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Old 04-01-2012, 12:30 AM   #91
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Just wondering.... why did you wire your winch to your auxiliary battery? Does your system allow you to *pair* the two batteries from inside the cab?
I don't have the in-cab monitor/controller yet, and I don't know if it will give me that capability. Benchmark Designs recommends connecting the winch and all accessories to the auxiliary battery, so I'm just going with their recommendation. I got their system with the winch fuse, and it came already mounted and wired to the auxiliary battery lead.
So I did some reading up on the Cole Hersee D-617 Smart Battery Isolator used in the Benchmark Designs Stage 3 Dual Battery System. The way it works, is when the main battery's voltage is at least 13.2, the batteries are "paired" (connected in parallel) so that both batteries supply power to anything connected to either battery, and both get charged when the Jeep is running. When the combined voltage drops to 12.7, the batteries are isolated. Accessories connected to the auxiliary battery will only drain the auxiliary battery, and if the Jeep is running, only the main battery will be charged until its voltage returns to 13.2. This explains why they recommend connecting all accessories to the auxiliary battery. It's to help ensure that the main battery retains enough voltage to start the Jeep.

From the Cole Hersee accessories available, it does sound like an in-cab monitor/controller WILL allow you to override smart isolation and pair the batteries, but only for 1 minute, for the purpose of jump starting a low main battery from the auxiliary battery. It doesn't sound like it would provide battery voltage levels like yours does though. Darn. I like that about your setup.

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Old 04-01-2012, 08:20 AM   #92
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The National Luna set-up charges the dedicated start battery (with all accessories including winch hooked up to it) first. For 5 minutes. Then the solenoid allows both batteries to be charged to capacity. The module inside lets me push a little button to pair for winching/jump starting someone/whatever. Or jump myself if my dedicated start battery was to fail.
It's interesting to me - the different ways to go about it... I enjoy learning the hows and whys. I'm sure it's all good... to have an auxiliary on board when you need it! I went with National Luna because it seems to be the choice of many overlanders... and I read expedition portal a lot, since overlanding is my main use for my jeep. Just a fancy word for car camping..... but it works for me - and it's what I do for work

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Old 04-01-2012, 05:52 PM   #93
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I can answer on the Smart Solenoid. There are 3 wire that come from the solenoid. One is a ground, then you have a wire for a momentary switch to combine the batteries when you want and a wire for an LED indicator so you can see that they are connected. The soleoid itself has no other monitoring system like yours, CG3, but I'm thinking of an A pillar set up with 2 battery meters and then I can drill 2 holes for the led and the momentary switch.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:57 PM   #94
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The National Luna set-up charges the dedicated start battery (with all accessories including winch hooked up to it) first. For 5 minutes. Then the solenoid allows both batteries to be charged to capacity. The module inside lets me push a little button to pair for winching/jump starting someone/whatever. Or jump myself if my dedicated start battery was to fail.
It's interesting to me - the different ways to go about it... I enjoy learning the hows and whys. I'm sure it's all good... to have an auxiliary on board when you need it! I went with National Luna because it seems to be the choice of many overlanders... and I read expedition portal a lot, since overlanding is my main use for my jeep. Just a fancy word for car camping..... but it works for me - and it's what I do for work
The Smart Solenoid used in the Benchmark system, is a little bit bore basic. It also charges the main battery, and when the battery is charged, it combines the two batteries, so you Aux can charge. As I stated above, you can build on it and add a momentary switch to manually combine the batteries and in cab LED light to show when both batteries are combined. Your set up is more inclusive and the reason why I went with the Smart Solenoid is I can make it more custom and look more OE, than the National Luna set up.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:11 AM   #95
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It doesn't sound like it would provide battery voltage levels like yours does though. Darn. I like that about your setup.
Ah, but it did dawn on me (duh!) that I could pick up voltage meters at any electronics store, mount them inside the cab and easily connect them to the batteries to monitor individual voltage levels.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:38 AM   #96
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Ah, but it did dawn on me (duh!) that I could pick up voltage meters at any electronics store, mount them inside the cab and easily connect them to the batteries to monitor individual voltage levels.
That's what I plan to do with the A pillar guage pods that are out there. I'll get a 2 guage pod and drill acouple of holes, one for the momentary on switch to combine the batteries, and one for the LED.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:14 AM   #97
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Lightbulb Dual Battery Monitor

Well, I'm still waiting for almost 10 weeks now for my dual battery tray to arrive from Bechmark. It'll always get here next week...

