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Battery Questions

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by metallihockey88, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I have a 1997 GMC 1500 ext cab pick up. I have a UniMount 7'6 plow. I have 2 questions. First one is, i notice my voltage drop and lights dim and stuff when i move the plow which im sure can be exected. It has a good battery and new alternator. So i was wondering if the battery has anything to do with the power of the plow. I was looking to either add a second battery or just upgrade to a nice red top gel cell like they use for big car audio systems. What would be the difference in performance for either one of these and which would you reccomend if either since i like i said my battery is fine now, just lookin to upgrade if it will make my plow work better/more powerful. Thanx
     
  2. aeronutt

    aeronutt Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    Before you spend money on the truck side, make sure your plow motor isn't on it's last leg and drawing 3x more power than it should. My old truck (see signature) is experiencing the same symptoms plus the plow raises very slow and the heater fan almost stops when I'm raising the plow. I just had the battery load-tested and it's good to go so I'll be replacing the pump motor soon. I'll post another reply as soon as I get it done to let you know how much difference it makes.
     
  3. sechracer

    sechracer Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    I basically have the same setup, and yes, the dimming can be expected. If you plan on adding to the system, it will help keep from straining the system too hard, and slow down the drain of the battery. However, it probably wont stop the dimming of the lights.
     
  4. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    Everything on the plow seems to be cool, the plow was basically brand new when i got the truck and have had my local plow guru go over the plow before the season and fix it all up for the season and he said everything looks cool and it works great. plus will be gettin rid of the truck at the end of the season along with my daily driver and pickin up a new truck and puttin a plow on it. i dont mind spendin money to keep the truck workin at its best all winter so was just tryin to feel out and get some input on this option.
     
  5. Spitz

    Spitz Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    A second battery will help slow the drain on them if your constantly moving the plow and drawing power from them. If your getting rid of it then, screw it. Sounds like you're not having any problems with it now..
     
  6. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    yea, kinda what im thinkin but would do something if it would help the plow work faster or stronger. like i said dont mind spendin money if it will help but if it just helps the battery charge faster or drain slower then i guess i wont worry about it much...thanx
     
  7. Spitz

    Spitz Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    Speed wont increase, its still 12v.. But like i said if your moving the plow constantly and pulling the battery down to 10-11 volts then it would keep the plow as fast as it is for a longer duration.. lol.. Not much to be gained if your not having issues. Its always nice to have 2 batteries for piece of mind though i guess..
     
  8. FLASHMAN

    FLASHMAN Member
    Messages: 78

    The only way to stop the dimming lights is to run a dual battery system with an isolator, but as B&B so kindly and patiently explained to me, the isolator can defeat the purpose of having the dual battery system, which is the high standby time that a dual battery wired in parallel system provides. Basically, you have to decide what's most important. Here's how I break it down:

    If you plow your driveway, your in-laws, and a couple of others, and it's very important to you that your lights don't dim when raising/angling the plow, run a dual battery system with an isolator, running the plow off the secondary battery only. This, combined even with a stock alternator would more than likely be sufficient for a light duty application. A higher output alternator would certianly be better though.

    If you plow yourself, your inlaws, have a plowing business, and plow every person who flags you down along the way, it seems that a high output alternator, combined with dual batteries wired directly in parallel is the ideal way to go, and you'll have to deal with a slight dimming of the lights. The way it was explained to me, the doubling effect wiring 2 batteries in parallel has on the standby time of the single battery is paramount here. good luck...
     
  9. FLASHMAN

    FLASHMAN Member
    Messages: 78

    You have almost the exact same truck as me. I have a '98 K1500 Ex cab with a 5.7. What I'm doing is BOTH a High output alternator and a dual battery system. I put in a 190 amp alternator, and I'm going with twin Titanium 1000 CCA batteries from Advance auto. Get the ones with the side AND top terminals. The book will list a 78-2, which is a 770CCA, side terminals only unit. Getting the 34/78-4 ups the CCA to 1000, and adds the top terminals, which makes adding the second battery VERY simple via the top terms and some 2ga cable.

    Quite frankly, Optima, at least from my experience, makes good batteries. Some on here will disagree. I've had the same blue top in my boat for years, and it's unkillable. I've also had Yellow tops for high end stereo applications in cars. For plows however, I guess I'm finding it harder and harder to justify spending on one battery, the same as you would on two conventional batteries, just to abuse them... Your choice though. Personally, I'm taking the advice of the many pros on here and going with the dual battery setup, combined with the HO alternator...