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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

REDARC Manager30: The Key to Powering My Overlanding Setup

When I was a kid, camping meant throwing a sleeping bag in a tent and roughing it with my brother in the woods.

Granted, that was in the 1980s, so many of the creature comforts I now have for camping and overlanding simply weren’t available.

Still, it’s crazy to think how far things have come – now I camp with my son in a Torro Off-Road Skylux Rooftop Tent that’s on top of my Turtleback Expedition Trailer. It’s not a bad setup! Take a tour in the video below:

But life for the modern overlanding enthusiast is about a lot more than having a comfortable place to sleep and having an off-road trailer that gives you hot water, a kitchen, tons of storage, and a solar panel system (to name a few amenities).

Instead, the beating heart of my overlanding setup is the REDARC Manager30 battery management system.

Why? Let’s find out!

The REDARC Manager 30 Helps Me Get Ready for Each Trip

solar power for overlanding

If you’ve taken any number of camping or overlanding trips, you know that it takes days and days and days to plan, prepare, and pack.

But with the Manager30, I’m able to streamline that process somewhat because it allows me to do a couple of important things during the planning and preparation stage.

First, since the Manager30 can charge my dual 100AH Briter Products lithium-ion batteries from shore power, I can get my batteries topped off before I hit the road. Sure, the Manager30 can also charge the batteries using solar and power from my truck as I drive, but it’s nice to know that I pull out of the driveway with batteries that are fully charged.

And second, I can turn on the refrigerator in my Turtleback trailer in advance, thereby letting it get nice and cool before I leave. This also means I can stuff everything but fresh food into the fridge ahead of time, thereby allowing me to check that item off my to-do list.

But the advantages of the Manager30 don’t stop there…

The Most Difficult Part of Overlanding Made Easy by the Manager30

There are plenty of obstacles you have to overcome to go on an extended overlanding adventure.

First, you have to make time to take off work. Second, you need to have sufficient supplies of food, water, and fuel. And third, you need power.

For me, the most difficult component of that mix is getting set up with reliable, long-term power.

If you’re like me, your overlanding setup has a ton of power needs. There’s lighting, a water pump, a water heater, the need to charge devices like my phone, cameras, and laptop, and when it’s chilly out, I need power for a small electric heater, too.

Controlling all of those devices and ensuring that my Briter Products lithium-ion batteries are using their power to the fullest extent is made so easy by the Manager30 and the REDARC RedVision.

redarc manager30 setup in turtleback trailer

As I mentioned earlier, the Manager30 can charge my batteries while I’m driving, which is a nice feature because I usually have a fairly long drive from home to my overlanding destinations.

But in addition to that, the Manager30 can also charge my batteries using solar power thanks to its built-in solar regulator. Setup is simple, too. It’s really just a matter of plugging a solar panel into the unit. In my case, I have two solar panels – a 175-watt panel on the roof of my tent and a 140-watt Zamp solar panel (shown below). Needless to say, I have all the power capacity I need to keep my batteries topped off when I’m off the grid.

overlanding power

Of course, since shore power is an option with the Manager30, on those occasions that I’m in a developed campground that has power, I can quickly plug in and let the Manager30 do its thing with shore power. With AC, DC, and solar inputs available, the Manager30 offers tons of peace of mind.

The Manager30 is simply an incredible addition to my overlanding setup…

It’s a 30-amp battery management system with an MPPT solar regulator, a battery isolator, a load disconnect controller, a 110-volt AC shore mains power charger, and a remote battery charger in one tidy package that measures 17.5 inches long, 7.3 inches wide, and 3.1 inches tall.

It was easy to install, too!

redarc manager30 setup

I had the Manager30 and the REDARC RedVision (more on that in a moment) installed about six weeks ago at the Turtleback facility in Chandler, Arizona. The folks at Turtleback made quick work of the process and had my new setup wired and ready to go in no time.

This isn’t to take anything away from the original batteries and management system that were in the TurtleBack trailer. But as you’ll see in just a moment, the REDARC system is simply more streamlined for a more efficient experience.

My REDARC Manager30 Has Additional Help

redarc redvision

I’m fortunate to have another ace up my sleeve when it comes to having reliable power when I’m off the grid – the REDARC RedVision total vehicle management system.

The RedVision allows me to not only monitor multiple systems in my setup but it also allows me to control them remotely.

For example, let’s say I’m settling in for a good night’s sleep in my rooftop tent and realize that I forgot to shut the door on my trailer’s galley. Before I descend the ladder into the darkness, I can open the RedVision’s app on my phone and turn on the lights so I can see what I’m doing.

In fact, the RedVision allows me to turn all manner of electronics on and off – the refrigerator, a TV, an inverter, electric steps…you name it. See what I mean in the video below from REDARC:

It also gives you the capability of monitoring other systems. For example, I can monitor the water level in my freshwater tank and set up temperature gauges (i.e., one in the fridge and an ambient sensor outside). And since I use it with the Manager30, I can evaluate battery power, consumption, and storage as well.

In addition to being able to monitor and control all of this from my phone, the RedVision has a display that can be mounted in the trailer for quick glances at different systems and functions.

redarc redvision display

I can use the onboard display or the app to see information like how much solar power has been received, how much power has been absorbed, how much power has been used, and the sources from which the power came (AC, DC, or solar).

power management system

You can even program this thing to act as a master switch. So, for example, you can use it to disconnect non-essential loads in order to preserve battery levels – I can press a single button to turn everything off but leave my refrigerator running.

Having the RedVision along with the Manager30 (which you can buy together as a kit to save money) is a total game-changer for me. I have easy monitoring and control of the systems in my setup, and I reap the benefits of automation as well. It’s an incredibly efficient and streamlined setup that saves space in my rig, saves me time, and gives me peace of mind that my batteries are being managed in a way that I will have power where I need it, when I need it when I’m off the grid.

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