As most of us have probably noticed by now, BMPRO's products can be found throughout the RV industry. Powering caravans, campers, motorhomes and 4WD adventures alike. This Australian made and owned company is backed by more than 50 years’ experience and has built its reputation upon providing reliable and innovative products specifically designed and customised for the RV market and backed by expert service and support.
With a large Australian R&D team dedicated to producing RV solutions, BMPRO continues to produce rugged, reliable and forward-thinking products. All the state-of-the-art electronics are manufactured locally in Melbourne, right down to the production of the circuit boards, and continue to incorporate the latest technologies without becoming over-engineered and overpriced.
Going beyond the simple production of technology, understanding what the caravanner, the camper, or the 4WD enthusiast requires and seeking to answer those questions plays an integral role in BMPRO’s mission.
Having peace of mind means a lot when travelling, especially if you’re considering a more remote destination, and ensuring your 12V system is reliable and easy to use is a high priority. Not only do you want it to be trustworthy, but you also want to be certain it’s going to give you the power for where you need to go and further. So here, we speak with Stewart Lofts, Product Specialist Manager at BMPRO, to learn a bit more about BMPRO’s 12V systems and some off-grid considerations before you hit the road.
What advice do you have for RVers heading off-grid?
"These days, caravans and campers are virtually a home on wheels, with many people wanting to bring all the creature comforts of home with them.
If you want to venture away from the caravan park for any length of time, the battery and battery management setup you have is one of the most vital decisions you can make, and you need to do the calculations before you set off to make sure that your setup is adequate to meet your needs.
Before setting off, do a test run: use the van, become familiar with how it tows as well as the performance and limitations of your equipment. Make sure you have a full understanding of the batteries and battery care."
What kind of 12V setup is the base requirement for an off-grid stay, and how does this differ depending on the length of stay?
"To determine how much battery capacity you need, you will need to estimate how many devices you will run and for how long each day. The time off-grid multiplied by the amp draw will help determine the size of battery bank you will require. You also need to factor in recharging – having a good solar setup and a battery management system with a high-power output will give you more time off-grid.
If you want to power 240V appliances using an inverter, your power requirements will increase substantially. Be smart on your consumption. Stick to the KISS principle (keep it simple) – only add extra appliances if it’s must. Are there alternatives, such as hand press coffee rather than running a coffee machine or Sirocco fan versus air con.
A base level for off-grid travel is a 100Ah lithium battery or 150Ah AGM battery with 200W solar panel setup, but for high power requirements and longer time off-grid you may need anything up to a 600Ah battery bank.
Lithium batteries are a great option compared to AGM as they are 45 per cent lighter and can be discharged much deeper and their capacity is 60 per cent greater than a lead-acid battery. This means the same size battery gives you much more power and allows you to free camp in comfort. Lithium batteries can safely use 90-100 per cent of their capacity before they need recharging. Lead-acid batteries should only be discharged to 50 percent to prolong their life.
It's also worth thinking about other alternatives to power the van such as a generator."
What are some of the most common mistakes or misconceptions about the power/battery gear needed when heading off-grid?
"The simple rule of thumb that has been forgotten over the years is that we need to work on the extreme end of our requirements so that we simply don’t run out of power.
We need to help educate the customer as to what they need. The customer has to work out exactly what they want to run and for how long they will use that appliance. For example, if a customer wants a coffee machine and they make one coffee per a day, but sometimes they make two, then the calculations need to be done for two cups.
Solar is another one where the rule is often not understood. Due to power losses and demand on the solar system, to stay self-contained we need double the amount of solar to what we think we will use.
For more in-depth information, BMPRO has published a free 12V Hub Guide – which was created as a useful reference to help people negotiate 12V systems including calculators and quick reference guides."
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
BMPRO’s upcoming high-powered off-grid systems are being eagerly awaited by the industry and travellers alike. BMPRO will be launching some initial concepts of the 12V systems that will be included within this high-power/off-grid segment at the Queensland Caravan and Camping Supershow (6–11 June 2023). Further releases of these systems will take place over the next 12 months. With these products, BMPRO continues its mission to take a leadership position in the market and produce products that are easy and accessible to use for consumers who are still figuring out the requirements for off-grid travel.
This will be backed by the launch of BMPRO’s Off-grid Resource Centre, an online platform which will provide educational resources about off-grid travel and the gear that goes along with it, which anyone will be able to register for.
Make sure you check out the BMPRO off-GRID resource centre and register for updates.
NEW ELECTRICAL STANDARDS
Despite their growing popularity and the influx of lithium batteries, there are no enforced requirements upon lithium batteries, which has led to an influx of low-quality and unsafe lithium batteries in the market that have not undergone safety testing. Stewart has confirmed that they “have seen batteries spaced out with floor tiles inside the battery and poor assembly where silicone is used to hold cells in place. This is why the new electrical standards will hopefully see unsafe batteries removed from the industry, the standards carried into other markets such as the 4x4 and marine.”
BMPRO’s lithium batteries are quite unique in the field, as they comply with the electrical standard that was updated in November 2022. This standard states that “All lithium-ion batteries shall comply with AS IEC 62619", and is due for implementation in November 2023. This detail is not commonly known by manufacturers, installers and consumers, and while the standard is not enforcable until later this year, Stewart recommends choosing a battery with IEC 62619 certification "as it gives piece of mind the battery is made to an international safety standard".
BMPRO’s Invicta lithium battery range is one of the small number of batteries that have gained the IEC 62619 certification — the gold standard when it comes to lithium batteries. Safety and quality control are key foundations for Invicta, using only the highest quality lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04) available and undertaking extensive external testing alongside the IEC 62619 certification.
The certification process requires an independent safety and performance test of the lithium battery, looking at both the cells and the battery management system (BMS). It also includes a number of tests to ensure the battery remains safe to use in harsh conditions such as short circuits, impact, drop test, thermal abuse and more.
By gaining the IEC 62619 certification, users can enjoy peace of mind knowing their product is compliant with the highest standards. And should there ever be an accident, users and installers can rest easy knowing Invicta lithium batteries are compliant and will not be a hassle during the insurance process.
It is simple to check if a battery is IEC 62619 certified — simply check for the certification mark which should be displayed on the product or request a certificate from the supplier.
For further information about the topic as it becomes available, head over to BMPRO’s Lithium Battery Knowledge Centre.
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