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Old 06-12-2018, 09:45 PM
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High Amp Alternator or Solar Panels

Hello,
I have a 16 Wrangler that I'm building for travel. Right now I'm looking at electrical system upgrades.
I'm planning a dual battery install and will use the system from Genesis Off-Road and Odyssey batteries.

I'm also trying to decide between solar panels or a high output 270 amp alternator. I can see arguments for both. I'd like a way to charge both batteries and run accessories such as lights, refrigerator, ham radio, winch, etc.

This is for a future project and I'm in no rush. Probably some time next year.

Any thoughts?

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Old 07-10-2018, 01:35 PM   #2
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I have the Genesis Duel Battery setup with two deep cell Odyssey batteries. (I bought the batteries a little cheaper, and with free shipping from another vendor.) I run my ARB 50qt. Fridge/Freezer (mounted in the Jeep and set at 32 degrees), RTT lights, charge phones/camera, and sometimes run the small tent fan for 24 plus hours in 100-degree Texas heat without cranking up. I can crank up and idle for 20 minutes and be back at full charge. I plan to add a Renogy 100 Watt Eclipse Solar Suitcase and a MPPT controller soon. With this setup and good charge conditions I believe I could stay in one spot for a good while. Since I have my RTT mounted on an off-road trailer and the Fridge in the Jeep we can basecamp with the trailer and explore with the Jeep. A short trip with the Jeep and stock alternator charges both batteries fairly quickly so my opinion would be to add solar if you want to stay put for several days. I am not sure a larger alternator will help you.

Although a little pricy, I highly recommend the Genesis Duel Battery Kit. Your cranking battery isolates at 12.4 volts and ARB shut off at 11.4 volts. All your accessories will be hooked to your house battery and you will never drain your cranking battery. I have a sPOD for all my Jeep accessory lighting and it works well running to the house battery. I also recommend the Genesis G Screen to monitor both batteries. I have my G Screen mounted on the interior driver A Pillar. It makes it easy to see the voltage of both batteries, shows when they are connected/separated, and flashes red if the house battery voltage is getting low.

Final thought on this kit: I called Genesis late Saturday afternoon while installing my kit. I had a question about the shut off fuse in the sPOD and hookup for a future solar panel. No one answered, but hey it was late Saturday afternoon, so I left a message. Well, in about 10 minutes the owner calls me back and ask how he could help. Super nice guy! And the kit in made in the USA.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:03 AM
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Hi,
Yes I’ve heard the owner is a great guy. That sold me on his system. Right now I’m saving for the batteries to go with this.
The setup will be great for overlanding. Just a lot of systems to modify to get the vehicle ready.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:20 PM   #4
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It may sound like heresy considering the current popularity of dual battery systems, but after 50+ years of what is now called "overlanding," my opinion is that simpler is almost always better. There is less to fail and what does fail is easier to repair.

Dual battery switching mechanisms fail all too often, and high output alternators sometimes wreak havoc with modern computer managed electrical systems, and sometimes these computer managed alternators do not even fully charge an AGM battery. I have been on the trail with too many offroaders who have experienced dual battery or high output alternator issues to have much desire for either "upgrade."

Are dual batteries really necessary if all one is going to power are some lights, ham radio and CB, a 12v fridge, and occasionally a winch? Not really. The stock battery and charging system is more than sufficient to power a winch for most pulls, the exception being very long, technical recoveries and even then it is usually possible to let the battery recover for a few minutes and then continue. CB and ham radios draw very little current when not transmitting; LED lights are energy misers. Most 12v fridges do not consume so much electricity during a 24-hour period as to prevent the vehicle from being started, and in such an occurrence a small lithium ion jump pack can quickly resolve the issue. In this context the expense of a dual battery system seems extremely high in relation to any real need.

It is my opinion that a single high quality, high capacity battery that does not require a special charging profile, the stock charging system, and a small lithium ion jump pack as an emergency back up will be sufficient for the vast majority of overlanders, even those with 12v fridges. For stays longer than a weekend a solar panel can provide additional capacity without requiring a running engine, the consumption of gasoline or the making of noise.

I have yet to run out of electricity for my winch, lights, communications and Engel 12v fridge with this basic set up, even on extended trips "off the grid."

YMMV
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bills View Post

It is my opinion that a single high quality, high capacity battery that does not require a special charging profile, the stock charging system, and a small lithium ion jump pack as an emergency back up will be sufficient for the vast majority of overlanders, even those with 12v fridges.
Thanks for your input. What batteries would you recommend?
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:37 PM   #6
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I hesitate to recommend a specific battery because there are a number of good choices and I have personal experience with only a few. Odyssey has a good reputation and I hear good things about the Duracell Platinum AGM at a lower price point. Optima, unfortunately, is surviving on a past reputation that is no longer deserved.
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'83 CJ-7, '97 ZJ
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:17 PM
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After this itís an ARB drawer system.
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:40 PM   #8
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Very cool thats the route I am going to go including the solar system. Thanks for the info.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:02 PM
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Iíve had the Genesis dual battery system installed and also most of Michael from Overland Bounds Power in the Back modification. The wiring for the ARB refrigerator is coiled at the bottom of the passenger side seat. Thatís next. From here in the future I can add solar.

I also ordered the Ikon LED rear compartment light from Quadratec. It should be here sometime next week.
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