Portable Dometic PLB40 Lithium plus SolarMay 197 minute read
Dometic PLB40 Lithium Battery Pack Plus Solar
As a camper, when you venture beyond the constraints of a powered site for the first time, a lithium battery pack like the Dometic PLB40 plus a solar panel allow you to keep running your fridge and charging your devices.
The Dometic PLB40
The Dometic PLB40 is a portable lithium battery pack. It’s 40Ah in size, which, for example, supports a 2Ah load for 20 hours or a 4Ah load for 10 hours.
Lithium batteries are far more efficient than a standard lead-acid deep cycle battery. For instance, a commonly installed 4WD lead-acid second battery is 100Ah, and this is approximately equivalently to 50Ah in lithium. This comparison shows just how impressive this portable battery pack is!
At camp, it’s possible to keep topping up the Dometic PLB40 with a solar panel, presuming there’s some sunshine. While you’re driving, you can charge the lithium battery pack from the vehicle, and at home or in a caravan park, it’s possible to do this from mains power.
There is an AC inlet for charging the power pack for mains charging and a DC plug for 12-volt power from solar or the vehicle.
The Dometic PLB40 has three outlets for charging your devices. Firstly, a twin USB socket is ideal for phones, headlamps, LED lights, and the plethora of devices that have switched to the USB protocol.
The second outlet is a two pin socket that is a secure connection standard used by many fridge manufacturers. The pins slot in and then the cover winds on to lock the connection secure. If possible, it’s best to connect fridges to this, as cigarette-style sockets tend to intermittently lose connection over rough roads, making the refrigerator less efficient.
Finally, there is a cigarette style socket which is excellent for charging lights and other accessories that only have this connection.
The Dometic PLB40 is compact and seems sturdily built; we especially like the stainless steel carry handle.
It should be big enough to run a smaller fridge. Remember to keep the refrigerator closed and someplace cool. Also, try to avoid the fridge cooling down lots of warm items at once as it will use more power. Instead, start with everything cold at home and then if you have a drink, replace it with a warm one straight away.
The PLB40 weighs just 7.54kg and measures 197mm x 197mm x 257mm.
The Dometic PS120A Solar Panel is a 120W unit. It has a heavy-duty 10A solar regulator fixed to the panel, as are the legs. It’s simple to use; just unfold it, adjust the legs to set the solar panel at the best angle and then plug it in.
Here we have the cord running from solar panel through to the inside of the tent to the Dometic PLB40 lithium pack, but the panel is suitable for various battery setups.
For optimum charging, it’s best to adjust the panel’s angle at least three times a day to best capture the morning, mid day and afternoon sun.
Remember, your battery will be receiving no charge overnight, so it’s a good idea to set the solar panel ready for the morning so you can sleep in but start to put some power back into your battery.
The PS120A comes with a 5m lead and the option to connect to a battery system via an Anderson plug or alligator clips.
The panel folds in half for storage and includes a carry bag for protection. The stowed dimensions are 754mm x 534mm x 70mm, and it weighs 12.25kg.