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Unread 08-11-2009, 06:25 AM   #16
JeepHammer
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RULE #9.

HEADLIGHTS ARE SACRED,
ESPECIALLY LOW BEAMS, AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH TO KEEP YOU ALIVE!


NEVER, EVER build in power activated relays for LOW BEAMS...
You want the LOW BEAMS to be "FAIL SAFE", so if the relay quits, you will still have headlights!


This isn't so important on a 'TRAIL ONLY' Jeep where you are going at low speeds and can stop anyplace at the drop of a hat,
But on street driven vehicles where you might be traveling at 70 MPH when the lights quit, it could very easily be the difference between life and death!

HEADLIGHT SWITCHES have their own circuit breaker to protect the wires going OUT to the lights,
But you should use a SELF RESETTING circuit breaker from the battery source power to the switch so if that wire gets compromised between battery and switch, the circuit will come back on...
That flash of light when the circuit resets might save your life!

This goes for the guys that have set up their vehicle on single switches for everything...
Most of those guys have NO PROTECTION to the master switch,
And use FUSES that blow and stay out when tripped!

THAT MEANS NO LIGHTS AT THE FIRST HINT OF TROUBLE!

A self resetting circuit breaker at the source line for the head lights,
Then smaller BREAKERS for the head lights themselves if the switch you are using doesn't have a breaker built in!

NO EXCEPTIONS!

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Unread 08-11-2009, 06:38 AM   #17
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RULE #10.
CIRCUIT PROTECTION (Breakers, Fuses, Fusible Links) KEEP YOUR VEHICLE FROM BURNING DOWN. USE THEM!


Just like it says,
Circuit breakers on the vital, must have systems like head lights,
Fuses, or fusible links on the systems that aren't going to matter if they give up.

NO EXCEPTIONS!


I recently saw a very nice restoration of a '70 Chevy pickup burn to the ground in a grocery store parking lot.

The guy spend 5 years restoring it in every detail but one...

No FUSIBLE LINK between alternator and starter solenoid,
So when the primary wire to the alternator got against the headers, the wire overheated, insulation caught fire, and burned the vehicle to the ground before the fire department ever put the donuts down and got moving!

EVERY SINGLE JEEP FIRE I'VE SEEN HAS BEEN ELECTRICAL.

Add in some leaking valve covers to add oil 'Gunk' on the engine as fuel, and drive way out in the middle of no where so the fire department can't help you,
And you have a recipe for a burn down you can't do anything about but roast marsh-mellows and cry about it!

Proper size Fuses, Fusible Links, Breakers stop all that before it starts, and they are cheap and easy to install!

The guys last year that burned the brand new $70K rock crawler down on the trailer at the Arkansas run know who they are!

Burned the vehicle down, all their camping gear/camper on the same trailer, and the trailer,
And darn near burned the tow vehicle before we could convince them to unhook and get away from the mess...

Two ten pound fire extinguishers, both my five pound fire extinguishers, and countless of those little 2 lb. fire extinguishers were used, but it was simply a 'NO GO' on getting the fire to slow down...

Two LARGE batteries and a smaller battery on board kept plenty of current going to the short out and kept relighting the fire time and time again...

Fire department took over an hour to respond to a 'RURAL' location, and we were about 10 minutes out of town driving the speed limit...
We could actually SEE the church steeple from town and hear the fire truck, but it still took an hour for them to get to us...

All that cold have been avoided with ONE battery disconnect switch,
Or ONE standard Circuit Breaker or Fusible Link.
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Unread 08-11-2009, 07:47 AM   #18
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DUAL BATTERIES

Let's go over some RULES for dual batteries first...

1. BATTERIES HAVE SOME VERY PARTICULAR CHARGING REQUIREMENTS.
If you don't meet those requirements, your battery lives WILL be shortened. PERIOD.

There are NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE.

2. Batteries of the same SIZE, AGE, COMPOSITION will work together without any extra charging considerations.
If you play 'Mix & Match' with batteries, you WILL have to make allowances for different charging rates or battery life will be shortened considerably.
(and the days of 'Cheap' batteries is OVER! Environmental considerations, along with the cost of lead makes them Expensive on todays market)

3. Dual Batteries can be straight POWER for things like hard starting, winches, ect.
OR,
They can be REDUNDANT Power for trail emergencies,
And when wired 'Correctly', they can do BOTH jobs...

