REDARC BCDC1240D vs Renogy DCC50S (DC-DC Chargers with MPPT)

nickbokhoven

Active member
I am fairly new to the forum and appreciate all the help offered by the community.

I have a VS30 that is in production and am planning on completing out the initial steps of the build myself.

I am planning on running a 100-150 AH LiFePO4 battery, located near the drivers side rear wheel inside the van. I will have 160W-200W of solar on the roof.

My question to this community - What are the thoughts on these two chargers head to head? I have read several of the threads on Redarc and note they have a following. I have also read some strong feelings against Renogy. If you were going to own the van for 10 years, which would you put in? The Renogy unit is +10 amps more than the allowable MB guidelines of 40A. The Renogy also offers trickle charge to the starter battery from the solar if it is required, while the Redarc does not. The Renogy is $130 less.

https://redarcelectronics.com/products/dual-input-40a-in-vehicle-dc-battery-charger

https://www.renogy.com/dcc50s-12v-50a-dc-dc-on-board-battery-charger-with-mppt/
 

john61ct

New member
Sterling BB series, up to 60A rating; I require user-custom adjustable setpoints.

Plus a dedicated solar controller, these add-on ones are sub-par.
 

elemental

Wherever you go, there you are.
My question to this community - What are the thoughts on these two chargers head to head? I have read several of the threads on Redarc and note they have a following. I have also read some strong feelings against Renogy. If you were going to own the van for 10 years, which would you put in? The Renogy unit is +10 amps more than the allowable MB guidelines of 40A. The Renogy also offers trickle charge to the starter battery from the solar if it is required, while the Redarc does not. The Renogy is $130 less.
I bought a RedArc as soon as they were available on the North American market this past January after a lot of armchair reading. Unfortunately, due to complications in my life I haven't gotten it installed yet and am still running off a Blue Sea Systems ACR. Despite my lack of experience this is the Internet, so I'll make a few comments:
  • I am going to own my van for 10+ years and I bought the RedArc unit. As soon as my complications are over, I will get it installed and be enjoying it.
  • I personally would not worry overmuch about a sometimes 50 amp draw over the claimed MB 40 amp limit, although I would double-check all wiring/fusing to satisfy myself of the ability to carry that load over the relevant wiring paths. As far as the vehicle electrical system goes there will be times when everything is maxed out and a 50 amp draw might be an issue then, but the alignment of a maximum draw from your DC-DC charger and a maximum draw from all other accessories is probably at least somewhat manageable on your part. If you think based on your loads etc. that it will be pulling 50 amps for long periods at a time, then maybe I'm an idiot on the Internet whose thoughts aren't worth spit.
  • The trickle charge to the starter battery is a very limited use case and would only be a differentiator for me if the other tradeoffs were balanced on a knife-edge. I doubt they are. I've set my system up so that I can join the house battery and starter battery together in a starting emergency, but don't expect to use it until/unless I start suffering from dementia and screw something up.
  • The price difference of $130 is virtually meaningless compared to all of the other cost factors involved, especially over a 10+ year operational lifetime. Yes, don't waste money foolishly and don't toss around $100 bills, but for such a critical component in your overall van build the $$ difference relative to cost is a noise factor not a differentiator.

Good luck with your choice!
 

marklg

Well-known member
One thing to really consider is failures. They will happen, and by Murphy's law, you will be as far from home and replacement parts as possible. If you have an all in one charger / solar controller, you will lose both methods of charging.

On the other hand, if you have a separate B2B charger and solar charge controller, if one fails, you can charge with the other.

I've had 12V wiring fail. I jumpered the fridge control power to a lighting circuit in a Home Depot parking lot to get that going.

I had a piece of Romex that never should have been used in the 120V system short out. I got around that with an extension cord ran out an access panel. Hint: keep a big yellow 15A 100 ft extension cord with you.

I actually have three methods of charging my batteries, solar, B2B and a shore power charger. That is combined with the inverter because the previous owner did that, but I have a spare charger that can be plugged in too.

Redundancy in a camper is your friend. It will turn a disaster into merely an annoyance.

Regards,

Mark
 

nickbokhoven

Active member
I appreciate the replies. I didn’t consider the redundancy factor. I was blinded by the reduction in parts, wiring and ability to cram a solar and b2b system into a smaller footprint. If any one has real life experience with the Redarc I would love to hear too.
 

jostalli

Member
If you are going to own the van 10 years or one year I would choose a brand with the best reputation for quality. In your case I would recommend the following two products:
Victron SmartSolar MPPT 75/15
Victron Cyrix-Li-ct 12/24-120

You don't need anything else to satisfy your requirements.
 

HarryN

Well-known member
You didn't ask, but will throw this out there.


Usually it takes about 3-400 watts of solar to consistently power the basics, such as a fridge, etc

If you can double your battery and solar numbers, I think that you will be happier.


