Off-grid travel is all fun and games until you run out of power. There’s nothing worse than having no lights at night or food spoiling in your warm fridge. One Way North have spent enough time living in the Land Rover to know that when you want to stay off-grid, power is critical. We had a chat to Sam and Greta about their off-grid power setups, and why they chose the REDARC BCDC.
Over the last two years, we have travelled across Europe and Australia in our Land Rover Defender, affectionally named Baloo. Baloo started with a very basic split changing system to charge our auxiliary battery. In the beginning this was fantastic, we were very new to the concept of living on the road out of a vehicle. We then realised that if we wanted to stay longer than a couple of nights in one spot, we would drain our auxiliary battery, so having solar quickly became a must.
The electrical setup in Baloo was very basic with two different devices to charge the battery, one for charging when driving and the other for the solar system. Those of you who have lived in your vehicle or spent more than a few days in it at a time know how important space is. Over the last few months, we have been trialling the REDARC BCDC1225D in the purpose-built auxiliary battery box built for our LandRover Series III, and wow, have we been impressed!
Travelling on the road, you want to be as comfortable as possible. For us this is not a holiday, it’s our lifestyle. This meant, when setting up the vehicle, we wanted to be able to run a fridge, and charge phones and cameras. So many of us take access to the power where we live for granted, but when moving into vehicle-based living, you quickly realise that your normal car doesn’t have power output unless you’re driving. Or you run the risk of draining your starter battery, leaving you stranded.
This is what led to us installing an auxiliary battery and it has been an absolute game changer. It feels like free power. On our trip, we didn’t meet any long term-travellers who weren’t running at least one auxiliary battery and, while having a second battery is all well and good, you need a way of charging it.
The BCDC is simple to use and wire. The wiring instructions are very simple to follow, explaining exactly what is required for different vehicle set ups. It was a simple read then off to the shops to get the required wiring to suit our build. The instructions broke down what gauge wire was required for the different distances between batteries and charger to safely install. The wiring that came out of the BCDC is all colour coded, which matches the instructions and makes it super easy to follow and do yourself at home. We are, by no means, auto electricians and we found it super easy to do ourselves.
One of the biggest advantages we saw with using the BCDC is that it’s dual input. Meaning that both your alternator charging and solar charging can be done through the same module. Aside from the fact that it saves space, it means that they work together seamlessly to keep your auxiliary battery fully charged. This also has the capacity to give you 25A charge for Lithium, AGM and standard lead acid. We have used an AGM, as we originally go advice that it was the best type of battery to run as an auxiliary battery for the budget we were on at the time but have heard that Lithium is amazing. The solar regulator (MPPT) will always be producing as much power before being supplemented by the split charger (alternator) to the maximum output (25A in our case). For us, this means that we know that we’re always charging our battery to the maximum and putting less strain on the vehicle power output.
We’ve been so impressed by this setup that we are now thinking of changing our setup in Baloo to something similar, if not the same. We have really enjoyed how streamlined the BCDC is and how little space it takes up. For long term travel this is important, as you can imagine how pushed for space we can be.
Follow One Way North and their adventures around the world on Instagram and YouTube. For more information on the BCDC and how it can power your off-grid adventures check out Shaun Whale’s setup below.