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Electrical Discuss anything related to OEM & aftermarket electrical devices including: stereos, speakers, video, batteries, starters, the body control module, lighting, etc.


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Old 09-16-2009, 04:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
diesail
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1800 Watt inverter and third battery install

Thought a few of you might be interested in the install I just finished in my truck.

Sorry for the length of this post but there is a lot to cover here. When I started on the design for this install I had several criteria that I wanted to meet and I think I was able to fulfill them 100%. Here is what I wanted.

1) 1800 Watt inverter so I would have a full 15Amp AC circuit and enough power to run just about anything I wanted.

2) I wasnít willing to give up any space in the back under the seat as I often have the seat up and care equipment, plus we have a dog that rides in the back from time to time.

3) I wanted to be able to run the inverter for small loads/short periods without having to run the truck so a third battery would be required that is isolated from the starting batteries. I have many years working on power systems on boats and we have one golden rule, you donít touch the starting batteries for anything but starting. All your battery requirements are met through a ďhouseĒ battery and not the starting battery. That way you always guaranteed that you will have power to start the engine.

4) The install must be as stealth / factory looking as possible. I didnít want a hacked up dash or interior.

Here are some of the details of what was installed

1) A Xantrex Prosine 1800 watt inverter. I originally was planning on a Xantrex XM1800 but found a deal on a used Prosine that was the same price so I figured the true sine wave would make for a better system. The reason for choosing one of these two inverters is that they both have control panels that can be mounted remotely. This would allow not only for on and off control but status of battery and load.

2) I found JUST enough space under the bed rail on the right side forward of the rear tire that I could fit the inverter. This required fabbing up a box to keep out of the weather.

3) The GM bracket this is used on the military 24v trucks was chosen to mount the 3rd battery to the outside of the frame rail on the passenger side of the truck.

4) An Optima blue top battery was chosen. Battery selection was difficult as the GM battery bracket required a group 78/34 battery and there just isnít many choices in that size that are deep cycle. I started with the blue as I wasnít quite sure what I was going to use for battery ends. This gave me the option of using lugs or battery terminals. I ended up with terminals and could have gone with a yellow top instead.

5) For battery isolation I knew I needed a relay that was rated for continuous duty. I knew I could do this with a relay that is energized with the ignition but for two reasons I didnít elect to do this. First the relay would turn on and connect the discharged house battery briefly before cranking the engine. Second the cost of a relay rated for continuous duty wasnít that cheap. So I once again borrowed from my marine experience and chose a Blue Seas ACR (Automatic Charge Relay). These things are great. What they do is watch for a charging voltage to be present. Once it sees 13.6 volts or more for 30 seconds it energizes the relay. Then when the charging voltage drops it disengages the relay.

6) Sticking with the house battery concept I also chose to install an auxiliary fuse block power by the house battery. I then moved the two circuits that power all the 12v outlets in the truck to this fuse block so leaving a 12v accessory plugged in would not drain the start batteries. I still have several positions left on the block for future accessories.

7) All battery cable was fused to prevent from short circuiting. The one exception is the charge circuit to the house battery. Here I electric to use a circuit breaker that would allow for an easy disconnect if I needed to remove the house battery from the system for some reason.

8)Battery to inverter required 2/0 battery cable and the rest of the cable is #2.

Now for a few pics of the install

Just some of the parts


The bed mounted outlet


Tuff to tell from the picture but this is one of the two outlets mounted in the cab. It is located on the passenger side of the console.


And on the passenger side B pillar


Fuse blocks, hard to see from the picture but these are mounted on the side of the battery bracket.


Fuse blocks with covers removed. From left to right, aux fuse sub panel, charging circuit, inverter.


Battery as seen from side of truck. Little hard to see but I guess that was what I was shooting for.


Positive cables and 110 cable running forward


Ground cable from battery to frame to inverter. Positive inverter cable and 110 cable above.


More cables under the cab.


Aux fuse panel. Before anybody says anything, yes those 2 fuses are 15 amp and I know the 12v outlets are a 20 amp circuit but I didn't have any 20s in my tool box so I need to swap them. As you can see I still have 4 empty slots for future expansion


Cables along firewall


The Blue Seas ACR and circuit breaker for charging circuit. This is tucked in behind passenger side starting battery


Removed the orignal 20amp fuse for the 12v outlets and tapped into the circuit to run feed from new aux panel. There are two of these circuits, one under the hood the other is on the inside fuse block. This picture is of the one under the hood.


#2 cable from the alternator to the charging circuit. Also there is a #2 running from the engine block to frame, I could not find any ground wire from the block to frame and thought it was best to know it was upto the job. Sorry no picture of that.


Xantex control panel. This is mounted in the upper glove box.


