A little help on a second battery?

A little help on a second battery?

Postby SoccerMom4x4 [OP] » September 15th 2020, 1:45am

So I’m planning on running a second battery (no solar, at least for the next lil while) mainly to run some led lights int/ext, a 800w inverter, and maybe a couple other small things. I’m trying to do a super simple system but I think I’m OVER thinking it...

I’m planning on using a 4-way marine Isolator to switch from battery to battery.
https://www.bluesea.com/products/6007/m-Series_Mini_Selector_Battery_Switch_-_Red
An 800w inverter, a 12v 100ah AGM or hybrid gel battery https://www.renogy.com/deep-cycle-hybrid-gel-battery-12-volt-100ah-back-order/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwqfz6BRD8ARIsAIXQCf3XDxGrMRjLOSA-OuD14qJX_fKHoMZq-tGrqNqaksHW5QQDtyyAd-QaAmI6EALw_wcB, and a fuse block to send power to whatever accessories I’m gonna run of the second battery.
From what I’ve been researching it seems like the primary battery wires to #1, the second battery to #2, but what wires to 1+2 (or OUTPUT)? When switched to “1+2” in theory the alt charges both batteries correct?

I know people use this switch to do dual battery setups but the only diagram I can find show the battery’s wired like I mention and the “engine” is wired to 1+2, if that’s correct then would I run the wire currently connected to positive end on my existing battery to the “1+2”? Seems straightforward but I’d rather now I’m doing it right before I ruin my van.
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby AstroWill » September 15th 2020, 2:56am

Personally I would stick with an automatic charging relay/voltage sensitive relay. That way it's all automatic and you don't have to remember to turn on the switch to charge your house battery, and remember to turn it off so you don't kill your starting battery. Blue Sea Systems makes some great stuff, https://amzn.to/2FyYXFV

If you are planning on adding solar in the future, CTEK makes some nice controller/chargers like https://amzn.to/3c0XMed that handle everything for you, and will use the solar to keep both batteries charged, but it's a bit more expensive than a simple ACR/VSR.

Fused on both ends is smart but it would be even better to use a self resetting circuit breaker, and make sure that your wiring is rated higher than the protection :)

But yes, it would technically work the way you have your diagram. I would have the starting battery connected to the 'output' terminal, and the house/aux battery on 1 or 2.

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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby SoccerMom4x4 [OP] » September 15th 2020, 4:07am

Lots of good points, I like the idea of using resetting circuit breakers rather than a fuse.The only thing I don’t like with the ACR is, isn’t it possible drain both batteries? Like how does it ‘know’ which battery to keep isolated? Whereas with the manual switch I can only pull power from whichever battery I have selected (1,2,or1+2) or am I totally overthinking this? Thanks for the input, I at least know where all the wiring should go now :rockon:

As far as the breakers go should they be 100A, something like this? https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sea-Systems-Circuit-Breakers/dp/B0051P01BW/ref=asc_df_B0051P01BW/?tag=&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309819400004&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5888781544572256166&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9061079&hvtargid=pla-570320860948&psc=1&ref=&adgrpid=60510211606&th=1
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby Sailing_Faith » September 15th 2020, 6:02am

Take a look at my system,

https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=104562

Having lived full time with DC systems on boats, I can tell you manual switching has its limitations.

I used a simple relay, with a switch on the dash to allow various settings. Take a look at the link above and let me know if I can clarify anything.
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby AstroWill » September 15th 2020, 6:11am

SoccerMom4x4 wrote:The only thing I don’t like with the ACR is, isn’t it possible drain both batteries? Like how does it ‘know’ which battery to keep isolated?

It simply measures the voltage on both sides of the relay and if either side is above ~13vdc, aka charging, then it closes the relay allowing current to flow. Once the voltage drops below ~12.75vdc it will open the relay and stop current from flowing.
Once it's installed you basically never have to worry about it. You can look at the installation manuals on the Blue Sea Systems website.