In the mean time, I did work out the solution for monitoring the dual batteries. I wanted a digital voltage display, instead of the long string of LEDs. Also wanted a way of compensating the voltage measurement. My setup has a potentiometer that is used to compensate the voltage reading from the digital multimeter. This allows you to compensate for any cable loss from an extended run to the batteries. You take the measurement at the input leads using a precision DMM and then see what the voltage the dual battery monitor DMM reads. If it is off, you turn the potentiometer to compensate the reading and match it to the correct value. I also wanted the system to be off when not in use, regardless of low power draw. To switch between the two batteries, I used a Double Pole Double Throw switch with a center-off option. This lets me keep the DMM off and flip it up to read the main battery, and down to read the aux battery. Finally, the momentary push button on the lower left is used to bridge the system in case one batteries fails to perform a self jump start, or to just bridge the batteries for high current operations like winching or extreme cold weather starting. I also get a guaranteed accuracy of at least 1/10th of a volt from the DMM itself. I left out the LED that comes on when the batteries are bridged for now, seems redundant, since it will automatically disconnect anyway after 1 minute. But, can always add it later if desired.

Here's what it looks like:


And here it is, low profile right by the ignition. Doesn't take up much space and is pretty much out of the way. Turned it on to test it, and its pretty bright, so glad that I have the center-off position to just keep it off in general.


Now if only I could get my darn tray so I can install the batteries...
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:39 AM   #98
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Well, I'm still waiting for almost 10 weeks now for my dual battery tray to arrive from Bechmark. It'll always get here next week...
That's what he kept telling me too. Follow up with him every few days, or you fall through the cracks and become forgotten.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:19 PM   #99
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I installed the in-cab monitor and control gadgets for my Benchmark Designs Stage 3 Dual Battery System today.

- The green LED turns on when the batteries are paired. The smart solenoid in the engine compartment automatically pairs or isolates the batteries depending on voltage levels, so this just lets me know the status.

- The push button immediately to the right of the LED is a normally-open momentary switch. When pressed while the batteries are isolated, the batteries will be force paired for 1 minute. In the event that my main battery becomes drained, this allows me to give myself a jump start (from auxiliary battery to main battery) without leaving the driver seat or popping the hood.

- The push button on the right is a push-on/push-off switch to turn on or off the volt meters below. The top volt meter is for the main battery, and the bottom one is for the auxiliary battery. Because the batteries are paired in the picture, voltage levels read the same for both batteries.



At the same time, I also wired in a 4-port power port, connected to the auxiliary battery, so that I can run plug-in accessories with the engine off, and not drain the main battery. It's mounted with velcro, and uses plug connectors for the power and ground, so that I can remove the power port if I want to. Power is also turned on and off with a hidden switch, so I can cut the power to it when I want to.

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Old 04-17-2012, 12:23 AM   #100
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OK so I ordered my guage pods: Jeep JK Pillar Gauge Pods

and 2 Sunpro voltmeters: Amazon.com: Sunpro CP8215 StyleLine Voltmeter - Black Dial: Automotive

I think I'm going to use one of my switches in my sPod to combine the two batteries. I'm not sure about the LED yet. I may just work off of the voltmeters.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:59 PM   #101
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OK so I ordered my guage pods: Jeep JK Pillar Gauge Pods

and 2 Sunpro voltmeters: Amazon.com: Sunpro CP8215 StyleLine Voltmeter - Black Dial: Automotive

I think I'm going to use one of my switches in my sPod to combine the two batteries. I'm not sure about the LED yet. I may just work off of the voltmeters.
I was checking out those pillar gauge pods. They look nice, but I felt they'd attract too much attention when the doors are off, which is usually the case for me. As for the volt meters, nothing against your selection, those actually look nicer than mine, but I wanted a digital readout for more accuracy.

As far as using the sPOD for the force pair switch, it seems like a waste of an sPOD channel, and all the sophistication that's built into it. You'll already be running at least two wires from your batteries to your volt meters. Why not run two more at the same time, for your LED and momentary switch? You could use the (+) wire from your auxiliary battery to also supply power for the LED and momentary switch. If you would like to see the chicken-scratched schematic wiring diagram for my setup, I'd be happy to share it with you.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:01 PM   #102
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I was checking out those pillar gauge pods. They look nice, but I felt they'd attract too much attention when the doors are off, which is usually the case for me. As for the volt meters, nothing against your selection, those actually look nicer than mine, but I wanted a digital readout for more accuracy.

As far as using the sPOD for the force pair switch, it seems like a waste of an sPOD channel, and all the sophistication that's built into it. You'll already be running at least two wires from your batteries to your volt meters. Why not run two more at the same time, for your LED and momentary switch? You could use the (+) wire from your auxiliary battery to also supply power for the LED and momentary switch. If you would like to see the chicken-scratched schematic wiring diagram for my setup, I'd be happy to share it with you.
The voltmeters weren't my first choice, but they were less expensive. I can always upgrade later. I just wanted to get it started. this is uncharted area for me and I figured if I messed it up, it wouldn't have been as a big a hit as if I went digital and spent twice as much.

