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Scout II Rewire with Dual Battery

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Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
Well, it’s time. I’ve had the Scout II in my signature for almost ten years and the PO had done a great job rewiring with an EZ Wiring Mini 20 harness, remote start solenoid, headlight relays, Auto Meter gauges, etc ... nice and reliable. Fast forward to a 94 amp alternator upgrade last month to support a dual battery system feeding a winch and extra lights and the gremlins started to appear. The last straw was this past weekend when the windshield wiper circuit decided it wasn’t happy with it’s lot in life and opted to become part of the starting/charging circuit. I suspect a short or several in the Mini 20 fuse box which is not a serviceable unit.

Kwik Wire 22 circuit harness is on the way. I’d planned to install a Painless dual battery system but have changed horses and am going with a REDARC isolator set up for parallel charging and starting/winching off both batteries. PM me if you want a break on a Painless system NIB - good solution, just not what I ended up wanting. I’ll do my best to document the process and will undoubtedly benefit from the Binder Braintrust along the way. While I wait on parts I built myself a schematic for the planned starting/charging system. I’ve reached out to REDARC headquarters in Oz to make sure my configuration will make the most of their 200 amp isolator’s capabilities.

Long 4th of July weekend combined with general social chaos has me looking forward to stripping wires and busting knuckles in the shop.

Charging System Diagram.jpg
 
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Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
Nice! Great graphic.
Thank you, Sir.

I’m working through some detail planning while I continue the wait for parts. Already have a switch panel in front of a relay bank figured out for winch controls, aux lights, and eventually the York compressor that has been on my bench for three years waiting to be converted for OBA. There are a very few constant power loads that will get a small, dedicated terminal block. The switched power terminal block will cover all current needs plus provide for later expansion if needed.

.... I’m wondering if I’d ever want another small terminal block or distribution post for start power. This would obviously be easiest to configure while I’m laying out the whole system but I don't know if I’d ever use it. Any good ideas out there before I leave this thought behind?
 

Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
... by the way, support from REDARC was swift and useful. My original plan included breakers between the batteries and isolator per their wiring diagrams. After swapping notes with their North America tech guru he got the picture that my wiring was going to be over-engineered and recommended deleting the breakers. I’m more than happy to remove two components and four connections from the equation.
 

Dana Strong

Lives in an IH Dealership
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
6,264
Points
113
Location
Sunnyvale, Ca.
Is the Isolator just a heavy duty NO relay that closes during battery start or winch operation? Or maybe a diode/relay in parallel so current always flows to Bat. 2, but only from it when NO relay is energized? BTW, you forgot to ground the winch... :clown:.

For future reference when working on the wiring, I'd suggest including all the wiring circuits, all the switches, fuses, etc. on a schematic you keep with your manual.
 

Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
Thank
Is the Isolator just a heavy duty NO relay that closes during battery start or winch operation? Or maybe a diode/relay in parallel so current always flows to Bat. 2, but only from it when NO relay is energized? BTW, you forgot to ground the winch... :clown:.

For future reference when working on the wiring, I'd suggest including all the wiring circuits, all the switches, fuses, etc. on a schematic you keep with your manual.
Thanks, Dana. I can picture the whole project in my waking and sleeping mind right now ... the entire purpose of that diagram is for printing and insertion into my FSM as well as to memorialize what others should not do if this results in a smoking pile of copper and plastic. I also omitted grounds at the isolator, engine-to-frame, and frame-to-body ... diagram is technically incorrect but all of these are implied. The REDARC dude’s initial response pointed out the same omissions :clown:

REDARC has some seriously high tech stuff and I opted for their lowest tech, highest ampacity option. Their website is very informative and this is the product I’m using - https://redarcelectronics.com/products/smart-start-sbi-12v-200a. The technical details are fascinating but basically this isolator is smart enough to charge both batteries unless the primary battery drops below ~12.7V and then it will isolate the backup and only charge the primary until that battery exceeds ~13.2V again. The isolator override is wired to power from the start circuit and the winch (grounded!) so that these high draw operations will momentarily use both batteries. I’m not aware of a Scout application yet but Dirk Kolnsberg turned me onto these guys when we were wrenching on one of his projects. I did the research and got hooked.
 
