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Old 12-08-2005, 05:36 AM   #15
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It is my understanding that the generator uses the house battery for starting and it seems logocal that the auto gen start senses the house battery also. I just checked the battery voltages on my coach (2005) and the house battery is at 13.9 V and the chassis battery was 13.5 V after the key was switched to run to display the reading in the speedometer display. The outside temp is 25 degrees. I assume that the chassis batteries are also being charged from the Xantrex inverter/charger. My '99 used an Echo Charger to trickle charge the chassis batteries from the house batteries but I have not been able to locate a similar module. Any thoughts? A detail electrical schematic would be very helpful.
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:48 AM   #16
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The way the system seems to work by my observations is, when on Generator or shore power all the charge goes to the house batteries. With the engine running the chassis batteries take priority via the "pesky" solenoid and the Vansco system. When the voltage of the chaise batteries is at a predetermined level the solenoid activates and charges the house batteries. I have seen my voltage read out on the dash cycle between 13+ and 11. I assume the system is pulsing the house batteries until they reach a predetermined level and then applies a full charge from the alternator.

If the chassis battery is going dead while parked the solenoid may be bad (welded contacts?). Audrey and John have quite a bit of experience with the solenoid; anyone interested should do a search on their previous posts.

The solenoid is nothing more than a switch that connects the chassis and house batteries. It appears to only be involved in the equation when the ignition switch is on or the E start switch is activated. The OEM solenoid appears to be marginal and prone to failure. Having said that mine is still working properly.


For those with an 05 with the Zanterx Inverter (not Onan) you probably need a firmware update. I took my coach to Xantrex in Arlington WA last February and Mike Swenson (engineer that designed our system and the WRV tech expert) flashed my unit. There were several bugs in the initial software that were corrected in this update. He also verified the Zanterx side of the AGS system was functioning properly. I would imagine there is now a newer version of firmware available for the unit.

Again these are mainly my observations of the system after living with it for just over 1 year of full timing.
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:57 AM   #17
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Based on my chassis voltage observations of 13.5 V, I have to assume that the chassis battery is being charged or the voltage would be 12 to 12.6 V. The coach has been connected to shore power for several weeks.

Regarding the solenoid contact welding - it would have to have a contact rating of 500 to 700 amps for the engine starter - maybe more for a cold engine. The Onan starter would not require as large a starting current.
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Old 12-08-2005, 09:08 AM   #18
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Wil, my chassis batteries were at 13.6 after sitting for a month plugged in. Obviously they are getting a charge. The Vansco system maybe activating the solenoid. This could be why those with bad solenoids were getting dead chassis batteries. The solenoid could be activated but not passing a charge (bad contacts). This would explain the chassis battery going dead in a few days.

I doubt the solenoid could pass enough amperage to start the coach if the batteries were dead. My 2000 alpine with the huge relay would not start my coach when the batteries were completely dead.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:31 AM   #19
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On my '06 coach, 110W solar, I checked 2 methods of charging:
1) middle of the night (no solar) plug in to shore. I get 13.8 @ house batts, 12.6 @ chassis (this w/a VOM on batts so no electronic wizardry in between). After a bit, if house is fairly well topped off, there's a click of solenoid concommitant w/lit LED on Vansco panel (#19 IIRC), & chassis batts go to 13.6. (Wil- note my 0.2V drop across solenoid; you are indicating 0.4V drop which is either more resistance than you should have across the solenoid, or electronic wizardry reporting downstream data. You can check on this by using a VOM direct on the battery banks to obviate wizardry.)
2) get up w/sun & no shore power & check when solar panels first start to fire sufficiently to charge. This also starts @ house side w/13.8 but nothing to chassis. Then later when sun is higher there's a #19 LED, click of solenoid, & 13.6 @ chassis.
I haven't tried starting gen or engine w/out sun or shore power, but ***ume they work similarly. '05 may vary; you can run the same checks to see.
The solenoid I've got is Cole-Hersee #24059-08, rated at 65 amps continuous for marine use; same gizmo is also sold as #24059 rated @ 85 amps non-marine. Obviously @ those ratings, we are not starting gen or engine thru this circuit. The starter solenoid is on starter (like a Chevy starter) for both ISC & ISL according to my Cummins manual, and I've seen it on my ISL. There may be another in-line solenoid on starter circuit but I haven't looked. I got a spare charging solenoid for a good price @ Fisheries Supply; great outfit to deal with, though there was a problem w/the web ordering & I had to call the 800#.
From an earlier Audrey post under Didn't start...: "the way the Alpine is wired, the house batteries take precedence over the chassis batteries, so the 100W solar panel (and the generator) will only charge the chassis batteries after the house batteries are at float. I'm not sure if this is the case with the standard 10W panel - maybe that is dedicated to the chassis batteries. (Audrey's ='06 coach also, FYI) Per WRV- minimum to power the solenoid from Vansco #19 & add chassis batts to the charging string is 11.5V on the house batts.

