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Old 11-16-2020, 08:23 PM   #1
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No power to coach - I think I did it to myself

Preface: If anyone (Lt.Dan ) knows the model of Magnum inverter I have (coach is 2hrs away) please let me know. I've searched the "suitcase" & can't find the manual to look up its operation. There's several online but I don't know which model I have to download the correct one. The main Tiffin Phaeton manual I have references one but the picture in it has the old panel controls, not the Spyder integrated controls like I have...although I think the operation they put in the book is the same.

Story: After winterizing 2wks ago, we left our coach plugged into 50A but I turned off the inverter at the main switch in the DS bay because I knew we didn't need any use of 120v items in the coach while in storage. Left chassis & house batteries on. We always did this with our 2006 Bounder with no issues in 13 years of storing it plugged in. But it was the type of inverter that only provided power to the outlets & to our 2 TV's.

Last night we went to the coach to remove a few things before a trip to the dealer for some repairs today. Found NO power inside the coach - no 12v, Spyder panel dark, can't start the engine/can't start the generator (even with AUX BOOST)....just silence when I turn the ignition on or press the switches. Mind you, it's now dark, 40-degrees & dropping; steady winds at 30mph/gusts to 50mph. We knew the power had been out for ~4 hours that day due to the winds, but there's NO WAY those few hours would've drained everything completely. We've Wally-docked over night with plenty of power all night/into the morning. Began to wonder if it'd been out much longer & if so how much longer.

While DH is trying to locate a voltmeter, I find a flashlight,we check the main breakers=not tripped. Check the fuses=fine. DH double checks the battery disconnects=ON & he turns ON the inverter switch just so we know everything is on. PI unit showing shore power coming in=no error codes. Wondering if it's the transfer switch? DH finds the voltmeter. Couldn't get to the chassis battery terminals easily. Tests the house. Me looking over his shoulder says "I see 15volts". Uh, no...that's 1.5v DH now on the hunt for the portable charger.

DH finds charger, hooks it up to the house batteries, presses the ON button & TA-DA a flicker, then the storage bay light comes on. WE'VE GOT 12V!!!! I run inside the coach & flip the porch light.....it lights! Down to the Spyder panel...batteries are charging.

SO, I conclude (am I right), I need to leave the inverter on, even when connected to shore power? Last year, we stored the coach the same way EXCEPT we left the inverter on (as well as the house/chassis batteries) & there was no problem. The variable is this time we turned OFF the inverter.....found dead coach later.

Dang, this thing is WAY more complicated than the Bounder. Just when I thought I could assume something.

Lori-

P.S. Note to self: Leave nightlight plugged in on kitchen backsplash. Put extra Blink camera inside coach (there's wifi at storage) where it can view nightlight so we can catch these things sooner.
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Old 11-16-2020, 08:37 PM   #2
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Hi Lori-

I think you've sussed it out. If you manually turn off the inverter it can't charge the coach batteries. If you kill the 30 amp breaker that feeds 120VAC to the inverter it can't charge the coach batteries, ditto if there's a battery disconnect between the inverter and batteries.

The source of the confusion seems to come from the many ways builders make things work in their coaches. Some of our experiences will transfer to the new coach and others... are dead in the water... er storage.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:51 PM   #3
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If you disconnected the inverter with a battery cable switch, that was the mistake.

Its an inverter/charger, it charges the batteries thru the large battery cables.

While on shore power, leave all of the battery switchs on, otherwise the inverter/charger can not charge them.

Side note, the inverter/charger will not charge a very low battery. You adding the stand alone charger brought some voltage to the batteries. Once it was sensed by the inverter/charger, it kicked in its charger.
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Old 11-17-2020, 05:52 AM   #4
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Since you turned off the inverter/converter without disconnecting the batteries, the parasitic loads are what made them go flat. Two weeks is a long time to leave them connected without a charger. I was shocked at how fast ours got drawn down with the charger off when we had problems with the GFCI breaker to the pedestal in our driveway. The Winnie had smaller parasitic loads and could sit disconnected for a month!

In my opinion, it's best to leave the inverter/converter on all the time in your coach.

The systems in our coach, like yours, are entirely different from those in our prior one. I spent days learning enough about them to be able to operate them reasonably well, and loading all the manuals I could find onto my laptop. Almost all of them are available in softcopy (usually PDF) format. My laptop travels with us, so I have them at home and away. The search function saves a lot of time when I have a question, vs. first finding and then paging through the appropriate paper manual.
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Old 11-17-2020, 09:24 AM   #5
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You should have left the inverter switch in the on position if you were plugged in. If your Spyder panel is like mine, you can, on the Spyder panel, choose to turn off the inverter just for the house AC current and the inverter will still maintain all the batteries.
If you store your Mh without being plugged in to shore power, then by all means, turn off the inverter switch and main battery switches, both chassis and house.
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Old 11-17-2020, 02:59 PM   #6
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Thank you everyone. I mistakenly assumed while I was connected to shore power, my batteries would still get power to keep them charged even if I turned off the inverter. Again, that's how it worked with our Bounder. My bad for assuming that. Learned my lesson & hope my error helps someone else.

Lori-
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Old 11-17-2020, 03:05 PM   #7
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I'm not sure of the exact model but I think it's the MS series. The inverter/charger is probably the same as the older models the only difference is it's controlled through the Spyder panel instead of the Magnum control panel.
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Old 11-17-2020, 03:56 PM   #8
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Thanks, Dan. There's an MS model on their website & also a Rev F. I'll download 'em both & put hard copies in the "suitcase". There were 2 pages of model/serial numbers (obviously came from Tiffin) for a bunch of systems/appliances in the Tiffin suitcase, but wouldn't you know it, the inverter wasn't on it. Also, the fridge they listed isn't the one I have. They listed a Whirlpool, we've got a Maytag.

