Redarc is a leading manufacturer of vehicle power solutions. Australian based, it’s been developing inverters, battery controllers, and power supplies for decades. Its products are legendary in the overland world and they’ve just started to distribute in North America. We’re excited to finally get our hands on one of their BCDC battery chargers, the Redarc BCDC1250D, and equip a Land Rover LR3 with auxiliary power.
The Need For More Power
If you’re a child of the 80s like me, you may fondly remember great 8-bit computer games such as “Design-A-Saurus”, “Nibbles,” and the infamous “Oregon Trail.” To have any chance in Oregon Trail, provisioning in town before you depart is an essential strategy. How much ammunition, food, spare parts, or medical supplies can you fit? Balancing supplies, fuel, and equipment is still a challenge for modern overland travelers.
I always died of dysentery in that game, and today I always carry a stocked first aid kit in my vehicles. Modern overland provisions include lots of fresh water, cold beer, and popsicles. Yes, nothing is better than cold popsicles in Death Valley. If you haven’t made the switch to a 12V fridge/freezer you should consider one. The ARB ZERO and Dometic CFX3 are two great options. Refrigerators are much more convenient than dealing with ice and coolers. However, they do require their own fuel: electricity.
A secondary battery is an essential upgrade for modern overland travel, and most alternators are robust enough to charge two batteries at once. To safely manage a dual-battery system, installing a smart DC-DC converter is the best choice. A DC-DC converter absorbs the wild swings of your vehicle’s alternator and outputs a stable charging voltage for your secondary battery. It also safeguards your main vehicle battery so you don’t drain it and become stranded.
The Redarc BCDC1250D model I installed in my LR3 can charge at a 50A rate and is ready for solar input should I ever need it. One other essential feature of the BCDC is that it’s capable of charging a lithium battery. Lithium offers superior energy density to Sealed Lead Acid (SLA), meaning I can fit more energy into the small space available in my LR3.
More energy means I can charge my laptop, run auxiliary lights, and power my heated blanket all while enjoying a cold brew. With my background in electric vehicle systems, I built my own custom lithium battery pack. It is a 60Ah 12V unit that fits neatly under the LR3’s rear seats.
Redarc BCDC Reviewed
The Redarc is as well made as any DC-DC I have had my hands on. Redarc specializes in engineering products for rigorous vehicle applications – not plasticky consumer electronics widgets. The install is straightforward, your high power connections include main vehicle positive, chassis ground, optional solar, and secondary battery output. Wiring harness needs will vary depending on your type of vehicle. You may want to hire a professional if you’re unsure – vehicle wiring can be dangerous. We highly recommend you pick up Redarc’s Fuse Kit – as it makes for a safe install with all the necessary splices and terminals.
The smaller gauge wires can be connected depending on your battery chemistry (lead vs lithium) and alternator type. It turns out my LR3 uses a “smart” alternator that will vary output depending on battery state of charge. I initially wasn’t sure about this, but Redarc tech support was super quick and got me sorted straight-away. These Aussies know their stuff!
The BCDC has some simple status LEDs to let you know what’s going on. If you want to have data on display in your cockpit, check out their G52 Dual Battery Gauge. For the LR3 I replaced the ash-tray insert with a custom 3D printed gauge holder to keep the install super clean.
Redarc has a product for just about every type of build. If you’re outfitting a fully self-sufficient camper, check out their Redvision Power Management Kits. They combine AC, DC, Solar and smart load controlling with a color display and a smartphone app. So if you’re on the hunt for a great gift for your car loving dad, Redarc might have the right option for you.
The Redarc BCDC1250D and its accessories are now ready to ship on Amazon. You can easily spend less on a dual-battery manager, but for me the build quality, 2-year warranty, and support of a company that has been doing this for three decades makes Redarc an easy choice. They keep me rolling safely and in comfort. Be prepared and well equipped before you hit the Oregon Trail and have a great adventure. Provision wisely and don’t forget the TP!