Jeep Wrangler dual battery lifepo4/agm advice?

moab90245

New member
I have a 2012 Jeep Wrangler JKU. I want to put a dual battery system in it.

From what I've read I need a standard AGM for starting the vehicle and a Lifepo4 for in the cab someplace. And a Redarc controller.

Beyond that I have no idea what my other considerations should be. Would love some advice.

I need to find someplace to install it in Los Angeles or close by. Which seems easy. But few service companies like mechanics and such can be trusted here. Any referrals greatly appreciated.

Should I be concerned with where to place outlets? I thought one in the rear and one close to the front seats.

I plan to run a laptop, a few led lights, a charging station for things like rechargeable flashlight batteries, two way handheld radios, etc. Maybe a fridge at some later date. Is there anything else I'm not thinking of that might require power?

Might like to add a solar panel later too.

I would like to be educated enough to handle having this built by someone. But I would like to be more up to speed on what I need and what equipment I want.

I would also like to keep costs to a minimum. I don't need alot. But I would like to know I am putting together an affordable, functional, rugged system.
 
Last edited:

jonyjoe101

Adventurer
for the lifepo4 you will need a coulombcounter to make sure you know the SOC at all times. With lifepo4 the resting voltage is always about 13.1 volts so you won't be able to get an accurate reading unless you have a meter that counts amps in/out. I been using the tk15 coulombcounter on my 220ah lifepo4 for the past 4 years its very accurate, you can find the 50 amp model for about 30 to 40 dollars on ebay/amazon.

tk15 couloumb.jpg
 

Dave in AZ

Active member
Here. Read this and watch his video. Tells you the basics. You don't need 400W but good primer.

You need to pick what you want to run, that determines your whole build sizing. Do whats called an energy audit.

Laptop = 40 Watt-hrs
Phone 5 Watt-hrs
Leds maybe 50W, 5 hrs, 250 Watt-hrs
Dc fridge: 35W, 15 hrs not driving, 525 Watt-hrs
 

86scotty

Cynic
and a Lifepo4 for in the cab someplace. And a Redarc controller.

Lithiums come in all shapes and sizes and can be placed anywhere, though insulated in the cab is best, and you don't specifically need a Redarc product. There are many, and many which are great performers and priced better than Redarc stuff.

Either way you need a DC to DC charger, which is what you most likely meant by Redarc.

I put a Renogy in my Jeep but would not recommend it. Not happy with the functionality. I have two Kisaes in my other two vehicles. Solid performers and not overpriced.

Also, I put two 40ah lithiums in my Jeep in the back that power our 12v fridge 24/7 year round. Well, almost. It drains down pretty low sitting in hot parking lots for long days in the summer so we supplement by plugging in in the garage at night. My wife absolutely loves having a fridge in the vehicle 24/7.

Some ideas for you here. Power system is laid out in the middle of post 3:

 

moab90245

New member
Lithiums come in all shapes and sizes and can be placed anywhere, though insulated in the cab is best, and you don't specifically need a Redarc product. There are many, and many which are great performers and priced better than Redarc stuff.

Either way you need a DC to DC charger, which is what you most likely meant by Redarc.

I put a Renogy in my Jeep but would not recommend it. Not happy with the functionality. I have two Kisaes in my other two vehicles. Solid performers and not overpriced.

Also, I put two 40ah lithiums in my Jeep in the back that power our 12v fridge 24/7 year round. Well, almost. It drains down pretty low sitting in hot parking lots for long days in the summer so we supplement by plugging in in the garage at night. My wife absolutely loves having a fridge in the vehicle 24/7.

Some ideas for you here. Power system is laid out in the middle of post 3:

Thank you so much. I will look at the Kisaes for sure. And thank you for the post. I need some instructions for what I want to do. That best fit a Jeep JK. In laymans terms. Lol. I just want to be educated enough to know what I am buying and having installed. I looked at the Genisis dual battery tray/staysyem. But its for agm bats only.

How much should I expect to pay for this? And where should I buy the parts?

Thank you again.
 

86scotty

Cynic
Amazon has them but Amazon links don't work for me here lately. The 50 amp model is a Kisae DMT1250.

Anywhere online but I bought one of the two I have on Amazon. A friend sold me the other secondhand. They make a DMT30 too I think which would more than do the job for you.

Keep in mind these are fairly simple compared to the Redarc, etc. stuff. No bluetooth, no phone app, just reliable performance. Unlike many other DC to DC's these are adjustable output which I much prefer.

DonRowe.com is always a good resource for this kind of stuff.

 

moab90245

New member
Amazon has them but Amazon links don't work for me here lately. The 50 amp model is a Kisae DMT1250.

Anywhere online but I bought one of the two I have on Amazon. A friend sold me the other secondhand. They make a DMT30 too I think which would more than do the job for you.

