Well dang, Doyle! You've hurt my tender little feelings. :sorrow: I have written on the dual battery topic many times (in nearly every thread on the topic over the past couple of years), more than most other members and it pains me greatly to learn that my efforts were grammatically poor, or came across as gibberish. I struggle to write at a layman's level so that not only the OP gets an answer (sometimes a poor one!) but that others who, like yourself, do a search later on may glean an idea or two for their particular situations - especially if they are not all that familiar with the topic!
Anyway, I'll try and patch up my wounded pride, put on my big boy pants, and beg your indulgence one more time as I try to address some of your questions. :highly_amused:
Ok guys, I've read the heck out of as many dual battery threads as I can stand to and a lot of it is gibberish to me. Quite a bit is gibberish because the submitter is either grammatically challenged or just not so great at explaining things over the danged ol interwebs, lol.
So here are my concerns and hopefully we can have a nice, grown up, articulate discussion about the pros/cons as well as the different ways to do it. Before I list my concerns I'll detail my setup and intentions: 2015 Ranger 570 crew (base, no EPS) Sage Green with a 21.5" Cree dual row LED bar on the front, a Cree LED "cube" in the rear, and a dual 6.5" speaker bluetooth unit under the roof. The only changes I intend to make are maybe a custom stereo with an automotive head unit and four 6.5" speakers or two 6.5" speakers and two 6x9s and a winch. So it seems to me I might be working that poor little stock battery that can already be sluggish to start my Ranger sometimes pretty hard. The kind of riding I do is a half hour to an hour or perhaps a little longer of hitting the trails with 15 minute to half hour stops in the shade or next to a pond playing some tunes and having a beer or a few with everyone. Or sometimes at the mud parks even sitting for close to an hour at night by the ponds playing tunes. On to the concerns: So far, for what you described, and assuming your electrical system is in good shape, and you are not running a big amplifier or you light bars, your single stock battery should be fine - at least for a couple of years. Battery tender might be a good idea...
- If I buy a heavier duty AGM battery will this be enough to keep up with the tunes and the occasional winch use? A winch will be for if a buddy or I get stuck and not for work in my application. A winch should NEVER be used without the engine running - not even for a minute or two. A winch under a load pulls a tremendous number of amps and can kill a battery in no time flat!
- If I need to go with a dual setup, is there a more cost effective way than the Polaris kit or the 1314? I've read some posts about using a Ford starting solenoid and other stuff to make a "homemade" kit but is it reliable and does it function properly? A 1314 can be bought for under $55. Yes, a solenoid can work, make sure it is rated for "continuous duty."
- If I have a dual setup what do I want to hook to what battery? Would leaving my light bars and everything stock hooked to my stock battery and hooking my radio and someday a winch to my aux battery be wise? General rule of (my) thumb is to leave all the factory on the OEM battery, everything else goes on the second battery. However, running a 'normal' radio occasionally off the OEM (without the key on) isn't going to hurt.
- Do any of the above options put enough stress on the stator that I would need to upgrade my charging system somehow? Can you upgrade the charging system? For what you described, and more, your stator is up to the task. The charging system cannot be upgraded although you "can" install an aftermarket alternator. Didn't use to be very reliable but they may have improved (?).
Obviously, the cheapest most effective option would be to just leave the stock setup alone and not have any of these accessories bolted on but we all use our Rangers for something different. Some for work and some for play and some for both. For me, it's a beer buggy the whole family can ride in (responsibly, I'm not an idiot that gets loaded and rides stupid) and we can spend some quality time outside with friends and family. My Ranger is snorkeled and setup not so I can ride deep but so if a hole is bigger than it looks I can make it out (presumably, this theory has yet to be tested.) I have lights so we can see down the trails and in the coolers as well as our surroundings so the ladyfolk can find a place to squat and whatnot. I just want to sort through all the overly aggressive opinions and make my ride as fun AND reliable as possible. This place always helps a ton and I'm looking forward to getting everyone's feedback. Post pictures, diagrams, and whatever else you have in support of your opinion!
Thanks in advance,
For what you described and for peace of mind, I would go ahead and add a second battery. A parallel set up is probably all you'll need (although I would add an isolator, but that's just me). If you do go with a parallel configuration, both of you batteries should be as close to identical as possible. The reason for this (and why buying a bigger second battery is a waste) is that when two batteries are in parallel, the stronger battery will mirror the capabilities of the weaker. In other words, if you have a 30aH (aH = Amp Hours) battery in parallel with a 80aH hour battery, what you'll really
end up with is two 30aH batteries for a total of 60ah's, NOT 30 + 80 = 110aH's. In this case, you have paid for, and thrown away 50aH! An exception to this would be if you installed a diode between the two batteries (an isolator is 'essentially' a relay with diodes in it - and why you can mix a big battery with a smaller battery without any loss).
A couple of general principals to keep in mind:
- At idle, your stator outputs enough to keep your machine running, but not enough to recharge your battery(s).
- A battery tender at the end of the day may not be necessary, but it sure as heck won't hurt!
- A battery tender works great for keeping a battery topped off, but makes a lousy battery "charger" especially for AGM batteries.
- Your stator puts out it's optimum charge @ 3000 RPMs or higher.
- If your battery is a standard flooded battery (with filler caps), make sure you keep the electrolyte above the lead plates (or to the "full" line).
- A 15 minute beer break takes 30 minutes...
Hope my grammar was OK, and that I kept the gibberish to a minimum (jus messin' with you