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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Wiring in Truck & Camper: Completion of 4 AWG wire upgrade.

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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 02/26/12 12:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here are the finished pictures of my Truck and Camper, 4 AWG Battery Cable Installation project. The upgrade includes 2 group 31 AGM batteries, 100 AMP Breaker, Power Distribution Block, Power Max Boon Docker 45 AMP power supply, shortening and re-routing of existing wire.
I'll begin with a refresher from a previous post showing the thuck and alternator side of the project.

This is the negative return cable connected to the battery from the TC. I am also going to install a connection the the truck frame from the Lift gate socket in the truck bed.



Both the wire to the Solenoid and battery are connected to the alternator. This will change if I convert to using a battery isolator.



This is where the solenoid was mounted. This will change if I change to an Isolator.


I installed a new solenoid relay switch between the truck alternator and the TC batteries. I spliced the actuating wire for the new solenoid to the actuating wire for the Ford factory cube solenoid that powers the 7 pin plug power wire to the TC Batteries. Both wires are active in charging the TC batteries on the road. I could not justify the cost of a Perfect Switch isolater at about $300.00, nor was the voltage drop loss of a cheaper battery isolater acceptable.




The new continuous duty solenoid.


Taping the wires and reassembling the covers, cube solenoid, and replacing onto mount on side of main fuse block.


Finished.


The twin relay cubes remounted to the fuse block and the split loom below with the wire to the new solenoid switch inside it with the rest of the wires.


I did a couple other quick projects too. The actuating coil in the new solenoid draws 662 miliampers of current. I was going to install a "Perfect Switch" battery separator but could not justify the cost. The solenoid works just great.


This is the socket connection in the truck bed. The terminals were soldered.






This is the socket in the truck bed.



This shows the lift gate plug left, with the slack pushed up into the TC for storage and the still in use seven pin plug to the right still in use.



This is the lift gate plug pulled out for connection to the truck connection in the bed. Split loom still needs to be installed.



This is the connection at the batteries. I used premade, 6 foot, battery cables for this as they already had soldered post connectors.



This is the slack cable pushed up into the TC.



This is a power distribution block. I plan to connect other things up to this in the future.



Supply cables entering into the battery box.



More scenery under the sink.





*************New Information and Pictures****************
These are the pictures showing changes inside the TC.


This shows the elimination of the other wires that were going into the battery box and the installation of the new 4 gauge battery cables. All the old connections that were previously made inside the battery box are now external to it.




This image shows the positive cable comming out of the box and connecting to the 100 AMP breaker. The Solar Charge Wire is also connected to the battery side of the breaker and is itself protected by a 10 AMP fuse. It will maintain the batteries even if the breaker is shut off. You can also see the power distribution block. Everything is connected and distributed from this point. The truck alternator and Power Max 45 AMP charger wires are connected to the block. The Power Max has it's own fuses and the truck alternator has it's own fuse. You can see two automatic resetting breakers fed by 8 gauge and powering the jacks and the main fuse panel. One thing I am still thinking on eliminating are the two cube 30 amp relays that are actuated by the jack and battery switches. There is also a provisional 8 gauge wire for an inverter to be installed at a later date.


Another View.


This shows the routing and method to get the cables from the alternator and Power Max over to the distribution block. I like to install the wires inside of split loom for protection.


Here is the Power Max installed in the location of the original Todd Engineering 30 AMP unit. You can see the two fuses and connections. You can also see that the existing wiring around it is kind of a mess.


Here is the 4 gauge connection to the power supply.


Here is the fuse/breaker panel backside. You can see the shore power cord going in. You can also see a bare ground wire going across the back of the panel from the AC ground and connecting to the DC neutral/ground buss bar. Not the cleanest factory wiring job in the world.


Here are the two 30 AMP cube relays. They are in and working for now but they are a parasitic drain. The jack relay only when it's on but the battery relay is on all the time. I don't know what the current rating on it is but everything adds up. I don't especially like that all the TC's 12 volt systems except the jacks run through this relay.


