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Old 11-27-2005, 12:36 PM   #15
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when i first got my Moho I left it plugged int shore power thinking I was doing myself a favor by saving battery life. It fried both fairly new GM Delcos in a short time. I replced with an inexpensive Wal Mart chassis battery and a more expensive yellow top house one, used the disconnect blade, and I have not had a problem since. I check the charge level every week or so, and plug in when it drops below fully charged if not driving the coach.
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Old 11-27-2005, 06:03 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info. I'm going out to cut mine off right now. Must be something different with the MH setup. My "new" 370 has 3 very good and almost new batteries. I certainly don't want to cook them. I've always used just cheap batteries in my trailers, but I have noticed that the electrics of the house battery system are far superior on the Airstream than I've ever experienced with any trailer. Do you meter yours with one of those digital plug-in meters, or just check each at the battery with a mulitimeter?

Noiva (Tim)
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:33 AM   #17
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Arrow

Just to throw a “spanner-in-the-works”, I recently lost the generator - it died in a cloud of smoke and flame - probably a simple thing like bushes. However it gave me the excuse to get rid of the genny. (I hate generators with a passion - noisy smelly etc..) The only time I can see using it is for the AC and that wont happen too often here in the UK! I would rather sit out side under the awning than in a “cocoon” watching the world go by….any way I digress…

The space it left gave me the opportunity to fit in two more 110Amp/Hr Batteries, the 240VAC distribution panel, a 3kWatt Inverter (12vdc to 115vac) and a battery charger. It also rendered the Univolt surplus to requirements.

But! What a difference..... The voltage now from the house batteries increased by as much as 1.1 - 1.2 vdc. From this I can only assume that either the Univolt doesn’t have any blocking diodes or that they were not working.

So if the house batteries do lose power, remove the house battery positive connection from the fuse panel and check for any current loss between the cable and the connection.

Hope this helps

Chuck
Dorset UK

PS. Any UK members going to any shows in the UK this year?

PPS. I have a local chap who has made me the graphics (Wave) for the spare wheel cover; it’s a beauty (also smaller ones for the wheel hubs) – photos to follow when fitted. Also we may be able to make up new covers in GRP.
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:36 AM   #18
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[quote=Chuckles]Just to throw a “spanner-in-the-works”, I recently lost the generator - it died in a cloud of smoke and flame - probably a simple thing like bushes. However it gave me the excuse to get rid of the genny. (I hate generators with a passion - noisy smelly etc..) The only time I can see using it is for the AC and that wont happen too often here in the UK! I would rather sit out side under the awning than in a “cocoon” watching the world go by….any way I digress…

The space it left gave me the opportunity to fit in two more 110Amp/Hr Batteries, the 240VAC distribution panel, a 3kWatt Inverter (12vdc to 115vac) and a battery charger. It also rendered the Univolt surplus to requirements.

But! What a difference..... The voltage now from the house batteries increased by as much as 1.1 - 1.2 vdc. From this I can only assume that either the Univolt doesn’t have any blocking diodes or that they were not working.

So if the house batteries do lose power, remove the house battery positive connection from the fuse panel and check for any current loss between the cable and the connection.

Hope this helps

Chuck
Dorset UK]

Chuck,

As this is the first motorhome I've owned, and all my previous vehicles were trailers, this is also my first experience with generators. I have always thought-as you-that they were noisy, smelly, and totally unnecessary. Sounds like you have greatly improved your setup with the death of your gen. (What's the 240VAC distribution panel for? Does it have to do with the European use of 240 vs 120 in the USA?) However, since I live in Virginia, traveling without AC can be very difficult. With the trailers, I was traveling in an air-conditioned tow vehicle. With the MoHo I've learned it's usually impossible to get enough cooling from the dash AC, and the forward roof air unit has become almost a necessity on the highway. For that reason, if for no other, I have seen the need of the generator. I use mine only on the highway in hot weather. I try to never use it in a campground unless I'm without electrical hookup and the batteries need a boost to keep the 12v up. Then I just run it for short periods as needed.

