Rav4

Battery Box to power my Engel

I recently purchased an Engel Fridge. Trusty little 40 Litre model, Transit bag, divider and a small Basket. I’m enjoying Cold Beer.

Most of the time when camping, we’ll be taking the trusty Rav4. Now, not being a full blown 4wd like my Good Old Days in the Prado or Patrol, I don’t want to rig up a permanent dual Battery system in the Rav4. There isn’t enough room under the bonnet and its a little un necessary. Although, I do need to power the fridge.

When driving, this isn’t a big issue. The Engel will happily run fine via the 12 volt lead and the cigerette lighter socket in the back of the Rav4. When camping though, its a different story as with the ignition off, the socket loses power. Powering it permanently is an option, but the Rav4 being an auto and the dread of a flat battery has me nervous for this solution.

Next I looked at some commercial options. Engel and Waeco both make a battery pack capable of powering the Fridge Essentially a battery in a box with some trickery. The trickery joins the battery once the voltage of the power source is high enough. these are bulky and expensive. I wanted to utilise the space under the floor of the rav.

I decided to possibly make my own Battery case. Using a Pelican case I had a sturdy solid case i could easily carry. These are quite expensive however. I found a cheap second hand case on Ebay, $30 for a Pelican 1400 case.

Pelican 1400 Case

It was obviously used for some form of testing equipment, I ditched the foam.

Inside the Pelican 1400 Case.

I found Jaycar had a source of Sealed Gel Batteries that fit the case. I decided on 6 12 Volt, 7.2Ah batteries that I could wire together to get around 43Ah. The six batteries fit in the case with about an inch spare on 2 sides and a snug fit width wise. Height wise I was again, about an inch clear.

Once the batteries were in, I wired them up with some decent cable I had connecting all the positive and negative terminals. To power the box, I mounted an Anderson 50Amp plug on the bottom of the case, out of the way and protected by the moulding.
Anderson 50Amp plug for powering the Box.

On the top, I mounted a surface mounted LED Light. It was something I had laying around so would be a good little added feature when camping. This is turned on by a switch on the top of the box.
Switch for LED Light.

4 LED Surface Mount Light inthe Top of the Case.

In the top , side of the box I mounted a Surface mount Engel Power Lead. This lets me connect the Engel Power Lead and screw it in the case, ensuring a tight power feed thats secure.

Engel Surface Mounted Power Socket

The wiring on the inside. It isn’t pretty, but works!
Internal Wiring

To charge it whilst camping, I am about to buy a Protecta or Ctek Maintenance charger and Pure Sine Wave Invertor to power the battery either off a generator / 12 volt source or from the car whilst running.

It ran the Engel @ 0.3 Degrees Celsius from Friday afternoon to Sunday Lunchtime. The fridge was ‘used’ during this time. It should run the fridge over a standard weekend.
Its easily carried and fits under the floor of the Rav4. Long term, I may build a second pack to mirror this, and thus doubling my capacity. I have a few spare 1400 Pelican Cases, which i’ll mount the Battery Charger and Inverter.

Cars
Rav4
Toyota

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2010 Toyota Rav4 ZR6

Its been 7 months wince we took delivery of the Toyota Rav4 ZR6. Overall, the car is fantastic. Its performed its job with ease and is a very comfortable vehicle to drive. Its has plenty of power on tap and the driver assist features of Downhill Assist, Hill Start assist, traction control and the centre diff lock all work wonderfully.

The extra features of the ZR6 are worth the extra investment in my eyes, Whilst having the sunroof fully open in summer does little but baked the interior to an unbelievable tempreture and give you sunburn, tilting it up slightly helps the vehicle with a bit of fresh air flow. Its main value is in allowing natural light into the car. The Heated seats whilst a little useless at first appearance are a welcomed relief each morning when gazing down and seeing its 4 Degrees C outside. The climate control is a feature that once you have it, you can never live without it. Setting the tempreture to 23C and leaving it alone to do its stuff is what motorists want. Hassle free driving.

The Sat Nav is fairly simple to use and the integrated phone system works flawlessly. Being unable to ‘download’ my Apple iPhone address book is a pain. Also the inability to stream music via Bluetooth, as I can in my Poverty pack Aurion ATX is also a major pain. We do leave a 3.5mm jack cable in the centre console for this purpose.

The front and rear parking sensors are handy (well the rear are), I cna’t say I am overly impressed the Front Parking sensors button is backlit in Green when the rest of the dash is Orange. A complaint to Toyota revealed whilst this complaint is common, there is ‘nothing we can do’.

The lack of a Distance till Empty / Fuel Consumption gauge on a vehicle costing over $50k is a little dissapointing also. Especially when so many other vehicles in Toyota’s fleet have this feature. Maybe its a deliberate ploy in hiding the at times, woeful economy of the V6 and the lack of fuel capacity. I’d gladly trade my underfloor storage area for a decent fuel tank. I reckon I could get another 80 litres in there giving the rav a decent range.

I would be tempted to look at upgrading the suspension as it feels a little soft for my likeing and a little more lift would be welcomed offroad.

Overall its been a fantastic vehicle and I have no regrets in buying it. Even if the Toyota Prado Kakado looks like a Fantastic buy. If your interested in one, why not pop over to Discount New Cars. Its the site I go to to compare specs / features and getting an upfront discount to start your negotiations with dealers is a welcomed start for me.

Cars
Rav4
Toyota

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