As far as the sPod, I have 3 channels open. I was going to add rear lights and rock lights, which leaves me with one extra. I could always add a momentary switch later if I wanted to add something to my sPod.

Help is always appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:02 PM   #103
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Oh and I love the idea of the Aux plugs. I may have to steal that one from you.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:34 PM   #104
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Thanks a lot CG3! Now you've shown me yet another mod I want to do to my Jeep!


Beautiful setup BTW! I think I have short amperage complex now


Lbrito..let me guess, you're an EE? Very clean and slick set-up, you should market that cause it looks like a final stage prototype that is sent to the manufacturer for production.

I can feel the dollar bills just flying out of my wallet already...
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:04 AM   #105
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- The green LED turns on when the batteries are paired. The smart solenoid in the engine compartment automatically pairs or isolates the batteries depending on voltage levels, so this just lets me know the status.
Very nice, it looks like 2 voltmeters actually work out well in that spot.
Was wondering, do you know the voltage of the LED? is it a 12V? or is it a logic 5V or something lower? Did you need a current limiting resistor? That was also part of the reason I didn't put an LED on since I don't yet have the smart isolator to check this out. Nice work!
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:10 AM   #106
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OK so I ordered my guage pods: Jeep JK Pillar Gauge Pods

and 2 Sunpro voltmeters: Amazon.com: Sunpro CP8215 StyleLine Voltmeter - Black Dial: Automotive

I think I'm going to use one of my switches in my sPod to combine the two batteries. I'm not sure about the LED yet. I may just work off of the voltmeters.
That looks like it will look pretty awesome! The analog look seems fitting for the pods, its a classic look. But, don't be too concerned with messing up the digital ones if you decide to go that route later, it would be pretty difficult to do so. It might be exactly the same as your analog ones to hook up. Usually there is a 12V power cable for the unit itself, and a second cable for what you are measuring, and the third being ground.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:41 AM   #107
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Lbrito..let me guess, you're an EE? Very clean and slick set-up, you should market that cause it looks like a final stage prototype that is sent to the manufacturer for production.
I am an EE , but to be honest, the work ethic required to put out clean builds is definitely a developed skill. Some guys have "the eye" for doing things neatly, others, like myself, have to learn to slow down and do it all slow and right the first time. Otherwise, it'll work, but look like a pre-school science fair project.

Regarding my setup at top, though, those are off the shelf components on a stock trim piece. The voltmeter is made by Stinger (I blacked out the bright logo), it was about $25 on Amazon, and the switches were a few dollars. I also probably used about $6 worth of 16 AWG cable, which you can go lower quality on, like 22 AWG since you are simply performing a voltage measurement. The rest was maybe another $10 in random stuff needed for a clean install, most of which I had. A few zip ties, stick on zip tie mounts, heat shrink tubing, split loom, ring terminals, etc. But, pretty much, anyone can do this, if you want a custom solution or have something a bit different in mind. Otherwise, the National Luna monitor is not a bad choice. It can be had for like $80, and as you can see, I spent about $45, and if I factor in my time, $80 is not bad. But, I really like the digital read out, and have some other ideas in mind for expanding on this in the future when I have a little more time to really go all out with it.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:00 AM   #108
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I am an EE , but to be honest, the work ethic required to put out clean builds is definitely a developed skill. Some guys have "the eye" for doing things neatly, others, like myself, have to learn to slow down and do it all slow and right the first time. Otherwise, it'll work, but look like a pre-school science fair project.
I knew it! Power track probably huh, maybe RF? The potentiometer reference gave it away. I know what you mean about rushing things, I've done my share of making my car's electrical mods look like a kindergartener on ice went at it with a box of spare parts and a soldering iron. One of my 2nd cars had it's stereo speakers wired to the head unit via stripped CAT-5(it was all 2nd hand equipment and I was at the office and that's all I had available). I noticed that when I give myself a day away from the woman and allow myself time to think and plan I am a lot happier with the results. Break out the torch, soldering iron, heat shrink(love that stuff), zip ties(love this stuff too) and quick disconnect plugs!
Don't get me wrong, I'm nowhere near your technical ability, I'm more mechanically inclined. Ciruits gave me fits. DC was bad, AC was worse

I still think that even though you may look at it as mostly grabbing off the shelf parts, you are still putting together a nice looking setup that 98% of the population would not be able to create. Heck, I'd buy something you or Yomodo create rather than trying to figuring something out on my own that may or may not work properly.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:20 AM   #109
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Was wondering, do you know the voltage of the LED? is it a 12V? or is it a logic 5V or something lower? Did you need a current limiting resistor?
I just used a 12v LED, so no resistor needed.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:46 PM   #110
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I took Vin's advice and coppied my dual battery install here from the thread I started.



