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I decided it was time to do something pretty special with my old GQ in the 12V department, and thought this would be a good opportunity to walk you through my latest modification. Basically, I didn’t want a one-size-fits-all dual battery system; and I have selected key parts to suit my specific needs and budget rather than going for a kit … so to speak. And from early impressions, the extra effort has certainly been worth it.
The brain of my dual battery system is a CTEK D250S and Smartpass, which handles the charging of both batteries, and allows for direct solar input as well as an output for all accessories. Our local sparky swears by Century Batteries, so I grabbed the biggest deep-cycle battery I could fit (N70 size). I also replaced the starting battery at the same time too, purely for good measure. The deep cycle battery has been mounted in a vehicle-specific battery tray from my mate Chris at FNB 4WD in South Australia, which was really simple to install on the passenger’s side guard in the engine bay. Even the instructions were good!
I like neat installs, so a Baintech control panel has been mounted in the rear of the Patrol – it runs my fridge and camp lighting on separate switches. This also has an inbuilt circuit breaker and voltage gauge that is handy; however I mainly use the supplied CTEK voltage gauge as it provides me with more information.
Now, the heart of any dual battery install is the wiring. Not wanting to take chances here, I used Narva 8mm twin-core wiring for the control panel, and the thickest cable I could find for the CTEK install. All that is left to do now is wire up an inverter and solar panel, and the Patrol will be ready for a few more years of tough tracks and remote campsites. And now I’ll be able to bring ice cream!