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Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

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Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

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Old 03-02-2006, 12:04 PM
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Rcpilot
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Default Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

I want to install a charging port(s) in the bed of my truck.

I run MH batteries, so I just field charge most of the time. I have a DC charger that will cycle batteries too. I just field charge them and then about every 4th or 5th time out, I'll cycle them.

My problem is that I always have to put the hood up on the truck. Tired of that. I want to build a charge port into the bed of the truck. I want to put it towards the back of the bed--near the tailgate--so that it's easy to get at. I want to put it on the side of the bed, not in the tailgate or on the bottom.

Then, I could actually charge up an airplane on the way out to the field. And, I can charge my glow drivers or field battery from there too.

I don't know how to do it. Most of my chargers have banana plugs on them, so it seams to me that I'd want to install the female part of the plugs in the bed of the truck. Then just plug in. A friend suggested a cigarrette lighter plug--but then I'd have to buy adaptors for all my chargers too. I use 3 different chargers. Sometimes, all of them at once. I might be charging a plane and my TX. And I may need to top off the field battery, as well as a glow driver.

I'm assuming that the positive lead coming from the truck battery is going to need an in-line fuse. But, in order to run all three chargers at once, it'll have to be a big fuse. Thats a problem because if I only run 1 charger--it won't blow the big fuse before it burns out the charger.

So, if I install 3 banana plug ports, do I need 3 in-line fuses? 1 fuse for each charge port?

What size wire do I need? 10ga? 8ga? 4ga?

I'm no electrician, need some help. Need ideas.

Thanks
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Old 03-02-2006, 01:06 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

If your chargers don't already have a fuse, why not put an in-line fuse in the (+) lead of your chargers? Then you can use whatever size fuse you need for each charger and still use a larger in-line fuse to your remote connection in the truck.
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:55 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?


ORIGINAL: krossk

If your chargers don't already have a fuse, why not put an in-line fuse in the (+) lead of your chargers? Then you can use whatever size fuse you need for each charger and still use a larger in-line fuse to your remote connection in the truck.
Good idea. I talked to a friend, and he says my chargers are already fused.

But, I can still put 1 big fuse in the + lead to the remote location.

Told ya I was not an electrician.[:-]
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:39 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

RCPilet,
I have been considering this myself.
I intend to use a trailer plug/receptacle setup. This is so it will be closed when not in use.
Cigarette plugs are cheap and give poor connections.
It also needs to be polarized so you can't plug it in wrong.
I am thinking of installing it next to the tailgate. Seems to be plenty of room.
Yes, you will need to make some adapters.
12 gauge wire should be fine, you shouldn't be drawing that much current.
You can fuse your main line or each charger whichever is easiest for you.
If you fuse the main it protects the plug from something else being stuck in the receptacle.
Make sure the fuse is where it is easy to get at and protected from the weather.
Also, make sure you can run it without the ignition being on.
I plan to run a wire for both + and _, not using the body as ground.
I hope these thoughts are helpful.
Let me know how it turns out.
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:42 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

I was going to use a 285A lawn&graden tractor battery in the back, and run a + line (10ga) back to it. Then ground it to the frame. That way, I'd have no problem with voltage drop. My thinking was that with a 12V battery right at the back of the truck, I'd always have a good amp supply. The small battery in the back would get charged from the alternator and the main battery. Never have to charge it.

This won't work. My friend is a mechanic, and he told me why it won't work:

With only 285A battery in the back, and a big 850A battery for the truck--the little battery in the back will always get boiled and over charged. Kind of like using 2 batteries in an airplane. If they aren't the same mah rating--there will always be cross charging going on. That sounds like a fire waiting to happen.[X(] In an airplane--not really a big deal. Small amp loads. But in my truck--lots of amps and potential for a fire if something grounds out or boils over.

I'm going to run a 10ga wire directly off the truck battery and fuse it as close to the battery as possible with a 10A or 15A in-line fuse. That way, if something grounds out--it'll blow the fuse right at the main battery--and not burn the truck down to the ground.

I'll go to the stereo supply store and get a brass terminal block. It will receive the 10ga wire in and then have multiple ports to plug in smaller wires. Run the smaller wires out to the banana plugs. Kinda hard to solder a 10ga wire into the back of a banana plug.[:-]

Redneck electrical engineering at it's finest.
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Old 03-02-2006, 06:06 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

Where can I buy banana plugs?

I've got tons of the male side.

I need the female side of the plugs. Can't find them anywhere.

All my chargers are male banana plugs, and there are female in the power panel or on the A/C inverter that plugs into the wall.

Where the heck do ya buy the female side of the plugs?
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:39 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

Radio Shack
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:45 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

RCPilet,

I don't think overcharging is a real problem. The battery will only draw what it needs.
You do have to protect it so the truck doesn't try and run off of the small battery.
This is done with a heavy diode, there are units designed for just this purpose.
Try a trailer/RV supply/repair place.
These people also set up mixed batteries as you are talking about.
Get their opinion of what you want to do.
I personally don't see the need for an extra battery when you already have a perfectly good one in the truck.
Either way you need to run wires to the bed.

You should be able to get the banana plugs and chassis jacks at Radio Shack or a stereo store.
If not, just google them and you'll come up with more mail order places than you can shake a stick at.
Probably a lot cheaper that RS.

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Old 03-02-2006, 07:46 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

Why not get a remote cigarette lighter that is designed for outdoors. Get one that is designed for a boat--so it can take the weather. Mount it just under the rail wherever you want it.

Then, go back to wal-mart, and buy an adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter, and has two female bananna ports in the end of it. Problem solved.
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Old 03-02-2006, 08:05 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

I'm in Pueblo CO. The Radio Shack is a little "understocked" on banana plugs

I did a google search and mail ordered some plugs and jacks.

I also ordered a resetable switch to put in the + line. It's good for 10A. I'll mount that right next to the truck battery.

I ordered some phenolic board to mount it all. I'll have 3 sets of banana jacks on the board. I got 3 chargers. I'll mount the jacks on the board and then just screw it to the side rail of the bed.

I also want a place to snap on a set of alligator clips. Probably just mount a couple bolts in the board and solder the wires to them.

I'm still trying to find a terminal block that I can use to run my 10ga + wire into. I've used these before. Available from the high performance stereo stores. The local stereo shop wants $69 for one--no thanks. I'm trying to do this on the cheap.[sm=thumbup.gif]

Still need to get some wire loom stuff to run my 10ga wires through. Don't want them exposed outside, just lying on the truck frame. Strap it all up with some zip ties.

It's coming together.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:25 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

Well you could be like my buddy and ran a wire from the engine bay, under the truck and brought it up near the rear bumper and put a cig adapter on the bumper. From there he can run anything off of it. Ingenious idea but, too much work for modeling. haha
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:27 PM
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Default RE: Help--Build A Charge Jack Into The Bed Of My Truck?

I have done this on two pick-ups, had one 10 years and one 6 years, absolutely no problems. Ran 2 10 gauge wires directly from the truck battery, with an in line fuse right by the battery, down along the inside of the frame and up through the bed post at the tailgate and mounted a cigarette plug receptacle under the bed rail. Got the adapters that plug into the receptacle and convert to banana plug ends. Also put cigarette plugs on some of my chargers so didn't need adapters for everything. Works great, don't skip the in line fuse though, could save a fire in the engine compartment.
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