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RinTX

High Wheeler
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
2,915
Points
113
Location
Ft Worth, TX
So power is always available (key switch off) to the kwikwire and power distribution block? Maybe I’m missing it - is there key switch on power distribution?
Edit: Or are you just using that battery emer sw to turn power on and off?
 

Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
So power is always available (key switch off) to the kwikwire and power distribution block? Maybe I’m missing it - is there key switch on power distribution?
Edit: Or are you just using that battery emer sw to turn power on and off?

Short answer: Yes, you've interpreted constant power correctly as drawn but a lot of details have been omitted.

Long answer: The battery switch is under the hood only to cut power to the system in an emergency. The KwikWire box will of course have constant power to feed the circuits that need it (radio memory, ignition, etc.). All of the usual loads requiring switched power will get it through individual fused circuits from the box. The constant power terminal block shown in the diagram will primarily feed relays on the firewall. All of the relays will be wired to dash switches and most of the relays will be closed using an accessory switched power circuit from the box. In contrast, the relay for my rear bumper flood lights will be closed through the dash switch by constant power so I can use them to set up camp in the dark without having to leave the ignition in the accessory position.

... I'll eventually diagram all of that out too.
 

Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
I made some decent progress this weekend in spite of 100+ degree shop temperatures. First two pics are present state ... I think I can simplify the wiring on both sides of the firewall with the KwikWire 22, though it’s much larger, and with smaller B+ and ground terminals in the engine compartment.

I mounted the REDARC isolator on the driver side inner fender and built all new cables to link the batteries in parallel with jumpers to the isolator and B+ power through the emergency switch. The right angle drill and rivnut tray got a heavy workout! I’m really happy that I left the tabs on the end of my upper floating radiator mounts. Had thought about shaving those off at the time but they turned out to be ideal for the shortest route between the batteries through some fiberglass loom and a couple of zip ties The black (-) cable dropping from the red top auxiliary battery along the passenger inner fender goes to a relocated battery-to-engine ground on the passenger side. This is required for the best parallel charging configuration.

I'm not messing around with grounds on this project and don’t want that to ever be a troubleshooting question again. Heavy duty engine-to-frame ground strap on the driver side and four frame-to-body straps at the corners.

Spent the last bit of shop time today meticulously noting and cutting back all wiring in the engine compartment. All Packard terminals that are kept will get new connectors, but I plan to convert to Weather Pack wherever possible.

6242C8F8-ADA9-4EA4-89AE-AF38E4B91AAC.jpeg
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Brett Whitaker

Binder Driver
Joined
Oct 18, 2001
Messages
592
Points
28
Location
Irving, TX
My only comment would be on the remote sensing wire coming off of the alternator. Where it's going, it will always see the battery charge. The purpose of it is to sense voltage where the load is, the Junction. In the Scout it would be where that big bundle of large gauge wires comes together. You have an aftermarket wiring kit so that doesn't exist. I've made my own wiring harness. I picked the furthest location with the most number of connectors between it and the battery as my sensing point. For me that happens to be power distribution to the front end of the truck. Basically the power that feeds the headlights when those lights are on. That way the rest of the vehicle will be getting at least optimum voltage. I'm handling the dual battery thing differently, but remote sensing would work for you as well.
 

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Patrick Morris

Lives in an IH Dealership
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Oct 18, 2001
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San Diego, CA
Hi Ryan. Maybe I missed something in the diagram and maybe I don't understand auto electrics very well. I'm curious about the wiring to the front winch. You have one heavy +cable going from the right-side battery directly to the winch. And I assume the winch grounds directly to the frame. So it doesn't look there's a way to shut off that circuit in an emergency. In other words, the winch will always be "hot" as long as that battery is connected. to it. Is that a problem, from any kind of safety aspect?
 

Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
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Points
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Location
Houston, TX
My only comment would be on the remote sensing wire coming off of the alternator. Where it's going, it will always see the battery charge. The purpose of it is to sense voltage where the load is, the Junction. In the Scout it would be where that big bundle of large gauge wires comes together. You have an aftermarket wiring kit so that doesn't exist. I've made my own wiring harness. I picked the furthest location with the most number of connectors between it and the battery as my sensing point. For me that happens to be power distribution to the front end of the truck. Basically the power that feeds the headlights when those lights are on. That way the rest of the vehicle will be getting at least optimum voltage. I'm handling the dual battery thing differently, but remote sensing would work for you as well.

