Dual battery system on new EURO 4/5 std vehicles

Hi, I'm looking at installing a dual battery system in a 2013 HiLux but am quite confused as to how to go about it 'properly' due to the new emission standards.

From what I can gather, the alternator on these new vehicles do not generate a sufficient charging voltage (13.7+) to support charging an aux battery, after the starter battery has been charged. I understand that Toyota uses a temp regulated alternator (that drops voltages down to 12.8) whereas, for example, the Mazada BT50, uses a ECM controlled variable voltage alternator (that drops voltage down to less than 12.8).

I believe the exact voltages vary depending on conditions but obviously they are not suitable for battery charging.

I've been looking at products such as RedArc's BCDC-1225(LV), Ctek's D250S DUAL and Projecta's Electronic Isolators. (I should mention I'm also planning to charge the aux with solar but that is coincidental to the main issue.)

Can someone enlighten me (and readers) as to what is the 'modern' approach to installing a dual battery system (on HiLux but also other vehicles)? Obviously cost is an issue and thousand dollar systems are out of the question.

Many Thanks.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 07:25

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 07:25
Installing a dc-dc charger, such as the Redarc or Ctek you have mentioned, will overcome your problem.

The dc-dc charger will accept low input voltages and boost it to the correct charging voltage of around 14.2v.

I use a Ctek D250S dual for my camper (including solar input) and can recommend this product. It also provides a multi-stage charging process to ensure the remote battery is maintained in optimum condition.

The Redarc also has a good reputation but is at the top end of the price scale.

Bill


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AnswerID: 506085

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 08:10

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 08:10
I did likewise with my Hilux with the 250s and works fine
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 08:45

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 08:45
Thanks for your replies guys.

I was leaning towards the Ctek but the response I got from a Ctek (email) inquiry was not not 'inspiring'. The techie was somewhat non committal regarding how much time (whilst running) the input would be at less than 12.8v (the Ctek cut out voltage). Whilst I believe the HiLux system will not drop below 12.8v, I don't really know. And if I did happen to own a BT50 (which does drop below 12.8v) I would need to run the LV (low voltage) version of RedArc's BCDC-1225... sigh.

I see in a RedArc article (http://www.redarc.com.au/images/uploads/files/aaen_aug-sept_2012.pdf) they recommend attaching a voltmeter to the system and running the vehicle under different conditions to observe the minimum voltage. Sounds like that might be the only definitive(?) approach.

I must say I do like the Ctek D250S DUAL setup as it will also charge the starter battery once the aux is full.

Unfortunately none of the setups allow you to also jump start the vehicle off the aux although at the 4wdAction forum there do seem to be ways of working around this (http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=174&t=140870&p=1682078&hilit=dual+battery#p1682078).

All so complicated and more expensive these days.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:03

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:03
I question the need to be able to jump-start via an inbuilt system. How often do you need it? It is prudent to carry jump cables anyway and these can be used to connect your auxiliary and cranking batteries.
Some consider it desirable for winching but the crank battery plus alternator should be sufficient and anyway, it's not good practice to draw such heavy current from an auxiliary battery.

If you must have in-built jumpstart you could simply add a 200A solenoid to connect the batteries but you would need to use very large cables.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:22

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:22
In the setup in my Jeep using RedArc's SBI12, I did have to jump start (being an older vehicle and etc) so having that capability can certainly make life a lot easier. It's never a good time to have a flat battery.

You're right about carrying jumper cables too. Unfortunately in my old and new vehicles, the aux battery will be quite a distance from my starter battery. And yes I can probably make or source some longer (HD) leads or, as you suggest, install a 200A solenoid.

Since it looks like a DC-DC charger is the only way to go with new vehicle I'll look at carrying longer jumper leads rather than going to the effort of wiring them in with a solenoid. They'll come in handy helping others as well. I'll need to carry jumpers anyway, might as well carry longer ones!
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:35

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:35
If you wire up your second battery with heavier cable for the odd time you need a jump start from your aux battery it is easy to just remove the leads from the terminals on your DCDC charger and link them up
That is how I have wired mine up. Never needed to jump start it yet though
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:43

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:43
Alby, with the DC-DC chargers, I would be running a lighter duty cable from the starter to the charger (12 AWG? and thru Anderson plugs) and keeping the charger close to the aux battery (in my camper). So probably not suitable for me.
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:51

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:51
These jumper leads look pretty good; 800A, 5.5m and only $40!

