20′ Enclosed Race Trailer – Part 3 – Electrics & Winch

As previously discussed, the shore power connection wasn’t exactly high quality. Someone removed the 30 Amp plug and replaced it with a 15 Amp plug that didn’t actually fit in the housing. Since it was on the driver’s side, going down the road every time I looked in the mirror, that thing was flapping at me.

20190422_143515

Since everything had to come off the wall for paint, including the electrical panel, the was a fairly straight forward fix. A new 30A shore power connector was fitted, along with an adapter for use with normal 20A service.

20190501_143406_HDR
20190429_173645

With that fixed, it was a simple matter of relocating the wiring in a way that was tidier, and positioned in a better place (the plugs were too high on the wall originally, and the E Track too low, so they switched positions). I removed the plug along the front wall, as it seemed superflous. I may re-add that later, but I already have plenty of 120v plugs in the trailer now.

20190429_160019

With the 120v service sorted it, it was time to move to the 12v side of things. My main 12v goals are:
-A winch to load the car
-An electrical jack
-A battery to power all that (and eventually some interior lights)
-A solar panel to keep the battery charged

The main component here is the battery and battery box. A tongue tool box from HF was mounted at the front of the trailer.

20190427_145528_HDR

I didn’t realize when I bought it that it was narrower than the outer frame rails, but I figured it was cheap, and it was big enough to do what I needed, so while it might look weird, there’s no real reason to replace it at this point.

I was a little concerned with the front mount bolts chafing the wiring harness from the truck:

20190427_143152

I found that I didn’t have any wire loom big enough to wrap around all those cables, but I DID have loom big enough to fit around the bolt. Stupid? Stupid like a fox!

20190427_145517

The battery box was mounted around the center frame rail:

20190427_145540_HDR

I didn’t have much horizontal real-estate to mount the solar panel to, but when parked at home, the panel faces nearly due west, and is in full sun in the afternoon.

20190430_155156_HDR

I was a bit concerned it wouldn’t work well like that (since all directions are to mount it horizontally), but it appears to be putting out plenty of juice:

20190430_153513

The battery never sees that much power, thankfully, as the solar panel runs through a 12v charge controller to prevent over charging the battery.

I drilled a few holes through the frame with big rubber grommets for the 12v wires to pass from the battery to inside the trailer under the floor, with marine cable pass-throughs to keep the weather and bugs out.

20190430_180056_HDR

I mounted the winch using a Bulldog winch mount. The front 2 bolts are through the frame, the rear 2 are bolted through a 6 x 8″, 3/8″ thick spreader plate.

20190501_140901

The winch wiring runs to the solenoid / wireless control box, and then to a 12v fuse block to provide service for lights and other sundries, then to the battery via a 150A circuit breaker.

20190501_134001
20190501_133243_HDR

It’s definitely not a professional job (because I’m definitely not a professional), but it’s about probably the tidiest I could do without shortening the winch power cables. That’ll probably happen eventually, but I want to wait for a few months and make sure nothing crops up as a reason to move something drastically.

The electrics are *DONE*. FINALLY. Between drilling holes for grommets through the frame, making cables and figuring out where I want everything mounted, and cleaning up the 120v wiring, it took all my free time for about 3 days.

Oh! Wait…I’m sick or walking all the way to the shop for fresh tool batteries. I’ve got an idea!

20190501_144439

Yeah that’ll work. I think that lives there now.

Continued in Part 4

LiFePO & First Start

After last season, the old ATV / lawn tractor battery was getting a bit long in the tooth (and in the start…). Battery tech has made huge leaps over the last 5 years, and the trickle-down from that has been absolutely astonishing. Where I used to put up with 120 CCA out of the ETX-9 because it was, at the time, lightweight and fairly affordable, for not much more money I can have something that weighs 1/2 as much and puts out 3x the CCA.

I went ahead and snagged a Battery Tender 360 CCA LiFePO to see if the new tech was all that it’s cracked up to be. I clearly have little long-term experience with it, but near term, man does it get the engine fired up quickly.

The other big advantage?

20161229_140857

Less than half the weight. It almost feels like a toy.

A couple small tweaks to the battery tie down bracket were needed as we took advantage of a notch in the ETX-9 to locate it on the bracket that the Battery Tender doesn’t have. Fortunately its footprint is marginally smaller, so the already cramped space for the battery wasn’t a hindrance.

And with that, a small milestone was reached. On January 18th, the race car cranked up for the first time this year putting me miles ahead of where I’ve been in the past.  The alternator / WP belt needed a bit of an adjustment (something I’d forgotten it needed at the end of last year then forgotten), but now she should be good to go.

It’s been a minute since my last update, but I’ve been making a bit of a mess in the workshop during the offseason.

20170120_105139
More to come on that later.