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Discussion Starter · #641 ·
Look what finally showed up yesterday! :cool:
Turns out Taiwan customs was waiting on some paperwork to release my package and didn't have my contact information. Anyway, the gang's all here now lol!

I initially though I might build an enclosure along the passenger side wall, but now that I have them in hand, they tuck perfectly under the rear bench. I can mount the DCDC charger between them on the tunnel. I can build a kick plate between the seat mounts to protect them.

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Perfect fit!
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And I like to rant and rave above having things shipped from the states to Toronto, Canada! I'm an American that moved to Canada for a job and stayed for a woman sort of situation. Anything that doesn't have clear paperwork proving that it is American made gets a roughly 10% tax added on, even if it was made in the USA. 13% HST on everything regardless, and then UPS and FedEx charge a "broker fee" of roughly $45/box for passing customs regardless of the value of the contents. That is why everything in Canada costs 40% more than it should even adjusting for the ****ty exchange rate.

By the way, I follow this thread as your work has been exceptional and an inspiration, if only dreaming of stretching my TJ! I want to do it more for the wheelbase then anything else, as this Jeep I consider a 2 seater, but the room in the back would be nice. Also, when I first moved to Canada I got pretty serious with a girl that was from Taipei. Ultimately it didn't work out but she was a great girl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #644 · (Edited)
Another benefit of how you did your stretch - you could not do that with the floor of an LJ. I like it.
Absolutely! I had ideas really early on of building a storage compartment under there. I just never got around to it once the project was done. Now is as good a time as ever. :)

And I like to rant and rave above having things shipped from the states to Toronto, Canada! I'm an American that moved to Canada for a job and stayed for a woman sort of situation. Anything that doesn't have clear paperwork proving that it is American made gets a roughly 10% tax added on, even if it was made in the USA. 13% HST on everything regardless, and then UPS and FedEx charge a "broker fee" of roughly $45/box for passing customs regardless of the value of the contents. That is why everything in Canada costs 40% more than it should even adjusting for the ****ty exchange rate.

By the way, I follow this thread as your work has been exceptional and an inspiration, if only dreaming of stretching my TJ! I want to do it more for the wheelbase then anything else, as this Jeep I consider a 2 seater, but the room in the back would be nice. Also, when I first moved to Canada I got pretty serious with a girl that was from Taipei. Ultimately it didn't work out but she was a great girl.
Preach! I totally feel your pain. :confused: I appreciate the kind words. I've noticed there doesn't seem to be too many people still following the build these days but I still enjoy posting updates when ever I get the chance. Come to think of it the entire forum seems to have less traffic nowadays. I think a lot of members have migrated out into Facebook groups. It's a shame.
 

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And facebook is the worst place for discussions like this - all one and done posts. No sense of continuity. What does a build thread look like on Facebook?

This site won’t let me type the url, but a bunch of us are over on wrangler tj forum. Lot’s of activity, but what I don’t like is that it is all TJ’s. Half my buddies here are in YJ’s and CJ’s - and the occasional JK or JL…
 

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Agree, I dislike FB for even most club discussions, just not a good way of keeping info organized. I'd rather read through a linear post so I can follow all of what is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #647 ·
And I like to rant and rave above having things shipped from the states to Toronto, Canada! I'm an American that moved to Canada for a job and stayed for a woman sort of situation. Anything that doesn't have clear paperwork proving that it is American made gets a roughly 10% tax added on, even if it was made in the USA. 13% HST on everything regardless, and then UPS and FedEx charge a "broker fee" of roughly $45/box for passing customs regardless of the value of the contents. That is why everything in Canada costs 40% more than it should even adjusting for the ****ty exchange rate.

By the way, I follow this thread as your work has been exceptional and an inspiration, if only dreaming of stretching my TJ! I want to do it more for the wheelbase then anything else, as this Jeep I consider a 2 seater, but the room in the back would be nice. Also, when I first moved to Canada I got pretty serious with a girl that was from Taipei. Ultimately it didn't work out but she was a great girl.
And facebook is the worst place for discussions like this - all one and done posts. No sense of continuity. What does a build thread look like on Facebook?

This site won’t let me type the url, but a bunch of us are over on wrangler tj forum. Lot’s of activity, but what I don’t like is that it is all TJ’s. Half my buddies here are in YJ’s and CJ’s - and the occasional JK or JL…
Yup. FB discussions are painfully difficult to follow. I don't think I've ever seen someone attempt to document their build on there. I'm over on Wrangler TJ Forum to but just following other builds and posting questions and comments here and there. I can't imagine how long it would take to recreate my entire build over there at this point. I'm ok with the drop in traffic here though. I update more for my one records than for bragging rights. And the smaller group of followers like yourself make the discussion more friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #648 ·
Update:

It's funny how willing we are to jump into a new project, cost be damned when that year end bonus check is on the horizon.

Fact: I've been complaining for years about having to make repeated trips off the beach, or down the mountain for ice to repack my stupid coolers. I've lost count of how many times I've kicked myself for forgetting to charge and/or pack my USB battery banks for my cell phones, lights, and other accessories while up in the roof tent.

