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Old 09-09-2009, 09:27 AM   #1
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Splitting batteries?

Hi

What does your rig do to split batteries i.e. house v.s. starter?

I have hear about relays, diodes, and computer controlled things but really what is to your view a simple but effective set-up...

Extra little question do you think adding a solar panel adds to the complication of the installation?

Thanx for your views and ideas
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:22 AM   #2
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Re: Splitting batteries?

My preference is a separator, since it works both way and can be manually overridden.

First, as you know the engine powers the alternator which charges the starter batteries- this you already have:
Code:
Engine -> Alternator -> [Starter Batt]
In the same vein a charge controller using what is 120v* in the US, or a solar panel using the sun's energy will charge the house battery or batteries:
Code:
                <-- Charge Cont <- Shore Power
[House Battery] <- Solar Controller <- Solar Panel <- Sun

The separator joins the two sets of batteries when the voltage indicates a complete charge on one (I'll use 14v), so when the starter battery is above 14v, it is connected with the house battery and they essentially become one. If the house battery is not fully charged, the "one" battery will need a charge and the alternator will continue to charge.
Code:
[Starter Batt] -> Separator    [House Battery]
                  ( >14v )-------->
Ditto the house battery, when it is above 14v the separator connects and again both become one and charging continues if needed:
Code:
[Starter Batt]    Separator <- [House Battery]
          <-------( >14v )
So here is the whole thing put together:
Code:
                                                                     <-- Charge Cont <- Shore Power
Engine -> Alternator -> [Starter Batt] -> Separator <- [House Battery] <- Solar Cont <- Solar Panel
                                   <-------( >14v )-------->
You hook everything you can to the house battery, so that the fridge, fans, lights and whatever else you'll use to camp won't kill the starter batteries. If the starter batteries are down, you can force the separator together and essentially give yourself a jump start. The main benefit to the separator is that it charges both ways, so both sides get topped off regardless of your power source.

I don't think Solar adds any complexity, because once through any controller (which includes the alternator) the charge looks the same to the batteries. You could put all three on one side, or hook the alternator to the house, etc. Generally the starter battery/alternator system is sufficient for the starter side, so it makes sense to put any additional charges to the house side where you'll also be draining from when camped.

*I assume that all this translates from whatever European standard (230v now?) to a 12v auto system with locally available chargers- likewise if you run an inverter it will be putting out 230v into locally standard wall outlets.
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Old 09-09-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: Splitting batteries?

What Jage said.

The separator that SMB put in my van is:

http://www.surepower.com/

Look under PRODUCTS, then select SEPARATORS/INTERCONNECTS

You can print out the brochure. The models vary in current capacity, uni-directional, bi-directional, etc.

Mike
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:38 AM   #4
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Re: Splitting batteries?

Saabman,

I have posted pictures of the isolator installation in my 2000 Chev. van. Not much (any) room in that motor compartment so I mounted the isolator on top of the engine battery. Note the front post is near the hood line. To close for comfort .... yes there is clearance....but, but. So I capped the hot stud with a plastic nut to make sure the battery does not short out by over slamming the hood or in a fender bender. Also with both house battery and engine battery studs/wires so close it is very easy to jump engine if the engine battery has low power.

Good Luck
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:24 PM   #5
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Re: Splitting batteries?

LenS:

I was looking at the pictures in your gallery where one picture showed the wiring going down to the frame rail. Is that where you mounted your house battery down on the left frame rail or do you have it mounted somewhere else. That wasn't very clear to me.

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Old 09-15-2009, 07:48 PM   #6
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Re: Splitting batteries?

Two house batteries are mounted on the van floor at the back of a storage box (below the inverter) behind the drivers seat. The batteries are vented to the outside of the van. The 6 ga. wire from the isolator runs under the van on the drivers side and comes inside the van through the floor just aft of the batteries. A bunch of 12v and 110v wiring is hidden inside the carpeted close out at the aft side of the storage box.

Hope the above discription and the below picture help.

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Old 09-16-2009, 01:27 AM   #7
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Re: Splitting batteries?

LenS
Thanx for the pics
One question I have heard lots of talk about having batteries in the vehicle is dangerous due to hydrogen and sulphuric acid emanations...
What do you think about this? I was thinking of fitting the batteries under the front seats in specific case like the one below:
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:25 AM   #8
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Re: Splitting batteries?

Ah - ha!

Found this battery tray idea fitted to a Chevy Express Cargo van on the frame, has given me a good idea for fitting my future batteries...

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:41 AM   #9
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Re: Splitting batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saabman
LenS
Thanx for the pics
One question I have heard lots of talk about having batteries in the vehicle is dangerous due to hydrogen and sulphuric acid emanations...
What do you think about this? I was thinking of fitting the batteries under the front seats in specific case like the one below:

I'd vent any battery you put inside the van. That's the way SMB did mine originally. Hole in the bottom of the van. Hole in the box (top and bottom). Hole in the side of the van with a 1.5-2 inch diameter hose. They did it up right. I suppose you could have two holes in the bottom and an air scoop to ensure circulation-not ideal for times when not in motion as the gas would fill the box.

I'm planning on putting mine under the van once I find the mounting hardware.

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:57 AM   #10
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Re: Splitting batteries?

I didn't find any place under the van to locate the battery tray. An other problem I have is my van is not 4 wheel drive so I have ground clearance issues with underbody battery mounting. I did not want to relocate the spare tire. On my previous van that was a 1979 ford I mounted the spare to a rear door. I did not like the weight of the tire on the door. Made me shudder every time I slammed the door closed with that weight on it.

My battery vent tube exhaust goes directly to outside via tubing. So no battery gasses, if/when generated will stay in the van.

The yellow battery box is nice to keep dirt and water off the battery and to contain any leaking battery acid. It does require though some way to assure that any battery gas is vented out of the van.

That black under body tray looks nice. What is the block on the side for??
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