More confused I think...2nd battery blues.

After spending too long looking through old posts, I'm really not sure if I'm any closer to a decision...
Heres what I've got (1 month ago)...
'97 petrol/gas 'Cruiser, Auto (So want it to be right!), with a 100amp alternator.Its the trouble & strifes every day vee-hee-kil, and does about 40kms a day only.
Heres what we want from it, on 2-3 day weekends away, maybe 6 times a year for now....
To power a 40Litre Engel through a cig. lighter socket in the back (already there, not sure of wire thickness), and play the stereo for say 4-6 hours a day.
For the future...
Hope to invest in a camper trailer within 2 years if possible, and hopefully get away for longer trips....1-3 weeks would be nice. Maybe run small TV/some lights(No, not traffic lights).
So, I'm liking the sound of the RedArc BCDC1220. Is this a bit of overkill? Should I just be thinking about a SBI12 isolater? Or the opposite, and look at the BCDC1240 ( for solar capability down the track, if we choose)?
And what about battery type... is 100-110 aH what I should be looking at? AGM or wet?(will be under bonnet). Deep cycle or cranking? TBH... I doubt we'll be doing extended trips for at least 2 years, as we have a bub on the way...so maybe a cranking battery will suffice for this initial period?
Sorry for rambling....just want to get it right the 1st time.
Cheers,
Wazza.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 05:24

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 05:24
Hi Wazza.

I know what you mean. I gave up on the forum and went to a local battery factory who was recommended by a rather well to do acquaintance. I read so many conflicting recommendsations that I also was lost. All well meaning but conflicting.

I started to explain what we have in our car and lost my point and then deleted it all. Go and talk to the local battery specialist and an auto electrician that you can believe. Hopefully someone that is recommended. See what they say. Luckily Canberra is still small enough and you can usually trust a recommendation. Bad work stories spread quickly. Luckily, so do good ones.

We have a Redarc 200 amp isolator, three batteries and two fridges that last more than two days without any recharging.

Also nothing beats a face to face chat. Even beats asking Google!!!

Phil

AnswerID: 494210

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 07:35

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 07:35
Wassa,

Firstly, you need to understand that a 100Ah AGM battery, whilst a good size capacity wise, is a bloody heavy mongrel and needs a strong mounting bracket to hold it.
AGM batteries are also not the best for under bonnet use due to the heat generated by the engine and exhaust.

If you want to have the battery in the engine bay, a 100Ah wet cell battery would be a better choice, plus heavy duty twin core wiring (8 B&S) run back to the rear cab of your vehicle. A Merit type socket is the best to use for termination. A dual battery isolator should be mounted in the engine bay to isolate the starting battery from the auxiliary, but still be able to be charged by the alternator.
A 10 amp fuse should be installed close to the starting battery. This circuit would not require a dc-dc charger as the auxiliary battery is close to the alternator and voltage drop would not be an issue for the run back to the rear cab.

When the time comes to connect a camper trailer, a second heavy duty cable installed between the auxiliary battery and the rear of your vehicle, again protected by a 20-30 amp fuse or breaker, terminating in an anderson connector.
This is when you would employ a BCDC1220, or BCDC1240 which would be located at the end of the longer cable run, close to the camper battery/batteries which would be of the AGM style.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 08:56

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 08:56
Great advice Bill. I have had a very similair setup on my various 4x4's over the years and its a proven combination that works very well.

Cheers

Captain
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Reply By: Member - nick b - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 08:50

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 08:50
wazza : I dont think it needs to be that difficult ....

I'v got 100ah deep cyl battery & redarc smart switch ( never had a problem with it ) . The battery supplier can sell you the right battery for under bonnet .

If it was me I would spend less on unnecessary gadgets & invest in solar panel .

In gegards to replies / forum , you get some very good info here ,have a look at links

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cheers
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Reply By: Cravenhaven - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 08:55

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 08:55
The purpose of the isolator seems to confuse some people. Its only purpose is to automatically disconnect the starting battery from your ancillary loads (eg the fridge) while stationary. That means that you will be able to start the vehicle after your long weekend at that beautiful camp spot.
The purpose of the BCDC.... devices is to provide a proper charging current and voltage to batteries that are a long way from the charging source (in terms of wire length and voltage drop) or to properly support batteries of different chemistry to the standard starting type battery.
As has already been stated, the best battery types for under the bonnet installation is the standard wet cell starting batteries because of the heat that they have to withstand.

