Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Two Batteries Are Better Than One

 Part of any four wheeler's winter ritual is to take the down time to improve upon their ride of choice. For us it's just part of getting ready for the Easter Jeep Safari. This year I am excited to be switching from the traditional ice filled cooler to an ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart. If you don't know what that is, basically it's a cooler sized refrigerator that plugs into your cigarette lighter in your car. With this, there is no more icy mess to deal with and you get to utilize all the space in your cooler. Genius.
  Along with the fridge, we have additional lighting and the need to charge various devices which takes a lot of power. To aid in this power draw we are adding an additional battery to the Jeep. The second battery will charge just like the primary battery but it will allow the secondary devices to draw from it, rather than our primary battery.
 To do a dual battery system we needed to get a new battery tray. We chose the Rugged Ridge 11214.53 Dual Battery Tray to hold our two Optima batteries. Now for those that own a Jeep JK, you already know that there is barely enough room for a single battery, let alone two. To install dual batteries it requires some disassembly and some mild plastic modification. The factory's plastic battery tray actually extends from the firewall all the way to the front of the engine bay, ending just under the air cleaner box. So, all that has to come out in order to remove the old tray. Once the old tray is removed you have to cut it into two pieces. We reuse the portion that holds the air cleaner and the fuse box and the rest goes in the trash. Then the new battery tray bolts in using the old hardware and bolts which is very convenient and the batteries can then be nestled into place.
 As you can see in the photos, it's a very tight fit. I had to be very careful not to pinch or cut any of the existing wiring and hoses that run our lights and cooling system. All this took about two hours to do as I was being very careful as I was doing this install. I have one more dual battery system to setup before we go to Moab and I'm confident that I'll cut that time in half. It really was an easy install, at least until I came to wiring them up.
  The next step is going to be wiring the batteries so that they can work together in our system. To do that, we will be using a system from National Luna but I ran into a little problem with installing that part of the system. But, I'll get into that part of the story on another day. Stay tuned for that. 
  If you've ever thought about adding a dual battery system to your rig, I'd say go for it. It isn't a difficult installation and if you're going to run a lot of accessories such as, winches, fridges and lights, it's nice to have a little extra power in your corner. Now where did I put those crimpers? 

Brandan



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