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Old 04-04-2017, 09:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aroadracer View Post
Update:
Lifelines are installed and I connected my solar negative cable to run through the MEK shunt to measure amps returned to the batteries from the solar cells. On my first 7 day trip using only the fridge, lights, water pump, surround sound system, tv and microwave, the batteries never went below 12.4 volts. The solar system fully charged the batteries during the day and I never had to use the generator! Of course, air conditioning wasn't needed or I would have had to run the generator. I'm very happy with the lifeline investment so far.
One thing I don't have is an automatic generator start (ags) module. Does anyone have any experience with these devices and do you think they are necessary or worth the $275 investment plus install?
We have AGS in our system and use it when we have to leave our dog in the coach while we are away in the mountains with our Jeep. We set the AC to come on if the inside temp gets up to 75*. It works great for that and could be a benefit for the batteries if you were away for a long period of time.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aroadracer View Post
Update:
...
One thing I don't have is an automatic generator start (ags) module. Does anyone have any experience with these devices and do you think they are necessary or worth the $275 investment plus install?
Well...it depends I guess.

You mentioned an "MEK" but did you mean "BMK"? If you have a BMK along with the ME-ARC (advanced remote control) then the AGS is the final piece of a total battery/generator system. The important feature of the BMK is the ability to use State of Charge (SOC) to monitor battery levels instead of voltage. Again, you need the ME-ARC to take full advantage of SOC. If you don't have the BMK... the SOC information that follows may not apply to you. Instead, you would use voltage triggers instead of SOC.

As a previous poster commented, we installed one to protect our dogs from loss of shore power in hot temps. Since we don't have any solar capability it would be important to keep the batteries in good shape in case of a long power outage night or day.

Our AGS is set to trigger under 2 conditions if shore power is lost.

1. High coach temp of 90*. Important note...I use the remote temp sensor which is separate from the coaches thermostat. It's location is not the best being on a wall and it gets up to 90* well before the interior coach temps get over 80*. If the AGS temp trigger is connected to your thermostat, it will use that information.

2. SOC drops to 60%. In conjunction with that trigger it is set to start at 60% and shut off at 90%.

Either trigger will keep the generator running. So, if the generator starts because of SOC and reaches 90% it will keep running if the temp sensor is 90* or higher.

Since we don't boondock we don't use "quiet hour" features on our AGS. If the CG looses shore power for many hours and the AGS kicks in, they can complain all they want.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:47 AM   #17
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Yes, I meant BMK and I do have the ME-ARC controller. And I do have a dog so I'm thinking the AGS would be worthwhile. My remote temp sensor is connected to the battery negative post. Is that the one you are talking about? Thanks for your input!
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:44 AM   #18
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...My remote temp sensor is connected to the battery negative post. Is that the one you are talking about? Thanks for your input!
The AGS comes with a remote temp sensor cable (at least 25' long) for inside the coach. It is what it uses to determine a generator start if the temps inside the coach exceed your limit setting. I ran the cable from the AGS under the coach, up to the right side windshield pillar and across to just above the entry door. Like I said, it is not the "best" place since it is near a side wall but it works for my needs. You could choose to find a better route and location for the sensor cable but my routing was pretty easy.

OTOH, there are ways to integrate your thermostat system into the AGS module but in my coach it wasn't worth the effort. Since I don't boon dock very often I didn't find any real value in obtaining and installing the extra connections and cables needed for this. However, the one advantage of integrating the AGS with your thermostat is that you could let the thermostat start and stop the generator to also control your air conditioners while boon docking.

Keep in mind that the AGS will not start the generator as long as it detects shore power. In the case that the AGS starts the generator because of temps and/or SOC you will have setting to also turn the generator off once there are no triggers being activated. You will want to read the AGS manual carefully to adjust parameters. As an example, if you have a temp trigger you will want to decide on a minimum time to run before it evaluates the temp reading and either shuts off or continues to run the generator. If at that time the temp is still above start setting it repeats that cycle as many times as it takes until the temp gets below start setting. Along with that you will be able to establish a max run time which will shut down the generator after that max time setting. Trust me...it is "fun" mixing and matching settings to meet your needs. You won't get it right the first time.

OH...BTW...don't forget to turn off the AGS when you are driving. I forgot one time and while sitting at a fuel pump the AGS started the generator because of the temp sensor. Scared the crap out of me!

