Redarc’s Smart Start Battery Management System packages 5 products in the one unit!
With the increasing popularity of off-road camper trailers kitted to the hilt with electrical goodies, the importance of good battery management is critical, particularly for those longer sojourns to the northern extremities where fridges and freezers are working that much harder.
The Redarc Battery Management System (BMS1215) provides a comprehensive battery charging and maintenance solution, with a current shunt and battery monitor to provide accurate battery readings. The unit combines an AC 240v charger, solar MPPT controller, DCDC charge system, battery monitor and vehicle battery isolator. The BMS utilises multi-stage charging to ensure batteries are safely topped to 100% charge, with charging profiles specifically tailored to Gel, AGM, Calcium or Standard Lead Acid batteries. A standard Anderson plug will generally only charge a trailer’s battery to 70% capacity, due to the limitations inherent in alternator charging. In comparison, Redarc’s DCDC charging process allows the batteries to be charged to 100% through boost, absorption and float stages.
Similarly, the solar controller regulates the amount of incoming charge, preventing damage to expensive deep cycle batteries. The system incorporates a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithm to extract the best possible charge from the solar panels. Under varying environmental conditions, such as cloud, bright sunlight, increased temperature and angle to the sun, a solar panels wattage (power) capabilities change continuously. The MPPT regulator ensures that under all conditions the maximum amount of power available from the panel is delivered to the auxiliary battery.
Portable panels should be plumbed directly to the BMS via an external plug. In order to get the benefit from the MPPT, any existing controller on those portable panels will require a small modification to disable the controller. At least this way you can use the panel on your vehicle with the existing controller or on your camper with the controller override modification. With the MPPT and other Redarc controllers fitted close to the batteries, any cable losses are overcome by the Redarc BMS.
An LCD remote monitor can be fitted anywhere that is easy to access. Scrolling through the screens provides everything you need to know including what the charging power source is (240v, DC12v, solar or none), battery load, the incoming and outgoing charges, battery voltage and the battery temperature. Or simply view the State Of Charge Screen that provides a ‘fuel gauge’ for your battery in terms of a percentage of charge. The display will show how long that ‘fuel’ will last or the time required to ‘top up the tank’ based on the existing load on the battery.
Our own electrical demands have grown in the last few years from a modest 50L fridge in the back of the fourby, to an upright 80L fridge freezer, a couple of laptops, mobile internet gateway, 1000w pure sine wave inverter, additional lights, water pumps, fans and a host of chargers, all in a compact off-road van. The upright fridge freezer chews through the juice in the tropics and will run all day. Two laptops gobble down 3-4 amps per hour each and a host of other peripherals do their bit to draw available power. The Redarc Battery Management System has highlighted the huge draw that many of these appliances command as well as optimising the batteries output through effective charging. Even plumbed to a generator, the Redarc system boosts the standard generator 8 amp output to 15 amps, reducing generator running time.
At around $1600 plus fitting it’s a substantial investment, yet it packages the returns of five separate products, all in the one neat install. Designed and manufactured in Australia for local conditions, it comes with a 2 year warranty and technical phone support for installation queries.