2nd Battery - Put it Outside or Inside ?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by EssexBoy, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Hi Everyone

    I have a 2008 registered CI Carioca 746 and as we seem so much nowdays to be ending up on CL sites without EHU, I want to add a second leisure battery (and maybe later, a third). All fine there you would assume, its been done many times, and pretty much common practice, so what's the problem I hear you ask....

    Well, having searched & read lots of previous posts on the subject, my question is "should I locate the second leisure battery outside the 'van (on some sort of cradle/platform) or inside (in an existing storage locker) ?". The reasons for asking being these:
    1) The first leisure battery is already outside, under the chassis on a dedicated wind-out cradle.
    2) With the van being only 5 months old, I'm not over-keen on modd'ing the 'van too much.
    3) I have a second battery available (same make/model/capacity/age) sitting doing nothing
    4) Don't have a massive amount floor level storage available inside.

    So, I see my decision being based on the following advantages/disdvantages, but I'm not really sure which ones are the most important ones ie. would I be breaking "golden rules" if I incorrectly ignored them...

    Outside - Advantages
    1) Potentially closer to first battery/Shorter cable run (inside location could be up to 4m away).
    2) No cable holes in motorhome floor - and therefore no potential future warranty complications or possible leaks
    3) No storage room taken up

    Outside - Disadvantages
    1) No easy place to put them eg. would need a suitable cradle/box/platform
    2) Battery open to the elements & road damage
    3) Harder for maintenance (although batteries I have are maintenance free)

    My gut feelling is to try to put them outside, but inside definitely seems easier. So, if you were me, what would you do ?

    Thanks

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    if there is a place underneath to fit a cradle you could fit the battery in a 'made for purpose' plastic battery box to protect it from the elements...

    Gaffa tape the lid joint and grommeted cable and vent tube holes or seal holes with silicon.
     
  3. Mike-H

    Mike-H Deleted User

    Is there room under the drivers seat? I have 2 x 75ah maintenance free batteries fitted snugly under mine.
     
  4. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Thanks Mike...

    Did cross my mind, but my batteries are 110a/h and a bit big to go under the seat, plus, would still have the problem of getting the cables from outside to inside...

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. Mike-H

    Mike-H Deleted User

    Under the passenger seat then? You don`t need to wire the extra battery directly to the external one. You could add a new battery connection to the control/fuse box.

    p.s. other disadvantages of external battery:

    Doesnt perform as well when cold.

    Might get stolen/damaged.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2009
  6. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    I'm not to sure what chassis you have but your photo shows Ducato/Boxer type van,

    You say that its new so you may not be keen on doing what I have done.


    Between the drivers door and the front of the rear spring hanger I welded reinforcing pads with attachment cleats to take a frame, the frame hold 6 X 50 amp/hour batteries, the batteries are very close to the bottom of the base floor so I made it so that 2 small hydraulic jacks can be placed into purpose built sockets on the frame to lift up and down the frame complete with batteries for servicing, of the batteries are the sealed type that is not necessary very often.

    I did something similar to the other side where I fitted a 70 ltr gas tank.

    Doug..
     
  7. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Ahhhh... So if I've got it right, I'd keep my extra battery inboard, and break into the wires from the battery going to the Control Panel... something like this ?
     
  8. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Thanks Doug... Great idea, would be the ideal solution, but I guess that would be just a bit beyond me, I'm afraid...
     
  9. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    :thumb::thumb:
     
  10. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Great... Thank you... Has put my mind very much at ease...

    Now if I may, perhaps I could trouble you with a few practicalities of this set-up please...

    1) I'm pretty hands on, so would be confident in wiring this system up, but considering potential future warranty issues etc that come with a relatively new 'van, would you do the work yourself, or have done by the dealer ?
    2) The locker I have in mind for the 2nd battery would mean a cable run of about 4m (maybe even 5m by the time it goes "round the houses"), so as I'm aware that bigger cable means lower voltage loss, what would be your suggested cable size ?
    3) I need to fuse the tail connections at the 2nd battery, and I think I remember somewhere you saying you use 35A. Would this do for me too ?
    4) At the point where I break in to the 1st battery -> Control Panel cable, any suggestions/best practice for the connection ie. soldered, crimped etc.