Since this is the first MoHo I've owned, I'm still learning all the time. I'm experimenting this winter with leaving the MoHo plugged into my garage current (120v). I check the batteries at least monthly, and take the MoHo out for about an hour drive once a month. So far, so good. I think if I ever have to leave it unplugged for any length of time, I'll disconnect the batteries since I see no way to stop the constant "trickle" leaks that are inherent in an electrical system like a recreational vehicle. I'll likely install the disconnect blades as have been discussed on this thread if I run into that situation.

Just as an aside, we have friends in Lightwater Surrey, southeast of London. They came here in 1993 and spent two weeks. They stayed in our trailer in our back yard. We had a great time. The lady was my wife's 6th grade "pen pal", we had never seen each other before, and by the time they left we all felt like old friends.

Best,
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:04 PM   #19
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Thumbs up Batteries in AS 350

In general, the main reason that us folk are having problems with our batteries is that the charging systems in the older AS MH's are, shall we say, POO. (ask your dog, if you don't understand!) The problems, without being technical, are:

1. There is insufficient capacity in the battery banks supplied, causing the "deep cycle" batteries to cycle through a very wide range of state of charge (50% or more) during use. This causes the batteries to fail prematurely--usually because the plates in the battery "clog up" (highly technical term here) and are never "equalized" to "unclog" them.

2. The normal charging cycles in our systems are too primitive to take advantage of the best currently available battery technology today. My 350 has an energenius (ca. 1991) which is a two stage charger without (as nearly as I can tell--there was no technical info with it) any charge sensing or temperature compensating capabilities. Left to its own devices, it will charge batteries until they fry themselves.

Our UK friend is on the right track. The proper answer is to double (or more) the Amp Hour capacities of our battery systems (so they cycle, on the whole, to something like 20-25% of capacity instead of 50-80%) and use a best quality battery charging system which is designed to properly charge AND maintain these bigger battery systems.

Example: My 350 was designed to have 2 series 27 deep cycle house batteries, or ABOUT a total Amp Hour capacity of 210 AH. If I am really careful when off the grid, we use about 70-80 AH in 24 hours for all purposes. That's about 40% of capaqcity. At that cycle rate, 40% per day, and without any further action on my part, the charger must replace 80 per cent of my capacity every two days. The charge cycle might be, say, 6 amps, which means it will take more than 12 hours just to bring my battery voltage back up to what my system thinks is a full charge (it won't be, but nevermind.)
That's a lot of generator time!

Bottom Line:

A deeper, larger battery box should be fitted to allow the AH capacity usage to be no more than 20-25% of total capacity, and you should replace the stock charging system in your AS with the best available today. Over the life of your vehicle, it will pay you every day.

PS I don't work for anyone that makes this stuff, and never will.

Rob Alley
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:26 PM   #20
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370LE Motorhome Batteries

The 370LE MH system is not the same as all other models.
On all 370's came standard with a inverter charger not a
converter charger like on trailers. When pluged into shore
power the inverter charges only the house batteries. The
starting battery starts the engine and the Onan generator.
When the Onan plant is running the house batteries are
charged with the inverter and the start battery is charged
with the DC charge system from the Onan plant. The only
you can charge the start battery when pluged into shore
power is to use one small jump cable from the positive post on the house battery to the positive post on the start
battery or use a small AC battery charger. Pat370
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:44 PM   #21
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Chargers