Sorry I don't have a picture of the inverter in it's box. I will have to put the truck on ramps to get a picture. Just laying on the ground I was to close to get a picture.

If you have any questions or want a little more detail on something let me know

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Old 09-16-2009, 04:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice setup

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very cleanly done, BUT the outlets in the B-pillar look strangely familiar Did you paint 'em?


Why is an 1800 so big? The Wagan 1500 and 2500 modified sine units I've mounted are so much more diminuitive. Is it 'cuz that one is true sine?

Where is the inverter itself? If it's outdoors and in box, how did you address environmental exposure issues?

For an 1800, isn't the bus bar and fuse gang kinda overkill?

And lastly, I wish I could write that concisely. I find your write up to be very informative and explanatory. Very nicely done
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heymccall View Post
Very cleanly done, BUT the outlets in the B-pillar look strangely familiar Did you paint 'em?


Why is an 1800 so big? The Wagan 1500 and 2500 modified sine units I've mounted are so much more diminuitive. Is it 'cuz that one is true sine?

Where is the inverter itself? If it's outdoors and in box, how did you address environmental exposure issues?

For an 1800, isn't the bus bar and fuse gang kinda overkill?

And lastly, I wish I could write that concisely. I find your write up to be very informative and explanatory. Very nicely done

Maybe it is that the Xantax's are just large? I have an XM1800, not a true sine, and it is about the same size.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have put some BA electrical systems in boats/campers. I like what you did here. Even have a condition monitor.

How big is the house bat? 1800 W @ 12v = 150h....

I ran a 5000 BTU AC through a 1500W Heart.....fed it with 4 ! 8D's......
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Very nice setup. I wish I knew more to install one myself... Where are you at in the states?
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
diesail
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The for the compliments guys.

heymccall, to answer your questions. The outlet in the B-pillar is a standard decora style outlet from home cheapo, they are available in black. Same with the GFCI outlets in the console and bed, straight from home cheapo. Easy to find and easy to cut the holes for. I screwed a decora wall plate to the part and used it for a template

The inverter it is mounted in an enclosure under the bed. I will try and add a picture today if I get a chance. The enclosure is mounted outside the frame rail to the bottom of the bed just forward of the rear tire. The enclosure started life as an aluminum tote box. It is water tight from the top and spash resistant from the bottom. If a little moisture does get in gravity will take care of it. There is also two fans mounted on the box for cooling. I made a mod to the inverter and connected the fans to the one in the inverter.

As to the size, yes they are a little big but Xantrex builds a great unit. The XM1800 that tinypecker mentioned is just a fraction smaller.

As to the bus and fuses, nope don't think it is overkill at all. All the cables are 2/0 or #2 and IMO every wire should be fused as close to the source as possible. If something where to happen and pinch one of those cables and short it I know my truck won't be going up in smoke.

oscar, the house battery is only a single battery 55Ah is all. No where close to the 700Ah I have on the boat but enough to run small tools or my computer without running the truck. I have done some testing and found that with the truck running at idle I can get a solid 75 amps out of the alternator. This is enough for a continuous 8 amp AC load without touching the battery. It power larger loads of course but draws from the battery, so far it has run every power tool I have thrown at it, a small 1hp air compressor, 10" miter saw, 12amp vacuum, buffer.....
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 00s_dmax View Post
Very nice setup. I wish I knew more to install one myself... Where are you at in the states?
Thanks, I am on the east coast in Maryland.
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RAP (Retained Accesory Power) How-To
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Nice set-up and very professional.

I would be concerned about overheating the inverter, because it is in an enclosed box. It seems like there would be a lot of heat generated when it is operated for more than a minute or so.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diesail View Post
3) The GM bracket this is used on the military 24v trucks was chosen to mount the 3rd battery to the outside of the frame rail on the passenger side of the truck.

5) For battery isolation I knew I needed a relay that was rated for continuous duty. I knew I could do this with a relay that is energized with the ignition but for two reasons I didnít elect to do this. First the relay would turn on and connect the discharged house battery briefly before cranking the engine. Second the cost of a relay rated for continuous duty wasnít that cheap. So I once again borrowed from my marine experience and chose a Blue Seas ACR (Automatic Charge Relay). These things are great. What they do is watch for a charging voltage to be present. Once it sees 13.6 volts or more for 30 seconds it energizes the relay. Then when the charging voltage drops it disengages the relay.

If you have any questions or want a little more detail on something let me know
Great job!

#3 Part number? Room for 2 of them on the frame? Better pic?

#5 I've never seen that relay before. I've always used the 12v trigger type described before you mentioned the ACR. Seems like the one I would want to use for my next install. But... not enough current continuous rating for audio purposes. The L-series ACR looks like a better choice for me. Found a Blue Seas dealer here in MS. What kind of price should I expect?
John

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