---------------------------------------------

RULE 1. Explained,
Batteries SEEM simple, but are quite complex...
A common Lead/Acid battery does something no other electrical component in your vehicle does,

BATTERIES DO THREE MAJOR JOBS,

The first is as a 'Storage' device.
Batteries convert ELECTRICAL ENERGY into CHEMICAL POTENTIAL,
Then they convert that CHEMICAL POTENTIAL back into Electrical Energy when you need it.
This is by no means any small feat in it's own right!

Electrical Energy (potential), by it's very nature, seeks 'Ground' and ACTIVELY tries to dissipate all the time,
So being able to store something that is trying so very hard to get away is a pretty HUGE FEAT in it's own right!

Secondly,
The battery is able to Convert the stored chemical energy almost instantly BACK into Electrical Energy on demand!
I find that almost hard to believe that a battery can convert and dissipate the CHEMICAL POTENTIAL back into Electrical Energy so quickly!

The Third 'Miracle' is the battery acts as a 'Capacitor', or a 'Buffer' for your electrical system.
It absorbs and dissipates any current spikes from your charging system, all the while keeping your electrical components safe!

When 'Alternators' or 'Generators' start charging, there is a short period of time where they often 'Spike', make more current than the system needs or is asking for...
And that 'Spike' in current will last until the voltage regulator gets things under control.
Many of us have SENSITIVE electrical components on board,
Like the voltage regulator it's self! If it wasn't for the battery, the voltage regulator it's self would fry!,
Radios, both communication and public broadcast receivers (AM/FM),
GPS devices, cell phones, ect.

None of that stuff would be possible if it weren't for the buffering effects of the battery in the charging/electrical system!

So it's not too much to ask of you to treat your battery or batteries with some respect!
Otherwise, you need to get a magneto for ignition and a hand crank for a starter,
And don't even ask about power for anything else on the vehicle!


Batteries require a small amount of voltage above their rated output.
With a '12 Volt' battery, that's about 14.5 volts maximum.
If you give the battery TOO MUCH voltage, it will simply boil dry.
If you give the battery TOO LITTLE voltage, it will not work the way you want it to when you need it.

If you have TWO batteries in the same vehicle, and they are the same size, type & age, then the charging requirements will be close enough to the same you can wire both together to a common charging source...



------------------------------------------


If you normally EXCLUDE one battery (Isolator) when starting the vehicle,
One of your batteries will QUICKLY do more work than the other, and will have different charging requirments, and one battery in the system will need more charing than the other...
This means the SECOND battery that DOES NOT get used as much will OVERCHARGE.



This is a pretty easy (and common) way to wire in a second ISOLATED battery.
Both batteries charge together, but only ONE is normally used for starting, so the second battery will have DIFFERENT CHARGING REQUIREMENTS...

MOST 'STAND BY' OR 'SELF JUMPING' SYSTEMS ARE WIRED LIKE THIS,
And I see two problems with this,

One is the second battery doesn't do ANYTHING for the starter unless you push a 'Self Jump' button on the dashboard,

And TWO is ALL The current from both batteries has to try and squeeze through ONE RESTRICTIVE STARTER RELAY ('Solenoid' for the hillbillies!)

REMEMBER, Starter Relays will be the most restrictive point in the starting system, so trying to force TWO batteries through a solenoid that isn't 'Big' enough for one isn't a good idea!

-------------------------------------------

*IF*...
You made your own cables, and they are large enough to handle battery/Starter currents,
Then the Starter Solenoid is the BIG RESTRICTION.
The solution is simple... But it escapes ALL second battery kit suppliers I've ever seen...

Simply add a second STARTER RELAY FOR THE SECOND BATTERY!
That's TWICE the current to the starter and a BIG LOAD off the biggest restriction, the Starter Relay...



This way BOTH BATTERIES are used for every start, and the Drain/Charge the same solving TWO large problems with most systems...

One being the 'Second' or 'Reserve' battery doesn't pull it's weight when normally starting,
And second, no imbalance in batteries, so no fancy charging fixes needed!

-----------------------------------------------

Now, since you are USING the Second battery the same, and you can CHARGE the Second battery the same as the Primary, or 'First' battery,

How do you charge the battery when in use?
You can't keep the starter relays engaged when you are trying to run the vehicle!

So use a simple relay connected to oil pressure!
Most of you already have one for your electric choke!
And if you don't, they are SUPER SIMPLE to wire in.

]

As the oil pressure comes up, the relay CLOSES and ties both batteries together for proper and even charging!
(alternator sees them as one large battery instead of two smaller ones.)

The oil pressure switch is already there for your electric choke, you just wire in a second relay and be done with it!


