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How to wire dual batteries/isolator/battery selector switch



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Old 09-27-2006, 01:37 PM   #1
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Lightbulb How to wire dual batteries/isolator/battery selector switch

If you want to run dual batteries, there are several ways to do it. Popular methods are battery switches and isolators. The marine crowd has something called an ACR, or automatic charging relay, that performs the same function. Finally, you can use a solenoid setup, alone, or in combination with a battery switch or ACR.

The goal of a dual battery setup is usually one or both of the following: straight parallel (think - diesel) or with one in "reserve" (think - starting battery/deep cycle).

The purpose of this thread is to discuss and provide diagrams for all these methods.

Battery Switch
Blue Sea Systems battery selector switch, available at Academy in the marine section:






Here are the specs-
Switch positions: Off, 1, 2, or 1+2
Ratings:
350A continuous
600A - 5 min
900A - 100 sec
1750A - 2.5 sec
48V DC Max

If your goal is to wire in 2 batteries in the "reserve" configuration, meaning one battery is the starter and the other is a deep cycle that also will have a load (winch) and have the charging circuit work properly, this will do the job but it is not as flexible as some of the other methods.

Questions for Discussion:
1. I'm assuming those amperage ratings above are at 48V, which I think means they would be much higher at 12.5V (like by almost a factor of 4...) Right or wrong?

2. If you look at the back view, you see the lugs marked 1, 2 and Common (C). So, I'm thinking the proper way to wire it would be:

A. If you have Batt 1 to Lug 1 and Batt 2 to lug 2, this is effectively a parallel wiring setup going to the starter (leave the winch out of it for the moment).

(Example - http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower...ry_wiring.html)

So, let's say batts 1 and 2 are both 900amp batteries fully charged, the "1+2" position on the selector switch gets you 12V at 1800 amp/hrs (parallel wiring increases capacity but not voltage)

Right so far?

B. If we agree A is correct, then my question actually turns to the downstream wiring of the alternator, starter and/or winch to the "C" or common lug. Here's what I'm thinking:

i. You can and should wire both the alternator charging wire (100 amp in my case) and the starter wire to the "C" lug. With the switch set to "1", Batt 1 starts and gets charged, Batt 2 is isolated. Switch set to "2" isolates batt 1 and batt 2 will handle starting duties and be charged. You can just run the alternator wire to the common feed and it'll charge whichever bank its on, 1 or 2 or both. Switch set to "1+2" allows both batts to be charged and also to be used for starter power (paralleling).

Two caveats here -
a. 1+2 paralleling would not be good long term for the charging solution unless your batteries are similar (i.e. not a good charging loop for batt 1 as start and batt 2 a deep cycle), so paralleling should be an emergency start choice only if you do not plan to run an isolator or something similar.
b. Since this switch does not have a field disconnect, switching should be done with the engine off so as not to cook the internally regulated alternator.

Right?

ii. A winch, though, should absolutely not be wired through the selector switch, but rather be wired directly to, say, batt 2 (picture an Optima yellow-top). Winches pull way to much current...

Plus, that way you have the option to isolate off one or the other batteries during winching.

Right?

C. I'm thinking 1 or 2 gauge battery cable should be fine for this application.

What say you?
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Last edited by xanthias; 11-08-2009 at 12:43 PM.. Reason: Expand topic
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Old 09-27-2006, 01:47 PM   #2
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:42 PM   #3
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:44 PM   #4
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:03 PM   #5
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Here's a good chart for sizing the wire. Look below the chart for the "interactive" calculator.

http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
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Old 09-28-2006, 07:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanthias
I don't currently have dual batteries, but I imagine I will one day. I have a high-amp alternator kit coming my way now. I picked this Blue Sea Systems battery selector switch at Academy in the marine section:





(I know Hellroaring and other outfits have ready-made setups for this type of thing that include selenoids, etc., but I'm trying to go cheap, like a true Zuk owner.)

Here are the specs-
Switch positions: Off, 1, 2, or 1+2
Ratings:
350A continuous
600A - 5 min
900A - 100 sec
1750A - 2.5 sec
48V DC Max

I want to figure out the proper way to wire in 2 batteries, plus alternator and winch.