For your purpose a standard wetcell starting battery installed as the second battery and a redarc SBI12 connected between the main and auxillary batteries would be perfect. As far as fuses and circuit breakers are concerned, there purpose is to protect the wiring (and battery)from excess current so I would suggest something like a 50-100 amp fuse or circuit breaker on each end of the wire between the 2 batteries ( in case the wire rubs through and shorts to the chassis somewhere), and maybe a 20 amp fuse from the second battery to the rear cig lighter socket.

My only concern is your comment about 'the stereo'. If you mean the car radio then I would be concerned because it will be connected to the main starting battery by default and having it on for 4-6 hours/day for several days will flatten the main battery. I would look at getting this rewired to run off your auxillary battery.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:12

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:12
Some good advice Cravenhaven, but I don't believe a second "wet cell starting battery" is the right choice.

A wet cell deep cycle battery will better handle deep discharges that will occur when running a compressor fridge, or other higher current draining device over a long period of time.

The normal starting battery is designed to provide a high current draw for a short period of time, as in starting the vehicle. They are not designed for a constant current draw over a prolonged period of time. A starting battery can also be used for high load currents such as winch operation, but this is when the vehicle is still running and the battery being supported by the alternator. Again, this is for relatively short periods of time.


Bill


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Reply By: Member - Anthony W Adelaide - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 11:27

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 11:27
It seems that this subject can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.

Our previous tourer was a 1996 petrol/auto 80s that had 2 wet cell batteries and an isolater and we never needed any more than that for running our 50litr fridge, a fw lights and occasionally a laptop for 20-30mins.

Any more than that is overkill unless you are going to stay places for weeks at a time and then if you are worried about battery level, just run the engine for half an hour on a short drive to top them up.

I think as long as you have the isolater to protect the cranking battery from being drained unexpectedly you will be fine.

When you get your trailer you can revisit your power requirements but you should only need to upgrade if you are planning on taking a few power hungry accessories.
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Follow Up By: wazza200571 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 11:55

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 11:55
Thanks everyone, thats the sorta info I needed!
Just one question Anthony.... Did you use a deep cycle as your auxillary?
Cheers,
Wazza.
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Follow Up By: wazza200571 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:31

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:31
Bill,
Do the Merit sockets accept the Engel cig. lighter plug?
Cheers,
Wazza
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Follow Up By: Member - Anthony W Adelaide - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:39

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:39
Hi Wazza,

Both batteries were the standard wet cell cranking type, niether were deep cycle.

We are running the same setup in our current vehicle and have no problems. All we have is a 50 litre fridge, 2 or 3 lights, phone and camera charging, compressor for tyres and some occasional laptop use. I can't think of anything else you would need power for.

Our basic system is quite enough for us and I would think for most unless you have 2 or 3 fridges and air conditioning or other power gobblers.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 15:27

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 15:27
This is exactly what we have, only that we added a third battery to have two batteries for accessories instead of just one. We cannot go for a short drive and charge them up as we use a roof top tent. All three are "All Rounder" 107 AH batteries with the Redarc SBI212 (I think) 200 amp isolator so that we can use all three when winching etc.

We also ran two thick cables to the rear from a new fuse block supplie from the accessory pair with each individually fused at 40 amp. They are a spare for a trailer if we even want to tow and the other to some 12 V outlets in the back of the car for the two fridges and lights etc.

Phil
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Follow Up By: wazza200571 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 17:51

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 17:51
That'll do me then...Thanks again for the input!
Cheers very much,
Wazza.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:32

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:32
This is where information can be misleading.

Phil mentions his batteries are "all rounders".
These are not standard starting batteries. They are a hybrid battery that are constructed differently and rated with both a CCA (Cold Charging Amp) rating and an Ah (Amp Hour) rating. They supposedly provide the best of both types, but there is nothing better than a properly designed deep cycle battery with heavy plate construction to give the best performance and lifespan for higher current draw over prolonged periods of time.

