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Old 06-25-2012, 11:43 AM   #1
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Auto gen start

I would appreciate any help that someone can give me about the Auto Gen Start settings. Specifically what is the best setting to automatically start the generator (low voltage?) and what is the best setting to then turn it off automatically. I confess that I don't understand well the battery and 12 V terms, etc.
Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Dave Weber
Wenatchee, WA
08 Alpine Coach SE Limited 40 MDTS
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:29 PM   #2
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I am curious--under what circumstances are you anticipating that your batteries are going to be drawn down such that you want your genset to come on and recharge them without you there.????? If you are just curious about battery charge state, a full bat {AT REST} is about 12.8v and at half charge its about 12.2v. A full discharge is like 11.4v but you dont want to routinely draw then below 1/2 charge.


ps--the most typical use for autogen is to start you genset when you are dry camping and coach gets too warm for say your pets while you are away. Under most circumstances, your fully charged bat bank should stay charged for 6-8 hours, while you are away--except for some extraordinary draw like the wife's crock-pot or something??????
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:58 PM   #3
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Dave, I'm assuming that your '08 rig doesn't utilize the Xantrex "Auto Gen Start (AGS)" but its operation may be helpful as a reference. The AGS (according to its manual & my call to Xantrex) uses a preset "Low Voltage" level of 11.5V. The AGS needs to detect the voltage as being below 11.5V for 15 - seconds to cause the generator to be automatically started.

I'm only providing the Xantrex information for reference. I'm not suggesting that you use a specific "Low Voltage" setting but merely describing how Xantrex does it. The AGS manual is probably online at the ACA website for additional information if you desire.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
I am curious--under what circumstances are you anticipating that your batteries are going to be drawn down such that you want your genset to come on and recharge them without you there.????? If you are just curious about battery charge state, a full bat {AT REST} is about 12.8v and at half charge its about 12.2v. A full discharge is like 11.4v but you dont want to routinely draw then below 1/2 charge.


ps--the most typical use for autogen is to start you genset when you are dry camping and coach gets too warm for say your pets while you are away. Under most circumstances, your fully charged bat bank should stay charged for 6-8 hours, while you are away--except for some extraordinary draw like the wife's crock-pot or something??????
Hi Old Scout,
Thanks for responding. In addition to dry camping the AGS is helpful when the coach is not in storage such as when I am working on the coach at our house where I don't have shore power. Consequently, I do draw the batteries down. The auto start is pretty straight forward but the auto stop is not. I don't want to over charge the batteries but don't understand the mechanism for that. Bob Bowers has suggested that I go online and get the Xantrex manual (that's the system that my coach has) and get some info there.
Thanks again,
Dave Weber
Wenatchee, WA
08 Alpine Coach 40MDTS
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbowers View Post
Dave, I'm assuming that your '08 rig doesn't utilize the Xantrex "Auto Gen Start (AGS)" but its operation may be helpful as a reference. The AGS (according to its manual & my call to Xantrex) uses a preset "Low Voltage" level of 11.5V. The AGS needs to detect the voltage as being below 11.5V for 15 - seconds to cause the generator to be automatically started.

I'm only providing the Xantrex information for reference. I'm not suggesting that you use a specific "Low Voltage" setting but merely describing how Xantrex does it. The AGS manual is probably online at the ACA website for additional information if you desire.
Hi Bob,
Thanks for responding. Yes my coach does have the Xantrex system. I have read the manual but am still confused about the best way to set the auto stop. I don't want to overcharge the batteries. Per your suggestion I will go online and see if I can get any help there.
Thanks again.
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Wenatchee, WA
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:17 AM   #6
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Just my 2 cents - I don't know either:
I don't see how a voltage measurement could be used to establish genny shut down. Seems like the voltage would always be about 13.8V with the genny running. Wouldn't a timed run be more logical - like a 2 hour genny run then shut down?
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:43 AM   #7
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OK--see where you are coming from. Suspect someone with you model year and autostart system will chime in with the specific info you are seeking. The Xantrex inverter/charger is based on a 3-stage charging process so once the bats reach the final "float" stage, the inverter/charge probably shuts down--not sure how you "set" that point but am sure someone in the Alpine universe will enlighten us.

While the auto gens set is designed to do what you describe [or my example of keeping confined pets safe while you are away]. My inclination is to be around to monitor things while the gen set is running. Again, this is how the system is designed and I am sure it is very safe--I am just not that keen on having the genset running unsupervised.... that's just me.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
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I believe that the "Auto Stop" is based upon reaching 13.5V ("Float Level") after 2 - hours. If the "Float Level" has not been reached in the 2 - hours, it will add another 2 - hours. If it doesn't reach the "Float Level" after the 2nd 2 - hour interval, it's suppose to automatically stop the generator and issue an error. I've not had this happen but just my understanding from the manual (you have to read the "Q & A" and "Troubleshooting" sections for some detailed information.

