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12v Bed Power - Powerwerx Panel Installation

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by gunn_runner, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Sep 23, 2016 at 10:40 AM
    #1
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    I work for a radio-controlled airplane website called RCGroups and originally wrote this installation on the RCGroups forum since airplane hobbyists are always charging batteries; 12v power in the field is very handy for FPV ground stations and chargers (and everything else!). This project was done on my 2013 DCLB, but obviously it will work on almost any vehicle. You can see the original article here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2629420

    Enjoy.

    Here's the same article:

    In a hobby that revolves around batteries and keeping them charged, it only makes sense to have 12 volts easily accessible when you're out in the field. Topping off various types of batteries with a field charger can be a constant switching cycle when you're enjoying yourself at the field, and powering FPV monitors, ground-stations, and other 12v accessories is also quite convenient when you have a reliable power source nearby. And while it's easy to open the hood and connect your charger to the battery posts, I prefer to ratchet it up a notch and (like all my projects) go a little overboard for the sake of DIY!

    In this article, I'll install a 12v power panel in the bed of my 2013 Toyota Tacoma. I find myself setting up base-camp from the bed of my truck all too often; it naturally makes sense to have power right where I need it. With an ODYSSEY 205-minute reserve capacity deep-cycle battery up front, I can easily charge big 6s packs, run lights and accessories, and even hook up a inverter and plug in a coffee maker if I'm camping... all without worrying about draining the battery too quickly.








    An Inventory of Parts Used
    The idea behind this project was to take the 12v from my truck's battery under the hood, and run it back to the bed. From there, I branched out from a fuse block, providing myself with connections for charging and running anything that needs 12v DC. I also added a switch for bed-mounted LED strips, and finished it off with a digital voltage gauge.

    Parts list:


    Note that this parts list can easily be adjusted to suit your own needs. Powerwerx products are not necessarily required, but they do offer a clean installation and many different types of panels and output housings. I chose the dual output housing that contains a pair of Anderson PowerPole connectors, as well as an automotive cigarette lighter socket, due to the popularity of accessories that run off of this type of socket. The gauge of wire that you run from the battery back to the fuse block (and from the fuse block to the output connector) should be sized according to your power needs. Remember to always cover the wiring in a protective loom to prevent accidental grounding and the possibility of a fire. The 100 amp breaker near the battery is a necessity for a safe setup; don't forget to factor that into your budget!



    The Blue Sea Systems 6-circuit fuse panel is a great way to branch out from the single power wire running back from your main battery. It has an integrated negative bus that should be grounded to the frame near to the panel. I chose to mount mine inside the storage compartment in the bed of my Tacoma. This circuit panel is designed for marine use, so it can be mounted in the bed of the truck or in your SUV or car without worrying about getting it wet. It only comes with one fuse, so you'll need to source your fuses based on your power requirements.





    I ran the 4-gauge power wire from the battery, down the frame of my truck, and up to the Blue Sea fuse block. As I stated before, the 100 amp circuit breaker was mounted as close as possible to the battery, and protects the system from a short-circuit or accidental grounding situation. The power wire is also protected with plastic wire loom. The ground wire attaches to the frame below the fuse block.

    I chose the Powerwerx components because they mount cleanly, look great, and are available with different connectors. The 4-hole panel plate was not required, as each round housing can be flush mounted without the panel, but to keep things looking nice and clean, I opted for the panel plate.













    The battery in your vehicle will play a substantial role and will ultimately dictate whether or not you have a good or bad experience with a setup of this nature. An old, tired, automotive battery will likely not allow for many LiPo charging cycles before it begins to dip below a safe starting threshold. Last year, I replaced my stock battery with an ODYSSEY group-31 deep cycle battery. It's the largest battery you can shoehorn in a standard vehicle without going to a dual-battery configuration. Do you need this battery? Absolutely not! But it definitely helps. With 205 minutes of reserve capacity, I can draw 25 amps for 205 minutes before dipping down to 10.5 volts. With some of my heaviest charging only reaching 10 amps, I could theoretically charge nonstop for 8.5 hours before I would need to crank the truck up and recharge the battery.







    I'm running four of the six available outputs on the Blue Sea fuse block. Each wire pair is protected with a wire loom to prevent a short circuit.









    Conclusion
    Bringing 12v power from the front of my truck, back to the bed was a no-brainer for me; You'll most likely see me based from the tailgate of my truck at the field, so the convenience factor is quite high. During the summer, I often camp out at fly-ins, and the ability to run my coffee maker with an inverter, a small stereo, lights, and any other small electronics is a huge plus.

    The great thing about this DIY project is that you can invest very little money to get 12v safely to the back of your vehicle, or sink a few hundred dollars into making a power panel with all the proverbial bells and whistles. The only downside is that your friends may want to borrow some power!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  2. Sep 23, 2016 at 11:10 AM
    #2
    nd4spdbh

    nd4spdbh Well-Known Member

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    100% agreed.... I did a smaller awg wire (10 awg) to the back of the truck for mid to light duty use of a constant hot 12v and i use it ALLL the damn time. Its so nice to be able to run lights, charge rc car batteries, run my compressor from the back of the truck.

