Installation of Dual Battery System

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 16:07
ThreadID: 20607 Views:20176 Replies:13 FollowUps:4
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Hi All,

We have just been to the Victorian 4WD Expo in Wandin, what a great show. There was over a thousand different 4WD parked on the field. That allone was worth the trip.
We bought our Landcruiser 100 series last September and want to get a bit more serious about it. I am booked on a Driver Training Course with Adrian Du Jardin next weekend.
I am now thinking of installing a dual battery system. The guy from Piranha was quoting me approx. $1,000 for the complete installation. Weighs a bit heavy on my pocket. Considering, you can buy the hardware for just over $500, thought there may be some possible savings here. Has anyone installed a dual battery system by themselves? Is it very complicated (I'm not a mechanic)? Is there some good (on-line) instructions around?

Cheers for your help!
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Reply By: macka - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:11

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:11
Hi If you go to ARB TJM or a good Auto sparky. Most of them will quote in the range of 450-550 installed. plus battery.( I use an Exide Extreme $135) for a basic setup,which does a good job. You don't need the fancy (read $$$$$$$)ones. My basic one from TJM using a smart solenoid $150. Instead of $400+ electronics. and battery cost under $650.and keeps my 80 ltr Waeco in a 3 ltr Patrol going no troubles.If you fit the battery mount kit yourself it will be cheaper again. but I don'r recommend playing with the electrical side. You've got your trade, they have theirs.We get 2 days comfortably, but do have 2 x 40 watt solarex on a long cable for when in camp.
AnswerID: 99164

Follow Up By: paulpp - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:34

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:34
I agree........

See below.....


FollowupID: 357498

Reply By: paulpp - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:25

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:25

If you are comfortable doing it yourself buy the quality components and go for it.

Some thoughts:-

You pay for what you get. The Piranha, ARB, TJM systems are all of good quality with a proven record of saftey and reliability. Each of these companies offer dual battery systems of varing price depending on vehicle to be fitted and components used.

An alternative is your local auto electrician ( a much overlooked source of quality well priced vehicle electrical work). Many can make a good quality dual battery system out of readily available parts at a very competative price.


AnswerID: 99169

Reply By: DeanoNSW - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:48

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 17:48
I disagree with the pay for what you get here, particularly when its got anything with ARB or Pirhana written on it. Check your prices and shop around. There are plenty of good supplier/manufacturers out there. Some suggest redarc as a good isolator($100). Buy your mounting system, which no doubt will be a pirhana battery tray or similar, then look at the battery isolator and ECU protection system.

I currently have an old rotronics unit, that Pirahana tried to tell me didn't have any spike protection. If I had followed their advice I should remove it immediately and install one of their systems for a little over $300. What a bargin - not. Rang Rotronics, and was assured that my unit did have spike protection.

I am looking at a similar system for another vehicle at the moment - check out this website as they seem to offer good value for money:

Do some research on which type of battery you want to go for. It will depend on how you want to use it as to the type you get. (as well as how much you want to spend). If you plan to flaten a battery quite often, then look at a deep cycle, AGM or Calcium. Some on this site will tell you you only should use a starting battery due to the quicker re-charge time.

Do'nt be afraid to do it yourself. A cheap soldering Iron is $20, cables $40(max) Battery $150-200, isolator $140, battery tray $100 - before you know it you have done the job yourself for under $500. Thats a lot of change out of $1000 and best of all you will know your vehicle a whole lot better than you did before you started.

Search the archives of this site, and others and you will find more than enough info required to have a go.

AnswerID: 99174

Follow Up By: paulpp - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:44

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:44

Inclined to agree as well, but the warranty is there:-)

Here is a good Battery Info site. which will provide for a greater understanding of batteries.


FollowupID: 357504

Follow Up By: macka - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 22:21

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 22:21
Hi The reason I said ARB etc is we live in Yeppoon. Not much choice around here. Also all the wiring is 6 and 8 g-/mm whatever.and it's all run through conduit sleeving in and under chassis.Which is more than I'm probably capable. or interested in doing.what I'm saying is, It's done properly for a reasonable price. which is a lot better and safer than I'm capable of doing I'm an ex dragline driver,not a sparkie. ten thumbs when it comes to electrics.The Exide extreme is for the winch as well as freezer. I have 4 on yacht with solar, and 3 1/2 + years down the track. starting diesel and running all electrics inc, waeco. they still good. Very good value for money ,they're starting and deep cycle combined,which is why I suggested them.they're also a fair bit cheaper than some of the fancy ones.One of my mates has a Land Rover lwb. with 1x 80 watt and 1x 60 watt panel on roof rack,they hinge up for loading underneath. combined with 2 Exides in back of car,and they run his 120 ltr waeco all the time It's a completely seperate system.He does have a wire going from car batt to batt's and neg to earth, with an isolator sw.For cloudy weeks.Slightly off subject, but with second hand solar panels, a viable alternative, maybe.and no fancy electronics with wiring all over the car. I bought the 2 x40 watters I have second hand for $100 each.Plus $40 on Ebay for regulator.They give me up to 4 1/2 + amps on an av, day and run the 80 ltr.+ feed a bit spare into the batteries too.But we do live in Q'land and N.T. all year round.So plenty of U.V.
It's just another thought in what can be a fairly complex subject.
FollowupID: 357571

Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:28

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:28
Talk to Chris at Battery World, Wantirna. He has done an in car setup with an AGM battery (worth at least $300 on its own), Redarc Isolator, cabling, battery box etc for around $700 for both Moggs and myself. If you're after a wet cell DC (as Pirahna would have been quoting you on) and un underbonnet setup, I reckon Chris would do it for way less than $1000. I'd be surprised if it was much more than $500 depending on the cost of a tray.