The self jump start switch is optional, but it gives you the ability to self jump from the second battery if you have something left on that drains the primary battery.
As you can see, it's simple to wire also.

---------------------------------------------------------

If you have an old bucket like mine, it didn't have an electric choke, then you will have to add an oil pressure switch,



And in my case, I ran the alternator to the second battery though that single switch for quite a while.

I DO NOT recommend this if you have a high output alternator since the switch is only capable of about 20 or 30 amps, but it worked fine for the stock alternator until I upgraded...



With a switch on the dash, this became a self jumping system,



When I installed a larger alternator, and a which that was going to drag down the batteries more than the 20 or 30 amps the oil pressure switch was capable of handling, I installed a relay like the section images above...

----------------------------------------------------------

[b]The FINAL version of this system looks like the image below,
It uses BOTH batteries to start the vehicle,
It charges BOTH batteries together when the oil pressure comes up,
It DISCONNECTS one battery from the system when the oil pressure drops,
(Like when the engine is turned off),
And my low oil pressure 'Idiot' light (& buzzer) works to keep me from smoking the engine... Always a 'Plus'!



This LOOKS complicated, but it's really not that hard to do if you want your starter to recieve input from BOTH batteries when cranking,
Keeping the battery charging levels correct,

Tying BOTH batteries together when the engine is running (and alternator charging)

And keeping the second battery ISOLATED from the system when the engine is turned OFF.... (Unless you flip the 'Self Rescue' switch on the dash)...

This has solved all the problems I have encountered in the field,
Run down batteries, cracked batteries, isolators that wouldn't allow for 'Self Rescue', and two batteries tied together have got me out of places WAY back in the brush when the alternator quit charging...

Much easier and more useful than a second alternator!
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Unread 08-11-2009, 08:01 AM   #19
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DEEP CYCLE OR DIFFERENT SIZES, KINDS OR AGES OF BATTERIES.

You MUST NOT connect dirfferent types of batteries (IE: Starting battery with DEEP CYCLE battery or Large/New battery with Smaller/Older battery)
WITHOUT a CHARGING ISOLATOR[/u]


Charging isolators are DIFFERENT than BATTERY SELECTORS OR BATTERY ISOLATORS.

A common Relay or Solenoid can work as a battery isolator,
But a CHARGING ISOLATOR separates the batteries, and makes sure they don't get Under/Over Charged.

There is only ONE way to use a Charging Isolator for maximum effect,
And here is a diagram showing how to do that...



You DO NOT have to run three batteries, this just shows a three battery isolator and a third battery...

With a Charging Isolator, you can run a Deep Cycle, or 'Different' battery in the #2 position without problems, and still have that battery contribute to starting the vehicle. (self rescue)

Some people like to use a standard Starting Battery and a Deep Cycle next to each other for things like running a trolling motor when they get to where they are going.

Personally, I have a battery that I use for camp site power or as a 'Lend' power battery... It's on a quick disconnect so I can get it 'In & Out' easily, and it's quite handy for running lights/fans in the tent when we are camping...

A Charge Isolator is required for different types of batteries because they charge at different rates than regular batteries,
And this keeps both batteries alive, and properly charged.

Last edited by JeepHammer; 08-11-2009 at 09:24 AM..
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Unread 08-11-2009, 08:10 AM   #20
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BATTERIES... NOT ALL ARE CREATED OR WORK EQUALLY AS WELL

The 'STANDARD', every day, flooded (liquid electrolyte) Lead/Acid batteries are the best to use in most vehicles in my opinion.

Most of us are NOT going to be Up-Side-Down (knock wood!), especially us trial riding types, so the best battery for longevity and service is going to be a Standard, Less Expensive, Easier To Work With Flooded Lead/Acid Battery (or Batteries).
......................

The AGM (Activated Glass Mat) batteries do not leak when turned over,
Can be mounting at any angle,
BUT,
They have ONE LARGE DRAWBACK!

They have Gel Electrolyte and can not pass the gas bubbles charging and discharging create.

The bubbles are held against the plates, creating a tiny 'Dead Spot' at the bubble.
These bubbles combine to slowly kill the battery's function.

If you have an 'Extreme' off roader that gets turned over regularly, then by all means go with the AGM batteries!

Be aware they are EXPENSIVE to manufacture, and they have up to a 50% failure rate, and the warranty period is only 1 year in most cases,
But if you are up-side-down it's good to know you aren't going to have battery acid dripping on everything until you get the vehicle right side up again.
.........................

