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  • Battery set up, how do I exactly do it?

    I decided to redo my install and because of that, I have tons of room in the back to add 2 batteries. I know what I have to buy hardware wise, but not sure how to connect it all.

    Can someone tell me how to connect the batteries together? I know that if I connect them wrong, rather then pumping out 12V power, it will pump out 24V, a mistake I do not want to make.

    From what I have read already, I simply buy a battery isolator. The engine battery goes on one connector, and the accesory batteries go on another. I then connect a wire for ignition (Like the Radio ignition?). Where I am lost is how do I connect the batteries together? Do I do it where the line goes to 12V on battery, then its negative goes to 12V on the second battery, or is it 12V to 12V and Ground to ground?
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  • #2
    Also, Sonic recommended Kinetic batteries. What model am I going for though?
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    • #3
      positive to positive, negative to negative, make sure to put fuses at all positive terminals
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      • #4
        Originally posted by david69leonard View Post
        positive to positive, negative to negative, make sure to put fuses at all positive terminals
        Before or after the connections? The fuse I would use is the one rated for the alternator?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by HiJackZX1 View Post
          Before or after the connections? The fuse I would use is the one rated for the alternator?
          Fuse is rated for the wire. Fuses prevent wires from catching fire and batteries from exploding.

          Attach each battery's ground to the frame of the car. All batteries should be isolated from all other batteries. So you should theoretically have two isolators. You would connect your computer's positive wire at the battery you want to drain's positive terminal.

          So your system would look like this:

          Alternator to starter battery 0 AWG
          Starter battery ---> fuse ---> long wire ---> isolator ---> fuse ---> accessory battery 1
          Starter battery ---> fuse ---> long wire ---> isolator ---> fuse ---> accessory battery 2

          You could also do something where you have one wire running to the back hooked up to a distribution block then to each battery so that you don't need to do two wire runs.
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          • #6
            I have a single kenetik hc800. I like it so far. You may want to go with the bigger ones or even a deep cycle optima if you need more "offline" power (ie when the car engine is off).

            I connect it up positive -> positive with my main battery separated by a 80A relay. The relay is controlled right now by ignition which closes the loop. This isn't optimal though because you get a surge from one battery to the other during crank which is not good for the second battery. I'm going to have my always-online igep control the relay with the fusion brain when I see the engine start either by monitoring rpms via obd-ii or by listening for the right message on the can bus (which is the most likely scenario I'll use.

            Your alternator should have some sort of charge line that you can tap into to trigger a relay if you go that route. I didn't want to run anymore wires back and I want to be able to control the relay manually as well for other things.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by PaulF View Post
              Fuse is rated for the wire. Fuses prevent wires from catching fire and batteries from exploding.

              Attach each battery's ground to the frame of the car. All batteries should be isolated from all other batteries. So you should theoretically have two isolators. You would connect your computer's positive wire at the battery you want to drain's positive terminal.

              So your system would look like this:

              Alternator to starter battery 0 AWG
              Starter battery ---> fuse ---> long wire ---> isolator ---> fuse ---> accessory battery 1
              Starter battery ---> fuse ---> long wire ---> isolator ---> fuse ---> accessory battery 2

              You could also do something where you have one wire running to the back hooked up to a distribution block then to each battery so that you don't need to do two wire runs.
              That seems over kill.... So how would the PC have access to the second or third battery if it is also isolated?

              Basically I want 2 batteries specifically to power the PC. Infact I may even get away with one battery, but since I have the room, I might as well.

              Originally posted by tripzero View Post
              I have a single kenetik hc800. I like it so far. You may want to go with the bigger ones or even a deep cycle optima if you need more "offline" power (ie when the car engine is off).

              I connect it up positive -> positive with my main battery separated by a 80A relay. The relay is controlled right now by ignition which closes the loop. This isn't optimal though because you get a surge from one battery to the other during crank which is not good for the second battery. I'm going to have my always-online igep control the relay with the fusion brain when I see the engine start either by monitoring rpms via obd-ii or by listening for the right message on the can bus (which is the most likely scenario I'll use.

              Your alternator should have some sort of charge line that you can tap into to trigger a relay if you go that route. I didn't want to run anymore wires back and I want to be able to control the relay manually as well for other things.
              Well i do not plan to use it with the engine off that much. It is mainly to power the PC in S3 mode with Hybrid Sleep. i just want my PC to be on when I turn the key.

              i do not want to tinker with relays and stuff. i think I will just go with a isolator. What rating do I buy though. The alternator I want to use puts out 200 amp at idle and 260 amps max.
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              • #8
                You do not have to isolate all three batteries. You can put the two carputer batteries in parallel and then isolate them from the starting battery. It is best to have two of the similar batteries if you are choosing this route. You can then choose to use an battery isolator or a battery separator. A company like http://www.surepower.com sells both. You lose some of your capacity using an isolator, which is why separators have become popular. Something like the surepower 1314 would monitor your batteries and would connect them if your starting battery was above 13.2 volts and disconnect when it goes below 12.8 You just need to run cable from starting and carputer batteries to the separator. And of course do not forget to move your carputer power wires to that battery. At a minimum you should fuse at the battery sides of the cable. There are other similar type devices out there as they are popular with RVs and Boats.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HiJackZX1 View Post
                  Well i do not plan to use it with the engine off that much. It is mainly to power the PC in S3 mode with Hybrid Sleep. i just want my PC to be on when I turn the key.

                  i do not want to tinker with relays and stuff. i think I will just go with a isolator. What rating do I buy though. The alternator I want to use puts out 200 amp at idle and 260 amps max.
                  A relay is no more complex than an isolator. Only cheaper. OldSpark knows a lot about this stuff. He may be a good person to pm if he doesn't chime in here...
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                  • #10
                    Ah ZX1 Esq - you have hit on one of my specialities....

