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

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  #1  
Old 10-11-2010
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: delaware
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Question Where is main 12 volt feed '82 PT40

Today I started to sift through the electrical problems on my new-to-me 1982 PT40.

I'M GONNA NEED A BIGGER SIFTER!!!!!

I went through the main grounds first as they are usually the problems. Surprisingly, the ground connections were in pretty good shape. I took them apart and cleaned everything anyway & replaced all using dielectric grease. I did find the dual shunt for the Link 100 was wired wrong. It didn't affect the ground but the Link would not work.

I don't have time or patience to document all the problems I see but I need info on one in particular.

From reading the posts here & what I can see on my coach, it appears the original setup was one set of batteries in the curbside engine compartment that serviced both the coach (engine start, head & marker lights, signals, etc.) AND the house (all flourescent lights, water pump, porch lights, etc.). There was a second battery near the front that started the generator, was charged via a large diode, and could be momentarily connected to the main batteries via a switch on the dash.

I need to know where the main 12 volt feed for the house system is. I think it may be at the + lug on the starter. There are 3 or 4 wires on that lug I have not traced out yet. It would save a lot of time if I knew for sure. Secondly, are the house and coach systems separate or mixed together throughout the body? Meaning, is there one separate system that starts at the starter (or where ever) and travels around the body feeding ONLY coach related items, and a second system that starts at the starter and travels around the body feeding only house related items? OR, is there one big happy system that starts at the starter and travels around the body feeding whatever is close?

The original battery bank has been changed to two 12 volt batteries. The RediVolt (?) DC generator is gone. A deep cycle battery bank and a 2800 watt Heart inverter/charger has been installed in the curbside middle compartment. There are cables running to the engine compartment but they are connected to studs that have more cables attached that go nowhere. So, right now, I have two 12 volt batteries running the entire coach and a big battery bank running the inverter only.

That explains why I can kill the batteries in 1 hour with everything on.

I hope I have explained this well enough so everyone is sufficiently confused!

TOM
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Old 10-11-2010
DW SD DW SD is online now
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Tom,
First, as I understand, everything is wired in parallel in the Bluebirds. This means that there are several large gauge wires feeding various systems within the house.

In my PT-36, I have a 4 gauge bundle of red (12V+) and white (ground) wires that feeds part of the coach. A second 0 - 1 gauge also feeds the house. The 4 gauge feeds one of the continuous duty solenoids within the house. In my case, the one on the driver's side just forward of the dinette in one of the top cabinets.

Recently, I redid a lot of the 12V battery interconnect wiring with a more contemporary architecture. I have a bank of six six volt golf carts for the house. I tied the 12V positives of the house bank together with a very large blue sea systems bus bar. I also have a large 8D engine starting battery and a generator starting battery. I found a smart, microprocessor charge controller to use (google powerstream product: PST-SBC1120-Module @ $32) which activates two cole hersee continuous duty relays. One solenoid feeds the engine starting battery and the other feeds the generator battery, when the alternator is spinning. The engine alternator feeds directly the bank of six house batteries. So all of the batteries are tied together when the alternator is active for charging.

I'd call this setup a smart isolator. The microprocessor triggers the solenoids at 13.2V or more and disconnects them at less than 12.6V. The benefit, of course, is not running down your starting battery with lights, accessories, etc.

The solenoids can also be manually triggered to connect the batteries. Not only was this cheaper than a large isolator, a further benefit compared to an old shunt-style isolator is that there is very little voltage drop across the continous duty solenoids. I use one 200A ($40 @ Ryderfleet) solenoid for the engine starting battery and one 80A ($30 Ryderfleet) for the generator battery.

Each of the starting batteries is directly connected to their corresponding starter motors, of course.

Maybe I'll draw a picture if you are interested?

So far, this setup is working great.

Doug
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Encinitas CA
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Old 10-12-2010
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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Doug,

I am pretty clear on how things SHOULD be wired. What I need to know is where does the wiring START? At the starter? If I separate the wires that are on the starter lug, will I find one (or more) feeds the coach system and one (or more) feeds the house system?

Thanks for the confirmation the two systems run parallel and are not intermingled. That saves me a lot of tracing.

Your system sounds really well done. I wired my MCI similarly but the way your did the microprocessor charger is very nice.

TOM
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Old 10-12-2010
DW SD DW SD is online now
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Tom,
In my case, there were two separate primary feeds to the house and also a major one running to each: the chargers and the solenoid which connects the generator battery.

As I understand, the engine starter lug was used in lieu of the large bus bar in my system. If you sniff around the site you'll even find some wiring diagrams. Let me know if you don't find any. A generous member here, Curt Sprenger sent me some diagrams he had collected. Share your email and I'll pass them along to you. I think he has an 87 PT-40, so your shouldn't be terribly different.

You could put your email here into the thread or send me a PM with that info.

You can also disconnect one large wire at a time from the starter and see what no longer works.

Good luck,

Doug
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Last edited by DW SD; 10-12-2010 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 10-12-2010
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doszorros doszorros is offline
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I had a 1982 PT40 several years ago. I cannot specifically remember where the house feed originated in the engine compartment but I do remember it had an inadequate 12v feed to the front end of the coach. I think it had 4 or 6 gauge wires to the various load centers.

The front lower (instrument and control) power was the most trouglesome. I ran a new feed to the front lower panel using a welder cable routed up the inside of the left frame rail and installed 2 more 12 volt batteries in the system for a total of 4. It improved the performance considerably.
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