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Topics - fandj

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General Discussion / Towed vehicle electrical
« on: April 13, 2024, 10:08:29 am »
I am trying to connect my towed vehicle to my PC.  I am having an issue with the taillights on the toad.  The towed charge wire and the running/tail lights work ok but the turn and stop lights do not.  I have checked the 7 pin connector on the PC and I do not get any voltage on the left turn or right turn connector pins.  The lights on the PC appear to working ok but no signal output to the 7 pin connector.

I am suspecting a blown fuse but do not know where to check.  Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

General Discussion / Ceiling light question
« on: June 17, 2022, 06:40:03 pm »
My 2016 PC 2552 with LED light in the ceiling above the refrigerator has stopped working.  I first checked power to the bulbs and no power.  Next I removed the fixture to check if I was getting power to the switch and no power there.  Since the wiring runs above the headliner and probably inside one of the walls I don’t have any idea as to where it ties into the light supply wiring.  All the other interior lights work fine. I certainly could use some help as to where to start looking for the wire junction.

General Discussion / RV accessory sales
« on: November 27, 2021, 12:43:42 pm »
No financial interest in the video or any of the vendors/manufacturers.  I just saw this video that had some Black Friday Deals on RV accessories that if you have been thinking about purchasing any of these items now may be a good time to pull the trigger.

I have been thinking about the combination RV door lock so I plan to research this to see if it makes sense. Anyone purchased this brand and any comments would be welcomed.


General Discussion / PC YouTube Video
« on: October 24, 2021, 10:25:20 am »
Sorry if this has already been posted but I just ran across this video.  It does a good job of highlighting the features of the Phoenix Cruiser in general and the 2552 in particular.


General Discussion / Lithium Battery Installation
« on: August 12, 2021, 04:20:52 pm »

To begin with let me say I have no financial interest in Lithium or any other type of battery supplier.

As most of you who have travelled very much in the last couple of years have no doubt seen is the increase in the number of people RVing and how it has in many areas overwhelmed the available supply of campsites.  This coupled with new Federal rules forcing many campgrounds to be reservation only has made serendipitous camping challenging.  I always enjoyed the ability of “first come/first served” to adjust your stay from one night to multiple nights if you found the area interesting and you needed more time to explore.  Also if I wanted to adjust my route on the fly there were no reservation systems that made it more difficult.

To enjoy the less structured mode of traveling has forced many of us to utilize boondocking on BLM and National Forest areas and campgrounds.  These frequently have little to no services available.  This has encouraged me to look at electrical power improvements for my PC.

While our Phoenix units have the ability to supply power directly and/or charge our batteries from the generator I for one despise the noise.  I am sure my neighbors like it even less than I do when running my generator.

My original two 6 volt Interstate flooded lead acid batteries were going on 6 year old.  While still functioning I could tell they were loosing some of their energy storage capacity.  I expected perhaps 1-2 years of remaining life albeit at reduced performance, which for the occasional user might have been fine.  Since I was planning a prolonged trip with no anticipated shore electrical service I started reviewing my options. 

I could replace with new flooded lead acid or the AGM lead acid but with little gain in terms of performance from what I originally had.  I could continue with my old somewhat compromised batteries for however long they may last.  It appeared Lithium Iron Phosphate was becoming more and more popular for RV and marine applications.  I researched this forum, YouTube, other RV forums, and Lithium battery vendor websites in attempt to better understand the requirements and the plusses and minuses for Lithium.  The Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry is more stable than what is being used in electric propelled vehicles (Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt) and is considered much safer.

For Lithium the number one hurdle for me was initial cost. When compared with AGM the Lithium cost typically runs about two to four times the initial cost per unit of rated energy storage capacity.  When compared to useable energy storage amp hours the Lithium costs about two to three times the cost of AGM.  The generally accepted guide for lead acid is to never discharge below 50% state of charge or battery life will be severely compromised whereas the full rated capacity for Lithium is typically stated as useable.  Like many other claims I am sure this is arguable.  Similar arguments on full recharge cycles are made.  Lithium’s are claimed to have a 3,000-5,000 cycle life whereas Lead acid is on the order of 300-500 charge cycles thus only about 10% of the charge cycle life.  If the Lead acid battery’s available recharge cycles was doubled the Lithium expected cycle life would still be three to five times greater.  Bottom line is it appears that Lithium can be competitive on a cost per kilowatt hour over the life of the competing technologies.

As to the need to upgrade ancillary equipment (converters, chassis to house battery charging, battery monitor, etc.) this needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.  When I ordered my PC in 2016 I had a Progressive Dynamics 70 amp converter with Charge Wizard installed.  Discussion with both the Lithium battery and converter supplier said it was acceptable.  I previously installed a Victron battery monitor which also could be reused.  The PC supplied chassis to house charge system worked though slower to recharge than the Victron DC to DC converter that is often recommended.  I decided to give my PC installed system a try and reevaluate later based on my typical usage mode.  Phoenix I understand when supplying their Lithium option relies on their standard alternator charge setup.  So far while not optimum the PC system charges the Lithium batteries at a faster rate than the previous lead acid units.  I may upgrade in the future but at this point I doubt it being justifiable based on my travel/camping style.  So in my case no upgrading of the ancillary equipment hardware was required.  However the programming of the solar controller and battery monitor did require adjustment.  The battery supplier provided me with the new parameters for the programs.

