Monday, March 25, 2013

12 volt DC System and Onboard Battery Recharge System

I wanted a 12 VDC system for the camper that could be recharged and 'topped off' as I was in transit.  Knowing that I not only wanted to recharge the onboard camper battery with my truck alternator but that I would want that battery to be available for a starting means, meant a significant wire guage would be needed.  If I was just planning on the recharge and not potentially having to use the camper battery to start my vehicle I would not have searched for such a large wire size.

Well as you may very well know....copper wire is a tad bit pricey.  I needed at least a #2 guage for the potential 200 amp starter draw and the wire needed to be multi-stranded so it would be flexible....

(think..think....?) ahhhh!..."a set of heavy duty jumper cables."  Purchased a 20 foot set of #2 AWG heavy duty jumper cables and chopped off the gator clips.  The extra fine strands will allow for the ease of routing the cable on the truck frame.

Purchased some 200 amp Anderson Power Poles to use for connection means, a rather nifty crimping tool that can be used with a hammer and I was in business. Wowsers are those crimping tool pliers expensive...this little nifty crimping tool that I picked up from Amazon instead, fit the bill.  I was impressed with the overall strength of this tool considering I paid under $20 for it and those wire crimping pliers are at 'the least' $200.00. By the way, I searched high and low and this tool seems to be the only one of its kind living out there.

 Made very strong connections..Impressed! 
Cord end for the truck is ready, now need to make the shorter pigtail for the camper.

The longer cord was run from the truck battery whereas the shorter pigtail was mounted on the camper itself.  I ran the longer pigtail along the truck frame towards the rear of the truck and mounted the powerpole connector to the cross member, to serve as a quick-disconnect region, for when camper is loaded and off-loaded.

A #12 guage wire was run alongside which was 'fed' from camper battery, serving a switch in cab that I can use to energize the coil of the battery isolator located underneath the hood.

I mounted a Stinger, 200 amp water-tight battery isolator in the engine compartment.  I installed a 200 amp ANL fuse and fuseblock to protect the long length of wire and ultimately the camper battery from ground faults and short circuits or from overloads if using to start 'third party' vehicles.

The shorter leads used in this connection were just battery leads purchased from a local automotive store.  The isolator is controlled from switch in cab fed from camper battery.

I had to purchase some side-post battery bolts w/ extensions in order to make accommodation for the new circuit additions.  The Raptor brand are a nice choice as they are available in both short and long lengths and vehicle make/model specific to fit your battery.  The longer extension bolts were perfect for the two positive, stacked OEM cables on the positive side of the battery.  I was pleased with the overall quality and durability of the Raptor brand.  Plus they are corrosion resistant or proof perhaps.  I found these on Amazon.

The longer bolt was purchased for use on the positive side of the battery, to accommodate the two, stacked OEM cable terminals; the install was painless.  As far as the extension portion goes, that section is plenty long as well...have room for future use built-in.
Notice how nicely the two (red) OEM battery terminal ends stack on one another along this new bolt, thus providing good continuity.

The short bolt lengths were used on this end of the battery where I only had to mount one factory OEM battery cable.  The OEM cable terminals slide over the bolts and fit snugly along a portion of the bolt allocated for them.  I could not hardly believe that these bolts actually fit perfect, both different lengths and for different sides, but model specific had everything in the world to do with it....Hooray for Raptor!

Showing both battery side-post extension bolts in place and with circuits connected.

Shorter pigtail from camper was dropped down between cab and truck bed to make the needed connection.  I used a 1.25" or either 1.5" LB PVC conduit body as a means of entrance through the 1.25" Nida-Core panels.  I was able to pop-rivet the side of the conduit body to the fiberglass skin.  The protruding 1" portion of the LB protected the cable insulation from scrubbing the raw fiberglass hole.  I filled the LB up with electrician's non-hardening duct seal.

Cable was routed through LB and then into the battery compartment box.  Used duct seal here also in order to prevent noxious vapors from entering camper.  (See construction of battery compartment box)

Mounted a battery tray by pop-riveting it to the fiberglass panel.

Connections were made

To see the creation of the battery compartment box visit here

see you around, chris

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