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Topics - bobkbusch

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1
General Discussion / No Longer Charging from Alternator to Coach Batteries
« on: September 21, 2022, 04:20:32 pm »
In Lance's thread about his lithium battery install, I mentioned that my alternator was no longer charging my lithium batteries.  Thought I'd post a follow up.

Initially thought it was the 40 amp auto-reset circuit breaker under the coolant bottle, but that was fine.  I had a blown 30-amp fuse.  This was the fuse for the ignition wire that connects to the control side of the solenoid under the coolant bottle.  Without the ignition wire active, the solenoid never activated to charge the coach batteries when the engine was running.  I have the newer 7.3L "Godzilla" engine and this fuse, as well as others are "MCASE" fuses.  I didn't have MCASE spares, but now I'm stocked.

Not sure why the fuse blew, but after replacing it, I subsequently installed a Victron DC-DC charger - works great!  Part of that install, which was kindly assisted by Lance (still active, but on Facebook), included disconnecting the ignition wire from the solenoid - hopefully no more issues! 

2
General Discussion / Lithium Battery Follow Up
« on: August 13, 2022, 10:16:51 pm »
I have a few trips under my belt after swapping my AGM batteries for two 100Ah Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries.  I thought I'd share what I've learned (or at least think I've learned) thus far.  Hopefully, this will help anyone else considering the swap, and also documenting what I've learned, in case I forget!  There are also some excellent threads on this board with great info that have helped me tremendously.  First my equipment (all factory installed):  2022 2552 with Progressive Dynamics PD4575TB (PD told me the TB stands for Terminal Board) converter charger and easy access switch for Lithium or Lead Acid charging profiles, two 150w solar panels, Samlex SCC30AB 30-amp solar charge controller with both Lead Acid and Lithium charging profiles, no dc-dc charger between the alternator and the coach batteries.  I added a Victron Smart Shunt to monitor the batteries and charging. 

Before I swapped batteries, I called the PC factory, and they told me Battle Born had visited the factory and concluded no modifications were necessary to change the AGM batteries to lithium.  In fact, they said that when someone orders a new coach with the lithium battery option, they don't change any equipment, except the batteries.  (This applies obviously to newer coaches.) The batteries charge in one of three ways: 1) From the alternator when the engine is running, 2) From the PD4575 converter/charger when hooked to shore power or if the generator is running, 3) Solar.   I'll address each separately.

1)  Alternator to coach batteries:  There has been some excellent discussion on whether a dc-dc charger was necessary to keep the alternator from providing too much current due to the very low internal resistance of lithium batteries.  Using Ohm's Law, V=IR, or I=V/R, the lower the resistance, the higher the current for a given voltage.  Since the voltage in the equation is the difference between the supplied voltage (measured at the batteries) from the alternator and the present voltage of the lithium batteries, it is typically only going to be somewhere around 1-2 volts.  I've never measured the exact voltage supplied by the alternator at the batteries, but due to the smaller wire gauge (hence higher resistance in the wire and some voltage drop), the voltage supplied from the alternator isn't much above the battery voltage (which of course varies depending on the batteries' State of Charge or SOC).  I don't know for sure what wire gauge PC uses from the alternator to the batteries, but I suspect it is small enough that the wire resistance plays a small role and somewhat makes up for the low internal resistance of the batteries.

The upshot of all of this is that I did not install a dc-dc charger and the most I've seen supplied via the alternator is approximately 20 amps - no problem.  I suppose if I let the batteries drop to an SOC=0, resulting in a very low voltage, I could see a significant spike in the amps, but since I have solar, I don't anticipate this.  If, for some reason I did let the batteries drop to a very low voltage, I could just run the generator a bit, to get them to a reasonable voltage before running the engine, to prevent a possible over amping situation.  A dc-dc charger would eliminate any concerns, but I monitor the battery parameters and charging via my Smart Shunt on the Victron Connect app while driving, and again, I've seen no reason to install one at this point.

2)  PD4575 converter/charger:   I switched the charging profile on the PD4575 to the "Li" position for the lithium profile.  This has caused me problems.  The Li profile supplies a constant current until the batteries reach 14.6 volts.  However, when the batteries are not quite topped off, this resulted in the PD4575 supplying almost 55 amps.  Unfortunately, PC installed a 50 amp auto-reset Type 1 mini-breaker, and this kept tripping and resetting.  When the batteries approach a high SOC, the current drops off and the problem resolves.  However, in the Li charge profile, the PD4574 remains at a constant 14.6 volts.  I watched a video with the CEO of Battle Born and he said "floating" the batteries at 14.6v for a week or so, is not a problem for the batteries, but some DC devices in the coach might not like constant 14.6v.