Keep in mind these are fairly simple compared to the Redarc, etc. stuff. No bluetooth, no phone app, just reliable performance. Unlike many other DC to DC's these are adjustable output which I much prefer.

DonRowe.com is always a good resource for this kind of stuff.

So your saying with this and two batteries I'm good go? I really like that its simple. With kess to break or go wrong. I'm really adhere to KISS - keep it simple stupid. ;)

What about wiring and outlets etc? Does anyone sell kits specifically for Jeep JKUs? Or is this something I should expect to get from the installer? Or should I look for best quality on my own?

Beyond outlets in the cargo area and one near the front seats. I have not thought this out much. Like how many outlets should I have installed? And what type? 220 and usb ports?Where does the controller go? And what if anything else am I not considering?

I guess Jeep specific installs would be a good research topic to start with. But I'm also interested in future proofing it too. Like can I add a solar panel easily? Satellite internet - like a Starlink? If I choose to do that in the future. Have I considered everything I might want to run in the future? Like rechargeable power tools? Or?

Is anything I'm mentioning not doable in the future with this sytem? What other electrical items have I not thought of? And what size lifepo4 battery should I consider?

Sorry for all the questions. I tend to concentrate on what I might "not" know. As a means to finding and understanding as much as I can. I understand basic vehicle electrical systems. But don't want to feel like I know everything. Until I've asked every stupid question. Lol.
 

Dave in AZ

Active member
So your saying with this and two batteries I'm good go? I really like that its simple. With kess to break or go wrong. I'm really adhere to KISS - keep it simple stupid. ;)

What about wiring and outlets etc? Does anyone sell kits specifically for Jeep JKUs? Or is this something I should expect to get from the installer? Or should I look for best quality on my own?

Beyond outlets in the cargo area and one near the front seats. I have not thought this out much. Like how many outlets should I have installed? And what type? 220 and usb ports?Where does the controller go? And what if anything else am I not considering?

I guess Jeep specific installs would be a good research topic to start with. But I'm also interested in future proofing it too. Like can I add a solar panel easily? Satellite internet - like a Starlink? If I choose to do that in the future. Have I considered everything I might want to run in the future? Like rechargeable power tools? Or?

Is anything I'm mentioning not doable in the future with this sytem? What other electrical items have I not thought of? And what size lifepo4 battery should I consider?

Sorry for all the questions. I tend to concentrate on what I might "not" know. As a means to finding and understanding as much as I can. I understand basic vehicle electrical systems. But don't want to feel like I know everything. Until I've asked every stupid question. Lol.
Every question you asked is answered for you by working through Will Prowse's basic videos on mobile solar systems. Here are some basic guides to work through.

Rather than retyping 20,000 word answer to just you, and everyone else who asks how to out a 2nd battery system in their car, The best thing is for YOU to go read the already written guides for exactly your questions. Which are the same one everyone else has already asked and had answered.

I'm happy to type and help, but things will go much smoother if you will put in a bit of study first so you understand answers folks give you. So these are the study spots:


 

Dave in AZ

Active member
@moab90245
Once you work through those, then this will make sense:
1. Most inverters have 120v outlet plugs already on them. You don't have to add more all over your jeep. Your ac supply for a small system will be small, so you can't plug in tons at once, you only need those plugs really.
2. A basic 12v LiFePO4 2nd battery setup will do you. The size of your battery and how many amps it can output at once determine how big of an inverter, watts, you can run. Most things you want are all 12v dc, or powered nicely by a 12v dc system. LED lights, fan, phone and laptop charging. DC refrigerator. Diesel heater. Dc heating blanket.
3. AC power comes from an inverter, hooked up to the battery, with appropriate fuses and circuit breaker or on/off switch. A 100Ah 12v LiFePO4 can typically discharge at 100A flow, which can run a 1200W inverter. A bigger inverter will need a bigger battery that can discharge more amps at once, or 2 in parallel. 1000W is a common inverter size, can run battery chargers and small stuff. Can't run most electric kettle, microwace, or induction burner. Need 1800W for those unless you carefully buy low wattage ones.
4. Powering it all comes from 3 possible sources. AC shore power battery charger, OR a MPPT solar charge controller with some panels, OR a dc to dc alternator battery charger. Some of those 3 come as combos that do 2 or all 3 things. Renogy has one that does all 3. Kisae has decent one. Most recommend separate units for each, and Victron as the best.
5. Everything starts with the amount of power you will use. That drives inverter size, battery size, which also limits inverter size, cable size, fuse and switch size, mppt and battery charger size. Until you study a bit and commit to size, you can't do anything. You can't just "add a fridge later", or "maybe some air-conditioning ", if that capacity wasnt designed into cable/fuse/battery/inverter sizes.

