Author Topic: My bodacious battery box build thread! Input required, electrical amateur here  (Read 559 times)

Offline doctorgee

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So, I'm building a box to house power for my fish trap. I want to be able to camp out for a weekend, maybe even a long weekend and run lights, my graph, camera with aux out 10" lcd panel, a usb fan and charge a phone maybe. I did some math and if I ran everything at max power all the time I use 4.9 amps per hour. I think it's more realistic that I'll be running less than 3 amps per hour. I decided on using an ammo can by mtm, the 50cal ammo can. Doing some math I've decided to make a 60 amp battery bank using 3 of the battery packs by Amped Outdoors, the 20ah pvc wrapped. Shout out to Matt! The 60ah of battery should get me through a 24 camping excursion, and I think a 3 day weekend is possible if I get thrifty with power.

I am looking for input on others that have done this kind of project or at least have more electrical know how than I do. My skills are pretty basic but I'm no total newbie.

Questions:

What gauge wire should I wire these packs together with in parallel? Is 12ga enough?

Does anyone have any input or know how of solar panels and charge controllers? If I can find easy to carry and use solar panels, I'd love to incorporate it into my system.
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline esox_xtm

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12g should be a great plenty for your parallel wiring. If you choose a stranded wire vs solid it will be that much more efficient energy conductor.

I got me a Coleman 18w solar panel dirt cheap at an auction last year with that thought but haven't taken the time to play with it yet. Just haven't had the call but it'll happen. I would think solar could really stretch your power capability significantly.

One thing I do know is it's better if you can charge each battery on an individual circuit rather than trying to get them all back through the parallel wiring. Particularly with Li batteries and their BMS. It's the same reason that boat with onboard charging have multiple banks, one charging bank per battery.
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Offline doctorgee

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12g should be a great plenty for your parallel wiring. If you choose a stranded wire vs solid it will be that much more efficient energy conductor.

I got me a Coleman 18w solar panel dirt cheap at an auction last year with that thought but haven't taken the time to play with it yet. Just haven't had the call but it'll happen. I would think solar could really stretch your power capability significantly.

One thing I do know is it's better if you can charge each battery on an individual circuit rather than trying to get them all back through the parallel wiring. Particularly with Li batteries and their BMS. It's the same reason that boat with onboard charging have multiple banks, one charging bank per battery.

Is that charging when using a solar panel or do you mean even at home on AC? I talked to Matt about wiring the 20ah batteries in parallel, and if I can charge them using the 10amp charger that he sells, while in parallel, he said yes I can. But it is more efficient when charging individually? That may dramatically change my project. I will need a multi-bank li-ion charger or even move to a single 55ah battery instead.
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline winterbuddy

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I got me a Coleman 18w solar panel

18w under ideal conditions will source about 1amp at 12 volts, which is pretty typically of most packable panels.   

I don't feel panels are worth dickering with too much in any temporary setup unless you can provide a good fraction of total usage on a daily basis.  How many hours of quality sunshine per day is typical where you fish?   

If you're serious about going for the long haul, I'd maybe look at a TEG type charger; between the ice water and heater, you should be able to charge 24/7 as long as you have propane to burn. 

Offline esox_xtm

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If Matt says it'll work I'd trust him before me. I just know from my boat that has a 24v trolling motor system. Yep, they're series wired but even though it would have been more simple to run parallel wires each battery gets it's own feed from a single charger. It's like connecting separately to two batteries rather than connecting to one and letting the parallel charge downstream of the connected one. And those are lead/acid batteries. Perhaps the BMS in the Li batteries manages part of those charging variations.

Back to my boat system. I know it's a little apples to oranges but when I charge I must unplug the tm up front before I plug in the charger in back or I pop a breaker on one of the batteries. I'd think you could accomplish battery isolation right in the box with a couple of switches. One to open up the parallel circuit and another to enable individual charging from a single input. Not particularly complicated, just a couple rocker switches and some additional wiring. In fact a single DPDT on-off-on could probably handle it. One on position allows your parallel circuit, the other opens that and completes the individual charging wiring. Middle position is all off.

