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Thread: need to tap into "true ignition source", have diagram, wondering what fuse is best?

  1. #31
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    Ignoring the heavy +12V wire (aka B or B+ etc to the battery or fusebox), your alternator has at least one signal wire.

    If single wire, it is probably D+ which is to the charge light (aka the "L" or chargeLight circuit).

    If 2 wires, they are probably S & L where L is the chargeLamp circuit (to the charge light). S is the "Sense" wire that goes to the battery +12V terminal. (ie, SL type alternator.)

    3 wires are usually S, I & L where I is to IGN +12V. S & L are as above. (ie, SIL type alternator.)


    There are other types of alternators like "DP" types and others that interact with the EMS/ECU. They too can be easy to use, but that's another story.



    The above assume internal voltage regulators. The above labels are actually "voltage regulator" terminals.
    If external regulators, the ignore the alternator (it will have wires labelled eg F, D, E...) and find the regulator which will have equivalents to the D+/L (chage light) terminal.


    Chances are that its a D+ or SL type.


    PS - being able to tap into the alternator's L circuit is easier than dragging a wre from internal fuseboxes etc.
    That's the beauty of the UIBI - it's all wired in the engine-bay - except for the cable to the auxiliary battery(s).
    The exceptions are if taping into the dash's charge light, or if adding extra controls (manual switches), or adding status LEDs or voltmeters etc.

    BTW - I advise everyone to have a voltmeter (else and out-of-tolerance alarm). (Forget ammeters!)
    A voltmeter can indicate flat or faulty batteries, aging batteries, over-charging and under-charging, state of charge (aka will I make it home?) etc.
    Last edited by OldSpark; 08-07-2012 at 04:22 AM. Reason: PS... & BTW

  2. #32
    Constant Bitrate doncarbone's Avatar
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    Ok I will take a look under the hood once its brighter outside. As for tapping into a wire, I can just shave off the plastic/rubber outside and connect my isolator lead directly to that wire (and solder) in a T-shape, so to speak?

  3. #33
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    IE - ACC. ACCessories drop out during cranking.
    That is of course obvious, however the need for an IGN line that drops on cranking is for a different purpose as per a previous post and was used in an attempt to provide another avenue for simplifying the system to suite the OP’s requirements and equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    Incidentally, the type of battery shouldn't matter as long as it's lead-acid (eg, wet or flooded cells, gel-cel, AGM, etc - but NOT LiPo, NiCad etc).
    I did mention “depending on the Battery” but just to clarify: I was referring to when you are deciding how to run and wire a system and if you are going to be using a dual battery setup for high power loads and vehicle starting verses a PC standby/ clean power source. There is no need to use a huge battery, 500A relay and a 200A fuse if you are not going to use the AUX battery to crank the vehicle. The wiring, fuses etc can be suitably scaled to suite the intended purpose.

    I think that the OP is looking for a simple solution with what he already has, although not as technically ideal as charge circuit control, it would still nevertheless work for his intended purpose.
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  4. #34
    Constant Bitrate doncarbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickz View Post
    That is of course obvious, however the need for an IGN line that drops on cranking is for a different purpose as per a previous post and was used in an attempt to provide another avenue for simplifying the system to suite the OP’s requirements and equipment.



    I did mention “depending on the Battery” but just to clarify: I was referring to when you are deciding how to run and wire a system and if you are going to be using a dual battery setup for high power loads and vehicle starting verses a PC standby/ clean power source. There is no need to use a huge battery, 500A relay and a 200A fuse if you are not going to use the AUX battery to crank the vehicle. The wiring, fuses etc can be suitably scaled to suite the intended purpose.

    I think that the OP is looking for a simple solution with what he already has, although not as technically ideal as charge circuit control, it would still nevertheless work for his intended purpose.
    Yes, correct. I already own the two batteries, fuses, have wired the 0 gauge through my vehicle and the 200 amp relay by stinger i purchased a while back as per the recommendation of another online user.

    Just to make myself absolutely clear, the purpose of having my isolator and the two batteries is simply so when the alternator is not running (vehicle off, or in ACC) only my aux battery is used to power the components in my vehicle, including my PC and amplifiers if turned on. I don't care about cranking with two batteries in parallel. There will be times when I will want to turn my engine off and still use my computer. Its during times like these I will want to know that my aux battery is being isolated from the system and that the front battery will not be under risk of draining.