That’s a great point, Brett, and you’re 100% correct. I previously had the distal sensing connection routed to the terminal block which is a step better than what I drew above but not as good as your configuration. Will definitely rethink my options.
 

Binder77

Farmall Cub
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
46
Points
8
Location
Houston, TX
Hi Ryan. Maybe I missed something in the diagram and maybe I don't understand auto electrics very well. I'm curious about the wiring to the front winch. You have one heavy +cable going from the right-side battery directly to the winch. And I assume the winch grounds directly to the frame. So it doesn't look there's a way to shut off that circuit in an emergency. In other words, the winch will always be "hot" as long as that battery is connected. to it. Is that a problem, from any kind of safety aspect?

I don’t think you’re missing anything, Patrick, in fact you’ve identified a shortcoming of this arrangement that I’ve been stewing on. The winch wiring shown is as recommended by REDARC to take full advantage of their isolator linking and charging both batteries during winching operations. The drawback is that there’s no way for a single emergency switch to shut off everything. Activating the kill switch would stop winch operation since the control signal will be fed by a circuit downstream from that point. With energy cut to that control circuit the REDARC isolator override will also lose power so the batteries would be instantly isolated so the aux battery is no longer in play. If the winch shorted to ground, however, there’s nothing to stop the discharge from the main battery to the frame. People have run winches straight off the battery for decades with no cutoff switch anywhere in the system. My current plan offers a lot more protection than that but it does bug me that I have a weak link. One possible solution could be an in-line circuit breaker ... not sure what the right amperage might be to avoid tripping during heavy winching but still protect against a major short. Somebody way smarter than me with electrical systems could probably throw math at it.
 

Patrick Morris

Lives in an IH Dealership
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One possible solution could be an in-line circuit breaker ... not sure what the right amperage might be to avoid tripping during heavy winching but still protect against a major short. Somebody way smarter than me with electrical systems could probably throw math at it.
If not a circuit breaker then perhaps a manual switch? It just uses a huge relay. You could mount the toggle switch along side the other shut-off, for convenience?
Warn's kit: https://www.warn.com/power-interrupt-kit-62132
Ramsey's kit: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/rwc-282062?rrec=true

The Warn kit's relay looks to me just like a "Ford starter relay", which are pretty common and cheap to buy. I'm sure you could cobble together your own parts and save money. Or play it safe and buy a mfr's kit.
 

RinTX

High Wheeler
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Jan 19, 2013
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Ft Worth, TX
It is possible for those relays to fail in the closed position. When it happens on your tractor - if you have to run to the shop to get a wrench to disconnect the battery - you will have some melted wiring and possibly a fried starter.
 

Patrick Morris

Lives in an IH Dealership
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BTW, I love a good diagram. Yours reminds me a little of the humble little diagram I drew years ago, back when I did my "Brite Bites" headlight wiring upgrade. I did not think to make use of existing images for the components. Might have looked better. I drew drew them all 'by hand'. Got the job done anyway. Using MS Visio.

index.php
 

Patrick Morris

Lives in an IH Dealership
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FWIW, I stumbled onto this Jeep-forum thread discussing breakers, switches and such for winch use. Some people in the know argue against it. Say it's unnecessary from a safety standpoint. It's also mentioned that a winch can draw 400 amps:
https://www.wranglerforum.com/threads/winch-wiring-need-circuit-breaker-advice.868858/

Some interesting comments there. Food for thought anyway. Apparently the manufacturers don't consider them a necessity, else they'd include a switch/relay with the winches. But OTOH, if you truly want to be able to completely isolate your batteries for any reason....?

More fun with Jeeps. In this story it really didn't help the owner that he had to "go get a wrench" to disconnect his winch from the battery at a critical moment:
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/fire-under-hood-my-tj-caused-winch-961538/

He also had to run into the house to grab an extra fire extinguisher. (I just started carrying two FEs in my Scout: one 2.5# Halon and one 5# "Purple K" dry chem.)
 
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theloneduck

Binder Driver
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Nov 24, 2013
Messages
631
Points
43
Location
Arkansas
FWIW, my setup from a PO has a large switch for the power to the winches. It goes from the batter to the on/off switch, to the relays. When I need them, I have to open the hood and turn it to on, and vice versa when done.
 
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