To keep the 50-amp breaker from tripping, and to avoid the constant 14.6v float issue, I tried the LA, or lead acid position.  It has three modes PD calls Boost, Normal, and Storage.  Boost mode (which I believe is a constant current mode, commonly called Bulk mode) supplies a constant current until the batteries reach 14.4 volts.  This resulted in a constant 48 amps and did not trip the 50-amp breaker.  After approximately 4 hours at a battery voltage of 14.4v, the charger switches to Normal mode and supplies a constant voltage of 13.6 volts.  This is ideal for a float voltage for the Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries.  However, if there is no "significant" battery usage for 30 hours, the charger switches to Storage mode and supplies 13.2 volts.  It then increases voltage to 14.4 volts every 21 hours for a 15-minute duration. (Battle Born states that the batteries should be charged at 14.2-14.6v for approximately 15 minutes for each battery in the bank, or in my case 30 minutes, to balance the batteries.)  The problem is that the LA profile will not switch back to the Boost mode until the batteries reach 11.9 volts.  This works well for lead acid batteries but is far too low for LiFePO4 batteries and it is not adjustable.  Fortunately, the PD4575 has a built in "Charge Wizard" and you can hold the small blue button on the front, until the LED is solid green, and it will put the unit in Boost mode for up to 4 hours.  Not sure whether it drops back to Normal or Storage after the 4 hours.

3)  Solar:  The installed Samlex SCC30AB solar charge controller is a PWM controller and has two options for lithium charging.  They are both very similar and only change voltage by .1 volts.  In the lithium profiles there are three phases, Bulk, Absorption, Float.  Bulk is a constant current until the batteries reach 14.3/14.4v.  The charger then switches to Absorption, or constant voltage of 14.3/14.4v for 30 minutes.  According to Battle Born, this is perfect for "balancing" the cells.  It then switches to Float of either 13.4.13.5v.  Again, ideal Float voltage.  Unfortunately, it does not switch back to Bulk mode until the batteries drop below 13.0v, which is about a 30% SOC.  This is not adjustable.  You can put a heavy load on the batteries, by disconnecting shore power or the generator, and running the inverter and some heavy load devices, to drop the voltage below 13.0, but that is a bit kludgy.

I have decided to switch to a Victron 100/30 SmartSolar charge controller.  It will allow me to check parameters via the same Victron Connect app that I use to monitor the Smart Shunt connected to the batteries.  I currently have to crawl on the floor to see the display of the Samlex if I want to see any info.  It will be nice to just use the app for the Victron.  The biggest advantage is that it is much more programmable and has a "re-bulk" mode.  You can specify an offset voltage, below the Float voltage, to trigger the bulk mode.  For example, if the Float voltage is 13.6 and you set an offset of .2v, the unit will re-enter the bulk mode when the batteries reach 13.4 volts. This would allow me to keep the PD4575 in the LA mode (to avoid the constant 14.6v float in Li mode) and control entering the bulk mode much more precisely with the Victron solar controller.  I'll eventually figure out a proper replacement for the 50-amp mini breaker (and wiring if necessary), since even in the LA mode, the PD4575 pumps 48 amps.  I believe the rule of thumb is to have a breaker that gives you a 20 percent buffer.

As for the lithium battery performance, I'll just say, I'm glad I switched.  Much less voltage drop under load, more actual capacity because you can drain them further without worry/damage, they don't lose charge when sitting in storage, and I don't have to remove them in the winter. Long-winded...sorry, but perhaps this will give someone considering the swap to lithium a starting point for their research.

Cheers,

Bob

3
General Discussion / Heat Pump Fan Cycling
« on: June 06, 2022, 01:20:47 pm »
I have a 2022 2552 with two Dometic ac/heat pumps.  Im camping in Grand Teton NP where the temps are dropping to the low 30s at night.  I have my front unit set to heat pump at night with the fan speed set to LO.

This does a nice job keeping the coach warm and the constant fan noise helps us sleep.  However, after 5 or 6 hours, the fan shuts off for a minute or so.  After a minute or so, it starts up again and then randomly shuts off/starts up the rest of the night.

