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Discussion Starter #1
My jeep is no longer my daily driver and often sits for a week or so at a time without being driven. Also I still have a few deployments before retirement when it will likely get more use. I am having problems that my optima battery needs to be charged when not used. I don't have anything on while parked and all indications are that the battery holds a charge just not for an extended time. Does this sound normal and if not how do I test it or show Les Schwab that I have a problem and get replaced under warranty. It's less than 2 years old.

What rating or specs do I need to look for in a good switch that I could install on the positive cable so that when I park it I could just flip a switch and not have to disconnect the battery cable?
 

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A battery disconnect switch from a marine store would work.

This is an example, http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wc...toreNum=10109&subdeptNum=10548&classNum=10597
There are smaller ones.

If you have access to power when stored, a battery tender would also be an idea. http://batterytender.com/automotive/battery-tender-junior-12v-at-0-75a.html

I have the same problem with my car, if it sits for a week it will usually be dead. I either disconnect the terminal or hook up the battery tender. The battery tender is good because it keeps all the radio presets and stuff configured.
 

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Battery tennder is great! Got my vote!!! Bought one for the old man for his Harley... he loves it and Harley techs "claim" that they will make a battery last longer as far as service life since it is not constantly being charged and discharged. Which makes sense to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input guys, based on your recommendations and since Harbour Freight is on the way home:

http://www.harborfreight.com/automo...onboard-battery-charger-maintainer-99857.html

That will take care of the problem while its in the garage. I will probably add the battery switch when I get around to putting in an extra fuse panel. Do you think it's worth the extra money for the locking version? I think anyone interested enough turn the switch to steal the jeep is probably willing to just cut the wires and jump the switch. I really liked the idea of a remote switch that I could put inside the cab for easy access, but then again probably mounted in the grill in front of the radiator would be easy access too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dang I saw those switches but didn't really look at them as at first glance just thought they were simple battery connectors. I did pick up one of their other T-handle disconnects since it was only 5 bucks. Not sure if I like it as much as the marine ones. It seems like it needs a bit of force to operate so will need to strategically place it under the hood. But I may try it and then switch later and the wiring will be there.

It took about an hour to install the battery tender last night and most of that time was spent looking for the right place to mount it where I could see the pretty lights without having to extend the wires. Once I decided to just extend the wires I found I a nice spot on my cold air intake next to the air filter. Now I just need to go by ACE or LOWES and find one of those electrical cord covers and the project is done.

I also bought some heat shrink wire connectors for the first time at harbor freight, not sure why I never bothered with them in the past. They were a breeze and kind of fun to use so if I can decide on a fuse block I am going to replace all the connectors on my other electrical accessories.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I kind of like this one but it's a little pricey and I can't decide if I want one in the cab with switches or under the hood.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wc...9&subdeptNum=10598&classNum=10601#showReviews

I think if I cut a hole in the side of my Tuffy center console under the 4wd shifter it would work well. I don't remember how much room is under there for clearance and not sure how easy it will be to access later for new additions.
 

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I used one of those from boaters world a couple years ago, bout 1/2 the price

 

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Dirk,

Longtime no hear, buddy. I still remember my second trip to Moab quite fondly, although I have been back a couple of times since then. Likewise I still remember how you said "We should keep going, we are doing OK." on the Poison Spider Mesa/Golden Spike trail marker, and then spending a cold night on the Gold Bar Rim trail sleeping in the Jeep seat.

Anyways, recall that I am a EE with a degree in EE although it is not a new one. I use and reccomend the Blue Sea Systems hardware. BSS publishes specifications AND they meet the published specs. They are also a USCG-approved vendor that makes stuff for USCG vessels. Frankly, you will not know anything about hardware bought at HF. I do shop there, but I don't use their stuff in anything vital that would cause the Jeep to burn up if it failed.

Your battery is probably going flat because of the number of accessories that use "parasitic power" to maintain the settings when the vehicle is parked. This includes the stereo, any aftermarket radios and even the stock Jeep PCM. So your first decision is between do you want to maintain the battery charge, or disconnect it.

Maintaining the charge requires you to either park indoors and plug a battery maintainer into a power receptacle, or park outdoors with a solar battery charger. However, you keep everything from the radio presets to the alarm function.

Disconnecting the battery preserves it indefinately as long as it is a quality battery in good condition and fully charged. However, everything from radio station presets to stored PCM trouble codes may be lost if you disconnect, and you spend time re-setting it all.

Whether you want to run a dash control panel or use the switches under the hood is yet another decision. I use high-amperage battery switches under the hood, and I keep all the connections short and direct, for maximum reliability. A secondary consideration is that any form of remote control from the dash requires a few milliamps to run the small relays that operate the high-amperage solenoid switches (or a few micro-amps if you use solid-state relays). Therefore a remote control setup itself requires power that can flatten out a battery over a few weeks.

I realize that depending upon your situation, you may not have the full range of options, but the two extremes would be:

1) For a known prolonged deployment, I would store the Jeep indoors or under a protective cover outdoors, with the battery removed and attached to a maintainer in somebody's (buddy or girlfriend or relative's) garage. I would lift it off the tires and use jackstands to avoid flat spots. I would use a fuel stabilizer and squirt a few drops of oil in each spark plug hole, an leave the plugs disconnected and finger-tight. I would make sure both the anti-freeze and brake fluid were fresh. Before driving the Jeep I would inspect all fluids.

2) After properly equipping the Jeep, I would park on base in a location where the solar panels protect the battery, set the alarm, and walk away. Even if gone for a prolonged deployment, the battery stays good and the alarm functions - and the bird poop accumulates. What service items you perform (if any) are up to you when you return.

Lastly, I will mention that low quality batteries will lose charge all by themselves. That typically means a cheap wet cell battery (the local autoparts store cheapie with 36-month warranty). All of the AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) type batteries tend to do better, but of course are not cheap.

As usual, questions are free.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bruce, thanks for the pic. The change dish is a much better spot for switches I won't have to worry about rubbing my leg against them.

Gary how's it going? I still think going all the way through Poison spyder and golden spike is preferrable to going down poison spyder. Funny you mentioned the USCG and Blue Sea Systems switches. The command I work at now has a couple CG guys and I was asking one of them today about the marine switches on the westmarine site and he said to stick with BSS also.
 
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