Last edited by JeepHammer; 08-11-2009 at 09:05 PM..
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Unread 08-11-2009, 03:59 PM   #21
kpauley
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Always good stuff, this is helpful, thank you.

I think I read elsewhere from you about the dual battery setup and someone was asking in your arrangement with or without the isolater, but with the dual starter relays, does it matter which battery you hook the winch to? You may have planned to cover this, but wanted to ask.
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Unread 08-11-2009, 04:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpauley View Post
Always good stuff, this is helpful, thank you.

I think I read elsewhere from you about the dual battery setup and someone was asking in your arrangement with or without the isolater, but with the dual starter relays, does it matter which battery you hook the winch to? You may have planned to cover this, but wanted to ask.
I use dual relays at my winch so BOTH batteries power up the winch at the same time,
Pretty much the same as the starter.

Some people will crank about the cost of the second winch relays, but for what it's saved me from motor overheats, relay meltdowns and other stuff is more than worth what I put into it.

Now remember, winch is the same as the starter,
One relay can fail, and you might not know it until you do some maintinance testing!
Redundancy is that good!

When I'm changing oil, I pull the control wire off of one relay, try and crank the engine,
Put the first wire back on, pull the second control wire and try to crank the engine...
This tests one relay, then the other to make sure BOTH are still working!
In many cases, when weather is clear, birds are singing and the engine isn't at -5F or at 240F you might not notice the added current to the starter,
But believe me, when you are buried in mud on a 100F day with a 240F hot engine,
Or the snow is up to the door sills on the Jeep and it's -5F outside,
That extra cranking power is going to be MIGHTY NICE!

Same with winch,
Make it a part of your Pre-Trip Maintenance or Oil Change maintinance to pull the activation wire off of one set of relay/solenoids and test the winch,
REPLACE,
Then test the OTHER set of relays/solenoids to make sure BOTH are working together to get DOUBLE the current to the winch.

I use one LARGE welding cable from each battery (Two Total) to each solenoid, then I double the operation solenoids.
If you don't understand, I can draw up a diagram of how I wire up...

Last edited by JeepHammer; 08-11-2009 at 04:51 PM..
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Unread 08-11-2009, 08:05 PM   #23
kpauley
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I think I have it, but seeing the diagram with all the solenoids, batteries and winch hookups combined would probably be of value to myself and others... I mentioned, battery cables and getting the dual battery setup are next on the list for me and understanding how I'll be coming off the posts with the battery cables will be important. If I have to do dual connections to the battery, I have side and top posts on them, but I'd prefer to use the top posts, I'm not a side post fan. When using the heavy gauge wire, I'm not certain about running two cables out of the one terminal too, I'm thinking there are lugs big enough to handle that? I may actually have the cables made too, since I don't have those tools readily available and I don't mind paying. I was checking out a few sites that will do custom cables, like MadElectrical.com, not sure if others have experience with them or not. In any case, I'll need to get the battery tray setup and the batteries positioned with the solenoids so I can measure out the cables correctly.
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Unread 08-11-2009, 09:08 PM   #24
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OK, give me some time to work up the diagrams
(most people don't realize this, but it takes about 5 hours to work up a diagram correctly!)

And source battery terminal connectors that will work for this stuff.
I use big truck terminals, I need to check what sizes will fit in one large terminal...
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Unread 08-12-2009, 02:41 PM   #25
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Two quick questions for you. The AGM batteries, I take it you are talking about the Optimas (Have 2 Blue Top that were given to me), and second, I am a little familuar with the Charge Isolators (worked in a boat yard), do you have a recommendation on these?? and if so, what size (trying to pick my brain but it has been years since I have messed with that type of setup).

And also, any recommended part numbers for the above setups??

Dave
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Unread 08-12-2009, 07:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredSERE View Post
Two quick questions for you. The AGM batteries, I take it you are talking about the Optimas (Have 2 Blue Top that were given to me), and second, I am a little familuar with the Charge Isolators (worked in a boat yard), do you have a recommendation on these?? and if so, what size (trying to pick my brain but it has been years since I have messed with that type of setup).

And also, any recommended part numbers for the above setups??

Dave
I don't have a 'Favorite' battery isolator, but Schumacher makes one I've used with good success, just don't get polarity reversed because the regulators in them are sensitive and won't take it....
But they do give both batteries exactly what they need and once installed CORRECTLY, they work for years without problems.

Yes, when I say 'AGM' I'm talking about Optimas and all the other 'Jelly Roll' or 'Six Pack' batteries.

