For our big lap of Australia we have partnered with Redarc to power us around the country. Being a family of 5, living in the van for a full year, we wanted to ensure we had the power to do what we want when we want to. Our Car and our Caravan are now our full time homes and thanks to Redarc we haven’t really had to make any compromises.
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Redarc helps us keep the power on in our Caravan and in our Toyota Land Cruiser, here’s how:
Toyota Land Cruiser Sahara 2011
At the heart of the system is a Dual Input 25A In-vehicle DC Battery Charger, which helps keep our isolated auxiliary battery charged in multiple ways. As we drive, this controls the flow of power to the battery to top it up. We are running a lithium battery and the DCBC provides the perfect amount of charge. Every battery type is different and the DCBC charger can cater to what you have.
We also have the option to charge our battery with our 190W Solar Blanket separately or even at the same time! We have an Anderson plug input via the DCDC charger, that we connect to the solar blanket via a 10M Anderson to Anderson cable. This means we can park the car in the shade and run the cable and solar blanket out to a sunny position.
Up front in the car we have a Dual Voltage 52mm Gauge with Current Display. This lets us know the state of charge on the auxillary battery, what amps are being pulled in from the solar blanket and even how the caravan batteries are looking on our longer drives and off grid camping expeditions.
For emergencies, we have also installed an additional Anderson Plug on the starter batteries. This gives us some flexibility to take a Solar Regulator and use our Solar Blanket to start the car in the event of the dreaded flat battery. We can just bang the solar blanket on the bonnet, and wherever we are we can get those batteries charge back up in a few hours.
On the safety front, we have a Brake Controller installed to control the Jayco 22.68-1’s brakes as we travel. With this we can apply the brakes at the push of a button or control the amount of braking the caravan applies as we brake in the Land Cruiser. This is adjustable to suit what you are towing and the overall loads.
Jayco Journey Outback 22.68-1
We have a lot of gadgets and accessories in the Caravan, mainly as a result of JD being a really big nerd. There I said it. Most use cabled power, 240V or 12V and to keep them powered as we travel and camp off-grid we were going to need a serious setup. Steph also has a Thermomix we have owned for many years, used regularly to make breads, pancakes, dips and so much more.
To give the batteries in the caravan a boost we installed a 30A Solar Regulator direct to the AGM batteries to allow us to plug the Anderson to Anderson lead and Solar Blanket from the vehicle into the caravan for a solar boost. This gives us flexibility too in the case of the caravan being parked in a shady spot, with the ability to grab solar power from other locations, rather than just the roof of the caravan. This feeds direct to the caravans batteries via the Solar Regulator, with an Anderson plug on the drawbar allowing the input.
Also connected direct to the batteries is the 3000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter. This baby allows us to deliver 240V power to the caravan, direct from our 12V batteries. A Pure Sine Wave Inverter is essential for delicate electrical equipment, delivering a pure and consistent AC current from a DC source. We have the Inverter itself installed under the bed, but an Inverter Remote installed in a convenient location to make the switch from 12V to 240V a simple press of a button. Please note to do this properly, like we have done via the existing 240V sockets, you will need a licensed electrician to install a switchover between the mains 240V input to your van and the Inverter powered 240V to your sockets. This is the legal and safe way to do this, to ensure you don’t accidentally blow everything up with dual 240V running into the van by accident! With 3 boys this was particularly important!
As you can see Redarc have provided as a lot of flexibility for our big lap. We wanted to work with Redarc as they are, simply put, the bees knees when it comes to everything 12V and Solar. Thank you to Redarc for helping make our big lap of Australia a reality.