Twin battery system BT50 (variable control alternator)

Submitted: Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 13:46
ThreadID: 130355 Views:5795 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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I have a Thumper battery pack for power back up in the BT (for which I can buy an adaptor), but coupled with this I need a charger ( Redarc 1225 or similar) for battery in van. Any ideas how I can incorporate both into one system, or do I need to purchase for the Thumper and additional for van battery?
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Reply By: Grizzle - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 14:44

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 14:44
You can get the dealer to switch off the smart alternator mode. They just plug their computer in and switch it off (Software switch). It then is just a normal alternator. I have done it to my Ford Ranger (Same car underneath). Makes things much easier.

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Follow Up By: cant - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 14:54

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 14:54
Thank you. I thought I had heard of this but the after market people are a bit tight lipped. Cheers
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:24

Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:24
I don't think the current model BT50 has the "Smart Alternator" system that the Ranger has. Mine has always shown 14 point something volts from new.
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Reply By: Member - Andy M (QLD) - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 17:47

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 17:47
I've just unplugged the sensor on the negative terminal of the battery that tells the ECU the voltage. Apparently it turns the "smart alternator" into a "normal alternator". Seems to work fine on my new Navara (2014 ST). I've run a cable from battery to rear seat where I charge my "Flyer" auxillary battery and run another cable from battery to rear Anderson plug for attaching camper trailer which will have a RedarcBCDC 1220 charger for the other battery in trailer (when I get it)

The charge cables (with the above mod) are putting out at least 14.3 volts all the time. Without the mod the "smart alternator" dropped the voltage way down and apparently you would then need the LV version of the Redarc to cope with that down in the van and you wouldn't successfully charge the Thumper either without similar.
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Follow Up By: cant - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 18:08

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 18:08
Grateful for the advice - I have some basic knowledge on wiring for standard alternators but the variable alts were outside my capabilities. Saved a few bucks with the replies received. Cheers. j
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 18:30

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 18:30
Cant. Mazda dealer will remove the smart charge for nothing, so that is the way to go.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:27

Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:27
"I've just unplugged the sensor on the negative terminal of the battery that tells the ECU the voltage. "

On the current model BT50 there is no sensor on the negative terminal of the battery. The battery negative goes straight to a chassis earth.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:36

Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:36
"Cant. Mazda dealer will remove the smart charge for nothing, so that is the way to go."

Ford will do that for the Ranger.

The BT50 is different and that's not an option.
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Reply By: Hoyks - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 18:58

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 18:58
From what I understand, the BT50 doesn't have the same alternator set up as the Ranger, so fortunately it misses out on the 'smart' charging setup.

I hit the road for 2 weeks and never had a flat battery in the tray, a bloke I met that had the Ranger had no end of problems and threw away 2 deep cycle batteries in Coen as they were down on volts and just wouldn't come back.
After 5 minutes his charging system would drop away to nothing, the only way to keep it working was to drive with the lights on.
My BT50 on the other hand, kept pushing out 14+V all day.

In mine I have a standard dual battery system as I have run enough heavy cable that I get negligible voltage drop to the tray.

For a battery in the van, then you would probably want to look at a flash BCDC charger to ensure the van actually gets charged.

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Follow Up By: cant - Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 22:11

Monday, Sep 21, 2015 at 22:11
Thanks for the comment. You could well be right. I have been getting (from other sources) differing views - but the general one is that the BT50 has a variable charge alternator controlled by the ECU. That may not be the case. However, either way, the info on this forum is positive for me. I have a Projecta 12v to 12V charger (albeit some years old) in my van and that has worked admirably from my old (2010) Ranger. I may need to upgrade as it has had a rough life.

I really value the info received. I might contact Mazda to see what they say. I hope they know more than Ford did soon after The PX (?) was released in 2012 when we spent many a day jump starting a Ranger on the CSR after it had been kitted out with a dual battery system through a Ford dealer. No joy or even a hint of apology from Ford when they were advised that their lack of knowledge took the gloss off what was a great trip.
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Reply By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 21:40

Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 21:40
Which state are you in? I have had a fare bit of work done by a local Auto Electrician on my BT50 & pretty happy with what he has done. Extreme Automotive and Marine, in SA (Adelaide )
Russ


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Follow Up By: cant - Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 23:46

Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 23:46
In SA, but a fair way out of Adelaide. Will keep in mind. jd
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:32

Friday, Oct 02, 2015 at 22:32
Cant,

I have a current model BT50. They don't have the Smart Charge system that the Rangers do. Mine puts out a constant 14 point something volts all the time.

I have a conventional smart isolator (Redarc) that when it activates provides power to a DC-DC charger down the back for the second battery. It also provides power to an Anderson at the rear which the van plugs in to.

In the van there is another DC-DC charger to look after the van batteries.

It all works a treat.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Saturday, Oct 03, 2015 at 06:33

Saturday, Oct 03, 2015 at 06:33
That's right the BT50 dosent have a variable ( smart ) alternator , so you don't need both a isolator and a DC-DC charger .
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Oct 03, 2015 at 08:35

Saturday, Oct 03, 2015 at 08:35
In terms of the isolator function, you are correct - all the dc-dc chargers I can think of act as an isolator themselves.

But I prefer not to have a live Anderson at the back of my vehicle when it is left unattended, so I use an isolator to switch a feed to the charger in the car and to the Anderson at the back.

Many deep cycle batteries cannot accept the full current output that an alternator can deliver, even if the voltage is correct. A correctly chosen or programmable dc-dc charger addresses that. Alternatively, you could choose a battery that can accept the current that an alternator can provide and then you would not need a dc-dc charger for that battery.

A dc-dc charger also addresses the voltage drop issue that is common over a long cable run - typically from engine bay to van battery.
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