If you use a good Gel Cell (common plates, not rolled, with gel electrolyte) you can sometimes heat them to get the gel to liquefy and expel the bubbles, but it's 'iffy' if you are going to melt the case, destroy/unsolder the plates or get the bubbles out.
It's about 50/50 for me, and I had the factory training on how to do it 'Correctly'.

AGM batteries like Optima can't expell the gas bubbles. Period.
Bubbles get caught in the fiberglass mat they used between plates when they roll them into cylinders, and there just isn't any way to get the bubbles back out.

AGM batteries are $140 plus, with a one year warranty,
And about 50% don't make it out of the factory or through the warranty period.
When you shell out $140 for an AGM battery, you are actually paying for TWO... You are paying FORWARD for the warranty battery 50% of you will probably need...

And you have to remember, the AGM batteries aren't as powerful as the Flooded batteries or standard Gel Cells since there simply isn't as much lead plates and paste mats in the cells.
AGM batteries are CONSIDERABLY LIGHTER than standard batteries, and that weight reduction comes at a cost of Lead, and surface area of the plates, in the cells.

Flooded Lead/Acid batteries are about the best deal,
they have large plates with lots of surface area,
And the extra electrolyte storage allows for longer duration of output than the AGM batteries.

In the race cars, where crashing and weight are issues,
We use AGM, but in race cars $140 for a new battery two or three times a season is just the cost of racing.

In my personal Jeep, where I'm going to deeply discharge/recharge the batteries, and the weight really isn't an issue,
And I've made provisions to keep the acid off the driver/passenger *IF* the rare occasion comes where I roll over (knock wood!)...
You bet I'm going to use flooded batteries since they live SO much longer, have 5 and 6 year warranties, and cost about $50 each!

Since the winch, inverter, air compressor and sometimes starter all take their toll on the batteries,
And since TWO batteries will get me in if the alternator quits,
You bet I'm going for a long lived (Amp-Hour Rated) flooded 'Rough Service' battery over any of the high strung and easy to kill 'Specialty' batteries!

I'm actually fond of batteries rated for big trucks.
They are called 'Group 31 Series',
Come with stainless steel threaded studs on top,
And have about TWICE the Amp Hour capacity of common Starting batteries.

They are built for ROUGH SERVICE, meaning the plates are secured at all 4 corners, and usually top and bottom,
They have an insulator woven between plates that keeps a broken or loose plate from killing the battery...

They are LARGE & HEAVY and TOUGH AS NAILS!
I got 12 years out of one set that was properly taken care of,
And I'm looking at the 7th year on the set I have now...
And they winch about like they did when I got them!

Just something to take into consideration...
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Unread 10-06-2009, 08:22 PM   #27
PhatBasturd
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What size circuit breaker should go between the battery and solenoid?
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Unread 10-06-2009, 09:06 PM   #28
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NONE.
Since there isn't a reliable circuit breaker for DC voltage that will work year after year,
And since the solenoid should be kept close to the battery/starter, there really isn't any need for one.

Just protect your cables, make sure they don't ride on any sharp edges and inspect the insulation once in a while, and you will be fine.

When I KNOW I'm going to beat the crap out of the battery cables,
I build up the insulation with Layers of Heat Shrink tubing, and pad places that will contact potential 'Rub Through' points...

Race cars and tube buggies come to mind right away,
lots of sharp edges and long runs, so I try to protect the cables from those potential 'Issues'.
I've even ran the battery cables inside a piece of tubing before as protection from 'Rubbing'...
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Unread 10-06-2009, 10:02 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
NONE.......

Understood. It sounds like all I need to worry about as far as circuit protection then is a fusible link at the alternator, the positive feed to the fuse block and any other positive feeds that I might have/add.

Just trying to make sure I have all the bases covered.

I'm in the process of rewiring under the hood and have discovered that my PO apparently removed any existing fusible links.

I made new battery cables using 1/0 welding cable, soldered lugs and mil-spec adhesive heat shrink. Overkill I know, but I already had the 1/0 cable.

I also ran 1/0 from the solenoid to the starter and a 1/0 dedicated ground to the starter case. Again, overkill but I had the stuff to do it.

All of my other dedicated grounds I made with 4 AWG marine grade wire with crimped and soldered lugs and mil-spec heat shrink.

I replaced all of the smaller standard terminals and butt connectors (hidden in the wire loom) with crimp/solder/seal connectors.

After reading this thread, I see I also need to run another dedicated ground to the alternator.

Thanks for the great info.
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Unread 12-22-2009, 10:34 AM   #30
lclark2074
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this is a good right up and i like the advice on soarder connectors over crimps
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