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  1. #1
    spd5535's Avatar
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    Battery Isolator

    Well, this spring I spent about one month straight working on my boat adding several upgrades. One thing I wanted was to add a second battery. I built a custom shelf out of powder coated steel and marine plywood. I installed it on the passenger-side of the boat next to the engine. I wanted a second battery because I added an amplifier, hardwired a GPS unit, and hardwired a power inverter. The second battery I purchased was an Optima Blue Top D31M and the battery isolator used was a Blue Sea Systems - Add A Battery: http://bluesea.com/products/7650 The thing I like most about this system is that it has an Automatic Charging Relay (ACR) which separates the batteries for starting and house loads when in use. But when you are charging it, whether by the engines running or by a house charger, the ACR senses when one battery is full and switches the charge over to the other without having to re-connect the charger to the other battery. I also added a battery monitor next to the battery switch. It tells me where both batteries are at as far as charge. Here are some pics. Sorry for the dirt in the photos, I haven't had time to clean my boat yet. My wife wants me to take a little break from the garage......
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    Last edited by spd5535; 04-26-2008 at 01:30 PM.


  2. #2
    spd5535's Avatar
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    And one more of my GPS unit.......
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  3. #3

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    Cool! That's exactly what I'm looking to do... except I hadn't thought about the inverter. Good idea.

    Regarding your red cutoff switch, the "on" position only provides power from your starting battery right?

    Thanks for doing the writeup.

    Edit: I see the answer now after looking at the item details for ACR - yes.

  4. #4
    Jeepster's Avatar
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    Yes thanks for the thread, i was looking to add another one in my C180 as well, would it be possible for you to post pictures and details about the second battery rack as well, it might help me out to build one, otehrwise i'll just buy another one from the stealership.

    Nice work man...that gives your boat a very nice added feature 'unique'...!

  5. #5
    spd5535's Avatar
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    Yep, the first and second batteries only have the loads "active" when the red battery switch is in the "on" position. I hooked my amp. directly to the second battery and the inverter directly to the first, bypassing the battery switch. My reasoning for doing that is both have remote switches. They will be in the off position until the switch is activated so it's pretty autmoatic. Otherwise I hooked up a fuse panel to the second battery (which you can see in the photos) to run my additional accessories when I decide to add them. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

    As far as the battery rack, I don't know how the c180's are but in the Utopia's they have a fiberglass tower where the battery tray and other accessories are located. I removed this tray so the fiberglass tray was completely flat with the exception of an accessory bracket which came from the factory. Behind the tower is an opening where the angled portion of the bottom of the boat is and the heat exchangers are bolted to. I fabbed up some bolts to go onto the bolts of the heat exchanger and Loctited them on. I took 1" steel box tubing and welded them together in the shape of a square (the size of the tray I wanted to make.) Next was the tricky part. Lots of trial and error. I fabbed up some brackets on the steel tray I made and cut and welded different heights on both sides until it was completely level with the fiberglass tower where the original battery was on. I had the tray I made poweder coated so it would resist the elements. I cut a piece of marine plywood to fit over the existing tower and onto the tray I made. My goal was to make one level platform for all of my components to rest on.

    One additional thing I forgot to add was if you are going with the "Add A Battery" system, you need to purchase a Blue Sea Systems fuse panel and a grounding busbar. For the fuse panel I went with a 6 circuit with negative bus, with cover (Part #: 5025) and the busbar was a 4 x 3/8-16 Stud Terminal (Part #: 2104.) I purchased all my products through Parker Kennedy Yacht Services http://shop.pkys.com/index.asp They were the lowest I could find.
    Last edited by spd5535; 04-26-2008 at 03:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Jeepster's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up...!
    In the C180 it will probably be a bit easier since the bottom of the hull is flat in that location where the stock battery is, so all i have to do is to buy another battery holder and glue it to the actual bottom with resin, i also saw that the atock one is also screwed to the bottom there, this is not the hull bottom so there should be no danger to screwe into that surface.

  7. #7
    spd5535's Avatar
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    Glad you won't have to fab anything up; it can be a pain. For epoxy, I used some made by Marinetex. The stuff is like concrete. I bent some brackets and epoxied them all over the inside of the hull. I wanted to be able to hang all my wiring so there isn't any banging of chords against the hull when I'm going over waves. I hate that, to me that makes the boat sound cheap......

  8. #8
    spd5535's Avatar
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    So I took the boat out today and ran it for a couple of hours. I was worried that the 4-TEC charging system would not be enough to fill my batteries. But to the contrary it works very well. For about an hour I drove around with the stereo cranked and it still was full. Turned off the boat and relaxed, after about 1/2 hour started the boat back up and drove around for a while. Again, both batteries were full......Very impressed with this system.

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