DIY Battery Box Advice Appreciated

#1
Hi All,

Been lurking here for a while and appreciate all the great advice.

I'm busy putting together my own battery box, after having a horrendous experience with an ArkPak and their terrible support.

I'm just going to run 2 x 3 socket panels (USB/CIG/CIG) to power my Engel (21L), some camp lights, and charging phones/flashlights.

I think how I've planned it out should work. My main concern is whether the cable I'm using is sufficient? All cables will be really close to the battery, not longer than 1.5m at most I'd estimate.

Is the cable I'm using sufficient? 6MM Twin Core Auto from Battery to Fuse Block and 4MM Twin Core for the accessory sockets?

The Anderson Plug will be run using 8B&S



Cheers!
R
 

Batts88

Well-Known Member
#2
My neighbour has an arkpac worked good for a yr or so but the inbuilt charger played up.
I recently set my own battery box up but mounted the Narva sockets on the lid I think I used 6 Gauge 100amp amp to the 4 pin fuse holder I mounted under the lid then twin core 6mm 50amp to each socket so they had plenty of power. I think the twin core 6mm was about the biggest I could get onto the sockets safely because of the way they plug onto the sockets. If running a longer distance like you have I probably wouldn't go any smaller than the 50amp but that's up to you. I also have the 100amp coming from the starter batt via Baintech vcr to Anderson plug all fused but it's not working yet because of the smart dumb alternator until I talk to some one about how to sort it out.
I have a 50w flexi solar panel mounted on the rear parcel shelf which works well with Anderson plug I think I used 8 gauge 60amp o on it.
 
#3
My neighbour has an arkpac worked good for a yr or so but the inbuilt charger played up.
I recently set my own battery box up but mounted the Narva sockets on the lid I think I used 6 Gauge 100amp amp to the 4 pin fuse holder I mounted under the lid then twin core 6mm 50amp to each socket so they had plenty of power. I think the twin core 6mm was about the biggest I could get onto the sockets safely because of the way they plug onto the sockets. If running a longer distance like you have I probably wouldn't go any smaller than the 50amp but that's up to you. I also have the 100amp coming from the starter batt via Baintech vcr to Anderson plug all fused but it's not working yet because of the smart dumb alternator until I talk to some one about how to sort it out.
ArkPak only lasted about 6 months for me before the inbuilt charger went. I was advised a fix would take 5-10 business days. In reality it was about 3 months before I got it back. Then while camping over chrissy the 150w inverter went while running a 50w charger. Waste of money as far as that went.

Did the sockets you used have the little blade connectors?

I think you're advice is good. Might as well go up a step. Though I think running 50A/6AWG from the batteries to the fuse block should be sufficient as I'll keep it under 50cm. And then use the 6mm auto from the fuse block to the accessories.

I think my Triton has a dumb alternator but haven't looked at hooking the battery box up yet, initially I wanted to incorporate it but a mate sold me a CTEK 25A Shore charger for a bargain so I'll use that to top up overnight when I'm home. Would love to add a charger from the starter at a later point.
 
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Batts88

Well-Known Member
#4
Yes blade connectors just used yellow crimp terminals.
I used the larger wire to the fuse block in case we ran a few things off it together probably went a bit heavy but nothing will suffer voltage drop had to soldier the terminals on as they are larger.
The charger would be a good option because of the alternator but not spending the money on one at the moment it' in my wife's elantra to run an 18ltr waeco my patrol runs 2 fridges with a bcdc charger.
 

dno67

Well-Known Member
#5
I'd ditch the cig sockets and replace them merits and fit an anderson plug also.
Merits are a much better plug IMO.
 

Batts88

Well-Known Member
#6
Yes good idea about the merit plug for fridge I have them for both my waeco's not every one knows that some fridge leads have it in built though..

Ryanvau do you know if your fridge plug is a merit/cig type of plug ? They have a red plastic tip that comes off when you turn it anticlockwise if you don't know about them here's a pic. 4X4-4WD-2-2.jpg
 
#7
Thanks for all the quick feedback!

@dno67 @Batts88 Thanks for clarifying, I don't have access to a soldering kit currently and don't wanna spend too much before going away for december. Also we mostly have the ute parked while camping as we set up most of our stuff under the awning. Definitely on the menu for next year when we take on more. Did you go for one of the pricier bcdc's like ctek or redarc? Or have u got a more affordable one?

Currently I've got a ciggy on the end of the engel lead. Do I just strip it off and fix on a Merit? Or should I order a Merit cable directly?
 
#8
In regards to the Engle plug Narva and others make an Engle socket which your fridge plug will fit straight into, you just unscrew the end, cig end of plug, on the Engle fridge lead, the Engle plug just plugs into the socket and you do up the screw collar on the plug, they never fall out of the socket.
Link to google search on Engle plug

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=...ECBcQAg&biw=1024&bih=643#imgrc=mg3rc5M7ctuRnM

Hope this helps
 

Batts88

Well-Known Member
#9
Thanks for all the quick feedback!

@dno67 @Batts88 Thanks for clarifying, I don't have access to a soldering kit currently and don't wanna spend too much before going away for december. Also we mostly have the ute parked while camping as we set up most of our stuff under the awning. Definitely on the menu for next year when we take on more. Did you go for one of the pricier bcdc's like ctek or redarc? Or have u got a more affordable one?

Currently I've got a ciggy on the end of the engel lead. Do I just strip it off and fix on a Merit? Or should I order a Merit cable directly?
I have a redarc 40amp bcdc charging 2 x 105ah agm's it is a bit big for the job a 20-25 amp would have been enough but I paid $280 less for it through 4wdextreme compared to what redarc ask for the same thing.

