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Putting the BCDC1240D to the test

Putting the BCDC1240D to the test

Craig Folker, an electrical designer by trade, knows a thing or two about 12-volt setups. In this blog, he provides his expert opinion on the BCDC1240D In-vehicle battery charger and how it performed in his trip to the Kimberley.

 

Building a 12-volt system to go the distance

 

After nearly 2 years in planning, we finally departed home on the Gold Coast for our trip to the Kimberley region on the 1st of July 2017. A major part of this planning involved fitting out our vehicle with all that was necessary to comfortably live on the road and become off-grid for 4 months. Having reliable power for the fridges, lights and other 12-volt goodies was essential, so investing time into researching and selecting the right products at this stage made sense, and in my opinion, saved a lot of headaches down the road.

I am an electrician by trade and my regular day to day work sees me designing, diagnosing problems and rectifying fairly advanced DC systems. Having a background and good knowledge in DC systems and components, it was important to me to build a 12-volt system that would be truly self-contained, with as little human intervention as possible. I saw this as a fantastic opportunity to put the REDARC BCDC1240D to the test, making use of the DC to DC smart charger and built-in MPPT solar regulator. As we were travelling through the remote outback areas of QLD and NT it was important that all components we selected were going to be reliable and  could withstand the rugged conditions we were about to throw at it. Given REDARC’s Australian manufactured and tested products we knew we were installing top of the line components.

 

BCDC Install

 

Smart simultaneous charging profiles

 

First notable point was the installation. I selected to mount the unit in the tray of our Holden RG Colorado, as this is where the twin 110AH AGM auxiliary batteries lived. Installation was very simple, given the surprisingly compact size of the unit; plus, unlike previous models there are no additional relays or switching components required for the solar input. In fact, a great feature of the REDARC DC-DC Charger is that it will actually allow simultaneous charge from the vehicle’s alternator and a solar input to maximise battery recovery times.

 

Given the confidence to explore

 

Part of our 12-volt setup included a 150W rigid solar panel mounted permanently on the roof racks. The combination of the REDARC Dual Battery Charger with the 150W solar panel gave us the freedom to pull up, even for a few of hours, to explore the local attractions when passing through some of the beautiful towns. We had confidence knowing that the batteries were being constantly maintained and both the 40L fridge and 25L freezer in the back of the ute were keeping all of our supplies nice and cold.

 


Aux battery is charging at just over 43Amps. 6.2Amps being generated by the 150W solar panel, and the remaining supplied from the alternator.

 

Quality to withstand extreme temperatures

 

Our journey took us across some heavily corrugated roads, built up with many layers of the famous Northern Territory red dust. The temperatures most days was close to 40 degrees, and a couple of nights fell to zero degrees. It is in these harsh conditions that the quality of REDARC’s products become evident, with the In-vehicle battery charger continuing to operate flawlessly, and with the enormous 40Amp output, it took very little time to charge the battery while driving between camping spots.

 

4 months self-contained and trouble free

 

Now that we have returned from our 4 months on the road and after seeing some of the most amazing places that the Australian outback has to offer, we reflect on the fact that our 12-volt set up was indeed truly self-contained and trouble-free. The REDARC BCDC battery charger allowed us, as 4x4 tourers, the whole set and forget mentality, while it worked behind the scenes to keep our auxiliary battery in tip-top shape.

 


Craig enjoying the spoils of two years of planning

 

Follow Craig and his adventures on his Facebook page, Under A Canvas Roof.

Looking to start your 4x4, camper trailer or caravan upgrade but not sure what products will allow you to travel the way you want? Take the REDARC Hilux product tour to find out what products are best for your power management and towing needs.

 

Leave your comment
Comments
5/02/2018 4:53 PM
I bought a  2018 Toyota Landcruiser single cab 79 series with a 440 kg Norweld Canopy on the chassis. I bought 2 x 140 Watt solar panels which I want to connect to a BCDC 1240D battery charger in the canopy. I have bought 3x 135 watt AGM batteries to run 1x 12V / 90 litre upright fridge and may be 1 small 12V freezer. I am using REDARC 60 Amp fuses.
How do you think I should connect my solar panel cables to the BCDC 1240D  and from there to the batteries  and the smart alternator at the engine room and of course set the fuses and relays correctly?
Cheers
Alain.
6/02/2018 8:10 AM
Hi Alain, we recommend you speak to a local auto elec and they can further assist you. Please contact REDARC on 8322 4848 and we can provide further advice and recommend someone in your area. Regards, REDARC Marketing Team.
7/02/2018 11:45 AM
is the screen showing the solar input charge in the photo above an aftermarket add on or part of the BCDC?

Thanks
Paul
7/02/2018 10:49 PM
The screen is not part of the charger.
(At least mine hasn’t got one.)

My recently installed BCDC1240D seems to be performing faultlessly, but I’d like to know charge rates, especially the solar contribution as pictured. (I have 2x150w panels.)

Simon
8/02/2018 11:16 AM
The Screen shown in the article is not part of the BCDC charger, the best product for monitoring your auxiliary battery charge is the G52-VVA 52mm gauge. This gauge will display the voltage of both your start and auxiliary battery with built-in warnings for under and over voltage and by using the optional amps sensor can monitor the current going into and out of your battery.
13/02/2018 7:17 AM
I am interested to note the comment about the 40 amp out put whilst driving. I wonder what alternator was installed in Craig's vehicle. In my 200 Series Landcruiser the alternator is "smart" and monitors the cranking battery and once that is charged the output of the alternator backs off to float level. Understanding that you cannot "create" energy, one can only convert one form of energy into another form, how can my alternator provide such an output without major and expensive changes? One 150w solar panel will not deliver more than about 12 amps in ideal circumstances so for the alternator to deliver another 50 amps is a big ask.
8/03/2018 1:44 PM
Hugh.
Thanks for the info. Unlike the recommended 52mm gauge. The pictured screen seems to break down the percentage of solar/ alternator charging input.
Anton
My Ford Transit has the dreaded “Smart Alternator”. They work by reducing the output voltage to one less than the battery voltage once the system has “decided” that the start battery is charged. (No current, less drag)
The Redarc LV chargers increase this voltage so the current will flow. The maximum current available would depend on the alternator design.