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Thread: Best batteries for Alaska??

  1. #1
    Member Whelenator's Avatar
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    Default Best batteries for Alaska??

    Hi folks. I realize this is not exactly the best place to put this but I figured as boaters most of you would have an opinion concerning big, healthy batteries for your towning pickup trucks. Presently, I am driving a 2001 Dodge 2500 24 V Cummins. It has 2 Optima batteries in there right now, but I just had an Espar diesel fired heater installed in it to help keep me warm and keep the block heated as well. So far, I am not too impressed with the Optimas. They seem to get ran down quickly and don't want to come back up unless I run to Wasilla, or put a charger on the batteries. Do ya'll think I need to sell the Optimas and get some massive 31 series batteries, or change the alternator out for a high output one? Can you folks qualify your opinions please? Please offer an explanation of why you think that way. What are you folks running up here in your 2 battery setups? If anyone is interested, I might be able to sell these Optimas. They are only a couple or 3 years old but are in excellent condition. Thanks for any info.
    Mark

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Optimas and Interstates are all I use and have had good luck with both though I think the Optimas are a little troublesome at times when they have not been used on a regular basis. Maybe thats just me though?

    My wifes truck has had the same Optima red top and same Interstate since fall of 2000. Hers has a selectable battery isolator and if I do not switch to the Optima once a week or so it decides it doesn't like to take a charge. The Interstate on the other hand has never given us any hassles.

    On my diesel I have two Intertstates and they work great then again I am not running an Espar all night.

  3. #3

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    Always had Interstates (2) in my diesel Powerstroke and been pleased with them. There may be less expensive batteries that work as well, but I'd rather not take that chance.

  4. #4

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    When we raced snowcross in the lower 48 we had Interstate in the race trailers. Battery ran the propane furnace all night then the generator ran during the day to charge the battery. Since a couple of the guys had heavy construction and logging businessess we used those big equipment batteries out of the heavy equipment. I know guys, those have cranking amps and deep cycle are better for the intended purpose but never replaced a battery after 3 years and it ran the furnance all night. Little off topic but what I'm trying to say is the Interstate seemed to be an excellent battery. I'm not impressed with the Alaska Gold that came with my boat or Exide that was in my trailer. I know I'm going to regret this later but I do still have the original batteries in my 02 Duramax which are AC/ Delco.

  5. #5
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    Default Batteries

    I meant to say something about the Espar. I only run it 3 times per night for 60 minutes per run. This one is hooked through the heater blower motor though so it does heat the cab a little bit, and it does eat some power.
    A rep here in town has mentioned how well the Delcos have been for them. Has anyone had any experience with them? I have had 2 Chevy trucks with them that did well, but not in this application! The thing with the Optimas is that they have to be trickle charged slowly and the truck just ain't cutting it from my house to Elmendorf.
    Would any of you folks be interested in buying my Optimas?

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    [QUOTE=Whelenator;633146] The thing with the Optimas is that they have to be trickle charged slowly QUOTE]

    I don't think that correct.
    Do you know how much power the Espar is drawing?

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    Default Batteries

    Imperial

    Diesel Variant (D) VoltageVOLTS12Heat flowbtu/hr 8,200
    Heater air flow ratecfm NAFuel consumptiongal/hr 0.07Mean electr. power in operationamps 1.9Weightlbs 6.4Sizein8.6 x 3.4 x 6.2


    I am suspect that those amperage figures may not be quite right, especially when you add in my heater fan amps.

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    Default Batteries

    As a side note, I know my alternator is working as I checked that, but I feel that I am not running the truck far or hard enough to effectively charge the batteries beyond what they are discharging. I know this because of the number of times I have had to jump my truck. A couple times it was my fault, but the rest isn't. I left the heater fan all the way on high one night...bad on me,,,

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    I donít understand how are you turning on your truck heater when the Espar is turn on?
    Your not leaving the fan on all night? are you?

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    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Thumbs down in my show truck...

    Optimas suck. i went back to the "old standbys".
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    If your Optimas are the typical g34 size red tops, they have an amp-hour capacity of only 50 AH each, or 100 AH for the pair.

    Optima g34's are great for starting your truck (mine are 8 years old and going strong), but they're fairly puny as deep-cycle batteries.

    You should be able to use about 1/3 of their capacity, or 33AH, without damaging them, as long as you recharge that amount after doing so. How long do you run the truck? It would take at least an hour, off the top of my head, to recharge 33 AH.

    If you run a 1.9 amp heater for 3 hours with the engine off, that's only about 6 amp hours. If you're running a heater fan at the same time, that could eat up a lot more. Everything you run counts, especially motors like fans. Maybe you're just running them down too far, or maybe you're not recharging enough.

    You may need batteries with greater deep-cycle (amp-hour) capacity, like g27 or g31 flooded or AGM, but they won't help much if you don't supply enough charge to "refill" what you have used. If you don't run the truck long enough to do that, you could possibly connect it to a charger while it's at home.
    Richard Cook
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    "Cruising in a Big Way"

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    You might talk with ABS and see what they suggest as they have a lot of experience with things like this. I would also consider one of the solar charger/conditioners. I have been looking at them for my boat just to keep my batteries maintained while it is parked or just in case I one day run down both batteries while on the water. Granted they have a very slow rate of charge it is still better than nothing.
    http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o...0junk/reag.jpg

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    The heater fan in my camper draws 8 amps. I would think your truck fan is drawing around 8 amps or more. The problem is compounded by batteries in cold weather do not hold a charge. Can you program the unit to turn the fan on just before you go to work? If you do not leave the fan off you will need to buy a voltage limiting battery charger (not cheap) or you will over charge your battery.

    I assume you have both batteries in parallel, if so. Another solution would be to wire one of the batteries as a standby. If you killed the main battery switch over to the backup battery start your truck and away you go.

