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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #31  
Old 09-03-2009
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
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Scott how are you going to use your coach? Boondock a lot or always be connected to shore power in a RV park? In either case I would recommend a Xantrex refurbished Freedom 458 inverter/charger. They range all the way from a 1000 Watt unit to a 3000 watt unit and they are an extremely rugged unit.

I have a Freedom 2500 which produces 2500 watts and 130 amps of current for charging. I have it connected to a link 20 which monitors all of the DC power in the coach, the charger output, alternator output and you can actually check the current of each light and accessory in the coach. The Freedom 2500 is connected to all of the wall outlets in the coach, the microwave (my wife loves that), the satellite system and computers. I have had it for 7 years and it has operated flawlessly. It is a very robust unit weighing 42 #. I bought a refurbished one for about $400. They are a little more expensive now but not much. I did a quick search on google for refurbished Xantrex units and there are a lot of them for sale.
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  #32  
Old 09-10-2009
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Scott Peterson Scott Peterson is offline
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Thanks Tom, one question on the Freedom unit. Based upon the specifications it looks like you need to manually run the equalization stage. Is this correct?

We will definitely be doing some boondocking of upto 3 to 4 days at a time. I definitely like the invertor aspect of the unit but i think our needs are a little simpler, when we boondock, use of electronics is minimized since we do not have a TV, satellite system, etc. The only thing my wife would like is the microwave hooked up but this is not a requirement.

I am thinking that if the equalization on the Xantrex is a manual process that for the money i might just get the BatteryMinder to use on the genset then i can manually switch the connections periodically to equalize the batteries. This seems like a bit more of an cost effective approach for my solution.

What do you think?
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  #33  
Old 09-10-2009
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Scott,
Appears we have similar busses. In mine I went with the stock 4-6v batteries and added 2 starting batteries that are isolated. I also purchased a refurbished ProSine 2.0 that will take care of my inverter and smart charging needs for around $700. I use the inverter for the TV and kids' games, microwave, and CPAP machine while sleeping. Picking the correct circuit breakers made it a simple, straight forward job. Sure is nice not to have to worry about the batteries now. I also located the unit inside the bus as there is plenty of un-used space under the driver's side couch. That was also within the 12' limit on the wiring to the batteries also. I'm adding a small access door to reach the unit but in normal operations everything can be done from the remote display.
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  #34  
Old 09-10-2009
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Scott remember the old addage "There is no such thing as a free lunch"? It applies particularly to 3 stage battery chargers with an equalization stage. There is only one DC controller that I am aware of that charges batteries using pulse width charging and is a 3 stage battery charger with both automatic and manual battery equalization. This controller was designed for home wind power systems and photovoltaic systems in charging and controlling batteries. When equalizing batteries it takes virtually days to do it and is not designed for RVs.

Scott I cant say this enough about the Iota series of chargers relative to their ability to not being able to equalize batteries and that includes with the battery minder. Ask someone that has an Iota to let you check the specific gravity of the cells in each battery and see if they deviate more then .015. If there is a specific gravity deviation of .015 or more between cells then you have confirmation that the Iota will not equalize a battery. And as I noted before in accordance with all of the battery manufacturers you need a minimum of 15.4VDC at low current to equalize a wet cell battery. The Xantrex series of charger/inverters including the Freedom 458 series uses 16.3VDC when equalizing.
I have reviewed the Iota technical data but it is difficult to understand what they are doing since they dont describe their equalization process. You might want to look at the manual for the Freedom 458 series of inverter/chargers and see if they are suitable for your use. While you may not have a satellite system now or use the microwave when boondocking you may want one sooner then you think.

I also recommend installing a Link 1000 with the freedom unit for it will give you total control of the unit right from where ever you install it. I installed mine right to the left of my steering wheel where I can instantly see the current and voltage output of the alternator or charger and the current consumption etc of the coach. One of the best things I ever installed. You can sometimes get them on Ebay for about $100.
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  #35  
Old 05-27-2010
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I have all the problems the original poster does. I removed my converters last night and one is putting out 11.3v and the other 7.8v. Both of the original converters were 50 amp models.

Someone on the board recommended getting the Intelli Power Converter 12 Volt, 80 AMP but I am wondering if one 80 amp converter is enough?
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  #36  
Old 05-27-2010
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Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
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80 amp should be good or an additional unit would be a backup.
I use a 9160 for six , 6volt batteries and a 12 v, generator battery,
five years, add little water, all Deka batteries.
There is not much unside the old charger could be just the big capacitor.
Replace with new charger and use the old boiler for emergency backup.
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