Upgraded Battery and Box

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by SteveP, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    The old Deka G31 had aged out to less than 80% capacity and I decided it was time for a new battery. I tried to figure out how to mount dual batteries without major reengineering on the tongue but finally gave up. I spent quite a bit of time researching batteries comparing capacities, weights and availability. I had been somewhat following lithium development over the last few years and finally decided that almost twice the capacity, in the same footprint and less than ½ the weight sounded too good. So, still telling myself that this could be one of the most foolish things that I ever did, I ordered a Battle Born 100AH battery from the manufacturer.

    The plastic battery box I had bought years ago was not even tall enough for the old Deka, and an even worse fit for the new bat. I had considered more secure battery storage for years and decided to move on that too. I looked at every metal battery box I could find online and found only two that are lockable without modification. My first choice would have been the RV Armor box from eTrailer. Single piece welded construction with an integrated padlock loop. But, their single battery box was only 13 inches long, ½ inch too short for my battery. It wouldn’t have fit the old G31 either. Their next biggest was 23 inches long and would not fit in the planned space.

    Torklift Power Armor has a 17 inch long box which just fit in the assigned space without obstructing the bunk supports. After thinking about if that extra 3 inches could be used for anything I decided to integrate a battery switch and a PowerWerx dual Anderson connector into the box. Flush mounting the switch requires a 2 5/16 inch hole. I drilled through the side of the box with a 2 ¼ inch hole saw and enlarged the hole with a coarse sanding drum on a Dremel until it just fit. I drilled a hole for the outlet with a 1 1/8 inch step bit and cleaned it up with the Dremel. My hands are not as steady as they used to be and I had a couple of slips with the Dremel so I hit that end of the box with a can of black Krylon that I keep for frame touchups.

    I used a cutting disc on the Dremel to cut the forward rail of the battery rack off the frame and smoothed out the old welds a bit with an angle grinder. I hit that with a good coat of Krylon and gave it overnight to dry.

    Two of the mounting holes in the box pretty well centered up on the frame rails so I used them to mark and drill a 5/16 hole through each frame rail. I then dropped ¼ in bolts through each to hold the box steady and drilled the forward holes through the box floor and the frame rail tops. I put ¼ inch plastic spacers, included, between the box and frame rails and bolted the box down using the included stainless ¼ inch bolts, washers and lock nuts. I used the spacers so that if there were a future need to replace the battery tie down strap I could do it without having to loosen the bolts.

    A couple of things about the TorkLift box I do not like. One is the exposed rivets inside the box that could rub against and damage the battery case. I put a piece of ¼ inch stock on both sides of the battery for a buffer but I really think this is a bad design and inexcusable at their price. And the included tie down strap with it’s plastic buckle is pretty flimsy, also inexcusable at this price point. I threw it away and and repurposed an NRS cam buckle kayak strap to replace it.

    It is a nice looking box but the neatness of the exterior is belied by the rat’s nest inside.

    upload_2019-8-3_21-26-59.png

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    I wanted to use a small fuse panel but I couldn’t figure out how to mount it so it would be accessible without actually sticking it to the top of the battery.
     
    bheff, xvz12 and PopUpSteve like this.
  2. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Very nice! I would love to do this to mine but I'm maxed out on width because of the front bunkend supports.
     
  3. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    Very clean setup! I like it!
     
  4. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. You can see in the pics how the box is right up against the bunk support slots. I have the trailer up now for other repairs and there is no obstruction to the bunk supports.
     
    PopUpSteve likes this.
  5. NavarWynn

    NavarWynn Member

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    That's not bad. I def wouldn't have put a heavy LA battery that far forward, but that's just one of the advantages of the LiFePO4 setups. 3000+ cycles, half the weight, twice the capacity. I'm sold on everything but the cost. That battery is ~$1000, so locking it up ain't 'optional'. ...I'm a tad bit jealous ;) As far as a fuse panel, I'd probably do a cut out for one underneath the 12v socket. I would also ABSOLUTELY drill out for a BDI (battery discharge indicator) underneath the on/off switch. A BDI for fielded LiFe batteries is a safety issue (IMO), and even if you have one inside, mounting a second one on the containment box (right next to the switch) makes good sense.

    My understanding is that the only real significant concern, safety wise, is that when it's already significantly discharged, and cold, and you pull hard on it. My understanding is that this can cause... catastrophic... results. In the end though, if you have decent battery discipline, or an electronics package that will prevent a hard pull at low charge levels, this will likely never be an issue.
     
  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I thought about that but decided it would be detrimental to the weather integrity of the box. After I had the wiring all laid in it struck me that I could have used a post mount fuse panel by adding a brass angle to to it.
    BB claims to have addressed this with both high and low temp cutouts in the BMS. The only inverter I have is a 300 watt plug in that's only been out of the box for a test, so I don't anticipate any heavy draws.
     
  7. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I mounted my two groups of two 6VDC batteries in series in a 59-inch torklift box... Its turning out great...

    I see on the top of your single battery box is four holes for a 10-watt small solar panel... Mine came with one and it does great giving me a trickle charge for one of my two 6V battery groups. I am going to order a second 10WATT solar panel for the other side which already has the mounting holes drilled.

    I have been testing my setup in my box on my test bench... All is looking great so for...

    Mine will replace three 12V Batteries in parallel before that final died away after 6 or so years...

    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    My new Torklift box looks like this...

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    Google image

    My new Torklift 59-inch box will fit inside my two welded rails on my tongue just fine. Will extend out on both sides of the tongue...

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    Roy's image

    I went with the DURACELL 6VDC Golf Cart Batteries... My two groups of two 6V batteries in series will give me a 430AH Battery bank... I got my batteries from local BATTERYS PLUS store here... SLIGC110 $84.99 each and they took four Interstate 12VDC Batteries for core fee...

    [​IMG]
    Google image

    My setup is similar to these drawings except I will be using DURACELL Batteries and a 600WATT AIMS Power Inverter...

    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     

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