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Second Battery or Upgrade Alt?

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by White Gardens, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Now, I know this conversation has been beat to death, so if anyone has a link to a good thread covering this subject, then please feel free to post a link to it. I did a search on the subject and got mostly threads with a lot of rant.

    I replaced my stock battery with a optima blue top (marine) battery over the summer. I do believe it's an 800 CCA battery.

    Now, I'm getting ready to install my plow on my truck. (05 F-150). It has the standard 110 amp alt.

    I'm thinking I'll need to upgrade the alt and/or add a second battery.

    So what would you guys do. Just the alt? Alt and second battery?

    Like I said, if this has been covered for an f-150 in a good thread, please post the link.

    Also, plow is a Snow Dogg 7.5 HD strait blade that will get used primarily for residential applications.



  2. Holland

    Holland Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    Either way would help. Guess it would depend more or less which would be easier in your case. Alt will drop right in, might be a pain to get a second battery under the hood.

    Bigger question, why do you have a deep cycle battery under the hood?
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    The deep cycle battery will withstand the deep draw downs better than a typical starting battery. Todays vehicles start so easily the high cranking amp needs are much less then they ever have been.

    I would run what you brung for a storm or two and see how it goes. Upgrading the wiring (search Big 3) would be my first step, than the bigger alternator
  4. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    A 2nd battery will help your surge currents (if you are worried about lights dimming, etc) They will also help spin the starter faster, as there will be less voltage drop from that load (especially when cold)

    A bigger alternator will help keep your battery charged if you have constant loads.

    A lot of lights and accessories will require a bigger alternator-because it is a constant draining load.

    A big motor (plow, dump, etc), that is used intermittently will be aided by a 2nd battery, as 2 batteries can better support the surge current.

    You will probably be ok with one battery and the stock alternator. If you find that your lights dim more than you want, add a 2nd battery. If you find that the battery is constantly drained a little bit after you plow, get a bigger alternator. You will likely find that you don't need either.

    What are you running for accessories besides the plow?
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I replaced the bad battery over the summer and put a deep cycle in anticipation that I would be getting a plow for this truck and knowing a deep cycle will probably do better than a regular battery.

    I think I might just take that advice and run it and see how it does. Might have to slow trickle charge the battery after a storm to maintain it and most deep cycles suggest a trickle charge after heavy use anyway.

    I'm thinking that might be the case also. Might not need anything.

    As for accessories, nothing extra and hopefully just some hideaway led bulbs for flashers.

  6. affekonig

    affekonig Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    You'll almost definitely be fine as-is. The Broncos I've run came with 95 amp alternators and they were a little underpowered, but got the job done. I upgraded a few to 120 amp units and had zero charging issues (dimming, etc) and all of them only had one battery. I'd think one good battery and 110 amp alt and you should be good to go. As mentioned, I'd try it for a snow or two and see how it goes before changing anything.
  7. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Nick, do you recall the group size of the BlueTop you purchased? Both our 34M and our D27M offer 800 cold cranking amps. The reason I ask, is because the 34M is the marine equivalent of our Group 34 RedTop battery and is not designed or warrantied for deep-cycle use, while our D27M is designed for both starting and deep-cycle use and might be more appropriate in a plowing situation, where an alternator cannot keep pace with the electrical demands of the vehicle.

    While I'm on the subject of BlueTops, I want to let everyone know those batteries are identical internally to their YellowTop counterparts, except for the 34M, which as I mentioned is a RedTop inside. BlueTops have additional threaded terminals for marine applications, they tend to be more expensive and have a shorter warranty. Unless you really need the extra threaded terminals, a YellowTop might be a better choice.

    Some good suggestions have already been mentioned- Big 3 upgrade, etc... It might be worthwhile to measure the battery voltage with the vehicle off, before and after plowing. Fully-charged, our 34M will measure about 12.6-12.8 volts, while the other BlueTops will measure about 13.0-13.2 volts.

    If you're doing a lot of residential work, lifting the plow up and down a lot and running a lot of other accessories, your charging system may not be able to keep pace with the electrical demands. As jb1390 mentioned, if your lights are dimming, that means the truck's charging system is not keeping pace and the battery is being used to cover the difference. If this happens a lot, you may want to upgrade your alternator (and wiring). If you have any questions about our products, I'll do my best to answer them.

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Thanks for your reply Jim.

    Not sure which one I have for sure. I'll have to take a look at it and see. Is there a stamp or anything on it that will let me know?


  9. OptimaJim

    OptimaJim Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    They will usually say what size it is right in the middle of the label in the "Model No" box.

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
  10. MR. Elite

    MR. Elite Senior Member
    from E Town
    Messages: 557

    I would lean toward the upgraded alt, check into DC Power, they make a really nice 270 amp alt for ur application
  11. jbell36

    jbell36 Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 222

    my truck came with the snow plow prep package, would that mean a 220 alternator? ('08 6.4 power stroke)
  12. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    Just run it Nick....like others said, just see how it handles it, then go from there. I think you'll be fine the way it is. Down the road if you mount a tailgate spreader, more lights, etc...then put a bigger alt AND 2nd battery...but for now, I bet your good.

    Why hideaways? I think for your money, there are better options that give more effective warning light.
  13. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I don't know, just nothing else appeals to me on a standard truck. I especially don't like the light bars on the cabs, and there was no other places to do a surface mount style.

    Ended up getting the Strobes N. More hideaway strobes for about 220. Seemed pretty comparable to anything else out there.

    That and I'm hoping that at least in the fronts, I'll get some good reflection off the mirrored insides of the light housing for a little added intensity.

    Sorry for not calling this morning also. Was in and out of Koenig's in about an hour. Pump read fine, just need to figure out why the plow is acting so slow.

  14. MR. Elite

    MR. Elite Senior Member
    from E Town
    Messages: 557

    I believe they came with a 200amp, witch in turn probably makes a solid 180-190 at rpm
    only real way to kno the truth is to have it clamped and find out wat it spins at?