Questions:
1. I'm assuming those amperage ratings above are at 48V, which I think means they would be much higher at 12.5V (like by almost a factor of 4...) Right or wrong?

2. If you look at the back view, you see the lugs marked 1, 2 and Common (C). So, I'm thinking the proper way to wire it would be:

A. If you have Batt 1 to Lug 1 and Batt 2 to lug 2, this is effectively a parallel wiring setup going to the starter (leave the winch out of it for the moment).

(Example - http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower...ry_wiring.html)

So, let's say batts 1 and 2 are both 900amp batteries fully charged, the "1+2" position on the selector switch gets you 12V at 1800 amp/hrs (parallel wiring increases capacity but not voltage)

Right so far?

B. If we agree A is correct, then my question actually turns to the downstream wiring of the alternator, starter and/or winch to the "C" or common lug. Here's what I'm thinking:

i. You can and should wire both the alternator charging wire (100 amp in my case) and the starter wire to the "C" lug. With the switch set to "1", Batt 1 starts and gets charged, Batt 2 is isolated. Switch set to "2" isolates batt 1 and batt 2 will handle starting duties and be charged. Switch set to "1+2" allows both batts to be charged and also to be used for starter power.

Right?

ii. A winch, though, should absolutely not be wired through the selector switch, but rather be wired directly to, say, batt 2 (picture an Optima yellow-top). Winches pull way to much current...

Plus, that way you have the option to isolate off one or the other batteries during winching.

Right?

C. I'm thinking 1 or 2 gauge battery cable should be fine for this application.

What say you?
I only at bestpartially agree with B subpart i and subpart ii Going to think this over and post a full comment later today.
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:49 PM   #7
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Goat, here's the detail on that switch:

http://www.bluesea.com/product.asp?Product_id=21432

Edit - here's a marine article with a good discussion on how the switches operate:

http://continuouswave.com/whaler/ref...alBattery.html
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Old 09-28-2006, 08:36 PM   #8
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Ok

This is a tough one to comment on:

The main point I would like to make is the CCA (cold cranking amps) of your two batteries combined is going to be around 1700 to 1800 AMPS and the reserve amperage is going to be around 200 to 210 Amp Hours
I feel you knew this, you just stated it differently in your desacription above but as you and I talked about over the phone we needed to make it clear what CCA was vs. reserve capacity.
I agree with your wiring idea and you should go with 2/0 or even 4/0 welding cable to provide a safe wire size to carry all that current since the switch will handle that size wire. Overkill yes, safe as possible you bet. Now, all this being said it is taking into consideration the extreme case where one would be drawing maximum available current through that cable and that switch. Realistically you are going to draw 100 to 200 amps for the starter for that Zuki engine (wild guess) and between 250 to 400 amps at full load/ full rated pull for a moderate to large electric 12 volt winch. So now you see where the 2 gauge cables work just fine for most batteries in most vehicles because in most cases you are never going to draw that available 800 to 900 CCA let alone the 1600 to 1800 available from two batteries.
Connecting the winch power cable to the yellow top is a great idea, no need to run that through the switch. You are correct on how the two batteries will get charged up exactly as you plan to wire them along with the alt and the starter cable, that is all looking good to me.
Most of our fire trucks here use similar switches for a main disconnect so that switch should be trouble free for what you demand from it.
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:20 PM   #9
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Resurrecting this to add some additional diagrams showing options for wiring dual battery systems.

As you may have noticed, one limitation with a battery-switch only setup is a lack of isolation flexibility. If you isolate one of the batteries on a switch, it is also cut off from charging. So, generally speaking, your isolation options permitting charging are to use a diode-based isolator, a solenoid-based isolator, or, an ACR.

Isolator vs. Solenoid. vs. Switch

http://www.custombatterycables.com/b..._isolators.htm

Diode Isolator vs. Solenoid Isolator

http://www.bcae1.com/battiso.htm

Isolator Only



The diagram above would be for using an isolator (Hellroaring, etc.) Isolators will do what they are named to do, but automatically charge both batteries (some folks say with a voltage drop across the isolator, at least on older models). Good option for a basically autmomated system combining a starting battery and a deep cycle battery (winching, stereo, etc.).