However, what I managed to convince myself would be the much awaited solution to these problems turned out to be nothing more than an impulsive bonus check shopping spree. In my defense, I did do "some" research, but not nearly enough to know what I was actually spending my money on. I've slowly come to the realization with the help of others on Facebook and here on JF that these little AGM batteries are next to useless for what I'm trying to accomplish here.

My goal is to be able to hop in my jeep at a moment's notice with 1 or 2 days worth of food and drink and go where ever I want, completely self sufficient. Unless my wife and daughter are with me, I don't want to be bothered with the logistics of campground reservations and which ones have running electric and nearby convenient stores. We out here doin MAN STUFF DAMNIT.

I took some time over the weekend to layout what I thought might be my final power plan. While doing so I stumbled across a Youtube video by Redarch Electronics entitled,
"Shaun Whale's guide to 12v setups at REDARC HQ". In that video, something caught my eye.
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According to the technical data sheets on my tiny twin AGMs, I would only be at 58Ah in parallel where as the smallest BCDC Redarc offers (The BCDC1225D) which I already had on order, is rated for 75-200Ah. Thankfully I was able to cancel the order before it shipped out. I contacted Redarc to try and get some guidance on whether or not I could actually use the 1225 with my setup. I had heard from several sources that their customer service is really strong. Let me tell you, IT IS. I spoke to Mark Bruce over the course of a few emails and he really set me straight. He also forwarded an article to me which he wrote that does a really good job of breaking things down from a real world perspective. Here's the article.

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So I have 2 very modestly sized AGM batteries up for sale. I wish they didn't fit so damn well under my rear seat. I wonder if there's a longer wider AGM of the same height available that will fit in their place. I'll have to check that out.

On a side note my NOCO Genius 5 came in last night and the PA Performance 160Amp alternator and Big 7 cable kit I've been waiting on came in this afternoon.
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I decided to throw a charge on the AGM I fried last year just to see what happens. I'm not really expecting a resurrection. Just curious. :geek:
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:cool:
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Stay tuned...
 

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Discussion Starter · #649 · (Edited)
Got some stuff done This weekend. ;)

Big 7 TJ wiring upgrade is in! I couldn't find a TJ specific install video anywhere on YT so I took a little extra time and made one. Here's a link below if you're interested.

I got the 117Amp alternator out and the new 160Amp installed in literally 20 minutes flat, on Saturday morning. But of course when things go that smoothly the Jeep gods tend to throw you a curve ball to test your will. LOL. The brittle 19 year old harness clip broke on me as I attempted to jimmy it in to the back of the new alternator. For some reason it didn't quite fit and I had to put a little too much pressure on it. Gotta find a new/used harness clip now before I can test it out. :mad:

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Thankfully I still have scraps of 3/16" aluminum from my Savvy corner blanks. :cool:
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Pretty significant size difference between PA Performance and factory
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I almost made it :rolleyes: I think I may have to take my Dremel to the edge of the recess on the new alternator. That little tab on the harness clip snapped right off.
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Discussion Starter · #650 · (Edited)
So I'm still stuck in the AGM/DCDC charger rabbit hole. I posted my two Odysseys 925s up on FB market place over a week ago. And for a reasonable price considering what they cost me to import, and I got nothing but crickets.

This has me reconsidering my actual power consumption needs. Maybe I keep these little guys and see exactly how many hours of refrigeration I can get out of them. If just these two AGMs paralleled (56Ah total) are enough to keep my food and beer ~reasonably cold~ through the night and into the next afternoon when its time to pack up and head home, maybe I'll just send it. It also occurred to me that if I run a DCDC charger that has build in solar management, the added solar would help me slow the battery drain and probably get me a few more hours before the power dips below the fridges cut off point.

However, the issue with running only 56Ah, is that all the DCDC chargers I'm finding equipped with solar management appear to be too powerful.
That's according to this article I found AGM Battery Charging: Rates, Currents and Times – workshoppist.com "Maximum charging current depends on the battery size. For a rough estimate of the max current in amps [A], divide the battery amp-hours [Ah] by 4: a 60Ah battery takes 15A, a 100Ah battery 25A, and a 200Ah battery 50A."

There are literally dozens of guys in the FB groups telling me I won't have any issues running a 25A DCDC charger with a 56Ah battery bank, but I figure the numbers don't lie. I need to consider the long term health of these batteries due to what they cost to ship/import. I'd imagine constantly over charging them would greatly shorten their life expectancy.

So (56Ah / 4) puts my max charging current somewhere around 14A. Unfortunately, the lowest amperage solar managing DCDC charger I can find is nearly double that at 25A. That would mean buying the DCDC charger and solar manager as separate units which would be more expensive and add a level of complexity that I'm trying to avoid.

