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Old 05-15-2015, 10:11 PM   #1
Inertiaman
 
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Default House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Has anyone considered locating a house battery inside the driver seat pedestal on an NCV3?

I'm contemplating various location options for my house battery bank. While inspecting the driver seat pedestal electrical area, I noticed that the rear portion of the pedestal has a large open space. If my measurements are correct, I could fit a 12V 105ah battery in there, perhaps a 115ah. Mine is a 2014 144 2500 Crew 4cyl.

I couldn't find any precedent here on the forums for this placement. Is there an issue w/ the location that I'm overlooking?

If its feasible, I'm surprised others haven't done it. Especially the folks who only want one house battery . . . all the wiring is right there, there is additional space inside the front of the pedestal for a CTEK 250S or other small-ish isolation/charging device, etc. The space would be pretty cramped, so I can imagine it making future debug or wiring activity more of a hassle, but that seems a reasonable trade-off.

Perhaps other van model/years/options didn't leave such a cavity??
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

I would think long and hard about sticking a lead acid battery close to my van's primary electronics. The newer battery designs are better, but if they leak at all, you'd be looking at an major repair bill.
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Inertiaman,
Why not put the battery out in the engine compartment.
MB sells a battery tray that puts your aux. battery in the left front (where a starting battery might normally be placed).
Or
What about putting the aux. battery (s) under the passenger seat.
Same size under seat box/pedestal as the under the drivers seat, but no electronics.
If using lead acid batteries, be sure to vent the compartment!
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Batteries will definitely be going into the passenger pedestal. I am considering a third battery in the driver pedestal to reach my capacity goal. I also posed the question because I thought it might be useful to others who are considering a one battery system and may have the passenger pedestal reserved for an Espar heater, etc.

My aversion to the engine compartment location is based on a few issues:
1) cost and installation hassle of the tray assembly
2) wiring to the engine compartment adds install hassle + wire length discrepancies versus other batteries in bank
3) the engine compartment battery will be at different temperatures than the rest of the bank, so multi-stage charging could be sub-optimal
4) many AGM manufacturers/techies recommend against warm environments for AGM. I realize this is debatable, and others are successfully using AGM in that location. But worth noting that the MB OEM aux battery in that location is not AGM.

None of those disadvantages are deal-killers in/of themselves, but in aggregate they are substantial. And there aren't many advantages to balance the disadvantages.

I should have noted in the original post that I would only consider AGM in this (driver seat) location. My perception of AGM reliability is that leakage is not a significant risk. If they did leak, I'm not sure the passenger seat is much better than the driver . . . in both cases, acid could reach the steel floor, providing a conductive path to ground and all the fun that would go with it. If I really wanted to be "safe" there is space to use plastic tray under the battery. To be honest, my intuition was similar to yours: do I really want a massive battery adjacent to all this wiring? But as I thought it through, I couldn't come up with rational problems for it, hence me posting the question.

The limiting dimension is the front/back pedestal space at about 6" above the floor. So battery width is limited to ~6.75" stock, but very simple/safe mods to plastic in the pedestal could yield another .25 to .50". The 105ah and 115ah batteries I'm considering are 2" or 3" smaller than the available space in height or left/right.

The attraction for me is achieving the following:
1) substantial total AH capacity without consuming any free floor area in my 144
2) three identical batteries, all in same ambient temp environment
3) multi-stage charger temp sensor on a single battery is accurately representative of all batteries in bank
4) close proximity of batteries = relatively easy to achieve perfect balance in three battery network (similar length wire runs and multiple interconnect topology options)
5) direct access to alternator supply
6) no exterior/firewall/engine compartment wiring required
7) no very large gauge wire required (max length is about 42-48" at 80A).

I think I need to make a cardboard mock-up of the batteries, pull the driver seat and get full confidence that it will go in/out.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inertiaman View Post
4) many AGM manufacturers/techies recommend against warm environments for AGM. I realize this is debatable, and others are successfully using AGM in that location. But worth noting that the MB OEM aux battery in that location is not AGM.
My Mercedes battery in that location does say AGM in the text written on it. It does also seem to have a drain tube. I am inclined to thin it is an AGM. Anyone know for sure?

It is important because I do plan to add at least another battery in parallel to get enough amp hours.
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Old 05-17-2015, 11:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

The nice thing about stowing a battery under the seats is that they should stay in-place during a collision. Batteries in the passenger compartment could become deadly projectiles.

I was rear-ended on a freeway by a speeding car in 1986. I was in a Subaru wagon at a stand-still in traffic. Me and my driver seat broke free from the floor and ended up in the rear seat. A few heavy items in my car flew out the back window with great force and went completely through the car that rear-ended me and were laying on the freeway twenty yards behind the car that hit me (my briefcase, eye glasses, sealed 1.75L bottle of Tanqueray gin, glass bottles of tonic water, limes and a six pack of St. Pauli Girl in bottles). Luckily, no one was struck by the bottles.

Last edited by dynaco1; 05-17-2015 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddunaway View Post
My Mercedes battery in that location does say AGM in the text written on it. It does also seem to have a drain tube. I am inclined to thin it is an AGM. Anyone know for sure?

It is important because I do plan to add at least another battery in parallel to get enough amp hours.
Interesting. AGM on the label seems definitive, but then why does it have a vent tube? That's unusual for an AGM isn't it?

The online descriptions of the E28 option don't mention the battery type for the aux battery, yet they do denote AGM for the starter battery. If I look up online the battery p/n listed in the aux battery retrofit guidelines (A 005 541 18 01) there are MB OEM batteries for $147 . . . which is great price for a 100ah battery if its AGM! However, that $147 battery is actually p/n 000-982-33-08 but lists about 8 other MB p/n's it replaces (the 005 541 18 01 being one among them).

My perception that the aux battery was not AGM was based on some price/availability inquiries at my local MB dealer for the aux tray, etc. The parts guy told me the battery wasn't AGM, but of course this wouldn't be the first time a dealer may not be accurate.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Check this out. They are the same and do clearly say AGM. A 001 982 82 08

Maybe I just get another MB battery.....affordable from MB....crazy idea? I have not found exact pricing yet.
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File Type: jpg startMB.JPG (127.8 KB, 140 views)
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddunaway View Post
Check this out. They are the same and do clearly say AGM. A 001 982 82 08

Maybe I just get another MB battery.....affordable from MB....crazy idea? I have not found exact pricing yet.
The VRLA aspect states they are sealed batts. They can still vent if the valve needs to bleed, but that is a corner case.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: House battery inside driver seat pedestal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddunaway View Post
Check this out. They are the same and do clearly say AGM. A 001 982 82 08

Maybe I just get another MB battery.....affordable from MB....crazy idea? I have not found exact pricing yet.
Well if the starter and aux batteries are the same, then we can conclude the auxiliary battery is not a true deep cycle design. Which explains to some extent the pricing.
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