How To Make Your Dual Battery Installation Neat & Tidy


Last time, we figured out where the panel was go to fit and we laid out everything on the backplate.


Punching And Sealing

So far you’ve managed to avoid drilling or punching holes in your pride and joy. Well, the time has come – deep breaths and keep calm…

I had four existing bolts which I could use to mount the backplate. But the backplate will live inside a storage box. So I had to run cables in and out of the storage box. I needed to drill some holes – damn!

Dual Battery Installation in progress.
The dual battery installation in progress.

When doing a dual battery installation like this, I’m a strong believer in doing it once and doing it properly the first time. There’s nothing worse than  having to pull apart something to find a mystery water leak.

Fortunately I had access to a hydraulic hole punch kit. These units are fantastic. They make a clean, round hole that doesn’t even need de-burring. All you need to do is drill a 10mm pilot hole then use the punch kit for the final hole.

Once you’ve used one of these, you won’t ever consider using a hole saw again. You can buy them at any good tool store. This is an example of a hydraulic punch kit. (Note: We’re not affiliated with Specialised Force in any way).

Hydraulic punch makes the job easy. Dual Battery Installation.
Hydraulic punch makes the job easy.
Hydraulic punch ready to punch another hole. Dual Battery Installation.
The cylinder pulls a die through from the other side to give a clean, neat hole. Note the 10mm pilot hole to the left.
Hydraulic punch die gets pulled through to cut the hole. Dual Battery Installation.
The other side. You poke the threaded rod through the hole, spin the die on then punch the hole. Easy!
Punching holes through the cab. Dual Battery Installation.
Punching holes through the cab. Have to say, drilling holes through the cab just didn’t feel right.

 

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After you’ve punched the holes, get a small paintbrush and some galvanising paint – something like Galmet Cold Gal spray. Spray some cold gal into an old cup or similar, then carefully paint the bare metal around the circumference of the hole.

I used IP 67 rated cable glands. To be doubly sure of no water leaks, I also used some silicone on each cable gland. This isn’t really necessary, but it made me feel better if nothing else…

Two punched holes, already painted with cold gal. Dual Battery Installation.
Finished holes, ready for the cable glands. You can see the grey cold gal that I painted on.
Cable glands fitted. Dual Battery Installation.
Cable glands are fitted. I used some silicone as well, just in case.
Inside view of cable glands. Dual Battery Installation.
A neat finish on the inside of the cab.


Running The Cables

After you’ve fitted all the cable glands, it’s time to start running cables. At this point, you should know:

  • The size of each cable.
  • What size fuse each supply (positive) cable needs.
  • Where you’ll mount the fuses.

If you’re not 100% sure of any of the above, go back to my previous article and get it sorted before you go any further.

Cables fitted, yet to be covered with split corrugated tubing. Dual Battery Installation.
Cables fitted, yet to be covered with split corrugated tubing.

One tip for running cables. I generally use something like 25 x 25 x 1.2mm aluminium square tube when running cables. And I use corrugated split tubing everywhere. Combined, these two keep the cables neat and – more importantly – protect them from rubbing or damage.

Square aluminium tubing and split corrugated tubing. Dual Battery Installation.
Square aluminium tubing and split corrugated tubing, used to keep the cable runs neat and protect the cables.
Square aluminium tubing and split corrugated tubing. Dual Battery Installation.
Another view of the square aluminium tubing – running into the page.

By now you’ll no doubt have a spaghetti of cables around your backplate. That’s good – you’re making progress! Terminate them one by one and before you know it, you’ll be finished.



Tidying Up

Make sure every cable gland is tight and sealing properly around the cable. Sometimes you might have a situation as shown in the photo below.

Two 6AWG cables are running through one cable gland. While it looked like the gland was sealing around both cables, I decided to guarantee a proper seal by filling the gland with silicone before tightening. Just hope I don’t have to remove it one day!

The following are some more photos of the installation. Hopefully they’ll give you a few ideas.

Using silicone to ensure a good seal. Dual Battery Installation.
Filling the cable gland with silicone to ensure a good seal.
Cables protected and secured. Dual Battery Installation.
Under the cab. Cables protected and secured.
Split corrugated tubing is used where possible to protect cables. Dual Battery Installation.
Split corrugated tubing is used wherever possible, to protect cables.
Split corrugated tubing is used where possible to protect cables. Dual Battery Installation.
It’s important to give the cables a large bending radius. This keeps the pressure off the terminals.
Running the earth cable right back to the battery. Dual Battery Installation.
Running the earth cable right back to the battery from the common terminal on the baseplate.
Anderson plug cover to protect it from the elements. Dual Battery Installation.
Anderson plug sits at the front of the tray to supply power to our Wedgetail Camper. I used a cover to protect it from the elements. As you can see by the Sikaflex, unfortunately it has a few places where water can still get in…
Anderson plug for Wedgetail camper to plug into. Dual Battery Installation.
Another view of the Anderson plug shown above.

Next time: Installing the solar panel.

NOTE: REDARC send us products to review from time to time. (That said, we purchased all REDARC products mentioned in this article.)


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Any errors or omissions are mine alone.


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