There are a couple of big brand names in the low voltage energy world that are very well known, and respected. Enerdrive is one, along with Redarc, Victron, Safiery, Renogy and DCS. If you have gear from any of these places, chances are you’ve gotten a decent product. In this post though, we take a look at the Enerdrive DC2DC, and how its performed for us.
As usual, this is our product, and came with our second hand Lifestyle Reconn R2, so there’s no freebies or bias involved (unlike lots of others!).
Our Enerdrive DC2DC 40 amp
Our camper trailer runs the 40 amp Enerdrive unit, which was installed from new by Lifestyle, and is now just over 2 years old. We’ve had the camper trailer for more than a year, and for the first part of our ownership, only part of the Enerdrive unit was working.
It wasn’t until we headed down south where it was overcast for a number of days that I realised the unit wasn’t taking charge from the Anderson on our vehicle. After a bit of digging around, we found a circuit breaker had popped, which Lifestyle had wired in front of the DC2DC. They’d used a 40 amp unit too, which clearly wasn’t large enough, and according to the Enerdrive requirements, isn’t even needed.
Despite turning the charge rate down it kept popping, and we had a real struggle to keep the batteries healthy on this trip. However, I diverge; none of this was the fault of the Enerdrive unit, only the installation.
My auto electrician removed the circuit breaker, and its worked perfectly ever since.
What’s good about the Enerdrive DC2DC?
It’s made by Enerdrive
As mentioned above, Enerdrive gear is good quality, and is highly respected by most people in the game. The quality is good, the customer service is good and the availability is also at the level it needs to be.
If you have any issues at all, you can guarantee that you’ll get great assistance online, by phone and in person almost anywhere in Australia.
It will handle a variety of voltages
These will do both 12 and 24v battery banks, but will also take up to 45V, which means you have the possibility of running a 24V panel, or even a panel from your house (if its under 45v) into the DCDC.
Enerdrive make a 37V solar panel that will specifically work with this, but it wouldn’t work with a heap of other DCDC chargers on the market as they aren’t designed to take that higher voltage.
The higher the voltage the faster your panels will start working, and the less thick your cables need to be to the DCDC.
It’s lithium compatible
These are also lithium compatible, which like it or not, is the future for 12V and 24V battery installations. They are more expensive for sure, but they last much longer, have a significantly higher discharge ability, can be charged faster and weigh about half of a normal lead acid battery.
When our lead acid batteries die in the Reconn R2, we will be getting Lithium (we’ve now ordered some!), and its nice to know I won’t have to do anything more than flick a setting over on the Enerdrive DC2DC.
It will do up to 600W of solar*
The DC2DC is good for up to 500W of solar, and an extra 100W if you want to overdrive the unit. If by chance you get the full 600W, it will just shave some of the power.
Now, depending on where your panels are, you may find that 600W of panels never generates enough to make the unit go into overdrive (for example, roof mounted panels are usually less efficient than portable ones).
Your solar capacity should be reflected by the battery size and type too. We wouldn’t be able to pump 600W of solar into our 240 amp hour of lead acid batteries without doing damage anyway, so there’s no point. If they were lithium though, its a different story.
It’s fully adjustable
Perhaps the best thing about the Enerdrive DCDC is that you can adjust almost every single setting very easily. If you want to change the battery type, or the charge rate, or the individual charge rate for a particular stage in the battery charging, you can do it all very easily.
This is vastly different to the Redarc units which have almost no adjustment at all. If you are looking at Enerdrive vs Redarc they are both great products, but I love the flexibility of being able to adjust things easily.
You can see what its doing
Some DCDC chargers have no display at all, and that’s quite frustrating. The DC2DC shows you what its doing, including how much charge is going into the batteries, what stage its on, where the charge is coming from and so on and so forth.
The screen allows you to move through the menu easily as well, which is a huge bonus.
Other things to know
The unit is large and can make some noise
These DCDC units are not the smallest on the market, and have a big fan that can make a fair chunk of noise. I can hear ours running inside the camper trailer if I stop when walking past, not that its ever been an issue.
It’s not waterproof
Unlike the Redarc BCDC units, which can be mounted in your engine bay and anywhere they are likely to get wet. I can’t find the exact IP rating, but I reckon you’d want to be careful of dust as well.
It should be mounted vertically
One of the things I’ve learnt recently is that these are supposed to be installed vertically, so the fan can push the hot air out the top.
Lifestyle installed ours horizontally, which means it can’t cool as well, and the screen is more likely to get damaged (which is common apparently). Clearly they work horizontally, but you will reduce their life span.
Enerdrive DC2DC cost
You can pick these up for around $400 – $450. Not the cheapest on the market, but certainly not the most expensive either, and given they are one of the best DCDC chargers on the market you are probably getting good value for money.
Would we get another Enerdrive DC2DC?
I’m really pleased with the unit. Its solid, it works well, the manual is good, its easy to change settings and it just works. We’ve had no issues with it, except for a fault caused by the installation, not the actual product.
We’ve had no Enerdrive DC2DC problems, and have a number of friends running them that are very happy too. I’m honestly considering getting another one for our Dmax when we move to Lithium batteries, but I’ll have to be creative with where it gets mounted, as it won’t fit on our electric box.