Photo: Low Voltage Disconnect

Low Voltage Disconnect

From top to bottom --

Wire for power to CB Radio, Dashboard Camera, Smartphone.
800 watt Inverter
Low voltage disconnect
Low voltage disconnect remote (small module to right)
Fuse to Rear Truck Cap Power
Solar Controller (to be hooked to Solar Panel when using it)

Yes, I need to vacuum out my truck.

~Review~ TEQStone 6-Switch LED Light Bar Panel with Volt Meter USB & Cig Lighter 4 Truck, Jeep, Boat

I got tired of the awful Walmart switch box I used to control the lights on my truck cap. Damn wires kept pulling loose and switches sometimes would fail. Not good when your trying to turn lights on in the dark. Based on the reviews and nice big switches it had on it, this is the unit I got for controlling the lights on the truck cap.

The great thing about this unit is it uses blade clips and you can freely re-wire each part of the unit as you choose, to disable lights on the buttons or for that matter switch off the voltage meter, so it's not glowing while your trying to sleep.

Accessory Battery Low Voltage Disconnect

The big new electrical upgrade I am going to get for my truck is the low voltage disconnect for the accessory battery. At times I leave a load on the accessory battery which drains it too low and causes premature failure. I am replacing the accessory battery every two years because of the excessive drain damaging the chemistry in the battery, and I believe that a proper low-voltage battery disconnect would maintain battery life much longer, and also reduce wear and tear on the alternator.

When installed, the battery would be disconnected from any of the accessory loads when the voltage dropped below 12.1 volts for more the 30 seconds. The battery would remain disconnected from the accessory load until the system voltage reached 13.5 volts for 30 seconds, e.g. when the alternator was running. This way if I left the CB Radio on, the inverter on, or just left the truck parked for multiple days with the load of USB chargers and other slight drainers, there would be zero discharge of the battery beyond a safe point. This would ensure that I get the maximum capacity out of the accessory battery for as long as possible.

nycmap $id

Replace the Accessory Battery (Again)

This will be the third accessory battery on my truck, after replacing the first one after three years and replacing the second one after two years. It’s not a big deal as marine batteries are cheap – about $90 – and it provides a lot of light and enjoyment for camping. Remember when gas prices were $4 a gallon, it was a $90 fill up in truck. Lead acid batteries are almost fully recycled into new batteries. But I’m getting tired of having to replace the battery. I’m hopeful – actually quite certain – that the low voltage cut-off, along with improvements I’ve made to the charging system over the years will mean much longer lifes for the batteries going forward.

nycmap $id

Hook Up Dash Camera to CB Radio Switch

One important project that I got done over the weekend – required no additional supplies is to connect the USB ports adapter I have to the CB radio power switch I installed in the truck last summer. This way the dash camera can be easily switched on an off, and won’t get left on draining down the battery. Unlike the current system I have that uses an extension cord, hooked to a USB port, this connection should be tighter, and less prone to disconnecting when driving over bumpy back roads.

Better switches in the truck cap

I have this inexpensive switch box that I got from Walmart a few years back but the switches are crap. They don’t always work reliabilty and the wires are always pulling loose. I am reaching a better switch box for this purpose and with eventually replace the switch box with it come spring. I want to easily be able to control the many different lights in the truck cap, without having to fiddle around with switches that are unreliable and constantly being tightening up wires. 4-6 10 watt switches in one unit are ideal. I am going to look on Ebay or Amazon to figure out which switch box to buy.

nycmap $id

Install Dimmer Switch for Truck Cap

I also want to install a low-voltage dimmer switch for the truck cap. LED lights work decently with widely available low-voltage pulse modulation dimmer switches, assuming that the pulse modulation is quick enough to not be visible to the human eye (e.g. more then 30 cycles per second). Most modern dimmers designed to work with LED lamps work decently for this purpose. Some older dimmers don’t work, but for the most part they aren’t designed for 12 volt lighting.

More LED Lighting?

I already have a lot of LED lighting for the truck cap. But I am always keeping my mind open to new possibilities, especially as prices come down, and efficiency improves. I like having lighting in the cap that illuminates the things that need to be illuminated but don’t waste power.

Things I’ve learned so far today (fortunately without getting pulled over) …

1) When the speedometer says your going 55 MPH, you are actually going 62 MPH, as I need to have the computer re-programmed on my truck, as speedometer is off by 12% due to larger tires. Safest thing to do is subtract 5 MPH from the speedometer.

I should ask shop if they can do that when I go back for the 100 mile tightening of the u-bolts, but if they’re going to charge for a full reprogramming, I may just wait until I re-gear this spring. But I’m saving a ton on odometer mileage with only 88 miles recorded for every 100 miles driven (hah).

2) Every cop on the road stares a jacked up red truck, because they want to own such a truck.

Finally replaced the starting battery in my truck. I don’t know what made it go bad so quickly, but it was $135 to pick up a new one, and now with two nice strong batteries I shouldn’t have any problems keep the lights up at a camp or for that matter starting my truck.

I got three years out of the original two batteries in my truck. Hopefully the new set will last somewhat longer, as at least the deep-cycle/marine battery is a better quality battery.

My registration sticker was expiring on November 30th. I applied for my new registration sticker.

The DMV described the fee schedule as follows:

$1.00 – DMV transaction costs, such as credit card processing, record services, cost of new sticker
$98.00 – Fee to cover welfare benefits for 13-year old mothers in New York City

Total Cost: $99.00

Rainy days are good for sitting around and doing back of the envelope math calculations…

Height of Roof of My Truck per GM = 73.6 inches or 6 foot, 2 inches
Height of Cap on Truck 73.6 + 5.5 per ARE for MX cap = 79.1 inches or 6 foot, 7 inch

With Zone Lift Kit (adds 6.5 inches) plus 35 inch tires vs stock 31s (adds 2″ per tire as they measure the radius of tires) together adds 8.5 inches = 87.6 or 7 foot, 8 inch. My tires are wearing out, at some point I got to bite the bullet and get the lift kit.

The current hood height on my truck is 4 feet. The CB antenna is 4 feet. The mount is roughly 6 inches. The current height of the antenna is 8 feet 6 inches, which hits all the McDonalds 9 foot low clearance signs. After I get my lift kit, the CB antenna clearance 110.5 inches or 9 feet and 1.5 inches.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says I should be good for clearance on most DEC truck trails up to 9-10 feet, and the antenna is on a spring when I hit low branches.