I have a ford E-350 build in progress (http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...0-build-thread) and am planning on installing a second alternator. There's room for another one in the engine bay, (apparently it came with the ambulance package on these vans.)
I'm planning a year-long trip overseas, and would carry a spare anyway, so I figure I might as well just install it now and have one less thing rattling around inside the van. The main goal of this is redundancy.
So the question I have is, should I:
1. Hook up the second alternator to van's electrical system and then install a split-charge system, or
2. Create a dedicated "house" circuit where the second alternator is only connected to the house batteries, leaving the vehicle's stock electrical system untouched?
The advantage of (1) is that if one of the alternators fails, I don't have to do anything to get things running again. In fact, it seems like I may not even know if one of the alternators has failed unless I install some sort of monitoring system (so that could be a disadvantage).
With option 2, I wouldn't have to purchase and install a split-charge unit, but I probably would have to run some additional wiring to connect the second alternator to the house batteries. In the event that either alternator failed, I'd have to re-wire or jump power to either the house system or the starting system, and without a split charge unit, I'd have to be moving wires around all the time to make sure all of the batteries stayed charged.
Just typing this up is making me think that I should go with option 1 and get some kind of current sensor so that I'd know if one of the alternators had failed.
Anything I'm overlooking here?