Battery box or dual batteries?

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VanDubs

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I’m torn between adding a dual battery system and just building a battery box. My rig is my daily driver, with short trips out to the wilderness being all I can do right now. The main uses would be to run my arb fridge in camp (probably no more than 24 hours without the vehicle running) a small lamp or two, and charge my daughters leap pad/phones. I already have a group 31 dual use battery in my Taco but want a little extra insurance. The plan for the battery box would be to charge it while moving with either the 110 inverter in the bed or with a power pole/charge controller setup.

I’m also a HAM radio guy so I will probably run radios when I’m parked as well.

What do you think?
 

Jean-Yves Hudon

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I am in the same boat. I think a battery box give more flexibility, like the dometic plb40 just announced. A box that is portable, can be charged from multiple sources is interesting. In essence, I am to run power from devices at basecamp with very little vehicle accessories...for now lol! The box can also be used at home in case of emergency. Any thoughts?
 

Shamu

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Ha, similar thought process. If you go dual batt route, make sure you install the tray & batteries correctly. Victory 4x4 disassembled his oil fill while out & about on one of his adventures (Run for the Border - Episode 3). Thinking about the Victory 4x4 rear bumper for my truck. I’m leaning towards the batt box/Dometic PBL40-style setup for my Tacoma. The ability to charge w/the bed inverter while on the move and plug in a portable solar panel while in camp is a plus.
 
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Wawa Skittletits

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I opted for a stand alone battery box with a 100AH group 27. The wagon is my DD so I like the idea of being able to remove teslas boat anchor to charge/maintain it when it isn't needed. At this point I only run my fridge off of it when I'm sitting and from the vehicle when I'm driving. I charge via solar in the field a' la a Renogy 100w solar suitcase when I feel it might be needed.
 

VanDubs

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I opted for a stand alone battery box with a 100AH group 27. The wagon is my DD so I like the idea of being able to remove teslas boat anchor to charge/maintain it when it isn't needed. At this point I only run my fridge off of it when I'm sitting and from the vehicle when I'm driving. I charge via solar in the field a' la a Renogy 100w solar suitcase when I feel it might be needed.
Do you have any pics of yours?
 

Wawa Skittletits

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Do you have any pics of yours?
Sorry I do not. I only started using it more recently (expo) and since I'm still playing with the ideas of where I'm going to keep/mount it I haven't taken any. This is the battery box I went with..

http://a.co/d/27CJfR4

The terminals originally intended to be used by a trolling motor are convenient for charging at home, on the road, and also make adding external plugs simple.
 

Wallygator

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Good timing on this thread as I think this will be my next major mod along with a fridge. I think the ability to remove the second battery from the vehicle and use it portably is just smart and very useful. So I have been trying to learn and research. Here is the direction I am leaning.

This battery box-
This battery- https://www.renogy.com/renogy-deep-cycle-agm-battery-12-volt-100ah/

Was thinking of mounting a DC to DC charger and a solar controller to the battery box. Then add an Anderson connector so it can be disconnected from the vehicle. Any thoughts? Vehicle is a 4Runner.

Recommendations for solar controller and DC to DC charger? Thanks
 

Jean-Yves Hudon

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Good timing on this thread as I think this will be my next major mod along with a fridge. I think the ability to remove the second battery from the vehicle and use it portably is just smart and very useful. So I have been trying to learn and research. Here is the direction I am leaning.

This battery box-
This battery- https://www.renogy.com/renogy-deep-cycle-agm-battery-12-volt-100ah/

Was thinking of mounting a DC to DC charger and a solar controller to the battery box. Then add an Anderson connector so it can be disconnected from the vehicle. Any thoughts? Vehicle is a 4Runner.

Recommendations for solar controller and DC to DC charger? Thanks
Redarc bcdc 1240 with solar input
https://redarcelectronics.com/collections/in-vehicle-dual-battery-chargers
 

Edy Coyote

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I'm in the process dealing with same issue. So far I've hooked up a dual battery system with a cheap isolator. I also have a third battery for the rear of the truck. I will be buying a CTEK battery system bundle. I've done alot of research a d this seems to be the best bet for running all three batteries and an inverter. Seems like a good product. Smart charge technology basically a DC to DC charge system. It also works as a solar controller so I can hook up my two 90 watt panels.
 

Andrew A.

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This is my battery box, it's a 100Ah group 27 AGM that weighs like 90lbs. I attached a 1000w modified sine wave inverter to the outside of the box, and that's really the only thing I did to this thing.
A big con to the battery box route, if you're planning to go with a big battery, is weight.

8F5A7637.jpg
 

Edy Coyote

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Real handy! I made a battery box out of wood with a inverter attached and every kind of connector just in case. The idea was to use it as a portable 12v around camp and stuff. Only used it once, I ran a fan in the pop up trailer while camping in the desert. I intended to use it in conjunction with my solar panels but that never happened. I subsequently decided to dismantle it and hard wire it to my truck camper. I never dawned on me that I could run an extension chord, duh... I do wonder if extension chord/device ratings work the same in conjunction with inverters.
 

Edy Coyote

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This is my battery box, it's a 100Ah group 27 AGM that weighs like 90lbs. I attached a 1000w modified sine wave inverter to the outside of the box, and that's really the only thing I did to this thing.
A big con to the battery box route, if you're planning to go with a big battery, is weight.

View attachment 82333
The Sine wave work good so far? That brand always has great prices on Ebay
 

Andrew A.

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The Sine wave work good so far? That brand always has great prices on Ebay
Yeah it works great!
Keep in mind though that mine is not a true sine wave inverter. Modified sine wave is basically ‘fake’ sine wave. I use it for a lot of things though, like led lighting, phone charging, laptop, sound system for drive in movies, etc, and have never had a problem. I don’t hear any buzzing from lights or even the sound system.

