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Old 08-08-2016, 05:30 PM   #1
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Onan Autostart and Solar observation

Got a 2014 Winnebago Journey with a 6500 Onan in it. I also have just under 700 watts of solar. We use a lot of power, mainly the residential fridge. After 2-4 days the batteries will drop to 12V so generator is need to give them a boost. I have changed my routine to charge the batteries in the morning while I use the coffee maker. I do stove coffee too but if I am going to run the genny I take the easy way out. Also have the need for the genny on those days where its cloudy or I am near trees and get shade at certain times of the day.

The Onan has an option for automatically charging the batteries when they get low and shut off at a preset voltage. I had a hard time determining at what point to shut the genny off. Well I have finally watched my inverter/charger as it gives me a readout of the charging amps for the battery. I have determined that I need to be at 13.9V on the Onan, as that is when the charger starts to decrease its charging rate. At this point I have decided to shut the generator off and let the solar take over. Not going to do this everyday while boondocking, but I wanted to get my best bang for the $ using my generator, no need to use gas to charge batteries that are near full. I have the on/low setting at 12V.

Just curious to what others have found.


FYI, Please, don't tell me to put in LED bulbs or use less power. Already got LED bulbs, put switches on all 3 LED TV's so they do not draw power even when they are off, disabled the illuminated switches at the electrical panel at the steps where you come in as well as replaced the bulbs in the RV that were not LED from the factory.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:35 PM   #2
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When I have used the rv off the grid I have just used the auto start and if needed the quiet time setting on the auto start so it does not run at night. It works great for me but I have never done it for more than 4 days so guess I'm a rookie when it comes to that. I doubt I will ever need solar they way I use mine.


What you are doing makes sense to me for the most efficient set up. Basically letting the charger do a bulk charge then shut down. I'm not sure that would work well for me as I use agm batterys and don't think they like to be under charged on a consistant basis but I will leave that to the battery guru's to reply on.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:10 PM   #3
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Our approach is to leave the AGS system on continuously and let the solar do as much as the charging as possible. On good sunny days at any latitude during the summer the generator vary rarely comes on (except when we start it for A/C). On a cloudy day or two it may cycle once in the evening as it reads the usage and battery voltage and charges the batteries before quiet hours.

Wonder if you could try your approach and that above - and build a simple chart of 'what happens?' The largest variable will be 'sun exposure' - followed by power consumption. It would be interesting to hear what you find out.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:12 PM   #4
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My next batteries will be agm so I may need to change my settings. I actually leave the auto start off and in the morning fire it up in auto mode and it will shut off at peak charge amps. Again solar will top the batteries off during the day. I get about 30amps delivered to 4 batteries when on solar. Can't remember what the 120vac charger does but its a lot more than 30.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lv2Roam2 View Post
Our approach is to leave the AGS system on continuously and let the solar do as much as the charging as possible. On good sunny days at any latitude during the summer the generator vary rarely comes on (except when we start it for A/C). On a cloudy day or two it may cycle once in the evening as it reads the usage and battery voltage and charges the batteries before quiet hours.

Wonder if you could try your approach and that above - and build a simple chart of 'what happens?' The largest variable will be 'sun exposure' - followed by power consumption. It would be interesting to hear what you find out.
My batteries are pretty much topped off when I get back in the evening when I charge in the morning, it gets me by for a couple of days. I don't like to leave
The auto feature on when I am not around. Guess it's because I know someone that left their's on in a shop and the power went out and it fired up. Took care of the rodent problem in the shop. . My other reason is if I do at night and I don't top off the batteries they will drain again thru the night due to the fridge, that is why I like the morning charge topped off by solar. Less cycle times on the generator. Also like a quiet night with a campfire and drink in hand. We boondock a lot !
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:44 PM   #6
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Ditto here - we boondock a lot and love the quiet time. The Onan AGS is pretty smart about power management - could save you some run time, and you can program the quiet hours. A feature I really like is its ability to 'read' the ongoing power consumption versus battery voltage / amperage and then auto-start before quiet hours to bring the batteries to the needed charge for the night ...
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lv2Roam2 View Post
Ditto here - we boondock a lot and love the quiet time. The Onan AGS is pretty smart about power management - could save you some run time, and you can program the quiet hours. A feature I really like is its ability to 'read' the ongoing power consumption versus battery voltage / amperage and then auto-start before quiet hours to bring the batteries to the needed charge for the night ...