Lori-
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Old 11-17-2020, 07:35 PM   #9
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So, one more question... So turning off the inverter also blocks 120v from coming through, even though we're hooked up to shore power? If I'm not mistaken, we didn't even have 120v to receptacles inside either. When we have 120v, the clock on the microwave is on & it wasn't on when everything was dead.

Funny thing though. There's 2 plates on the side of the box in the closet where the breakers are. One plate is marked floor heat 1, the other floor heat 2. There were 2 green indicator lights on them that were still glowing, even though the rest of the coach was dark. The floor heat wasn't on though. Also the induction stove top lights were also still on. For everything else being dead & only having 1.5v on the house batteries, those 2 things still had enough juice to light.

Lori-
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Old 11-17-2020, 07:41 PM   #10
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Just added FYI when you are plugged into shore power the only thing the Inverter/Charger does is charge the batteries so there is no reason to turn it off.
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Old 11-18-2020, 05:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NLOVNIT View Post
So, one more question... So turning off the inverter also blocks 120v from coming through, even though we're hooked up to shore power? If I'm not mistaken, we didn't even have 120v to receptacles inside either. When we have 120v, the clock on the microwave is on & it wasn't on when everything was dead.

Funny thing though. There's 2 plates on the side of the box in the closet where the breakers are. One plate is marked floor heat 1, the other floor heat 2. There were 2 green indicator lights on them that were still glowing, even though the rest of the coach was dark. The floor heat wasn't on though. Also the induction stove top lights were also still on. For everything else being dead & only having 1.5v on the house batteries, those 2 things still had enough juice to light.

Lori-
I suspect you have a combined inverter/converter, as we do. The inverter makes 115V from your house batteries. The converter charges your house batteries (and, if you have a BIRD, your chassis batteries, too), from shore power or the generator. They are both in the same box.

Whether or not you are connected to power makes a difference.

Let's start with no shore power. The inverter can be separately controlled from inside the coach. Turn it on, get 115V for your appliances. Turn it off, and no 115V appliances (e.g. the microwave) will work. In this case, with no shore power, turning off the *entire* inverter/converter unit in the electrical bay only has an effect on the availability of 115V power and battery charging when the generator is running. You won't be able to turn on the inverter and the batteries will not charge with the generator running.

When connected to shore power, the converter will charge the batteries. The transfer switch should provide 115V power to the coach without the inverter being turned on. (Some inverters, like ours, can make up a shortfall in shore power to handle peak loads when turned on and connected to 20A or 30A shore power, but that's a side point.) If you turn off the *entire* inverter/converter unit, the batteries will not be charged, but you should still have 115V power via the power cord and transfer switch. The same applies when running the generator when disconnected from shore power, though the transfer switch should then connect the coach to the genset rather than the power cord.

What's lit up where and what's hot with the inverter vs. shore power or generator depends on your coach wiring and what the manufacturers did. For example, your floor heat might be available from shore power and the generator, but not from the inverter. The lights you see might be "I'm ready to be turned on" indicators or "I'm running and heating the floor" indicators. I am not familiar with your system, so I can't tell you which, but the answer might lie in your "suitcase" or in the online manual for your system.

Likewise, which 115V outlets are hot depends on whether you're running from shore power or the generator, or from the inverter. Inverters are not always wired into all the outlets in the coach. Ours are not, for example, so we can't used the electric blankets plugged into the bedside outlets on the inverter. All the outlets powered on our inverters have labels on them to say they are hot when the inverter is on.

Hope this helps...I can PM you guys a phone number if you think it would be simpler to talk it through.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by NLOVNIT View Post
So, one more question... So turning off the inverter also blocks 120v from coming through, even though we're hooked up to shore power? If I'm not mistaken, we didn't even have 120v to receptacles inside either. When we have 120v, the clock on the microwave is on & it wasn't on when everything was dead.

Funny thing though. There's 2 plates on the side of the box in the closet where the breakers are. One plate is marked floor heat 1, the other floor heat 2. There were 2 green indicator lights on them that were still glowing, even though the rest of the coach was dark. The floor heat wasn't on though. Also the induction stove top lights were also still on. For everything else being dead & only having 1.5v on the house batteries, those 2 things still had enough juice to light.

Lori-
The two plates in the closet are GFCIs for the floor heat. The floor heat zones do not go through the inverter so turning it off has no effect on them. The microwave does go through the inverter and I would suspect the induction cooktop does not due to high amperage draw. Most of the interior outlets are also through the inverter.

i did get the model number on our Inverter/Charger and it's a MS2012 Magnum MagnaSyne.

If you have the coach on shore power, there's no reason to turn the converter/charger off. You can turn the inverter off separately from the charger, but I would just leave it on. With both left on and the Spyder system active, both banks of batteries will be maintained.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:44 PM   #13
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Thanks, Dan. I downloaded the MS manual from Magnum's website.

I certainly have no plans to ever turn off that inverter while we're plugged in. Learned a valuable lesson with this incident.

Lori-
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:53 AM   #14
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My Allegro came with a list of everything installed in it with serial numbers. It was a single sheet of paper. I took a picture of it and keep it on my phone.
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