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Old 06-03-2020, 09:24 AM   #1
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Help with Shore Power vs Battery Power vs Generator Power

The one thing I hate the most about my recent entry to the RV world is the Childish manuals for my 2016 Coachman Freelander.

There is nothing to tell me what I have in my RV. The standard manual lists a gazillion options. Unless I pull open panels to identify what I have I am like .


I need to ask this question as simply as possible..





For real world example. I keep my RV on Property and use it as an office while not on trips.


When I tried to start the engine to keep things moving, I found out that the Chassis Battery does not charge when hooked to Shore Power. Effing stupid design! Also I found out I don't have the option to start from the House battery if it is dead. Also effing stupid. There are less than $50 in parts to make those a non issue from the factory. So they leave leave it as an "OPTION" WTF. I am ordering a Xantrex Echo Charge so that never happens again. Also planning to add a second house battery.



This brings me to another issue.. What power source conflicts with others?


Is there a flowchart that shows how to do things safely??


Can I start the generator while on shore Power?
Can I start the RV while On Generator or Shore Power


Is there a device to keep each source electrically isolated from each other if there is a conflict? I don't want to have to obsess about blowing some expensive circuit because I left something on..


Please talk me down from the ledge.



And then I want to explore adding a Solar Panel to the Solar Jack on the side of my RV with ZERO EFFFING documentation in the manual.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:37 AM   #2
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You either have an automatic transfer switch (most likely for a 2016 even if it’s low option) or you have to plug your shore power cord in to an outlet in the elec cord compartment to get power from your genny to the coach (less likely these days but I had a four winds class c like this and I added a transfer switch).

Either way the genny and shore power won’t conflict with each other. With a transfer switch you can leave your generator running and it will still transfer to shore power if you plug in. With the old manual system it’s impossible to to run both at once so a non-issue.

Engine start is isolated (apparently completely in your case) so you can start the engine whenever you want regardless of your AC power source.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:21 PM   #3
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The priorities are a little different in my 2003 Class A but luckily it's all managed by the automatic transfer switch. 110v are provided first by the generator if available, then by shore power if available, and finally by the inverter if active. Any combination can be connected and disconnected and the transfer switch manages the sources by priority. Independent from 110 power, the engine can be started and stopped at any time.

I too have difficulty with the documentation level of the coach and options. I tend to highlight in the manuals when I finally decipher which options are installed. The internet is a great source to fill in any technical gaps once I figure out which option I'm looking at.

It's a journey.
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:46 PM   #4
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If you have a automatic transfer switch, Generator power power is always priority.

If the generator is running, its powering the RV, even with the shore power connected. They all work that way.

With the generator off, it defaults to shore power, letting that power the RV.

You can start the generator while on shore power. It will run for 30 seconds, to stabilize the power, and then switch to generator power. If You shut the generator off, It will switch back to shore power.

You can start the engine while on shore power. You can start your engine while on generator power.
Many folks drive with the generator running. Not so much with shore power, cords not long enough.

Are You sure there is no Aux Battery, Emergancy Start, or Boost switch somewhere on the dash. Seems odd, not having one.
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.Wold View Post
You either have an automatic transfer switch (most likely for a 2016 even if it’s low option) or you have to plug your shore power cord in to an outlet in the elec cord compartment to get power from your genny to the coach (less likely these days but I had a four winds class c like this and I added a transfer switch).

Either way the genny and shore power won’t conflict with each other. With a transfer switch you can leave your generator running and it will still transfer to shore power if you plug in. With the old manual system it’s impossible to to run both at once so a non-issue.

Engine start is isolated (apparently completely in your case) so you can start the engine whenever you want regardless of your AC power source.

Sooo I Do have an outlet inside my cord compartment. And that means I do not have a transfer switch? I never actually tested the generator with the cord not plugged into that outlet. It was plugged in when I bought it.



While am on Shore Power I guess I should fire up the generator and once its stable just go unplug the shore power. if it all dies then for sure I DONT have a transfer switch..


I appreciate all the replies here. Seems like nothing will get harmed if things are powered on in different sequences.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:11 PM   #6
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If the only way to get power from the gen to your coach is to manually plug in to a 30a outlet in the cord compartment, you don’t have a transfer switch.

But yes, plug in to shore power, turn on the ac, run the generator, un plug, and when the ac goes off you’ll be quite certain it is not transferring automatically.

Plus you would likely see the transfer switch. It’s a metal or plastic box about the size of a thick paper back book, at the beginning of the coach side of your shore cord.

The pic below shows the original transfer switch on my Bay Star. Ignore everything else (my solar stuff), but notice the shore cord comes directly out of the transfer switch.