Hope that all helps you get started with your learning!
 

moab90245

New member
It helps alot! Especially this:

"100Ah 12v LiFePO4 can typically discharge at 100A flow, which can run a 1200W inverter."

This limitation I understand. And what I was looking for. Like how much power is enough considering what I want to run. And what I might be able to run within that limit in the future.

I guess any inverter could charge a battery for a powertool right? It's just a matter if how long it might take? Thats the only other thing I would really want to power is battery chargers. And then just normal stuff - laptops and chargers basically. I don't even know if a fridge is in my immediate future.

Thank you for all of us. Half the battle is determining what you need to read in the first place. The internet gives us to much information most of the time.

This was very kind and generous of you. Really appreciate it.
 

jonyjoe101

Adventurer
I use a 300 watt pure sine inverter to charge my dewalt 20 volt powertool batteries, a 100ah lifepo4 battery will easily run any 12 volt fridge, I run my 26 liter fridge on my lifepo4 24/7. The 300 watt inverter will also be enough for a laptop.
Its best to get the smallest inverter that you need. The larger the inverter the more power it will use even to just power something that doesnt require too much power. Also the larger inverters takes up too much space.
There are some device that require pure sine inverters. I had a gaming laptop that wouldnt work with a 150 watt modified sine inverter but 5 other different laptops including other gaming laptops worked fine with it. My dewalt charger works good with either a modifed 150 watt or 300 watt pure sine inverters.


This is the Bestek 300 watt pure sine inverter (paid about 60 dollars) I been using for the past 2 years, I replaced cigarette plug with xt60 connectors to handle higher amps. The cigarette plugs get too hot when pushing too many watts.
bestek 300 watt inverter.jpg
 

moab90245

New member
I use a 300 watt pure sine inverter to charge my dewalt 20 volt powertool batteries, a 100ah lifepo4 battery will easily run any 12 volt fridge, I run my 26 liter fridge on my lifepo4 24/7. The 300 watt inverter will also be enough for a laptop.
Its best to get the smallest inverter that you need. The larger the inverter the more power it will use even to just power something that doesnt require too much power. Also the larger inverters takes up too much space.
There are some device that require pure sine inverters. I had a gaming laptop that wouldnt work with a 150 watt modified sine inverter but 5 other different laptops including other gaming laptops worked fine with it. My dewalt charger works good with either a modifed 150 watt or 300 watt pure sine inverters.


This is the Bestek 300 watt pure sine inverter (paid about 60 dollars) I been using for the past 2 years, I replaced cigarette plug with xt60 connectors to handle higher amps. The cigarette plugs get too hot when pushing too many watts.
View attachment 827175
Thanks! :)
 

Dave in AZ

Active member
I use a 300 watt pure sine inverter to charge my dewalt 20 volt powertool batteries, a 100ah lifepo4 battery will easily run any 12 volt fridge, I run my 26 liter fridge on my lifepo4 24/7. The 300 watt inverter will also be enough for a laptop.
Its best to get the smallest inverter that you need. The larger the inverter the more power it will use even to just power something that doesnt require too much power. Also the larger inverters takes up too much space.
There are some device that require pure sine inverters. I had a gaming laptop that wouldnt work with a 150 watt modified sine inverter but 5 other different laptops including other gaming laptops worked fine with it. My dewalt charger works good with either a modifed 150 watt or 300 watt pure sine inverters.


This is the Bestek 300 watt pure sine inverter (paid about 60 dollars) I been using for the past 2 years, I replaced cigarette plug with xt60 connectors to handle higher amps. The cigarette plugs get too hot when pushing too many watts.
View attachment 827175
@moab90245 , everything he said here is good info. And this is the exact 300W inverter I'd use, if I went that size. They also make a similar 500W that is good. And I also cut off car chargers, which can only really flow 120W at 12V, and replace with xt60 connectors.

I actually spent an hour looking at all the devices you'd need, because the question is asked so often I decided to pick the best ones and save their links. Ended up reading a loy of spec sheets.

Parts of a mobile 2nd battery system are:
Battery
Dc to dc charger, alternator charging
Ac to dc charger
Inverter
Solar charge controller. Get Mppt.
Dc fuseblock
Some fuses
Some on off switches
Cables
-------
They make these combos too:
Dc to dc alternator charger + solar
(Kisae, Victron)
Dc to dc + solar + ac charger
(Kisae UC1240, Renogy)
Ac charger + inverter
(Victron multiplus, Kisae bic12100080)

I actually have that small Bestek300W inverter too, and use it for whatever small loads I can get away with due to its low power consumption.

Or, all of it together with a battery in one box called a power station. If you decide that is easier, read my thread on which are best for small truck camping setups like your jeep:
 

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