Anyone else experience this? Is the fan stopping for a deice cycle?

4
I decided to not carry paper manuals any longer.  I've downloaded or scanned every manual I could find and think of for the equipment on my 2022 PC 2552 (much more than listed on the "Manuals" section of this website).  I've copied them to both my iPad and Garmin Vieo 1051 for reference when travelling.  I'm posting a link where you can download them all for yourself.  I'm sure some of the manuals won't match your equipment, but it's a good start!

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/xUYLezVvEimPHutO3YQXHeFEILYdoNnuEl3N2qlVBTG

If you have any manuals I've forgotten or better versions, please feel free to post a link.  Not sure how long I'll leave the link active.

Regards,
Bob


5
General Discussion / Cable Hanging Below Refrigerator
« on: March 27, 2022, 02:38:41 pm »
Last month, I traded in my 2014 PC 2350 for a slightly used (3500 miles) 2022 PC 2552.

It is finally warm enough (in Colorado Springs) to start getting things ready for the traveling season.

Today, I extended the slide for the first time since I purchased the 2552. Of course, I made sure the slide worked properly before purchase.

When fully extended, I heard a slight cracking noise by the refrigerator and noticed the wood at the bottom bowing out.  Upon further inspection, I noticed a fairly thick cable that was knotted and hanging to the floor, apparently causing the wood trim to compress it when the slide is fully extended.

It appears the cable has either dropped down from where it is supposed to be secured or pulled through the seal under the refrigerator.  It is also frayed with bare copper showing.

The refrigerator appears to be working (at least on propane), but it is definitely a concerning situation since the trim is bowing/cracking when the slide is extended and the cable is pinched/frayed.

I have no access to secure the cable and Im at a loss on how to fix this.  I looked for an email address to send pics to the Service Department at Phoenix Cruiser, but did not see any listed on the website.  Also, the contacts listed under "Links and Contacts/Factory Contacts" on this forum are outdated (still has "Earl" listed).  I'm planning on contacting the factory after the weekend, but if anyone here has any suggestions or a valid email address for the factory, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thanks,
Bob

6
General Discussion / Victron Smartshunt Wire Gauge?
« on: March 02, 2022, 09:58:10 pm »
I'm going to install a Victron Smartshunt and two 100Ah Battleborn batteries, connected in parallel.  Since the two batteries will be connected in parallel, my understanding is they are capable of 200amps continuous discharge and 400amps for 30 seconds.

I need to install a battery cable from the negative battery terminal to the "To Battery Minus" terminal on the shunt.  I have a 2000 watt inverter, so 2000w/12v (probably 13v, but using 12v for the calculation to be conservative) is approximately 166amps max.

I'm trying to figure out the correct gauge wire from the battery to the shunt.  Would the 166amps be the max or would I have to add more for any incoming amps from the solar or other items that are running on 12v circuits, but not running through the inverter?

I've seen many different wire gauge charts, but there seems to be quite a difference in recommendations between charts.  Therefore, I'm planning on using this calculator to decide on the correct gauge... https://www.explorist.life/wire-sizing-calculator

If I plug in 200amps at 2', the calculator recommendation is 2awg cable.  Does that seem adequate or am I missing something?

7
General Discussion / Alternator to Lithium Battery Charging Question
« on: February 27, 2022, 11:55:41 pm »
I'm planning on swapping my "house" batteries to Battle Born LiFePO4s.  I'm doing my best to try to educate myself, first by watching as many videos as I can find, and reading as much as I can, including the posts here on this forum.  The part that remains most confusing to me is charging the LiFePO4s from the alternator.

I called the factory and the service rep said Battle Born visited them and told them there were no modifications (from their standard wiring for lead acid batteries) necessary from the alternator to the house batteries for a LiFePO4 install, and therefore, they don't wire any differently when doing a lithium build.  I've also seen a few posts here by individuals that have installed lithium batteries and have determined a DC-DC charger wasn't necessary.

I have a 2021 Ford E-450 chassis and no idea what alternator (three versions listed by Ford and the smallest is 210amp) I have and whether it is a "smart" alternator, vs. regulated.  I understand that LiFePO4 batteries have a lower internal resistance than lead acid and will want to draw more current, but for some reason, this doesn't seem to be an issue, at least according to the factory and most of the posts I've read here regarding this.

