There are a few parts on your 4WD where you can’t afford to skimp on quality. In my opinion, one of those is your 12V setup. It’s something I have learnt many years ago when in my first 4WD I tried to save a few bucks and install the cheapest and nastiest dual battery charger I could find. My savings were short lived as this system regularly failed to charge my auxiliary battery and finally gave up entirely on the barge over to Fraser where I was spending a week, now without a working fridge. This was a valuable lesson for me, and it’s been reaffirmed many times in the last 10 years since that.
One of the biggest issues I see out on the tracks is people having problems with their 12V system and in particular their charging solutions. Most of the time it seems to happen to travellers in remote areas and I can’t really give them a solution.
I believe I have the ultimate 12V solution in the back of my 4WDs and to tell you the truth, I haven’t thought much about it since installing it, because it just works. My fridge is always cold and I can stay at a campsite for as long as I like with all the 12V power in the world, and that’s what matters most to me.
My setup is quite simple and I think people often get a bit confused by the technical jargon surrounding 12V systems and it’s too easy to throw your money away on cheaper gear. I run 2x auxiliary batteries giving me around 200amp/hr which are charged by REDARC’s BCDC1240D smart charger, the perfect dc to dc charger. This is a great setup as my auxiliary battery can be charged after just a few hours of driving. On my 79 Series, I also get charge from a fixed REDARC 150W portable solar panel, which is enough to power my fridge and camp lights at night when I decide to stay a week or more at a campsite, without the need of charge from my alternator. Both of my 4WDs also run a REDARC 1000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter, mainly to charge camera batteries, power tools and I’ve been told I can also power a pod coffee machine, which might be the next mod I invest in. Hey, who says you have to rough it completely when you go bush?
The other little tip that is worth sharing is that I’ve upgraded all my fuses and fuse holders to REDARC Fuse Kits and haven’t blown a fuse since. When you’re running big current through your system, the cheap waterproof blade fuse holders simply don’t cut it. I used to melt and blow fuses all the time, and now like I mentioned before I don’t need to give my setup a second thought. It just works! The last bit of advice is in the installation of your 12V gear and to make sure it is put together to withstand thousands of kilometres of corrugations, dust, water and all the other tough conditions we put our vehicles through. I’m talking about over engineering your wire, soldering and using heat shrink and making your setup 100% bush-proof. That way, your only concern on your next trip will be if you packed enough beer, not whether or not they are cold enough.
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.