ACR (Automatic Charging Relay)



Though stolen from a marine application, the diagram above is for using an ACR instead of an isolator.

Some good tech on the ACR (alternator charging relay) setup, including the use of a battery selector switch -
http://coloradok5.com/forums/showpos...6&postcount=31

ACR with Battery Switch and Solenoid



For the diagram above (courtesy of Ryoken on CK5), which shows a full-bore install of an ACR setup with a battery switch in an automotive application, here are some explanatory notes:

1. The blue circle is the ACR (http://bluesea.com/category/2/productline/overview/389). It is voltage sensing and will automatically charge either battery as needed. Further, it has internal paralleling capability, which you can run off a plain SPST switch, so you can combine them to emergency start, for example. This would allow you to run the ACR only, if you wanted, and skip the battery switch. The ACR is nifty, but expensive (~$175 for the 400 amp). Blue Sea has three models you can choose from -



Looking back at the diagram above, wired this way, you run the marine switch on "1" or "2". This allows you to use either "1" or "2" as your main bank, with the other serving as your auxiliary. When the battery switch is in positions "1" or "2", the ACR closes as needed to charge the other "auxiliary" bank. Choosing the "1+2" or "both" position on the battery switch puts the batteries in permanent parallel. However, this will impact the ACR's ability to automatically regulate the charging of both banks. If you run the marine switch in "1+2", the ACR just doesn't close contacts, as both posts are over the kick-on limit.

2. The yellow "cab feed" represents a constant hot that is the power feed to the cab. It feeds the ignition circuit (your column or dash ignition switch) as well and that's what the "cab breaker" (or fuse) is for.

3. The "slave solenoid" in the diagram sends juice to the starter when the key is put to "start". Its benefit is to bypass the typical heat-soaked Chevy solenoid mounted on the starter in OEM configuration. Please note, in this configuration, the solenoid is not being used as an isolation relay - unlike some of the other solenoid configurations below. Here, it is simply serving as a typical starter solenoid.

Solenoids -
http://store.summitracing.com/egnsea...=115+%2D122283

Constant duty solenoids (suited to serving as isolation relays) -
http://bluesea.com/products/5301
http://www.wranglernw.com/pc-6420-10...ion-relay.aspx

4. The "signal" wire to the solenoid is your ignition wire - it fires off that solenoid when the ignition switch is in the start position. Specifically, the purple "signal" wire in the diagram is the wire that normally runs down to the "s" terminal on the starter to activate it (Chevrolet). In the diagram configuration, it activates the slave solenoid instead and allows the juice through the big wire down to the starter.

To bypass the on-starter factory solenoid, you just jumper the starter (place a jumper wire to the "s" terminal from starter positive lug) -


(pic courtesy of ryoken)

5. The red circle is the marine switch, like in the first post of this thread.

6. The orange wire coming off the ACR is the parallel trigger wire running into the cab to a parallel switch (with this setup, you can use either battery as a primary with the marine switch. Both charge all the time as needed due to the ACR, as it is voltage sensing. They can be paralleled with either the parallel switch from the ACR or by setting the marine switch to "both"). The parallel switch can be a simple SPST switch. Refer back to note 1 on how the ACR will function in tandem with the battery switch in this configuration.

7. Not shown - you can connect your alternator excite lead right from the main charge post on the alternator.

8. With this setup, the alternator charges at the "in" side of the slave solenoid, basically the "common" output of the marine switch. This appears in the diagram as the orange "charge" wire.

OR, ACR and Solenoid Only (no Battery Switch)

Here is a little simpler version of the ACR setup, which does not use a battery switch, only the ACR:


(diagram courtesy of william_7900 on CK5)

http://coloradok5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=243097

OR, ACR alone

If all that looks a little hairy, but you like the ACR idea, you can do it even more simply without a solenoid or marine switch:

http://coloradok5.com/forums/showpos...0&postcount=33
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanthias View Post
Resurrecting this to add some diagrams showing options for wiring dual battery systems -





Some good tech on the ACR (alternator charging relay) setup, including the use of a battery selector switch -
http://coloradok5.com/forums/showpos...6&postcount=31

These diagrams really helps! Thanks
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:10 PM   #11
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Another Isolator Option with Solenoid