Maybe I bite the bullet and order two more of the same spec AGMs and run all four in parallel giving me 112Ah which would be more than enough battery to handle a 25A DCDC charger. I do have enough room under the bench to fit all four AGMs if I flip them on their side like the photo below. They'd actually tuck another 2-3" back under the bench if I space the bench mounting brackets it up another 1/8" or so. And I could mount the charger neatly on the top of the tunnel right between them.
The draw back to this, is the actual cost of importing two more AGMs. Decisions, decisions...
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While I'm on the topic of Solar managing DCDCs, I found this DCC30S Renogy unit the other day. It's almost $170 cheaper than the Redarc I've been looking at.
I need to dig a little deeper to see exactly what functionality the Redarc offers compared to this one but the price is a lot more reasonable on the surface.
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Before I go spending any more money on tech, I think my next step will be to borrow my buddies fridge and do a bench test with my 2 Odyssey 925s paralleled to see exactly how long they last. I'll post back with my findings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #652 · (Edited)
Update!

I ran an experiment this weekend to figure out exactly how much power I could squeeze out of my twin baby AGMs and for how long. The results were pretty surprising! All the details are in my update video linked below.



I was able to dodge international shipping charges and picked up a refrigerator at a local UNRV shop. Only ran me about $340USD and I was in and back out of the shop in about 20 minutes! I gathered all the other components for my bench test on Amazon. Luckily the smaller stuff ships free and I only have to pay import tax.
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So it's settled, I'm keeping the batteries. Ironically, somebody IM'd me through FB Market place yesterday wanting to buy the batteries. I put them up for sale weeks ago and hadn't heard a peep. LOL!

I'm looking forward to building the bracketry to mount the batteries under the bench now. Hopefully I'll have a chance to get some work done this coming weekend. I put some more research and time into the wiring diagram. I was able to get quite a few pointers and tips from the online Jeep, and overland groups. Here's where I'm at at the moment.

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So now that I've confirmed that 56Ah is enough power for what I need, I unfortunately won't be able to run the DCDC/solar managing charger I had my eye on. I've not been able to find any DCDC chargers rated for anything below 100Ah. That said I'm going to run an isolater for now. Once I get a few trips under my belt I'll look into stand alone solar managers and solar blankets to stretch my run time out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #653 · (Edited)
So I was able to put some quality time in this past weekend. Thankfully most of my orders came in during the week. I swear Amazon delivery times are
straight witch craft LOL!


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Why the hell did I wait so long to buy one of these?! Three cranks of the vice handle and DONE! The right tool makes this stuff so much more pleasurable.
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So much cleaner and more compact than my bench test connections.
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The batteries just barely fit under the bench as is so I decided to fab up some spacers for the seat brackets to raise the seat up a little. Luckily I had an old Savvy Under Armor belly skid laying around that was the perfect thickness.
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+ 5/16" Nice and clean. How great is it when you're able to fab something without having to spend more money on materials? :cool:
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Apparently There's a 10 photo attachment limit now....

To be continued
 

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Discussion Starter · #654 · (Edited)
Part-2
I originally was going to just run some bolts through some angle iron for the battery tray but of course,
when I stood back and looked at it, it wasn't clean enough.

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After some brain storming I came up with this. The rectangular stub in the center will space the batteries and have a threaded hole to accept a threaded rod attached to some sort of battery hold down plate. The tab on the back of the tray will be where I'll mount the shunt for my battery monitor. I added some perforations to the base of the tray to help keep the batteries cool due to the fact that the exhaust runs beneath the floor right below. I'm also going to add some heat shielding to the bottom side of the tub. Gotta keep these babies cool.

Off to the CNC shop I go...

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So after searched high and low for almost 2 weeks for a DCDC charger small enough to safely power my 56Ah battery bank and could find nothing rated for any less than a 76Ah set-up, I gave up and ordered a simple isolator.

Wouldn't you know it, the very next day I got a response from Redarc recommending what they call the BCDC1212T. This is a 12Amp unit designed for dump trailers. DAMNIT!


The Isolator arrived this afternoon. I considered returning it, but Redarc wanted $80 to ship me the 1212T. Naa. I'm going to run this isolator for the time being.

I just have to keep in an eye on my battery levels and make sure I don't drain them down too low. It's my understanding that if the battery levels are too low and the alternator shoots too much current at them, they can be damaged. Sort of like trying to fill a water balloon with a fire hose. That’s where the DCDC charger would come in handy. It’s designed to sense when the batteries are excessively low and adjust the amount of current it sends to them. My monitor has an alarm that will go off if I get near that point though. I do think I'll be upgrading to the BCDC1212T in the future but this will do for now.


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And lastly, a moment of ridiculousness.


 

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Discussion Starter · #658 · (Edited)
Ok I think I finally have the battery tray worked out. I'm going to have it machined out of a single sheet of 4mm steel with relief cuts so I can bend it into shape when I get it back. This seems like a better plan than trying to not booger weld a bunch of separate pieces together after the fact. I'm feeling pretty good about this. I hope the CNC shop doesn't reject it. I should be fine I think. Stay tuned.
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