Andrew and Peta Murray are travelling on the road full-time. They gather information on outback destinations and review products suited to outback travel for their website Top Wire Traveller. Their 4x4 Isuzu truck and Wedgetail Camper are powered by REDARC and we gave them one of our new SmartCharge 12V Battery Chargers by DEFA to put to the test.
Setting Up A Test
With a brand new REDARC SmartCharge 12V Battery Charger in our hands, we had a decision to make. What would we test it on?
We were in a caravan park on the NSW North Coast for a few days. We had mains power… but we didn’t have a flat battery! After asking a few people, Brett and Claudia produced an old lead-acid battery that had seen better days.
REDARC’s 10A battery charger restoring a tired old lead-acid battery back to life.
It was out of a diesel Hyundai and had failed a battery test. Then they had used it to run a portable car fridge. So this battery had been through the wringer. Perfect! We set up a test, aiming to restore this old battery back to life. Here’s what happened.
Now, if you watched until the end (you did, right?) then you would have heard me mention another feature of the battery charger. We’ll get to this shortly.
This charger is a design masterpiece, and REDARC has joined with Norwegian company DEFA to bring this quality product onto the Australian market.
In typical Scandinavian style, the charger sports a few clever design aesthetics. The 240VAC power cord wraps around the unit and the plug fits neatly into a recess on the back. Similarly, the cable for the battery clamps wraps around the body with lugs to clip them onto.
The result? No more messy cords. It’s easy to pack away without worrying about damaging the cables.
While a sleek design is a bonus, what about usability? Well, if you know how to:
- Plug a power cord into 240V,
- Connect a clamp to each pole of a battery, and
- Press one button
…then you’re in business. This battery charger really is super-easy to use.
An LED display shows state of charge with a series of horizontal bars. And an orange warning triangle lights up if you’ve connected the clamps the wrong way around or the battery is faulty.
This really is a neat, compact unit. Those Scandinavians are a clever bunch!
An (Almost) Hidden Feature
When I was looking through the User Manual I noticed a brief description of Power Supply Mode. To quote, “In this mode, the charger supplies 13.6V”.
Hmmm, what’s this?
A quick call to REDARC’s Technical Team confirmed this charger can indeed be used as a 12V power supply. Press and hold the On button for 5 seconds and you’ll get a constant 13.6V supply.
What’s the big deal, you might be wondering? Well with this feature, our REDARC Battery Charger is now a handy troubleshooting device. Let me explain.
We have a second battery system in our truck. This powers a 350W inverter and a whole lot of other things. We also have a separate dual battery system in our Wedgetail Camper. And since the 10A battery charger only draws 175 W, we can plug it into our inverter.
Say our fridge in our camper dies. Where’s the problem, at the fridge or somewhere upstream? We can simply unplug the fridge then use the battery charger as a test power source. No need to run messy cabling every which way.
I guess what I’m saying is, anything that can be used as a troubleshooting tool in the middle of nowhere is worth its weight in gold.
If you’re a remote traveller, you know you need all the assistance you can get when something goes wrong. This feature alone is worth the purchase price of REDARC’s smart battery charger.
REDARC’s new range of 12V battery chargers is a useful addition to any workshop or mobile toolbox. Suitable for lead-acid, lead crystal, AGM, Gel and even LiFEPO4 batteries, you have all bases covered.
With its smart charging algorithm, you can leave this connected to any battery for years and know it will never over-charge your battery. In fact, it wakes up once a week, analyses the battery and tops it up if needed.
With its slick design, ease of use and ability to act as a 12V power supply, this truly is a versatile device.