New FWC Battery and Relay Install

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#1
Hey Guys,

So I'm installing my new battery and Blue Sea ACR into my 2016 Grandby Front Dinette. I had the camper delivered without a battery because I wanted to install my own dual-sensing setup. Looks pretty straight forward with a pair of 10ga red and black wires terminating in the battery box, but I expected they would have voltage that was equal to my charge line and truck battery.

These lines are dead though, no power to them regardless of if the truck is running, or the camper is plugged in. The camper does have power and runs off the 2nd battery in my truck for right now..

I'm thinking these wires in my battery box must be terminated somewhere in my cabinetry, wherever FWC would generally install their isloator, I'm assuming someplace ahead of the main distribution block. I'm sure I can eventually track it down, but was hoping somebody here could point me in the right direction.

I also found another pair of 8 or maybe even 6ga wire behind the vent grill installed next to the fuses/circuit breakers and below the IOTA converter. My guess is they are the dead lines from my solar plugs?

First pic- Coiled 10ga wires in the battery box
Second pic- Heavier wires behind the vent grill (solar?)
Third pic- Both, trying to give a little bit more perspective

--
K Pawley

541.720.1258
pawleyk@gmail.com
KI7AMV

A respectable girl, a farmboy, and a Chevy truck take on the PanAm- October 2016
https://www.facebook.com/runningfrommonday

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brianjwilson

Some sort of lost...
#2
Well lucky for you I had the exact same experience. Boy was I frustrated after doing all of my wiring work and wrapping up my install late at night when it didn't work. Lol

I also ordered without an isolator or batteries. After a bunch of phone calls and emails I finally talked to the owner, Tom.

Naturally I assumed I could connect to the larger wiring which are the battery cables, but it didn't do anything. Instead I was instructed to supply power to the plug on the outside of the camper. After testing to confirm that supplying power to the black and white wires in that bundle (I believe it's an AC power wire wrapped in a gray jacket, black is ground, white is positive), I ran that white back into the battery box and connected it to my wiring (battery also installed in truck).

Apparently when you order without an isolator or battery, they assume that you're going to use their plug and get power directly from the battery on your truck. I'm sure there is a more direct (possible larger gauge) wire to connect to elsewhere, but as you saw most everything is hard to reach and panels covered in silicone sealant.

Anyway for me, the black and white wire from the exterior plug worked. I just cut it as short as possible and connected it to my battery switch in my battery box.

Good luck to you!
 

brianjwilson

Some sort of lost...
#3
I read your post again and I'm trying to figure out what exactly your goal is. Why are you installing the ACR between the camper battery and the 2nd battery in the truck? Doesn't that mean you already have an isolator in the truck? And now you're adding another?

You should look at my build if you haven't already. I have two Aux batteries behind the rear seat of my Tacoma. And a blue sea ACR mounted under the hood of the truck. All connected with 2 gauge wiring. 2 gauge wiring run to the camper, where it then connects to the camper power. When any battery is charging, they are all charging. Whether from the alternator, solar or converter, all with minimal voltage drop. When voltage drops below 12.75 or whatever the threshold is, the ACR disconnects and the camper runs off of the two aux batteries in the truck.

Here is my fleet battery compartment. The large 2 gauge wiring comes from the batteries in the rear seat, into a battery switch. Then onto studs, where it is connected to the camper wiring harness that would normally be plugged into the truck. The next smaller red and black were supposed to be battery cables. The smallest is the solar wiring.
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#4
Well lucky for you I had the exact same experience. Boy was I frustrated after doing all of my wiring work and wrapping up my install late at night when it didn't work. Lol

I also ordered without an isolator or batteries. After a bunch of phone calls and emails I finally talked to the owner, Tom.

Naturally I assumed I could connect to the larger wiring which are the battery cables, but it didn't do anything. Instead I was instructed to supply power to the plug on the outside of the camper. After testing to confirm that supplying power to the black and white wires in that bundle (I believe it's an AC power wire wrapped in a gray jacket, black is ground, white is positive), I ran that white back into the battery box and connected it to my wiring (battery also installed in truck).

