Selecting a MEAN WELL Battery Charger for Use in Caravans

MEAN WELL Battery Charger for Use in Caravans

This blog post has been written to help auto electricians select the most suitable MEAN WELL battery charger for use in a caravan’s electrical system.

In 2021, MEAN WELL launched a new range of battery chargers, the NBP series.  

At the time of writing the popular PB series chargers are still available.  

In this article we will first look at models with a power output of 360 WATTS or lower, and then look at the larger models. 

Battery Chargers 360 WATTS or Less 

Advantages of the MEAN WELL NPB Series Battery Chargers 

MEAN WELL NPB Series Battery Chargers
MEAN WELL NPB Series Battery Chargers

 

The key advantage of the NPB series battery chargers is that they can charge most lead acid and lithium batteries.  

This is achieved in two ways.  

Firstly, the NPB series battery chargers allow you to adjust both the charging voltage and charging current, so you can set it to the requirements of your battery.  

Secondly, they have both 2-stage and 3-stage charging. This is user selectable. 2 stage charging is best suited to lithium batteries, whereas you would use 3-stage charging for lead acid batteries. 

Being a new design, the NPB series battery chargers were designed using the latest components and manufacturing techniques. This has resulted in many of the NPB series models being smaller in size compared to the PB series. This is particularly useful if you have limited space in the caravan. 

Advantages of the MEAN WELL PB Series Battery Chargers 

The PB series battery chargers have been around for the best part of 20 years and have an excellent track record when it comes to reliability. 

One of the key advantages of the PB-300 and PB-360 models is their mounting flange. This makes them easy to mount in caravans, boats, and other recreational vehicles.  

MEAN WELL PB-300
MEAN WELL PB-300 Series Battery Charger

 

None of the NPB series chargers have the mounting flange, so you would have to fabricate some sort of fixing bracket. 

The PB series battery chargers are designed for lead acid batteries. However, they can charge many lithium batteries without any need for modification. Please contact ADM with the specifications of the lithium battery you wish to charge, so that we can check the PB series battery charger you are considering is suitable.  

If you are charging lead acid batteries that may be under load during the charge cycle, such as when a refrigerator is running off a battery in a caravan, then your best option is to use the PB-360P-12CDM. This particular model has been specifically designed for this purpose.  

However, you cannot use the PB-360P-12CDM to charge lithium batteries. You may need to use the standard PB-360P-12 instead.  

MEAN WELL NPB and PB Battery Charger Specifications at a Glance 

 

PB-120, 230, 300, 360 Series 

NPB-120, 240, 360 Series 

AC Input 

PB-120, 300, 360: 115 or 230Vac (selectable by switch) 

PB-230: 90~264Vac 

90~264Vac 

Charging stage 

3 stage charging  2 stage or 3 stage charging  
Charging voltage 

PB-120, 230: 13.8V, 27.6V, 55.2V (fixed) 

PB-300, 360: 13~14.7V, 26~28.8V, 52~56.8V (adjustable) 

10.5~15.2V, 21~30.4V, 42~60.8V (adjustable) 

Charging current 

Fixed  Adjustable 50~100% 

Operating Temperature 

-10/20 ~ + 45/50/60°C  -30~+70°C 
Fan 

PB-120, 230, 360: Fan cooled 

PB-300: Fanless, convection cooled 

NPB-120, 240: Fanless, convection cooled 

NPB-360: Temperature controlled fan 

Protection 

Output short circuit 

Over voltage 

Over temperature 

Battery reverse polarity 

Output connector 

PB-120, 230: XLR connector 

PB-300, 360: Terminal blocks 

XLR connector, Andersen connector, and screw terminals available as standard across the range. 
Safety approvals 

PB-120, 230: CE CB 

PB-300, 360 CE CB RCM (held by ADM) 

CE CB 

EMC 

RCM
Dimensions 

PB-120: 180 x 96 x 49mm 

PB-230: 190 x 96 x 49mm 

PB-300, 360: 253 x 135 x 48.5mm 

All models: 180 x 96 x 49mm 
Mounting Flange

PB-120, 230: None 

PB-300, 360: Yes 

None 

 

