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Old 06-28-2015, 06:59 PM   #1
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Battery and Power Question

There are two parts to this post, batteries/charging and the breaker panels. If you can help with any of the three questions it would be greatly appreciated. This is a new to me coach. The batteries are in need of replacement as the original owner pointed out. I have eight house batteries and a watering system. I also have five solar panels with a Tri Star controller and meter. Whether plugged into shore power or disconnected with the solar circuit breaker in the off position the batteries are always making a bubbling or percolating sound. When plugged in to shore power the charging piece of the inverter is charging the batteries. The fan in the inverter runs continuously.

Question 1
Do you folks leave your coach plugged in to shore power during long periods of non use and let that charger fan run continuously.


Question 2
Is this bubbling or percolating sound normal.

Breaker panel.
The original owner modified the breaker panels as shown in the pictures below. The second owner could not explain to me the reasoning for doing this.

Question 3
Has anyone seen this done before or can you think of what the purpose of this might be.

Thanks
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:13 PM   #2
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# 1, The fan won't run constantly, if it is charging good batteries. It is running hot trying to charge bad batteries.


# 2, Bad batteries bubble, all of the time, because the charger is trying to bring up the volts.


# 3, The inverter is running off a sub panel, so the battery charger, Air Conditioner, water heater and anything else, that is to much for the inverter, doesn't run off the batteries. It seems like the designer didn't use a automatic transfer switch. It looks like it is a manual switch over. Very confusing.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:50 PM   #3
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twinboat Thanks for your response. I will begin shopping for batteries tomorrow. I guess I need to decide if I should change to AGM's or stick with flooded. I know if I change to AGM i have to change a configuration in my solar controller. Is there anything I have to do configuration wise with the inverter.
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:17 PM   #4
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Find the inverter/ charger brand and model. Google the owners manual, for settings.
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:31 PM   #5
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It's a RS2000 Xantrex. I have four manuals. This is a bit overwhelming but I will figure it out.

Thanks
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:55 PM   #6
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Rick,

I have brand new bats and they did "boil" during the first "Absorption" stage as required to initially establish a deep charge. Your battery charger should eventually go from "Bulk" to "Absorption" to "Float" over the coarse of minutes (<60). If not, then you may have battery problems.

Their are 2 - ways to determine the condition of your bats:

1) There should be a date identified on them by month & year. Generally speaking, deep cycle wet cells will last from 5 - 7 years depending on several factors. If your bats are older that 5 - years they may be getting weak or have one or more bad cells. NOTE: They could have one or more bad cells regardless of age!

2) The only accurate way to determine the condition of wet cell bats is with a hydrometer. You need to check every cell to determine the status of each. You can pick up a hydrometer (relatively inexpensive) at pretty much any auto parts like O'Reilly's, Autozone, Napa, etc.
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrthor View Post
Is there anything I have to do configuration wise with the inverter.
Yes! The inverter has a setting for battery type. If you change to AGM batteries, you need to change the inverter setting from wet cell to AGM, as the charge rate is different. There might even be two AGM settings to choose from. Lifeline AGM's have a slightly different charge rate than the AGM's from other manufacturers.

The inverter manual you probably need is the one for the remote panel. That will have the settings procedure.

I am not sure that the circuit breaker panel is not standard. Alpines use a panel/sub-panel design. The circuits that run with the inverter are in a sub-panel, like the one in the lower photo. The main panel has a 30 amp breaker to shut off shore power going to the charger/inverter, as well as breakers for the circuits which do not run off of the inverter, such as the A/C circuits as shown in the upper photo.

There are lots of threads on here about AGM's versus wet cells. I went with Lifeline AGM's myself. How much do you want to pay for no maintenance?
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:21 PM   #8
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Bob I just went out to check for dates on the batteries and they were not marked. I am convinced they need replacing. The odd thing is they are still percolating. I have the inverter shut down so the charger is not charging. I was plugged into shore power but just unplugged and will check the batteries in the morning. I do have solar but I am parked in a dark garage.

Jim I think all the configuration is done with the System Control Panel located in the cabinet above the entry stairs. I did find a manual for this online.

I believe the panel/sub panel configuration is stock. I think the previous owner removed some breakers and replaced them with mini twins so he could have this bypass function. For whatever reason I don't know.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:03 AM   #9
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You should see if any batteries are warmer then the others and unhook the warm ones. They may be working against each other.


I always advise people, new to battery systems, to use flooded cell batteries. Once you get experience in keeping them alive, then move on to the expensive ones.


Not that you will, but many people abuse their new batteries, and they only last 2 years.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:28 AM   #10
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I would measure Volts on your boiling/percolating batteries. Something has to be trying to charge... A good battery not hooked up would rest at around 12.6. A bad battery would be around 11. If a charging voltage is present you would get around 13 or more..
What do you get?
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by rrthor View Post
Question 1
Do you folks leave your coach plugged in to shore power during long periods of non use and let that charger fan run continuously.
Depends on the convrter.. I have a good 3 stage so yes
Folks with older cheaper single stage,,,Varies depending on converter (Magnetek 6300 I would not do that)

Quote:
Question 2
Is this bubbling or percolating sound normal.
No,it indicates either over charging, Too rapid charging, or a battery that has a shorted cell trying to be charged

Quote:
Breaker panel.
The original owner modified the breaker panels as shown in the pictures below. The second owner could not explain to me the reasoning for doing this.
To me that appars to be very very dangrous I would have someon who knows what thy are doing rewire the RV

Quote:
Question 3
Has anyone seen this done before or can you think of what the purpose of this might be.
I have heard of a few things somewhat like it but never this.
WHY.... I am guessing that the inverter either does not have a built in auto transfer switch,, He dos not know about it, or he wishes to kill someone by accident. (or cause an inverter fire).

As I said, dangerous.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:12 AM   #12
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New information. I went out this morning and the batteries are still bubbling. The coach was unplugged all night. All batteries measure 6.36 to 6.40 volts and were they all come together 12.7. As I was measuring I heard a solenoid click. It is the one mounted to the back of the compartment just above the batteries. The led for output #19 on the Vansco unit came on. I also heard it click again a few minutes later and the #19 output led went off. This may be cycling on and off all the time.

Should I disconnect my batteries from the coach until I replace the batteries and if so how is best to do this.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:35 AM   #13
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Oh I just had a Duh moment. I went back out with my coffee and sat on a bucket looking at things and realized the chassis batteries are connected to the house batteries. The chassis batteries measure 13.67 volts at the batteries and I measure 12.7 volts at the connection point on the back wall of the compartment. The solenoid (Vansco Output 19) cycled again when I measuring the batteries.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:45 AM   #14
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I don't understand how you can be getting 13.67 volts on a resting battery. That is a charging voltage. It would drop overnight.
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