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PowerTop neat fit for portable, versatile second battery needs in contemporary vehicles

December 17, 2014
PowerTop neat fit for portable, versatile second battery needs in contemporary vehicles

The Baintech PowerTop is a neat, portable 12V 100 Amp Hours Gel battery powerhouse with a sleek anodized aluminum top.

It fits well into current camping power needs which demand an easy to manage second battery with serious grunt. As many popular contemporary 4WD's, Utes and SUV designs do not have room in the engine bay for a second battery a solution like the PowerTop works. It comes with a 12 month warranty.

In controlled GoSeeAustralia evaluations the PowerTop has reached 70 hours before the Flat Battery alarm kicks in.

GSA plans for best results with our varied fridges in caravans, campers and tow vehicles. Everything in the fridge is pre-cooled before we start. This is the normal process for GSA before we go on the road with any of our diverse Recreational Vehicles. The night before a trip the householder/caravan park fridge cools or freezes everything we plan to take.

In this case a well packed small (about 30litres) WAECO fridge in the Jeep is run overnight on mains power to bring it down to optimum cool levels.

Optimum does not mean freezer levels in the food section.

Your correspondent's test of cool requires that lettuce and tomatoes in a sealed container will be crisp and firm when required.

The PowerTop is a particularly happy fit in GSA1 the company Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Because of the Jeep’s seating and cargo space design it is as if the partnership with the PowerTop was always planned. The PowerTop straps down and locks in behind the smaller split back passenger seat on the Jeep Grand Cherokee's driver's side. Drop the seat back down and the 32kg, 100 Ah Gel battery and five socket outlets are easily accessible.

That's right-five socket outlets: Universal USB, Engel, LockOn and two Ciga sockets, all protected by a 20A thermal self-resettable breaker. The maximum load across all sockets is 200W.

A big red battery isolator switch powers down the unit. It must be switched on as well as the battery power switch to charge the PowerTop. This information is mentioned under the Load Connection heading in the User Operation Manual.

The PowerTop has a built-in 5A AC connected battery charger. There is also a built-in electronics (VCR) to accept charge from the vehicle's system input, for voltages above 13.2V. The LCD volt meter has an audio low volt alarm buzzer which gives a heads up as the voltage drops to about 11V.

There are three Anderson plug points mounted in the PowerTop and three different Anderson plugs are needed for the PowerTop.

They are the familiar load connection Grey Anderson. It is used for regulated output, from the vehicle for example. The Grey Anderson is the major output connection from the PowerTop Gel battery.

Work from right to left and the next Anderson in the trio is the Blue vehicle charge input.

Next is the Red Anderson solar/external (12V solar panel input can be unregulated). A pack of Red, Blue and Grey Anderson plugs will cost $29.90.

For home DYI crimping cables is fine to set-up the Anderson plugs.

But GSA prefers a professional heavy duty approach to electrics so our resident electrical engineer, our MD Graham Wallace (yes, he is qualified) soldered two Grey Andersons to about three metres of heavy duty cable. Then we made up a short cable section with a Grey Anderson mated to a Blue Anderson vehicle connection.

Three metres of heavy duty cable is not overkill in this case. For charging the PowerTop from the Jeep's external Anderson plug mounted to the right of the Jeep's towing shank three metres is needed as the cable passes to the right of the Jeep's WAECO fridge and across to the grey Anderson connection on the PowerTop.

GSA tow vehicles are fitted with Anderson plugs to handle really heavy electrical loads. In the GSA1 Jeep's case this includes the ability to power a heavy duty boat retrieval winch.

The PowerTop has six LED indicators which light up as required for Flat battery, Mains power, Boost, Float, Solar/external and Vehicle.

To connect an unregulated DC source, for example a 12V PV panel (36 cell) it must be connected to the Red Anderson connector which is helpfully labeled Solar/External Charge. The PowerTop has a built-in regulator which stops the Gel battery being overcharged.

Baintech recommends that a 20A (maximum) charger, suited to Gel batteries, be used for fast charging. Recommended voltage set points are: Bulk 14.8V and Float 13.7V. The external charger should be connected to the Grey Anderson connector which is labeled 50A battery output.

The battery isolator switch must be on for load connections.

The Grey Anderson plug is protected by a 50A self-resettable thermal breaker. Maximum recommended load, as a guide, is under 500W, dependent on ambient temperature.

Loads can also be connected to the LockOn, max load/socket 10A. The LockOn socket is designed to make sure gear stays connected. For example keeping the fridge connected in rough going.

Other load sockets are: Engel max load/socket 10A. Ciga x 2 max load/socket 10A. USB max load/socket 2.3A. The sockets output are protected by a 20A self-resettable thermal breaker. The maximum recommended load across all sockets as a guide is 200W, dependent on ambient temperature, Baintech says.

Important operating points.

Do not block air vents on the side of the PowerTop.

The PowerTop must be mounted upright and securely restrained.

The PowerTop should only be used in a well ventilated location.

Don't bring the PowerTop into contact with water.

Opening the PowerTop unit or removing screws voids the 12 month warranty.

The PowerTop has a recommended retail price of $599.

A pack of Red, Blue and Grey Anderson plugs will cost $29.90.

Heavy duty cable is available from Battery World.


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