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Caribou Sandstorm
09-08-2013, 11:15 AM
I am wondering what I need to do to be able to use my aux battery as a source for camp lights, while camping? No POs being cut at this time for a Honda/Yamaha generator, so need a back up solution.

Is there something relatively low cost that I could connect directly to my aux battery and then plug into?

The way I have my aux battery set up might be a bit unique, as all my stuff is still wired to my main and the Aux is set up to charge off the alternator but sits un-used an ready to be a resource should my main be drained.

Any and all advice welcome.. :)

nakman
09-08-2013, 02:22 PM
What are you looking to power up?

You've seen my truck, I have a 1000w Tripp-Lite inverter which rarely gets used. what it's done is power the camper (with small microwave), charge cameras, and charge laptops. I've also run angle grinders, drills, skil saws, and 120v lights off it. Some days I wish I'd have gotten the 1500w one as I could run a Keurig, but then again other days I'm glad I'm outside with a stove heating water.. seems to be meeting my needs. I had one in the 80 too, and couldn't kill it.

Edit: this is what I have, Marco turned me onto these. they work awesome.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-TRIPP-LITE-PV1000HF-1000-WATT-ULTRA-COMPACT-POWER-INVERTER-/300925448487?pt=US_Power_Inverters_&hash=item46108df127

here's the 1800w- would run just about everything in your kitchen or bathroom http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-TRIPP-LITE-PV1800HF-1800-WATT-ULTRA-COMPACT-POWER-INVERTER-/300925437049?pt=US_Power_Inverters_&hash=item46108dc479

Romer
09-08-2013, 02:30 PM
My accessories are wired to my Aux battery including always on power outlets and the fridge. This was If I stay in one place for a while I don't need to worry about running down the primary. Won't that work for you?

cruiseroutfit
09-08-2013, 05:34 PM
What kind of lights are you plugging in? What kind of physical plug do they have?

Corbet
09-08-2013, 08:33 PM
^ What Kurt said.

But there are tons of simple 12v lights if that is all you want. The new National Luna ones are pretty sweet on a higher end level.

Caribou Sandstorm
09-09-2013, 11:13 AM
My accessories are wired to my Aux battery including always on power outlets and the fridge. This was If I stay in one place for a while I don't need to worry about running down the primary. Won't that work for you?

I did a basic dual battery set up. And honestly, I am a novice beyond installing a ceiling fan in the house when it comes to wiring. For convenience, I left everything connected to my starting battery and connected a one way silenoid to my back up battery. So it get's a charge but nothing is pulling on it.

I figured I could use it to jump start the main battery with jumper cables and that met my minimum needs.

Now I am thinking it would be nice to bring LED light string with tiki lights for camping and I am trying to figure out what I need. I like Tim's suggestion, but was hoping for a lower cost. writing this I just realized I have an old 2 plug cigerette adapter somewhere....

I could probably just use that for now!

Romer
09-09-2013, 11:26 AM
So I have a fuse box wired to my Aux battery. Off of it I run my fridge, HAM, CB, and multiple power outlets. Most of this stuff will run well below what it takes to start a truck. You can pick thes up for $15 or the one I got at western marine is a Blue Sea box. Each output them is seperatly fused. I run the wores out through the grommets in the engine bay

If you have stuff to your main battery, all you would need to do is route them over to the box as well

Hulk
09-09-2013, 11:34 AM
If you're just running LED Tiki lights off of 110v, you can use a cheapo converter. I have a couple that I picked up on Woot for $15-25 each. The one that Nakman posted will probably run a blow dryer.

nakman
09-09-2013, 11:58 AM
..The one that Nakman posted will probably run a blow dryer.

Yeah it will, with the truck running.


If you're expanding into 12v then you should set up a separate fuse block like Romer describes, so you can leave behind the cigarette adapters. I'm sure we can suggest wire gauge and fuses to make it safe if needed... I have mine right below the passenger seat, accessed from outside the truck. The lead comes through the grommet in the firewall and under the plastic door sill, I drilled a hole under the seat and ran the ground through it to the frame. Now I have almost unlimited terminals for new stuff, and never have to mess with the firewall grommet again... in fact don't even need to open the hood to add stuff. Mine currently runs my fridge, second 12v plug, rear seat heaters, brake controller, and reverse light.

bomber22
09-09-2013, 12:08 PM
i use a 750w/1500w max inverter from harbor freight tools, alligator clamps straight to battery of my camper and run a extension cord to what ever, mainly charging i-pod

AxleIke
09-09-2013, 01:04 PM
Nice! Thanks for posting up Chris! I've been working through my electrical needs on my truck, in preparation for dual batts and accessories. Love these threads because people always post up about all the neat dodads that you'd never think of.

