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Old 10-18-2010, 09:03 AM   #1
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Stopping charging of coach battery while on shore power

I have a 2010 Four winds Hurricane. Thor technical support staff can't or won't tell me whether my coach charging system is "intelligent" and won't overcharge the coach batteries while I'm on shore power. I can turn off the circuit breaker for the converter and charger while I'm on shore power and still have 12 volt lights inside the coach and stop the charging cycle. But what I'd like to do is install a remote switch to isolate the batteries from the charger, instead of using the circuit breaker. Has anyone done this? I'd appreciate any suggestions. Komac
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:23 AM   #2
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What brand/model is the converter? Perhaps you can look up it's model # and find out if it has any intelligent features to it. Being so new I'd almost bet that it does. I replaced my old "buzz box" converter last year with a new Intellipower 9100 series (45 amp) and it has all the smart features for charging, floating, etc etc.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:31 AM   #3
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I too would almost bet money that you have an intelligent charger built in to your inverter. Is there a particular problem you're trying to solve or are you just concerned that your batteries will be over charged?

I think it's a good concern to have actually. My Dimensions inverter will cook my coach batteries (and has twice) unless I significant restraing the amount of a/c power I allow it to pour into the charger.

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Old 10-18-2010, 06:30 PM   #4
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I would also be surprised if you don't have a battery disconnect switch somewhere readily available (like near the entry door) that will prevent the batteries from charging while on shore power.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:07 AM   #5
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Solar power regulator

If you search for "off grid" solar equipment you may be able to locate a regulator designed for solar chargers.

They are not very expensive and are simple to hook up, they go between your charger and your battery, and they regulate the voltage per the requirements of your battery.

May be easier and less expensive than a new converter.

The issue is if the converter is powering the 12 volt devices then the regulator needs to be capable of passing the amount of current required.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for your replies! They're very helpful. I don't know what converter model I have in the coach. It's hidden below the dinette seat, along with several other electronic components. It's also soundless, so I can't seem to distinguish it from other items when it is charging. I'll look into that compartment again to see whether I missed something before. As for a disconnect switch, yes I have two disconnect switches at the door entrance, one for the coach and one for the chassis. I can disconnect the chassis battery while on shore power, but the disconnect switch for the coach won't operate while on shore power. That switch only operates when disconnected from shore power. One person suggested that I install a battery disconnect switch in the battery compartment, but if I do that, won't the charging circuit continue to operate? My primary objective is to protect the batteries from overcharging. Thanks again. Komac
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:26 AM   #7
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A battery disconnect switch in an RV normally disconnects all 12v loads from the battery. That means you cannot use anything that requires 12v when the battery is disconnected, ie. lights, refrigerator, water heater, LP heat, etc, etc. Even items that use 120v normally have 12v contols (refer, etc). But the disconnect does NOT normally disconnect the charging function from the battery. That could be done by adding a cut-off in the battery compartment ...to totally disconnect the batteries from everything just as if you removed a cable.

I don't understand the house battery disconnect not disconnecting the batteries when on shore power ...maybe it does, but the converter keeps supplying 12v current? Normally you wouldn't want to do that as you would not have lights, etc, but I do it every time I run the equalizing cycle on my coach.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:20 PM   #8
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I went to the MH this afternoon to see whether I could get some information about the converter. It was easier than I thought. The information was clearly marked on the cover plate for the power distribution panel. I had missed it before. The converter/charger is a series 7100, model 7155, 55 amps, manufactured by Paralax Power Supply. Can anyone tell me whether that charger is a three-stage, or "intelligent" charger? If it is, I shouldn't have any concerns about whether it will overcharge my batteries on shore power. Thanks again. Komac
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by komac View Post
Can anyone tell me whether that charger is a three-stage, or "intelligent" charger? If it is, I shouldn't have any concerns about whether it will overcharge my batteries on shore power. Thanks again. Komac
Again I would caution that just because it's a three stage charger doesn't mean that there's no chance it will cook your batteries. My Dimentions Inverter will boil my batteries unless I restrict the AC current it can draw from the 25amp default down to at least 15 amps. It's not supposed to be that way but apparently poor design yields these results.

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Old 10-19-2010, 02:49 PM   #10
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Measure voltage

Regardless of what the manual states, you need to "see it with your own eyes".

Search the net and locate the manual for your exact converter, see if the output is adjustable in any way.

If at a lot or away from shore power ou may be able to start the generator to get the converter going.

