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Old 04-18-2019, 07:16 AM   #1
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Inverter operation questions...

I have a 2004 Coachmen Cross Country 376DS with a Tripp-Lite RV612ENT "Alternative Power Source" which I'm guessing is a fancy name for the inverter. The inverter must be in the 'ON' position for the TV's in the coach to work (regardless of whether I am plugged in to shore power or the generator is running). I am assuming that this is so the TV's work when we are in motion without using the generator, but does that mean that the coach batteries will charge from the vehicle electrical system or do I just need to keep an eye on the batteries? Or is just set up this way so the TV's go uninterrupted if I shut down the generator?
I guess I what I am afraid of is killing the coach batteries with something as unimportant as the TV's yet it seems like the system is set up this way intentionally since the ONLY outlets that work in the inverter are the ones dedicated to the TV's. The inverter has 'ON-OFF-INV OFF' options. The manual for the coach doesn't specify and the manual for the inverter basically just says to put it in the 'on' position to operate (duh) but I'm not sure how the system is intended to operate as a whole? Does that make sense????
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BD104X View Post
I have a 2004 Coachmen Cross Country 376DS with a Tripp-Lite RV612ENT "Alternative Power Source" which I'm guessing is a fancy name for the inverter. The inverter must be in the 'ON' position for the TV's in the coach to work (regardless of whether I am plugged in to shore power or the generator is running). I am assuming that this is so the TV's work when we are in motion without using the generator, but does that mean that the coach batteries will charge from the vehicle electrical system or do I just need to keep an eye on the batteries? Or is just set up this way so the TV's go uninterrupted if I shut down the generator?
I guess I what I am afraid of is killing the coach batteries with something as unimportant as the TV's yet it seems like the system is set up this way intentionally since the ONLY outlets that work in the inverter are the ones dedicated to the TV's. The inverter has 'ON-OFF-INV OFF' options. The manual for the coach doesn't specify and the manual for the inverter basically just says to put it in the 'on' position to operate (duh) but I'm not sure how the system is intended to operate as a whole? Does that make sense????
I am very surprised there are not some other outlets running from the inverter. If not, you only need to turn on the inverter when you want to use the TVs. All the inverter does is provide 120VAC from 12VDC battery power.

Why not take a small device (like a charged plugged into a cell phone) and check all the outlets. Have the inverter on and no external power (shore or generator). See if you find any other active outlets.

Other than the TVs in my rig and outlets in the bedroom and bunks, I have 2 outlets connected to the inverter circuit. We try to stay off the inverter outlets but they do power chargers.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:12 AM   #3
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I am very surprised there are not some other outlets running from the inverter. If not, you only need to turn on the inverter when you want to use the TVs. All the inverter does is provide 120VAC from 12VDC battery power.

Why not take a small device (like a charged plugged into a cell phone) and check all the outlets. Have the inverter on and no external power (shore or generator). See if you find any other active outlets.

Other than the TVs in my rig and outlets in the bedroom and bunks, I have 2 outlets connected to the inverter circuit. We try to stay off the inverter outlets but they do power chargers.
I'll try that, thanks, but regardless of whether or not there are other outlets on the inverter I am still not really clear on how the system is supposed to operate and am curious what others do?
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:49 AM   #4
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When plugged into shore power all my outlets work, including the TV outlets. When not plugged into shore power I must turn on the Inverter to provide power to the TV outlets.
My Magnum inverter has a Transfer mode, the inverter will automatically go into the Transfer Mode whenever an
external AC source is connected. This allows pass-thru power to the
AC loads. I thought this was normal for inverters but it seems your coach may be different. I suggest checking the owners manual for your inverter.
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:29 PM   #5
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I'll try that, thanks, but regardless of whether or not there are other outlets on the inverter I am still not really clear on how the system is supposed to operate and am curious what others do?
If your system is working correctly, then it should be charging the house batteries when you are on the road. An easy way to check it is with the engine running check the voltage at the house batteries. The voltage should match the chassis batteries if they are being charged. If they are not, then you may have a defective charge solenoid which connects the two battery banks together. If everything is working correctly, then you don't have to worry about running the batteries down with the inverter. You can leave the inverter turned on all the time because it should automatically switch to pass through mode when you are on shore power. All coaches are set up differently with some only running entertainment system outlets on the inverter, some add the fridge power, and others power many outlets.
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:33 PM   #6
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Depending on the inverter model it may or may not have a battery charging function. I do advise identifying the make and model of inverter and downloading a manual.
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:01 PM   #7
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Depending on the inverter model it may or may not have a battery charging function. I do advise identifying the make and model of inverter and downloading a manual.
Yes, you suggested that twice now but I did list the make and model in my initial post and I also mentioned in my initial post the inverter manual basically just tells you how to turn it on and doesn't really give any info on the actual operation within the coach which is understandable with all of the different configurations possible as Lt. Dan mentioned, so I was just curious how others use theirs.
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:04 PM   #8
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Did not mean to offend or repeat but the previous poster indicated you could test for battery charging voltage and that is not always true, it’s model dependant... I won’t say anymore on this thread
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:28 PM   #9
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Did not mean to offend or repeat but the previous poster indicated you could test for battery charging voltage and that is not always true, it’s model dependant... I won’t say anymore on this thread
Actually, I was referring to the engine alternator charging the house batteries when on the road if the system is operating correctly. An inverter does not charge batteries, it converts 12v battery power to 120v for household use. A converter or charger adds power to the batteries. Some units are dual purpose inverter/converters which switch from one mode to the other.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:23 PM   #10
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Its a 600 Watt inverter/charger. Discontinued years ago.