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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:51

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:17

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:17
Gold Stalker I have my second battery in my tray as well. And yes you do not need to run heavy cable for your DCDC charger but for a few extra $$ it is worth upgrading the cable size so that you can link the batteries if necessary IMO
That is how I have done mine.
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:23

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:23
Thanks Alby. It's a good idea and I'll keep it in mind.
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:02

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:02
I've used the Projecta DC 20 to look after my batteries (I have 2x110AH Supercharg All Rounders in the ute and 1 x Delco 200AH Deep Cycle in my campertrailer). Now had them installed for going onto 5 years and the batteries AND the chargers are all still going strong.
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:03

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:03
...and I've got them both installed within 1 metre of the batter(ies) they are charging.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:17

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:17
Yes, the Projecta DC20 will operate with variable-voltage alternators also.
However unlike the Redarc it is not programmable for differing battery types. OK for most installations however. I just prefer Redarc.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:17

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:17
I probably should also say that I'm a bit of a cheapskate and went for the Projecta units because I could get them at the 'mate's rate' - I got them both for slightly less than $250.
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:26

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:26
You're right that they aren't programmable Allan but as they are suitable for Calcium, GEL, AGM, MF and Flooded lead acid batteries I'm thinking that they would meet the needs of most folks. I too like the Redarc products (stand fast the brake controller I used to have in my Patrol). Gotta say that introducing the 12V to 12V charger into the system certainly gave me a much better running time out of my Aux batteries then previously. I now have a Euro 5 D40 Navara and the alternator cuts back quite quickly to around the 12.8 mark after start up.
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:32

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 14:32
Hi Patrol22, I've looked at the Projecta DC20 and it looks to be a very capable and cost effective unit.

In my situation, I would need to run the Projecta in conjunction with a solar regulator as well, so I'm not sure how the 2 chargers will get on with each other. I'm sure others will not have that problem.

I was wondering if the Projecta would accept solar input using a change-over relay similar to the RedArc, however, as Pojecta do not explicitly describe that situation and its input voltage is limited to 17v max, I'll pass on that.

Previously I had a RedArc SBI12 + solar regulator, so with only 1 'brain' I expect the solar regulator would cut out; with the Projecta and solar regulator (2 brains) it could get a bit schizoid? Both the Ctek and RedArc, as discussed above, specifically state they accept solar inputs so that would work better for me.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 15:04

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 15:04
Hi Patrol22, There are some who may argue with you regarding a single charging algorithm for all those battery types......... but I am not one of them. Maybe I should be but life is complicated enough as it is! LOL

But the Projecta is certainly cheaper than the Redarc.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 08:20

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 08:20
Using DC-DC chargers such as you have referred to will manage the charging of auxiliary batteries when sourced from variable-voltage alternators. However it is essential that the charger is a "low-voltage" model such as the Redarc "-LV" or "-IGN" types in order to have threshold voltages to suit the alternator low output voltages. They have the additional benefit of being multi-stage chargers.
Position the charger close to the auxiliary battery and use adequate sized cables.

Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 506088

Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:10

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:10
Thanks for your reply Allan.

I did ask RedArc why I should use a BCDC1225 rather than a BCDC1225-LV as the LV seems to provide a broader solution. Unfortunately the reply only stated that the non-LV version was suitable for my HiLux. I assume it is because the LV's (and IGN's) cut-off voltage is 11.9v which means the starter battery is pretty much dead. Although the LV's wiring does require connection to the ignition that presumably will cause it to disconnect once the ignition is off. So, yes, it would seem RedArc's LV or IGN versions would be suitable (just wish RedArc had said so in their reply).

One thing I did not like about the RedArc systems was that to connect solar as well, I would also need to install a change-over relay.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:54

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 09:54
Although the Redarc "-LV" cutoff voltage is specified at 11.9v it will continue to charge even down to 9.0v input, however every 100 seconds it briefly interrupts charging to examine the input voltage at no-load then continues charging if that value is above 11.9v. This is done to eliminate the cable voltage-drop from the equation and examine only the voltage of the charge source thus allowing a cable-drop of up to 2.9v at the low end. It could be considered that the crank battery would be at a very low State of Charge at 11.9v but it is unlikely to be there if in good condition and connected to an alternator. The ignition enabling is to ensure that the Redarc will not continue charging without the alternator and deplete the cranking battery with the engine stopped.

The significant feature of the -LV units is the reduced "On" threshold of 12.0v (down from 13.2v) to allow the unit to begin charging at a lower threshold to suit the variable voltage alternators. Incidentally, they will also work satisfactorily with regular constant voltage alternators.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 10:06

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 10:06
Allan, yes, that makes sense. I think the important thing is to make sure you have the ignition switch wired in correctly (and not leave it turned on when the engine is stopped).
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Reply By: phasar - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 10:59

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 10:59
G'day

I have fitted the REDARC BCDC1225 LV to my Mazda BT 50
I used the REDARC 1240 with 12 volt & solar input and jump start feature
wiring as found on the REDARC web site.
Works beautifully, especially as I have the dual battery connect switch in the cab.
You seem to be reluctant to fit extra relay for solar input.
Don't know if cost is the problem or actually fitting.
Relay cost me about $15.
One thing to remember about these units is that they are 3 stage battery chargers,
which do a better job of keeping battery in peak condition.

Regards
Peter.
If you wanna get to heaven first you must raise a little hell
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:18

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:18
Thanks Peter.

I would prefer to fit the RedArc being an Aussie product and don't mind the additional effort in wiring up the change-over relay.

The reason why I'm leaning towards the Ctek is mainly because it will also charge my starter battery when the engine is off, from solar when my aux is full. This is important for me as there will be frequent periods, in the order of weeks, when I don't drive my vehicle.

