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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Redarc DC-DC Battery Charger

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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 06/22/18 06:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m in the process of installing a Redarc BCDC1225D battery charger in my truck camper. I got it installed enough yesterday to give it an initial test, and was pleased to see that with the truck idling, a little over 20 amps was flowing into the battery according to the Trimetric panel. It’s rated for a maximum of 25 amps.

[image]

The Redarc charger works similar to a solar controller, taking DC voltage from the truck batteries and alternator that normally would be less than ideal for charging, and boosting it up to 14.6, 15.0, 15.3, or 14.5 depending on which charging profile is chosen based on battery type. In fact, this particular charger has a built-in MPPT solar controller and an input wire that can be connected to a solar panel.

Heavy cabling is still required in order to get the rated charging current from the Redarc charger. I have 4 AWG welding cables run from the truck batteries to a 2-Pole Pollak Connector in the front of the truck bed. From there, the 4 AWG wires continue through the camper umbilical cord directly to the TC battery, with the +12v wire running through the Redarc charger first.

For some reason, Lance had the 12v wires from the umbilical cord running to this low voltage panel first, rather than directly to the TC battery. This added several feet of extra wire to an already long run, and was limiting the amount of battery charging I could get from the truck. On our last trip with the camper, one of the screws on the ground bar on the right loosened up and got hot. The screw was for the -12v wire from the camper umbilical cord, so the TC battery was getting almost no charge.

[image]

Due to the cramped quarters and limited amount of space available to mount the charger, this has been a major chore to install. Routing the wires from where the umbilical cord enters the camper to the battery box and Redarc charger required removing the water heater in order to get the wires under and to the side of it. This is where it’s going to sit in the cabinet under the galley sink. The battery box is to the left of the Redarc, behind the panel with the bus bar on it.

[image]

While the water heater is out, I’m also taking the opportunity to make a couple of other changes that couldn’t be done with the water heater installed.

I prefer to run the fridge in AC mode from an inverter while on the road. I put a battery charge meter on the front of the camper several years ago so I could keep an eye on the battery voltage. The meter just has a series of red/yellow/green LED’s that I can see in my side mirror, and since it’s not displaying digits, it doesn’t matter that I’m seeing a reverse image in the mirror. I don’t really need to know the precise voltage, I just need to know if the state of charge is going up or down. Between the charge meter, and a wireless thermometer I have in the fridge, I can tell when the fridge cooling unit is on or off, and if the camper battery is getting some charge current from the truck. .

[image]

When I first installed the meter, I was hauling the TC on a ‘95 F350. I put it in the hole on the right. When I got an F450, because it’s wider I had to add some extensions to the swing-out brackets on the front jacks, which made them swing in further and cover up about half of the charge meter face. I moved it to the left a few inches, and I’m planning to install a waterproof remote switch for the inverter in the old hole. The old remote switch was inside the battery box, but it will be more convenient if it’s in this location.

This is what’s under the water heater. I’ve cleaned this area up a lot.

[image]

I still have some work to do before I can put the water heater back in. I have a new battery disconnect switch ordered, and it will be easier to install If the water heater isn’t there.

[emoticon][emoticon]

* This post was last edited 06/22/18 04:05pm by NRALIFR *   View edit history

SidecarFlip

SE Michigan

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Joined: 10/09/2016

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Posted: 06/22/18 08:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hard to beat welding cable for electrical (low loss) hookups. Sold around here by the foot and every farm store carries it. One good thing about welding cable is the neoprene jacket. Heavy and abrasion resistant.


2015 Backpack SS1500
1997 Ford 7.3 OBS 4x4 CC LB

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 06/22/18 10:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Polyvinyl Chloride has a single plus feature going for it and lots of minuses. PVC is hard to slice and hard to do everything else in including bending the wire. Neoprene (Hypalon) is hard to abrade as noted above but it slices easier than PVC. EDPN DLO wire (locomotive) is a bit stiffer than hypalon but resists sliced much better and abrasion much better.

Rope stranded silicone jacketed wire is truly "wet spaghetti" flexible but other than having a very high temperature tolerance the insulation is delicate and definitely not as tough as either hypalon or PVC. Teflon, kynar, and other aerospace jacketing is both tougher and stiffer than hypalon.

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 06/22/18 11:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The 4 gauge wire I used is TEMCo brand.

It’s not DLO wire, but it does have an EPDM jacket. It’s very nice to work with.

[emoticon][emoticon]

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 06/22/18 11:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DLO attributes are it's rope stranded, tinned, and the jacket is rated for 3KV. Not necessarily an advantage to have ultra thick jacket.

PS I like your system [emoticon]

It alleviates a lot of the "Stupid" in new vehicle charging system voltage irregulation.

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 06/22/18 11:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks. That’s why I gritted my teeth and bought the Redarc. I’ve been underwhelmed with the charging performance of this new truck. The ECM just won’t let it do what my older trucks were doing.

I just wish they weren’t so spendy.

[emoticon][emoticon]

SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 06/22/18 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NRALIFR wrote:

Thanks. That’s why I gritted my teeth and bought the Redarc. I’ve been underwhelmed with the charging performance of this new truck. The ECM just won’t let it do what my older trucks were doing.

I just wish they weren’t so spendy.


Long after you've forgotten the cost you'll still be using & appreciating your DC > DC charger for how it solved your problem and properly cares for your batteries. [emoticon]

This past spring I replaced my aging flooded battery with an AGM ... took a bit of me convincing me because of the cost but now I wonder why I didn't do it sooner! [emoticon]

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 06/22/18 03:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had some time to play with the Redarc DC-DC Charger again today.

I used the inverter and microwave to run the camper battery down to about 60%. This is the single group 31 AGM house battery running the inverter on its own.

[image]

Then I started the truck, and monitored the Redarc charger and Trimetric panel. The Redarc showed that it was accepting voltage from the truck, and the “Stage” LED showed that it was in Boost-Constant Current mode.

[image]

The Trimetric showed that it was supplying its full rated output.

[image]


This is the fridge running in AC mode from the inverter with the truck idling, and the Redarc is supporting most of the load.

[image]

And this is the fridge in AC mode from the inverter with the truck not running. The house battery is running the inverter on its own.

[image]

I like this thing! [emoticon]

[emoticon][emoticon]

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 06/22/18 04:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yep my Cruising Eqpt Co. 28-year old meter is working fine and it was a real bite-in-the-butt when it was introduced, price wise.

It's sad that a lot of folks place metering and monitoring right up there with Chernobyl as far as complexity and time devotion is concerned.

Nothing can be more wrong.

As far as reading and reacting to the morning voltage and -amp hour reading, I consume maybe three seconds.

Glow plug 5 seconds
Cranking 5 seconds
Warm up (water cooled) 5 minutes while I go pick bananas and a melon for breakfast.
Switch online verify Hz and volts
Twist -- one second for the Intermatic Timer. Today 17 minutes otter doer...
Coffee should be brewed...
When the gen burps (charger shuts off) go turn the switch off.

Charging while driving. (4) L16 batteries
6 amps and the batteries need to be set to float. I have one ammeter solely for measuring current going into the batteries.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Joined: 02/15/2006

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Posted: 06/22/18 08:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your set-up is very good but don't forget that the power supply will do more amps with the same wiring when it is doing support for an inverter on the batts where the inverter is drawing more amps than the power supply can provide to the batts.

It will do the max amps of the power supply and wiring in that case. However doing straight battery charging on same wiring it will likely do fewer amps. Batteries are high R and really make the power supply struggle. Still better than without though.


1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

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