Second battery


ShaneM

New member
Hi All,

I recently bought my first Westy. It's a 1991 Full Camper. A previous owner installed an auxiliary battery that appears to power the fridge, sink pump, and the LED display beneath the sink. The way that it was wired appears unusual compared to what I've read about. It uses 2 relays instead of the normal one. I've attached picture of the wiring diagram. The silver relay (on the right) has a 5th terminal and I could not see a number on it. The scribbled boxes on the far right of the picture are the large red fuse (top) and smaller white fuse (bottom) on the fuse box behind the driver's seat. Why would the battery be wired this way? Can you think of any benefit or detriment beyond the extra complexity? Thanks!

20utk7c.jpg
 

ShaneM

New member
Nevermind! I learned that the silver relay is the fridge relay. The way mine is wired, the "?" (aka 87a) terminal is common to the 87 terminal and that allows my sink pump and lights to run off the aux whether or not the engine is running. The 30 terminal on the silver relay is for the fridge which only runs off aux when the engine is running. Just need to decide how to hook up the stereo and interior lights to the aux and I'll have that part of my project all wrapped up.

I hope this is helpful for someone else. If not, go ahead and delete it.
 

TYCORP

New member
Two Optima D34\78 Batteries wired in Parallel - no relay, gains or problem?

I have a 1980 Westy camper,

im looking at wiring for max battery time when no shore power is available.
"Standard" car batery is in it now, and here is what I want to do.

-Install Intelli-Power "RV Converter Charger"

http://www.progressivedyn.com/prod_details/rv_conv/rv_converter_pd9145a_2.html
(overkill yes i know) plugged into the hidden outlet used to DC power the Fridge when
plugged to shore power, it will power the converter and charge the battery when I run a
lead wire from the converter/charger to the Main battery. (when shore power outside is plugged in) According to my records this plug is "wired" the same as the inside shore power outlets and is controlled by the same power safety switch as the internal outlets.

-Install a second battery in Parallel to the main.
I want to install two OPTIMA D34/78 batteries under both seats, running a heavy gauge wire in parallel.
http://www.optimabatteries.com/optima_products/yellowtop/specs.php battery seems to be the best fit\power ratio in a deep cell\starter battery. Parallel adding the extra reserve time 240min from a lone 120.
I AM aware that if I kill off all power the VAN will NOT start. Id rather have the extra battery time, simple wire job, clean install, not space compromising, then adding additional shut off relays, having some devices being powered off the Aux battery, rather than the main, and all the headache of trying to sort out and rewire appliances and accessories etc .

The Converter/Charger "should" charge when plugged to shorepower and not overcharge as it has a built in Charge\Maintenance wizard, so I shouldn't need a timer hardwired or worry about it.

-Add A Inverter
Add a 750+ Watt inverter, ran to the main power grid + (or off the Converter)

-Add A Solar Panael
Looking at least a 128 Watt Solar panel on room wired to grid with Charge controller
(to prevent overcharge and manage charge loads for batteries)


With this setup,
When plugged into shore power it will
-charge batteries
-power my accessories (all van power, lights fridge stereo, inverter)

When without hookups
-Dual Optima's are the power source for all devices
-Solar Panel will trickle charge or maintain battery levels (depending on power usage obviously)


I Haven't seen a hookup like this mentioned in my research,
and this doesnt not have a second battery relay\shut off. (which i dont care about)
assuming 8-4 gauge wire used so that battery's are getting charge, any draw backs?

Aside from killing off both batteries? (power boosterpack just in case :p)

To me it seems like the easiest wire, and provides charging\power when plugged in
and longer off hookup battery time with a solar panel redundancy.