Finally...when you install the AGS you will need to wire it into your generator. Save yourself some hassles and spend the money for the Y harness that came with the Onan EC-30W wireless AGS. Instead of cutting and splicing you simply connect your AGS to one end of the harness and then plug in the other 2 ends to your existing harness to the generator. You should be able to find an automotive connector plug to match the harness plug that connects the AGS leads into the harness. Neat, clean and easy to remove if needed.
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aroadracer View Post
Update:
Lifelines are installed and I connected my solar negative cable to run through the MEK shunt to measure amps returned to the batteries from the solar cells. On my first 7 day trip using only the fridge, lights, water pump, surround sound system, tv and microwave, the batteries never went below 12.4 volts. The solar system fully charged the batteries during the day and I never had to use the generator! Of course, air conditioning wasn't needed or I would have had to run the generator. I'm very happy with the lifeline investment so far.
One thing I don't have is an automatic generator start (ags) module. Does anyone have any experience with these devices and do you think they are necessary or worth the $275 investment plus install?
Aroadracer,

I suggest doing a "sanity check" now and then to be sure that you are indeed getting them up to 100% charge. They are only "fully charged" when the current draw drops to 0.50% to 1.0% of the battery 20 hr capacity. So in your case with two 8D's, the battery bank is 100% full when they are only drawing 3-5 amps at the absorbtion voltage.

If you see them still drawing more than that, they are not fully charged. I see undercharging causing more premature battery failures than overcharging and excessive deep cycling combined!

We sometimes see systems with SOC monitors with sulfated batteries because the owner says: "My system knows that they are charged." Often there is a discrepancy caused by calibration problems, incorrect setup, misunderstanding on the owners part, etc. That's why I wrote this all out!

Keep in mind that if you remove 100 ah from a Lifeline battery bank, you have to put back 103 to 110 ah - depending upon charge rate, temperature, battery age, etc. Simply keeping track of "amps in and amps out" will generate a compounding error over time. Good systems pay close attention "end amps" for exactly this reason.

The secondary "sanity check" is to read the standing, no load voltage 3-4 hours after charging. It should be 13.0v for new batteries, gradually reducing toward 12.8v over the next few years. That's why Lifeline says 12.8v or higher.

Remember that the battery voltage vs. % capacity varies with load.
- Your batteries reading 12.4v with no load would be about a 40% depth of discharge.
- If you read 12.4v with a mid to heavy load, it could be still up at 70% charged - so 30% depth of discharge.

Just remember that voltage and % SOC is a moving target when loads are present.

Marc
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:07 PM   #20
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Marc, thanks for your post! I'm still learning how to read the meters so a few questions: 1) where do I read the current draw? On the Magnum ME-ARC BMK meter or the Tristar 60? Or does it depend on if I'm charging by solar only or shore or generator?
When I installed the Lifelines, I set the parameters in the ME-ARC to what Lifeline recommend. The Tristar 60 solar controller was already set up for Lifelines by the company who sold it to the previous owner. It seemed to match what Lifeline recommended. After a day on shore power the BMK meter said they were at 100% SOC and they read 12.8 volts with only a refrigerator load so I thought that was all I would get.
Thanks,
Jim
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Old 04-06-2017, 09:06 AM   #21
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Jim,

Note that I said 13.0v with no load. 12.8v may well be 100% fully charged with the refrigerator running. Depending upon the refrigerator, the load on the batteries could be very heavy - or not.

Yes, the amperage being drawn by the batteries would be read on whichever system is charging at the time. If the Magnum and solar are working at the same time, then you would add both for a total.

The concept is that the amperage being pulled by the batteries is an indicator of whether the batteries are up their full charge capacity. Think about a dry sponge - it really sucks up the water. (amps) But a wet sponge doesn't soak up any more water because it's fully charged

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Old 04-08-2017, 07:08 PM   #22
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I started this thread in another forum, I am looking at buying the Lifeline Batteries.

Have any of you done business with 619 Battery Inc?
https://deepcyclebatterystore.com/

I need to replace all of the batteries in my coach and chassis. Due to my getting ill and the last time we went to our RV in the Storage Lot was in I believe it was New Years Day.
The coach started the generator started but I didn't need to put water in the batteries.
These folks will deliver and install according to their website for $75.00.
I can't say anything bad about the Interstate Batteries I have we got almost 10 years out of them. We put them installed them in Aug 2007, shortly before I installed my Solar System from Solar Panel Kits for RV - Solar Panels RV - DIY RV Solar

I really think that because of all the heat we had the batteries boiled dry.
Also probably neglect.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:46 AM   #23
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I don't know anything about that company, but I always suggest calling Lifeline when in doubt. The factory guys know exactly who who the good guys are. They also know who creates headaches for coach owners because Lifeline gets tapped to fix the problem.
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Old 04-17-2017, 11:29 PM   #24
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I don't know anything about that company, but I always suggest calling Lifeline when in doubt. The factory guys know exactly who who the good guys are. They also know who creates headaches for coach owners because Lifeline gets tapped to fix the problem.
Thanks I bought 6 of them.
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