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Old 01-02-2019, 11:11 AM   #1
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To Surge or not to Surge

Hi all and a Happy New Year. We have a 2006 CC Inspire 36 ft with a Cat C-9/ wet PTO. We have a storage facility with covered parking and a 120 volt outlet. I went out the other day and tried to start it and found the batteries to be too low. I have observed low voltage dips and the transfer switch dropping out and indication on the surge guard. My previous coach did not have an onboard surge guard and would charge the batteries just fine. The question I have is can anyone tell me if switching the surge guard off will cause any harm. Thanks in advance Bill
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:19 PM   #2
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Just so that we know what you're talking about... if your "Surge Guard" is showing low voltage (and dropping out until it reads corrected), you have something more than just surge protection. And, personally, I would NEVER bypass my power management protection. It's those kinds of things that you are trying to protect against. Low voltage causes troubles that may not appear until later.

In my opinion, it NEVER makes sense to bypass.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:27 PM   #3
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I agree with blang, let it do it's job, it's doing a good job of protecting the appliances in your coach.
What SHOULD be happening is the the EMS (surge protector) is dropping out for low voltage, and then when the voltage comes back to normal it should reconnect.
Is it reconnecting like it should, or does it stay dropped out?
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:41 PM   #4
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Thx for the response and I share the same concerns. Yes the EMS reconnects the click noise is what started me looking at this in this way. I suppose the best option is to just use a stand alone charger for the start batteries. My old coach was a 1998 American Dream and I suppose it did not have quite the sensitive equipment as the CC. What about an inline transformer would it help the dips in power?
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:50 PM   #5
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If the EMS reconnects then the converter/charger should go back to work charging the battery. Ideally you'd never even know the power dropped out unless it was out for days.

I'm thinking there is something else at work here causing the batteries to drain.
Are the battery switches on (batteries connected)?
When the power is on, what reading to you get on a voltage meter at the batteries? (should be 13.something, or higher, if charging).
If only one set of batteries shows charging, does that change when someone presses and holds the Battery Boost switch? (all batteries should show the higher charge)
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:25 PM   #6
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HI I did check voltage on start batteries 13.2 volts. I did not take reading with Bat boost engaged, however I did try the bat boost to start with coach unplug from shore power and the generator running to no avail. The start batteries is one of the "slab" stile the water level was correct with no visible corrosion on terminals. House or coach batteries are the 6 volt Lifetime Batteries and appear to ok. I have only owned this unit since June of 2018. So I am still in the honeymoon faze.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:39 PM   #7
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13.2 on start batteries, but it won't start?
It's time to borrow a battery load tester from your favorite auto parts store to see if the battery is good.

Also, remove and clean, don't just look at, the terminals on the start battery posts AND the ground terminal where it connects to the block. Also follow the 'hot' wire to where it connects to make sure that end of the cable is sound. You may have something simple like a bad or corroded connection.

Check the voltage on the house batteries.
IF the battery boost switch and solenoid are working as they should, AND the house batteries are charged, then that should have made the rig start. Since the boost didn't make it start it might be the one of the house batteries, the boost switch or the boost solenoid are bad.

FYI, from a 12 volt point of view, being plugged in to shore power is the same as having the generator running. If that ever becomes NOT true then the most likely culprit is the transfer switch. But I don't think that's your issue.
When EITHER plugged in or on generator do your air conditioners work? (just the fan working will prove the point, given the time of year it may be hard to make the compressor come on). If so then the transfer switch is doing it's job.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:41 PM   #8
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I have had the Surge Guard drop out on a 120v, 15A circuit.

That event was caused by too much of the shore power current being dedicated to recharging the batteries with a high power draw appliance being on at the same time.

In my case the electric water heater or roof AC was the big power draw competing with the battery charger power use setting.

Your Chassis batteries are likely not charged by the shore power.

They draw their recharge from the house batteries via a Tric-L-Start type device attached to both battery banks. Perhaps that device is not working or the house batteries never got charged enough to have power to share with the chassis batteries.

Inventory the power loads you have running during storage and stop using the ones that are not necessary. You only have 15A available to the coach.