Chris was actually at the show today, I had a chat with him. He does great work, offers great back up and advice, and is a hell of a nice bloke into the bargain.


AnswerID: 99178

Reply By: Nudenut - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:32

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:32
get prices from good autoelec...using the redarc...i understand it to very good...i use er what do i use...its not redarc..i know that and its not one of those ARB or pirahna or anything...its something my brotherinlaw (has his own autoelec business mainly trucks etc etc ) fitted ...simple voltage regulator?.....
Hasnt failed yet (in the 8 yrs I have had it on two vehicles)
comes with a lifetime warranty ...provided his sister doesnt leave me i guess hahaha
AnswerID: 99179

Reply By: Patrolman Pat - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:49

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 18:49
Rose and Gerrit. I bough a second hand Piranha unit redcently and installed it myself. I had no knowledge whatsover about DB set ups except for what I've gleaned of this forum in particular, and the web in general. Admittedly I'm a tradie with an electrical background but the install was not particularly difficult, hardest part was running cables into the car for the monitor and finding an appropriate lead to connect to the isolator (far too many wires in these modern cars and why are internal trims so hard to get into)
AnswerID: 99186

Reply By: Mainey (WA) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 19:57

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 19:57
If you want a pre loved Piranha DBE 150E system let me know.
I'm about to replace mine this week with a rotronics.
I started with the elcrappo $100 solenoids and was not happy with their recharge (un)ability, you learn by your mistakes, if you can admit to making them!
AnswerID: 99196

Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 20:53

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 20:53

I'm sure Ozi could do you a better price on it LOL.


FollowupID: 357529

Reply By: Member - muzzgit - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 21:05

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 21:05
I bought a battery tray from ARB and fitted it myself (they come with instructions). Then I bought a redarc and roll of 6mm cable and a couple of 2 pin low-voltage plugs (caravan type) from the local electrical distributor, and then headed to my local auto sparkie who hooked it up in no time at all. I can't say how much it cost exactly cos we did a contra deal, which I came out of very well, but he didn't care.

With me pulling cables thru the car and helping out wherever possible, it was all over in less than 3 hours, that included 2 outlets near the rear door and a hot wire to the trailer plug for lights in the camper, all with circuit breakers and extra tubing for protection where cables were under the bonnet. I bought the complete roll of cable cos I plan on fitting a deep cycle in the camper to run a single fluro light.

I have wired everything that runs on 12V with the 2 pin plugs, compressor, lights etc; so they will work in the camper as well. I don't trust cigarette lighter type plugs.
AnswerID: 99215

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 21:42

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 21:42
Hi All, i did it even cheaper,, ARB tray $100, Exide Extreme battery $135, $20 of very flexible welding cable and a $10 manual switch. Easy, when you set up your lights or whatever, unscrew the manual isolator... to easy.. Best regards Scrooge.
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AnswerID: 99232

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 21:47

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 21:47
We fitted my Piranha one in about 3 hours.. There is nothing to it.. We fitted his in under 2 hours...

I bet the price was a "SHOW SPECIAL ONLY!" Price it again this week, probably be $200 cheaper

THere are dozens of ideas on dual batteries... sell kits too..
AnswerID: 99234

Reply By: B0XER - Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 23:30

Sunday, Feb 20, 2005 at 23:30
This is timely, I am just doing my own install now.

With advice from a few in here I went with a Redarc isolater system and it is to run a boat winch on trailer and Hella power socket in the rear boot for a fridge (Waeco CF50)

All up mine cost:

Redarc $140
Battery - Free :) Friend gave me a Marshall 600CCA premium heavy duty
Piranha battery tray, and Hella socket and plug $100
Terminals, fuse holder, flexi conduit and cable $60
Anderson connectors $20

So there you go mine will be all set up for $320 and will not only run a Hella socket in the boot, but also a Anderson aux connector on the trailer hitch

I have never installed one before but do have a fair amount of electronics experience - but they are simple for anyone to do with a bit of care.
AnswerID: 99258

Reply By: Chaba - Monday, Feb 21, 2005 at 19:27

Monday, Feb 21, 2005 at 19:27
Rose, Gerrit,

Have a chat with Marcus at Northern Solar Power in Campbellfield. 03 9308 6744. He recently installed a system on my brother's 100 series, and is doing one for my Playdoe next week.

The 100 series set-up worked out at just over $600, using a smart relay, ARB tray, and a FullRiver 90amp hour SLA AGM battery. He also had some cheaper options using different batteries.

Nice guy, very knowledgeable, and made sure he built the system with my brothers needs in mind.

Good luck.

AnswerID: 99360

Reply By: Steve - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 15:36

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 15:36
Rose & Gerrit: I'd join a 4wd club and pay the subscription ($50-90ish) and get free training, choose club trips with fellow members and pickup on their experience. Better and cheaper

....meanwhile, back to the old chestnut, I've just come across the Fullriver AGM battery which is a sight cheaper than Optima etc and apparently better. I'm looking to put a 120 a/h battery/dual system in my Cruiser which has an existing N70ozz Exide cranker. Does anyone know if they're compatible? Also, claims that these Fullriver batteries recharge in 2.5 to 3 hrs from your alternator. Realistic? checkout
AnswerID: 102926

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