Tim, that inverter is almost exactly what I need. Unfortunately, it looks too tall to fit under a 4runner seat, but that is fine, as I'd probably run it out of the back anyway.

BTW, anyone know of an inverter that has remote plug mounts? By that, I mean something you could mount behind an interior panel, but have the plugs mounted to the panel. I'd prefer not to have something as kludgey as an extension cord plugged in behind the panels. That seems like its asking for trouble.

nakman
09-09-2013, 01:11 PM
BTW, anyone know of an inverter that has remote plug mounts? By that, I mean something you could mount behind an interior panel, but have the plugs mounted to the panel. I'd prefer not to have something as kludgey as an extension cord plugged in behind the panels. That seems like its asking for trouble.

Isaac, in my 80 I actually ran 12-2 romex and work boxes.. plugged into a hidden inverter. That solution worked well, other than it was just a 400x inverter so it didn't do much, and it created static with my CB... ok that solution didn't work that well. But grounding issues aside, running an extension cord "behind the scenes" is still viable. I bet there's a picture here somewhere..

Jacket
09-09-2013, 01:34 PM
Same idea here Isaac. I opened up my inverter where the existing plugs were attached to the box, and extended those wires using basic stranded copper wire (can't remember the gauge) to 4 remote plugs in my truck: two in the cargo area and two behind the center console. The issues (as I recall from a few years back) are the lack of space inside the inverter box to stuff more wires, and the need to drill some holes in it to run the wires to the outside. Other than that it's just ripping apart your interior and running cable....

Chris - The sophisticated solution is to run some heavy gauge (fused) wire from your aux battery to a hard-mounted inverter somewhere inside the truck (probably in the cargo area), and then use the inverter to power your 110v appliances. A "less elegant" workaround would be to carry the unmounted inverter, and then when you are at camp you can hook it to your battery using some alligator clips, and then plug in your lights to the powered inverter. The latter introduces many more risks for shorts and electrocutions, but it's not unprecedented....

Caribou Sandstorm
09-09-2013, 02:13 PM
i use a 750w/1500w max inverter from harbor freight tools, alligator clamps straight to battery of my camper and run a extension cord to what ever, mainly charging i-pod

That's what I am talkin' bout!!

AxleIke
09-09-2013, 02:20 PM
Isaac, in my 80 I actually ran 12-2 romex and work boxes.. plugged into a hidden inverter. That solution worked well, other than it was just a 400x inverter so it didn't do much, and it created static with my CB... ok that solution didn't work that well. But grounding issues aside, running an extension cord "behind the scenes" is still viable. I bet there's a picture here somewhere..

Same idea here Isaac. I opened up my inverter where the existing plugs were attached to the box, and extended those wires using basic stranded copper wire (can't remember the gauge) to 4 remote plugs in my truck: two in the cargo area and two behind the center console. The issues (as I recall from a few years back) are the lack of space inside the inverter box to stuff more wires, and the need to drill some holes in it to run the wires to the outside. Other than that it's just ripping apart your interior and running cable....

Chris - The sophisticated solution is to run some heavy gauge (fused) wire from your aux battery to a hard-mounted inverter somewhere inside the truck (probably in the cargo area), and then use the inverter to power your 110v appliances. A "less elegant" workaround would be to carry the unmounted inverter, and then when you are at camp you can hook it to your battery using some alligator clips, and then plug in your lights to the powered inverter. The latter introduces many more risks for shorts and electrocutions, but it's not unprecedented....

Nice! I like the modification approach. Sounds like Romex is bad, but some good shielded wire may work well.

Thanks!

Rzeppa
09-09-2013, 06:57 PM
Nice! I like the modification approach. Sounds like Romex is bad, but some good shielded wire may work well.

Thanks!

Nope, nothing wrong with romex, and all kinds of things wrong with shielded. Tim's issue was that the inverter itself was radiating and conducting - low end stuff will do that. If you want a quiet inverter look for the CE mark on it. That means it will have had to pass pretty stringent tests for EMI and RFI.

Romex is an excellent, cost-effective solution for carrying large currents (like the DC current between a battery and inverter) as long as it doesn't have to flex, because the conductors are solid and not stranded.

Shielded is excellent for low power applications like instrumentation and radios, but horrible for high current applications, unless you are prepared to spend upwards of $50 a foot for adequate gauge. Plus, it would be a couple inches diameter. You see that kind of stuff on big radio towers and in labs.

