Anderson Plug - essential or not?

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 01:44
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Final tweaks prior to build. With the changes we have made (now 3 panels 3 Gel batts and 190litre fridge) is an Anderson plug a good idea. Previously BT planned with two panels & Batts and 140litre fridge - was advised that with minimal solar the Anderson plug would be no benefit. Your experienced imput as always appreciated. Helen
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Reply By: Cracker - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:06

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:06
Now my 2 bobs worth: Jay the Vans used by majority of the BT owners have the 6mm cable installed which give stuff all amps - they are really a "claytons charge source". You must set up the system from start to finish.reply from Steve is absolutely correct. It's also true that a coat hanger will work as an ariel........I won't use a coat hanger as an ariel for the same reason that I would not use 6mm wire for my alternator. Griffs : You will never see more than a token charge - as the batteries being monitored ( sensed by the reg the engine bay) are full. You are getting for arguments sake the power that the system can provide to things that are constantly on. The vans batteries are in power supply - feed class of the vehicles stereo heater fan etc. and they don't need much. Jay's next reply: Re the alternator output - this figure will probably be at full revs - so unless you stick a brick on the accelerator and let her go - you probably won't see anywhere near 120 amps. As much as it hurts me to say it .........Steve's reply is spot on. ( and that's me his referring to about the inverter) .....grumpy bastard any ideas - yes read the email I posted about 240 /12 volt supply again. Turist: Spot on........everything you said was correct, you identified all the areas of problem - and I have solved them........gee's it's like talking a brick wall sometimes. I have to admit to being a little bit # and amazed reading the above emails, when I just posted a successful method of doing this very thing I will use your reply turist as it covers the req'd areas Charging Van Batteries From Vehicle Alternator.
Unless you have a dedicated alternator just for the van this is a slow process.No use an externaly regulated vehicle alternator specificaly designed for "full on" charging > 200amps
I measured the charge current from the alternator when the van batteries were down to the LVD (Low Voltage Disconnect) point.
Even with the van batteries so low the max current was measured at 8 Amps.Because the reg is still looking at the engine batts - it sees the vans batts as if the heater has been left on via the accessorys ..max amp req'd <10
I believe that the reason is that the alternator is a voltage sensing device that delivers the charging current in accordance with the measured battery voltage. Actually it's the regulator that's built into it - that's why you have to buy an externally regulated one. The internal factory regs sense the volts at the batts ( vehilce) and pronounce ..."nothing much to charge" - except the accessories are left on.
As the voltage increases the charge rate decreases. Yep .......Like a childs see-saw Volts on the left / amps on the right ....lift up the right ( amps ) lose the volts ( left) and vice versa
With the battery splitting devices that most of us use fitted to the system the alternator is always sensing the vehicle battery voltage, not the van battery voltage. There may be some amortising of the voltage between the 2 systems but not sufficient to tell the alternator to get into a high charge rate.No you must fit a system where the vehicle batterys are at the end of the charge system. Bateries all joined together is like having 5 buckets of water, all linked at the bottoms by a hose - take out 3 litres from one, and ( depending on the size hose ) they will all reduce to the same level......batteries joined up, do the same power wise.
So the alternator will not deliver the maximum charge current.
That is the main reason that 6 mm cable and 20 amp connecter plugs (Or the 7 pin plug)are working without problems. Yeah they're doing virtually nothing Cracker
AnswerID: 561532

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:07

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:07
To the Female co owners ( or is that too

I would like to hear from owners that have
installed either slim line or wooden blind.
Are you happy with this over curtains, I
just like the look of them over curtains,
am I getting my self into more cleaning or
problems I have not considered.
AnswerID: 561533