LV2Roam2: Is your AGS unit made by Onan or might it be another brand made to work with Onan? I want to add a AGS unit to my Magnum Remote Controller but don't know if Magnum's AGS add on will provide the special feature you like so well. That's what I want!


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Old 08-11-2016, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan&Jacquie View Post
LV2Roam2: Is your AGS unit made by Onan or might it be another brand made to work with Onan? I want to add a AGS unit to my Magnum Remote Controller but don't know if Magnum's AGS add on will provide the special feature you like so well. That's what I want!


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Magnum AGS with a BMK along with the ME-ARC will do what I want I believe, if I understand it correctly. I use the SOC (state of charge rather than voltage. Voltage is not the best way to determine the current state of charge). That's what I have along with a Magnum inverter/charger.
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:48 PM   #9
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Our AGS is labeled 'Cummins Onan' and is an Energy Command 30 ... the instructions and manual are all Cummins Onan products (or so labeled) ... the interface with the Magnum 2812 inverter is smooth ...
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zman-az View Post
Got a 2014 Winnebago Journey with a 6500 Onan in it. I also have just under 700 watts of solar. We use a lot of power, mainly the residential fridge. After 2-4 days the batteries will drop to 12V so generator is need to give them a boost. I have changed my routine to charge the batteries in the morning while I use the coffee maker. I do stove coffee too but if I am going to run the genny I take the easy way out. Also have the need for the genny on those days where its cloudy or I am near trees and get shade at certain times of the day.

The Onan has an option for automatically charging the batteries when they get low and shut off at a preset voltage. I had a hard time determining at what point to shut the genny off. Well I have finally watched my inverter/charger as it gives me a readout of the charging amps for the battery. I have determined that I need to be at 13.9V on the Onan, as that is when the charger starts to decrease its charging rate. At this point I have decided to shut the generator off and let the solar take over. Not going to do this everyday while boondocking, but I wanted to get my best bang for the $ using my generator, no need to use gas to charge batteries that are near full. I have the on/low setting at 12V.

Just curious to what others have found.


FYI, Please, don't tell me to put in LED bulbs or use less power. Already got LED bulbs, put switches on all 3 LED TV's so they do not draw power even when they are off, disabled the illuminated switches at the electrical panel at the steps where you come in as well as replaced the bulbs in the RV that were not LED from the factory.
If your batteries never see more than 13.9 volts, then it is likely they are seldom if ever getting fully charged. What kind of batteries do you have?
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:45 PM   #11
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Aman, I finally installed Magnums AGS and use it in conjunction with 600 watts solar. My routine while boondocking is to start the day with about two hours of gen time followed by solar until about 7 pm.. Then, depending on battery consumption I may run he genes that to top off the batts prior to quiet time. This pattern works prettying well, however, my disappointments are:
1. With my present Magnum remote I cannot manually start the genset and have it go off by itself for quiet time.
2. I typically need about 3 hours of genset time per day, even with a good solar day. That's with the Magnum 2012 inverting 24/7 and a Samsung RF194 frig also running 24/7.




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Old 11-20-2016, 10:43 PM   #12
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You may need to add more batteries.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:32 AM   #13
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You may need to add more batteries.
Kinda agree on this one. Something also to consider is how the solar is set up. Are the panels tilted? Wiring size/voltage drop to the charge controller.

And FYI, to the poster that is topping off, the top off at the end of the night realistically is not adding much to the batteries although it is taking some drain on them while it is running. The last 10% of charging wet lead acid batteries is very slow. Would help a little is the battery bank size/type was listed.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:46 PM   #14
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My battery bank consists of four 6v golf cart wet cell batteries of 220amp hrs. This gives me 440 amp hrs total of storage.


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