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Enough juice for 2 plows and stuff

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Shady Brook, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 75

    I am begining to wonder if my 95 PSD will have a charging system up for the task of powering up my current plow, stobe, heater and stuff, while adding a back plow, some rear lighting, and maybe some fog lamps to boot. Seems like the alternator is around 85 amp, and my batteries are 850 a piece I believe. As I remember I had some good dimming, and slow plow raise times after plowing for a while without driving far to the next site.

    Will the added stuff likely put to much on the system? If so, what are the best, least expensive options available? I thought about batteries with a high reserve, hate to spend the money since my batteries are only a couple years old. What are some good battieries with high reserve?

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

  2. Maverick

    Maverick Senior Member
    Messages: 116


    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    i h ave a powermaster and am very happy with its performance
  4. Tim1075

    Tim1075 Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    If you don't mind me asking how much did you pay for one of those?
  5. Rooster

    Rooster Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 650

  6. GreginAlaska

    GreginAlaska Junior Member
    from Alaska
    Messages: 28

    My 2000 F550 and my 2001 F350 have dual alternators...I wonder if you could retrofit it?
  7. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Turn on the juice

    Before I would add a second alternator, I would take a good hard look at adding a hydraulic pump for the plows rather than adding more load and more electrical components.

    Yes, you can power all those toys but your are dependent on a good battery, good grounds, good wiring harness, and good luck when plowing.

    A belt driven hydraulic pump is a reliable and economical method to raise, turn and lower your plows. You run one hydro line to the rear on the inner side of your frame rails instead of a maze of wires and cables for raising and lowering the back plow. Your front plow ram can be set up with just one line also. If you have quick disconnect snap fittings on the hoses, you can quiclk and easily remove all of the rams when you need to.

    My Monarch hydros never let me down. And neither did the company. They are the oldest business of all in Michigan, 113 years. Think they will be around to help you if there is a problem?
    You bet !
  8. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    If there is no AC on that truck, a belt driven system is to problem to install. If you have AC 95 was one of the last years you could put in belt drive. I think this is one of those cases where belt drive may be the way to go. I think those powermaster alternators are around 500 Bucks.

  9. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    This question might deserve it's own thread, but how many here have plowed with their headlights turned off to conserve power?

    Obviously you wouldn't do it in other than a well lighted area, and you'd leave the parking lights on, but I remember it being suggested by a plow guy I knew long before I ever got involved in the business myself. I did do it for a couple of nights a few years ago when I had a battery that was on it's last legs, and a cash flow problem. I can't say it was all that difficult....
  10. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 75

    How much would adding a hydro pump cost, other lines and stuff, ball park anyway?

    What about changing my batteries to Optima yellow tops, would the extra reserve capacity be of help, or will it likely still fall short without a bigger alternator?

    Dang, buying a new plow will be costly enough, I hate to spend a bunch more money just to run my setup. Boy that dual alternator setup sounds like a good idea now.

  11. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Try email to "alterstart@aol.com". I've got a 200 map unit coming from them for my 88 GM. Unit is supposed to make 100 amps at idle, should make a decent plow truck supply. No idea what they have for Brand X trucks. This one is costing me around $200 by the time it gets here.
  12. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Ok here is the thing, you won't need a very big pump. If you decide to go belt driven, don't buy the electric pump for the rear plow, you just saved money there. The best thing to do is go a truck shop that does plows and dump bodies, and hydro spreaders. Get a cost figure on a hydro system.

    You could try 1000 cca batteries instead of what you have now. I think your alternator is more like 95 amps. Have someone test the condition of your batteries. If the hydro system is big big bucks, then maybe try two new bigger batteries. If no good, then you got to try the alternator. I am sure you will not be able to run your heater on high, lights, and 2 plows with the standard size ford batteries.

  13. Maverick

    Maverick Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    You can have the biggest batteries in the world but if your alternater can't replace or keep up with the power loss of the batteries, its a waste of money. Get the Powermaster. A buddy of mine has a 235 amp and paid like $329. This bolt on and play sounds alot easier than installing belt pumps and running hydraulic hose.
  14. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Yes but a big alternator won't solve all your problems either. You need a place to store amps, and that is a battery. The lights will still dim when you get that plow over and the plow pump motor is drawing 150 to 200 amps, the heater motor is drawing 30 amps, the lights are probably drawing 15-20, ect.

    However if you have 2 batteries in good or better condition storing 1000 cca each, and a alternator that is charging them up, your all set.

  15. Maverick

    Maverick Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    You are right about having good batteries in a truck. Every plow truck should have that.

