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Old 03-04-2012, 02:26 PM   #1
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Placement of separator and new fuse panel

To install a house battery, I'm wondering where to place the solenoid and new fuse block. I got the National Luna kit (http://www.nationalluna.com/DIY.htm), Blue Sea fuse block (http://bluesea.com/category/81/21/products/5026), half a dozen 12-volt outlets (http://bluesea.com/category/8/33/products/1011), and a Ford battery box for the pre-drilled holes on the starboard frame rail (but no wiring or connectors yet, beyond what's in the DIY kit). The purpose of the house battery is to provide lots of 12-volt outlets (including for a 12-volt ARB cooler), extra starting power if I run down the starter battery during multi-day camping, plus, if Sportsmobile is willing, to power the new interior lights that'll come with a PH top to be installed this summer. I don't plan to ask SMB to wire the PH top's actuators to the new fuse block, however, because I figure I'll just raise and lower the top with the motor running, and the separator doesn't send power to the house battery until five minutes after starting.

The separator and fuse block seem like they belong under the hood, but when I peer under the hood, I don't see an obvious place to put them or an obvious way to attach them there. I don't want to install them inside the van, which is a mostly stock 2005 E350 window van with Quadvan 4x4, and I want to preserve flexibility of seating. Can the separator and fuse block go under the van near the house battery? I love how the battery box fits down there, where there's tons of room and a constellation of predrilled holes, as discussed in other postings. It seems weird to locate a separator and fuse panel down there, but I'm nonetheless wondering if I could find a durable box of some sort to house both of them down there, protecting them from dirt, dust, kicked-up rocks and splashes. The box I envision might be metal or hard plastic, I could drill holes in it to match predrilled holes in the frame (so no need to drill into the frame), and maybe cut some slits in the bottom-facing side for drainage in case any moisture gets in there (which would impair dust protection, but I live in the rainy Pacific NW). Does this seem like a workable idea? Any reason not to install them down there? Or is there a good, easy place for them under the hood (preferably without needing to weld)?
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:19 PM   #2
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Placement of separator and new fuse panel

The fuse block needs to have easy access because if you blow one you do not want to crawl under the van to change it.


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Old 03-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #3
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Re: Placement of separator and new fuse panel

I could be wrong but I think you have a charge isolator not a separator. You should call the manufacture and tell them what you have in mind. Ask if it is designed to jump start. Myself Iíd go with a charge relay or separator relay rated around 200A continuous.

As far as the fuse panel, most of the blue sea stuff is rated for water but Iíd still prefer it to be inside, same as the battery separator.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:07 AM   #4
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Re: Placement of separator and new fuse panel

This is what I did on my 2008 V-10 E-350:

I used two of the Ford Diesel Battery Boxes (I have a parts numbers list if you need any) mounted in the stock location on the right side frame rails. I also always use battery Mats on everything.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Battery-Mat-A ... 566&sr=1-1

I used two Sears (Made by Odyessy?) Group 65 AGM Batteries (the only thing that really fits in these boxes well)

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1260 ... P?prdNo=12

I used 4 gauge wire for everything and made my own cables, using a hydralic crimper and shrink tube. I bought red and black cover boots at West Marine for everything to help prevent shorts. I used a 3/8 stainless steel bolt on the frame as a stud on the negative battery cables for a place to ground them as well as an easy way to disconnect them while working on them. If you use a floor jack the batteries are not too hard to work on. You leave two bolts in and then hook them on it and install the other two bolts. Because I like factory Ford parts for some things I used the factory aux battery relay (and alternator wiring harness) mounted in the stock location for charging. It mounts to the left/drivers side of the main (on a gas engine van) battery box between the battery box support and the radiator. You have to remove the battery and its tray to access it but its a good safe location. You might be able to mount your charging device in that location as well. I made a short #4 wire from the battery side of the relay to a remote battery post for charging and to be able to use jumper cables from main to Aux batteries if ever needed.

http://www.amazon.com/Longacre-Battery- ... sim_auto_1

(By the way have purchased many many items for my van on Amazon, I have a prime membership well worth the cost for free two day shipping on most things)

I mounted it near the main battery positive post (sorry I can't find a picture of it) so when charging or jumping I can just clip the cable from one to the other.

