Retrofitting a Nissan Patrol for Offroad Travel

Article from: REDARC Electronics Three Escape Together aren’t your ordinary family. They’re a family of three who are taking a break from the mundane to explore Australia in their upgraded TD42 Patrol and camper trailer, …

Club 4X4 Insurance
Jul 31 2019

Article from: REDARC Electronics

Three Escape Together aren’t your ordinary family. They’re a family of three who are taking a break from the mundane to explore Australia in their upgraded TD42 Patrol and camper trailer, determined to do things differently.

REDARC caught up with the team to find out more about their travels and the dual battery upgrades that have allowed them to be completely self sufficient for over a year now.

Never needing to plug in

Thanks to the dependable range of REDARC solar products our family has spent the past year exploring Australia’s most remote and rugged destinations without ever plugging into 240 volt mains power.

Since 2018 our family of three has been documenting our full-time Australian travels on the Three Escape Together blog. In addition to photographing the most beautiful and isolated parts of Australia we’ve been operating a mobile 12 volt repair workshop and beauty salon. This means that on top of the usual 12 volt camping equipment such as a 50 litre Waeco Freezer, 28 litre Waeco fridge, camp lighting and water pumps we also use a 1200 Watt inverter to charge power tools, cameras, tablets, a laptop computer and run a soldering iron and hot wax pot. With such demanding power requirements we chose to equip both our Nissan Patrol and Camper trailer with ultra-reliable REDARC technology because on the outback tracks we travel running out of power comes with serious consequences.

Solar priority equals fuel savings

Our 17 year old Nissan Patrol has been retro-fitted with a modern dual battery system which not only powers a fridge overnight but ensures dependable starting power is available from our main battery every time we fire up the old Nissan. The brains of this system is a REDARC 25amp dc to dc charger which maintains optimal charge in our deep cycle batteries by sourcing energy from either the vehicle’s alternator or a roof mounted 100 watt fixed solar panel. We really appreciate the REDARC controller giving priority to solar energy first which means the Nissan’s alternator sees less load resulting in fuel savings for us on long drives.

In our camper trailer we have an additional 240 Amp/hrs of deep cycle batteries charged by a second REDARC BCDC1225D unit. The two separate BCDC1225 systems were easy to install and work together seamlessly. We found the installation instructions simple to follow with just 4 colour coded wires to be connected. We’ve mounted our charger in the passenger side foot-well but being dust and waterproof means BCDC controllers can be mounted just about anywhere on the vehicle. Like most four wheel drivers we are constantly scanning our warning lights and gauges and are happy to report that, in over a year of tortuous testing, our voltage gauges have always remained in right range.

At Three Escape Together we are primarily set up to for 4wd touring and by moving camp every day the DC-DC charger easily keeps up with charging the camper trailer batteries. However when unhooking the trailer and establishing a base camp for several days we need to rely on solar power. Upgrading our camper trailer’s solar panel to a REDARC 190 Watt folding solar blanket has completely revolutionised our setup and extended the time we can remain in amazing places like the Kimberley and Simpson Desert where the fridge and freezer combination places an almost constant demand on the deep cycle batteries.

Compact to carry, effective to charge

With storage space at a premium we had previously tried using thin flexible panels and cheaper solar blankets but could never keep our batteries fully charged. It was only after upgrading to the REDARC 190 Watt folding solar blanket which packs down to the size of a laptop bag, did we properly address our charging shortfall. We’ve found the REDARC 190 watt blanket doesn’t lose performance in high ambient temperature conditions and still performs well when the blanket is partially shaded. In fact we’ve noticed that even on heavily overcast days the REDARC 190 watt blanket continues to provide enough power to run a small fridge. Above all we really appreciate the low weight and small size of the blanket when packed away and the durable waterproof finish on the panels. We’ve even had bicycles ridden over our blanket when in was spread on the ground with no damage sustained.

Using REDARC products has changed the way we approach off grid camping because we can trust our two BCDC1225D’s to protect our main starting battery from being run flat while keeping the deep cycle batteries optimally charged. The real star of the show is the 190 Watt solar blanket which keeps up with our high power demands and packs away much smaller that a folding glass panel with the massive advantage of being almost impossible to break on our remote outback adventures!

You can stay up to date with all the fun Three Escape Together are having by following their Facebook page.

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