I used this tray: Rugged Ridge 11214.53 - Rugged Ridge Dual Battery Tray Quadratec. The installation was pretty straight forward. There were a couple steps in the instructions that could have been a little more clear.

If you read the installation instructions on the link, the following comments should make sense.

In step 5, there are four additional bolts that need to be removed to get the fuse box bracket off before the battery box can be removed in step 6.

In step 6, one of the bolts also holds the fender liner retainer. I found it on the floor under the Jeep. I was wondering what it was and where it came from.

In step 8, the fit of the tray was not perfect. It needed a little twisting and turning to line up the bolts. However, it did go in with no additional drilling or cutting.

In step 10, the evap solenoid doesn't quite want to go there. A bit of repossitioning the lines is needed to get it on the tab without kinking them.

Other than that, It went well. I did have issues with some items I've previously installed, such as my aux. fuse box being in the way. But that is no fault of Rugged Ridge.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:57 PM   #111
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Love the final look of your dual system.
I dont need to go that extreme but looking at a dual battery, looking at adding a 7-circuit fuse block as well to power off road lights, winch, cb, and other accesories. Would it be over kill to add the extra battery, and or is the circuit block all I would need to make this all work?

Cheers!
The circut block will make it work. Dual batteries are not needed but, if you are running those extra accessories while the Jeep is not running, the dual battery setup gives you longer runtime and/or a totally seperate battery for starting the Jeep later, depending on how you set it up.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:21 PM   #112
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Looking good. Did you isolate them? any details on that?
Also, wondering how much time you guys spend on the install of the tray. Assuming mine really does get shipped today or tomorrow, I'd like to plan the install accordingly. Ball park is alright.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:32 PM   #113
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Looking good. Did you isolate them? any details on that?
Also, wondering how much time you guys spend on the install of the tray. Assuming mine really does get shipped today or tomorrow, I'd like to plan the install accordingly. Ball park is alright.
I'm doing mine tonight, along with my tube fenders. I project the battery install part should take 45 minutes to an hour of that time.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:49 PM   #114
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Very cool...looks almost sci-fi...I would love to do this with mine eventually. My wife would probably argue that I can't justify the cost. I don't do much driving around in no-man's land. Awesome setup and good info though.
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:52 PM   #115
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Looking good. Did you isolate them? any details on that?
Also, wondering how much time you guys spend on the install of the tray. Assuming mine really does get shipped today or tomorrow, I'd like to plan the install accordingly. Ball park is alright.
I'd say 2 hours tops. It took me longer messing with the winch solenoid and the aux fuse block.

I did not use any type of control module or solenoid to isolate the batteries. So, although I gained the extra power and capacity with the dual batteries, I do not have a "spare" battery for when the main battery dies. So I saved the cash, for now, and can always add it later. I don't have need for it. Yet.
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #116
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My wife would probably argue that I can't justify the cost.
Smittybuilt tray is $100, Rugged Ridge tray is $120. The second battery only cost me $40 (most battery shops will have blemished batteries at a discount). An hour or two of your time and you're good to go.

You can upgrade the batteries and/or add the relay/isolator at a later time to defray the cost.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:15 PM   #117
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Where can I get this done?
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:26 PM   #118
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Where can I get this done?
I'm sure any local offroad shop would be happy to charge you a few hundred bucks to install it for you, but it's not too difficult to install yourself using basic hand tools. You can find write-ups on the internet.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:51 AM   #119
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Where can I get this done?
I say do it yourself. I'm pretty incompetent with mechanical stuff I did mine in my friend's driveway with basic hand tools in less than 2 hours.
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Clearwater, FL
1991 YJ 2.5L, 1" BD MML, 14 Bolt Rear, Dana 60 Front, 5.13 Gears, Detroit Lockers, 37ss, Cherokee Offset Springs (10" front to back stretch total), Bilstein 5150s, 1in. BL, custom cage, Warn M8000, Double D Dash/OHC, 4Low Front Stinger Bumper, DirtWorx Rear Bumper WTC, Tube Fenders, Comp Cut, 1 Ton HD Kingpin High Steering and PAID FOR.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:29 AM   #120
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Hey CG3, I wanted to let you know about a friend of mine who did a dual battery install in his 94 Rover. Dedicated beach/surf vehicle. He is a bit of a geek, so it explains quite a bit of why he did this. From what I can tell, same basic setup...except for something extra that may be of interest to you.

He also installed a solar panel on the roof to help with charging! It actually is kind of interesting in that he can run the radio, charge cell, etc. all the while the solar panel is charging "whichever" battery needs charging!

Kind of cool if you ask me. If you're interested, I can get photos and post them. I'll also get whatever details I can for you.

Just let me know.

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