I've learned that the best mods are seldom seen but often spoke about. From the start of this build I knew I was going to need plenty of Juice aka a great battery in this case two. I ran an Odyssey Extreme on my last jeep, so sticking to what worked was a no-brainer. My starting point for this Build was buying a Genesis Dual battery kit with Dual Odyssey Group 34 PC1500. I figured if I wanted to run auxiliary lights, inverter, or a fridge, I'd have the peace of mind to handle it all.
The kit was fairly easy to install (after watching their youtube install video a handful of times). It definitely gave me peace of mind to know I wouldn't be left stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery. The kit features:
- Completely pre-wired out of the box
- Fits 3.8L, 3.6L, Hemi 5.7L & 6.4L, LS, and European diesel engines
- Boost switch included - jump start your vehicle off your second battery
- Power & Ground bus bars make it easy to connect accessories
- Smart Isolator automatically handles all charging functions
- Interface port for the G Screen monitoring system
- Integrated fuse box holder and evap solenoid holder
- Best quality wires, tin-plated copper connectors, and sealed heat shrink tubing
- Powder coated for durability
- Proudly made in the USA
Genesis Offroad G-Screen Monitoring System
Just recently I added the G Screen that Monitors voltage levels of my both batteries, the Kit Features:
- Remote status indicator - batteries connected or disconnected
- Remote boost button - jump-start the engine from inside the cab if your cranking battery is dead
- Press the Boost Off screen for 3 seconds to manually reconnect your batteries to use the aux battery to help start the engine
- Background changes color to visually show your battery status at a glance
- Green = both batteries are fully charged, and they are connected (Screen shows Boost On - this is the normal operating mode)
- Yellow = the cranking battery is below 12.7v, and they are disconnected (Screen shows Boost Off)
- Red = at least 1 battery is below 12v. The screen will blink red a few times per minute to get your attention
- Background light turns off after about 45 seconds of inactivity
- Preserves battery power
- No glare while driving at night
- Voltage and status is still visible, but without the backlighting
- If a battery drops below 12v, the screen flashes red a few times per minute
- Press the screen to turn the backlight on at any time
- Adjustable contrast - hold down the software version screen to access the contrast adjustment menu
The whole installation took less than 30 minutes to install, 15 minutes of that was deciding on where exactly I wanted the monitor. I ended up placing the G Screen on my Driver side A-Pillar, easily visible yet subtle. I cut the trim using a cut out template that came with the product, everything else was plug and play.
Always being the last guy to finish airing up in my group, I finally ditched the Viair handheld style compressors. I decided to bite the bullet and switch to an Onboard Air System! I purchased the ARB Twin Air Compressor. Next came a mounting solution, I did some research looking for the best solution for mounting the compressor; I wasn't a big fan of some of the mounts especially those mounted under the seat so I picked up the Metal Cloak ARB Twin Comp Mount.
I learned the hard way that this orange "300 PSI" hose wasn't rated for the workload I put it through. I later replaced with ARB steel hose as well as added a remote fitting, so popping my hood to air up was a thing of the past.
From there I moved onto the what I call the Brains of the operation. Fortunate enough to be able to get my hands on sPOD Bantam still in its beta stages, I was eager to get this hot piece of tech in the Jeep! I was now able to control my ARB Compressor, Lights, Water Pump and read real time battery voltage and temps, all at my fingertips. Similar to sPOD 8 Circuit SE System w\Touchscreen, this brand new Bantam features:
- Super small footprint
- 12VDC and 24VDC
- Low Voltage Cut off
- 30 AMPS per Circuit
- Safety lock-Out Option for Circuits 1 & 2
- 8 Position inputs for External Controllers
- Fully Programmable Bluetooth / App with Voice Command
- Short,Over-Current & Over Heating Protection
- Proudly made in the USA
It didn't take long for me to load the Bantam with goodies. I quickly wired up my compressor, Baja Design XL80, then soon after each accessory I added was just a simple plug and play. Since there were no messy wires, relays, fuses or switches that went into the jeep and back out to my battery for each input, installs became quick and effortless thanks to the Bantam.