  5. #35
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    Sorry Mickz. I was attempting to emphasise the ACC rather than an "IGN #2" etc that drops out. The only advantage of an IGN that dropped out during cranking would be if the ACC position was not wanted, but that tends to be rare.
    The whole discussion is somewhat grey anyhow - that ACC comment was considering it more from a load POV rather than my usual emphasis on the battery isolation aspect.

    WRT to the scale...
    At first I assumed a big amp because of the 200A Stinger relay, else maybe a long battery reserve time like a multi-day solar or deep-cycle discharge - not that they usually like high-current recharges.

    For PCs etc, I have often described a 7AH or similar battery with a common automotive 30A relay though 60A and 140A relays are often of similar size with similar coil currents - ie, up to ~250mA which most chargeLight circuits can handle.
    The problem is the maximum recharge current of the battery. A 15AH AGM might take 30A though only for tens of seconds (ie, not enough to blow a 30A relay or fuse despite an additional 10A or 20A PC load).
    But hence too why I recommend self-resetting circuit breakers which are cheap (~$7-$10) for a max 30A in ATS blade fuses, or up to 50A in smallish lug breakers. They will reconnect and stay connected once the battery current drops.


    I too like simplicity, but why then the expense and size of 200A Stinger relay? Of course, if it's available, only its size (both physical & coil-current) is a disadvantage.


    Quote Originally Posted by doncarbone View Post
    ... connect my isolator lead directly to that wire (and solder) in a T-shape...?
    The main caution - if your D+/L circuit cannot handle the isolator/relay current.
    And I suspect it won't - certainly if the Stinger has a 2A coil current unless it's an old external "electro-mechanical" voltage regulator, but certainly not electronic regulators - probably not even if only 1A.
    For some, even normal 30A relays could be a problem and they are usually under 250mA.

    Hence, if you tap into the L circuit, use a "buffer" relay to power the bigger relay.
    [ Yes, I was designing a MOSFET buffer circuit (UIBI-2), but I ditched that in favor of a PIC 08 which could be programmed with delays, and even "smart isolator" functioning (the UIBI-3). ]

    And maybe a mere solderless wrap will suffice. It's not a critical circuit, though cycling due to intermittent contact could be a problem.
    I you don't add a voltmeter or status LED, soldering or other reliable connection is best.
    Good cable joiners should suffice (I can't remember now if ScotchLoks(?) were good or bad).


    But see what you find, and preferably what brand and model of alternator - we may be able to find appropriate data.

  6. #36
    Constant Bitrate doncarbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    WRT to the scale...
    At first I assumed a big amp because of the 200A Stinger relay, else maybe a long battery reserve time like a multi-day solar or deep-cycle discharge - not that they usually like high-current recharges.

    But hence too why I recommend self-resetting circuit breakers which are cheap (~$7-$10) for a max 30A in ATS blade fuses, or up to 50A in smallish lug breakers. They will reconnect and stay connected once the battery current drops.

    I too like simplicity, but why then the expense and size of 200A Stinger relay? Of course, if it's available, only its size (both physical & coil-current) is a disadvantage.
    my amps are a decent size - one 700W amp for speakers and another amp that delivers 1000W RMS to two subs.

    I will try to find out my alternator type/brand later today

  7. #37
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    Thanks for the clarifications (I missed the first between Mickz's & my last reply).

    So the 200A relay is reasonable. Your 1kW subs alone will pull ~100A at full blast.

    That adds another dimension. Mickz referred to "clean power" for your PC (and I agree!).
    But a thumping amp is anything but clean.

    In short, similar systems have had THREE batteries - the normal main/cranker, a 2nd BIG next to the amp(s) to maintain audio power/voltage, and a 3rd for the PC.
    However, the PC battery can be added later if it is needed.
    The 3rd battery - as with any number of batteries - can be controlled by the same "battery isolator" that controlled the first main-aux battery isolator.
    IE - the small 5A or 30A "smart isolator" or chargeLamp controlled relay - let's call that the "master" (relay) - does NOT connect batteries but instead provides 12V to relays used to control each isolator. A 30A master could switch up to 15 200A relays (assuming 2A coil current each) for one main battery and 15 aux /secondary batteries.
    (Why do people buy "high capacity" smart isolators? Why not buy a cheaper small one and add whatever capacity relay(s) is(are) required? That's a much cheaper solution.)