Harry
 

elemental

Wherever you go, there you are.
One thing to really consider is failures. They will happen, and by Murphy's law, you will be as far from home and replacement parts as possible. If you have an all in one charger / solar controller, you will lose both methods of charging.

On the other hand, if you have a separate B2B charger and solar charge controller, if one fails, you can charge with the other.
I agree with redundancy. The wiring I'm putting in place supports charging through the RedArc unit OR direct from the vehicle's electrical system through my existing Blue Sea Systems ACR (in the event that the RedArc unit fails). I'm also mounting the RedArc unit in an easily accessible location, and it uses just two connectors (one for AC power, one for all other connections) that can easily be removed from one unit and attached to another. My ability to charge directly off of the vehicle should get me by long enough to either get the RedArc unit fixed or replaced.

The use of multiple individual charge controllers for each power source was tempting and my original approach, but I could not find an explanation for how to maintain a proper charge profile (to maximize battery charge/discharge cycle lifetime) on my AGM house battery when I have multiple charge sources simultaneously charging it. Which is one of the reasons I selected the RedArc product. Victron wouldn't enlighten me whether my concern was valid, just pointed me at AM Solar. AM Solar just wanted to sell me a system, not answer the questions I was raising.

Maybe it is a moot point, maybe not, but when I'm traveling I'll generally have vehicle and solar as simultaneous sources, and at many parking locations I'll have shore power and solar as simultaneous sources. How do I maintain a correct charge profile if the individual chargers are not coordinated in some fashion?
 

marklg

Well-known member
I agree with redundancy. The wiring I'm putting in place supports charging through the RedArc unit OR direct from the vehicle's electrical system through my existing Blue Sea Systems ACR (in the event that the RedArc unit fails). I'm also mounting the RedArc unit in an easily accessible location, and it uses just two connectors (one for AC power, one for all other connections) that can easily be removed from one unit and attached to another. My ability to charge directly off of the vehicle should get me by long enough to either get the RedArc unit fixed or replaced.

The use of multiple individual charge controllers for each power source was tempting and my original approach, but I could not find an explanation for how to maintain a proper charge profile (to maximize battery charge/discharge cycle lifetime) on my AGM house battery when I have multiple charge sources simultaneously charging it. Which is one of the reasons I selected the RedArc product. Victron wouldn't enlighten me whether my concern was valid, just pointed me at AM Solar. AM Solar just wanted to sell me a system, not answer the questions I was raising.

Maybe it is a moot point, maybe not, but when I'm traveling I'll generally have vehicle and solar as simultaneous sources, and at many parking locations I'll have shore power and solar as simultaneous sources. How do I maintain a correct charge profile if the individual chargers are not coordinated in some fashion?
The battery voltage provides the coordination. If the battery is near full and the voltage rises, they will all back off charging. Assuming they have the right setpoints, they will all stop at about the same voltage. With tolerances, one source still be charging the last bit while the other source will have shut off. For lead acid with absorption, there may be some inefficiencies, but I think the voltage will eventually rise and shut off all charging. For my LiFePO4 batteries, with the right setpoints, they get up to 99% and go to standby, no matter what is charging them. Everything just works. I have shore power, solar and B2B and they all play together.

Regards,

Mark
 

Skippy and Emu

Active member
My Redarc BCDC1240, has been performing faultlessly now for 7 years. It is one of the early ones, which required a separate relay, to switch between alternator or solar input. I mounted the unit on the side of the Drivers seat pedestal, forward of the handbrake. This keeps it cool, and I can glance down whilst driving, to check the charging satus. The solar input is, roof mounted 480W rigid panels, charging 2 x 100AH Gel AGM batteries. I have a 10A CTEK unit for mains charging. There has never been a conflict using multiple charging sources at the same time. For redundancy, I have another totally separate system. 1 x Baintech Powertop 100AH Gel AGM, and a 100W flexible solar panel. The Baintech is designed as a standalone, portable system, and incorporates it's own inbuilt DC, Solar and Mains charging systems. Just waiting for the main system Gels, to eventually die, then I'll upgrade to Lithium.
 

alexank

New member
Sterling BB series, up to 60A rating; I require user-custom adjustable setpoints.

Plus a dedicated solar controller, these add-on ones are sub-par.[/QUOTE

Can you qualify that statement with actual facts to support your claim?

I am about to buy a similar unit for a client and it would be useful to see these sort of comments substantiated before I purchase.