Decrease the battery charging power draw setting on your inverter to allow the remaining power draws to co-exist with the battery charge function.
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:44 PM   #9
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All good inputs I will go out tomorrow and do some more field observations and report back. Much appreciated if anything else comes up let me know.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:16 PM   #10
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Your coach has what is called an echo charger. There are 2 in line fuses in a water tight plugs and both should be 15A. It's hard to see and should have a small green light when it's working the light is on. I replaced mine with the Magnum Combiner better the Xantrex and placed it where I can see it. Here is a pic of both.
If I remember right the magnum puts it 25A to the chassis battery.
2 strokerClick image for larger version

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Old 01-02-2019, 09:33 PM   #11
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If the surge guard has "indication" and is dropping out then the power supply is suspect (low voltage I suspect) and your coach has not charged either house or chassis batteries in the last 30 days.

I suspect your batteries had enough charge to start generator and I suspect you measured 13.2 during the bulk charge phase while the gen was just starting to charge batteries. The echo charger will not pass enough amperage to start your diesel coach motor so you'll have to run the generator for an hour or so to get enough amperage into the start/chassis batteries.

Also check your chassis batteries ground to make sure it's tight and clean.

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Old 01-04-2019, 04:52 PM   #12
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Me again, I went out and checked inline fuses with meter checked out OK. Made observation of the Xantrex echo charger and found a blinky green light.

PROBLEM THINGS TO CHECK
LED is red.
Thermal
shutdown
1. Check to see that the Digital echo-charge
has sufficient air flow and ventilation around it.
2. Check the battery connections.
Starter battery
is not
charging
1. Check the difference in voltage between the
house battery and the starter battery. If the
difference is greater than 2 volts, the Digital
echo-charge will reduce the charge current. If
the difference is greater than 10 volts, the
Digital echo-charge will shut off and the green
LED will blink.
2. Check the connections to house battery
bank and starter battery. Check the fuses.
Check the ground connection.
LED is off Check fuse in the red wire. Check the ground
connection.
LED is
flashing green
1) House battery voltage below 13.0 volts DC
or above 17 volts DC.
2) The difference between the house battery
and the starter battery is greater than 10 volts

Going back out to take reading on house battery and I now have a load tester so stay tuned. I will also disconnect and clean battery terminals.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:51 PM   #13
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Update: So after troubleshooting (load test and voltage reading), checking other solenoids and such I came to the realization that the start battery was caput. Then it was time to remove said brick ( 8D 1400 CCA ). The compartment was difficult and the battery was setting down in a very snug tray. I contemplated the idea of modifying the tray to accommodate two group 31 batteries the plus is you would have 2000 CCA’s and only sacrifice 50 amps reserve so for a Cat C9 it would spin up and start a little better. The big plus is now you are dealing with one battery at a time viruses the awkward “slab” battery. But I went with a AGM 8D, what a wrestling match. The shore power issue is under observation.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:50 AM   #14
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The X's 2 Grp 31's do make a bit easier lifting experience! I too retained my single Chassis 8D, vs going Grp 31's. I had good service, abused a few too many times, CAT 8D Starter Battery (Maintenance Free, and I'd pretend to put water in it every 6 months or so.) with 1500CCA. I always liked having a CAT battery, starting my ISL! I would recommend that battery to anyone looking for above average quality Wet Starter battery.

I replaced it with Lifeline's 8D Starter Battery, as I sealed off the battery compartments egg crate bottom grill, to keep the dust and moisture out. No problem since the change over a year ago now.

I'll confess, that I came very close to adding another X's 2 L16's to my existing bank of X's 4 L16's. The Lifeline L16's put out 400Amp in a pair, so X's 6 would have yielded a house bank of 1200Amp's. I would have then bought and carried a heavy duty supplemental lithium jumper battery, in case I ever ran the 1200Amps down too low to spin the generator or engine starter's. But, I ended up deciding to run another 6-8 years with the new bank of L16's!

And note. I too like the Magnum Smart Battery Combiner (SBC).

Which AGM Starter did you end up going with!

Best to you,
Smitty
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