Apparently when you order without an isolator or battery, they assume that you're going to use their plug and get power directly from the battery on your truck. I'm sure there is a more direct (possible larger gauge) wire to connect to elsewhere, but as you saw most everything is hard to reach and panels covered in silicone sealant.

Anyway for me, the black and white wire from the exterior plug worked. I just cut it as short as possible and connected it to my battery switch in my battery box.

Good luck to you!
Maybe you're the reason they gave me so much guff when I tried to order mine this way.. :)

Your fleet may have been different, because my Grandby actually did just have a splice in the input line from the truck where FWC would have installed their isolator. I just got lucky and found it.. I'll post a more complete recap with pictures when the whole install's finished. The wiring actually turned out to be simple and quick, but I had to move the big ***** battery I bought.. I don't figure my neighbors will appreciate my skill saw and screw gun this early..
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#5
I read your post again and I'm trying to figure out what exactly your goal is. Why are you installing the ACR between the camper battery and the 2nd battery in the truck? Doesn't that mean you already have an isolator in the truck? And now you're adding another?

You should look at my build if you haven't already. I have two Aux batteries behind the rear seat of my Tacoma. And a blue sea ACR mounted under the hood of the truck. All connected with 2 gauge wiring. 2 gauge wiring run to the camper, where it then connects to the camper power. When any battery is charging, they are all charging. Whether from the alternator, solar or converter, all with minimal voltage drop. When voltage drops below 12.75 or whatever the threshold is, the ACR disconnects and the camper runs off of the two aux batteries in the truck.

Here is my fleet battery compartment. The large 2 gauge wiring comes from the batteries in the rear seat, into a battery switch. Then onto studs, where it is connected to the camper wiring harness that would normally be plugged into the truck. The next smaller red and black were supposed to be battery cables. The smallest is the solar wiring.
My truck does duty as a work and trail truck as well as a camper hauler. I have dual batteries under the hood. They're basically paralled, but I have a 500amp constant duty solenoid that disconnects them when the key is off. ACC, IGN, and START positions the batteries work together. Basically it's just a backup system. I run my winch, radios, inverter, and (soon) air compressor from the second battery, but both start the truck. If I happen to leave any one thing on, including lights, dome light, whatever, I'll have one good battery to start with the turn of the key.

My camper has it's own 200a/h 12v deep cycle battery that is isolated from the truck's system by the ACR. The idea is that each system can operate totally independently of each other, since the truck gets a lot of use without the camper I wanted to have a viable stand alone dual system, but also didn't want to carry around a 120# camper battery installed someplace on the truck with no camper loaded.
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#6
OK,


First off- On my camper, the coiled 10ga wires in the battery box are definitely the solar leads. I ran 12v jumpers to them and had the same reading at the solar plugs.

The heavier (8ga) wires behind the vent panel below the IOTA converter are the battery leads. The battery positive is dead until you connect it to incoming power somehow. It was terminated behind the fuse panel and coiled with another terminated wire, a 12ga black ground line. These two wires were coiled with a third wire, white, that brings power in from the truck and supplies the camper.

Right where all these wires are coiled together, the white incoming power wire is actually two wires butted together. When you disconnect them, one side shows positive voltage that matches the truck, the other side matches whatever the camper has- in this case whatever the voltage from the converter is (assuming you're plugged into shore power).

It's here that I'm assuming FWC ties into the system for their isolator, when they install it beneath the driver's side dinette seat.

I've got the camper battery lead and the lead to the fuses on one side of the ACR and the incoming from the truck on the other. The small black ground I can only assume is intended to ground the relay itself, which is what I used it for.