I had a dual battery setup in my 40 I designed and built in 1986. It was to run a gigantic stereo. I could never hear my little stereo when I was driving home from band rehearsal and gigs (imagine that! :rolleyes:) so I designed and built a 6 channel, tr-amped 12 speaker system. I used a big marine battery as the aux battery, and built an entirely separate wire harness just for the Aux system. I charged the aux system through an isolator (low forward drop dual rectifier) I got from an RV place. It worked great for decades, no problems ever. The whole idea is you can run loads to your heart's content from the Aux system and not worry about being able to start and drive. Alternatively, if you pull a :homer: and leave your lights on, you can give yourself a jumpstart with just one jumper cable :thumb:

smslavin
09-09-2013, 07:50 PM
I used a big marine battery as the aux battery, and built an entirely separate wire harness just for the Aux system. I charged the aux system through an isolator (low forward drop dual rectifier) I got from an RV place. It worked great for decades, no problems ever. The whole idea is you can run loads to your heart's content from the Aux system and not worry about being able to start and drive. Alternatively, if you pull a :homer: and leave your lights on, you can give yourself a jumpstart with just one jumper cable :thumb:

This is similar to the dual battery setup I built. I used a Painless solenoid with a 3 way switch. Up on the switch is jump mode, middle is off/normal, and bottom is charge. Every now and then, I flip it to bottom and drive around a bit so it'll get a charge. I have a Blue Sea fuse block wired to the aux battery and then to the switches for accessories: winch, lights, etc. My CB is wired into that as well. HAM is hard wired to the main battery. I've got a couple of 12v outlets in the back that are also wired to the aux battery.

The whole system was pretty easy to put together. Ran about $300 for parts and I found a deal on a brand new Optima for $100. Zero issues except when the negative cable fell off the aux battery a few weeks ago...

Fishy
09-09-2013, 08:13 PM
i use a 750w/1500w max inverter from harbor freight tools, alligator clamps straight to battery of my camper and run a extension cord to what ever, mainly charging i-pod

That's exactly what I do too. 1500w/3000w inverter. 4ga wire with jumper clamps directly to the aux battery. I like having it removable and convenient. I've cooked in the crock pot for hours like that. It's not "100 approved" like all the fancy setups I've seen, but it works. :hill: I try to keep it country.

Corbet
09-09-2013, 10:17 PM
If you want to charge your computer or other higher end items I'd look for a Pure Sine Wave inverter. It will produce clean power like what comes out of your wall at home.

My thread on a fuse block install here: http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=6219&highlight=12v+outlet&page=3 Starts at post #28

AxleIke
09-09-2013, 11:12 PM
Nope, nothing wrong with romex, and all kinds of things wrong with shielded. Tim's issue was that the inverter itself was radiating and conducting - low end stuff will do that. If you want a quiet inverter look for the CE mark on it. That means it will have had to pass pretty stringent tests for EMI and RFI.

Romex is an excellent, cost-effective solution for carrying large currents (like the DC current between a battery and inverter) as long as it doesn't have to flex, because the conductors are solid and not stranded.

Shielded is excellent for low power applications like instrumentation and radios, but horrible for high current applications, unless you are prepared to spend upwards of $50 a foot for adequate gauge. Plus, it would be a couple inches diameter. You see that kind of stuff on big radio towers and in labs.

I had a dual battery setup in my 40 I designed and built in 1986. It was to run a gigantic stereo. I could never hear my little stereo when I was driving home from band rehearsal and gigs (imagine that! :rolleyes:) so I designed and built a 6 channel, tr-amped 12 speaker system. I used a big marine battery as the aux battery, and built an entirely separate wire harness just for the Aux system. I charged the aux system through an isolator (low forward drop dual rectifier) I got from an RV place. It worked great for decades, no problems ever. The whole idea is you can run loads to your heart's content from the Aux system and not worry about being able to start and drive. Alternatively, if you pull a :homer: and leave your lights on, you can give yourself a jumpstart with just one jumper cable :thumb:

Awesome info,thanks Jeff!

Sorry to hijack Chris!

RockRunner
10-15-2013, 09:18 PM
i use a 750w/1500w max inverter from harbor freight tools, alligator clamps straight to battery of my camper and run a extension cord to what ever, mainly charging i-pod

I have one of those use for small travel trips and it works great. I also have a 2000 watt inv. from HF in my new truck that I ran a grinder and large drill of at the same time. It is wired under the rear seat with either 2 or 0 gauge wire with an inline fuse.

For your needs a small invertor or 12v plugs should be just fine or use Romer's set up got the same in my 4Runner.