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Old 03-16-2014, 05:33 PM
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Extra lights and power needs?

Ok I have a 2012 F250 and plow snow with it, want to outfit the truck with some extra lights and need advice on how to make it happen with a single battery truck. I have had dual battery diesels in the past and there was never a shortage of power. How do you guys set up your trucks??
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:08 PM
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The output of your alternator is more important than the number of batteries you have. The batteries start the truck, the alternator recharges the batteries along with supplying the power needs of the truck. If you draw more amps than the alternator puts out ten batteries won't be enough. Enough of that, Did your truck come with the heavy duty alternator? If you have the snow plow prep package I'm assuming it did. I think you would have to add quite a few lights to over do it, especially if you add LED's.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:04 AM
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Even the 'base' 6.2L trucks come with a 157-amp alternator. Depending on how this output is rated (when hot or cold, peak amps, etc) it should be more than enough. My truck came with the snow plow package which allegedly gave it a 185-amp alternator. If yours is similar, you will never have a shortage of power to run extra lights, etc.

For example, I run multiple auxiliary off-road lamps on my old '92 Range Rover, which are far more powerful and higher-draw than plowing lights, strobe lights, etc. This truck is still running its original Lucas 100A alternator, and it is adequate. Since I also have a Warn Winch, I run a massive deep-cycle Odyssey battery as well, because the alternator certainly cannot keep up with the winch.

However, it is important to realize not all amperage ratings are the same. If Ford's "185-amp" alternator can only generate that amperage when it is cold and spinning at 3000 RPMs than it is not really that great. When it gets hot from a heavy draw at low engine speeds (e.g. plowing) it might only be putting out around 100-110 amps, maybe less. I noticed the alternator on my truck doesn't look particularly special, and just has the typical internal cooling fan, and isn't any larger than a generic alternator. My folks have a 2005 Land Rover LR3 which has a Bosch liquid-cooled 150-amp alternator; they also have a '99 Audi A8 with a Bosch 150-amp alternator which actually has cooling air ducted down to it from the grille. I'm guessing either of these alternators have a higher 'hot' output than my Ford 185-amp unit, due to better cooling. Try this test in your truck: while driving on a snowy or icy road, suddenly apply the brakes hard. Notice that when the ABS engages, your headlights will dim (try this at night) as the ABS pump kicks on. And the ABS pump really isn't that much of a draw.

If you are concerned about power, first of all check to see which of the two available batteries your 6.2L has. Most (like mine) have a relatively weak 650CCA battery rather than the optional 750CCA battery. You could always upgrade to the optional, higher-output battery. Alternately, you could always upgrade to an aftermarket AGM or Deep-Cycle battery with a very high CCA and reserve capacity. Or, if this still wasn't enough, there are ways to add a second battery to the 6.2L.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:42 PM
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troverman thanks for the information and your insite. My truck does have snowplow prep and the reason I was concerned is this truck has the same plow on it that was on my diesel. I never had my headlights dim on that truck and it had all halogen strobes in each corner plus a full size Whelen halogen strobe lightbar. The new truck has no lights and when I use the plow the lights dim... I am looking into all led lights so the draw isn't going be anywhere near what the 04 Powerstroke was seeing.
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:28 PM
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My 2013 has the plow prep and has a 200 amp alt.
Seems like it should be more than enough.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99 SD Snowbuster View Post
troverman thanks for the information and your insite. My truck does have snowplow prep and the reason I was concerned is this truck has the same plow on it that was on my diesel. I never had my headlights dim on that truck and it had all halogen strobes in each corner plus a full size Whelen halogen strobe lightbar. The new truck has no lights and when I use the plow the lights dim... I am looking into all led lights so the draw isn't going be anywhere near what the 04 Powerstroke was seeing.
I'm assuming your diesel was older; did it have dual alternators? It probably had dual batteries, at least. Despite the alternator probably being sufficient on your new truck, the plow will have a sudden draw on the system - I would recommend either going with dual batteries or upgrading to an Optima or Odyssey battery (I prefer the Odyssey) - these deep cycle, AGM batteries hold up longer, have way more power, and because they are deep cycle, can handle being repeated drained down and recharged.

By the way, the Whelen plant is about 10 miles from where I live...
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:25 PM
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I thought about getting the "plow prep" package but knew I would be changing the suspension anyway. Installed a North Star 99.9% lead battery. With the heater, mirror heater, mp3, plow, microwave and the headlights never dim.

To gain extra light, we install two 6inch LEDs for reverse under the bumper. Ran a single 12inch LED bar between both Boss plow lights operated by a toggle switch. This gives plenty of required light.
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:48 AM
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I added 4 LED cube lights facing rear and a Whelen Responder LED and haven't had any problems with power when all the lights are on. When I move the plow the headlights will dim momenterily, but other then that I've had no power problems through 1.5 seasons of plowing with my 2012.
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:48 AM
 
 
 
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