Choosing a 4WD is only the beginning. The real challenge is setting the vehicle up with the modifications and accessories that will deliver a reliable and capable remote tourer.
Although we strongly recommend to always go and get your products professionally fitted and installed, Jamie from Project200, says he’s always been hands on, preferring to fit his own accessories. “As they say, getting there is half the fun, and you learn a lot about the design and construction of your vehicle when you perform modifications yourself.”
An efficient battery system is essential for extended off-road touring. And although the Land Cruiser has dual batteries Jamie says they aren’t ideal for camping our touring use. In this blog Jamie details the modifications he made to create a tourer that delivers reliable power all year 'round.
Although the LandCruiser 200 is equipped with dual batteries as a standard feature, they are wired in parallel. This isn’t particularly useful from a touring perspective, where you’re looking for a battery setup that will run a fridge and other accessories without draining the starting battery.
We typically tour with our family, towing a trailer and running numerous electrical accessories, including two fridges (with one as a freezer), entertainment systems for the kids along with mapping, photographic, video and computer equipment. All in addition to other common accessories such as campsite lighting, UHF radios and satellite communications. Electrical capability and reliability is vital for our work and safety when travelling.
Powering all your electrics you need a reliable power set-up
To achieve an ideal setup for touring/camping use, we needed to ‘split’ the ‘Cruiser’s standard dual battery setup, delivering power to the range of accessories while protecting the starting battery from excessive discharge. In the past, this would have been achieved by installing a battery isolator, allowing the alternator to directly charge both batteries while the isolator separated the loads connected to each battery. But there are disadvantages to this basic method, which can be overcome through the use of a DC-DC charger such as the REDARC BCDC1225D, which I’ve chosen for my LandCruiser.
The REDARC BCDC dual battery charger completely protects the starting battery from discharge due to accessories connected to the auxiliary battery, so no more flat batteries after a weekend of camping with the fridge running! But it goes much further than that. The In-vehicle battery charger also features a smart solar input, so even when the engine isn’t running, it can keep the auxiliary battery topped up if you attach a solar panel. What’s more, the charger prioritises any available solar power when the engine is running, reducing the load on the engine/alternator, saving power and fuel.
The REDARC BCDC1225D Dual battery charger helps us stay in charge
Another big advantage of the DC Battery Charger over an isolator is that it provides an ideal charging profile no matter what type of battery is installed, meaning it maintains the battery far better than a standard alternator charge, which should mean longer life and superior performance. Being installed with a pair of REDARC’s premium FK40 fuses adds a further level of protection against shorts or unforseen problems.
I mounted the dual battery charger using a Long Ranger bracket, behind the grille. This location is ideal, as it keeps the charger away from the heat of the engine bay for maximum efficiency and also saves precious under bonnet space. Installation was simple and took less than half an hour, including cutting a viewing window so the charger status is easily visible.
Complete install, The BCDC1225D is just 'set and forget' and with a window cut out, you'll always know what's going on.
I’ve been using REDARC products for a number of years, including one of their excellent Battery Management Systems. They have always served me well and I know I can rely on their performance, quality and durability in diverse New Zealand conditions, long after the nasty Chinese imports have bitten the dust.
Nothing beats a well kitted out Cruiser
Project200 showcase many of the modifications they've undertaken and reasons why they selected their accessories for their LandCruiser 200 touring build with useful videos and step-by-step guides for anyone else looking to install the same accessories.
To see how they upgraded their dual battery system with a REDARC DC-DC Charger watch the video below.
Looking to start your 4x4, camper trailer or caravan upgrade but not sure what products will allow you to travel the way you want? Take the REDARC Hilux product tour to find out what products are best for your power management and towing needs.