Sticking with a single battery…

codename607

Adventurer
In hopes of keeping my system simple I am trying to come up with a way that eliminates the need for a dual battery set up.

I have a Four Wheel Camper that runs the basics (Fantastic Fan, 2x LED Lights) off of my house battery. I also have a 9k winch that requires a lot of power to run.

(My set up)

With these needs, I am considering replacing my house battery with a single deep cycle battery. Most likely an Odyssey one.

(Odyssey Battery That I Could Use)

I’ve seen this done many times before, however, I want to ensure I never run the battery to low. In the event that it does happen I plan on using an anti-gravity jump pack to get me running.

(Antigravity Jump Pack)

The only thing that I’m on the fence about is monitoring the battery.

My questions:

Is anyone tracking a device that I could use to keep the battery from getting too low? Something that would alert me when power drops? Or an accurate way to digitally monitor the battery’s power?
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Just use a battery meter/monitor with an alarm; you can get them with disconnects too if you want. They're commonly used on RVs and boats.
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
National Luna sells an LED battery monitor with a programmable alarm to alert you to low battery state, but the beeping from the alarm only helps if you are in the truck when it goes off. You won't hear it if you are sitting outside or in the camper, unless the windows are open. These come in single and dual battery versions.
http://www.nationalluna.com/dualmon.htm

The Odyssey in your pic is a PC1400. You should be looking at a PC1750 (Grp 65?) or a PC2150 (Grp 31). The 2150 is very finicky about charging and maintenance, so you will need to add a fairly sophisticated (and expensive) maintenance charger to keep it happy, especially with the reportedly low voltage output from Toyota alternators. There are some ways to tweak the Toy output to bump voltage, so that might be worth looking into.
http://www.nationalluna.com/dualmon.htm

If you want to run a single battery, bigger is better. The Odyssey 1750 seems to be easier to maintain the the 2150. If you can fit a Grp 31 into the truck, I'd suggest a Northstar because it is not as finicky as the big Odyssey. Deka is a decent bargain choice. The Optima Grp 31 is often available at attractive prices, but does not have the capacity of the Odyssey or the Northstar. There are plenty of other choices, but look at specs carefully because they are all over the board for batteries in any given group size.

The lithium jump pack is worth it.
 

codename607

Adventurer
Thanks for the information guys. I've done a few searches for "battery monitor and alarm" but most of the reviews suggest these system are not as accurate as they should be. The national luna single monitor looks promising. I may end up going with this.

As far as the Odyssey battery, I wasn't tracking that issue, but it does make since. I've read good things about the Northstar but I would need to find out which one would work in my truck. I think Tacoma World has a group buy on them right now also.
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
I agree with Ducky's Dad about that battery.
http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/150891-Sears-Diehard-Platinum-31M-issues

You're never going to find a single automotive battery that will happily spin a Fantastic Fan all night and get up for work the next day. Those fans suck a lot of juice.
And you need battery(s) with low internal resistance to recharge quickly and easily with your charging system.
I'd rather have two Optimas Yellowtops than one Enersys product. Or one battery truly built to deep cycle.
 

codename607

Adventurer
Just read a few of the post in the link you provided Bill. Seems like the way to go is dual battery but a smaller system that my truck alternator will charge correctly. I had no idea this much data was available on this topic. Ducky's Dad, since you seem to be really smart on all this, do you recommend a dual system? I wanted to stay away from it only because I figured it would kill my alternator a lot sooner.
 

v_man

Explorer
I also only run 1 battery . I hard wired a simple voltmeter like this , 7$ and it's been on for about 2 years straight. It's also useful because you can moniter your charging system with the car running ...

 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
Just read a few of the post in the link you provided Bill. Seems like the way to go is dual battery but a smaller system that my truck alternator will charge correctly. I had no idea this much data was available on this topic. Ducky's Dad, since you seem to be really smart on all this, do you recommend a dual system? I wanted to stay away from it only because I figured it would kill my alternator a lot sooner.
Optima has a set of videos that are pretty informative.
Give'em a look.


As long as you don't allow your battery to drop too low, your alternator will be fine with a pair of batteries that have low internal resistance.
Have you thought about adding a bit of solar? 100 watts of solar charging your batteries while you run your fan would keep you topped off.
http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Monocrystalline-Foldable-Suitcase/dp/B00HR8YNK6
 

codename607

Adventurer
Optima has a set of videos that are pretty informative.
Give'em a look.


As long as you don't allow your battery to drop too low, your alternator will be fine with a pair of batteries that have low internal resistance.
Have you thought about adding a bit of solar? 100 watts of solar charging your batteries while you run your fan would keep you topped off.
http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Monocrystalline-Foldable-Suitcase/dp/B00HR8YNK6
Thanks for the video info! I have been looking for a good solar panel, but I need one that will work with my Goal Zero Yeti 400. Goal Zero makes one but they want $700+ for it and that's way out of my price range.
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
do you recommend a dual system?
Yes. I have dual Optima yellows in my GMC and a triple system in my Dodge, with an Odyssey 2150 Extreme and a pair of Optima Grp 34 dual purpose Blues as house batteries. Had a dual system in the Dodge until I added a fridge, then went to triple for the desert. I'm pretty sure I have seen battery boxes for the Taco that will allow fitting a pair of Optima Grp 34s where the factory battery is now. Keeping them close together simplifies the wiring considerably. Make sure you use some kind of isolator. Your alternator will be fine with a pair of Optimas.

And the newer Escort radar detectors will allow you to program their display to show system voltage in real time. Not as accurate as a dedicated gauge or something reading from the ECU, but very handy.
 

colierar

Observer
I use one of these with my deep cycle. The deep cycle runs all of the lights in my camper and the fan portion of my propane camper heater. I have gone 4 days running lights and the heater at 68 degrees and still don't kill the cheap Autozone deep cycle I have. I don't ever have to worry about whether or not my truck will start because this isolator does all of that for me. It was so easy and simple to install. You can also self jump your starting battery through the isolator. I also have a fuse panel wired into the house battery so if say I leave my CB on, it wont drain the start battery. Simple and cheap

http://www.amazon.com/WirthCo-20090-Battery-Doctor-Isolator/dp/B004QCDE9M?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
Make sure whatever wiring, switches, or isolatorsyou use can handle the current draw for that 9K winch. Might be 300 amps or so.
 

4x4junkie

Explorer
I also only run 1 battery . I hard wired a simple voltmeter like this , 7$ and it's been on for about 2 years straight. It's also useful because you can moniter your charging system with the car running ...

×2
That's exactly how I have mine set up also (I have two Deka grp-27s hardwired in parallel, which is effectively one bigger battery).

Simple monitoring of the battery's voltage requires familiarity with how the reading relates to the charge level and how the reading behaves when loads such as a fan or a fridge switch on & off (a voltmeter doesn't "dumb it down" for you), but with experience it quickly becomes 2nd nature.
 

Blackradon

New member
@codename607 OP, what did you end up going with? I'm just in the process of gathering info on either sticking with a single or going dual. Right now I just have indel fridge but would like to add some lights and odds and ends down the road..

Lots of great info! Thanks everyone!
 

codename607

Adventurer
@codename607 OP, what did you end up going with? I'm just in the process of gathering info on either sticking with a single or going dual. Right now I just have indel fridge but would like to add some lights and odds and ends down the road..

Lots of great info! Thanks everyone!
For now my system has stayed stock. When I'm out camping I turn my truck on for 15 mins at night and then again in the morning. If I'm staying at basecamp for more than 24 hours I just turn the truck on during lunch and then again during dinner. So far so good.
 
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