Thanks
 

ecosky

New member
Hey Nick, where did you find that the allowable MB guidelines is 40A? Thanks!!
I'm looking for this information too. I've scoured the Body and Equipment Guide looking for specifics but so far the best clue seems to be on page 238/239 where it talks about other aux batteries:
If the vehicle is already equipped with an auxiliary battery, no further auxiliary batteries may be connected in parallel without a charging current limiter. This can be realized through supplementary electronics. A maximum charging current of 40 A for all auxiliary batteries must be ensured. If this is not the case, the basic vehicle may be damaged.
I already have the E2L aux battery under the seat, and I'd like to charge a lithium bank, so the next section on page 239 seems relevant:
The charging current limiter (DC/DC converter) between the electrical system (vehicle battery) and additional battery allows for different battery technologies and additional batteries to be used.
Below that text is an image showing additional batteries on the other side of a current limitation system. I'm hoping this means something like a DC-DC charge controller like the Orion-Tr Smart 30A charger, but I am trying to find an expert to verify this.
 

ecosky

New member
Looks like a nice device! I'm guessing it's a non-isolated charger which is something I've been trying to understand the utility of with the Orion-Tr Smart. It does seem to have a "reverse battery" protection which I suppose could be the same thing? I see some places (like amsolar) have kits with the non-isolated DC-DC charger, so I suppose it's not super critical to have isolated DC-DC charging, but if it might be a useful safety feature (or warranty protection!) I would be inclined to go with an isolated charger. So much to learn.
 

45Kevin

Active member
I will be ordering the 50A Renogy c/w mppt controller. I'll use the controller part to attach any remote solar panels for when I park the van under tree for shade but still need to recharge via solar. I'm thinking I'll get a couple of 100w flexible panels that I can store under the mattress when not in use.

Any bad experiences with Renogy products? The reviews seem fine.
 

Centaur

New member
Looks like a nice device! I'm guessing it's a non-isolated charger which is something I've been trying to understand the utility of with the Orion-Tr Smart. It does seem to have a "reverse battery" protection which I suppose could be the same thing? I see some places (like amsolar) have kits with the non-isolated DC-DC charger, so I suppose it's not super critical to have isolated DC-DC charging, but if it might be a useful safety feature (or warranty protection!) I would be inclined to go with an isolated charger. So much to learn.
Hey ecosky, can you explain the difference been isolated and non-isolated for the victron orion?
Believe it is to do with whether the house/leisure electrical system shares the same earth (chassis - negative earth) as the engine/car system. Currently unsure whether the house system should be earthed to chassis or be isolated (all negative wiring back to the battery and not via chassis). Would love some input!
 

ecosky

New member
Hey ecosky, can you explain the difference been isolated and non-isolated for the victron orion?
Believe it is to do with whether the house/leisure electrical system shares the same earth (chassis - negative earth) as the engine/car system. Currently unsure whether the house system should be earthed to chassis or be isolated (all negative wiring back to the battery and not via chassis). Would love some input!
Hey Centaur,
I was wondering about this myself for a while but recently someone told me that the isolated version is usually used with a trailer where there is a separate ground circuit. Everything I've seen so far suggests a van situation like mine has both the vehicle and solar electrical systems sharing the chassis as a common ground. I found this surprising, because I had expected to completely separate my vehicle electrical from my solar electrical systems, and I don't really understand how it makes sense to connect the ground for both battery systems together through the chassis, but I guess this is how it's done. These are just my observations, and I'm not an electrician so be safe and consult an expert. It seems pretty easy to get this stuff wrong.
 

Centaur

New member
Hey Centaur,
I was wondering about this myself for a while but recently someone told me that the isolated version is usually used with a trailer where there is a separate ground circuit. Everything I've seen so far suggests a van situation like mine has both the vehicle and solar electrical systems sharing the chassis as a common ground. I found this surprising, because I had expected to completely separate my vehicle electrical from my solar electrical systems, and I don't really understand how it makes sense to connect the ground for both battery systems together through the chassis, but I guess this is how it's done. These are just my observations, and I'm not an electrician so be safe and consult an expert. It seems pretty easy to get this stuff wrong.
Ah thanks. Trailer explanation makes sense, seems non-isolated is the one. Will still wire all component negatives back to fuse box etc, but the main negative bus bar will be grounded to chassis.

Now to find out the max A possible from the alternator... have 319 3.0 V6 but unsure where to find alternator amps without testing.

Any opinions on the Victron Orion 30A vs Sterling 30A?



Just read this also from faroutride.com:

Common negatives (a.k.a. “ground”). Voltage is the result of a difference of potential: positive minus negative. Connecting the house and van battery negatives together does a few things:
1- The reference point (a.k.a. ground) is the same for all.
2- Provide a safe path (secondary path) in the event of a short.
3- If going for a B2B charger, this is actually the primary path for the charging current: starter battery --> house battery.
* Regulation for sizing the ground wire varies per application (house, RV, boat, etc.) and geolocation (e.g. country), but we like to stick to ABYC recommendations: “The grounding wire is able to carry the maximum current that the current-carrying conductor can supply”. This means the ground is the same gauge as the primary path.
 

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