Dometic offers two portable battery solutions in Australia, and though the battery storage is similar, there is a marked difference in price.
I will explore some of the similarities and differences between the Dometic Coolpower RAPS 44Ah and the Dometic Portable Lithium Battery 40 (PLB40) and see if we can find justification for such a big difference in price.
|Dometic RAPS 44Ah||Dometic PLB40|
|2 x 22Ah||1 x 40Ah|
|Outputs||1 x Cigarette Socket|
1 x Hella Socket
|2 x Cigarette Sockets|
2 x USB Sockets
|Charging||2 Pin port to |
12V Cigarette Plug
|AC charger, Cigarette Plug|
and Anderson Plug
|Display||LCD Voltage Indicator||LCD Voltage Indicator, error|
and usage LED’s.
|Dimensions||23W x 22.7D x 24.5H cm||19.7W x 19.7D x 25.7H cm|
|Warranty||12 month||12 month|
The Dometic PowerCool RAPS 44Ah is simple by design and intended to power a camping fridge for short periods of time (up to a couple of days) when away from a permanent power source.
As a result, it only includes two ports, to cover the most common fridge connections. Though it is designed and marketed with that specific purpose in mind, you can use it with any other compatible 12v device.
The Dometic PLB40, on the other hand, is intended as a multi-purpose, off grid, portable power bank to power your whole campsite, and comes with a range of outputs to meet a range of different needs.
The PLB 40 is equipped with a 1 x 40Ah heavy-duty lithium battery. Lithium batteries are a newer battery technology and popular because of their lightweight and rapid charging speed, and depth of discharge capability.
Most heavy-duty batteries are only capable of having 50% of their power drawn down on a regular basis before they need a recharge.
And going over the 50% level can cause significant damage to the battery and shorten its life.
However, Lithium batteries are much more capable of going utilizing up to 80% of their capacity, on a regular basis, without causing significant damage to the battery. Dometic claims up to 2000 charging cycles for the PLB 40, if discharged to 80% of capacity.
The CoolPower RAPS 44Ah is comprised of 2 x 22Ah AGM batteries. AGM, stands for Absorbent Glass Matt, and is a material used to hold the lead-acid, which is typically in liquid form on many car starter motor batteries.
AGM batteries are safer and require no maintenance compared to traditional lead-acid batteries.
Though the CoolPower has a larger capacity technically, the actual amount of usable energy is far less. With the AGM battery, the further you discharge it, the less life you will get out of it over the longer term.
In the manual, they state that you should get 1350 cycles if only drawing 30% of the energy, 600 cycles if you discharge 50% of the energy, and 350 cycles if you discharge to 80% of capacity.
So though the RAPS 44Ah has a larger battery, you can see the improved performance and longevity you get from the lithium battery in the PLB40, which looks to be one of the core reasons for the big price difference.
There are two ways to connect power to the Dometic CoolPower RAPS 44Ah. It includes a 12v cigarette charger you attached to the port on the side of the machine, and there are also two posts, that you can connect a battery charger directly to.
These posts are the way you can accomplish 240v power, and you would attach a standard automotive battery charger to the positive and negative terminals accordingly.
If you wish to use a solar panel to charge the CoolPower RAPS 44Ah, this is whether you would connect that solar energy as well.
But to connect your solar panel you need to ensure you use a regular between the panel and the battery to make sure the electricity flows in at the right voltage, and you will need alligator clips to attach to the posts.
The intended charging method of the CoolPower 44Ah is to charge it at home with a car battery charger, and then top it up while driving using the 12v cigarette adapter. But it’s handy to have the posts there for solar or other charging opportunities.
The Dometic PLB40 comes with multiple charging options by default, including 240v transformed, 12v cigarette plug adapter, and Anderson plug input to directly attach your solar panel.
Though you don’t have to use a regulator for the solar panel, it is encouraged to ensure the voltage does not exceed the capacity of the unit and trip the in-built fuse.
Connecting Multiple Batteries
Customers are often curious as to whether you can connect multiple batteries together to increase battery storage.
The Dometic PLB40 has no capacity to be connected to another battery source to make a larger power supply.
However, the CoolPower 44Ah does have a port to facilitate. At the time of writing, it was difficult to actually purchase the cord needed to do this, but that may have changed by the time you read this article.
Both units come with Dometic’s standard 12-month warranty, so you can return it to the place of purchase within 12 months if you have any issues with either unit.
Though their batteries are the same size, given the PLB40 has a lithium battery, it can regularly be discharged to a lower rate, without compromising the battery longevity.
The CoolPower 44Ah is very popular for what it is and provides a great, and affordable source of power when you need to keep an appliance going for a few days.
But if you need multiple outputs and more diverse charging opportunities, the Dometic PLB 40 will be fit for you.
Though if you are open to other brands, there are some other units that bring the increased functionality, without the price tag of the Dometic PLB 40.