After about a month and a half of camping without shore power I am very impressed with the Lithium batteries.  Faster charge time means running the generator very infrequently and for a shorter periods, more efficient use of my solar array system,  not being concerned that I need to get back to full charge everyday to prevent shortening battery life, not as concerned as to how much power I am consuming, no checking electrolyte level, more consistent voltage output, and hopefully longer battery cycle life (time will tell).

As to what I ultimately chose I went with two 100 ah 12 volt Battleborn Lithium Iron Phoshate batteries.  They provide 200 ah of useable power.  Being conservative I am not expecting to use the full capacity before recharge.  They weigh less than half the previous flooded lead/acid golf cart batteries and easily fit the original PC slide out  battery tray.  I had multiple conversations by phone and email with Battleborn and another popular supplier.  Battleborn batteries typically are premium priced.  I have found their technical and commercial service was first class.  The other popular supplier though cheaper I found was not very responsive and sorely lacking as to their technical support.  Battleborn is currently running a sale though still premium priced they are becoming more attractive for anyone that truly relies on their batteries to make RVing more enjoyable.  Battery technology is making major improvements in terms of performance and cost with more and more applications getting away from the dated lead acid designs and going to the new chemistries.  On the flip side if your RVing means going to campsites with electrical hookup or you and your neighbors don’t mind the generator noise it is tough to beat the initial cost of two 6 volt GC2 flooded lead/acid golf cart batteries sold at Sam’s Club for about $90 apiece.  It should also be pointed out that solar in the right conditions and/or frequent moves so as to allow the alternator to recharge the coach batteries can also minimize generator run time.

Initially at least for me there seemed an aura of complexity associated with the use of Lithium.  What I am finding is yes there are some unique requirements for Lithium but probably no more complex than the requirements to properly apply lead acid technology, just different.  If you are considering the Lithium option and are not familiar with Lithium requirements I recommend finding a reputable battery supplier with skilled application tech support that can and will guide you in the proper use of Lithium technology.

In conclusion there is no single “right answer” for every application.  Several factors need to be considered when choosing a battery system.

Sorry for the lengthy post but I hope this might be helpful to anyone needing for whatever reason to replace their current coach batteries.  I would also be curious what others that have already made the switch to Lithium have found.

General Discussion / PC Roof Question
« on: April 25, 2021, 06:06:49 pm »
I have a question for anyone that has information regarding a solar panel installation or knowledge of the Phoenix roof construction.  During the initial order specification I had  Phoenix install two 160 watt panels behind the air conditioner.  I am considering adding two more panels in front of the AC. 

Prior to the construction I was told PC would install a plywood panel between the aluminum roof supports to attach and support the solar panels.  I asked them to also add similar plywood panels in front of the AC in case I wanted to add two more solar panels in the future.  Unfortunately I did not see this to confirm exactly what was done as the fiberglass skin and the interior head liner panels were already in place on my next visit to the factory.  It appears the solar panel support brackets are screwed or bolted to the roof between the aluminum roof support members.

The PC panel installation has been without issue. If anyone has installed a solar panel or seen how the factory does this I would be very interested in how the panel is attached to the roof.  How is the standard roof constructed?

This is a photo of my factory panel installation and another photo of the planned solar panel addition.

General Discussion / Lithium Battery Upgrade
« on: April 05, 2021, 09:59:01 am »
As our 2 six volt flooded lead acid batteries near the end of their useful life I am contemplating replacing them with two 100 ah Lithium batteries.  Our existing lead/acid ones are OEM installed and are approaching 5 years old.

For those PC owners that have purchased the Lithium battery option or retrofitted with Lithium one of my main questions centers around the engine alternator charge system.  The basic Phoenix system uses a solenoid to allow charging of the coach batteries while the engine is running.  Because the Lithium units have much lower internal resistance than the lead/acid units I would anticipate significantly higher amperage (charge rate).  I am concerned this may overload the Ford alternator and cause early failure.

I see on the internet some recommend a DC to DC charger to regulate current flow and thus not overload the alternator.  I am curious if Phoenix Lithium installations include anything to regulate this current flow or if the basic PC installed alternator charging system is adequate?

I have a Progressive Dynamics PD9270 converter that I will have to determine if it is suitable.  The same goes for the Morningstar solar controller.

I anticipate with all the crowded National Park and National Forest campgrounds I will be looking to do more boondocking thus my current interest in Lithium.  I know the use of the generator will adequately provide power but because of noise I prefer not to run it.

Any thoughts or experiences with Lithium batteries would be much appreciated.

General Discussion / Low Point Drain Valve Help
« on: June 07, 2020, 08:53:00 am »
One of my two low point drain valves will not completely close.  One valve when pushing down snaps shut as it should.  The other one allows the “stem” to move up and down but for some reason it will not snap closed.  I was thinking of removing the metal snap clip at the top in order to remove the stem to determine if there is an O ring that is out of position and to check for foreign material preventing the valve from completely closing. 