                    Ignore everyone else's advice - except when it agrees with mine, or you trust them (more). And if I am wrong.

                    In brief:
                    - do NOT parallel batteries (except when being charged, of if required for loads (when in use)).
                    - paralleling batteries for heavy loads (cranking) reduces the load on the cranking battery. (There is no damaging "surge" - assuming the battery(s) and cable are capable of the load).
                    - parallel same voltage batteries (+ to +, - to -) for same voltage and added capacities. (Series connection from + thru battery out - in + thru 2nd battery out its - doubles voltage - e, 12 series 12 = 24V. A 12V monoblock (battery) is 6x2V cells in series. Remember - How do you get 6V from 1.5V AA cells in radios etc? Put them in series end to end.)
                    - cables from or between batteries requires protection at EACH battery end (ie - as near the battery post as practicable). The usual protection rules apply - fuses/circuit-breakers are to protect the CABLE (in case if shorts to ground etc).
                    - for inter-battery protection (ie, battery - fuse - (cable - isolator-) cable - fuse - battery) I generally recommend self resetting circuit breakers as battery inrush currents can be very high (many tens of Amps for small-medium car batteries).

                    For automated isolation control, use the alternator's (regulator's) charge lamp circuit as fitted most vehicles to control a battery isolation relay or circuit. This is almost always far superior and cheaper!) that voltage sensing aka "smart"(sic) isolators.
                    EG - The alternator's D+ else L terminal controls a grounded relay. When the charge light extinguishes due to the D+ or L going high (+12V), the relay energises to connect the battery +12Vs together. For multiple batteries or for BIG relays/contactors, that first relay can INSTEAD energise other relays for each battery rather than overloading the D+ or L circuit. (Charge Lamp circuits can normally sink (ground) several 2W-3W bulbs - hence 1A or more - but sourcing (+12V supply) current may be limited.)

                    Using the above, when the alternator is NOT charging, the batteries are isolated from each other, hence avoiding any paralleling issues (real or imagined).
                    There is no manual switch or ignition to forget. (It is the same control method used for many electric fuel pumps for non-EFI engines.)
                    But the above can be modified/extended for manual override, timed or manual latching, low-voltage cutout, etc etc (for running accessories etc).

                    Many say you can parallel batteries without concern.
                    Others say you can parallel matched batteries with matched (equal path) interconnections.
                    I say that paralleled idling batteries have increased rate of failure (eg, 2 batts = twice failure rate; 3 = 3 times failure rate) and I have yet to witness a knowledgeable person dispute this (probably because it is a simple "series" reliability situation).

                    Others merely want independence from the main cranking battery. EG - you may decide to keep your 2 extra batteries connected in parallel and merely isolate from the main/cranking battery. (Even though the 2 parallels with have twice the failure rate, their failure should be independent of the cranking battery.)

                    I'd like to mention some of the bullsh out there, but did I mention brevity?

                    Use the charge light (else voltage sensing) method and you needn't worry about matching batteries (which means same batteries, same batch, same history, same temperature, and same loads and load & interconnect paths....).
                    And the isolator can be as cheap as a 30A relay...

                    Good Luck.


                    FYI post-edit 27Aug11:
                    Originally posted by OldSpark View Post
                    ..paralleled idling batteries have increased rate of failure (eg, 2 batts = twice failure rate; 3 = 3 times failure rate)...
                    That means you replace 2 batteries twice as often = 4 batteries, 3 batteries 3 times as often = 9 batteries, etc, where 4 & 9 batteries means replacement in the same time period that you would normally need to replace just the single battery own its own.
                    [ So if a battery should last 3 years, connecting 3 in parallel means - on average - replacing 9 batteries over 3 years - the equivalent to replacing 1 battery every 4 months - ie, all 3 batteries every year. ]

                    The above is simple (ha?) reliability theory.
                    BUT the added condition is the that if one battery fails, it brings down and hence damages the other (paralleled) battery(s).
                    Hence it applies to permanently paralleled batteries that are not checked or isolated until the damage has time to occur. That might take a day or a week...