Also, just remember that this is one of the simplest setups, used because it's cheap, easy and reliable. Though it's not the absolute best for the battery.

SoccerMom4x4 wrote:Whereas with the manual switch I can only pull power from whichever battery I have selected (1,2,or1+2) or am I totally overthinking this? Thanks for the input, I at least know where all the wiring should go now :rockon:

For your added accessories, you ONLY want them to pull from the house/aux battery. You always want to keep the starting battery full to allow starting the engine. A starting battery is NOT designed for deep discharge, at all.

SoccerMom4x4 wrote:As far as the breakers go should they be 100A, something like this?

I wouldn't use manual reset breakers. The breakers/fuses are there to protect the wiring, so their size will depend on the size wiring you are going to use. My tigers use something like this https://amzn.to/3c1fIW5

The battery you listed has a 50ah usable capacity at 50%DoD, you really don't want to exceed that. It also lists a max charge rate of 30a, and it will charge significantly slower than that for most of the charge cycle. There are automatic cutoffs for that available as well, if you don't want to over discharge your house/aux battery.

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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby SoccerMom4x4 [OP] » September 15th 2020, 5:55pm

Ahhhhh okay things are starting to make a little more sense.

So the ACR (particularly the one linked above) basically links the batteries together when charging and isolates them during discharge, same as the manual switch but it's smarter than me and does all the work.

Sailing_Faith your setup is essentially a relay that you can switch for more control over the functions? I really like the simplicity of your setup and got me thinking about adding solar, although I don't really have a place for the panel....

I'm now certainly leaning towards that blue seas ACR for simplicity and ease of use. If I wanted to, for an emergency start situation, could I/should I still wire in my manual switch so I can combine the batteries in the event they are both at lets say 9v? The switch would ALWAYS be in the 'OFF' poss unless I needed to combine their voltage then switch it to '1+2'. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself....


The homework I definitely still need to do is figuring out wire gauge and fuse/breaker sizes. Any advice or good links for reading?
Where did you buy your heavy gauge wire/ connectors for this?
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby MechBob » September 15th 2020, 6:10pm

Just thought I would mention,factory alternators are not designed to "charge" very discharged batteries.They are made to "top off" the battery,after starting,and then run the vehicle.A aftermarket alternator and upgraded wiring would be proper way to do this.
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby Sailing_Faith » September 15th 2020, 9:03pm

SoccerMom4x4 wrote:Ahhhhh okay things are starting to make a little more sense.

So the ACR (particularly the one linked above) basically links the batteries together when charging and isolates them during discharge, same as the manual switch but it's smarter than me and does all the work.

Sailing_Faith your setup is essentially a relay that you can switch for more control over the functions? I really like the simplicity of your setup and got me thinking about adding solar, although I don't really have a place for the panel....

I'm now certainly leaning towards that blue seas ACR for simplicity and ease of use. If I wanted to, for an emergency start situation, could I/should I still wire in my manual switch so I can combine the batteries in the event they are both at lets say 9v? The switch would ALWAYS be in the 'OFF' poss unless I needed to combine their voltage then switch it to '1+2'. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself....


The homework I definitely still need to do is figuring out wire gauge and fuse/breaker sizes. Any advice or good links for reading?
Where did you buy your heavy gauge wire/ connectors for this?


Yes, my set up does work essentially like the ACR. The problem with the manual switching is that it is too easy to drive all day and then forget to switch it off... so you park and end up running both your batteries down. Yea, seems easy enough to remeber to switch it, until you don’t (years of experience says its not just me).

The relay does not forget,.. when the switch is set to automatic, it turns on the relay when the van is running and switches off when parked... every time.

I fell out of love with ACR battery isolators years ago because of the voltage drop across them when they charge... lost a set of AGMs on a customers boat because they were chronically undercharged.
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby AstroWill » September 16th 2020, 1:09am

Sailing_Faith wrote:Yes, my set up does work essentially like the ACR. The problem with the manual switching is that it is too easy to drive all day and then forget to switch it off... so you park and end up running both your batteries down. Yea, seems easy enough to remeber to switch it, until you don’t (years of experience says its not just me).