I removed my side door step trim panel (I have hinge doors so not sure if it would work on a slider) and drilled a large hole in the very front corner of the step well to run the wires for my inverter (the two with the 100 amp breakers) and my Aux fuse box (100 Amp Glass fuse) up through from the Aux batteries. It turned out to be a really goor place to do it as there was room for the fuse and breakers as well as its a short run to the inside of the van.

I think I am using the same fuse box as you are using. I really do not think it is very water proof and myself would never mount it outside. I again liking things kind of hidden and safe decided to mount mine under the passenger side front door step well trim panel. I had used the drivers side for all of my alarm and stereo relays and such so I knew there was room there. I know you might think it should be more accessible but really if it is wired and fused correctly how often do you have to replace fuses? I don't know what year Ford changed from the trim panels on the front doors from having screws to just using clips (mine has just clips so it is very easy to just pull it up to get at the fuse box if ever needed) but that might make a difference to you. You could possibly mount it in the rear of the step well trim and cut a hole in it for access, I thought if doing that as well. I ran the #4 wire from the 100 Amp glass fuse to the main battery post on the fuse box. The only thing about this mounting location is that the screws are near to where the front tire throws water so they should be stainless (that's all I use on my van) and sealed to prevent rust and water ingress.
Attached Thumbnails
Aux Fuse Box.JPG   Aux Battery Power Wires.JPG  
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #5
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Re: Placement of separator and new fuse panel

I would suggest that you move the fuse panel inside, running one larger wire through the van versus the multiple smaller wires that you you will have coming off of the fuse panel. The separator can certainly go outside, I believe they recommend that it be installed in the upright position as the electronics are not encapsulated in resin. Putting it in a box would be good, but since it is continuous duty, make sure you have some airflow as it will get hot.

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Old 03-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #6
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Re: Placement of separator and new fuse panel

Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. Ultrasport12, the description of your installation was super helpful. Iíll look under the battery tray to see if the separator might go well there (mine too is a V-10, which would have been worthwhile to mention in my original post, along with the fact Iím not doing an inverter). Will also check to see if behind the step well panel seems viable for the fuse block. Another possible place that occurred to me is behind the front passenger kick panel, because it does seem desirable if at all possible to have the fuse block inside.

One thing I didnít quite understand was what you said about using a 3/8 stainless steel bolt on the frame as a stud on the negative battery cables. Is that an optional connection point on the wire that connects the negative terminal of the house battery to the appropriate terminal on the separator/relay? I confess to little electrical knowledge, but think of a ground as ideally being a wire directly back to the beginning of the circuit, rather than through the frame of the vehicle, so donít understand why youíd ground it on the frame when that negative (ground?) wire is already on its way back to the relay directly. You also mentioned using that bolt as a way to disconnect the negative terminal when working on itóis that all you need to do to avoid getting shocked, or do you need to disconnect the positive, which is what I would have figured?

The National Luna kit manual (http://www.nationalluna.com/Datasheets/ ... manual.pdf) confirms that the controller can connect the batteries for a jump start (page 7), so I suppose a remote battery post would be superfluous for me (unless the separator failed).

Do I need to add a fuse between the fuse block and the house batteryís positive terminal? Thatís what your 100-amp glass fuse on 4-gauge wire is for? For 12-volt outlets, I figured on using a 15-amp fuse for each outlet (with 6-gauge wire, figuring that per the calculator in the FAQs on a max of 20 amps and 27 feet out and back). I wasnít sure whether a larger fuse might be appropriate between the block and the battery, or I just rely on the fuses in the block, but it looks like that's what your 100-amp glass fuse is for.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:47 PM   #7
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Re: Placement of separator and new fuse panel

PearGrove,

You might have room for the National Luna kit under the factory tray as well. I have never installed one so I am not sure how much room they need. There is room under the battery tray if you can fit is under there it might be a good spot but you will not be able to see it. Maybe on the drivers side someplace would be better, there is more room on that side of the engine compartment.