But if Matt says it's OK then I'd say it's not necessary though I do find it a bit curious. And if you're using solar it doesn't make sense to separate batteries for charging. I'm thinking someone smarter than me will chip in on this. I only know enough to be the safe side of dangerous  ;)

TEG, now that's new to me. Sounds like that would be the real deal for ice fishing. Probably operates on a Peltier junction or some variation of that. Cold is free and if you heat your shack you'd be home. Very much more portable than a much larger and somewhat fragile solar panel. plus it would run all night too. Nice! Another not wasted day!
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Offline doctorgee

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Yeah, I'd assume the BMS of the batteries makes it work but I don't know. I'll have to do some more research.

Solar was just an idea and more for the project/fun aspect of it. I was told that I had to size my batteries for the full amount anyway as you can't count on solar, and it's not very efficient at actually "charging", it's more to maintain a little unless you are using huge panels. The TEG is really interesting though, I will be running the heater at least 16 hours a day or more. Off to research that!
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline matzilla

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Id get something similar to this
https://www.harborfreight.com/25-watt-solar-panel-63940.html

They supply about a 2 amp charge at full capacity - you'd really need something like this https://www.harborfreight.com/100-watt-solar-panel-kit-63585.html to keep you going on the ice with short peak solar time during the winter and the ah rating of your battery box

Catchin' Fish

Offline bearnoob

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I was messing with solar once until my wife got me this:

 Nekteck 21W Portable Solar Panel Charger, Waterproof Camping Gea... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017GQ7OEA/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awdo_t1_BRVWDbJHZC0YA

It doesn't charge fast but extends the life of a phone and you don't need a solar controller. It has 2 USB outputs and I usually plug my phone into one and a USB battery pack (like this: https://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-Portable-Charger-26800mAh-External/dp/B012NIQG5E/ref=mp_s_a_1_1_sspa?keywords=USB+battery&qid=1573059603&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFVSldFVFpVQ1RHNVEmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAwNTY3MzUzSk9YVlhHR1pKWVZYJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA2NzQzMjUzNDRXV1VXWTE3RERXJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfcGhvbmVfc2VhcmNoX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=) to the other.

I know that wasn't the purpose of your post, but you can run USB lights, fan, and phone off the battery pack and keep your bigger battery box for your high-draw items extending their life. I haven't used the solar panel on the ice before, but I use this set up on up to 5-day camping trips in the summer. I do use the battery pack on the ice but put it in a cooler to keep everything warm.
Hardwater fisherman since 2014. All opinions subject to change as experience increases.

Offline doctorgee

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Well, setting aside the solar and TEG aspects for a bit. Will get this battery box built as is and then see about off grid charging options after I get a season with it. Could very well be I will have enough juice for what I am doing. Anyway, budget is getting thin, this is an expensive project but should be worth it.

I am having a brutal time deciding on switches! It's like the only options I have are on Amazon. I can't find many other supply places online anymore. All the cheap stuff on Amazon has bad reviews and complaints about low quality but I don't know what to believe. I want LED lighted rocker switches and I do not want low quality at all- anyone have suggestions?

The other thing I am struggling with is what method to attach my devices to the box/which connector. I really want 4 SAE style plugs but anything panel mounted is going to be at least $10 per plug. Banana plugs would be much cheaper but I don't think I like them as much. Suggestions here are also welcome. 
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline winterbuddy

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I can't find many other supply places online anymore.

Mouser and digikey are the two I use most.

Offline winterbuddy

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For connectors, I like to use shielded heat shrink spade connectors, ones where both the male and female are both shielded.  Spades are pretty standard for ice fishing sonar units.  Those also allow alligator clip connections easy enough.
 

Offline doctorgee

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For connectors, I like to use shielded heat shrink spade connectors, ones where both the male and female are both shielded.  Spades are pretty standard for ice fishing sonar units.  Those also allow alligator clip connections easy enough.
 