I would recommend it as a good cheap inverter.
 

MOAK

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Ok, been doing this awhile, 21 plus years- The marketing campaign used to sell self contained battery boxes has been working quite well. Here are my thoughts.... A good AGM battery weighs at least 45 lbs. add an inverter, a box, straps, etc and you're tipping the scales at 50 lbs minimum. Unless you are using a tiny little battery. I know we are packed in tight and when we get to camp everything comes out and goes back in very orderly. Do I really want to be stashing and packing stuff around something that weighs 50+ lbs? I don't think so. Then you get home. I have tons of room to store crap in my barn, but do I really want to be lugging that thing in and out of my rig every time I go on a trip? I don't think so. Needless to say I run a dual battery system. When I get to camp, I manually switch the link to "off". before heading out I always check my oil level so it's very easy to turn the switch "on". The spare battery is used for a back up. A power inverter and my fridge is run off the main battery. Everything is charged with the alternator, or when static with a 120 watt solar panel. Each battery and the panel are mounted permanently. Nothing to move around, nothing to tote in and out, nothing to store and nothing that needs to be kept charged up while in a storage area. Let alone the costs involved. My dual battery set up cost the amount of a battery, a battery box, a relocation bracket and wiring. As I recall Slee wants about $175 for the relocation kits. Just my thoughts, but never in a million years would I switch over to a portable battery system. Good luck with your decision.
 

Andrew A.

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Ok, been doing this awhile, 21 plus years- The marketing campaign used to sell self contained battery boxes has been working quite well. Here are my thoughts.... A good AGM battery weighs at least 45 lbs. add an inverter, a box, straps, etc and you're tipping the scales at 50 lbs minimum. Unless you are using a tiny little battery. I know we are packed in tight and when we get to camp everything comes out and goes back in very orderly. Do I really want to be stashing and packing stuff around something that weighs 50+ lbs? I don't think so. Then you get home. I have tons of room to store crap in my barn, but do I really want to be lugging that thing in and out of my rig every time I go on a trip? I don't think so. Needless to say I run a dual battery system. When I get to camp, I manually switch the link to "off". before heading out I always check my oil level so it's very easy to turn the switch "on". The spare battery is used for a back up. A power inverter and my fridge is run off the main battery. Everything is charged with the alternator, or when static with a 120 watt solar panel. Each battery and the panel are mounted permanently. Nothing to move around, nothing to tote in and out, nothing to store and nothing that needs to be kept charged up while in a storage area. Let alone the costs involved. My dual battery set up cost the amount of a battery, a battery box, a relocation bracket and wiring. As I recall Slee wants about $175 for the relocation kits. Just my thoughts, but never in a million years would I switch over to a portable battery system. Good luck with your decision.
I totally agree. Running a dual battery system mounted in the vehicle is definitely the way to go.
I think the battery box is actually intended to be used on small boats for trolling motors and stuff. It still works great in a camping/overlanding setting, but lugging that thing around is a pain. Vehicle mounted auxiliary battery with a DC to DC charger and/or solar would be the most ideal setup in my opinion, but that's a lot more work and money needed to put together.
There are lithium batteries that are much lighter (and much more expensive) that may be better for the battery box route if portability is one's ultimate goal.
 
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MOAK

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I totally agree. Running a dual battery system mounted in the vehicle is definitely the way to go.
I think the battery box is actually intended to be used on small boats for trolling motors and stuff. It still works great in a camping/overlanding setting, but lugging that thing around is a pain. Vehicle mounted auxiliary battery with a DC to DC charger and/or solar would be the most ideal setup in my opinion, but that's a lot more work and money needed to put together.
There are lithium batteries that are much lighter (and much more expensive) that may be better for the battery box route if portability is one's ultimate goal.
Hmmm, I think it's is about break even on the set ups. Duralast Platinum AGM is now $184. I got mine on sale 5 years ago for $150 each. I always run identical batteries under the hood. The wiring cost is minimal, $30 at the most. A marine grade battery switch is $50. Battery box for under the hood varies by brand, $ 175 for an 80 series, $150 for a JKU. So for a very basic dual battery set up you are looking at 4 to 5 hundred bucks. I just googled and "equip" sells a battery box for $325 plus another $175+/- for an AGM. So really, either way it is a wash cost wise. Just a matter of personal preference. If I had it to do over I'd do it all the same. DSC00215.jpg
 

Wawa Skittletits

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Lithium has its limitations but they’ve been rectified with Litium Iron Phoshate @Andrew A. As it stands they’re rather cost prohibitive though when you compare comparable capacities. By the time my current battery kicks the bucket I hope to replace it with a much more reasonably priced one. LiFePO4 batteries are definitely the best option though since they provide stable power longer and they’re still lightweight.

Regarding the battery box.. Cost wise I’d say my setup is decently inexpensive, when you look at he options, since it only consists of an inexpensive battery box and a battery. I have no problems putting it in the car, where it stays, and removing it when I’m done with it. It gets charged/maintained a whole 4’ from where I park my wagon and it’s got a handle to make the move easier. Do I wish it were lighter? Absolutely but the battery in it weighs no more than if I ran the same second battery permanently mounted and I get to relieve the burden from my vehicle when it’s no longer needed. That said, this is what I did and it suits my simple well thought out needs perfectly.

I don’t think it’s fair to say one way is better than another. Saying that one way is better than another when it comes to something like this fails to take into consideration that we all have different setups and different requirements. Different strokes for different folks.