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Old 04-21-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
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Isolator relay boost

Some suggest that this booster switch should only be used momentarily where as I have been using it for hours at a time while driving.

I do this because the isolator relay delay does not work. Simply stated, when running our coach the alternator does not charge our house batteries unless I hold the boost switch down.

My understanding is that this switch opens the solenoid to connect all batteries just as the relay delay would.

I was also considering using this switch for a few hours of charging while on shore power. Does anyone do this?
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgetown350 View Post
Some suggest that this booster switch should only be used momentarily where as I have been using it for hours at a time while driving.

I do this because the isolator relay delay does not work. Simply stated, when running our coach the alternator does not charge our house batteries unless I hold the boost switch down.

My understanding is that this switch opens the solenoid to connect all batteries just as the relay delay would.

I was also considering using this switch for a few hours of charging while on shore power. Does anyone do this?
Sort of ... however, the switch closes (picks) the solenoid. The difference (between switch actuation and BIRD/IRD actuation) depends on the vintage of your BIRD/IRD and it's associated solenoid. Early versions of the Intellitec BIRD used a solenoid that was not rated continuous duty and held it picked with a voltage lower than 12vdc. So, if you have the older solenoid, using the switch for long periods will eventually damage the solenoid. Can you find a P/N for both the BIRD or IRD and the solenoid and also what year is your RV? If it is fairly new you shouldn't be causing any damage. Additionally, do you have an inverter/charger? If so, while on shore power, it should be charging the House bats.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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2008 is the year of the coach. The solenoid between the batteries is a continuous duty solenoid and when the switch is depressed, power is sent to that solenoid. ( I checked). So running down the road or sitting hooked up to shore power my thoughts are that that the solenoid would be doing the same job ( assuming the boost switch was held open while on shore power to charge the chassis batteries for a few hours from time to time rather then using an external battery charger). I don't have the BIRD, its an ird circuit board which is burnt out and doing nothing right now. An RV mechanic told me in essence that if my alternator stopped working ( which it did recently ) I could start the Genny, hold the boost switch down and drive across the country and back with no issue.

Now you say the IRD picks the solenoid? what other solenoid comes into play? Oh and yes we have an inverter/ charger and I was thinking of charging the chassis batteries while on shore power not the house batteries which are indeed charged nicely from shore power.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:09 AM   #4
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2008 is the year of the coach. The solenoid between the batteries is a continuous duty solenoid and when the switch is depressed, power is sent to that solenoid. ( I checked). So running down the road or sitting hooked up to shore power my thoughts are that that the solenoid would be doing the same job ( assuming the boost switch was held open while on shore power to charge the chassis batteries for a few hours from time to time rather then using an external battery charger). I don't have the BIRD, its an ird circuit board which is burnt out and doing nothing right now. An RV mechanic told me in essence that if my alternator stopped working ( which it did recently ) I could start the Genny, hold the boost switch down and drive across the country and back with no issue.

Now you say the IRD picks the solenoid? what other solenoid comes into play? Oh and yes we have an inverter/ charger and I was thinking of charging the chassis batteries while on shore power not the house batteries which are indeed charged nicely from shore power.
Got it ... Yes, your vintage is continuous duty and capable of remaining closed (picked) for long periods without damage. Yes, in normal use, with a working IRD, after a short delay (with ign. key on and engine running) the IRD picks the solenoid and connects the chassis and house batteries together. With the ign. key off, the IRD drops the solenoid and the batteries are not connected together. The boost switch is a parallel path to the solenoid and will close (pick) the same solenoid independently of the IRD. Yes, you could use the switch to tie the batteries together at any time on Genset or Shore Power. This one solenoid is the only one used to tie the batteries together ... there are other solenoids in your battery disconnect circuits (salesman switch) but they are unrelated to the IRD/Boost circuit.

Here's a writeup on the IRD ... on the page (with the write up) is a link to the schematic.

Battery Isolators - Battery Switches - Intellitec MV
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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So when someone suggests that this boost switch should only be used momentarily to boost a dead battery I can tell them that they are wrong and that it can be used for hours at a time when needed.

I appreciate the feedback and that link you sent. I went to the link and read it all. The only difference that I can see from what I have read is that my IRD is not a black box. It is a thin circuit board.

thanks again
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:58 AM   #6
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So when someone suggests that this boost switch should only be used momentarily to boost a dead battery I can tell them that they are wrong and that it can be used for hours at a time when needed.

I appreciate the feedback and that link you sent. I went to the link and read it all. The only difference that I can see from what I have read is that my IRD is not a black box. It is a thin circuit board.

thanks again
Correct .... the only limitation would be the spec on the switch ... if it is decent quality it will be fine ... if it's junk it will break (physically come apart). Some switches, like the "salesman switches", don't seem to last long.