To diagnose the engine-gen feud, I'd start by running the above familiarization routines to see what your coach has as a charging logic. Non-Vansco units, earlier years, etc. may have different logic, so posting your config is important to getting good feedback.
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Old 12-08-2005, 08:08 PM   #20
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Emike, thanks for the great walk-through of the charging systems. I have an 06 34FDDS, and, I believe it works the same as you describe. I do know that when my chassis batteries were dead, neither the engine nor the generator would start. I've replaced the solenoid once, and now carry a spare, although haven't had to use it yet. I understand WRV has a new solenoid that is supposed to be better capable of the job it does, but I haven't seen one yet.

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Old 12-09-2005, 05:50 AM   #21
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TerryM, back in the early summer we went through the bad solenoid issue and WRV sent me a new solenoid which is Cole-Hersee # 24059-08. You will note that Mike E is using that and he found a pretty good source and got a spare. I am going to do the same. We have not had any trouble battery wise since then, so I am feeling pretty comfortable and even more so when I get my spare. There is a big difference between the original solenoid and the new one. Terry, I am certain that Mike Glazier at WRV will supply one under warranty to you although I am surprised that the 2006 did not already have it. Obviously MikeE's did not.
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Old 12-09-2005, 07:25 AM   #22
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Emike great job! Thanks. I will run the checks when I get back to Casa Grande.
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Old 12-12-2005, 01:59 PM   #23
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I did some checks today.

Coach plugged into shore power and charger at float Chassis batteries 13.8v House batteries 13.8v Vansco panel light #19 on solenoid on. Drop across solenoid .01 volts across solenoid coils 13.54v

Removed shore power. House at 12.6v Chassis at 13.0v after about 1.5 minutes Vansco panel #19 light goes out solenoid opens. Chassis batteries return to 13.6v and House remains at 12.6v. (Several appliances on in coach).

My conclusion based on my checks and Emikes is:

1. No charge input from Solar, Generator, Shore or Alternator. #19 off on Vansco panel and solenoid open. Battery banks discharging independently based on loads connected to them. If ignition is off the chassis should have minimal load (things like radio memory will probably still draw micro amps).
2. Engine running and providing alternator charge. Chassis batteries take priority until they reach approximately 13.8v. Then Vansco activates the solenoid and light #19 comes on. This passes a charge to the house batteries.
3. Generator running charger in Bulk or absorb solenoid open and #19 on Vansco off. House has priority because it is connected directly to the charging source. When charger enters float 13.8v Vansco activates the solenoid and light #19 comes on. Cassis batteries get a float charge
4. Shore power plugged in same as 3
5. No Generator, or Shore power but adequate Solar might be the same as 3 and 4 not sure how the logic on the Vansco would work. But if solar could get house to 13.8v then Vansco should activate the solenoid and light #19 would come on. I doubt the 100-watt panels on my coach would ever get me there unless all inside loads were off.