    If you are using 200 amps of power and your alternater is putting out 95 amps at hwy speed (60 ish at idle), those batteries won't be getting any juice to store. They will just go dead alot faster over time. Granted this max amp draw is only for a few seconds for each push of the plow, but a bigger alternater and good batteries would be my fix if it were my truck.
  16. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 75

    Boy I just love all these suggestions, thanks so much! :)

    I will do some looking around on the hydro stuff. On the alternator, I wrote Powermaster for info on options and price, so hopefully I will find something there soon.

    I do all residencial, and find that I had the most trouble after being at a group of homes for a period of time. I wonder if I had batteries that were able to recharge more quickly if my alternator could keep up as I went from one house or group of houses to another? Would a standard alternator charge that quickly, or is it a pipe dream. Also what about a bigger class battery, or a type of deep cell as an upgrade?

    Would there be a noticeable difference between my 850cc batteries, and say 2 1000's? Do I want more amps, or more reserve capacity?

    Thanks again for all the super thoughts
  17. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    The charge rate of the batteries is pretty much determined by the alternator output.

    The batteries serve as storage to make up for any shortfall between alternator output and load requirements. There is a HUGE current draw involved in plow operations, particularly when the cylinders botom out and the pump has to fight the relief pressures.

    Residential work is the most demanding on the electrical system. You are using the plow a lot and not traveling far in between demands for hydraulic power. The problem gets even worse when you run Sno-Way and use the downpressure, as then the pump is drawing almost constantly except when you are backing up.

    An alternator that makes a lot of current will bring battery voltage back up in very little time. Dual batteries will draw down less under a given load than a single will, but if current draw over a given period is more than alternator output during that same period they will still go flat.

    We're only running single batteries, even with our Sno-Way plows, but we're also running hotted up alternators that are making upwards of 150 amps once the revs come off idle.

    By way of conserving energy we have our auxiliary rear lights set to work in conjunction with the factory backup lights rather than having them on all the time. Also running strobes rather than rotators to keep amp draw down.

    It might be wort checking to see if there is an ambulance alternator available for our PSD. A lot of F350s see ambulance service and they're all built alike under the hood. IF you could get a stock Ford ambulance alternator and related wiring it would be a lot easier to get parts if you ever need them.
  18. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Battery life

    one of the more infrequent causes of battery failure is heat. If you are running a high discharge / high charge rate due to your needs, lights, heater, defroster, plow pump motor, roof lights, back up lights, VHF radio, Cb radio, and that wonderful cd/am/fm/weather radio you got for Christmas, you are going to heat up your battery, and your wiring in the truck.

    When you have heat, you have resistance in a circuit. Resistance adds more heat, and so on. Wire gets warm, alternator diodes get warm, battery gets warm, and you have the recipe for a breakdown. You shud down and stop for coffee at Dunkin Donuts at 4 am and the next thing you know your truck will not start for you.

    Batteries that get cooked too often will start to have a problem, simply put, the plates inside the battery will warp. When that occurs, you lose storage capacity, and perhaps even pick up an internal battery short. then it is too late, it is the middle of the night, you are flat broke down and when it snows triple A means "Ain't Available at All" in other words, we aren't able to get a truck out to jump start you now. I have seen batteries actually blow the top off their case in winter due to the gases created in this high charge, high amp draw situation.

    That is why I prefer hydraulic drives for the lift and directional movement of a plow. Think about it, your front end loader, articulated loader, good ole John Deere or Case backhoe, everything is hydraulic. It is simple and it works. To me, and I know some of you will disagree, adding a second alternator, or a high output alternater (200 amp monster) is like putting a pacemaker in a 400 lb. guy. Yes it will work, but it will be far better for the patient to lose a couple hundred pounds. So shed some amps, go hydraulic!
  19. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    Shady Brook - I have five trucks with similar attachments on them. I have 2 Jeep Wranglers & 2 Jimmys which are much lighter duty than your truck. When I purchased the Jeeps, I opted for the higher alt. option. After two years of service the batteries due run out of juice. If the battery is in need of replacing, buy one with a good replacement warranty. Then when the battery does die, you can replace it for pennys on the dollar.

    I have to due it this way, where are you going to stick a second battery in a Jimmy or Jeep!

    There have been some interesting suggestions that I am going to try out on my 1998 2500 Sierra!

  20. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    What about taking your stock alt. to a alt.
    shop and having it pumped up to put out
    more amps ? Cheap and easy....
    I had my 100 amp GM alt. done (older trucks)
    changed to 150 amp for 100 bucks.....
    My newer ones have 130 amps......
    NO PROBLEMS here running strobes , plow,
    2003 GMs with prep pkg. have 145 now !..geo