    Honestly id rather have a 12v constant hot back there vs the 120v socket stock. I put my 12v socket in the same cubby as you but because i dont have a cap i put it all the way inside the cubby.
     
  3. Sep 25, 2016 at 7:08 AM
    #3
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    It's quite convenient, isn't it?? I know it's a system redundancy to do so, but I often hook up an inverter to the 12v posts on the bus, so I don't have to power the truck to use the built-in inverter.
     
  4. Oct 8, 2016 at 5:17 PM
    #4
    yonah

    yonah Well-Known Member

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    @webdr - I know you recently completed the Odyssey PC2150 install, but have you experienced any problems with the battery - specifically the OEM alternator's ability to charge it? I ran across a thread on TW while researching the PC2150:

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/diehard-platinum-31m-odyssey-31m-pc2150-charge-issues.401151/

    I ask as I suspect my battery is on its last leg (I plan to test it and my alternator on Monday to confirm). If I need a new battery, then I would prefer to upgrade to this unit, but I want to ensure I will not have any issues down the road.
     
  5. Oct 8, 2016 at 6:00 PM
    #5
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    No problems at all. Charges well!
     
  6. Oct 8, 2016 at 6:10 PM
    #6
    yonah

    yonah Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    Great write up BTW.
     
    gunn_runner [OP] likes this.
  7. Oct 10, 2016 at 1:56 AM
    #7
    xxmagpulxx

    xxmagpulxx Well-Known Member

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    I had the exact same idea as you did, I am going to mount mine a bit differently though as I still want use of the storage compartment.

    IMG_0194.jpg
    IMG_0195.jpg
    IMG_0197.jpg
     
  8. Oct 10, 2016 at 5:28 AM
    #8
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Now that's awesome right there!
     
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  9. Oct 10, 2016 at 10:32 PM
    #9
    the dashing ham

    the dashing ham Taco n00b

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    yes, I have done the mods
    So, then, are y'all's voltmeters on all the time? Is that just an insignificant draw?
     
  10. Oct 11, 2016 at 12:26 AM
    #10
    xxmagpulxx

    xxmagpulxx Well-Known Member

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    no, my voltmeter is hooked up to the toggle switch so its only on when the toggle is on.
     
  11. Oct 11, 2016 at 7:01 AM
    #11
    gunn_runner

    gunn_runner [OP] www.gunnphotoservices.com

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    Yes it's on all the time. Yes, it's an insignificant draw.
     
    seoulja99, the dashing ham and Norton like this.
  12. Apr 18, 2017 at 9:27 PM
    #12
    Mr.PowerTrays

    Mr.PowerTrays Well-Known Member Vendor

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    nice write up and good work! i have a very similar set up i had wired by @HeliMedic at off-grid engineering
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  13. Apr 18, 2017 at 10:33 PM
    #13
    Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Well-Known Member

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    Nice!

    Question: why did you do the Anderson Powerpole plug? Just curious what things get plugged in there and if I should do that or two 12v cig plugs.
     
  14. Apr 18, 2017 at 10:45 PM
    #14
    Mr.PowerTrays

    Mr.PowerTrays Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Anderson Pole's are my favorite. You can wire anything up to them and they handle something like 30 amps, I believe.. Possibilities are endless, Portable lights, inverters, water heaters, ect. As long as it takes in 12V DC you're good to go.
     
  15. Apr 18, 2017 at 11:03 PM
    #15
    Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Well-Known Member

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    But are there things out of the box like that or mostly custom plugs replacing whatever the device came with? I hadn't heard of this prior to reading the article about RC and was wondering if it was something common to that hobby.
     
  16. Apr 18, 2017 at 11:08 PM
    #16
    Mr.PowerTrays

    Mr.PowerTrays Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Nope, Anderson poles are something that you add. There're basically a heavy duty quick disconnect.
     
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  17. Apr 18, 2017 at 11:11 PM
    #17
    Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Well-Known Member

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    Gotcha. That makes sense then as to why I've never seen it before. Well, looks kinda like plugs inside a computer. Man, I really want to do the dual battery setup. Waiting to get a few things so I can plan it out and hopefully by then come to grips with losing my brand new stock battery. :D
     
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  18. Apr 18, 2017 at 11:49 PM
    #18
    Mr.PowerTrays

    Mr.PowerTrays Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Brand-new stock batteries are the best batteries to sell after you install your dual battery system...
    :wink:
     
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  19. Apr 19, 2017 at 1:26 AM
    #19
    Taco47

    Taco47 Well-Known Member

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    Any specifics on how to properly secure the cable along its way to the bed? I'm not confident about regular zip ties or the type that require a screw and drilling in my frame. Down the engine bay, past the headers, and along the frame rails?
     
    jables1983 and Snowtrooper17 like this.
  20. Apr 19, 2017 at 1:38 AM
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    xxmagpulxx

    xxmagpulxx Well-Known Member

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    That's what I did.....but I did use a couple of zip ties to keep the wire where I wanted it.
     

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