Battle Born's page ( https://battlebornbatteries.com/lithium-for-beginners-all-about-our-battery-management-system/) discussing their internal BMS says they don't regulate amperage and you need to have a "battery-to-battery" charger between the alternator and house batteries to keep the current below 50% of the battery bank capacity. This seems at odds with the info I received from the factory and from what others have posted here and I'm trying to understand why.

Any insight or further explanation would be much appreciated!


8
General Discussion / Removing Magnesium Chloride From Undercarriage
« on: February 23, 2022, 08:07:49 am »
Sorry, but a little bit of a vent before I get to my question...  Just got home (Colorado) from Tucson after trading my 2014 2350 for a used 2022 2552 at La Mesa RV.  I'm very excited about the new coach!

Long story, but after assuring me last Friday, that all parts had been received, and repairs would be complete by the end of that day, it turns out that the "Delivery Team" had failed to order parts to accomplish the "due bill" for the items that were noted when I made the transaction a few weeks ago.  As a result, after my 9:00am delivery walkthrough on Monday morning, and noting the "due bill" had not been accomplished, I finally received the motorhome at 7:30pm.  That leads me to the reason for my post.  I set up the earliest available delivery on Monday because I had a commitment in Colorado on Wednesday morning (today) and needed to leave Tucson on Monday afternoon, to beat a snowstorm that was forecast to begin in Colorado on Tuesday afternoon.

After the delay in delivery, I had to spend the night in the La Mesa dealership parking lot.  I left shortly after 5am Tuesday (yesterday), when they opened the gate, and drove 14 hours straight to get home.  The last two hours were in a snowstorm at night.  About 90 minutes from home, a snowplow pulled onto I-25 in front of me and immediately started dispensing rocks.  Yep, not sand, but gravel with what looked like 3/4" diameter rocks, resulting in at least 3 window chips and perhaps paint chips, but I don't know yet.  They also use magnesium chloride on the roads in Colorado and although I needed to vent a little, that is the real reason for my post.

The magnesium chloride in Colorado has an additive to make it "sticky" and it certainly does stick to vehicles.  It is also more corrosive than salt (sodium chloride). Once it warms up next week, I will remove it from the body with soapy water and a sponge/rag.  Simply pressure washing does not remove it.  Removing the mag chloride from the undercarriage is more challenging.

I've read that you can apply a solution of one part vinegar, one part water, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.  I have a pressure washer and am thinking I'll get a water broom/undercarriage wash attachment and use it with the vinegar mix.  I'm a bit concerned about spraying with too much pressure because of things like wires going to the HWH levelers and spraying up into the battery compartment, etc., but not sure what else I can do.  I'm curious if anyone has any other suggestions for the undercarriage - thanks!

9
General Discussion / New Ford E450 Chassis with Garmin RV Vieo 1051 Radio
« on: February 06, 2022, 07:50:55 am »
Anyone have a closeup picture of the new Ford E450 (2021 and later with 7.3L V8) with a 10" Garmin RV Vieo 1051 radio?  I'm considering the purchase of a used 2021 PC2552 built on the new Ford E450 chassis.  It appears to have been built before Phoenix started installing the new Garmin RV Vieo 1051 and it has the stock Ford radio with no display screen.  The dash also appears to be a single DIN slot, so options for a replacement radio are limited.

Apparently, new orders from Phoenix come with the Garmin RV Vieo 1051 radio which is a dock system and 10" removable display/tablet.  When looking at Garmin's specs for the Vieo dock, it appears to be a double DIN unit.  I'm curious what Phoenix has done to modify the dash to accommodate a double DIN radio/dock.

I've attached a picture of the stock E450 radio/dash (2023 E450 Cutaway chassis).

10
General Discussion / Balancing Black and Grey While Boodocking
« on: February 02, 2022, 08:52:34 am »
I am considering a new 2552 and just noticed the grey tank spec has dropped from 23 to 18.5 gallons on the 2552 spec page (although it is still listed at 23 gallons for a 2552 on the specs chart for all models).  The black tank is still listed at 35 gallons.

I dry camp more often than not in my 2350 and the small grey tank is usually the limiting factor.  I've read about balancing the grey and black by opening the grey valve first, waiting a bit, then opening the black valve.