You can change it as mentioned above or if your cig plug is a good firm fit and not likely to come out I would leave it till after your holidays I used a cig plug on an RF47 Evakool for about 10yrs in the back of my wagon without a problem. I changed it later on after I set things up in a canopy on a ute.
 
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#11
I have a redarc 40amp bcdc charging 2 x 105ah agm's it is a bit big for the job a 20-25 amp would have been enough but I paid $280 less for it through 4wdextreme compared to what redarc ask for the same thing.

You can change it as mentioned above or if your cig plug is a good firm fit and not likely to come out I would leave it till after your holidays I used a cig plug on an RF47 Evakool for about 10yrs in the back of my wagon without a problem. I changed it later on after I set things up in a canopy on a ute.
That's good to hear. I'll keep an eye on the Redarcs. I like their build quality and reviews seem to be overwhelmingly positive. We're not planning to do any offroading over chrissy so I'll stick to cig then.

you will need a solar regulator in your system to control the voltage, if your solar panel doesn't come with one.
Thanks unko, I ended up getting a 250W panel/PWM regulator combo. Seems to be fine for now, might whack an MPPT on later if the PWM doesn't perform well.

I ended up putting everything together today and running fridge overnight to check everything works out okay. In the end I ordered a pre-built "12v control box as I was running low on time with work being in busy season and the price was roughly the same after factoring the extra tools I would need (crimping tool etc). This box has nice build quality, and all internals are soldered except for the anderson cable which is crimped on (they usually come without any cables and just 2 leads coming out the back).

Some pics:

40A fuse on the anderson going to the battery box.

20181220_210657.jpg


20181220_210706.jpg
Decent little box. 2 x Cigarrete on a 15A Circuit Breaker. 2 x Cigarette and a 2 x 2.4A USB Socket on a 15A Circuit breaker. Also has 2 Andersons (no circuit breaker) Not sure whether I'm allowed to mentioned where I bought it from but the seller was excellent with their customer service and dispatched it quickly. I had an issue where the anderson crimp came loose while shipping (which they crimped on as a favour due to my lack of tools). They were kind enough to Express Post a replacement same day and I've checked the new internals are crimped very well!

20181220_210712.jpg
Will see how batteries hold up overnight but I don't anticipate any issues as they're 410AH 6v in series.
 
#14
That's good to hear. I'll keep an eye on the Redarcs. I like their build quality and reviews seem to be overwhelmingly positive. We're not planning to do any offroading over chrissy so I'll stick to cig then.



Thanks unko, I ended up getting a 250W panel/PWM regulator combo. Seems to be fine for now, might whack an MPPT on later if the PWM doesn't perform well.

I ended up putting everything together today and running fridge overnight to check everything works out okay. In the end I ordered a pre-built "12v control box as I was running low on time with work being in busy season and the price was roughly the same after factoring the extra tools I would need (crimping tool etc). This box has nice build quality, and all internals are soldered except for the anderson cable which is crimped on (they usually come without any cables and just 2 leads coming out the back).

Some pics:

40A fuse on the anderson going to the battery box.

View attachment 58212

View attachment 58213
Decent little box. 2 x Cigarrete on a 15A Circuit Breaker. 2 x Cigarette and a 2 x 2.4A USB Socket on a 15A Circuit breaker. Also has 2 Andersons (no circuit breaker) Not sure whether I'm allowed to mentioned where I bought it from but the seller was excellent with their customer service and dispatched it quickly. I had an issue where the anderson crimp came loose while shipping (which they crimped on as a favour due to my lack of tools). They were kind enough to Express Post a replacement same day and I've checked the new internals are crimped very well!

View attachment 58214 Will see how batteries hold up overnight but I don't anticipate any issues as they're 410AH 6v in series.
Where did you buy the socket boxes? It's exactly what I'm looking for.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
#15
I think that is a Thumper label I saw in the first photo, if so Blue Apple in SA is the company, I have one of there kits but it was a full supplied unit in a premade plastic box with the batteries all done and ready to go. Now 7 years old, never missed a beat and still works very well.
A great Aussie supplier to deal with.
When I ran them about info regarding swopping between the D1 and D4 they were very helpful they knew exactly what I would need to make it work properly in the D4 and had a kit on hand, money sent and I received the new bits in 3 days, now it goes between the cars in 5 minutes
http://www.home12volt.com.au/the-thumper-battery-pack.html
 
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#16
Thanks for that, looks like a great kit. I've already got a premade box, similar to the Thumper but it's too high for my drawer/wing set-up. So to keep the set-up neat I was thinking of ditching the box and installing a flush control panel like Ryan's. Only prob is I can't find one with everything I need - 1 x cig, 1 x merit, 1 x Anderson, 2 x USB and a voltmeter.
 
#17
Thanks for that, looks like a great kit. I've already got a premade box, similar to the Thumper but it's too high for my drawer/wing set-up. So to keep the set-up neat I was thinking of ditching the box and installing a flush control panel like Ryan's. Only prob is I can't find one with everything I need - 1 x cig, 1 x merit, 1 x Anderson, 2 x USB and a voltmeter.
Yup! Discomatt is spot on. I didn't buy direct from BA I got it from one of their retail partners Home of 12V and they were very accommodating and support was excellent. They have a wide variety of options. There is one that has what you're after: http://www.home12volt.com.au/cb-v-d-2.html
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
#20
Yep you are right, DC-DC is not needed in most in car installs as long as you regularly top up with a smart charger to really get the most out of the batteries.
In a camper trailer or van it is a totally different kettle of fish, I wouldn't be without my DC-DC in the camper for a whole variety of reasons and advantages
 
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