The biggest issue I ended up having with this install was my failure to consider that, just because my battery would "technically" fit in the battery box, didn't mean it would actually fit through the opening.. oops. I relocated my battery to the under-seat box below the relay and wiring. It's a sealed battery, so I don't think there will be an issue with the location not being vented. It would be easy to add a vent or two, if necessary.

I used most all of FWC battery hardware from the original box, just relocated everything and then hemmed the battery in with some 2x4 scraps and a chunk of 1" decking. This under seat location near the center of the truck seems more appropriate to me anyway. It seemed like a waste of a perfectly good, easily accessible cabinet the way it was before.

So far, the self-installs on my new Grandby have been really easy. It seems FWC has the same basic harness regardless of options, so when you go to install your own equipment everything is right there for you. The only tricky part, as in this case, is guessing how they intended for things to be installed.

I also put in my own Isotherm fridge and it went really smooth. There were already 12v leads in the fridge location, hot, fused, and ready to go. I just connected everything up, shimmed it in and BAM, cold beer!

I'm also planning to do my own fantastic fan, I've heard there are hot leads for them also. Here's hoping.

Facebook album with pics of the isolator and battery install. You can see the white, red, and black wires I mentioned in one of the pictures just after I pulled them from the cabinet.. https://www.facebook...=1&l=38a07ce4ae
 

brianjwilson

Some sort of lost...
#7
Cool, glad you got it worked out.

I'm sure you already know but, if you're using FWC wiring from the truck it is small gauge, and going to have a very hard time supporting a 200 amp hour battery all the way back in the camper. Would be curious to see if the ACR even stays connected when the camper battery is deeply discharged, trying to draw a lot of amps and causing a large voltage loss in the wiring. If you look around other forums you'll see where people had a heavily discharged camper battery and could not get the FWC isolator to operate due to the low voltage and loss in the wiring. At least you could technically manually latch the ACR in this case, but be careful of the small wires.

This is one reason why I didn't want their wiring and isolator setup. My 2 gauge wire only has to get to the back seat, so there is not a big voltage drop for bulk charging from the alternator.

Are you installing solar to aid in charging and topping of the big sealed battery?
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#8
Right now we'll just top the battery off from shore power before weekend trips. Later this summer I'll install a couple hundred watts of solar to keep us topped up once we're on the road full time.

I'm also planning to fab up my own bed and I'll run some beefier wire to the camper then. Maybe I could tie into the 2/0 I've got running out back?
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#9
Cool, glad you got it worked out.

I'm sure you already know but, if you're using FWC wiring from the truck it is small gauge, and going to have a very hard time supporting a 200 amp hour battery all the way back in the camper. Would be curious to see if the ACR even stays connected when the camper battery is deeply discharged, trying to draw a lot of amps and causing a large voltage loss in the wiring. If you look around other forums you'll see where people had a heavily discharged camper battery and could not get the FWC isolator to operate due to the low voltage and loss in the wiring. At least you could technically manually latch the ACR in this case, but be careful of the small wires.

This is one reason why I didn't want their wiring and isolator setup. My 2 gauge wire only has to get to the back seat, so there is not a big voltage drop for bulk charging from the alternator.

Are you installing solar to aid in charging and topping of the big sealed battery?
You were totally correct about the FWC wiring. The battery didn't even have to be deeply discharged to drop the voltage enough at the regulator to disconnect it. I was planning to wire heavier wire in anyway, but it turned out to be a necessity.

I have 2/0 welding wire running front to back to run the winch and jumper cables, so I ran a spur behind the cab to tie to the camper (and maybe someday a winch mount in the bed..). I've got 4' of 4ga running from the battery under the dinette to the new central Anderson plug. Everything works great now!

The plug will be bolted down after the bed gets back from powdercoat next week..

I also wired in a little panel with a voltage meter that I can see from the side window, the bed, and from inside the truck. It's got an LED indicator that is tied to the remote LED lead on my DVSR too. IMG_20160926_090418.jpg IMG_20160926_090528.jpg
 
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