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Shaun Whale's 4WD 12v Guide

Shaun Whale from Australian 4WD Action visited the REDARC factory so he could see first-hand where his trusted 12V products are designed and manufactured. During his visit, Shaun used the opportunity to explain the purpose of each of product and the benefits they bring to 12v builds for trucks.

The world of charging dual batteries and how it can be best done with different vehicles can be confusing at the best of times. However, Shaun does an excellent job in breaking down REDARC’s hallmark products and gives a straightforward overview between the differences of battery isolatorsDC-DC chargers and battery management systems

Dual battery setups

Whether you’re heading off on a day trip or a week-long adventure off the grid, chances are you will need some form of dual battery system. No matter what your charging requirements are, REDARC has the right 12V system to suit your vehicle.

But before we dive into the types of chargers available, let’s talk batteries.

According to Shaun “Your 4WD will typically come with one start battery, which you power your accessories with. But you will easily drain the start battery and have issues when wanting to start up your vehicle, which is not ideal.”

“This means you’ll need a second battery; this will give you around a day’s charge until it runs flat. However, if you were wanting to camp for a longer period you will need a different solution”.

The solution is to run a dual battery setup in your truck which Shaun describes as the link between your start and auxiliary battery.

The auxiliary battery will charge when you’re driving and when you’re back at camp, it will isolate it from the start battery to ensure the start battery won't drain.

Why choose a Smart Battery Isolator

The simplest battery charging product is a Smart Battery Isolator (SBI). REDARC offer a range of Smart Battery Isolators that run from your start and secondary battery.

“When the engine is running and the alternator is charging the starter battery, the isolator will allow the charge to come through to the secondary battery. When the engine is turned off it will separate the start and secondary battery, this means you can utilize the secondary battery without draining your start battery” Shaun explains.

In years gone by, this was the device of choice in protecting your start battery from excessive charge as they were reliable, affordable and simple to install. However, as technology in vehicles has evolved as too have the products used for charging the secondary battery – Shaun explains this evolution below.

“Vehicles before 2008 have what’s called a fixed voltage alternator”. What does this mean? “The alternator pumps out a constant 14V of charge to your start battery. Vehicles after 2008 have a variable voltage alternator or a temperature compensator alternator. This means the alternator will vary the amount of voltage it outputs, dependant on the engine temperatures, vehicle loads and driving conditions. Why is this important? Well, it saves fuel and reduces the load on the engine.”

Why choose a BCDC charger?

REDARC has always been at the forefront of developing innovative products for the ever-changing vehicle market. An example of this is the development and evolution of our BCDC DC-DC in-vehicle chargers.

Shaun has been a long-term advocate of these trusty chargers “The BCDC1225D I have run in heaps of my 4WDs, it was actually the first set-up I ran in the Dirty 30”.

This 25amp variant will charge your auxiliary battery up to 100%* in three different stages which vary the current and voltage going into your battery. It is also compatible with all common automotive battery types and has a selectable profile which can be chosen to suit their specific chemistry.

The BCDC will also prolong the life of your battery as they charge to supply the correct charge they need. Another nifty inclusion in the Dual Input range is that they will charge from both solar and the alternator simultaneously, and with in-built ‘Green Power Priority’, the battery charger will automatically select solar charge first, taking the load off the vehicle’s alternator.

What BCDC do I need for my 4WD?

REDARC range of DC to DC battery chargers
BCDC Type                     Suitable for Battery Banks
BCDC1225D                   Between 75-200AH
BCDC1240D                   Over 200AH
BCDC1250D                   Over 200AH

Why should you choose the Manager30?

Ensuring your batteries are getting the correct charge is one thing, however, monitoring them and having the peace-of-mind of having a visual readout of this information and charge status is another. REDARC’s Manager30 battery management system takes the guesswork out of monitoring and managing your battery charge.

Having a Manager30 setup allows you to see the full picture as Shaun said “The best bit of the Manager30 setup in my 80, is the display panel. It is just like a dashboard for your 4WD, it can measure engine temps, fuel levels etc”.

With the Manager30 you can see how much charge is going into your batteries, how much is left and how fast you are using the battery power.

The Manager30 operates like 6 distinct products, it charges an auxiliary battery from the vehicle while on the move, it’s a 110 volt charger, a solar regulator, a battery isolator, a load disconnect controller, all with a remote battery monitor for full visibility.

Keep up with all of the latest adventures from Shaun Whale and the 4WD Action’s adventure team or discover his latest tips and setup guides on the 4WD Action YouTube channel.

*Large capacity battery banks may require a few cycles to fully charge.