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Old 06-30-2014, 05:20 PM   #1
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Battery terminals

A question for the electrical minded.I built a motorized trailer mule for my trail ,so that I can move it around without my truck.I used a 12 volt ATV winch motor and now want to wire it up to the battery.I have the 2x 6 volt ones on my 15' Escape .But don't know which terminals to attach the Winch motors positive and negative leads to.One battery has two black wires coming from the trailer,one to the negative terminal and one to the positive terminal.The other battery has a red wire to the positive and a black wire to the Negative terminals.

Would I use the Red positive from one battery and the black negative from the other battery or?
Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:45 PM   #2
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It would depend on how they wire them at ETI, either in series or in parallel (as in the drawings below). I would assume it's in series, since you want 12V output. That would mean you can attach the winch motor positive to either positive, and the ground to the opposite battery ground.
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File Type: jpg 6 volts in parallel.jpg (38.6 KB, 3 views)
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:18 PM   #3
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ETI would not wire them in parallel as this results only in 6 volts, they have to be wired like the first picture, in series, in order to get 12v to the trailer. Thus you ant to connect to the positive on one battery and the negative on the other battery, or the plus on the left one and the - on the right one in the first picture above.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies.But neither example above looks the same.This is what it looks like.It is hard to tell as the wires disappear into the trailer from there.But I do think it is the red positive from one side and the black negative on the other one ,hate to fry my motor ,hooking it to the wrong ones.Anyone else?
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:38 PM   #5
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The top diagram in the post from rbryan4 shows how you have to connect the wires to supply 12v to your mule.

The diagram that you supplied is "wrong" in that the 2 center black wires, one from the positive and one from the negative, are unlikely to connect with the other black wire. If they did you would have a short circuit.

Just use one positive terminal on one battery and the negative terminal on the other battery. Add a jumper cable or battery cable between the other two.

This is the second time today the lack of an electrical schematic has been a problem for owners. I really wish there was a schematic available.

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Old 06-30-2014, 07:10 PM   #6
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In an electrical schematic a black dot would indicate a connection and in that case, the diagram is "wrong". If your black dot represents the hole into which the 4 wires disappear then the mystery to me is: why aren't the two center terminals simply jumpered and why does the one battery have two black cables?

The only answer that I can see is that the two middle cables, at some point out of sight, are simply connected together.

Until the exact situation is known it would be much simpler to just undo the existing connections, set them aside and hook your own cables directly to the battery with the center terminals jumped.

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Old 06-30-2014, 07:15 PM   #7
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I did a little more investigating and sliced open the protective covers over the wires and can see that they doubled back with the one black wire and it ends up being as the example #1 above.Why they did that I don't know,just to confuse me I guess
I'll have to leave it now until Wed and will let you all know how it all went.I will post a video of what I built and what I used to do it ,once I have time.
Thanks
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:27 PM   #8
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Hi Guys,
Ok this might be a dumb reply but if you are using a volt meter by test the terminals wouldn't that tell when you have the 12 volts you need. Then you would know which terminals to use for the power dolly.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:00 PM   #9
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Not really necessary. They're connected in series in order to supply 12 volts, i.e., 6V + 6V = 12V. Connecting the winch motor to the positive on one battery and the negative on the other would supply power, since they are interconnected in series. Ron's absolutely right though -- a wiring schematic would be nice to have.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:32 PM   #10
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Yes having the schematic is always your best bet. I am not a electrician but I do understand what parallel and series circuit are and if you have a volt meter you should be able figure out what your connections are. But if someone is not comfortable with working on electrical circuitry they should never attempt to blindly try to figure out a electric circuit.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:52 PM   #11
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I would suggest you use a ( battery isolator ) to dis connect from the trailer before operating a winch motor from the trailer batteries. a old solenoid operated switch the winch motor could be 30 amp + and seporate wiring will be needed. Can be complicated.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:01 PM   #12
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No schematic should be necessary, because the jumper between the two 6V batteries must not connect to anything else, and should be short, direct, and large gauge. The only reason to need a drawing in this case is that the jumper was not apparent. Since the jumper has been found, the right wires are now apparent without a diagram.