    The isolation relays can be anywhere. Keep in mind that a battery isolation relay's function is to separate batteries when NOT being charged (so that there are no parallel batteries where one can bring down or destroy the other parallel battery/s).
    FYI - some choose to isolate only "banks" of batteries - eg, isolation between the main and PC-aux and HU-aux and server-bank and amp-bank where the server and the amp may have a group of parallel batteries. The individual batteries in each bank may be isolated manually (at battery terminals) if unused for long periods, or may have relays controlled by another switch or signal, etc. Of course, some choose to leave parallel batteries permanently connected, but they enjoy replacing batteries at 2^n the rate of a single battery (where n is the number of parallel batteries minus 1).


    Anyhowz, lots of possibilities, and lots of options.
    But we'll start with what alternator you have.
    If it's easy to connect to the charge-light circuit, then at least we have an "is charging" signal that we can manipulate without the expense of voltage-sensing or "smart isolator" circuits.
    Otherwise there is the option of a smart isolator as a master, or ACC or IGN-but_not_cranking etc combinations, with timers or buzzers to avoid accidentally leaving on ....

  8. #38
    Constant Bitrate doncarbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    Thanks for the clarifications (I missed the first between Mickz's & my last reply).

    So the 200A relay is reasonable. Your 1kW subs alone will pull ~100A at full blast.

    That adds another dimension. Mickz referred to "clean power" for your PC (and I agree!).
    But a thumping amp is anything but clean.

    In short, similar systems have had THREE batteries - the normal main/cranker, a 2nd BIG next to the amp(s) to maintain audio power/voltage, and a 3rd for the PC.
    However, the PC battery can be added later if it is needed.
    The 3rd battery - as with any number of batteries - can be controlled by the same "battery isolator" that controlled the first main-aux battery isolator.
    IE - the small 5A or 30A "smart isolator" or chargeLamp controlled relay - let's call that the "master" (relay) - does NOT connect batteries but instead provides 12V to relays used to control each isolator. A 30A master could switch up to 15 200A relays (assuming 2A coil current each) for one main battery and 15 aux /secondary batteries.
    (Why do people buy "high capacity" smart isolators? Why not buy a cheaper small one and add whatever capacity relay(s) is(are) required? That's a much cheaper solution.)

    The isolation relays can be anywhere. Keep in mind that a battery isolation relay's function is to separate batteries when NOT being charged (so that there are no parallel batteries where one can bring down or destroy the other parallel battery/s).
    FYI - some choose to isolate only "banks" of batteries - eg, isolation between the main and PC-aux and HU-aux and server-bank and amp-bank where the server and the amp may have a group of parallel batteries. The individual batteries in each bank may be isolated manually (at battery terminals) if unused for long periods, or may have relays controlled by another switch or signal, etc. Of course, some choose to leave parallel batteries permanently connected, but they enjoy replacing batteries at 2^n the rate of a single battery (where n is the number of parallel batteries minus 1).


    Anyhowz, lots of possibilities, and lots of options.
    But we'll start with what alternator you have.
    If it's easy to connect to the charge-light circuit, then at least we have an "is charging" signal that we can manipulate without the expense of voltage-sensing or "smart isolator" circuits.
    Otherwise there is the option of a smart isolator as a master, or ACC or IGN-but_not_cranking etc combinations, with timers or buzzers to avoid accidentally leaving on ....
    Took a look at my alternator, it sits low and the wire im guessing i'll need to tap into goes behind the engine assembly. Going to be a pain working with that.

  9. #39
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    Do you want the good news, or the bad news?

    Too late - the bad news: I got worried. It's an ECU-interactive alternator with 4 wires.

    The good news: It seems to have a "standard" L circuit.

    See if the alternator looks the same as per advanceautoparts: 2002-2003-mitsubishi-lancer-alternator-85-amps-part-12403 though yours might be 90A or similar.

    But even if not as per the above link, it probably has a connector as seen at advanceautoparts: 2002-2003-mitsubishi-lancer-remanufactured-alternator-part-210-4165 (Plug code 307).

    (I've used links to avoid copyright hassles etc...)


    The 4 pins are G (C), S, L, F (FR).

    L is the chargeLight circuit that we want.
    And not that I have your specific wiring, but the Mitsubishis of that era seem much the same with the L wire grounding the charge light in the dash (combination meter). [ The charge lamp is shown to have a series diode, and it MIGHT have other lamps connected (if the L-circuit is also used to test certain lights like low fuel warning, brake fault etc), but none of that matters for what we want. ]


    That'll do for now.
    You can still connect your 200A relay to an ACC or IGN fuse. Reconnecting that relay's trigger from ACC/IGN to "L" can come later.