I'm looking for something panel mounted. These are what I like but it will cost me $40 just for 4 of them.

https://www.amazon.com/AYECEHI-Weatherproof-Disconnect-Universal-Mountable/dp/B07X1DCNK1/ref=sr_1_54_sspa?crid=UMR1N6ZOR4EU&keywords=sae+panel+mount+12v+connector&qid=1573228058&sprefix=SAE+Panel+Mount+%2Caps%2C144&sr=8-54-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyTzJRRVAzVE1FTzMxJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDQ0NzY1MUFETEE2TjBJSTBIOSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDcyMjA2MkpKSTU2N1BCUVpURCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2J0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline esox_xtm

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I've been thinking about a battery box thing as well and never considered what I might use for a panel mounted connector. Googled up some polarized 2 pin connectors and found some interesting stuff. As you noted Amazon prices were a little crazy. Digging a little further I bumped across Aliexpress again. Been intrigued by the resource as many of my searches for lower priced items ends there. Here's what I was looking at: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32665028967.html

Figured this was as good a time as any, took a deep breath and made an account. Shipping on a $15 order was $8 but delivery estimated by 11/25. Also got a $2 new member coupon to apply on a next order. So I'm into 10 of the connector sets for $23. We'll see.

I know I talked you into those SAE connectors but I wasn't aware you were thinking of using them on a battery box at the time. It's also easy to make a conversion pigtail for certain applications. I've done that with a big 12v charger for my boat. It has a 4 prong inlet you can plug right into to charge the two tm batteries. Not wanting to sacrifice the battery clips I got some small Anderson connectors. Now I can use the 4 prong plug, swap back to the battery clips or connect direct to another Anderson terminated pigtail from the starting battery.

Don't know if this solves your problem or complicates it...
To fish or not to fish? That's a stupid question!




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Offline doctorgee

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I had already considered the SAE type plugs before, I have used them on my snowmobile and motorcycles for quick and easy hook up to a trickle charger. I also have some USB adapters for the SAE style. But yes, thank you for complicating things more for me! I like the looks of those connectors quite a bit! I think I am deciding on the SAE plugs I linked above. I have spent more time looking and searching for a deal than the $40 is worth. 
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline doctorgee

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And I just did it. Clicked complete order. Get it over with. My batteries should be here next week from AO, this build should be mostly complete next week.
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline esox_xtm

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On Amazon? Ohhhh geeez. I don't even want to share this. back to Aliexpress. I know, gotta come from China and you won't get next or two day like form Amazin but hey... Read it and weep.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000236651722.html

Coulda had it all for about $15.
To fish or not to fish? That's a stupid question!




"Life's too short to worry, life's too long to wait..."

Offline doctorgee

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Oh well. Damn Jeff Bezos and him preying on this instant gratification generation! I've ordered from Aliexpress before it's a great resource. I'll have my parts Sunday and I can stop agonizing over the small things on this build! Took me 2 months to buy the batteries, but glad I waited for the group buy!
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline 800stealth

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Another option for charging up in the field would be an inverter to use with your battery charger... I'm assuming your sled will be anywhere your setup will be. I've got one in the toolbox on my wheeler, if I need to freshen some batteries I can plug the charger/batteries into the inverter on the wheeler, go putter around the lake and check out some scenery or do a little hole hopping {leaving the wheeler idling} and put a fresh charge on what I need. I'know some older sleds wont have the charging system to pull that off, but seems I remember a new high end machine in your setup...

Offline doctorgee

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Another option for charging up in the field would be an inverter to use with your battery charger... I'm assuming your sled will be anywhere your setup will be. I've got one in the toolbox on my wheeler, if I need to freshen some batteries I can plug the charger/batteries into the inverter on the wheeler, go putter around the lake and check out some scenery or do a little hole hopping {leaving the wheeler idling} and put a fresh charge on what I need. I'know some older sleds wont have the charging system to pull that off, but seems I remember a new high end machine in your setup...

Yeah, my sled is almost as new as they come, it's a 2019. I use an inverter on the boat, that is definitely a good idea.
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline bart

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I made this battery box for mainly hunting, use it to power a cam. I'm going to try it out on the ice, may add a uni-pod to the lid.

Piece of tape on USB port light to hind when hunting.



Also made a water-resistant battery box for powering up my kayak light, USB ports for cams and fish finder.



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Offline doctorgee

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Nice Bart! Looks good.
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

Offline doctorgee

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Big box from Amped Outdoors showed up today! I'm getting after it tonight when I get home!

I've asked Matt so many questions I feel bad. But I have one you guys might be able to answer.. can I use these and charge them in any orientation? Laying flat or even upside down?
Jethro on the open water and hunting sites

Quote- fishslap: I use a variety:  whistlin' bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin' kitty chaser

Ice safety link: http://lakeice.squarespace.com/

 



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