Review: REDARC Battery Charger, AC to DC 10A SmartCharge
REDARC Electronics have recently released a range of AC to DC battery chargers. By teaming up with Norwegian company DEFA, REDARC have brought a versatile and premium quality charger into the market.
You can choose from 4, 6, 8 and 10A chargers. REDARC sent us a 10A charger to test. This is best suited to our larger truck batteries and can charge any battery up to 200Ah.
So how does it perform?
Borrowing A Battery
We were located in a sleepy village on the NSW North Coast, in a quiet caravan park. With a shiny new charger, all we needed was a flat battery.
Now we could have run down the 100Ah AGM battery in the second battery system on our truck. Or we could have done the same with the lithium battery in our Wedgetail Camper. But I decided to ask around first.
It turns out fellow campers Brett and Claudia had an old lead acid battery. It had come out of a diesel Hyundai. It had failed Hyundai’s standard test procedure but was still working. So Brett grabbed it and used it to power their spare portable fridge.
This battery had been run low quite often, not ideal for a lead acid battery. It was a perfect test battery. Thanks Brett and Claudia!
Setting Up The Test
The REDARC battery charger is extremely easy to use. Connect the alligator clips to the terminals, plug it into 240 volts and press the On button. The charger takes care of the rest.
It checks the terminals for correct polarity and then tests the battery for collapsd cells. If either of these are an issue, an orange warning triangle lights up.
Assuming all is well, the charger then runs through a thorough charging cycle. Once the cycle has ended the battery then optimises the battery for charge. We found our test battery needed a couple of hours of optimising before the charger was satisfied it was in the best possible condition.
And that’s it.
You can also leave this charger connected indefinitely. It cannot overcharge your battery. Once the initial charge is complete, it goes to sleep for a week, then wakes up and checks battery condition. If the battery needs a top up, the charger completes this, then goes back to sleep for a week.
A Troubleshooting Tool
The thing that excited me most about the REDARC battery charger was an additional feature, hidden away in the user manual. You see, it can be used as a power supply. Press and hold the On button for 5 seconds and the charger supplies a constant 13.6 volts.
I know this feature isn’t exclusive to the REDARC SmartCharge units, however it is a valuable troubleshooting tool. For example in our setup, we have a dual battery system in the truck. From this we run a 350W inverter.
Since the charger only pulls a maximum of 175W, we can use it in the middle of nowhere if we run into trouble. Say the fridge stops working. Unplug the fridge, power it from the battery charger and you’ll know immediately whether the problem is downstream in the fridge or upstream in the wiring.
Or maybe a light isn’t working. Same thing… use your battery charger to troubleshoot.
This is a fantastic feature and yet another reason why we loved using this charger. Of course, if you’re camped up where there’s power available you can also use it to power a second fridge, lighting and so on… up to a maximum of 10A of course.
Packing It Away
In typical Scandinavian fashion, the SmartCharge battery charger packs away neatly. The power cord wraps around the body, with the plug disappearing into a custom moulding in the back of the unit.
Likewise, the cable for the alligator clips wraps around the body. Each clip clamps onto a post on either side of the body and there’s even a small lug to hold the cable firmly in place.
So you don’t end up with a drawer full of messy cables. More importantly, the cables are far less likely to be damaged. Very clever!
REDARC have finally released a battery charger and it’s typical of what you’d expect from them… premium quality, easy to use and highly functional.
This will be one unit that we’ll be carrying with us wherever we go. And I expect it will last a long time.
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Any errors or omissions are mine alone.
NOTE: The REDARC battery charger was supplied to us free, in return for a review. (That said, our reviews are always honest and authentic – we tell it how it is).