EXACTLY! This definitely will happen to you if you use a manual switch. Or you will forget to turn it on until 4hrs into along drive and loose that charging time.
Sailing_Faith wrote:I fell out of love with ACR battery isolators years ago because of the voltage drop across them when they charge... lost a set of AGMs on a customers boat because they were chronically undercharged.

Are you thinking of the diode isloators? Like https://amzn.to/2RvXAug

Diode isolators have the highest voltage drop, then you have FET isolators that are better, but ACRs should have virtually zero voltage drop. All of that should be listed in the specifications/manual of the isolator you decide to use, provided that it has a decent voltage drop.


SoccerMom4x4 wrote:Ahhhhh okay things are starting to make a little more sense.
So the ACR (particularly the one linked above) basically links the batteries together when charging and isolates them during discharge, same as the manual switch but it's smarter than me and does all the work.

Exactly!

SoccerMom4x4 wrote:I'm now certainly leaning towards that blue seas ACR for simplicity and ease of use. If I wanted to, for an emergency start situation, could I/should I still wire in my manual switch so I can combine the batteries in the event they are both at lets say 9v? The switch would ALWAYS be in the 'OFF' poss unless I needed to combine their voltage then switch it to '1+2'. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself....

You can do that, or you can get an ACR that is rated for that current/usage and has a manual control/override as well. Allows you to 'self-jump' from your house/aux battery to your starting battery.

SoccerMom4x4 wrote:The homework I definitely still need to do is figuring out wire gauge and fuse/breaker sizes. Any advice or good links for reading?
Where did you buy your heavy gauge wire/ connectors for this?

There are TONS of resources online, some great books at the library/online as well.

For parts, marine/boat shops and stores, car audio stores, Amazon and other online retailers.

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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby Mmusicman » September 16th 2020, 1:18am

Do a "hybird" setup... a combination of automatic dual charging of separate batteries, along with heavy gauge wiring and a battery switch (so you can jump your main battery from your second battery if ever need be. Master switch "off"... both batteries are isolated but both still charge. Leave it off for general use. Master switch "on" and both batteries are physically jumped together.. mostly for jump-starting if you accidentally kill your main battery. Best of both worlds!

PS: The Master switch "could" alternately be a heavy duty "battery solenoid" controlled by a small underdash toggle switch. There are any number of ways to do second batteries.
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby Wiley » September 16th 2020, 2:13am

Ditch the inverter, and buy devices that can run off 12v, you can get just about anything, or even cut your current wires and solder on new connections. Do you have a specific reason you plan on using an inverter? I originally had one but they are inefficient, and a waste of space, I eventually swapped everything to 12v and never looked back.

I use the Blue Sea ACR it works great. Solar is a piece of cake to add into the system......do it as soon as you have the funds, it is well worth it, I would even run the wiring now.


Most of your devices are already 12v but are being converted via the brick on the cable. You can verify this is correct, and then hack off the brick, or you can use something like these if you dont want to chop up your wires, they go directly to your auxiliary fuse block:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072B ... UTF8&psc=1
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Re: A little help on a second battery?

Postby Safariescapepod » September 19th 2020, 10:32pm

Hi, new to this site and working on similar project. Wondered if anyone in this topic had thoughts on an idea I had. I also want to install a second battery to power the back and eliminate the possibility of killing my starter battery. However, I want to keep things simple-ish and don't need much power. I'd like to run two strips of LEDs, use the radio, and maybe have one or two additional DC outlets. I wouldn't plan on using an inverter very often and if I did I would only do it with the engine running. My idea was to rewire the power supply for the main cabin fuse box so that it would draw from the deep cycle bank (thus powering the existing radio and DC outlets) when the key was off and draw from the starter battery when the key was on. I don't think it should be too hard to accomplish this by using two properly rated solenoids controlled by accessory power. I'm not an electrical engineer but I think the diagram I drew below would work?
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