                    And it is statistical. Though a battery life may be 3 years (ie, its MTBF (mean time between or to failure) is 3 years), it may last 10 years or 10 days.
                    [ Actually, a short failure time of days or weeks is usually indicative of a manufacturing fault, and they are often NOT included in MTBF figures. Hence you may have an MTBF of 3 years provided that battery survives is run-in period. This benefits manufacturers with shocking quality - ie, they may have a 50% probability of a manufacturing defect failure with days or weeks, but this is not part of their published reliability or MTBF figures. And they know that you cannot prove that you did not exceed their warranty conditions - eg, below 60C (in and engine bay!), current limited, etc - hence often no successful warranty claim. As to pro-rata warranties.... LOL! ]

                    The point being that should one parallel battery fail - whether in a week or 1 or 3 years - it will kill the other batteries.
                    Hence why isolation when not in use (whether charging or discharging) for long periods is desirable. (And done by most that know...)

                    (How long is long? However long it takes the other batteries to degrade past an acceptable level. That is quite subjective.)

                    And the above does not consider the hazards - eg, failing AGMs can go into thermal runaway which can lead to fire etc. (Gels and wet batteries too, but far less likely.) But after the vehicle burns or explodes, replacing just the batteries will be a mere triviality LOL!
                    Last edited by OldSpark; 08-26-2011, 10:53 PM. Reason: FYI...

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                    • #11
                      Others merely want independence from the main cranking battery. EG - you may decide to keep your 2 extra batteries connected in parallel and merely isolate from the main/cranking battery. (Even though the 2 parallels with have twice the failure rate, their failure should be independent of the cranking battery.)
                      OMG Oldspark, now you have completely scared me. The setup I want would have a total of 3 batteries. A crank battery isolated from the other 2. If it has a high failure rate, then why do people do it? So what should be done is what Paul recommended which is isolating all three batteries? If yes, that brings me to this question, how would that work with my PC setup. Basically the batteries are there to keep the PC in S3 Sleep, but if I connect the PSU to both batteries, isn't that technically paralleling the batteries again, or am I over thinking?

                      Also my alternator has no light..... It doesn't even have a regulator, the ECU actually does all that. The alternator that I am replacing the current one with though does have its own regulator and a mod to trick my ECU.

                      Now if I wanted to go the easy route and just go with isolators, then I would buy two of them? One would go from the alternator to crank battery and one accessory battery, then the other would go from that accessory battery to accessory battery number 2?
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                      • #12
                        Why do you need 2 backup batteries? S3 sleep doesn't draw enough power to drain even one in any short amount of time. I bet you could probably go for a week on S3 sleep with 3 computers on a secondary battery or longer.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tripzero View Post
                          Why do you need 2 backup batteries? S3 sleep doesn't draw enough power to drain even one in any short amount of time. I bet you could probably go for a week on S3 sleep with 3 computers on a secondary battery or longer.
                          Thats what I was asking before!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will one battery be able to sustain S3 sleep for 3 days or more, if need be. Only one PC would use S3 sleep, the other will be using hibernation. Another reason is that if I want to use the PC when the engine is off. I would like to get at least 2 hours of use out of it. With that being said, it would have to power the two computers, 4 sound amps, and gadgets. Plus I was thinking of maybe using my camera system, 4 cameras and a DVR, all the time. So it records 24/7. All though I think the better thing to do is tie the cameras and DVR to my alarm and when it goes off, it starts recording.

                          If you think one is enough doing all that, then I will scale it down. I guess the secondary battery is more of an emergency battery.

                          So if I go with three batteries, this is what the setup would look like?

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                          • #14
                            Whoa ZX, slow down....

                            "If it has a high failure rate, then why do people do it?".
                            Firstly, ask the people that do it!
                            Second - I never said nor wrote HIGH failure rate.

                            Read again.
                            I have answered your subsequent questions though you may not understand that.


                            The alternator is connected to your normal/main battery...
                            You add the isolator(s) from the main battery to the other (two) battery(s). That depends on whether you want your extra 2 batteries paralleled permanently or not. (But if permanent - why not use a bigger battery?!)

                            There are reasons for paralleling batteries, and there are lots of connection methods. I have a system where I can use all batteries for cranking if needed, but otherwise they are only connected (to the main battery and each other) when the alternator is charging.


                            If you can't use a charge light (eg, you have a DP "ECU type" alternator, not a D+ or S&L or SIL etc), then voltage sensing is the way to go. The topology is the same... your voltage sensing relay (isolator) can supply the paralleled secondary batteries, else energise the relays to EACH secondary battery (whether all from the main, or a "main to secondary" and then "inter-secondary" isolators).


                            PS - voltage sensing isolators (aka "smart" isolators) tend to cost at least $50 upwards (as opposed to merely a relay of your choosing).
                            They should be voltage adjustable, but should be more than mere voltage switches because of various timers required. Even then, the alternator control is superior (far less complications..).

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                            • #15
                              When TripZero said it, it did make me think.... I could always just get a very large battery. If the large battery doesnt work out, then I could also add another later. I realize my main concern is mainly S3 Sleep, all the otehr stuff isnt really at the top of my list so worrying about it is only complicating things. For the camera system, I will just tie it into the alarm system, which will be connected to the crank battery. As far as leaving the car on, with a normal battery, I got about 45 minutes out of it with the engine off. So I have to assume that with a bigger battery, I can get about 1 1/2 hours. Thats good enough for me. So I guess I just have to look into what battery and sensing isolator I want exactly.
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