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Old 10-16-2010, 11:18 AM   #1
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Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

Any suggestions on which charge controller to purchase?

I've looked at:

Products from Blue Seas: http://bluesea.com/category/2/products/7622

Products from Hellroaring: http://www.hellroaring.com/bic75150.php

Products from Painless Wiring: http://www.painlesswiring.com/webcatalo ... ield=40102

As well as just a general search of Battery Isolators on Ebay: http://motors.shop.ebay.com/__?_from=R4 ... y+isolator

I've seen prices from $25.00 to over $200. I don't mind spending money but if I can achieve the same result for less I'd certainly prefer to.

My setup will be pretty simple. I've got a Yellow top Optima as my starting battery and plan on adding a second one as a house battery. I also have a spare Interstate Megatron II battery in perfect condition in my garage that I would prefer to use if I can make it work with the system rather than purchasing another $200 Optima.

Better to use the Interstate as a Starter and the Optima as the House battery???

Can I mix and match battery types or is it best to use all the same type?

I will be running a Xantrex Prowatt SW 600 sine wave inverter to power a 22" LED TV, a small Western Digital HD Media Player a handful of LED lights and a laptop computer.

Link for the TV:
http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CB0Q8wIwAA#

I plan on leaving for a two week trip to Colorado / Utah around Halloween 2010 so I have to make up my mind and install whatever I purchase quickly.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:06 PM   #2
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

I have had the painless setup on my Jeep for about 5 years. It was easy to install and has worked flawlessly. The only downside to this set up is when charging the house battery while plugged in or with solar it does not automatically connect to charge your starting battery. This would only be a problem on a rig that is not run regularly.

Cheers,
John
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:18 PM   #3
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

I really like the Blue Sky 2000E solar controller, and the Surepower 1315 Seperator.

Mike
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:32 AM   #4
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
I really like the Blue Sky 2000E solar controller, and the Surepower 1315 Seperator.

Mike

i have the same also, would not change
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:41 PM   #5
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

You can use different styles of starting and house batteries but it's better if they are the same
design. In other words, all wet cells or all AGM. I had wet cell starting batteries as my starters
and AGM's as my house batteries for several years and they worked OK but AGM's charge slightly
different than wet cell or flooded type batteries. I finally switched to AGM starting batteries after
the wet cells failed. The main reason I switched to AGM is because my solar and inverter charging
system has been set up to charge AGM type batteries. But it's not that big of a deal; at least not
enough to change out good starting batteries if you have them already.

One thing you should avoid is to bank different type, size, or even different aged
batteries together.

With the Optima AGM batteries, they shouldn't be allowed to drop below 50% if possible,
so if your load is going to pull the battery down before morning you will need a bigger battery
or more than one house battery.

You might find some info in the FAQ's in this section.
Good luck on you design.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:37 PM   #6
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

Purchased one of these http://www.allbatterysalesandservice.co ... ,1140.html for my 2nd battery install. Looks like a very simple install, no re-wire of charging system, just add it on.

Have not yet installed product, so I don't know how it's going to work but it was recommended here on the forum. Also purchased a yellow top Optima battery for the project.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:21 AM   #7
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

Thanks for all the reply's,

My next question is where to mount the isolator. Is it better to have it in the engine bay or back towards the house batteries?

Even more questions and I apologize in advance for so many questions..

Better to put my house battery on the passenger side rail under the side cargo doors or back where the spare tire used to go (behind the rear differential)

Adding solar panels this week and I'm wondering where to route the wire from the panel to the house battery. Is it better to:
1. cut a hole in the roof for these wires and risk a water leak.
2. Better to cut the hole on the side of the van?
3. Install a ladder and run the wires through the ladder to the underside of the van?

I don't have a pop top. Just a standard flat van roof.
I plan on mounting the solar panels on a Yakima roof rack attached to an aluminum frame. Hopefully they don't become a wing.....
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Old 10-20-2010, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: Choosing a dual battery charge controller / isolator.

It is better to put it where it fits and you can wire it up. SMB puts them under the hood, in the rear of the interior under a gaucho and various other places.

You can use a liquid tight cord grip to feed the solar cable through the body. McMaster-Carr has some:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#liquid-tight-c ... ps/=9d1lfo

Use a good automotive, butyl sealant on the fitting and you should never have a leak.

Mike
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