I'm trying to understand this technique a bit more.  At some level of black water, relative to grey water, wouldn't opening the valves allow the black tank water to flow into the grey regardless of whether I opened the grey valve first?  As an example, if I my black tank was 1/2 full, at around 18 gallons, and my grey was 1/2 full at around 10 gallons, wouldn't the black flow into the grey, regardless of which valve was opened first.  Perhaps the grey tank is installed higher than the black?

We've gotten pretty good at quick showers, emptying dish sink water into the toilet, etc. to minimize grey tank usage while dry camping. The 18.5 gallon grey tank capacity listed for the new 2552 is almost a show-stopper for me. If I could understand how to "balance" the grey and black, without risking backflow from black to grey, that would definitely help for dry camping.  Thanks!

11
General Discussion / Do Liquid Springs Prevent Sag?
« on: January 26, 2022, 11:21:42 am »
After an 8 year wait, we finally were able to move from a 25' covered slot, to a 28' covered slot at our storage location!  As a result, we are considering swapping our 2014 2350 to a 2552.

The rear of our 2350 (E350 chassis) sagged significantly when loaded so we installed rear air bags.  That has worked great, not only eliminating sag, but improving the ride.  We tow a Wrangler and our towbar setup is based on the back end of the 2350 not sagging.

After watching a video regarding Liquid Springs, it appears that you can adjust height of the coach above the rear axle, but it resets to normal height when driving above 15mph.  I understand that Liquid Springs adjust to keep the ride smooth, but do they also prevent rear overhang sag and accommodate for a loaded out coach?  In other words, is "Normal" ride height the same, regardless of load?

Thanks,
Bob

12
General Discussion / Need Help With Electrical Problem...Please!
« on: August 14, 2015, 04:59:54 pm »
I purchased a Winegard SensarPro RFL332 Signal Strength Meter/Amplifier to replace the standard antenna amplifier on my 2014 PC 2350 to assist in aiming my antenna.  It is a simple straightforward install...but I have an issue I don't understand.

The new SensarPro wouldn't power on, so I swapped back to my old amplifier (which was working perfectly).  It no longer worked either, so I tested the voltage on the black and white 12v leads and read 3.4 volts while running on the generator.  I tried straight from the inverter and only read 2.7 volts.  I'm pretty sure it should be a 12 volt input to the amplifier.  I didn't have the opportunity to test it with 110v ac coming in to the coach.

I'm half hoping someone has an obvious answer with an easy fix.  The other half of me is hoping it isn't obvious, so I don't feel like a moron!  I should mention my coach batteries read 13.6v at the battery and the inverter read 13.7 volts.

Any advice before I call the factory?

13
General Discussion / In-Dash Radio With Nav
« on: August 06, 2015, 02:30:00 pm »
We did a factory tour last week as we are considering ordering a new 2552.  I played with the in-dash touchscreen "Xite" brand radio on one model.  It looked very nice but the nav functions, e.g. zoom in/out, seemed very sluggish in response.  Anyone have this radio and care to share your opinion?

Thanks,

Bob

14
General Discussion / Light Fixture Fuse Location
« on: July 22, 2015, 04:28:19 pm »
The ceiling light fixture in front of the microwave has stopped working.  I removed it and voltage reads 0 from the black and red wires coming through the ceiling.  I checked all the fuses and circuit breakers at the foot of the bed (2014 2350).  Is there another location for fuses for ceiling fixtures?

Thanks....Bob

15
Tips and Tricks / Ultra Slim Tower Fan
« on: July 15, 2015, 06:34:02 pm »
We just picked up a Bionaire Ultra Slim Tower Fan Combo from our local Costco.  ($49.99)  The combo contains two fans.  One is a very slim tower fan that is 40 inches tall.  The 40-inch tower fan stows perfectly behind the right shoulder of the passenger between the seat and the Euro Chair in our 2350.  We wrapped a towel around it for travel and it appears to be perfectly secure in that spot, but we have yet to use it on a trip.

The fan puts out great air, has 3 speeds, a remote, and seems fairly quiet to us.  I'm planning on using it in combination with the Fantastic Fan in our ceiling.  We've tried using a smaller fan, and the a/c fan, but we weren't satisfied those.  We will be travelling in some hot weather in the next few weeks and I'm optimistic this will greatly aid in cooling.  I should add that the Bionaire combo doesn't get a lot of love on Amazon, but the reviews on Costco are better - we'll see!


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