The valve is installed using a compression PEX connection while reliable is not so easy to change out thus I am hoping the valve can be repaired in place.

Anyone had a similar problem?  Any suggestions?

General Discussion / Refrigerator fire reminder
« on: September 11, 2019, 08:13:03 am »
I know many if not most of you are familiar with the Norcold issues but I thought if any are not aware of the safety issues it might save someone a potentially serious safety event.

We arrived yesterday in a commercial campground in Moab, Utah and shortly after pulling into our site we noticed a senior couple removing the bottom refrigerator access cover from their class A RV.  After seeing them repeatedly go inside and then back out to the open panel I asked if I could help.  They said their refrigerator had stopped working 3-4 hours earlier and they had called an RV tech but were doubting he was going to show up.  She had been researching potential issues on the internet and found out how to reset the controls with a magnet but had not been successful in resetting the switch.

Fortunately the RV Tech arrived about that time and begin to diagnose the problem.  Their coach was a 2007 with a Norcold refrigerator.  He found the fridge was equipped with the over temperature thermal cut off system that was part of the safety recall.  He also found some yellowish residue in the cooling compartment.  At that point he refused to do anything more including resetting the switch for fear of fire liability.  He recommended replacing the refrigerator with a residential unit which the owners agreed and allowed him to order it for replacement in a couple of days.

He showed them this video which is eye opening. [size=78%]https://www.rvtravel.com/norcold-refrigerators-recalled-for-spontaneously-catching-fire/[/size]

Anyone that is using one of the refrigerators that are part of this recall should make themselves fully knowledgeable before resetting the safety switch or perform any other repair work.

General Discussion / W. P. Franklin CG
« on: December 20, 2018, 05:08:33 pm »
Site 16 is available from 2/21 - 3/2 at W. P. Franklin COE CG in SW Florida.

General Discussion / Backup Camera Help
« on: October 22, 2018, 03:10:32 pm »
On our last Phoenix trip the backup camera screen stopped working.  The monitor changed to a blue screen and displayed “No Signal”.  I checked the monitor wiring in the panel above the windshield and everything appeared secure.  I disconnected and reconnected the connector just in case the problem was oxidation.  I repeated the connector inspection at the camera on the rear of the coach.   I accessed the camera wiring by removing the top center marker light and was able to pull out the camera wiring. 

I called Phoenix and ordered a replacement camera and connected it but no change, monitor still displayed “No Signal”.  Thinking maybe a bad cable from the rear to the cab monitor but since this has worked very reliably for over two years the probability of this failing is low.  Are there any fuses or other connections between the camera and monitor?  Any thoughts on how to check for bad cable using a volt/ohmmeter?  Could it be a bad monitor?

I have a call in to Dave Ponsler at the factory hoping he may give me further troubleshooting instructions.  I would appreciate any suggestions here as how I could get the backup system operational. I didn’t realize how much I used and depended on the system until it stopped working.


Adventure Anywhere / W. P. Franklin COE CG availability Feb 2019
« on: August 28, 2018, 02:20:54 pm »
Campsite 9 is available from Feb 9th to the 16th.  This campground is near Fort Myers, Fl and is popular with many PC owners.

General Discussion / Electrical - Potential Fire Issue
« on: June 10, 2018, 08:29:21 am »
We are coming up on two years since we picked up on our PC at the factory.  So far the 110 volt system including the surge protector, converter, automatic transfer switches (ATS), and inverter have worked well.  However, reading on other forums about issues with other makes of RVs with smoking electrical components has got my attention.  There appears to have been a number of events caused by poor connections that have led to burnt conductor insulation. 

It would make sense under normal operation the wiring and connector would experience some amount of heat.  Depending on the amount of load on the circuit, wire size, oxidation at contact points, and other factors the heating could over time further increase resistance and cause further heating.  The temperature potentially could cause the wire insulation to char and could further develop into a full blown fire.

I don’t want to be an alarmist on this but I am curious if any PC owners have experienced problems resulting from electrical connector/contact over heat conditions?  I plan on checking the various connections to assure they are properly tightened.  Some sources have recommended doing this annually.  Do others practice this preventative maintenance?

General Discussion / Door Safety Handle
« on: June 01, 2018, 09:40:56 am »
Being somewhat concerned for a while about falling when entering and exiting the PC and after seeing what the factory had done at the request of a new owner I decided to install a safety handle inside the entrance door.  I had a friend that fell while exiting his motor home and broke his leg and suffered for several months with a cast and later recovery.  My friend’s injury along with the fact that as we age one needs to take precautions to reduce the chance of injury spurred me to install the handle.  I found the stainless steel marine handle on Amazon and installed it in about 15 minutes.  Thanks to the forum member who initially posted on this modification.

General Discussion / Boom times in Elkhart
« on: April 05, 2018, 03:04:51 pm »
Wish campground growth was keeping up with RV sales.


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