However, from what I can gather from Ctek, is that "The D250S DUAL charge the start battery by small pulses. The reason for this, is that if the voltage gets >13,1V, the unit think the vehicle has been started, which is not the case. In other words, no 5-stage charging to the start battery." So it will charge the starter but I'm left in the dark as to how efficiently although, I guess, something (trickle only?) is better than nothing.
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Follow Up By: phasar - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:38

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:38
G'day....again

Don't understand the problem, REDARC solar will charge aux. battery.
If you have the capability to connect both batteries does it matter which one is fully charged
I found REDARC very helpful when I had a query/ problem.

Regards
Peter.
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:59

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:59
In RedArc's wiring diagram for the BCDC1225, with starter and solar as inputs, only the aux is charged. I think that would be the conventional installation (for starter and solar inputs). In that scenario the starter battery will only be charged by the alternator when the vehicle is running (during which time the BCDC charger will also draw power from the vehicle).

In my situation, where I don't drive the vehicle for extended periods, the solar will keep the aux topped up but the starter battery will lose charge, just sitting there for a week or two at a time. I would not want to be cranking from the aux every couple of weeks.

From what you say, above, I'm not sure if you're suggesting I connect both aux AND starter, for charging by the BCDC charger. I have not really considered that. I don't think the charger would like that.
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:29

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:29
Sounds like you guys have given GS some good advice re his charging. Just a question if I may. With heaps of these new vehicles having a much lower charging voltage as standard how does the original cranking battery keep topped up? I wouldn't have thought 12.8v would have done it properly.

Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 506093

Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:36

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 11:36
Hi Pop?

From what I understand full charge is delivered after the engine is started then only after the starting battery is charged does the voltage drop back down.

I'm at a loss as to what happens in respect to keeping it topped up, if for example, you're running headlights, etc, off it. I believe you're suppose to earth all your accessories so the ECU can monitor that stuff and keep everything going; but I'm open to correction.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 12:48

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 12:48
The charging rate varies dependent on the load - after start my car shows up to 14v but when driving around normally when there is not much load it may drop as low as 12v but as soon as there is extra load like the suspension air compressor or lights it picks up - so the battery is always charged.

Also many of these cars do not use standard wet cell batterys - mine is a 95Ah 950cca calcium battery and the replacement spec is a 95Ah 850cca AGM battery.

Garry
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:56

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:56
My old beast is pre all these ECU controlled charging systems but my understanding was that this system where the voltage is reduced was all about lowering the load on the engine and so reducing emissions.
That's all fair enough but AFAIK, there is still a lead acid battery that will need to be charged and the draw to run all the mod cons on newish vehicles is going to need a battery in a pretty good state of charge.
So the ECU can detect a draw from headlights or whatever and compensate but wouldn't the auxilliary battery just be detected as another load to be compensated for?? I'm really not trying to start any bun fights, I'm just trying to get the requirements straight in my head because sooner or later my trusty old steed is going to get past it's use by date and the replacement will no doubt be infested with all this lovely new technology. I can't wait lol.


Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 17:50

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 17:50
Pop, my understanding is that after the starter battery is recharged and alternator voltage is dropped, the engine management only accommodates supplying load to accessories as required at ~12.7v (more or less). Trouble is that ~12.7v is not enough to recharge a deep-cycle battery (that also takes longer to charge than a starter battery). Hence the use of a DC-DC charger that will take the ~12.7v and output it as ~13.5v to perform a 3 or 5 stage charge.
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FollowupID: 783076

Reply By: garrycol - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 12:31

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 12:31
Contact Traxide - a good Aussie company - they may systems that work on modern charging systems of the type you describe.

Traxide
AnswerID: 506095

Reply By: Member - LeighW - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 15:09

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 15:09
Check Ebay for "Alternator Voltage Booster"

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AnswerID: 506105

Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:06

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:06
Hi Leigh, I understand that the Alternator Voltage Booster will increase alternator voltage by ~0.6v. However, it also means that when the engine is just started and the alternator is at max, it will also be at +0.6v over spec. It's probably okay and apparently works but, especially in a new vehicle, it raises a number of other issues, especially warranty.

It's really annoying how, what used to be pretty simple has become so complicated and confusing; with different vehicle/alternator systems, DC-DC charger capabilities and more expensive!
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:29

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:29
Gold Stalker,

Please contact me leigh@hkbelect.com for further info.

Cheers

Leigh

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Follow Up By: Gold Stalker - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:49

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 16:49
For the benefit of other readers, Leigh informs me that

"The booster does not give a flat increase due to the way it interacts with the Alternator voltage regulator. The booster mainly affects the hot engine temperature, for most vehicles the alternator output voltages for cold engine will be around 14.4V~14.5V.
Hot engine around 14.1~V~14.2V @ ambient of around 22C.
The voltage will always remain within the range specified by Toyota as normal for the vehicle."

Thanks Leigh.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 17:27

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 at 17:27
ABR Sidewinders also sells them, he is a business member and long term contributor to this site.

Here is a link to his ebay listing.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/PRADO-HILUX-LANDCRUISER-ALTERNATOR-VOLTAGE-BOOSTER-/310616422640?pt=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item48522e78f0&_uhb=1#ht_3454wt_987
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