The job is complete and the partition panel is up again under the sink protecting the electrical connections. I routed the cables across the bottom of the sink opening. There are the alternator cables, the power supply cables, and the house wiring cables, each in split loom for protection.


Schematic.



The Power Max has been working fine since installation yesterday. It measured 13.71 volts unloaded and when the batteries were switched on, the voltage dropped to 13.5 volts. Through the course of the evening, it went up to 13.7 volts. The next morning I went out to check it and the unit had gone into the float mode showing 13.2 volts. The fan never has come on and initially it felt warm but after an hour or so, cooled down and is now room temperature.
One thing that has happened is the AM radio band has horrible static noise on it and only a couple stations come clear, sort of. **** I went out to listen to the radio on AM today and it came in clear as a bell. It could be that most radio stations turn down their outpower at night and that could be the problem. Frankly, I was expecting the noise to be worse in the day with the solar actively charging because it has been a pulsing buzz in the past and today it was hardly noticable. I'll wait and see what happens to reception over the next few days.

Here are a couple links to other threads that have been of great help doing this project.

Matthew_B, Alternator Charge Cable Installation to TC.

BC Sierra, Alternator Charge Cable Installation to TC.

JoeChiOhki, Power Converter Thread.

Battery Discussion Thread

Battery Warmer Thread by Sleepy

My earlier discussion thread.

My original post relating to installing large 4 gauge wire.

This is the first thread with a report on charge cable performance.

*******Here are a few more higher resolution pictures and information*********
This shows the 100 AMP lift gate/comercial trailer plug retracted.


This shows the same plug pulled out for connecting to the receptacle in the front left side wall of the truck bed.


This is the battery box showing 1" insulation fitted to the opening.


Here are the new SEARS Platinum PM-1 Marine/RV Deep Cycle Batteries and wiring.


Here is a view of the batteries with emphasis on showing the wiring.


These are the Solar Controller and the System Monitor. You can see the solar controller is reporting 14.2 volts and that the batteries are fully charged by the yellow LED.


Here is a higher resolution view of the 100 AMP Main Breaker, Power Distribution Block, two automatically resetting breakers, the solar charge wire is connected to the battery side of the 100 AMP breaker and has it's own 10 AMP fuse. All wiring is covered in split loom for protection and secured. You can see the provisional 8 gauge wiring for a future inverter. We have a cheap little Costco 400 watt inverter that has worked for our needs thus far and it plugs into the existing 12 volt outlet.


Wider view of the same.


This is under the sink looking at the new Power Max Boon Docker 45 AMP power supply. To the upper right, you see the two 30 AMP cube relays for the house power and jacks. From center to left, you see the slack cable pushed into the TC waiting to be pulled out to connect to the truck power connection in the truck bed.


Cheap Schematic again.



This was a high return on effort (40 hours or so) and investment ($250.00 in wiring, $475.98 + tax on AGM batteries, $160.00 Power Max 45 AMP power supply, TOTAL about $900.00) project. I would like to thank all who played along in these threads and offered so much useful/helpful information.
Jeff

* This post was last edited 05/05/12 11:02am by Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli *   View edit history


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JoeChiOhki

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Posted: 02/26/12 02:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You may need to ground the radio's antenna plane into the boondocker if it's not already, or possibly unjoin it from the chassis ground.

I will have to fish out my portable radio tomorrow (sunday) and turn it on to an AM station to see if I hear the noise as well.

Normally, I got the AM Noise when traveling, but that was due to having my inverter running at the time.


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BradW

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Posted: 02/26/12 05:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jeff,

Very good write-up and photos. I'm sure this info will help a lot of folks.

We are making some changes to the TCU thread right now, but when we are done, we will add your thread.

Thanks,
Brad


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dbrojr

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Posted: 02/26/12 05:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

nice job...very informative...


