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Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power

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njheart on the road

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2012, 07:18:42 am »
Thank you guys -- Ron, Tom, and George -- stepping up to the PC from its small country cousins (B vans), I was concerned that perhaps the Phoenix was set up somehow differently, and the last thing I want, now that we are going into winter hibernation here in Illinois, was to go out and find out one weekend that I had "killed" another battery -- in this case two! -- because I didn't understand how it all worked with this big baby.  I had a pretty good routine with the PW, keeping it ship shape even during the off season with regard to plumbing and batteries and such, so now that we have applied "Miracle Grow Wax" (what we are teasingly saying to our camping buddies, because "Look, it grew!!!!!!) and the PW has become a PC, there's a whole lot more to maintain.  Batteries are my primary concern next to plumbing in the winter -- so this education has been important.

And if sis and I decide to do a little more boondocking as we adventure out more and more -- I will be prepared with a little more knowledge about the batteries than I had before...Again, thanks -- I really appreciate these mini seminars via the forum, guys.  Lots of helpful votes!
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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 01:00:03 pm »
...Daily use of 110v appliances (via the inverter) like making coffee and watching movies, drains the batteries quickly...
Which is why we have a small, stove top percolator so we can make coffee using gas!
-Zorba
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2013, 02:32:52 pm »
This trip in 2013, we had electric hookup for 2 nights over the 30 day period.  It was our first trip taken without our tow vehicle.  This meant we drove the PC everywhere.  Oh course the batteries get charged while driving.
  
Another thing we did different was running the generator for about an hour most mornings.  During that time we'd make coffee with our electric drip coffee maker, charge the coach batteries, laptop computer, camera, and cell phone batteries.  We also heated up the hot water tank for the day.

Between those two main changes, our battery reserves never went low so we never had to resort to the Black & Decker charger.

If you are wondering about hot water, we always resorted to propane when it came to showering up.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 01:36:06 pm by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2013, 12:58:06 pm »
I would like to clarify the battery charging for our readers.
The Inverter DOES NOT charge the batteries, it is XADC-60 Converter that outputs the DC power and charges the batteries.

The problem with charging batteries when hooked to 110v power or using the generator is that the converter is not set up to fully charge your batteries.
The converter floats at 13.5 volts and charges max at 14.2 volts. The battery manufacturers recommend 14.8 volts.
The result for most RV'rs is that you probably only get your batteries charged to 80% of capacity. So they still work but they discharge quicker than they should.

When you use a solar array and a good charge controller you find the float set up at 13,7 volts and the max at 14.9 volts. The batteries get fully charged.

I think I will post a few electrical system schematics of PC's 110v & DC power systems on a separate post to clarify how they are wired.



John

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KenBrockman

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2016, 04:56:56 pm »
Having just read through this thread, I thought I'd add some notes:

Newer PC models have a Parallax Converter (AC to DC) and a Xantrex 1800 Inverter (DC to AC).

The converter provides lighting and charges the house batteries from either shore power or the generator.  It is a smart charger that can be used for long term battery maintenance.

UPDATE -- My mistake.  The Parallax 555 (which is on my 2014 model) is not a smart charger so it will boil your battery if continuously left on (there is a battery connection switch by the entry door of the 2552).  I am looking into a replacement for the converter section to get smart charging.

The inverter provides 110V AC from the house batteries.  If you are on shore/gen power, then the inverter has a built-in transfer switch to bypass use of the batteries.

Regarding disconnecting the Inverter when dry camping:  Things have gotten better.
"The XM 1800ís low standby battery demand means you donít have to
worry about excessive drain on your battery if you leave the inverter on
for a few days. When the XM 1800 is on but no power is being
supplied to a load, the inverter draws, on average, less than 0.5 A (XM
1000) or less than 0.7 A (XM 1800) from the battery."

« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 11:13:34 am by KenBrockman »

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Kat

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2018, 06:42:00 pm »
Thank you, Ron Dittmer, for your post regarding your 2007 Tripp-Lite inverter.  I was thrilled to learn I could turn off the Inverter on the unit itself, and the disconnect cable to the battery was right where you said it was.  We were out on our maiden voyage in the forest and our battery drained within 24 hours (to our horror)!  Your post saved us $$ in a service call.  We are reading all of your posts and appreciate all of your hints and suggestions.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2018, 08:17:20 pm »
Hi Kat,

You are very welcome.  I am glad to read others like you are utilizing my old posts.

You are like us with older PCs setup different electrically.  We both have the 2000w Tripp-Lite inverter, not separate inverters and converter/chargers which replaced the Tripp-Lite some years later.  Some of my tips and tricks won't apply to current-day units, but many still apply.

Ron
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2018, 09:02:26 am »
I should also add that four years ago, I made a change with the type of batteries.  When I initiated this post back in 2007, our PC had two 12V lead acid batteries.  Four years ago when I needed to replace the batteries again (set #3), I decided to replace them with two 6V AGM batteries.  These two batteries still work like new.  They are so So SO much better than any 12V batteries I had before.  They charge extremely well and hold their charge extremely well.  Energy reserves seem nearly double that of 12V batteries.  CLICK HERE to read all about it.  The 6V AGM batteries I bought from Sam's Club are twice the cost of the wet acid 12v I bought at Walmart, but they are on the path of lasting 3 to 4 times longer, and they remain perfectly clean with no acid boil-overs and clean terminals.

Another improvement I made was adding a volt meter to monitor the batteries much more closely.  The PC battery monitor was very misleading.  By the time the PC monitor light went from green to yellow, I was already too late in charging the batteries.  CLICK HERE to read about it.  I installed an affordable fancy 12V meter, but you can simply use a $9 12V socket type and plug it into your 12V outlet in your passenger side upper cabinet.

Converting our interior lighting from florescent & incandescent, to 100% LED (CLICK HERE FOR THE DETAILS) also made a huge improvement in our battery reserves.

Everything in combination have made our battery reserves much much better.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 09:50:25 am by Ron Dittmer »
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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2018, 08:05:19 pm »
I had wondered about those huge solar panels that some here have mounted to their roofs, but given we seek shade tree campsites all the time, they wouldn't be putting out much.

My 800 w panels do well even on cloudy days with 6-8 amps.
Your Word our Lord is a light to my feet and a lantern to my path...  Ps 119

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2020, 12:46:22 pm »
This article pertains specifically to the earlier model year Phoenix Cruisers that have the Tripp-Lite brand inverter installed.  This may or may not apply to the newer models with the Xantrex inverter.

Historically we had a lack of battery power with our 2007-2350 when camping without 110V hook-up.  Because we camp without 110V most of the time, this becomes a regular problem.  I experimented on weekend get-aways this year with the power inverter, soon realizing a significant improvement in battery reserves by keeping the inverter powered off except when needed.  I did so using the little switch on the inverter itself, not using the control panel.

I later discussed this with Kermit of Phoenix USA.  He educated me on the Tripp-Lite power inverter.  He said it uses 12 amps when sitting idle.  It is not an issue if you drive the RV, then plug into 110v when at your destination, as most people do.  But if you stay in a primitive campground without 110v hookup, you need to make a simple modification.

On the black Tripp-Lite control panel, plugged into the side of it, is a head phones style jack.  Simply unplug it.  Doing that disables the auto-on feature, utilized by the kill-all/power-up switch at the RV's entry door.  The inverter is then controlled exclusively at the Tripp-Lite control panel.  At that panel, when switched to Auto-Invert, the inverter is ready to generate 110v on demand.  In that mode, the inverter is consuming 12 amps.  When switched to Line/Charge Only, the inverter is off so you loose your 110v, but the batteries would still get charged if plugged into 110v or when the generator is running.  In Line/Charge Only mode, you have stopped that 12 amp battery drain.

Regardless if the head phone plug is in or out, your batteries will always get charged when driving the motor home.