Before doing anything pre-stage.
Open the cover to the coach battery
Get your voltmeter

Measure the voltage at the battery, 12.6 to 12.8 is fully charged, 11.9 is fully dead, it can be lower than this, if lower then in danger zone, nothing is going to explode, but batteries do not like being here.

Depending on the starting point of the battery, the voltage on charge may vary, if it is towards the lower end you need to charge longer.

The goal is to have the battery in "float" mode, this is when the battery is fully charged, this is when the charging current needs to be less than 1% of the battery capacity.

Since it is difficult to measure the charging voltage 13.5 volts can be used as a target voltage, if more than this the battery will not be happy in float mode.

activate the converter, plug it in or start the generator.

Measure the charging voltage at the coach battery.

You will observe it riseing as the battery is taking a charge.

Once the voltage no longer changes you MAY ASSUME that the battery is near fully charged and going into float mode, this voltage if more than 13.5 is not going to makke the battery happy.

The higher the voltage the more unhappy the battery will be.

If you can make an adjustment you need to power down first, then insure everything in your MH is turned off.

Locate the adjustment and give it a tiny turn, reapply power and repeat above, continue until it is correct.

If it is not adjustable and it is too high then contact the manufacturer, there are replacement modules available, you may be able to replace the power module.

Good luck!
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:12 PM   #11
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The 7155 is a two stage but the final stage should run 13.3-13.6v and limit the charge amps in that mode. Not quite as good as the float mode on a 3 stage, but not bad either.

The Parallax 71xx series is much better than the old Magnetek 63xx series that it replaced. I wouldn't worry a lot about it, but you have to occasionally check the water level in flooded cell batteries, regardless of what charging system you have. They WILL lose water over time.
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:39 PM   #12
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The Parallax 7155 is a constant voltage supply with 55A output available to the battery. It is not a "multistage" or intelligent charger and the output can be as high as 14.0V with no load (according to the specs in the brochure) and if it is that high it will eventually cook your batteries. As others have posted, check your actual converter's voltage with the batteries fully charged so you know the voltage for sure.


If you have non-sealed batteries it should be relatively easy to check and maintain your battery level to avoid this.

In the meantime you can check out one of the converter kits this is just one, there are many more including do-it-yourself kits with the IOTA DLS series converter.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:48 PM   #13
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Thanks to all of you who have tried to help me these last few days. The suggestions were excellent! I found the specifications for the model 7155 Parallax power supply on the Internet. Even though my coach is new, a 2010 purchased in May 2010, the on-board converter/charger is not a three-stage charger (confirming what at least two of you said). It is, in fact a two-stage charger and supposedly tops out at about 13.6 volts. I don't trust it, however, and will probably get an upgrade or control its output by shutting off the charger circuit when my battery monitor shows a 100% battery charge and I'm on shore power. I don't like using the circuit breakers to open and close a circuit, but my only other choice is to install a battery cut-off switch. My inside battery disconnect switches operate relays which are supposed to disconnect the batteries, but my coach (house) battery disconnect switch will not allow a battery disconnect when I'm on shore power. (I don't know why.) I can put a marine type battery disconnect switch in the battery compartment, but the charger will still keep operating. What I really want to do is shut off the charger. I had a similar problem on a large boat I owned a few years ago. My on-board charger destroyed all three of my marine deep cycle batteries. After that, I disconnected the charger when my boat was tied up at the slip. Eventually I replaced the factory charger with a good three-stage charger and had no more problems. Thanks again. Komac
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:46 AM   #14
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We all failed to pay attention...

This is a 2010 model, and it should be in warranty, or the parts involved should be.

Confirm the proper operation of incorrect output before taking any other action!

Get a voltmeter and measure the voltage at your batteries.

Turn on the converter in the morning, and check the voltage a few times, see where it goes.

It should reach a peak and stay there, when it gets to this peak it should be 13.5-13.6 volts plus or minus very little.

If it exceeds 13.6 then have the dealer work with the converter provider to get it adjusted or replaced to correctly float the batteries, simple as that.

The manufacturer of the converter should have clear documentation regarding the proper care and feeding of batteries, so they should be well aware of the optimum voltage.

For fixed installations where batteries are expected to be maintined in float service, and last many years (10 to 20) the expected voltage is 2.25 volts per cell, 13.5 VDC for a 12 volt lead acid battery, either flooded, automotive or VRLA.

Your coach batteries are to be considered the same application, the converter runs the loads while connected while the batteries are floated to provide additional capacity when commercial power is not available, IE not on shore service.
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