There is nothing mounted on the inside of the passenger side step well at all so you can use it if you think it will work for you. Just to be clear my fuse box is mounted INSIDE the van just under the black plastic step well trim. Its a very safe and dry location that's easy to work on and run wires to and from. I have had mine this way for about a year already and the only reason I ever take the step well trim out is to add circuits or to clean the van. Like I said before for the most part with proper wiring and fuse protection you will never need to be in there, whens the last time you replaced a fuse in your van unless you shorted something out? The passenger side Kick Panel has some things mounted there like the fuel pump safety reset relay. You might have room there but you may have to move some things around. If you put it up there make sure it is high enough so it wont be kicked. The passenger doesn't have much foot room in our vans.

Note for your Nation Luna Kit it says in step 3 you HAVE to ground from battery to battery and not use the frame as a ground. I am not sure how long the ground wire that came with the kit is but it might not be long enough to reach all the way to a frame mounted battery. Be sure to use the same size they sent with the kit.

You should do it the way they state in their instructions, which I must confess I did not read before replying yesterday, sorry for any confusion on my part, good news is I read it now. Oh and you wont need a remote post. Step 3 states.

"Connect the BLACK cable from the negative terminal of the main battery to the negative terminal of the auxiliary battery" ( DO NOT USE THE VEHICLE CHASSIS AS AN ELECTRICAL EARTH PATH!! )


Just to explain and possibly to help someone else about the ground bolt, this is what I did and why.

Unless you are using a Nation Luna kit or something like it that states otherwise you need to ground the batteries to the frame somehow right? You never run wires directly to the battery terminal to ground for any device unless the device says something otherwise again like above. You have to ground the batteries to the frame so they will charge. If you think about the way your van is wired the battery ground is connected to the frame then everything else including the engine and body is just grounded to the frame where ever its convenient to complete the circuit between the frame rail and the battery. Something to note here is that the ground cable needs to be the same size as the charging cable or larger. I always use #4 wire or larger for grounds to the frame when adding new batteries.


So back to the bolt, by using a 3/8 stainless bolt trough a frame hole that's already there (I think I did have to open it up a bit if I remember correctly) then you have a disconnect method and a place to ground the batteries all in one. And if you ever add an inverter or something else that needs to be grounded directly to the batteries its a place you can add that ground for that as well. I used a 1 or 1 1/4 inch full thread Stainless Bolt with a stainless steel star washer on the inside of the frame rail going to the outside of the rail and then put a nut on the bolt. I then hooked up my battery ground wire to the bolt/stud and added a second nut after the batteries are in place. If for some reason you (electrical or other service work, welding, long term storage) need to disconnect the batteries all I have to do is remove the nut. You will see that with the covers on the factory battery boxes you will never get the cables off to disconnect them safely until you lower them down a bit. On both Diesel and Gas Engine Vans with the Aux Battery Ford used a bolt traded into the frame as a disconnect, they even put a sticker/label under the hood telling you that there are batteries under the van that need to be disconnected.

As far as the 100 amp glass fuse is concerned. I have been doing vehicle electrics for over 30 years and I can tell you that any wire size but especially large gauge wire left un-fused is a fire hazard. Small gauge wire will eventually burn through but large gauge will not. Many a car fire has started because of this. So say you have that large wire running from you battery positive terminal to where ever you place your fuse box and for some reason it shorts out, a screw, chaffing, an accident. With a fuse, fusible link or a circuit breaker mounted as close to the battery as possible the wire will not overheat and melt thus possibly starting a fire. Everything should be fused as close to the battery as possible, even the National Luna kit states that. With any fuse you are trying to protect the wire as well as the device. Anything that are hooking up to a battery directly should be fused near the battery, even if the device has a fuse built in (like an amp does) you need to protect the wire from shorts. My rule for this is if it goes inside the vehicle from the battery I put a fuse, Fusible link or a circuit breaker just before or right after it goes through. That is why I have the glass fuse for my fuse box and the two 100 amp circuit breakers for my inverter which by the way says connect directly to the battery not showing any protection. They are only a few inches from the battery and I didn't want to mount them under the van even though they are water resistant.

I hope that this is at least as clear as mud.
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