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whazoo

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Posted: 02/26/12 07:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jeff, what a great job and pics. The time and effort shows, you must have used some down time for this project!

Golden_HVAC

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Posted: 02/26/12 09:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Great pictures, they show quality work as well.

I would not recommend a battery isolator, at least not the common diode type, as normally they create to much voltage drop under load, and if exposed to 100 amps for a long time tend to melt the terminals.

I use a 110 amp rated forklift relay grainger part # 6C017 it has silver allow contacts, is rated to go on and off under load 100,000 times.

Fred.

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 02/26/12 12:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

whazoo wrote:

Jeff, what a great job and pics. The time and effort shows, you must have used some down time for this project!


Thanks Dave,
It was a fun project and I learned quite a bit of useful information doing it. Yes I have been feeling like the old "Maytag Repair Man" the last couple months. My neighbor who owns a mid sized construction business, has had three trucks sitting for the last three months. If I'm hurting, I hate to think what he's feeling with the overhead he has. We will be starting two good sized projects in the next week now so the dry spell will be over for about the next 6 or 7 months. I still have my own new house project on the back burner and am hoping to get that underway in the next three months. A make your own work project. I hope you're keeping busy and not having to resort to graffiti.
Take care,
Jeff

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted: 02/26/12 12:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BradW wrote:

Jeff,

Very good write-up and photos. I'm sure this info will help a lot of folks.

We are making some changes to the TCU thread right now, but when we are done, we will add your thread.

Thanks,
Brad


Thanks Brad,
I hope it helps too.

Jeff

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 02/26/12 12:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JoeChiOhki wrote:

You may need to ground the radio's antenna plane into the boondocker if it's not already, or possibly unjoin it from the chassis ground.

I will have to fish out my portable radio tomorrow (sunday) and turn it on to an AM station to see if I hear the noise as well.

Normally, I got the AM Noise when traveling, but that was due to having my inverter running at the time.


Hey Matt,
I've have the antenna grounded but that made no difference.
I had hoped the larger cable would have cut down on noise but it has actually made it worse. I get lots of interference when the Power Max is on and I get much less noise when it is unplugged. The noise level goes up when the fluorescent lights are on. I will try an electrolytic capacitor across the power leads to see if that helps.
My pioneer car stereo is mounted under the overhead cabinet above the kitchen sink which puts it in close proximity to the systems meter for tanks and charge information plus the pump switch. It is also near the solar PWM charge controller so there is the chance that with the larger wire gauge, the wiring became less a resistive part of those circuits and the functionality of those circuits is more isolated within those circuits. I have noticed the 4 LED battery charge indicator reacts differently with the large gauge wiring. It used to register a full 100% charge at 12.7 volts on the solar voltage readout but now only registers full charge when the solar voltage readout registers 12.9 volts. The solar voltage readout measures total voltage not just solar voltage. It does show solar charge AMPS when the AMP button is pushed in. I will see if moving the Pioneer stereo farther away has any effect regarding the interference.
Jeff

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

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Posted: 02/26/12 01:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Golden_HVAC wrote:

Hi,

Great pictures, they show quality work as well.

I would not recommend a battery isolator, at least not the common diode type, as normally they create to much voltage drop under load, and if exposed to 100 amps for a long time tend to melt the terminals.

I use a 110 amp rated forklift relay grainger part # 6C017 it has silver allow contacts, is rated to go on and off under load 100,000 times.

Fred.


Hi Golden HVAC,
In the original thread, (link to the information is at the bottom of my first posting), the forum had a pretty good discussion about methods to isolate the truck and camper battery charge systems. The POWER GATE dual isolater had practically 0 voltage drop because of it's design. It is a pricy unit though. I have not yet installed one and am just disconnecting the two systems with a fuse for now where my solenoid that burned out on me was located. I was looking for a way to isolate the systems that uses virtually no power to do so like a solenoid does. Plenty of opinions on the subject with respect to price, function, power loss.
Jeff

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