Dodge Ram 2500 HD
   Differential & Driveline
   Cooling System
   Batteries & Charging System
   Instrumentation & Controls
   Audio System
   Security Systems
   Seats & Seatbelts
   Recovery Equipment
   Fuel System
   Transmission & Transfer Case
   Tires and Wheels
   Onboard Air

Camper Overview
   Furniture & Interior
   Interior Lighting
   Electrical System
   Environmental Systems
   Water System

Pop-up Camper and Utility Bed
   Pop-up Tent Camper
   Utility Bed

EarthRoamer® Truck Photo Galleries
   ER2K with pop-camper
   ER2K with expedition camper
   ER2K with expedition camper

Batteries and Charging System

Description Manufacturer Purchased from Installed by
Optima yellow top deep cycle starting batteries Optima Four Wheel Parts Wholesalers myself
Powerline 220 amp alternator
Powerline 300 amp battery isolator
Hehr Power Systems Hehr Power Systems ABIR Auto Marine Services Ltd.
Unit 18
12491 No. 2 Rd
Richmond, BC, Canada V7E 6G3
phone : 604-275-2789

With two winches, off highway lights, driving lights, fog lights, a 600 watt audio amplifier, refrigerator, 12 volt camper air conditioner, and 355 amp hours worth of batteries, my electrical requirements are substantial. The Powerline 220 amp alternator and 300 amp isolator in conjunction with the Optima Yellow Top batteries has solved all of my electrical problems. At idle, this alternator will easily charge over 30 amps into my 225 amp hour 8D camper battery.

Starting Batteries
I choose deep cycle Optima Yellow Tops as my starting batteries because in addition to starting, the batteries are used for the front 12,000 pound Warn winch. If my truck ever dies, and I need to winch without the engine running, I want to know that I won't ruin my starting batteries.

Alternator and Isolator
With the Powerline alternator and battery isolator, I simply don't worry about power anymore. I have a very robust system that keeps both my starting and camper batteries charged with ease.

Original Batteries and Isolator
I originally ran 4 Optima yellow tops, two for starting and two for the camper, isolated with a Hellroaring solid state isolator. This gave me 130 amp hours for starting and another 130 amp hours for the camper.

This set-up was good for about two days and nights on the camper with moderate loads without draining my camper batteries-as long as I ran the refrigerator on propane when stopped. This setup worked OK, and I liked the Hellroaring isolator. I had a three position switch on my gauge panel that I could set for: 1) manual battery isolation 2) manual battery combine and 3) automatic isolation. I almost always ran in auto mode. Whenever the alternator was not charging, and the isolator detected a difference in voltage between the house and starting batteries, it isolated them. I could run my camper batteries completely dead, and still have fully charged starting batteries to start the truck. On one occasion in Canada, I forgot to switch my fridge from 12 volt to propane, and ran my camper batteries dead in only a couple of hours. No problem, the truck started right up.

With my new 12 volt refrigerator, I just leave the fridge running all the time. My 225 amp hour house battery, 220 amp alternator and 170 watts of solar panels easily keep up with the fridge. I no longer have to worry about switching the fridge between 12 volts and propane.

Original Camper Batteries
The Summit racing battery boxes worked perfectly to house the Optimas mounted on each side of the truck under the quad cab. I had to cut the boxes in half, but the battery fit perfectly and I bolted the boxes directly to the frame.

This is one place where I goofed and it caused me a great deal of grief on my Alaska trip. To fit the optima batteries into the boxes, I decided to cut the battery lugs off, and use the bolt on side terminals. After hack sawing off the lugs, I discovered that this caused an open circuit to the side mounts. I tried to solder and pean the connection together, but about half way through my trip, my camper batteries barely lasted a couple of hours. My camper batteries were ruined.

I have since removed the Optimas from under the cab in favor of one 8D gel cell located in the camper. Wiring is simpler, access to the battery is easier, and the battery is in a temperature controlled environment. It was nice having the weight down low under the cab, and the under cab Optimas didn't waste any space, but having one battery in the camper is working out much better.

Original Set-up
Description Manufacturer Purchased from Installed by
Battery Isolator Hellroaring Hellroaring, Hellroaring, MT Myself
Optima yellow top deep cycle house and starting batteries Optima Four Wheel Parts Wholesalers Myself
Modified Summit Racing aluminum battery boxes mounted to the frame under the quad cab Unknown Summit Racing Myself
Painless wiring LEDs and waterproof switches various Painless Wiring, TX myself