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Recently installed a dual battery system and fridge for my Frontier to make camping, road tripping, and ‘overlanding’ a little bit easier with the family. Just wanted to share the install details and information I have discovered so far.

I used a “TrueAm Smart Battery Isolator” that I purchased for about $80 dollars on Amazon. It is a voltage sensing relay (not like the old diode style isolators) that opens the connection between the two batteries when the starter battery reaches 13.4 volts and then disconnects them when the starting battery drops below 12.9 volts. SO basically it allows a connection when the car is running, disconnects when the car is off. Very simple setup. Does not have a manual on/off switch, or disconnect switch, or jumping capabilities, but I did install Anderson plugs between the two batteries so that I could just disconnect and remove the auxiliary battery when I wasn’t using it.

I used 4awg wire and ran it from the starter battery to a mega fuse 100amp fuse, then to the isolator (you want to mount the isolator as close to the battery as possible) and from the isolator through the firewall gasket behind the glove compartment. I then ran the cables behind the plastic trim and out underneath the passenger seat. Those cables end in Anderson plug. My battery box then has another 100amp mega fuse in it so that there are fuses on each side. Battery is a 100amp hour AGM battery since it is inside the cab. Fridge is a Dometic CFX35, their new line that only draws about 0.5 amps per hour from both my testing and others. The fridge is mounted to a Dometic fridge slide which is bolted to wood that is strapped to the seat.
 

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I have measured my voltage and amp draw and my starting battery always reads between 13.8-14.2 like clockwork across the posts, and the auxiliary reads just about the exact same amount except for about a 0.1 voltage drop across the roughly 10ft of cable. If the battery is at around 50-60% charge it draws up to 40-50 amps initially and then after about 20-30 minutes is down to around 5-10 amps of draw. If the battery is fully charged it does not draw any amps. Thus far everything works perfectly and the alternator seems capable of recharging the auxiliary battery to about 80-90% in about an hour or two, tops, and then slows down and will take a few more hours to charge to 100%.

With my 100 amp hour battery I am able to easily get 2-3 days running the fridge with normal use without dropping below 50% (without charging it at all). Fridge draws a max of 3.5 amps that I have observed when it is on and cooling, but as I stated earlier once cooled only averages about 0.5 amps per hour.

Let me know if you have any questions, hope it helps ya'll out!
 

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My battery box is a Minnkota trolling motor battery box that has built in cigarette plugs and built in breakers, LED charge status, external battery posts, and pretty heavy duty handles and straps. Works awesome. I cut two holes it so that I could snake out some heavy duty cabling and also the cabling the fridge connects to (the fridge comes with a cigarette plug style DC plug, but I switched it to Anderson plugs).
 

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What is your family size. Surprised it is not in the bed under a camper.
Tell the truth: you really like COLD road sodas!!
2-3 days on one battery. That is better than I thought for a compressor type fridge.
 

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What is your family size. Surprised it is not in the bed under a camper.
Family of three. Car seat is on the other side. Trust me, I wanted to put it under a camper shell, but I asked the wife and she said; "I don't want one of those, I want your truck to look like a truck". Literally word for word. With the pull out slider though it makes it really convenient for the family during road trips and having the fridge in the cab is nice so that my wife can pull out stuff like milk, juice, snacks exc for our little girl.

Tell the truth: you really like COLD road sodas!!
Also true.

2-3 days on one battery. That is better than I thought for a compressor type fridge.
How long you get on one charge depends totally on fridge and battery size. 100 amp hour battery is pretty good size, and the fridge is literally the most efficient fridge on the market currently, beats a comparably sized ARB (both made by Dometic) by about 70%.

Installing the fridge in the bed with a camper shell on it would have been way easier, both in regards to bolting the fridge slide down, and running wire. Could have just dropped the wire along the chassis and then drilled out a hole in the bed and made your own grommet. Running 4 awg wire through the firewall was a PIA.
 

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wow, very small pictures

so is the extra battery in the slider?
 

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Thanks for the write up, I'm planning on adding a second battery as well. Any thoughts of removing the rear right side seat for more space?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
 

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I added one under the hood where the air filter was. Just used a high amp
relay to isolate it from the start battery when the ignition is off and
100 amp circuit breaker. 1/0 gauge (low resistance) goes along the frame
and enters the cab through the rear vent.

So far it's been working great, I did trip the breaker once while blowing
insulation into an attic at a construction site, I'll eventually upgreade
it to 120 amp (it's 80 amp now).
 

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I've been reviewing the installation of my second battery and got to wondering about the "variable voltage control system"
and how the presence of the current sensor (pictured below) effects the charge of the second battery.

Anyone have thoughts on how the grounding should be done to make sure the second battery is accounted for in the
alternators charge rate?

Right now I have the second battery grounded the the body frame since everything it's powering is also grounded to the
body or frame. I'm wondering if I need to run the second battery's ground directly to the primary battery's ground in
order for the current sensor to detect the drain on the second battery and increase the charge rate.

If so, of course I'd have to have a larger gauge cable going through the current sensor to carry the load of both
batteries.

Anyone dealt with this? This is the first time I've had the VVCS on a vehicle so it's new to me.
 

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I am still wondering where you re routed the filter intake to?
 

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Well it's right there.

Got a 3" elbow and piece of 3" pvc from Home Depot and a filter from Pep Boys, cut
a slot for the mass air flow sensor and siliconed and screwed it on.
 

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I like your solution, did it affect anything?


Sent from my iPhone 7 Plus using Tapatalk Pro
 

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I like your solution, did it affect anything?


Sent from my iPhone 7 Plus using Tapatalk Pro

No, nothing I can tell. The engine runs strong, no codes, can still make the 300 mile trip up to
Georgia to visit the grand kids on a single tank. Took it to the dealership to get serviced ( don't
usually let anyone else work on my truck, but 2yr. free service ) and they didn't freak out about
it or anything. lol

I looked at some aftermarket intakes, but even though I could afford one since I'd set aside some
money to mod the truck when I got it, I just couldn't convince myself they were anything but very
expensive plastic tubes. There's a fine line between indulging yourself and just throwing your
money away ::wink::, and I'd have had to mod that anyway to fit in the space available.
 
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