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Old 11-24-2020, 06:56 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2020
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Cool Separate Starting and Cabin Batteries?

Hey Guys,

I bought my bus back in April (2007 E450 V10 shuttle bus) and I'm almost done the conversion. About to install my 660W solar array with 4 FLA 6V 230Ah battery bank. (Also have 3000W generator for back up).

When I bought the bus it had two deep cycle 12V marine batteries in it to run the lift, door, cabin lights, etc. BUT these batteries also provided the energy to start the vehicle. Under the hood there is no starter battery, just two lugs that have a bunch of connections and are routed back to the undercarriage battery bank.

My question is, DO I NEED TO INSTALL A STARTING BATTERY, or will i be alright pulling the start charge off of my new battery bank?

I know its possible to rewire some things and trace/remove some of the unnecessary wires (lift power, power door, etc.), then install a start battery and have a separate cabin battery bank but it may be above my electrical skills. (removing lugs from front, replacing with battery for starter, and wiring the rest of the electric to the battery bank).

Basically I have two 12V systems, the one built into the bus and the system I installed. Which makes for a bit of a headache!!!

Any advice is appreciated


PS: Ill post some pictures later.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:26 AM   #2
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I always think it's advisable to reserve the starter battery for starting only and run an convenience loads off the house batteries. If it's wired that the engine alternator will recharge both, worst case scenario you can still start the engine, recharge all batteries and run comfort systems if they're 12-volt. A little survivalist but I've had some real world practice in semi trucks and those that used starter batteries for comfort systems would have left me for dead if I had been remote.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:40 AM   #3
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You need a separate system for starting and driving the vehicle. Charging both with one alternator is accomplished with an isolator.

"CHEESE WAGON" <anomaly.va@gmail.com>
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:49 AM   #4
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Location: Colorado
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Starting batteries are designed differently then deep cycle batteries.

I would get a dedicated starting battery, it should not be that hard to hook up or pay someone a few bucks to hook it up. It will be better on your battery bank and probably make it last longer.
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Old 11-24-2020, 03:54 PM   #5
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If you removed the lift, there is likely nothing left that will draw more raw power from a battery while in use than the lift. (Highly likely why you now have two start batts.).

If there is nothing else hooked up to the dual batts now other than the vehicle's starter, then as others above already mentioned, converting the bus to a single starting battery would be my choice, (less maintenance cost when time to replace). There should be room under the hood for a factory battery box, but if not you could remove the extra lift wiring and simply leave the start batts where they are.
The V10 will turn over/start fine on just one battery.

Keeping the two systems isolated from each other will save you from any unintended start battery draws that could leave you stranded...

Not sure if an isolator could handle the amp draw from 2 start batteries and your 4 added 6 volt batts?
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Old 11-24-2020, 06:38 PM   #6
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Location: Virginia
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Not to throw a monkey wrench in but.... I use only one set of batteries both for starting and for "house" and it has worked very well for me. I have solar to keep things charged when not driving and the alternator charges when driving. Do watch your battery voltage and know what your minimum is to start your engine. My inverter alarm will go off if it gets to low, but not too low to start the engine. I was recently in not so sunny Florida and 5 days straight of cloudy and rainy weather from the tropical storm. Plus I had charged some boat batteries too (for a trolling motor) this really got me low, however 1/2hour of idling a time or two brought it back up enough till the sun came back out. I need to get a good charger that can be used from the generator.
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:18 PM   #7
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in my DEV bus i have 2 sets of batteries with an isolator between that engages when the alternator charges.. the house batteries are AGM and the starters are regular batteries.. my alternator does a decent job of charging both sets.. but I also have a top-off chargter I use to finish the job when im parked at an outlet and will charge up the house set..

my red bus I have one set of batteries.. ive got myself nearly in trouble by sitting parked with my webasto on and a heater fan or 2 for an extended time.. it never left me stranded but my inverter has a low battery alarm and it went off.. i started the bus and it spun over kind of slow then fired.. luckily.. as i dont have solar or a shore charger on that one!..

I like the separation I have in the dev bus because if i accidentily leave something turned on it doesnt kill all my batteries...

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