It's quite possible your circuit board contains a small "black box" .... often it is behind the board.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #7
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So when someone suggests that this boost switch should only be used momentarily to boost a dead battery I can tell them that they are wrong and that it can be used for hours at a time when needed.

I appreciate the feedback and that link you sent. I went to the link and read it all. The only difference that I can see from what I have read is that my IRD is not a black box. It is a thin circuit board.

thanks again
Correct .... the only limitation would be the spec on the switch ... if it is decent quality it will be fine ... if it's junk it will break (physically come apart). Some switches, like the "salesman switches", don't seem to last long.

As I mentioned, I think the origin of the "don't use it for very long" theory is based on the 1990's version of the BIRD that used a solenoid that was not continuous duty. It "held" the solenoid by reducing the voltage, after a short delay, from 12vdc to about 5vdc. The switch did not reduce the voltage so the solenoid was overloaded. Later versions used a continuous duty solenoid.

It's quite possible your circuit board contains a small "black box" .... often it is behind the board.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:35 AM   #8
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While on shore power I think I will connect the batteries for a short while before breaking camp. Sounds like it should be ok to do. I will have to use some kind of reminder system so that I don't forget to turn the switch off. Although the solenoid is continuous, I don't believe it was intended to run 24 7....... I'm on my third solenoid and I believe each failure was due to the IRD failing. This is why I have decided to use it manually.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:52 AM   #9
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Sounds like just throwing together an 'old school' battery isolator would be easier than driving along for hours holding down the emergency boost button.

If your existing relay is working you just need to run a power lead to the trigger circuit that's switched with the ignition.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:59 AM   #10
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I had a similar problem. My first "fix" was to add a 15 amp lighted rocker switch in parallel with the boost switch. I could act as my own BIRD. My boost switch is momentary and I would have had to hold it in while driving. You are correct that the boost switch manually does what the BIRD does automatically. I eventually added a newer model bird (about $60.00). 4 wires to connect that were already there and good to go. I wired the switch I added between the BIRD and the solenoid so I could turn it off. When in storage I would rather use separate chargers for the coach and chassis batteries.
Probably TMI. In my experience the answer to your question is yes.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:38 AM   #11
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I had a similar problem. My first "fix" was to add a 15 amp lighted rocker switch in parallel with the boost switch. I could act as my own BIRD. My boost switch is momentary and I would have had to hold it in while driving. You are correct that the boost switch manually does what the BIRD does automatically. I eventually added a newer model bird (about $60.00). 4 wires to connect that were already there and good to go. I wired the switch I added between the BIRD and the solenoid so I could turn it off. When in storage I would rather use separate chargers for the coach and chassis batteries.
Probably TMI. In my experience the answer to your question is yes.
Not totally related to the issue of the failing IRD, and Tom and I discussed this in a different thread, but my BIRD is also on a switch. This is because it was cycling during storage because I have a solar panel charging my house batteries. As Tom described, sometimes the easiest and most effective solution is using separate (manually engaged/disengaged) devices.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:53 AM   #12
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Many simple solutions as suggested. You can put a switch or jumper from the control terminal of the solenoid to either of the large terminals and turn it on and off as desired.
Or if you want to install a BIRD type device check this out.
Combiner 100 Sheet

The advantage of this is being automatic.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:42 PM   #13
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Some suggest that this booster switch should only be used momentarily where as I have been using it for hours at a time while driving.

I do this because the isolator relay delay does not work. Simply stated, when running our coach the alternator does not charge our house batteries unless I hold the boost switch down.

My understanding is that this switch opens the solenoid to connect all batteries just as the relay delay would.

I was also considering using this switch for a few hours of charging while on shore power. Does anyone do this?
I just replaced the battery boost switch yesterday. When pushing the boost button it "jumps" the battery banks. Also, when the ignition is on, it send power to the same wire and terminal that turns on the isolator for the battery boost. This has a separate fuse for this function. Mine was burnt. Replaced that and now boost and charging off the alternator work as they were designed to do, which is as a continuous duty solenoid. The only reason I could see for holding down the button is to charge the chassis battery from the converter. Maybe you just have a burnt fuse also?
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:30 AM   #14
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good posts guys... thanks......... I have our coach plugged into shore power in our driveway and I usually put the chassis batteries on the external charger every couple of weeks but instead I will use the boost switch as this will be easier then lugging the charger out and hooking up the leads. SRT I believe the fuses are ok but I will double check.
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