    Thanks again

    Steve
     
  11. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Mmmm!!!!

    warranty could be a problem whether its done at a dealers or you do it.
    they may not appreciate you cutting into the wiring loom.
    much better to connect battery to battery if possible but i can see the problem with the 1st battery being outside the van but the wires have to come inside somewhere and you could feed the new ones through the same hole and reseal it.

    soldered joints prefered to ensure a good contact if you go the loom option.

    5 mtr run.....i'd go for 100amp cable...dont know what gauge that would be but pretty big. i use 50amp but mine are closer together.

    i use 35amp fuses 'cos im too tight to buy the big 100amp ones...about a fiver each i think:Eeek: and i figure im not going to pull much more than 35 anyway.
    normally 2amps or so total for ALL led lighting,
    3 or 4amps for the TV/sat box,
    10 to 15amp for the water pump,
    X amps(?) for the warm air fan. (not used much as its crap)
    the only thing i could have trouble with is the 500w invertor but its been ok so far as only used for light loads.

    fuse at both ends of the live cable at least and as close as possible to the batteries.
    if you have only one then a short will blow the fuse but the other end will still be live from the other battery.

     
  12. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Thanks Pappajohn...

    Looks like I'll still need to have a think about where I put the extra battery, as putting it in the locker I had in mind means a HUGE cable... :Eek!:

    So, I guess I need to get the extra battery no more than 1m away - either inside or outside the 'van...

    Mmmmmmm.....

    Time to put thinking cap on again ....:RollEyes:

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. Mike-H

    Mike-H Deleted User

    Steve, Your diagram wouldn`t load for me but PappaJohn gives it the thumbs up and he knows what he`s talking about :thumb:

    As for connections and warranty, I`d go for something that can be totally removed leaving no trace should you ever need to make a warranty claim.

    If you`re at all unsure about electrics get someone qualified to do the work. :Smile:
     
  14. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Steve

    I think you answered your own question, mounting inside MAY be easier but defiantely NOT the best solution.

    My advice is to mount outside as close as possible to the other battery, running long cables between batteries is best avoided, even with heavy cable the volt drop will affect charging and discouraging cycles leading to loss of useful capacity. It may be more work but you only do it once.

    If you do go down the inside route use 25 sq. mm cable and as pappa advised fused at both ends.

    Jim
     
  15. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Thanks Jim & Mike-H...

    I just nipped out and had another quick look at the 'van again, and as I definitely think the "remove & leave no trace" install is the right thing to do, outside mounting is my best option...

    So, all I need to do then is source some sourt of of tray/box/cage to mount underneath :Eek!:... Now, not wanting to go down the so-bespoke & permanent route suggested by dougcumiskey, and having been unsuccesful in the brief search for something suitable so far, do you think I am I looking for something that doesn't exist "off the shelf" ? Or am I maybe not looking in the right places ?

    I'm a time-served mech eng, so am happy to knock something into shape, just wary of getting too complicated & "special"...

    Any thoughts please ?

    Thanks again

    Steve
     
  16. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Steve, I doubt you will find anything off the shelf ..

    I was thinking on a suspended angle iron frame, if you post a couple of pictures it would help ..

    Jim
     
  17. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Hi Jim

    Here's a couple of pictures of the underside of the 'van...

    Looks relatively easy to do...

    If I keep the cable run to about 1.5m-2m, would I still need 25mm sq ?

    Thanks

    Steve
     
  18. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Seve

    yes, use the same size cable ..

    good luck .. I see why you were looking for an alternative solution inside ..

    Jim
     
  19. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Thanks Jim...

    I think its not too difficult to achieve, its just a lot of "pigging about" for such a simple result...:Doh:

    Still, I'll have a bash, and if push comes to shove, then I'll just have to invest in that 220ah battery to replace the existing 110ah instead... however much that would pain me.... especially as that would mean using the money I was hoping to put toward a solar panel...:Sad:

    Anyway, thanks again...

    Steve
     
  20. sinbad1

    sinbad1 Deleted User

    Just a thought is it not possible to make a compartment between those beams to house both batteries and fabricate a trapdoor in the floor to gain access from within the van?

    regards
     
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