Good tech from Hellroaring, using one of their isolators -



http://www.hellroaring.com/4wheel.php
Remote module: http://www.hellroaring.com/remote.php

OR, Battery Switch Only (see post #1 for initial discussion of this option)

BillaVista's article on dual battery wiring with a selector switch on Pirate:

http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billav...tery_setup.htm


Or, another example of switch only -

(Diagram courtesy of Boston Mangler on Pirate4x4)

As far as I can tell, the switch only setup will work fine, including combining starting and deep cycle batteries. Of course, on the "1" or "2" positions, the other battery is completely isolated and receives no charge (see the schematic above, or Billavista's schematic in his article). Using the "both" or "1+2" options on the switch should be for temporary paralleling and not the default position for daily driving and charging unless the batteries are identical or of similar type because then they are in a straight parallel configuration. Also, you would not want to change the switch position with the engine running (no field disconnect for the alternator = cooked alternator).
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:14 PM   #12
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Another Battery Switch and Solenoid Option

Yet another configuration I saw on CK5, but just looking at it, I admit I'm confused by the toggle between the ignition and the relay.



Notes:
1. "Heavy duty relay" here is just another way of saying solenoid. Again, a solenoid is not voltage sensing so this would be best suited for completely isolating the batteries and for temporary paralleling, if one is a starter and the other a deep cycle (same charging issue as with a switch only).
2. The "from ignition key switch" is presumably the wire usually used to activate the starter.
3. The toggle switch activates the solenoid.
4. Battery #2 is mis-labeled: the positive post obviously should go to the solenoid.
5. This diagram leaves unaddressed the charging circuit.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanthias View Post
Yet another configuration I saw on CK5, but just looking at it, I admit I'm confused by the toggle between the ignition and the relay.
Hidden kill switch?
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:26 PM   #14
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Hidden kill switch?
Upon further study, no - this is the trigger switch for the solenoid. I've edited the post.

OEM Parallel

Here's how Chevy wired their duals from the factory (wired in straight parallel):

http://www.texas4x4.org/gallery/albu...ry_battery.gif

This is typical of what you will find on most factory dual battery setups, such as diesel pickups. It works fine as long as your batteries are identical or similar. It does not work well long term if you want to pair a starting battery, for example, with a deep-cycle.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:34 PM   #15
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You can also get an isolator from NAPA:

http://www.napaonline.com/MasterPage...ttery+Isolator

Isolator Only Option

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Old 03-10-2009, 04:40 AM   #16
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Another configuration using a Battery Switch, Solenoid and ACR -



(diagram courtesy of mini_mull on CK5)
This configuration seems to take the solenoid out of the charging circuit, which I think I would prefer.

Notes:
1. The winch should be grounded to the negative post of the same battery.
2. The un-labeled circle with A1 and A2 is a slave solenoid.
3. On this diagram, "emergency start switch" refers to the paralleling switch for the ACR.
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Project "Dirty South" - http://www.texas4x4.org/showthread.php?t=20035
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Did Ol' Hank really do it this way?

Last edited by xanthias; 03-10-2009 at 08:15 AM..
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:59 AM   #17
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Kingwood, Texas
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xanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubis
Another option, apart from ACR or isolator, is the Battery Mate from Master Volt:



http://www.mastervolt.com/view_produ...48&pro_id=5181
__________________
Project "Dirty South" - http://www.texas4x4.org/showthread.php?t=20035
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylon Jennings
Did Ol' Hank really do it this way?

Last edited by xanthias; 03-11-2009 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:30 PM   #18
I've met Johnny Cash
 
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Kingwood, Texas
Posts: 2,207
xanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubisxanthias Surfs Venus with Anubis
Solenoid Only




(diagrams courtesy of SeaBass on Pirate4x4)

http://12voltguy.com/web/index.php?o...hk=1&Itemid=43

Install writeup -
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=427895

Install instructions -
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showp...9&postcount=25
__________________
Project "Dirty South" - http://www.texas4x4.org/showthread.php?t=20035
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylon Jennings
Did Ol' Hank really do it this way?

Last edited by xanthias; 03-10-2009 at 08:42 PM..
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