Choosing a vehicle is only the beginning when getting into the world of 4WDs. The real challenge lies in choosing the right accessories and modifications to create a reliable and capable outback tourer. Although we strongly recommend getting your accessories professionally fitted and installed, Jamie from Project200 says he’s always been hands-on, preferring to do his own modifications, “As they say, getting there is half the fun and you learn a lot about the design and construction of your vehicle when you perform modifications yourself.”
An efficient battery system is essential for outback touring, and although the LandCruiser already has dual batteries, Jamie says they aren’t ideal for camping our touring use. In this blog, Jamie details the modifications he made to create an outback tourer that delivers reliable power all year round.
Although the LandCruiser 200 series comes equipped with dual batteries as a standard feature they are wired in parallel, which isn’t particularly useful from a touring perspective. Especially when you’re looking for a battery setup that will run a fridge and other accessories without draining the starting battery.
We typically tour with our family, towing a camper trailer and running numerous electrical accessories. This gear often includes two fridges (with one as a freezer), mapping, photographic, video and computer equipment, and entertainment systems for the kids. All this in addition to other common accessories such as campsite lighting, UHF radios and satellite communications. Electrical capability and reliability is vital for our work and safety when travelling.
Powering all your electrics you need a reliable power set-up
To achieve an ideal setup for touring and camping use, we needed to ‘split’ the ‘Cruiser’s standard dual battery setup, delivering power to the range of accessories while protecting the starting battery from excessive discharge. In the past, this would have been achieved by installing a battery isolator, allowing the alternator to directly charge both batteries while the isolator separated the loads connected to each battery. But there are disadvantages to this basic method which can be overcome by using a DC-DC charger such as the REDARC BCDC1225D, which I’ve chosen for my LandCruiser.
The REDARC BCDC in-vehicle dual battery charger completely protects the starting battery from discharge due to accessories connected to the auxiliary battery, so no more flat batteries after a weekend of camping with the fridge running! But it goes much further than that. The In-vehicle battery charger also features a smart solar input, so even when the engine isn’t running it can keep the auxiliary battery topped up if you attach a solar panel. What’s more, the charger prioritises any available solar power when the engine is running, reducing load on the engine/alternator, and saving power and fuel.
The REDARC BCDC1225D Dual battery charger helps us stay in charge
Another big advantage of the DC Battery Charger over an isolator is that it provides an ideal charging profile no matter what type of battery is installed. This means it maintains the battery far better than a standard alternator charge, which should mean longer life and superior performance. Being installed with a pair of REDARC’s premium FK40 fuses adds a further level of protection against shorts or unforeseen problems.
I mounted the dual battery charger using a mounting bracket, behind the grill. This location is ideal, as it keeps the charger away from the heat of the engine bay for maximum efficiency and saves precious under bonnet space. Installation was simple and took less than half an hour.
Complete install, The BCDC1225D is just 'set and forget' and with a window cut out, you'll always know what's going on.
I’ve been using REDARC products for many years, including one of their excellent Battery Management Systems in my camper trailer. They have always served me well and I know I can rely on their performance, quality, and durability in harsh conditions, long after the nasty Chinese imports have bitten the dust.
When the going gets tough you can always rely on REDARC
Project200 showcase many of the modifications they've undertaken and reasons why they selected the accessories for their LandCruiser 200 touring build, with useful videos and step-by-step guides for anyone else looking to follow the same process. To see how they upgraded their dual battery system with a REDARC DC-DC Charger watch the video below. You can find out which Dual Battery Charger is best suited to your vehicles needs by using our Dual Battery Calculator.
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 virtual product tour to find out what products are best for your power management and towing needs.