On our 2007 2350, you can unplug that connector by simply reaching up behind it from below through the cabinet door underneath it, unplug it from the right side.  The other connector, a telephone style plug facing down, must be left plugged in.  If you can't get to your plug that way, just remove the 4 front panel screws to pull the panel forward, which is easy enough.

Now we leave the Tripp-Lite control panel to Line/Charge Only (inverter is then off) except when we want to use a 110v appliance.  That saves the batteries.  We are now able to camp without hook-ups for an extended period of time.

You asked for it Ron! 

We have the same year and model PC so I assume we have the same inverter (Tripp-Lite) and I liked your suggestion: "On the black Tripp-Lite control panel, plugged into the side of it, is a head phones style jack.  Simply unplug it.  Doing that disables the auto-on feature, utilized by the kill-all/power-up switch at the RV's entry door."; however, when I looked on the inverter for a "head phones style jack" I did not see one. I did see plugs for "remote generator start" and "battery temp. sensor". Could you be more specific about where this plug might be located? Thanks!   
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.- A. Einstein

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2020, 04:50:36 pm »
Could you be more specific about where this plug might be located?
The headphones style jack is located on the side of the control panel for the Tripp-Lite.  In my 2007 without the slide out, the control panel is located as shown to the right of the circuit breaker panel.  Just open the cabinet door below it, reach up to feel it, and unplug it.  You could use a mirror to first identify it so you know where to feel.  As an alternative, you could unscrew the panel from the cabinet, but it is much easier to just reach up from below.


It's great to have some owners of the older PCs here on the forum.  There are not too many of us with "Oldie's".

Unrelated: Do you have a rear stabilizer bar on your 2006 or 2007 E350 chassis?  Our 2007 E350 chassis did not originally have one.  Maybe a previous owner installed one on yours.  If not, you will definitely want to install a rear heavy duty stabilizer bar.  It is a nice affordable DIY project with huge paybacks.  But I would not stop there either.  Look through my write-ups on suspension upgrades.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 05:02:30 pm by Ron Dittmer »
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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2020, 06:20:27 pm »
Could you be more specific about where this plug might be located?
The headphones style jack is located on the side of the control panel for the Tripp-Lite.  In my 2007 without the slide out, the control panel is located as shown to the right of the circuit breaker panel.  Just open the cabinet door below it, reach up to feel it, and unplug it.  You could use a mirror to first identify it so you know where to feel.  As an alternative, you could unscrew the panel from the cabinet, but it is much easier to just reach up from below.


It's great to have some owners of the older PCs here on the forum.  There are not too many of us with "Oldie's".

Unrelated: Do you have a rear stabilizer bar on your 2006 or 2007 E350 chassis?  Our 2007 E350 chassis did not originally have one.  Maybe a previous owner installed one on yours.  If not, you will definitely want to install a rear heavy duty stabilizer bar.  It is a nice affordable DIY project with huge paybacks.  But I would not stop there either.  Look through my write-ups on suspension upgrades.
Aha! It's on the control panel, not on the inverter itself. I went out and checked and it has already been unplugged. I guess the PO read your posts on this already!  Also, our PC does have a rear sway bar.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.- A. Einstein

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2020, 08:29:08 pm »
......our PC does have a rear sway bar.
Check your front sway bar.  If the ends pass through rubber grommets in the control arms, you have the original one.  That one is very whimpy, the same installed on an E150 van.  Making matters worse is the "play" that develops inside the end grommets from general wear.  If you have the original front sway bar, I advise to replace it with a heavy duty version, either Helwig or Roadmaster.

With heavy duty front and rear sway bars, you will drive through winding mountain and canyon roads much much safer.  The heavy duty versions do a much better job of keeping all 4 tires firmly planted on the road for improved control and braking.  You could keep making improvements, but those two provide the most bang for the buck.  Heavy duty Bilstein RV shocks would be the next runner up.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 08:34:28 pm by Ron Dittmer »
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Re: Conserving Battery Reserves Without Shore Power
« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2020, 08:45:44 pm »
I will look over the front bar. It is probably stock. I am aware of the impact of good sway bars on handling from my autocrossing days. 
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.- A. Einstein