Maybe you can read these screen shotsClick image for larger version

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Old 04-19-2019, 06:59 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies. I have that literature and also have an addendum that says that my particular model does not charge the batteries, which makes sense since my coach has a separate 110v charger for the coach batteries on board but that is obviously only going to work when the generator is on. This still leaves me wondering if my coach batteries are going to charge when the generator is off but the coach is being driven - it sounds like some RV's do & some don't so I will just have to test it as Lt. Dan says. I appreciate the effort and all of the posts - I REALLY DO - but as I stated in my first post, I have the manuals and have read them. I understand what the buttons do, my question was not help in locating the literature but how are people with similarly set up coaches using them IN REAL LIFE??

*Are you just using the the system so your wife doesn't miss a moment of her show during the few minutes while you shut the generator, connect to shore power & set up camp (the system seems like overkill for this)?
*Are you driving down the road for hours at a time with out the generator running & all of your passengers watching TV, yet not arriving at your destination with dead coach batteries? Please don't post battery load specs & run times under load, I realize this time will vary but I am just curious if most coaches charge the coach batteries while the engine is running and will check mine ASAP, but it would be great if my passengers could watch TV on a trip without the generator running.
*Do you leave your inverter on all of the time when travelling / staying in your coach or do you just turn it on when you feel like watching TV? Mine has a remote inside the coach to switch between the invert & pass-thru modes, but in order to turn it on & off I need to go outside the coach which is a PITA everytime I want to turn on the TV. If my inverter is 'off', the TV's do not work - the inverter must be in either the 'inverter' or 'inverter off' (pass thru) mode to watch TV regardless of whether gen is running or on shore power. In both of these modes, it is lit up & the internal fan runs - it seems unnecessary to me to have this on if not actually watching TV but I could be overthinking it, so again I'm curious what other do?

I apologize again if my initial post wasn't clear... I will try to ask specific, pointed questions like above next time! In my previous gas coach the generator had to be on to watch TV, so I guess the the fact that the gen doesn't need to be on in this coach just seems too good to be true, yet the coachbuilder obviously installed the inverter and put ONLY the TV outlets on it for a reason so maybe I am just overthinking it? If it matters, I seldom use the RV for site camping - I race cars and use it for that so I am typically what you guys refer to as "boondocking" at a racetrack. Thanks again for the help and effort!
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:21 AM   #12
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Your coach should have a "boost" or merge solenoid somewhere that activates with the ignition and ties the battery banks together. If you find that the alternator voltage is not being fed to the house batteries, start looking for the solenoid. It may look similar to what was in our '06 Itasca, shown below. I had the same problem and did not think my coach was set up to charge the house batteries when driving, but I was advised by great members on this forum that it indeed should be charging. I found that my solenoid was defective, replaced it and started getting charge from the alternator. The solenoid is the large silver can in the lower right. The Trik-L-Start is something I added so the converter would charge the chassis batteries when on shore power.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:19 AM   #13
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Thanks Lt. Dan- I will check to see if they're charging and check that as well if they're not. Funny, I added a trickle charger to my chassis batteries as well. The whole TV/inverter system makes more sense if the batteries charge when the coach is running...
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:14 PM   #14
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I'm new at this but I got mh and got a 140 watt inverter for back t.v. and 400 watt for dish sat. Box. Why don't it work. Thanks
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