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Old 08-22-2014, 11:19 PM   #15
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I have a load meter on the dash that shows alternator load, 160 amp alternator, Two starting batteries and four 6V house batteries. About one minute after engine start, I see a jump in load when the isolator closes, but I don't think I've ever seen it exceed 100 amps on the load meter.


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Old 08-23-2014, 12:52 AM   #16
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Oooooh, you're making this tough again. What you just said, is what I was really expecting to hear. I guess I better get an opinion from the switch manufacturer.

Thanks.

--DonK
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:08 AM   #17
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3: Add the third battery, but separate it as "Bank 2" with the Yandina combiner. That way it stays charged with everything else, but it will stay separated in reserve, and allow me to switch to it if I run Bank 1 dry.
--DonK

Here is another, simpler idea that accomplishes your goal for less money.

Add in the third battery but leave the positive battery cable disconnected.

Attach a trick-l-start (or the big brother amp-l-start) between the other two house batteries and the third battery. This will keep the new 3rd battery charged and isolated. If you need it, just connect the one positive wire, and bingo, instant reserve power.

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Old 08-23-2014, 07:14 AM   #18
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DonKarstedt
On most, (if not all), motor homes the ONLY alternator, (which is driven the engine), charges both the chassis and house batteries through the inverter if/when the engine is running.
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On my older rig, the alt. charges the batts. through an isolator.
OOPS!
I meant isolator not inverter.
Sorry!
The inverter uses 12VDC to make 12VAC, (and has nothing to do with battery charging).
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:16 AM   #19
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No, the inverter/charger/converter is not in play when you have no AC power input.

Yes, you can connect the house bank to the alternator. I would hope it already is.

Yes, you should have an isolator between their 2 banks. Diodes are the cheap and easy way. Expect about 1/2 volt drop through their diode. A better choice I'd a smart relay. These are not limited to simply preventing current back flow like diodes. They can also combine batteries for emergency engines starting. Check products from Blue Seas Systems.

Doubtful, your alternator will limit current flow to your house bank. The alternator's regulator needs to sense battery voltage to determine output voltage/current. The sense lead will only know the the voltage of the chassis battery if you are using a diode. It will sense the house and chassis as a single battery if using a relay and it's activated.

Yes, you can add batteries to your house bank. Doing so may require larger battery cables and fuse.

Circuit protection needs to included when making changes to any battery bank or interconnecting a bank to another power source.

Keep in mind engine alternator ratings are best case. Most would be lucky to produce 80-90% of their rating. Also keep in mind that alternators aren't meant for constant fill or near full output.

Finally, although overkill for your application, you can get a regulator for the alternator that supports multiple battery banks for alternators that don't have internally integrated regulators.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:29 AM   #20
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I think you are over engineering the issue. The new battery will work harder and it's life will get shortened but the other two will get an extension as they work less. When all 3 wear enough you will replace all 3 together. Your isolator will cost more than a battery to save a part of a battery in life.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:40 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=nothermark;2194841 Your isolator will cost more than a battery to save a part of a battery in life.[/QUOTE]

Here's one for < $40: http://www.amazon.com/NOCO-IGD140HP-...sin=B001DKRF2M
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:16 AM   #22
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Thanks everyone, once again, for all the good detail.

Nothermark, I think you comment is probably right, but since I've been discussing this, I think I like the idea of having that third battery isolated more and more. On two occasions, last month, we ran those two house batteries down to nothing during the night, and didn't have enough juice to start the generator. I kinda like the idea of having some separated, reserve power available.

That Trik-L-Start device looks interesting. I have the feeling it is simply the diode that ImagineIF had mentioned, I'll look into it.

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Old 08-23-2014, 10:41 AM   #23
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It looks like the Trik-L-Start, and the isolator from Amazon above are both solid state devices, which probably means they are diodes. The Yandina combiner is a solenoid switch which physically connects the batteries for charging, and then breaks the connection when not charging. Any opinions about which approach is better?

