how to install a battery isolator switch

For many van dwellers, this isn’t a huge issue. Thanks.

A dual battery setup is essential to anyone who wants their vehicle to run a heavy electrical load, without being left with a dead starter battery. Begin by making sure that the car is turned off. Start the vehicles engine and take a reading from the main battery. Does an I-beam provide enough wiring isolation. Use the mounting plate on the back of the VSR to mark and drill four holes, and secure the top right and lower left holes with the short screws. Your email address will not be published. A dual battery setup is essential to anyone who wants their vehicle to run a heavy electrical load, without being left with a dead starter battery.

Will there be a significant voltage drop if I use the 7 AWG? I'm not sure what goes where , on the relay solenoid continuous duty 4 pole... isolated battery-NEED pos,neg,earth isolated too!

Each have their pros and cons, so pick one that fits your needs. First check out the infographic below for the basic install layout, and then read on about the different ways isolate your batteries.

Now that you know whats going on under the hood, you can install the isolator. Best Use: You want the most robust option available and are willing to trade a little voltage drop in exchange. Questions of a Do It Yourself nature should be

I just installed my battery isolator.

This is where all of the wires from the BAT terminal that you just connected are going to go. Most of the time your starter battery will be fully charged after a short drive so it doesn’t usually need charge, but in certain circumstances it can. If I run the wire from the isolator to one of the lugs on the cutoff switch, then to the aux battery, what do I do with the other lug on the cut off switch? You only need to forget once and you can accidentally drain your starter battery to strand yourself.

Can this work for 2 or 3 secondary batteries or just the one battery?

Just be careful to ensure your battery kit has enough wire to reach the second battery. There is no way for power to flow between your two battery systems so you can’t accidentally drain the starter battery. I believe you’d run the wire from the isolator to one of the lugs on the cutoff switch, then run a wire from the other lug on the switch to the aux battery. The black wire attached to the VSR needs to be earthed. Cut the cable to the correct length and repeat this step this time to the positive terminal of the auxiliary battery. Once you have hooked up the isolator you can do the actual wiring.

The VSR isolator kit I bought came with 20 feet of 7AWG wiring. do you recommend any brand of battery? Leaving the switch open, or on, will allow the alternator to charge the aux battery through the isolator.

As we said, there are a couple of different ways of hooking up your secondary battery. So the solar controller and the isolator can both be delivering charge to the second battery while that second battery is running the fridge?

What do I do to make sure that the current coming from the battery stays underneath 50A?

View our Privacy Policy here. A Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) is an automatic component that activates when it sees that higher voltage from alternator charging and then turns off when the voltage drops. We spent over two years living in a DIY camper van and visiting 48 US states. To speed up this process, you may wish to switch the … – how would i add a battery level indicator to read the 12v lesuire battery ?

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Then secure the negative terminals - first to the main battery, then to the auxiliary battery. Are there any downsides?

The van’s alternator is designed to keep a float charge (13.8V) on a starter battery as well as provide enough power to keep all of the van’s equipment running, such as lights and a stereo.

All rights reserved. The 4 Gauge wire that you have posted above has many 1 star reviews claiming that it is actually 6.5 gauge wire. Does it get grounded or does it get connected to the negative side of the battery? Away from any hot or moving parts and as close to the main battery as possible. She has traveled through 48 US states and writes about van life, camping and RV living.

There are moving pieces in a relay, and they can fail. Should I just go ahead and buy some bigger wire? For some newer vehicles, a simple isolator creates problems with the electrical system.

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Optionally: you can add a toggle switch to the cab area so that you can turn the relay off in the even that you want to. Then, once the car is ready to be worked on, you will want to check out the manual just to familiarize yourself with everything that is going on so you know where to look. Because the alternator needs to be running for a VSR to work, if your starter battery is dead, there is no direct way to use the leisure batteries to help start the van.