Reply By: Andy1 - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:08

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:08
All of this Anderson Plug talk & our proposed use of same has encouraged me to look a bit more closely at how these circuits are connected. As we have a Rotronics Charge/Isolater system I looked at the web page & at a product CD Rod Street gave us. We have the Rotronics RDH12D PRO/1 (that is for 220Amp alternators) - This system only provides for one aux battery in the F250 & one in the van or two in the F250. The system is designed to provide a parallel recharge of the (one) van battery with the aux. Because of the high F250 Alternator output the Rotronics unit will only power a winch from the (charge isolated) vehicle aux battery(s). The Rotronics 3ST12CF unit will charge 1 aux vehicle battery & two caravan batteries - this unit may well not be F250 (high alternator capacity compatable). The Piranha System is different & looking at the web page information is sparse although an upper limit of 150 Amps is quoted for one unit which makes this unsuitable for the F250. The basic Piranha system is parallel charging so of pretty well zero use with a BT. When I asked Rod Street why the winch has to run from the aux battery only his claim was that with full winch load & full alternator re-charge the potential for "burn out" is present. ARB claim that the Rotronics electronics will just not handle the full alternator load at full winch draw. Take your pick. Reading all that has been said on this forum & adding the Rotronics approach it would appear to me, only as an Economist mind you, that the problem boils down to the fact that at least in the case of the F250 if the BT batteries are very low a 175Amp Anderson Plug will be required & if all of the Alternator output is directed to these batteries the potential for Alternator damage is (very?) high. If the batteries are not very low who the hell needs the Anderson plug anyway. For F250 owners there may be a compromise of sorts - fit two spare batteries in the F250 & run an Anderson plug connecting to these batteries. If the F250 keeps the two auxs charged then in a situation of real need an additional two batteries are available. Help with the winch as well. Andy
AnswerID: 561534

Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:09

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:09
Andy, Now that I understand that the Anderson plug has nothing to so with towing the BT - I had assumed that the Anderson plug and the trailer plug were one and the same - and since I have instructed BTi not to install either an Anderson plug or a charging circuit in the trailer plug, I would like to continue to address the issues you raise regarding the F-250. My new F-250 alternator is 110 amps and we are installing a Piranha DBE150MK111 Battery Management System. Why do you indicate that the Piranha system is pretty well useless for the F-250? Bob Lemon has the identical system installed in his new F-250 and recently told me that it is work fine with regard to charging both his starting batteries and his Gaston AGM battery in the F-250. Bob has one 90 amp; I have two 90 amp batteries. My understanding is that the wiring in the F250 is designed so that the Gaston's in the F-250 and in the BT are treated as being in parallel when the Anderson plug is connected to the BT. My sparky choose the 175 amp so that the extra heavy cable will compensate for the length and minimize voltage loss, and to protect against potential problems. Thus far we I believe I am using the alternator regulator provided by Ford. Cracker has raised an interesting issue regarding adding an externally regulated alternator. On my boat I had two externally regulated alternators on the engine. The 150 amp went directly to my house batteries (1000 amps); the 135 alternator first went to the starting battery and when it was full went to the house batteries too. Because my starting battery was a wet cell, and all of the house batteries were gell cells, ther was a switch that it moved once each month so that all of the amps from the 135 remained at the starting battery and I took it to 15 amps for one hour to equalize the battery. When all of the amps were directed to the house batteries the regulator never allowed the gell cells to go over 13.8. Thus far I have not been able to locate a larger externally regulated alternator to put in place of the stock 110. Anybody; any suggestions? From everyone's postings, is the Anderson plug moving amps from the F250 more trouble than it is worth? Sometimes hard heads (I can say it!) learn the hard way!! tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561535

Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:10

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:10
Bonnidowns - From Anderson plugs to blinds! That is the best thread hijack this year!! Anthony, sharpen the proverbial pen!!! Cheers, tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561536

