Power To Play
If you are like us, you probably have an assortment of electronic gizmos that did not come stock with your 4x4. Whether they add functionality-like a GPS or CB radio-or are simply there to intrigue onlookers while sounding cool-like a neon-lit subwoofer-aftermarket electronics are here to stay. Ultimately all those add-ons require more of one thing: voltage. O.E. engineers do not give you much extra to play with, nor do they anticipate items with high amperage demands such as winches. The results can really zap your fun away. Picture this: The trail gets tough, Johnny Jeeper arrives with a charging system that is basically on life support. A few short winching sessions later, the alternator is working overtime to replenish depleted battery. The vehicle starts to run funny. The winch starts to smoke due to low voltage...you can see where this is headed. This scenario can be easily avoided by simply adding a dual battery system along with a high-output alternator. Kodiak Industries manufactures dual battery management systems for most of the popular 4x4 vehicles on the trail today. Kodiak also offers high-output alternators for virtually any vehicle. Kodiak's dual battery kits come with everything you need to triple the reserve capacity of your factory-charging system. Included are two high performance Odyssey dry cell batteries, an isolation relay, and a dash-mounted switch that gives you the ability to control and manage the system for individual needs. Once installed, the whole setup looks awesome, and requires no custom fabrication or fancy installation tools. With detailed installation instructions, Kodiak's dual battery management system is an upgrade virtually anyone can complete in less than a day. Check it out.
Unfortunately, this photo is all too common. A bungee cord was used as a tie down, overloaded and corroded terminals limit conductivity, and a literal spaghetti factory of mismatched wires power the vehicle's aftermarket componentry.
The user interface for this kit consists of a three-position micro toggle switch with a two-color LED to provide user feedback. On the Jeep TJ, the switch is configured so that when the #1 (left) position is selected the LED glows green as soon as you turn the key on. The green LED tells you that the system is managing both batteries for vehicle starts and accessory power. In this position, the alternator charges both batteries and both are being exercised by electrical loads. When the #2 (middle) position is selected, the LED is off and the auxiliary battery is completely isolated from the system. This position ensures that you always have a fully charged backup battery on standby for emergencies. In this mode, the vehicle only pulls from and charges the primary battery. The third mode of operation (the toggle to the right) will cause the LED to glow red. Position three is similar to the first position in that it connects both batteries together for jump-starting scenarios when maximum electrical power is desired. The main difference between the first and third position is that the third position will keep the two batteries tied together even when the ignition is in the off position.