    You said your truck alternator is working, could your alternator be two small? When you are coming into town and going home, you have your lights on, radio, truck heater and you also need to replace the amps lost from using the fan, this may be more than your alternator can handle.

    Until you decided what you want to do you may want to leave the fan off.

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    Default Pickling boats for the winter

    Working on boats in freezing temp, we learned that if a battey is run down low and allowed to freeze it is perminantly dammaged. no aamount of anything will bring it back.
    I don't know about the Optima , but the rest of them I am fimilliar with . The innerstate seemed to stand up the best for us .
    Though an alternator puts out power, if it has a bad diode , it will draw power, enough to kill a battery over nite.
    When I have battery issues on boats with out computers, I look for the stuff that still draws off the battery when the key is off. If it has a computer there is a constant draw.and makes the test more complicated. Often in non computer equipment, I would put a buzzer between a battery post and it's cable and start pulling fuses ,and seperating alternator connections till it stopped buzzing.
    I have found lite shorts in wheel wells in new vehicles due to poor routing . So if you change the battery and the trouble continues It's time to really get to know your truck.

  15. #15

    Default ESPAR usage

    I don't know about ESPARs specifically, but I had a truck with a WEBASTO and it was recommended to run the vehicle the same amount of time that the WEBASTO had run. If the WEBASTO ran for 30 minutes then you should drive your vehicle for a minimun of 30 minutes to recharge the batteries. So when you say you run the ESPAR 3 times for 60 minutes each night, does that mean you are running it for 3 hours total? If so, you should be running the vehicle for the same amount of time or your batteries are probably not recharging.

    Mike

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    what color top are the batteries...why run the heater 3 times during the night. just set it to fire up 1 hr before your ready to go, no need to run it the other times. where did you get it installed at. i've been looking at one of these but ????

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    Default Batteries

    Thanks for the replies guys. let me answer all this stuff and hopefully, ya'll won't think me too much of an idiot. But the post from HC130FE gave me the info I was suspecting.
    "I don't know about ESPARs specifically, but I had a truck with a WEBASTO and it was recommended to run the vehicle the same amount of time that the WEBASTO had run. If the WEBASTO ran for 30 minutes then you should drive your vehicle for a minimun of 30 minutes to recharge the batteries. So when you say you run the ESPAR 3 times for 60 minutes each night, does that mean you are running it for 3 hours total? If so, you should be running the vehicle for the same amount of time or your batteries are probably not recharging."

    Yes, I have been running the Espar heater 3 times a night for an hour. That's the same schedule I had been using for my plug in 110 block heaters for the truck. The trouble with my Espar is that the literature that comes with them offer no useful suggestions as to how best to run them for efficient heating.
    The vehicle heater fan DOES run while the Espar is running. The Espar system is piggybacked into the harness for the heater blower to energize it while the Espar is running. Yes, it can be turned off, but the whole idea of running the Espar in a 2001 Dodge Cummins is to get your ***** warm (Rutting Moose). My truck wasn't putting out any heat and that's why I got it. Block heaters are fine and good til you pull away from the 110 outlet.
    This truck is 100% stock and was previously maintained by Dodge since 2001, and was owned by an F-15 crew chief who was anal as anyone can get about a vehicle.
    I can program the unit. It has a one day timer. Meaning it can be timed for three cycles in a 24 hour period. They offer a 7-day timer, but I am waiting to get that. You can time this one to turn on from 1 minute up through 120 minutes. I agree that the heater is likely eating these batteries for lunch since I am only driving it for barely an hour each day.
    I have the G34's as far as I know. I would have to double check them. They aren't enormous batteries. But I am sort of missing those big ass 31's that we use out here on base in a lot of the fleet!
    I had this unit installed at Far North Sales. Advance Diesel is also an Espar dealer. I got a little better deal through FNS though.

    As far as I know, my batteries are wired in parallel. It's not a 24 volt start system like some of the military trucks are. I looked at a new Chevy 3/4 ton gasoline truck the other day with 2 batteries set up just like mine.
    The alternator is the stock one that came in the truck, and I sure hope Dodge set it up properly. 120 Amp??? Let's hope... I could run my amp clamp on it and see tonight. But I would say I will be trying to blow snow tonight instead.
    If this truck is designed to start off both of these batteries, and I am certain it is, I am not going to mess with it. If I can't get satisfied with these optimas, I will put them on the street and get some huge ass batteries and press on. I do have a heck of a good battery charger though. It's a Schumacher from my Snapon guru. I just got it. I plan on putting in one of those little quick connects for the charger so I can just plug my truck into that at night if its needed. You know, the quick connects that you would use for a jumper cable, or winch. Polar wire Supply sells them. We use the humongous ones out here on base for the snow plows. We have to jump start them stupid things all the time. Those connectors are awesome and make for a real nice, neat install. I have a little set for my wheeler winch deal that I can put on the front or the back of my wheeler. www.montanajacks.com
    Anyway, I have rambled on enough. Thanks guys for all the suggestions. I plan on testing my alternator and see what its putting out, then I will respond on here again with my findings.

  18. #18

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    Do you know the exact model of your espar heater??

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    espar heater are the way got one in my dodge. Plus you boys that like chevy and ford desiel in 2211 will become very knowable on that heater to keep your new addtive warm...

  20. #20

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    The ESPAR does a much better job of heating the block than the electric block heater, plus it warms the cab. I would run my WEBASTO for 30 minutes before leaving work and the engine would be warmer than leaving the block heater plugged in all night. I don't think you are gaining anything by running the ESPAR 3 times. Have you tried running it once for 30-60 minutes before driving your truck? I don't think you have any problems with the truck. I think you might be overusing the ESPAR.

    Mike

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