Diodes are cheaper but burn out sometimes. I suppose switches and solenoids swear out too...

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Old 08-23-2014, 10:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by DonKarstedt View Post
Thanks everyone, once again, for all the good detail.

Nothermark, I think you comment is probably right, but since I've been discussing this, I think I like the idea of having that third battery isolated more and more. On two occasions, last month, we ran those two house batteries down to nothing during the night, and didn't have enough juice to start the generator. I kinda like the idea of having some separated, reserve power available.

That Trik-L-Start device looks interesting. I have the feeling it is simply the diode that ImagineIF had mentioned, I'll look into it.

--DonK
I've got to agree with nothermark, you are over engineering the issue. You need more storage battery amperage to run your house needs.

If you're running "two house batteries down to nothing" it sounds like your batteries might not be as good as you thought. Did you use the dashboard 'battery boost' switch to start the generator? If so, you have a battery isolator. A Trik-L-Start is more than a diode, but they don't charge batteries as much as 'share' battery charge from one bank of batteries to another.

How are you depleting two 12 v batteries overnight? Change lighting to LED, reduce use of an inverter, or turn off when no 120 v is needed. Some folks use a 1000-2000 watt inverter to power a 100 watt C-pap machine or TV. Their batteries would last longer if they used a smaller inverter or changed to a 12 v DC TV or C-pap machine.

Adding a third battery to the house system is a good strategy. I think you'd be best served by buying 3 new 12 v deep cycle batteries. and install them as your new, bigger, 12 v house battery system. No need to hook up a Trik-L-Start or add an isolator for a third battery in reserve. To start the engine or generator, you can always use the chassis battery as a 'reserve' by use of the battery boost switch.

You definitely don't need a Trollbridge Combiner. They are used to charge 24 v or 36 v batteries from a 12 v source. Your RV is 12 v through out, never are the batteries combined to create 24 or 36 v.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:14 AM   #25
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Another option is to idolate genny starting battery.

Ours has a dedicated battery for genny and leveler as both are opposite end from other batteries.

You could add small lawn mower size battery at generator end and use isolator or switching device to connect it to existing wiring.

Then worst case scenario you can start genny to support converter to charge others to then boost engine.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:17 AM   #26
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BFlinn, do you work for the NSA? You seem to know me pretty well!

Yes, it's a C-PAP machine as well as two electric fans running all night off of a 1000W inverter that are the big users. I've done the LED bulb changeover, but a couple of those bulbs (real little ones) burn all night in the bathroom as a nightlight. Throw in the TV for a couple of hours, several LED lights in the evening for cards and board games, then water pump useage for morning showers and morning + evening kitchen sink, and that's about the lifespan of my two batteries.

I got the generator started by running the main engine for a few minutes to let the alternator give a boost. I didn't think of trying the emergency start switch because that switch, and the generator switch are on the opposite ends of the house and it didn't occur to me (I'm new at this.)

You make a good point--my chassis battery is actually the life-boat. I may as well go for the triple house battery.

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Old 08-23-2014, 11:25 AM   #27
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Invest in tv with native 12 volt supplies as that will greatly reduce loads.

Look into 12 volt cpap or look at yours to see if it has an adaptor already.

Picked up a blueray player last year at ss for 30 bucks that also is native 12 volt.

You can make plug and play 12 volt ats so your devices will use battery when no shore power and shore power when present.

No cutting of factory cords so warranties not impacted.

Search our posts for 12 volt ats or panel upgrade for details.

Can provide more if interested.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:27 AM   #28
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I'm inclined to agree with some of the others. I think you may be over-engineering. I missed (or you didn't mention) whether you have a toad and what type of camping you are doing. I think a 3rd battery would help but you might spend some time determining your power usage. I.E., why do you run your batteries down and could you prevent that with some lifestyle changes (lights out earlier, less TV, no microwave use, etc.?
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