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:11

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:11
Jay et al, What's a BOG thread if you cant hijack it every now and then .....[smile] Could I also point out that the alternator in my F250 is a 1st Series and is rated as 200 amp (I think Andy's is the same) ...This series in the USA had 2 x 110 amp alternators but for Aust they fitted a single 200amp... The series 2, F250's (early 2002 on) have a single alternator of the Ford quoted amps of 110. Just as a side note .... My battery config in F250 is prety well what Andy describes ...I have 2 x Sonnenschein gels in F250 with 50amp Andersen plug connection ... heavy duty (350amp) marine switching. Every month or so I charge gels via andersen plug and 40amp Trucharge because of compromise charge from alternator. At low to medium current draw the Sonnenscheins only drop 150mA in voltage from alternator. Cable size I ran to these is 35sqmm ...same as factory charge wire. Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561537

Reply By: Andy1 - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:12

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:12
Tgintl The most basic Piranha unit is just a diode isolater which essentially separates the starting battery(s) from the aux(s). The system you are using is clearly above the basic. How you set up is your decision, all I was trying to do is warn of the danger of alternator damage if you start to pump full alternator load into an almost flat bank of 4 large batteries. This is why the mode of operation of the controller is important & is worth knowing. I had assumed your F250 had the 200 Amp alternator being unaware that your set up was not the same an Anthony's, mine, Brian's & Bob's et al. If you tell Steve that you only have the small alternator his view may be different although this raises the question of just how much you can pump in in a short time, again depending on how the isolater/charger is configured. The concept of charging two main, two aux's & four batteries in van via the F250 is a challange at least, as Anthony has suggested a number of times, if the solar is not adequate a generator via the installed charger is really the only practical alternative. Andy
AnswerID: 561538

Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:13

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:13
Andy 100% agreement - that is why I didn't argue with my sparky when he wanted to install the 175A plug as at least there will not be any significant voltgage drop. Still looking for a replacement alternator as the 110 is simply too small to do what I would like to be able to do when travelling. Thanks for the clarification. tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561539

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:14

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:14
Jay, Be very careful letting anyone play with the serpentine belt/pulley drive system in a 7.3 Navistar engine .....Danger ...Danger .... Warning Will Robinson ...!!!!! There are 8 ..yes 8 ... pulleys driven from the one belt .....and yes !! I have a spare belt on board .... and radiator hoses .... and yes the radiator hose has to come off to change belt !!!! Arrrrrrrrrggghhhhhhhh !!! [smile] Here's a list in case you need it .... Crank Pulley Power Steering Pulley Alternator Pulley Idler Pulley Air con Pulley Water Pump Pulley Twin Wheeled Tensioner Pulley The important one here is the Twin Wheeled Tensioner Pulley as they apply tension to the belt and only have a certain range of travel to apply tension(via internal spring). If you change the position of a pulley in relation to its centreline now, the tensioner has to take up slack or release a bit if away from centreline. Changing the diameter of any of the pulleys will do the same thing ..the tensioner has to move to take up slack, then apply tension. There should be enough travel in the tensioner to change alternator but it needs to looked at carefully by someone experienced in this field. To add another alternator into the system would possibly require a longer belt ?? Alignment of the pulley faces to be in the same plane is critical to keep the belt on ..... although the serpentine belt used is fairly forgiving ..especially as most of the pulleys are shouldered. Mis-alignment though, over time, will wear the belt edge against this shoulder resulting in premature failure. I'm not saying dont do it needs careful thought about positioning , pulley diameters, tensioner travel and last but not least .... alternator rpm is governed by the ratio of crank pulley diameter verses alternator pulley diameter. You dont want to over/under rev the new alternator so might have to change pulley diameter on the new alternator, which needs another look at the tensioner travel. If it was mine and I wanted a better alternator .... I would calculate rpm that F250 alternator is running now with standard pulley diameter and see if this rpm is suitable for the new alternator. If it is, I would mount new alternator shaft centre in exact same place as shaft centre on alternator now and in same plane .... this will keep belt and tensioner as is now .... If this cant be done because of pulley mount taper size/shaft key on shaft as you try to mount F250's alternator pulley on new alternator doesnt match .... there should be a selection of pulleys made by manufacturer of new alternator to suit diameter of F250's ......maybe !!!!??? Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561540

