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What is a DC-DC Charger?

What is a DC-DC Charger?

If you've recently installed a dual battery system or are considering setting one up, you might be curious about what a DC to DC charger is and whether it's a necessary addition. In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of DC to DC chargers, explaining their purpose and discussing their relevance to your setup.


The terms AC and DC, while they may evoke thoughts of a famous rock band, actually pertain to two distinct forms of electrical current. AC, or alternating current, is the predominant type of power used in most households, and it's what powers the majority of your everyday appliances. On the other hand, DC, or direct current, is the standard in vehicles, and smaller devices in boats and caravans also operate on this type of power. This includes crucial equipment like portable camping fridges. To ensure these essential appliances function optimally, a secondary battery or a dual battery setup is required. Attempting to solely rely on your vehicle's primary battery to power these accessories could lead to a depleted battery, rendering your 4WD inoperable.

With a secondary battery in place, your vehicle's main battery can focus on its primary task, powering your 4WD, while the second battery takes responsibility for energising your camping gear, such as your refrigerator and lights.

What is a DC to DC Charger?

A DC to DC charger is a clever device that operates on a 12-volt system. While you're driving, it harnesses power from your vehicle's alternator and converts it into an output voltage and current specifically designed to charge and maintain your secondary battery. This secondary battery is the lifeline of your camping experience, powering your fridge and charging your devices while you're out in the wilderness.

When it comes to managing your power needs during camping and off-grid adventures, two common methods stand out: charging from your alternator with a DC to DC charger and utilising solar panels. Some DC to DC chargers often come equipped with a built-in solar regulator, but if it doesn't, you can purchase a separate solar regulator.

Those chargers that incorporate built in solar regulators usually cannot charge from your vehicle alternator & solar panels simultaneously. Having a seperate solar regulator & DC to DC charger can mean that you can charge from your alternator & solar simultaneously to increase your charging capabilities whilst driving or in the unlikely event one of those charging systems fail whilst you are remote, you can use the working charger to keep you out of trouble.

All lithium battery installations will require a DC to DC Charger to provide a perfect charging profile to keep your battery topped up and healthy.


Even if you're working with an older vehicle that employs an outdated dual battery parallel wiring system, a DC to DC charger can significantly enhance the charging and maintenance of your secondary battery. This improvement is essential because vehicle alternators were never originally designed to serve as dedicated battery chargers, and a DC to DC charger possesses the intelligence to optimise the charging process.

Moreover, newer vehicles equipped with low-output alternators can also reap the benefits of this charging optimisation. In essence, a DC to DC charger will efficiently charge your secondary battery, surpassing the capabilities of traditional parallel wiring, regardless of your vehicle's age or type.

Elektratech stock two brands of DC to DC Chargers. Victron and Enerdrive.

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