Rob,

Thanks for all the info. I'm going to print it out so I can have it for reference. A question for you - the original Energenius in my 1989 370 died in 2002 and was replaced by a "state of the art" converter/charger by Airstream (before I got the MoHo) without any inverter capabilities. It's a MagneTek 45 AMP, Series 7300, Model 7345. According to the literature that came with the charger, it is fully capable of keeping the house batteries charged and has a full range of automatically controlled charge rates up to the 45 AMP rating of the unit. It also claims to taper to a "few hundred milliamps". Does that sound like it will do what I need without having to add battery capacity? For reference, I rarely camp without shore power, so the ability to operate away from shore power seldom happens. I have not had the opportunity yet to do any camping, but my checking during this past fall and winter are showing no problems with the batteries by leaving them connected to the MagneTek. As mentioned, I take the MoHo out at least once a month for a good workout of all systems, including the generator. What do you think?
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat370
The 370LE MH system is not the same as all other models.
On all 370's came standard with a inverter charger not a
converter charger like on trailers. When pluged into shore
power the inverter charges only the house batteries. The
starting battery starts the engine and the Onan generator.
When the Onan plant is running the house batteries are
charged with the inverter and the start battery is charged
with the DC charge system from the Onan plant. The only
you can charge the start battery when pluged into shore
power is to use one small jump cable from the positive post on the house battery to the positive post on the start
battery or use a small AC battery charger. Pat370
Pat,

When Airstream replaced my original setup they apparently wired it to charge the house and starting batteries. My metering shows the same charge at all 3 batteries when plugged into my garage current (engine/generator off). I just keep check on the electrolyte, and so far, so good.
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:08 PM   #23
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Tim: I can't address your particular system--but bear in mind that the critical element is the percentage of your Amp Hour (AH) capacity you use (and have to replace) every day. If your daily energy budget (the amount of juice you use) is more than 25% of your total battery AH capacity when fully charged, whether you are plugged in or not, add battery capacity. It will pay you back in the long run. If you haven't figured out an "energy budget," try it and see what you are using (and maybe what you can do without.....).

Overall, try to keep your charge cycle curve as flat as possible--having to replace 10 or 20 percent of your capacity every day is much more efficient than having to replace 40 or 60 percent. In batteries, flatter curves are better!!!
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Old 02-26-2006, 01:58 PM   #24
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Well!…. I have just returned from a long weekend without any shore power, and I made the most classic mistake of all. After all my advice to others and reading the same advice in all the magazines, I did it… coupled two banks of batteries together. Nothing wrong in that, I hear you say… Well there is when there is a very large unknown factor. The state of one of the banks of batteries, namely the original coach ones.

I charged up both sets by driving for about an hour to the campsite using the engine alternator. Fine, I had two sets of batteries, one 2-x 110Amp/hrs (new) and the others that do not show an amp/hr rating just a cold cranking. Any way they were about .75 of a volt different. But then I forgot to isolate the new set. It was below freezing and we had a small party on the Friday night; most lights on low setting, water going and of course a water heater with a dickie flame sensor, so that was on and off all the time… result? On our return from the pub on the Saturday night the fan of the furnace was just about running – cold – and the outside porch light a very low glow. We said our goodnights and disappeared under the duvet, me with my tail firmly parked!

(At least there was not so much condensation next morning….only ice!)

I then calculated the amp hours needed for a long weekend. There was the furnace rated at 4.5 amps, lights at approximately 0.75amp per bulb, the water heater, pump, toilet…. Need I go on? The upshot is that the requirements are huge, well compared with what we have been used to in our thirty-five years of caravanning! It came out to about a requirement closing in to 320 amp hours.

So its now practice what you preach time. I plan to buy that 80watt solar panel and fix that to the roof so it’s permanently in service. Replace the coach batteries with some similar to the new set, and possible add another one or two in the genny bay. The charger I am looking for will be about an 18amp rating and will prioritise on the new banks that in turn will be acting as the 3Kwatt inverter power and backup to the normal coach batteries. Then……..

Now were's that little plastic thing…..
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Old 02-26-2006, 05:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckles
Well!…. I have just returned from a long weekend without any shore power, and I made the most classic mistake of all. After all my advice to others and reading the same advice in all the magazines, I did it… coupled two banks of batteries together. Nothing wrong in that, I hear you say… Well there is when there is a very large unknown factor. The state of one of the banks of batteries, namely the original coach ones.

