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Help me build an Aux battery system
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Paulbeard
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Help me build an Aux battery system Reply with quote

Well…Vitamix. You said blender.
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Formerly -> Steward of a 73 Super Beetle (Beater) and 67 Beetle 1300 (Little Max) both names by POs

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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:11 am    Post subject: Re: Help me build an Aux battery system Reply with quote

Jd56 wrote:
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Jesus, no.
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Help me build an Aux battery system Reply with quote

As the OP on this thread thought it would net a bit of karma by sharing the actual auxiliary battery system I ended up constructing. Hope my experience and build list is helpful to others in their quest for remote camping luxury...

Battery: Vmax Tanks 125 AGM
Solenoid: BlueSeas ACR-SL
Fuse Panel: BlueSeas Blade 6x
BlueSeas Battery Switch
250A & 100A fuses
2x 4 prong bus bars
2ga Ancor Marine Wire
8ga Ancor Marine Wire
Wire sheath from Harbor Freight
Lots of random connections
Bayite Shunt & Meter (not wired in just yet)
Dimmer for LED ceiling lights

While I've likely forgotten a few things this is the meat n potatoes of the build. The system powers LED lights, a MaxxFan 4500, various inset USB outlets, and in a short time the eagerly anticipated Espar B4 auxiliary heater. I will also tie in the stereo power soon; it is presently connected directly to the starting battery and should be easy to extend and swap the power source.

Key lessons learned:

1) Take your time and diagram the heck out of what you're designing. When Mike @ VanLab helped install the hightop this spring I had to think through my future electric needs and fix wires in anticipation of the future auxiliary battery system.

2) Buy quality components. Buy nice and don't buy twice. Although I now live in the mountains I grew up on the water and appreciate the durable design of marine-grade components. I highly recommend splurging on BlueSeas components - they are bombproof and relatively easy to assemble, even for a desk jockey with degrees in fields that have literally nothing in common with electricity.

3) Determine your grounding locations ahead of time and prep wiring/logistics accordingly. Good grounds = good system.

4) Like home renovations, anticipate 10% more for your budget than calculated. You and your partner will appreciate the safety margin. Likewise, if you're not a trades person, budget twice the amount of time you expect to spend. Stuff comes up and its not in your best interest to be rushed with electric that you may depend upon and/or could contribute to safety issues.

5) Dream big and don't be intimidated by the complexity. If I can figure it out, so can you. Little grit and google search skills goes a long way.

Happy travels.
GA

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robcass
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Help me build an Aux battery system Reply with quote

Despite all of the battery kits I have seen, I have the following set up:
Conduit ran from main battery compartment under passenger seat to the compartment under the drivers seat.
The wires go from the main battery to the spare and are isolated with a beefy battery switch. The concept is that you must manually flip with switch to join them while the van is running and charging.
When the van is off, the switch can be turned off so as not to cannibalize the main but still run an inverter off of the spare.
Questions:
Is the alternator "strong" enough to charge both while running and traveling.
Aside from the work required to switch this every time, is there any danger in doing this?
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[email protected]
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Help me build an Aux battery system Reply with quote

Yes alternator can charge both batteries. The closer matched they are to each other the better.
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BCgee
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Help me build an Aux battery system Reply with quote

Received a private message request for my wiring diagram. At the risk of heckling here's my original hand-written auxiliary battery diagram for everyone's easy access if you too are following this thread.

Note that some stuff didn't end up being bought/used, specifically the inverter and AC circuits.

Conversely, the 100w solar suitcase from Renogy is a great option for those who don't want a permanent exterior solar array IMO. I use the VanagonLife rear vents with Zamp SAE solar ports and ran 8ga marine grade wire down the D-pillars, then through a drilled hole near the rear engine bay, and down to the auxiliary battery. Pretty straightforward wiring on the whole.

Good luck!

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