Take the 24 inch black earth cable and again secure to a factory engine ground or similar. Also note that most MPPT charge controllers do use a multi-stage charge, so if you’re getting a lot of sun, you may not need a full charge cycle from your alternator and you can just use it to boost the system while you’re driving. Crimp on 2 electrical connectors that will attach BAT to A. Then, take the length of red cable with lugs at both ends, and measure out enough cable to run from the centre of the mounting plate to the positive terminal of your main battery.

Wire it in between the cable and the battery terminal so that the switch will break the connection to the battery when it is off. The VSR will connect the two batteries (house and starting) once the system voltage gets high enough to indicate that they’re charging. To speed up this process, you may wish to switch the headlights on.

The Isolator is wired in between the alternator and the starter battery. Secondly, they compliment solar systems really well.

This can happen from the charge controller end or the alternator end. Relay has moving parts; more things to break from use / vibration. Required fields are marked *. In a van, you’ll likely be traveling around, and it’s great to make use of the already running motor and vehicle electrical system. I can’t imagine a situation where you’d need to turn this switch off, as the isolator will keep the two batteries, …

The cable from the main battery goes to the VSR terminal marked with a red dot, and the words “positive sense battery”. The general setup is similar for each option. The good news is that you don’t need to do anything special here! For battery isolation, you want your relay to activate when the van is running.

In this case, a 4-post isolator can be used although they are about twice as expensive.

Start by deciding on a mounting position for the second battery in your engine bay. I understand the circuit breaker will activate if the rated amps are exceeded, but I don’t want to plan on that happening!

The VSR can now be attached to the mounting plate using the two longer screws, and the positive cables may be attached to the main and secondary batteries.

Best Use: You have some experience with electronics and don’t mind troubleshooting complexity if it would arise. Along the way, we've met with other van lifers, checked out their rigs, and learned a lot about adventure travel. Then, take the negative cable from your actual car battery and remove it. We are Kate, Ian and Harper. It will then disconnect the two batteries once charging voltage drops.

Battery isolator systems allow you to charge the secondary batteries in your van when the motor is running. By disconnecting the battery, you provide one more major obstacle for them to overcome before they take to the road. Carefully drill around the isolator attaching it to the frame with the sheet metal screws. There is a relatively small risk of needing to do this anyway if your starter battery is healthy. This doesn’t happen often, but it’s good to be aware of.

Battery Isolator update/Shut off switch installed - YouTube

Next, check for the wires that are attached to the BAT terminal, which will be located on your alternator. For less than $150, you can tap into as much power as you would get from $1000 of solar. suggestions.

Cleaning and Replacing Car Battery Terminals. The cost of a proper B2B charger might be more than you’re willing to spend on a small campervan battery that you only plan on using for a summer or two.

I want to use the VSR solution as shown above. I can’t imagine a situation where you’d need to turn this switch off, as the isolator will keep the two batteries, well, isolated. Slide the heat shrink over the lug and heat it with a heat gun to give it a waterproof seal.

Installation is easier than you think, here's how. For smaller systems, this is a relatively small cost. Thanks – best website ive found regarding battery install. Keep it up. This is the most complicated of the options to install because you have to wire in a signal to the relay. In your car! I am pretty much pleased with your good work.

Do I simply “stack” the connectors on the battery posts? What side would the fuse go if this was the case ? Fit the lugs to the bare ends of the cable by stripping away 15 millimetres of insulation and crimping them in place with the crimping tool. Closing it will shut this function off. The only way to know that this has happened before it causes problems is to have a voltage reading of your starter battery and secondary battery and keep track of them.

Is it possible to use VSR with GEL batteries? Use the cable ties supplied to keep your wiring neat and safe. I believe you’d run the wire from the isolator to one of the lugs on the cutoff switch, then run a wire from the other lug on the switch to the aux battery. Install on both ends close to the battery to protect as much wiring as possible, Use stranded wire for better routing and stronger connections, Completes circuit for alternator charging.

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