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:15

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:15
Fitting a larger capacity alternator does not necessarily mean more amps output over what you have now. If you have a Piranha diode type isolator that would be the first thing I would throw in the rubbish bin. It will severely limit the charging ability. Change the Piranha unit to a Redarc CP12V. Presently there is still no substitute for mechanical battery isolators. For alternators of that size and capacity there is usually quite an extensive range of types and pulleys around that it should not be to major a job. Basically there are only two types of pulley mount. I feel you are going to spend a lot of dollars and not achieve anything or very little. I am still trying to determine from your post why you think you need such a huge alternator. From what I gather reading the posts, I am not so sure you have come across the correct technicians to advise you. I am with Anthony and would not play or touch what is there standard. You need to check with Ford that under no circumstances is that present alternator tied in any way to the engine management system, and I would suggest it WILL be. I suggest you post your exact requirements and see if there is a satisfactory alternative, which I am sure there is.
AnswerID: 561541

Reply By: Turist - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:16

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:16
If you want 2 alternators, heaven knows why, try reverting to the system used by Ford USA.
They have 2 alternators fitted to the 7.3 diesel. I think both are 55 amp.
One alternator fitted at top of engine, one low down.
Reason for change in Aus vehicles is that when Ford were bush testing prior to release here they found that when fording water crossings the lower alternator whent Phutt!!

Anyhow you could import the brackets etc, fit 'em up and keep away from deep creeks.

And Jay, no snorkel, if the wet stuff is that deep I aint goin' near it.
250 air intakes are pretty high and dust does not seem to be a problem.
45,000 K on dirt and bulldust and air filter still ok, last service we opened it up to check and only lightly contaminated.

"Do It While You Can"
Nobody is getting any younger.

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AnswerID: 561542

Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:17

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:17
What an education about a plug that I NOW understands only does one thing - carry amps from one source to another! Turist, I do not want two alternators, I had been pursuing one larger alternator until I read Anthony's post about how many systems are involved with one belt. The pursuit has ended; the warranty is not to be messed with! Forget it! I have no intention of messing with the stock Effie system when I barely know where to put the key, and have a so much learning to do about all that I have put into the Effie and the BT. The 175A with the larger cable will give me all the excess that is available without modification of the stock power plant and alternator system when we are travelling. So be it! Thanks everyone for the assistance. Cheers, tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561543

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:18

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:18
Cracker, I been a' thunkin and a' thunkin and I still don't git it. In your post you suggest that I will only get a token charge, regardless of the state of discharge in the batteries in the BT. You say this is because the alternator reg knows the vehicle batteries are full? How does the reg know? (By the way, mod project #5 is to find a good independant reg that will give the right charge profile for the AGM's, but still be able to take the hostile under-bonnet auto environment. If a sensible one isn't around at a reasonable price, I'll stick with the built-in alternator version. Some charge better than none due to unreliable under-bonnet electrics. Any suggestions , anyone?) Griff
AnswerID: 561544

Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:19

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:19
Griff On Skywave I had some two potted alternator regulators for my high amp alternators. All I did was turn a little screw while watching the amp meter to increase or decrease the amount of amps being outputted to the batteries. Of course by looking at the volt meter I was able to tell when the batteries were also getting too much charge and decrease the alternator outputs. They were about a meter from the alternators and under the settee seats away from the engine heat.. There is no requirement that the regulators be under the bonnet - only the alternators - at least in the marine world. Why can't you put the regualtor in the cab in the glove box or anywhere else you can mount it out of the engine heat? tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561545

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:20

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 02:20
Back to Helens original question. Is an Anderson plug really required? Bob and I don't have one, our system works fine using 6mm wire via 7 pin plug. In reality, the van batteries will rarely be low on charge because the solar puts power in every day, and when the light isn't shining you can used battery charger via generator power. Charging van batteries from cars alternator is the last choice and really only tops up the batteries while you are travelling. The van batteries rely on power from Solar first and battery charger second. Brian
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