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Old 03-24-2014, 04:28 PM   #1
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Apex Battery Solenoid vs. Isolator

HI All,
Have a question about installation of 200 amp battery isolator, in attempt to eliminate solenoid clicking issue on my 06 Apex. Mechanic has been working on installing isolator and has been successful to point of bypassing solenoid allowing battery booster switch to work. The house batteries will charge while on shore power, but the chassis don't. The problem is the chassis battery's don't receive charge from either generator or shore power with isolator. His question is how to separately charge both sets of batteries now that isolator has been installed and keeping solenoid in place. My inverter was upgraded last summer to a Magnum 2800 for information.
I know this has been discussed before, but I haven't found how the above issue has been resolved through wiring or however else.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:45 PM   #2
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Using 1/2 of the isolator and a full time relay rated for the current will work.
From the coach batteries positive feed the isolator input then connect one of
the outputs to the positive of the chassis batteries.
Use a full time relay turned on when the key is on to jump across the isolator.
This will allow charge on shore power or genset and will also allow house batteries
to be charged while under way.
Just make sure the relay is rated for full time keying and 200 or more amp service.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
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Steve,

It seems to me that converting back to an isolator would also equate to using an Echo Charger to keep the chassis batteries charged from those sources. The generator & shore power are only supplying AC to the Inverter/Charger which is directly connected to the house batteries. In the older coaches (like mine) an Echo Charger is employed to "share" charging voltage with the chassis batteries once the house batteries reach 13V or so.

Someone such as Engineer Mike may have a better solution since you have a newer model coach. Good luck!
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:22 PM   #4
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Intellitec makes this isolator relay control that switches the "boost" solenoid On when either batt bank hits 13.1V. Adding this as a replacement for the Vansco logic might eliminate the dreaded solenoid cycling (or it might not). But it would certainly kill the Boost function from the drivers seat; you would have to go to the batt box & turn the center batt connect switch manually, do your boost business, them head back & turn the connect switch off manually. The main possibility here is that Vansco is programmed at 13.0 volts for > 14 seconds, vs the 13.1v threshold of the Intellitec.

What I'm going to do is add a remote (key fob type) on/off relay to disconnect the cycling solenoid coil with the key fob in the bedroom. Seems this happens to me dry camping in the desert at night because my AGM's float at 13.0/13.1 & Vansco thinks there is a charge source. If it works neatly, Vagabondwater.com will have a kit available at a rally near you later this summer.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:49 PM   #5
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Thank you for the reply, not sure this is going to work out for now.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:57 AM   #6
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Perhaps you should consider the Magnum Battery Combiner, which is voltage adjustable. Installed one on my coach and has stopped the solenoid from clicking and charges both battery banks. However, it eliminates the use of the boost switch on the dash, which I have only used once in nine years with my 2005 and 2007 Alpines with combined 185,000 miles. You can review the installation procedure on-line for the Battery Combiner.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:14 AM   #7
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Many RV's do not charge the engine battery when on shore power or generator. In those cases a Trik-L-Start can be added to keep that set of batteries up. OR, you can install a small maintenance type charger that will do the trick nicely.

Or, you could run a control wire to the solenoid and have a switch turn it on.
Or, build a jumper cable to connect the positive leads together when parked.

I have used the Trik-l-Start device with excellent results and have used a small charger as well on a different unit.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:20 AM   #8
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Or you could install a bi directional charge control of whatever type, and use one of the Spare wires for the Boost function. You'd have to rearrange the circuit at the front (originally its ground-seeking thru the Vansco) to ground the coil thru the Spare wire. Actually pretty easy to maintain the Boost that way.
This had been a good, thought provoking thread.
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:29 PM   #9
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Up Date To Solenoid Issue

I believe that I may have found a solution to my solenoid clicking issue. My mechanic disconnected the solenoid from the vansco and routed a wire to the battery boost switch in cockpit in order to boost without doing manual switch in battery compartment. We installed a Xantrex 12/24 volt echo charger along with a battery isolator. So far it appears to be working,but, time will tell if this proves to be a fix.
At first, the charger wasn't charging the engine batteries so I called help line for Xantrex, they were very helpful. I did learn from talking to the Xantrex rep that the 6 volt batteries do not have same voltage reading on meter, between both banks of 6v batteries (left 4 and right 4). As he walked me through the setup of the batteries I took a reading on left side and found meter showed 6.7v and the right bank showed 13.7v. Therefore the charger will not activate unless you have a 13 volt + charge. I found the mechanic had hooked up the positive lead from the echo charger to a battery on the right side bank (6v) and thus only read 6.7v and the charger light remained off. When I switched the lead to a battery on the left side bank, reading 13.6, the green light came on and started charging the engine batteries.
With my limited experience in this, I learned something new so thought would share, but, sure many already know this information.

Thanks for all or your input.

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Old 05-02-2014, 07:22 AM   #10
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I think adding the echo charger may help some but because the echo charger and the Vansco both trigger at 13 volts you will still have some cycling.
A magnum battery combiner does the same job as the echo charger; cost about the same but is adjustable, bi-directional, and is 25 amps instead of 15 amps. It can be set up to trigger the battery combining solenoid as well as act as a trickle charger. The trigger can be set to come on at 13 volts and shut off at 12.8 volts. When you unplug from shore power the solenoid stays on until it's below the 13 volt on trigger and will stay off until plugged back in with charger on, or generator is running with charger on, or engine is running with the alternator charging the chassis batteries. No more multiple clicks. (clicking). The solenoid must be disconnected from the Vansco and the battery combiner connected in it's place. If you want the boost switch on the dash to function adding a wire from it to the solenoid will work. On coaches with Lifeline batteries this is an added benefit because the float charge is 12.9 to 13 volts at 85 degrees this will greatly reduce the cycling when temps are high.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:09 PM   #11
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Jim,
I had looked at that option, as I had found it on internet and in fact called Magnum about this as I do have a Magnum inverter. The tech advised me against installing this due to issues involved. I was a bit doubtful of his suggestion but wasn't quite sure what direction to go, so chose this route. I wish you and I had talked first before doing this modification. I will try for while and see how this works out,but now that I have been educated a bit on this I have a better understanding of the dynamics.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:16 AM   #12
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Adding a battery isolator and echo charger and disconnecting the battery combining solenoid from the Vansco system will certainly eliminate the solenoid clicking problem and still keep both battery banks charged.
Disconnecting the solenoid from the Vansco system and adding a Magnum battery combiner to trigger the solenoid would also work.
Adding an Echo charger without the isolator and disconnecting from the Vansco would only act as a backup for the chassis batteries if the solenoid fails.
Replacing the solenoid with one that is solid state instead of mechanical would work as well.
I am sure there are other solutions.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:27 AM   #13
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When my bird circuit board failed I installed one of these. I never liked the 1.5 amps DC it took to run the solenoid and it runs extremely hot. I have replaced or overhauled it three times. I have solar so it ran every day. This device is very economical and charges at a much higher rate than other options. IF, you have a diesel and run the generator while the engine is running you might get an Alternator fail light on occasion. No worries, just ignore it or put a switch on the device to disconnect it. The original bird device has a generator sensor connection and shuts it off when the engine and generator are both running. I'm too lazy to set up a control for the Yandina device. Catalog Frame
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