I also learned that if you manually start and stop the generator while the "Auto" is enabled, you will probably get an error light on the "AGS Controller" located in the adjacent cabinet. You can clear the error by literally removing the large plug on the "AGS Controller", wait for 15 - 30 seconds and reconnect it. This was the instruction I got from Xantrex Technical Support.

Interestingly, the above procedure also works to make sure its "Internal Clock" is on or close to the exact hour when setting "Local Time". You can NOT directly set the minute value when setting the "Local Time". This means that you could be setting the "Local Time" for 5 PM and then the "Quiet Time" to start at 10 PM. However, the actual internal minute value could be at ??:45 at the time you set "Local Time" for 5 PM which means the actual "Local Time" is now "5:45" NOT "5:00". So, you set "Quiet Time" for 10 PM (10:00) which will actually start 45 - minutes early. And, the "Quiet Time" will end 45 - minutes early which could annoy the neighbors when the generator starts at 5:15 AM. According to Xantrex Technical Support, you have to pull that same big plug on the "AGS Controller" and reconnect it by watching your minute hand to get it as close to the hour as possible. Terrible design in my opinion but there's no alternative according to Xantrex.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:53 PM   #9
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FYI- not sure what model year the Dometic AGS interface was added. It reads the coach's AC thermostat status. If there is a call for air conditioning and coach is unplugged from shore, the Dometic box (in my rig its mounted in the overhead in front of passenger, behind the black panel containing X2000 LED panel & tank monitor) reads the AC call signal & invokes AGS thru the X2000 panel to start the gen. So AGS poodle cooling is controlled outside any battery voltage.

My AGS Triggers (probably Xantrex defaults would be my guess) are Start Volts 11.3 (I just bumped that to 11.8), Stop Volts Absorb [ON], Stop Volts Float [OFF]. I take that to mean AGS will stop gen at Absorb stage, but I didn't read the manual so that's a guess. IIRC the gen starts off the chassis batteries, not house. So if AGS calls & start batt's are not up to snuff, gen won't start anyway. I mention that cuz when I went out to the coach to check, my step didn't extend & I see my chassis batts are at ~7 volts after 30 hours unplugged (house @ 12.5, Go AGM's!!). I guess 5 years is all I'll get out of those start batts, time for newbies. That'll work.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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We pick up our new RV tomorrow and it has a residential frig that runs off the coach batteries via 2000W inverter. The saleman told us that you could set the Auto Start Gen Set to start when the battery voltage drops below some amount. Currently we leave our LP frig on with food inside during the week (between weekend trips) so we do not need to unload and reload the frig. Now with the new frig we were wondering how much juice the frig will use in 4-5 days and possibly let the auto-start gen set keep the batteries charged without anyone being around.

My question has more to do with the gen set operations and how long the batteries will last using the frig and not the wisdom of leaving food in the frig, thanks in advance!
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:13 PM   #11
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FWIW - ALL - THe low voltage setting should be 12.2V, the upper limit should be 12.8V. You can set the thermostat to come on if you have pets and it's going to be hot inside the coach. I would only run one A/C in that case, but your call.

For those folks with AGM batteries, I use the above settings, but I think my AGS system overcharges them some, I am going to lower the upper setting to 12.7V and see it that is better. As you can see we have an APEX, so i'm thinking the silverleaf interfaces with the xamtrex system for the AGS to run, and between the two, it does not do it correctly. After talking to SL they said SL is the controlling factor in our coach. For those not using SL, the Xantrex then runs the AGS for you, and again, I'm not sure it does a good job then, other owners with non apex caoch can chime in. I would also like to know for those owners who have changed to Magnum Inverters how that is working out in this situation please.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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Hmm... Interesting post. I will follow up on that. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:00 PM   #13
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AGS and batteries, etc

My chassis batteries will run the frig over night which is probably 8-10 hours. Having said that I don't know how my batteries compare to others. They are 4 years old and I've had some problems with the battery fill and am a bit unsure that fluid levels have always been maintained. I think that you will need to make a note of the time when you start using battery power, then set the AGS to start at a preset level and then see how many hours you get until the generator starts.
Dave Weber
08 Alpine Coach Limited SE 40 TSMD
Wenatchee, WA

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArnolds View Post
We pick up our new RV tomorrow and it has a residential frig that runs off the coach batteries via 2000W inverter. The saleman told us that you could set the Auto Start Gen Set to start when the battery voltage drops below some amount. Currently we leave our LP frig on with food inside during the week (between weekend trips) so we do not need to unload and reload the frig. Now with the new frig we were wondering how much juice the frig will use in 4-5 days and possibly let the auto-start gen set keep the batteries charged without anyone being around.

My question has more to do with the gen set operations and how long the batteries will last using the frig and not the wisdom of leaving food in the frig, thanks in advance!
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:12 PM   #14
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Just tried to get info about the Xantrex inverter system on my coach and turned up only dead ends. Seems that Xantrex has been bought out by Schneider Electric and their web site makes no mention of Xantrex or RV inverters. Help!! Any ideas.
Dave Weber
08 Alpine Coach Limited SE 40MDTS
Wenatchee, WA
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