TESTED: REDARC BCDC1240D CHARGER
REDARC’S VERSATILE IN-VEHICLE BATTERY CHARGER KEEPS THINGS BUZZING.
REDARC’S latest dual-input, multistage, 12-volt, in-vehicle battery charger is a beauty. One of 14 in-vehicle chargers the company makes, there’s one to suit your charging requirements and your vehicle’s technical demands.
A DC-DC battery charger will ensure a dual or second battery is kept at its correct voltage and 100 per cent charged all the time, even if it’s a fair way away from the alternator, say in a camper van. You can also use these units to isolate a second or auxiliary battery from the vehicle’s main battery and ensure the main battery isn’t run flat by all the current-demanding components we all like to have these days – a 12-volt fridge being the main culprit of flat batteries.
The unit fitted to our Cruiser is a BCDC1240D, which is one of Redarc’s top units and means the charger can handle 40 amps continuously, with a voltage range of 9 to 32 volts. It can charge and maintain any lead acid battery, as well as calcium, AGM and lithium batteries.
This dual-input charger is designed to receive charging power not only from the vehicle’s alternator but from a solar panel. When a panel is connected to the unit it will take as much power from the solar input as it can before supplementing that power, up to the maximum rated output, from the vehicle alternator.
The crew at Outback 4WD in Bayswater mounted the unit in the front of the engine bay where it will receive good airflow, ensuring it will operate at its optimum – in temperatures up to 55°C. To select the different charge profiles that the unit is capable of delivering for different batteries and situations, it is simply a matter of changing the connection of one of the wires.
The charger is a three-stage unit: Boost, Absorption and Float stages. Boost stage is the initial process of charging; when the battery voltage reaches its proper level the current drops to the Absorption stage, which is maintained until the current demand is less than 4 amps; the unit then switches to the Float stage, where the battery voltage is then maintained at 13.3 volts.
The LEDS on the front panel indicate the charge profile and the power source, while the charge status is indicated by the continuous flash of the ‘Stage’ LED.
The different Redarc chargers are rated from 6 amp up to 40 amp and are priced from less than $400 up to $1000. Designed and manufactured in Australia, all come with a two-year warranty. They’re a firstclass product and are designed for years of trouble-free operation. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
LEDS indicate the unit’s charge profile and power source.