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Old 03-18-2015, 06:58 AM   #1
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Ford Super Duty Owner
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Making it mine - keeping the truck battery charged while on shore power

After sitting for about 6 weeks I went to start the truck and was greeted with that click-click-click-click sound as I turned the key.



I held in the "EMER START" switch and tried again, the truck started right up.
Its nice to have the EMER START feature, it energizes the Isolator Solenoid and ties the truck and coach batteries together and can save the day when one of the batteries is low or dead

BUT, the problem is, we shouldn't allow either battery to go dead, this is bad for the battery and will severely shorten its life, especially if its discharged down to zero.

SOLUTION

Many MHs have the ability to tie the truck and coach batteries together when on shore power or the generator is running, keeping the truck batteries fresh and charged, I decided to do the same thing.

Attached is the circuit I used that will automatically tie the coach and truck batteries together.


CIRCUIT DESCRIPTION

When 110 volts is available to the coach via shore power or the generator, a 110 volt relay energizes, enabling the shore charge circuit.

If the Shore Charge switch is ON, current flows thru the switch, thru the energized 110 volt relay contacts, and the cube relay is energized, tying the two batteries together.


CONSIDERATIONS

Isolator - Using a separate cube relay instead of the isolator solenoid - The existing isolator solenoid could have been used for the tie, this would simplify the circuit as those components exist and are already wired. I chose to use a separate cube relay so as not to keep the isolator solenoid energized for long periods. It also adds a small amount of redundancy.


110 volt relay - Any 110 volt relay will be acceptable, keep in mind it will be energized anytime there is 110 volts on the coach. I used an inexpensive relay and socket available from Automation Direct (to the right of the wall plug).

As can be seen in the photo, the relay coil plugs into a standard wall outlet that the TV used to plug into. To the right of the 110 volt relay is the 12 volt cube relay that ties the batteries together.

I could have run the 110 to the shore switch to simplify the circuit, but I decided to keep the 110 volts isolated and away from the 12 volt circuits.


Shore Charge Switch - This is a DayStar switch with an internal amber light indicator. (it looks red in the photo) I wired the indicator to light when the switch is on. I can see this from anywhere in the MH.


NOTE - The Blink, Headlight, and A/C are made by "Carling" . The CHARGE and INVERTER are "DayStar", the original EMER START is also a "Carling"


Coach Converter - Most original equipment, inexpensive converters were single stage, i.e., they put out one voltage, period. This voltage was a compromise between running coach loads, charging a battery, but not cooking the battery with to much voltage.

I upgraded my original single stage to a four stage converter from Best Converter. (more on this in another article) This converter has intelligence and adjusts its output to match the conditions it sees, and will not cook a battery (boil fluid due to overcharging)


Battery match - In an ideal world, tying two batteries in parallel is OK, as long as the batteries are matched. Without getting technical, a starting battery and a deep cycle battery are not a good match, so this is not an optimal configuration.


CONCLUSIONS

This circuit is not optimal, but certainly functional for my simple electrical system that consists of one start battery and one deep cycle.

You can also read this article on my web site - SHORE POWER CHARGE
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:10 AM   #2
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Well Sir,
It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on remedying your problem. However, in my humble opinion, you WAAAAAAY over worked the problem. All you needed was one of two things.

1. "Trik-L-Start" which, is a small box that simply "splits" the charge coming from your inverter/charger or, Converter/charger, which ever you have and, sends some of the charge intended for the coach batteries, to the "chassis" (Not "Truck") batteries. Most folks in the RV world refer to them as chassis batteries. No biggie, it's your vehicle, you can call them what you like.

2. Or, Installing a simple, three-stage NAPA or, any other brand, battery charger that will completely handle the chassis batteries, independent of what ever is being put into the coach batteries. I did it that way for two reasons. One, because it IS independent in that, if anything ever goes wrong with the Inverter/charger I have, my chassis batteries will still receive a charge. Two, that charger is tied into the 110VAC breaker panel so, if ever there is a need, I can simply flip the breaker and, that shuts down the three-stage charger for what ever reason I have at the time.

But, it sounds like you've accomplished your goal anyway. No biggie, whatever works. Good luck with your new system.
Scott
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:45 PM   #3
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Scott;

Good options on charging the truck battery. tnks.

I guess my references to the truck has carried over from years ago when it really was a truck with a MH on its back. :-)

john
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Old 03-18-2015, 02:43 PM   #4
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John.....I know you worked hard on making some upgrades, BUT.....the best system for charging a coach battery while on shore power is one of these three. They are fully automatic and once installed, NEVER need any switching. There's no forgetting to turn them off, back feeding power or connecting the two sets of batteries together issues. I originally purchased the TRIK-L-START, but the case swelled after a year and I replaced it with the Xantrex unit. A well built, good quality unit. Do a search for the best price.

Battery Chargers | Auxiliary Battery Charger | Xantrex

Smart Battery Combiner (ME-SBC) - Magnum Energy, Inc.

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
John.....I know you worked hard on making some upgrades, BUT.....the best system for charging a coach battery while on shore power is one of these three. They are fully automatic and once installed, NEVER need any switching. There's no forgetting to turn them off, back feeding power or connecting the two sets of batteries together issues. I originally purchased the TRIK-L-START, but the case swelled after a year and I replaced it with the Xantrex unit. A well built, good quality unit. Do a search for the best price.

Battery Chargers | Auxiliary Battery Charger | Xantrex

Smart Battery Combiner (ME-SBC) - Magnum Energy, Inc.

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
I thought all batteries get charged when on shore power or genset. Well, I guess i'm wrong and thanks for the 3 links.
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