I charged up both sets by driving for about an hour to the campsite using the engine alternator. Fine, I had two sets of batteries, one 2-x 110Amp/hrs (new) and the others that do not show an amp/hr rating just a cold cranking. Any way they were about .75 of a volt different. But then I forgot to isolate the new set. It was below freezing and we had a small party on the Friday night; most lights on low setting, water going and of course a water heater with a dickie flame sensor, so that was on and off all the time… result? On our return from the pub on the Saturday night the fan of the furnace was just about running – cold – and the outside porch light a very low glow. We said our goodnights and disappeared under the duvet, me with my tail firmly parked!

(At least there was not so much condensation next morning….only ice!)

I then calculated the amp hours needed for a long weekend. There was the furnace rated at 4.5 amps, lights at approximately 0.75amp per bulb, the water heater, pump, toilet…. Need I go on? The upshot is that the requirements are huge, well compared with what we have been used to in our thirty-five years of caravanning! It came out to about a requirement closing in to 320 amp hours.

So its now practice what you preach time. I plan to buy that 80watt solar panel and fix that to the roof so it’s permanently in service. Replace the coach batteries with some similar to the new set, and possible add another one or two in the genny bay. The charger I am looking for will be about an 18amp rating and will prioritise on the new banks that in turn will be acting as the 3Kwatt inverter power and backup to the normal coach batteries. Then……..

Now were's that little plastic thing…..
Chuck,

Maybe that smelly dirty generator isn't so bad after all . Just kidding.
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Old 03-01-2006, 12:20 PM   #26
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WOW!! I would re-calculate your actual usage. 320 AH daily (even given recent weather in the UK) sounds very high--or you need to cut a light off!!

It may be that you are using the rating for the fan in your heater based on continuous running, ditto for the water heater, etc. You will get a more reasonable result if you can measure actual running times for these and other appliances.

I'm curious--what does your loo need electricity for? The seat warmer or the aiming sight? (Sorry, too good to pass up!!)

Rob Alley
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Old 03-01-2006, 03:41 PM   #27
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Err! The loo.... yeah right! Well it’s like this.... DURING…. there is this aroma?? and there is a fan (extract type? not a loving person!!) and then after there is this flushing thing....

Seriously I know that the rating was a little on the high side, but it was cold and that water heater would not run for a while, possibly failed flame sensor, so it was a case of continuous trying to start; but we did have a party and the drink was flowing (in) and.... you guessed it!

This was our first trip and things like the lights were, to us fascinating, there was so many, and we did not have any single table lights. Any way the rating was calculated as a requirement for a long weekend, erring on the side of caution.

We are off again next weekend after I have repaired the big slide out chest behind the driver, the runners broke, and I have to fit the new wheel cover with its new Airstream "Wave" logo. So we will see what happens with the battery bank run separately.


Chuck
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Old 03-01-2006, 03:54 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckles
Err! The loo.... yeah right! Well it’s like this.... DURING…. there is this aroma?? and there is a fan (extract type? not a loving person!!) and then after there is this flushing thing....

Seriously I know that the rating was a little on the high side, but it was cold and that water heater would not run for a while, possibly failed flame sensor, so it was a case of continuous trying to start; but we did have a party and the drink was flowing (in) and.... you guessed it!

This was our first trip and things like the lights were, to us fascinating, there was so many, and we did not have any single table lights. Any way the rating was calculated as a requirement for a long weekend, erring on the side of caution.

We are off again next weekend after I have repaired the big slide out chest behind the driver, the runners broke, and I have to fit the new wheel cover with its new Airstream "Wave" logo. So we will see what happens with the battery bank run separately.


Chuck
Chuck,

You SURE you don't want to go back to a generator ?
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