I recommend you shell out the moolah for one of these boxes – they make being a hipster in the bush a breeze.

I picked up a Portable Power Pack for round R1800 for the National Luna PPP – cables, plugs etc pushed it up to around R2300 – plus a favourable discount from the cool folks at Safari Centre – well it was a damn sight cheaper than Outdoor Warehouse which wanted R2800 before cabling and the various accessories.

The deep cycle marine battery was R1200. I ran the fridge on the fully charged battery for around 4 days at -6 before the fridge turned itself off … its smart like that. And that was at the recommended cut off point of 50% of the battery capacity.

Wired into the system will be the fridge, I said I like cold beer dammit, an inverter wired into the cab for ancillary charging of aforementioned tech, it’s almost as good as having an outlet as a passenger.

Its packed with a bunch of stuff that makes no damn sense to a computer geek like myself, but it does offer me some features which make a good deal of sense.

I can’t run down my van’s battery keeping beers cold.

Installation, apart from the wiring was as easy as placing the box in the van and plugging it in. Not rocket science.

The PPP also allows the vans main battery to get all the charging goodness it needs from the alternator before it switches over and charges the secondary battery.

The Portable Power Pack is fitted with 3 x output plugs ( Hella, Cigar and 50A power coupler).The Hella and cigar output sockets are individually fused with 15A fuses and the 50A output is directly fused through the 60A circuit breaker.

There are both Auxiliary battery voltage and Input Voltage monitors fitted to the control panel of the Portable Power Pack. These monitors allow the user to check the available capacity of the auxiliary battery as well as the applied charge voltage from the vehicle’s alternator.

It also handily comes with an alarm when the battery drops below 11.4V and the beers are in danger of getting warm.

All in all if you have no damn clue about this kind of thing, like me, i recommend you shell out the moolah for one of these boxes – they make being a hipster in the bush a breeze.

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