In conclusion the Vansco panel gives priority based on where the charge is coming from. Generator Shore and Solar all are hard wired to the house batteries. The Alternator is hard wired to the cassis batteries. The Vansco system via the solenoid connects the 2 banks (House and Chassis) when the charge source bank reaches approximately 13.8v volts.

This is only my conclusion. The logic is most likely much more complex but for us end users it should help us understand what should be going on. It cold be strictly voltage driven?

I sure wish someone from WRV would jump in and set us straight.
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Old 12-12-2005, 04:45 PM   #24
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2 more observations:
First, re: Wayne's #5- adequate solar & house gets charged till float, then #19 comes on & solar goes to both house & chassis. The solar has a harder time clicking over to float the chassis, cuz it doesn't produce the amps that shore, alternator or gen do, & house parasitic draws are enough to provide some level of challenge to reaching house float charge every day.
Second, this is, I believe, where the discharged chassis batt's happen fairly regularly. I read 0.9 to 1.4 amps draw from the chassis batt's w/key in Aux position & everything "off", 0.9A draw (or maybe it was 0.7) key off. The odd thing was the step-wise parasitic draw (and this, I'm sure, is top notch electronic wizardry Harry) where some clever device was cycling its draw up/down at intervals. W/this draw I calculated that the coach should draw chassis batt's down to problem levels in ~10 days (w/key in Aux) w/no charging (WRV concurred w/the 10 day estimate). That happened to mine, except that chassis batts went to 3.2V which is past a problem level, even way past critical. So maybe I didn't happen to catch some other, more extreme parasitic cycling to 2.5A or more? Some place in the system of electro-wizardry the draw on an unattended vehicle creeps in to pull the chassis batt's down, w/out an operable call for the auto-gen start. Then if the house batt's draw down enough to call for the Auto-Gen-Start, the chassis batt's can't start the unattended generator cuz got em.
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Old 12-12-2005, 04:55 PM   #25
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Wayne, EMike, etc.
I spoke with Mike Glazier on this subject back in the beginning of the summer. My understanding from him was that the house batteries received the first charge and when at the proper voltage the solenoid made contact and charged the chassis batteries. I will verify that with Mike. If that be the case I disagree and feel that the chassis battery(s) should be first. The balance of what you two talk about is way above any of my comprehension.

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Old 12-12-2005, 04:56 PM   #26
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EMike

Why leave ignition in AUX position? Is this something to do with the Silverleaf unit in the 06's? I never leave my ignition in AUX position.
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:07 PM   #27
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That is what I was trying to say. The only exception is when the only source of charging is coming from the alternator when the Bad Boy is running (ISL400). Then the Chassis bats have priority.

The system appears to be quite simple. If the "pesky Solenoid" is OK we should have very few problems with the system.

EMike
I totally agree on the Solar panels not being able to produce enough Amps to light #19 and maintain both banks unless all loads were removed. The Solenoid probably would draw as much as the panels produce on an average day.
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Old 12-12-2005, 06:33 PM   #28
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Wayne, I talked to Dave Kaampi @ WRV last week about my generator that would not run when the ISL400 is running. He told me that he has already sent some relays to my dealer to correct that problem. You might want to check with him because he seems to be a step or two ahead of me. So far these folks at WRV, Mike G, Dave Kaampi and unfortunately no longer Leslie have treated me real well. When I really get happy or really frustrated I get a hold of Burk Morgan and all these minds go together and work out these answers that I don't understand. I still think the chassis batteries should be charged first.
Ted
PS: thanks for all your input, it really is informative as well as a he** of a lot of fun. I think we all are going to end up with a bunch of great Alpine Motorhomes. I think we are missing Audrey & John. You folks are all out west, I'm trying to hold up the east side.
Thanks to you all, I truly appreciate all of your help.
Ted Ulmer
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