spotties & dual batteries(again!)

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 14:57
ThreadID: 11522 Views:1840 Replies:11 FollowUps:4
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spotties- down to narva or lightforce.
the lightforce 170 "striker" i saw yesterday were all hi impact plastic with virtually no metal parts. these were demo'd by TJM by throwing them around the shop and hitting the lens with a hammer, no damage.$359 +fitting
any probs with these?
dual batts- help, too much choice. ARB's "smart solenoid" seems ok on paper but
TJM, piranha etc all claim similar. my head hurts
2001 GU, fridge, radios etc but no winch (yet!)
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Reply By: Roachie - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:19

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:19
I sympathise with you about your head hurting........too many choices and everybody you talk to has the BEST thing for the job and all the others are shyte...
I have the Lightforce 240 Blitzs. They're tough; end of story. 170's would be just the same I would think.
Dual batteries..........I rely on an lod fashioned solenoid. I have an inherent mistrust of things electronic, especially when lives could depend on it (as could be the case stuck out in some lovely outback location when we are through wanting to be there). It has an automatic switch by means of the wiper's wiring (if the truck's wipers won't work, then the solenoid is off too).
I also installed a separate switch so that I can also keep the 2nd battery isolated, even when I do start the truck and the solenoid would normally be activated. The reason I did this was to keep the 2nd one isolated if I went to start the truck when I knew for sure that the 2nd battery was well down due to fridge /lights etc. Without it, I would run the risk of the 2 batteries equalising when I turned the ignition on, and I might not have enough juice (even with a good start battery) to crank the diesel over.
To monitor the situation, I have a voltmeter on the dash and a switch I can throw left or right. At left it shows me the 2nd battery, right shows main battery. Of course, once I'm up and running and the switch is thrown to "join" the 2 batteries, the voltage registering is the same for both batts.
I usually try to start the truck on just the main battery, otherwise I might be masking a weak starter batt. Once I see the voltmeter reach up to 14v for the main, I switch over the voltmeter to show 2nd batt (around 12v or very slightly less usually if I've been using it overnight). Flick the solenoid switch and the voltmeter jumps to 14v again as the alternator and main battery are joined into charge number 2.
As far as type of 2nd batt is concerned, I've said it before; I'll never buy another deep cycle batt for 4x4 application. I use an Exide Extreme as my 2nd and still have the original Nissan starter battery going strong after 3.5 years and 117,000klm. I did weaken about 12 months ago and bought a Exide Orbital which is now in the camper trailer. It's been an excellent battery to date, but at $360- I could have bought 3 Extremes and had some change left over, so I'm hoping it last about 10 bloody years so I can justify it's purchase!!!
Good luck working out your needs.
AnswerID: 51772

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:28

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:28
down to narva or lightforce.

That would be the same as saying Morris 1100 V Ferrari...

Unless you believe the magazines...
AnswerID: 51774

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 18:12

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 18:12
T-Man you saying that the mags are telling porkies and that the magazine sponsorship has a bearing on the outcome of the test? Surely not, or how could a Narva win one test and a Lightforce win t'other??
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 19:15

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 19:15
I would NEVER suggest that money is valued more than honesty....
FollowupID: 313563

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:35

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:35
Have fitted and used Piranha isolating system, very good system. With this system ther are no moving parts to stick or fail, just a printed circuit which mananages the two batteries.
Lightforce, When I first saw them I thought as most would, These light will not last. How wrong was I. So far a trip to the Cape and two across the desert and they are still there.
A few years ago a 4WD mag did a light comparision at a old airfield. I was out there setting up the lights. We had just about every light on the market and the Lightforce came up trumps. At the time I was running PIAA and they were close but not as good.

AnswerID: 51778

Reply By: flappan - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:39

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 15:39
I got the 170's. The only ones I would swap for are the 240's . . . . well . . . and the HID's.

No probs with them.
AnswerID: 51779

Reply By: Troopie - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 16:26

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 16:26
I have a piranha battery system. It started life in a Pajero in early 2000, it has since been in two Troopies, and now manages 3 batteries. The cranker, and two deep cycles running as one big battery. No probs at all - no switches to flick/forget - then again - if it stopped working, why, would be a total mystery. Anyhow - I'm happy with it!

I also have 170 Strikers - had for about 12 months and so far not a complaint. They haven't moved and work.... brilliantly........... oh dear...... Like others - I would only swap for 240s. I didn't get these originally though as I felt they would stick out too far when mounted on my bar (thus be the first thing hit), and would interfere with the radiator air flow too much.
AnswerID: 51786

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 16:32

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 16:32
The Redarc solenoid is the same as the ARB's smart solenoid, but about half the price.

An advantage of either of these smart solenoids is they have a surge protector built in, a must for any electronic controlled engine (diesel or petrol).

When the battery voltage in the main bat is above ~13.5V, the solenoid closes and the second battery is charged. When the battery drops below ~12.5V, the solenoid opens and the batteries are isolated from each other. You can also wire in a switch to overide the voltage control so a flat main battery can be "jumped started" by the 2nd battery.

This operation is very similair to what Roachie described above, except it is done automatically without having to remember to switch batteries off and on. But ultimately, Roachies approach gives more flexability as one can monitor battery levels and charge as desired.

If you are pretty fastidous in checking battery voltages, then go the simple solenoid for its flexability (but do fit a surge protector - they are NOT standard).
But if you like the set and forget type, the smart solenoid is arguably the best compromise for the price, particuarly the redarc at ~$100.

However, the best battery isolator IMHO is the Rotronics charge/isolator which individually connects the battery to the alternator to ensure maximum charge rate, while monitoring the main battery charge. But at over a $1,000 for a 3 way setup with all the fruit, simply is not cost effective.


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AnswerID: 51787

Follow Up By: colgout - Friday, Apr 02, 2004 at 12:09

Friday, Apr 02, 2004 at 12:09
I noticed Captain you are from WA and you said the REDARC smart Solenoid is sold for ~$100, please tell me where is the place. I have been quoted by one electical shop in Wangara for a whopping $185 and Coventry for $156.
FollowupID: 314711

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2004 at 20:42

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2004 at 20:42
Hi Colgout,

Sorry for the delay in replying but have been away.

I got it from coventrys at trade price - $99 for the 100 amp (400 amp momentary contact) redarc solenoid - Canning Vale if that makes any difference.


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Reply By: The Banjo - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 17:14

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 17:14
I have had the LF 170's for a couple of years and although not used a lot (who can in the burbs) they have been very good on the damage, work when they need to, stay tight.
AnswerID: 51799

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 17:15

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 17:15
Hella 4000

that's if you are interested in Light QUALITY not neccesarily Quantity.

...and yes there is a difference.
AnswerID: 51800

Reply By: Andy - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 18:50

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 18:50

I have the ARB set up, but in retrospect would have bought the Piranha system. Have even thought of changing.

just my opinion.

Good luck
AnswerID: 51818

Reply By: Mick n Sal - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 22:53

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004 at 22:53

spotties- down to narva or lightforce...

We've had LF 170s fitted to the 4Runner for more than 2 years. They are Awesome!! The only catch with them is they are _VERY_ directional. They are the thinnest pencil beam I have seen. This is easily corrected with the fitment of a spread beam lens cover ( $25 - $30 ) on one lamp.

I would highly recommend them to anyone.

No I DON'T work for lightforce, but they can make cheques payable to....

Keep the Shiny Side Muddy
AnswerID: 51864

Reply By: Member - Phil F (WA) - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 14:14

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 14:14

AnswerID: 52051

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