Now that I had my dual battery setup, then came all the goodies that required to be connected to the battery. I wanted to outfit the interior of the jeep but I also didn't want a bunch of wires running through my firewall. I contacted Mitch, from Adventure Wired, for a solution. We settled on running a Blue Sea ST Blade ATO/ATC Fuse Block inside the jeep. We ran one set of +/- 6G wire to the battery with a 100amp circuit breaker, instead of 6 +/- wires. We placed the terminal under a Goose Gear 60% plate, out of sight and cleanly mounted.
Connected to Blue Sea Fuse Block
(2) Powerwerx Dual 4.8 USB
(2) Powerwerx 12V Socket
(1) Snomaster 12L Console Fridge
(1) Snomaster 42l Travel Fridge
(2) Baja Design Dome Lights
My Jeep is no longer my daily driver; because of that, it can cause my aux battery to begin to drain if not driven everyday. To help keep that battery in tip top shape, I added a NOCO On-Board battery Charger and an AC Port Plug. The GEN1 is an On-Board Battery Charger for charging and maintaining a single 12-volt Deep-Cycle battery. You can also get a GEN2 to charge two batteries simultaneously or GEN3 for 3. I opted for GEN1 since my AUX battery gets used to power all my accessories. I mounted the GEN1 under the Driver Seat and the AC Port on Driver side of Ursa Minor. I can plug in an extension cable straight into the jeep when I want to charge my battery.
Finally the last piece of the puzzle and probably just as important as anything you'll put inside your engine bay is Bolt Lock. Bolt Lock offers a JK Hood Locking device, which If you own a Jeep Wrangler, you know that anyone could easily pop your hood to steal or vandalize the content in your engine bay. Bolt Lock JK Hood Lock features
- Rivets that go into existing holes and secures your under hood items from theft
- Eliminates dreaded Jeep JK hood flutter
- Is Programed to your specific Jeep Key
- Plate tumbler sidebar to prevent picking and bumping
- Stainless steel lock shutter to keep out dirt and moisture
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
***UPDATED as of 7/24/18***
After a few months of using my jeep and finding out what worked what didn't, I made some changes. Most of which were add-on's, everything that I mentioned before the update stayed but some things were relocated. The Genesis definitely powers more goodies than before and because of that I found the need to know what my batteries voltage were at in-real time. I went ahead and added the G Screen in combination to the Genesis dual battery kit I already owned, to see the health of both of my batteries from inside the vehicle. (of course I had already updated that in thread above).
The new additions to my Jeep are the Weboost Antenna which I wrote and reviewed in Weboost Cell Service Booster Blog Post. If you want detail on this feel free to click the link. When I installed the Weboost I shifted my Blue Sea terminal to fit the Weboost and Blue sea Terminal side by side under the goose gear platform. I really wanted my devices to be secured while still easily accessible, the Goose Gear platform helped create a clean look for my devices.
I finally completed the last of my needs for this build and that was Solar. After lots of research on hard mounted or fold-able solar solutions, I opted for Ultra light weight 120 Watt Fold-able Solar Panel made by PowerFilm Solar. I also picked up a solar charge controller that I mounted under my new Goose Gear 40% plate. Previously I had my Noco Battery Tender under my driver seat but when I added the charger controller, I knew having both of these devices under my plate would really help keep things organized and make for a clean looking install.
The latest piece of hot gear I added was more so of a safety feature and theft deterrent. I recently picked up an Owl Camera which you'll see sitting directly in front of my dash. Besides it obviously being a Dash camera for any incidents that can happen when you're driving. It also has its own LTE service which means you can live view your vehicle both from inside and out through a phone app anywhere you have service. The camera is jam packed with features like a video history of your vehicle, push notifications when ever your vehicle has been tampered with, quick 30 sec clips than can be download to your phone at the click of a button. Of course the device having its own LTE means that its a service you have to pay for, when you buy the camera the first year is free, after that its $100 dollars per year or month to month. Personally with the amount of gear I carry and the money I have invested in my Jeep having a camera that can potentially send a live recording if someone is messing with my jeep is peace of mind I'd defineitly pay for.
The Jeep is constantly evolving always a work in progress with every trip it seems like I learn something new about my modifications, what worked, what didn't or what best suits my needs. My future plans for the Jeep are to travel and use it for what I built it for. I'll be sure to share with you what comes next. As Always Safe Travels and Thanks for reading.