An all rounder battery may well serve the purpose that Wazza requires. Only time will tell.
I have used various combinations over many years and have found the best auxiliary battery to be an AGM battery that provides deeper cycling than a normal battery, with the ability for quicker and more complete charging, using the correct charging regime.

The engine bay however is not the right place for an AGM and of course, they are more expensive to purchase initially.

One other important device that should be included, regardless of the type of battery employed is a low voltage cut-out device. This will stop any battery from being completely discharged, which is the quickest way to destroy that battery.
Some fridges like the Waeco have built-in protection. Others require a cheap but effective low voltage cutout device to be installed between the end of the cable run and the fridge being connected.

Bill


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Reply By: Charlie B2 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 13:01

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 13:01
Hi Wazza,

If the "cig. lighter socket in the back (already there, not sure of wire thickness)" is an original auxiliary power socket fitted to 100 series cruisers (not sure about others), you'll probably find that it will only work when the ignition or accessories switch is on, anyway.

That'd be the FIRST thing I'd check, otherwise, I'd suggest that it won't matter what battery set-up or charging regime you have, you still won't be able to run the fridge with the ignition off, unless that wiring is disconnected from the accessories switch and fed direct (through an appropriate fuse or circuit breaker) from your aux battery (or main, if you don't want to go anywhere after a day or so).

I'll leave others to give advice on the actual wiring set-up, but I'm pretty sure Home of 12 Volt still warrant AGM Redback batteries for under-bonnet use.

Mind you, they are HUGELY heavy, so make sure the cradle you intend using, and how it's fitted, are up to the task, if that's the way you eventually go.

Regards,

Charlie
AnswerID: 494232

Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 13:23

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 13:23
Wazza
Look at all the bits and bobs people are collecting to go camping in the bush.
I went for a week with my caravan and a second Dometic 3 way fridge. Wet cell in the van running the lights and the radio and gas on both fridges.
No solar, no nothing. We ran out of water was the only snag.
Dice the 12v electrics and run your power hungry fridge on gas. Cheaper, more efficient and more reliable in the long run.
Why do you need TV when camping? Getting away means exactly that.

Bill
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Follow Up By: wazza200571 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 17:46

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 17:46
Cheers Bob,
Were kindly given a 40L Engel as a wedding gift, so happy with that.
For the footy!

Cheers,
Wazza.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:43

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:43
Wazza,

There is an Engel socket available to terminate the cable run, if you want to use the supplied Engel plug. They are a very good solution but what do you do when you wish to plug something else into the circuit?

You either need to have an Engel plug on every piece of 12 volt equipment, or standardise on a commom plug/socket combination.

The Merit socket is a robust solution which will prevent a merit type plug from vibrating loose. Just to confuse you a little bit, A Hella style plug is the type I use.
It has a removable red collar which enables the plug to connect to a standard cigarette socket, or with the collar removed, into the Merit socket.
Very easy to connect to a cable too. No soldering required as the wire ends clamp into the plugs connection terminal.
I cut the Engel plug off the end of the Engel fridge cable and added the Hella plug in it's place.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 23:23

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 23:23
While the Merit is a much better plug than a standard cigarette type, the Engel is IMHO better again as it has a locking screw collar. The Merit has a spring loaded clip and while it hangs in there well, it is not positively retained like the Engel. Having different plug types is a pain, but I have overcome this by fitting all 3 types.

Also, cutting off the Engel plug removes the fuse that is within the Engel plug, hopefully an inline fuse was fitted when the plug was replaced with the Merit! While the Merit plug circuit most likley has a fuse, that fuse is typically rated for line protection and not the fridge specific rating like the one in the Engel plug (a special fuse, looks similair to normal AG fuse but is actually directional in how its installed Engel Fuse description ).

Interetingly, the cigarette plug is my most commony used one! While the Engel is good for the fridge, the cigarette style is used for all the phone chargers , various kids games (Nintendo etc...) and camera chargers.

Cheers

Captain

PS. I believe the Merit and Hella are the same, just different brand names - but happy to be corrected if wrong!
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