Battery Chargers Larger than 360 WATTS 

When it comes to larger battery chargers, there are 5 series in the range: 

Series

Output Voltages / Current 

Typical Power Output  

Features 

NPB-450 

10.5 ~ 21V / 25A 
21 ~ 42V / 13.5A 
42 ~ 80V, 6.8A 
54 ~ 100V / 5.5A 

450 WATTS  Auto ranging, wide charging voltage range 
Programmable* 
CANBus interface 
Selectable charging curves. 
PB-600  13.8V / 40A 
27.6V / 21A 
55.2V / 10.5A 
600 WATTS  2, 3, and 8 stage charging 
Remote on/off 
Temperature compensation 
NPB-750  10.5 ~ 21V / 40A 
21 ~ 42V / 22.5A 
42 ~ 80V, 11.3A 
750 WATTS  Auto ranging, wide charging voltage range 
Programmable* 
CANBus interface 
Selectable charging curves. 
PB-1000  13.8V / 60A 
27.6V / 34.7A 
55.2V / 17.4A 
1000 WATTS 

2, 3, and 8 stage charging 
Remote on/off 
Temperature compensation 

2 bank charging 
Battery rescue 

RPB-1600  13.8V / 100A 
27.6V / 55A 
55.2V / 27.5A 
1600 WATTS 

PMBus interface 
Optional CANBus interface 

Programmable* 

*programmable models require the SPB-001 programmer, which is purchased as a separate item 

 

MEAN WELL PB Series Battery Chargers 

The PB-600 and PB-1000 battery chargers have been around for many years. They have a well-established reputation for reliability.  

MEAN WELL PB-1000
MEAN WELL PB-1000

 

Caravan manufacturers like the built-in mounting flanges, as this makes them very easy to install.  

2, 3, or 8 stage charging is selectable by a switch.  

Out of the box these battery chargers can charge lead acid batteries (GEL, flooded and AGM). They can also charge some lithium batteries.  

If you wish to charge a lithium battery, please contact us with the brand and model number of the batteries you wish to charge. We will then check the charging requirements to see if the battery charger is suitable. We will also advise which charge setting should be selected on the battery charger. 

The PB-1000 has a built in PMBus interface and is available with an optional CANbus interface for remote monitoring of the battery charger. 

MEAN WELL RPB-1600 Battery Charger 

MEAN WELL RPB-1600
MEAN WELL RPB-1600 Series Battery Charger

 

The MEAN WELL RPB-1600 typically gives you 1600 WATTS of power with the flexibility of programmable charging curves.  

It features a PMBus Rev. 1.1 interface with a maximum 100KHz bus speed, which enables remote information reading, status monitoring, and output trimming. 

The charging curves can be programmed using a Windows based PC or laptop and the MEAN WELL SPB-001 programming tool. This means the RPB-1600 can be used with most lead acid and lithium-ion batteries.  

There is no built-in mounting flange, so you will need to fabricate or purchase the necessary mounting hardware.  

MEAN WELL NPB Series Battery Chargers 

MEAN WELL NPB-750 Battery Chargers
MEAN WELL NPB-750 Series Battery Chargers

 

These are the latest battery chargers to have been released by MEAN WELL and boast some very useful features, which makes them ideal for a variety of caravan battery charging applications. 

At the time of writing, the NPB-450 and NPB-750 have only just been released. Stock should be available sometime in Q1 2022.  

The first thing that immediately stands out is the wide charging voltage range and auto-range detection.  

Auto-range detection automatically adjusts the charge voltage settings according to the battery voltage. 

Like the RPB-1600, you can also program the charging curves using a Windows based laptop or PC and the SPB-001 programmer.  

This means the NPB-450 and NPB-750 can charge most types of battery used in caravans, including lithium batteries.  

This flexibility makes the NPB-450 and NPB-750 battery chargers suitable for many caravan applications as depicted below. 

Caravan battery charger applications

The NPB-450 and NPB-750 do have a mounting flange, which makes for easy installation in the caravan.  

Please do not hesitate to contact ADM if you would like any further information about MEAN WELL battery chargers. 

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11 November 2021