TY
 
Last edited:

johnt55

Member
I build solar panels at home. Been thinking about putting one in the outside storage above the front seats. Any questions about solar, etc., be glad to help.
 

tomtomhutch

New member
Wow, Nice offer. I am working on a design where I have a lid / cover for the roof top tray area and monnted flush in the lid would be a modest Solar panel. Have you done something like this before. The goal is to run a cooling fan when parked and top of the battery.
 

johnt55

Member
I have done something like this. A small 12v auto fan powered by solar. In this case, a small, 5 watt PV charges an old motorcycle battery which runs the fan. No need for a controller, regulator, etc. I use the small battery so I can be sure the fan will work whenever needed, (especially when you're parked under a tree). You can make one by yourself, or you can buy one of the handy 12" x 18" amorphous units sold at Harbor Freight...about $40, I think. This type of unit is not near as efficient as the crystalline ones, but they can do the job. I've also made some by using a surplus computer cooling fan rather than an off-the-shelf, Pep Boys unit. I notice that one of the after market VW places sells a larger unit, but it's very expensive. You can buy a factory made unit that's twice the size for half the price. To date I've built 6 large panels at home which I feed back into the grid using what is called a grid tie converter. Unfortunately, it seems that as soon as I can add a new panel to my grid the power company raises the rates! BTW, why have a cover over the unit? The factory made models have a 25 year life expectancy. They are much lighter, well-sealed and not affected by freezing, etc. Of course, some bird doo can plop on it. The area you speak about is large enough for a much bigger than 12 x 18 unit which would do a fairly good job of charging another, more robust battery similar to the standard Westy battery you have. If you shop the net well, a mono or poly crystalline unit this size might be had for about $300. Attach a small solar regulator to prevent over charging of the battery and you're done. Most commercial units have a built-in diode to prevent discharging the unit at night. The only draw-back of any crystalline model is that the max voltage is determined by the output of the weakest cell/s. This means that if you park in the shade and the unit is partially obscured by the sun, the output drops. If you get a commercial unit make sure it puts out 12 volts - some are designed to deliver a more efficient 24 or 36 volts when connected together in a home-based array. The 12 volt rated units actually deliver 16-18 volts in full sun - necessary to top up a 12 volt lead-acid battery.

Always try to limit the distance from any solar panel to the battery, or use 10/8 gauge wire, because DC drops a lot over distance.
 

tomtomhutch

New member
Thanks John for the good advise. The idea was to install a conventional Solar panel in a cover plate for the roof tray. the idea is not to cover the solar panel but to fit it neatly into a flush mounted cover made out of fiberglassed marine plywood or something. I just imagined this would be a clean install that would still have a bit of a storage area below it. It will hindge. It looks like a harbor freight panel could do the job. Getting the right fan to match the solar amps is a good idea. Thanks again. Any ideas about inexpensive small led acid deep cycle batterys?
 

johnt55

Member
Tom:
I would recommend saving some nickels and dimes and buy something larger that the 12 x 18" I mentioned. That area is pretty large. Then you could run a blender and make frozen rum runners! Up to you of course. You can get the smallish lead-acid MC batteries anywhere. Online, MC shops, even electronic supply stores. New, about $25.

best...
 

djponthego

New member
If this is a standard battery, (not an AGM) it must be vented to outside the vehicle. Dangerous gas can accumulate in the vehicle. It it's an AGM you should be OK. Did the previous owner wire it correctly and does it do the job? Looks like an interesting place to put one. I put my spare AGM under the rear seat near the refrigerator. The only problem was to keep it charged well with the generator even though I brought a diode isolated charging lead right from the near by alternater. I finally put a regulated power supply to top the battery up when I was connected to shore power. No battery likes to be ignored nor discharged without a complete recharge.

Good luck

Darel
 
The previous owner said it was the original location. I am using a deep cycle battery.

If this is a standard battery, (not an AGM) it must be vented to outside the vehicle. Dangerous gas can accumulate in the vehicle. It it's an AGM you should be OK. Did the previous owner wire it correctly and does it do the job? Looks like an interesting place to put one. I put my spare AGM under the rear seat near the refrigerator. The only problem was to keep it charged well with the generator even though I brought a diode isolated charging lead right from the near by alternater. I finally put a regulated power supply to top the battery up when I was connected to shore power. No battery likes to be ignored nor discharged without a complete recharge.