You won’t hurt anything by experimenting as long as you don’t short-cycle your air conditioner. Even that is probably ok, but best not to, so give it a couple minutes after it goes off before trying to turn it on again, regardless of why it went off.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:37 PM   #7
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The shore cord on my 2015 HR Augusta plugs into an outlet in the electric bay which is fed by the generator - no transfer switch - and I prefer it that way. One less thing to go wrong. If you’re plugged in to the pedestal you’re on shore power. If you’re plugged in to the genny, you on the generator. If you’re not plugged in, well, then you’re boondocking. Plus, it must be assured that your generator and public power do not mix. Can’t mess that up with one plug and no transfer switch.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:50 PM   #8
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power issues

i leave a 2 amp solar panel on the dash thats plugged into the old Ciggerette lighter. i have 3 850 amp starting batterys and pair of big 6 volts on the RV part.always charged up when not using it.we dry camp mainly and can sit 7 days on those 2 big 6 volts without starting the generator.

now we are selling this big old diesal and going to a 21 ft gas job with 2 batterys.. time will tell is i need to install more batterys for the RV part.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:05 PM   #9
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i leave a 2 amp solar panel on the dash thats plugged into the old Ciggerette lighter. i have 3 850 amp starting batterys and pair of big 6 volts on the RV part.always charged up when not using it.we dry camp mainly and can sit 7 days on those 2 big 6 volts without starting the generator.

now we are selling this big old diesal and going to a 21 ft gas job with 2 batterys.. time will tell is i need to install more batterys for the RV part.
You must be pretty economical with your power. When I had a 24’ class B+ I added two AGM batteries under the bed and with four I was able to run the coffee pot, toaster, and microwave on a cheap (Factory installed) 2000w Zantrex inverter (after a little RE-wiring). You also might find room under the dinette seats for more batteries. AGMs are ideal for inside because they don’t leak or off gas and you can mount them on their sides if you want and with limited storage on a small rig, you have to get creative.

My new coach has a residential fridge so it’s an energy hog. But it will get solar like my little Bay Star and all will be well. Right now it needs an umbilicus to the house for its energy needs. Would have preferred a propane fridge but I bought it used and that’s the only negative about the coach.

Good luck with your 21 footer. If you need creative power ideas pm me sometime.

Rich
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Old 06-04-2020, 04:38 AM   #10
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my older winne does not charge the chassis when plugged in.. It does have that that aux start button twinboat mentioned

really surprised that was an option ....

you can probably add a switch or relay with diode that would allow the house charger to keep chassis batteries happy..

or get a dedicated unit that is smart system.. I opted for a HF 4amp viking smart chg. wired into the house electric, ran small cord from an outlet in a close bay.. some ty raps and we good.. when ever RVin plugged into house, on genny or even inverter that little bugger makes sure the chassis is up to task.. The unit works great for me.. cheap simple.. it goes into a storage mode ..

I got the same dang little on my plow truck.. and old farm tractor.. those batterys are both 10 years old and the start any day.. $37 less 20 off coupon.. LOL

Oh as twinboat mentioned,, run RV regardless of genny, inverter, shore hooked up... I have driven with genny running, but there goes the MPG.. lol...

I had manual genny plug in, I added a 3 input transfer.. if plugged into shore, I fire genny , it takes over.. if I fire converter it takes over when genny drops.. just the way i set it up..

driven with inverter on,, altenator works hard since the chassis does charger house when driving in most units..

you can walk down slowly off the ledge now, its OK...
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Old 06-05-2020, 08:48 AM   #11
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Thanks so much for all the replies! Really appreciate it..

I agree about the separate outlet for Gen Power.. Not a real issue for me.. the Chassis battery was a big one.



Being stranded while actually plugged into shore power is BS. I really like the Harbor Freight charger idea. But I am pretty sure I am going with the Echo Charge. Its about $100 on amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-82-01...1368420&sr=8-1
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:27 AM   #12
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I don't know how it's done on my coach since it's always worked. However on my boat I've always used a battery combiner. A combiner is a smart device which connects the house and chassis banks when a charging source is present (somewhere around 13.2v). The banks are isolated from each other when no charging source is present. Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Victron-Intel...1377569&sr=8-1

It's a cheap fix and I love the "set it and forget it" approach.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:59 PM   #13
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I don't know how it's done on my coach since it's always worked. However on my boat I've always used a battery combiner. A combiner is a smart device which connects the house and chassis banks when a charging source is present (somewhere around 13.2v). The banks are isolated from each other when no charging source is present. Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Victron-Intel...1377569&sr=8-1

It's a cheap fix and I love the "set it and forget it" approach.

Good Luck.

Hmm that looks like another great option..
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Old 06-05-2020, 05:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
If you have a automatic transfer switch, Generator power power is always priority.

If the generator is running, its powering the RV, even with the shore power connected. They all work that way.

With the generator off, it defaults to shore power, letting that power the RV.

You can start the generator while on shore power. It will run for 30 seconds, to stabilize the power, and then switch to generator power. If You shut the generator off, It will switch back to shore power.

You can start the engine while on shore power. You can start your engine while on generator power.
Many folks drive with the generator running. Not so much with shore power, cords not long enough.

Are You sure there is no Aux Battery, Emergancy Start, or Boost switch somewhere on the dash. Seems odd, not having one.
This seems bassackwards to me. And the few times I’ve installed a transfer switch I’ve set it up for shore power to be the priority. I don’t get why anyone would do it any other way.....?
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