Land Cruiser Power

Land Cruiser Power

While seated around the campfire, my daughter, Lilly, asked: “Can you please plug in my IPhone?” “Don’t forget to grab me a sparkling water.” My wife, Louise, added. These are just two examples of the importance electronics and power play in any overland vehicle build. Yes, at times, I wish the world was simpler and comprised of fewer electronics. Trust me. Every time I sit in my Land Cruiser 200 Series and see all the buttons (some of which I have never touched), I wish we could rely less on electronics. But, that’s not the case; and electronics are here to stay. It’s the present and the future.

Land Cruiser Power

This past year, I spent time planning and building a 200 Series Land Cruiser. I called experts Mike Smith of Bump It Offroad (see TCT Summer ’18 Edition) and Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters to assist with the build. My previous Land Cruiser 100 build helped me decide for the 200 Series build what I needed to repeat and what I needed to add. On my previous 100 Series build, I didn’t install a dual battery system. For the 200 build, I knew I needed to make that installation. Also, I wanted to repeat the installation of extra USB ports to recharge phones, tablets, etc. Finally, I needed to add a “central command” station so I could control the vehicle’s accessories (i.e.lights, compressors, and differential lockers and eliminate all the extra switches for each accessory inside the vehicle.

IBS Dual Battery System

Dual battery systems have been available for a while and, for many, a necessary upgrade. In my previous 100 Series Land Cruiser, I used a larger battery and a solar panel for charging when necessary. All worked well. But, for this new Land Cruiser 200 build, I desired a dual battery system. Why? I wanted a backup battery for safety when traveling to remote places and a battery dedicated solely to power my refrigerator and extra USB ports. Many systems are available, but I decided upon the Intelligent Battery System (IBS).

Land Cruiser Power

The IBS Battery Charger was developed in Switzerland as a total automatic system. Connect it, and forget it. Yes, the complete kit came from Extreme Outback and was installed by Kurt Williams at Cruiser Outfitters. The IBS processor detects each battery’s strength and the charging voltage of the alternator. The IBS links both batteries while driving and then automatically isolates them when the ignition is off. I use my auxiliary battery at camp.

The system detects when something is not right with a battery and terminates sending a charge to the “questionable” battery. If need be I can manually link the batteries if need be when high voltage is of concern, such as when using a winch. George, the owner of Extreme Outback, told me that: “For most people, running the IBS System on automatic mode is perfect. But, it’s nice to know you can switch to manual mode and link the batteries. ”Kurt mounted the LED display on the center column; the one touch operation allows me to see the strength of each battery. Granted, I never witness the IBS system “working” under the hood; but I count on it to protect and manage the batteries of my Land Cruiser.

Every dual battery system needs, batteries. I chose to use a group 31 battery for the main and a group 35 for the secondary. Both batteries need to with stand constant discharge/charge cycles. Many batteries can’t with stand repeated charging cycles and eventually just stop accepting a charge. After researching, I choose the Odyssey AGM Batteries.These batteries have a longer service life and a faster recharge cycle: they are vibration resistant and totally maintenance free. The lead plate construction offers more battery power within it and better overall performance. The 4-year, full replacement warranty showcases that Odyssey “stands behind” what they build--batteries. In the backcountry, these batteries have performed flawlessly. I can easily touch the monitor to see the status of each battery. The Odyssey Batteries paired with the IBS Dual Battery System is definitely a “sit and forget” overlanding piece of equipment.

Slee Brackets

For years, SLEE Offroad from Golden, Colorado, has made specialty Toyota products. SLEE is a Land Cruiser enthusiast store but also specializes in other Toyota vehicles such as the Tacomas and Tundras. A quick scan of their website revealed that they make and carry a larger main battery tray and secondary, auxiliary battery tray for the 200 Series—sold! The brackets and instructions made my installation a breeze. The Odyssey Batteries secured nicely and fit the brackets perfectly.

Land Cruiser Power


In today’s electronic world, controlling electronics is half the battle. Or, should I say knowing how to control them? Many viable solutions are available on the market today. However, a new item that was launched during SEMA 2018, was ARB’s LINX system. This system is comprised of a central box into which accessories are wired; the driver uses a small tablet to control them. I mounted the tablet on the dash and the central box under the glove box inside the cab.

I arranged for Kurt Williams to install the LINX system in my 200 Series. He linked an ARB dual air compressor, two VisionX Adventure Lights, an ARB rear locker, and a battery monitoring system to the LINX control box. All are controlled on the LINX tablet with a touch screen. He mounted the tablet close to the driver’s seat for easy accessibility. Kurt and I sat in the front seats and experimented with the LINX system. The system incorporates many features and attributes. We set the LINX tablet to display my battery voltage, directional heading, and speed while driving. A tablet controls my electronic accessories! Yep, electronics play an important role on the overlanding, vehicle world.

Land Cruiser Power

For my Land Cruiser 200, I knew that I needed USB ports. In today’s world, charging accessories is a necessity. My2008 did not have one USB port. Kurt installed two in the back of the vehicle and made both live by connecting the ports to my auxiliary battery in order to charge phones and accessories when the vehicle is off.

Final Thoughts

There is some truth about trying to keep vehicles simple and reliable. But, electronics reflect reality. My wife loves having the use of a fridge (so do I), and my daughter wants to charge her Iphone (so do I). A necessary evil?In today’s overlanding vehicles, electronics provide great benefits to the overlander! Embrace the electronic enhancements.


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