Good luck

Darel
 

djponthego

New member
Second battery location

The previous owner said it was the original location. I am using a deep cycle battery.

The space under the driver seat is the only place I have ever seen them. There is a vent under the seat that prevents the gas accumulation. If your battery is one of those that look like a six pack without any vents, you should be OK. A standard battery would not only produce gas, it would also be a source of corrosion of anything in the same space due to the acid.

Be Careful!!

Darel
 
There is no space under the drivers or passengers seat for a battery, When I first went looking for the second battery I lifted both seats which are cone shaped on the bottom. and it is just flat metal surface under both. I know what you mean about under the seat cause and older model I was looking at was that way. I guess the 93westfalia was made differently. The converter or inverter whatever it is is also at the back under the wardrobe area.

The space under the driver seat is the only place I have ever seen them. There is a vent under the seat that prevents the gas accumulation. If your battery is one of those that look like a six pack without any vents, you should be OK. A standard battery would not only produce gas, it would also be a source of corrosion of anything in the same space due to the acid.

Be Careful!!

Darel
 

CdnFembot

New member
Hi,

i have an air-cooled '81 and was thinking of adding a secondary batt and placing it in the side bay well in the engine compartment (the area where intake air comes in). it looks like a good place for a bettery but will this interfere with the cooling system...?

the primary sits under the passenger seat.

thanks,
toan

Did you end up putting your second battery in the engine compartment after all? I also have an '81 westie and I am considering the possibilities.
 

johnt55

Member
Did you end up putting your second battery in the engine compartment after all? I also have an '81 westie and I am considering the possibilities.

I may be replying to the wrong post, but it would be tough to stick a battery in an 81 Westy engine compartment.

Although an interesting idea, I've always thought of that space under the driver's seat as too small for an extra battery - but that's where a lot of folks put them, even Westfalia. I think the using that space as a storage compartment with a custom door is a pretty good idea.

I also have an 81 AC Westy. I installed a large, deep-cycle battery under the rear bench seat on the passenger side. There's just too much weight on the driver's side with all the heavy cabinets, etc. It's charged by a solar panel located in the storage area above the front cab. Then, an inverter, etc. There are photos of the setup somewhere on this site. If not, I can post them again.

Vancouver. Love that city! "Westy World." I live in SoCal, but I saw more Westies in one day in Vancouver than I've seen all year down herel.

Best.
 

CdnFembot

New member
I may be replying to the wrong post, but it would be tough to stick a battery in an 81 Westy engine compartment.

Although an interesting idea, I've always thought of that space under the driver's seat as too small for an extra battery - but that's where a lot of folks put them, even Westfalia. I think the using that space as a storage compartment with a custom door is a pretty good idea.

I also have an 81 AC Westy. I installed a large, deep-cycle battery under the rear bench seat on the passenger side. There's just too much weight on the driver's side with all the heavy cabinets, etc. It's charged by a solar panel located in the storage area above the front cab. Then, an inverter, etc. There are photos of the setup somewhere on this site. If not, I can post them again.

Vancouver. Love that city! "Westy World." I live in SoCal, but I saw more Westies in one day in Vancouver than I've seen all year down herel.

Best.

Good point regarding the weight distribution. The restoration guy I sourced said he can do a size 42, 44 amp hour battery in the usual westie second battery compartment but anything larger typically goes into the bench seat area. I am thinking of getting a gel or AGM battery, as I can get 100 amp hours and don't have to worry about gassing. I wouldn't be powering it by solar though- it would have to be charged from the alternator with an isolator when the engine is running. Solar panels don't give us much of anything up here on the west coast of BC, not even in the summer haha
 

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