    BTW - the L circuit inside the alternator/voltage-regulator is like an SPDT or changeover relay. When NOT charging, the L terminal is GND. When charging, the L terminal flips to +12V. Old external electromechanical voltage regulators used a relay so current of a few Amps was not an issue.
    Later electronic regulators (internal and external) would generally ground an Amp or few (since they had to sink or ground the "hot" (+12V) charge lamp as well as any other lamps that it tested when first turning on the IGN. But that is no guarantee that they could also supply +12V at the same current, though many vehicles did use the L-circuit's +12V to energise electric fuel-pump relays or electric chokes or keep fuel-cut-off valves open.
    And with modern ECU and computer controlled vehicles and dashes, alternators might simply supply a low-current high or low (voltage) signal to the ECU or dash computer etc. Hence my concern & warning about connecting high coil-current relays (> 0.5A or 1A etc) and maybe even 200mA coil relays. But transistors or MOSFETs can overcome that.


    Forgive my ramble, but since you seem open to the UIBI approach, I thought I'd cover relevant issues. I've added more FYI stuff below for later & future consideration (if & when you feel up to it ... if ever).
    You already have the smarts (bad pun?) to un-parallel the batteries when not being charged. IMO that is a blessing (irrespective of the reason).

    Below is optional stuff that covers various aspects. It's more a ramble about the advantages of using (at least) 2-wire alternators, ie, the common L (or D+) circuit, but more so the brilliant S-circuit.
    And that reminds me, your "extra" 2 wires are for ECU control (of which I am not a fan). The F or FR controls the Field (ie, the alternator's rotor - increasing current for more current output). That's traditionally controlled by the voltage regulator. The G goes to the ECU/EMS - also called "C", I presume for "Computer"??.



    The optional and incidental ramble...
    Ignore everything below unless curious.

    FYI - "S" is the usual Sense circuit that goes to the +12V battery terminal, but via a 7.5A fuse - probably dedicated ie, the 7.5A fuse is ONLY for the S circuit - which I strongly I suspect is Fuse #12 (Alternator) on your posted diagram.
    That has an advantage because:
    (1) you can move that Sense to wherever the battery is (ie, if you moved your main battery to the boot, or (trivially...?) if you wanted to sense you remote battery (that has over-voltage implications for the other "front" alternator power take-offs - and that's another issue - but it's easier & cheaper to reduce (or chop) voltage than use dc-dc converters to increase it for remote batteries. And...
    (2) if you want to boost your alternator's voltage output, insert a voltage drop in place of the fuse.
    The latter might be desirable if you output is (say) 13.8V and you want to increase it to the "normal" max battery voltage of 14.4V. That requires a mere $0.05 diode like a 1N914 or 1N4148 instead of the fuse. Or you can buy a similar diode in an ATS-fuse casing for a mere (LOL!) AUD$35 plus AUD$7 for postage from Australia. Personally I'd rather spend 10c for 2 back-to-back reverse-connected diodes so if one blows, I merely turn it around to use the other still-good diode. With the change from $42, I'd buy a spare or 100 diodes.

    Incidentally, S/Sense circuits usually only draw mA or less - including when engines are off & not charging. (Bosch SL alternators were quite high at up to 12mA, but Mitsubishis, Hitachis, etc are typically well under a 1mA drain thru the S circuit.)
    Signal diodes like the 1N914 have a 100mA rating. If higher ratings are required, the usual 1A rated 1N400x series (eg, 1N4004) can be used. Both will blow well before a 7.5A fuse. (The fuse is only there to protect the wire to the alternator's S terminal. S circuits generally cannot be protected by a fuse. If they go "high current" it means they have failed anyhow.)

  10. #40
    Constant Bitrate doncarbone's Avatar
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    This is going to be too much of a hassle for me, OldSpark. I appreciate the time you have spent researching my vehicle's alternator, but for time sake and convenience I'm just going to use an add-a-circuit and tap into a IGN +12V fuse. The UIBI approach is something I could see myself investigating further down the road as sometime in the winter I'm planning on doing an engine swap which will leave me a lot of room to get in there and properly tap into the 'L' wire as you've described. If I wanted to do what you are describing I'd have to jack my car up and maybe even un-hook my alternator from the belt to be able to reach the wire. The Japanese like to build their cars fairly compact

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