If the jumper goes into the harnesss and back out, it's too long. It might have been built that way for some reason - perhaps so the jumper would not be lost in the process of replacing batteries - but I would replace it with a more suitable cable. i would at least cut it shorter.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:05 PM   #13
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As it turns out in this case, ETI is following their usual use of red for battery positive, so the appropriate power source would be the positive battery terminal with that red wire for positive, and the negative terminal of the other battery for negative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markvt View Post
... if you are using a volt meter by test the terminals wouldn't that tell when you have the 12 volts you need. Then you would know which terminals to use for the power dolly.
Yes, that would work fine if the wires couldn't be followed.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:20 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Brian B-P;57549
If the jumper goes into the harnesss and back out, it's too long. It might have been built that way for some reason - perhaps so the jumper would not be lost in the process of replacing batteries - but I would replace it with a more suitable cable. i would at least cut it shorter.[/QUOTE]

True enough, even though the mystery is solved it seems to me that it leaves a potentially dangerous situation. With 3 black wires emerging from the wall a person hooking up the batteries after they've been removed, perhaps for the winter or just replacement purposes has 3 choices for the black wires. One of the choices would be a dead short causing some arcs and sparks.

I agree, while it's fresh in your mind make the jumper shorter so there's no potential for mix ups.

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Old 07-01-2014, 06:05 AM   #15
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A refresher for those who want The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
True enough, even though the mystery is solved it seems to me that it leaves a potentially dangerous situation. With 3 black wires emerging from the wall a person hooking up the batteries after they've been removed, perhaps for the winter or just replacement purposes has 3 choices for the black wires. One of the choices would be a dead short causing some arcs and sparks.

I agree, while it's fresh in your mind make the jumper shorter so there's no potential for mix ups.

Ron
Makes a strong case for labeling the wires before disconnecting from their respective batteries, and being certain that when the batteries are returned, they are returned in the same orientation as when removed. One could also make a case for eventually replacing the wire that make the "series" connection a color other than red or black.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:02 PM   #17
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One could also make a case for eventually replacing the wire that make the "series" connection a color other than red or black.
Ready-made heavy-gauge cables with ring terminals (usually intended to connect automotive starters to starter switches) are often available in grey - perhaps a convenient, electrically suitable, and appropriately coloured option?
18" 1-Ga blue
15" 4-Ga black
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:16 PM   #18
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The problem with some installations, especially on my 17, is that the batteries are physically separated by the spare tire, inside individual battery boxes, on the back bumper, and the connecting cable would need to be looped around the spare tire and outside, an awkward endeavor. Instead, ETI just runs cables from each battery into the trailer hull, and makes the connection inside the hull. I think it makes for a neater solution, but it does make the connecting wire longer.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
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The problem with some installations, especially on my 17, is that the batteries are physically separated by the spare tire...
Routing through the body makes sense to me for the 17-foot, which I believe is the only model using separated batteries.

The wires do need some sort of labeling - even a red tape wrap around the end of the black wire to the positive terminal of the corresponding battery would be reasonably clear. Are they labeled or colour-coded in the dual-battery 17'?

Although I don't know where the batteries are in woodie's 15A, all four wires are bundled together, so this separation issue doesn't apply. With the very different proportions of the 15' and 17', I doubt dual batteries on the 15' back bumper would be a good idea!
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:28 PM   #20
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Just to finish what I started.I now have my ATV winch motor from my mule wired up using the red Positive terminal from one battery and the black negative terminal on the other battery and it all is working now.
I agree that schematics would be a great help.
My 2 batteries are at the front, side by side and the black jumper wire between my batteries really is not very long and I have not had any battery issues with it, other than figuring out were the writes went.Had they not been bound up together in protective coverings,would have made it easier,but they were probably just trying to keep all the wires together and protected .
Thanks for everyones input and help,greatly appreciated .
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