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Old 04-06-2014, 04:58 PM   #1
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Batteries for Interior Lights, Appliances...etc

Hello, I have question... I've been driving my interstate getting it ready for spring, I noticed the status of internal batteries by the control panel says "battery very low". It's at the point where the LED lights are starting to flicker.
I was under the impression if your driving you're Interstate around the chassis engine will charge the internal batteries for your interior of the vehicle (lights, appliances, TV..etc). Was I correct in that assumption? What am I doing wrong to not get the batteries fully charged?

On a side note, I've been good to make sure I'm not running 6 different lights or appliances at once. I even turn off the main battery power switch near the sliding door (The 2014 Interstates have as a standard feature). I just can't seem to get a full charge by just running the chassis!?! What tricks would you recommend or what am I doing wrong ? Thank you
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:22 PM   #2
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That main battery power switch you speak of needs to be on.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:24 PM   #3
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The alternator is supposed to keep the house batteries charged along with the chassis battery.

Try going to shore power to see if the house batteries will charge that way. If not, might get the BIM checked either way.

Quote:
That main battery power switch you speak of needs to be on.
Even w/ the engine running? Mine charges from the solar panel or engine w/ the Main battery switch off. Maybe the new ones are different in that respect.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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Ok, I thought I might have had the main battery switch on when driving (near front sliding door). I will doublecheck when I go back to the vehicle. How long does it take to fully charge the internal batteries when driving? 1 hour, 2 hours 5 hours? Maybe I'm not driving long enough?

On a side note, should I also turn on the battery status to "ON" too (on the the control panel area)?
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:36 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, I can't do shore power right now. I live in a condominium type location with no option to do that... Plus, I am leaving to go on a trip this Friday, So I have some concerns
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:44 PM   #6
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How LONG are you driving it? 15 minutes or 2 hours? That makes a BIG difference in charging. Have you taken the time to run the generator, if you have one, to let that charge the batteries since you do not have a place to connect for shore power? Its a good idea to exercise the generator and turning on the main power, by the door, and making sure the inverter is ON with the generator running would be a good way to check everything. Once the generator is running you can look at the load on the one panel where you switch from 30 amp to 20 amp shore power. This will indicate a few amps which would indicate that the inverter is actually charging the batteries.

Also, how long has your unit been sitting without shore power and with the main disconnect turned off? The small 50 watt solar panel will not charge batteries from a highly discharged batteries, even if you are in Florida in full sunshine. 50 watts just is enough to keep small loads charged, like the propane monitor alarm, etc. which is not turned off via the main battery switch.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:12 PM   #7
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That sounds good... I'll go run the generator and make sure the battery status is set to "ON" in the Control Panel Display & make sure I have the main power switch turn "ON"too (by sliding door)

Side note: I've been driving the vehicle 1-1.5 hours every few days. However that might not be long enough after a long winter season.

*During the winter I was running the Interstate for 35 minutes once a week. I thought It would help, but it seems like it didn't do that much good?!?
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:31 PM   #8
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I think mine charges with the 12v switch at the door off & while I'm driving. I drove like 3 hours from drained to full.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric1514 View Post
That main battery power switch you speak of needs to be on.
I have to disagree with you eric1514 (fellow Sedonan )

Interstate1 - if you are unable to maintain a shore connection - which will keep the batteries topped up through the excellent Magnum inverter/charger - then you will have to drive the Interstate about 2 hours each week. There are numerous parasitic drains in the coach electronics, and turning off the coach power with the switch by the sliding door doesn't prevent those drains. There have been several threads on the topic over the last few months.
Also, if the coach batteries are allowed to be depleted below 50% more than a couple of times, its possible the batteries are damaged. You might want to ask your dealer to test them.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:03 PM   #10
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With everything off, including the inverter, my solar panel will maintain both the house and chassis batteries at 100% charge. The only drain I'm aware of is the propane alarm and the BIM.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interstate1 View Post
During the winter I was running the Interstate for 35 minutes once a week. I thought It would help, but it seems like it didn't do that much good?!?
Running the engine at idle is not the way to charge a battery. You'll get more effective charging if you're actually driving asnd getting the engine rpms up— which gets the alternator rpms up as well.
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With everything off, including the inverter, my solar panel will maintain both the house and chassis batteries at 100% charge. The only drain I'm aware of is the propane alarm and the BIM.
And the Kenwood head unit draining from the chassis battery to maintain its security settings.

In my case, also the Viper alarm system from the chassis battery, which requires me to drive somewhere about once a week— like that's a hardship!— to keep the chassis battery topped off because my dinky 50w solar panel won't keep up with the drain. Because of the Viper system, I can't disconnect the chassis system down by the accelerator pedal; every time I do, it sets off the alarm.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:55 PM   #12
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Running the engine at idle is not the way to charge a battery. You'll get more effective charging if you're actually driving asnd getting the engine rpms up— which gets the alternator rpms up as well.And the Kenwood head unit draining from the chassis battery to maintain its security settings.

Fortunately I'm stuck w/ the OEM MB System 20 (often referred to as a POS radio) and I don't think it draws any power when off.

In my case, also the Viper alarm system from the chassis battery, which requires me to drive somewhere about once a week— like that's a hardship!— to keep the chassis battery topped off because my dinky 50w solar panel won't keep up with the drain. Because of the Viper system, I can't disconnect the chassis system down by the accelerator pedal; every time I do, it sets off the alarm.
Would it do any good to connect the Viper direct to the battery or would disconnecting the chassis system w/ the disconnect switch create enuf of a current pulse to still trip the alarm?
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 73shark View Post
With everything off, including the inverter, my solar panel will maintain both the house and chassis batteries at 100% charge. The only drain I'm aware of is the propane alarm and the BIM.
Another power question so I thought I would put it here. I just picked up the new 2014.5 interstate EXT and I am completely confused with the battery situation (i had a 2012 but that power system control panel was different. Here are my specific questions:

1) If you turn off the battery disconnect switch that is in the doorway of the big sliding doors does that prevent the solar panel from keeping the house batteries charged? Seems that way as we have plenty of AZ sunshine but batteries still went from 100% to 50% in two days with the battery disconnect switch off- which seems to indicate to me that this disconnects the solar charger too.

2) With the batteries at 50% I started generator and pressed the on with on the little magnum panel. At that point the green light comes on labeled inverter?? Does that mean it is inverting for sure or only if the ten is not covering power needs? Frankly the old system seemed easier with the ability to flip a switch to either line/charge only or auto/invert??? Help!

3) It seemed to take a while to charge the house batteries from an indicated 50% so i changed setting on the magnum inverter to charge at 100% instead of charge rate 50% - is this ok??

Thanks All!
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:25 PM   #14
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I have a 2013 EXT, but here are my observations and experiences so far....

1) If you turn off the battery disconnect switch that is in the doorway of the big sliding doors does that prevent the solar panel from keeping the house batteries charged? Seems that way as we have plenty of AZ sunshine but batteries still went from 100% to 50% in two days with the battery disconnect switch off- which seems to indicate to me that this disconnects the solar charger too.


My 12 volt disconnect shutsdown EVERYTHING except the BIM.

2) With the batteries at 50% I started generator and pressed the on with on the little magnum panel. At that point the green light comes on labeled inverter?? Does that mean it is inverting for sure or only if the ten is not covering power needs? Frankly the old system seemed easier with the ability to flip a switch to either line/charge only or auto/invert??? Help!


You do not need to turn on the inverter. The Magnum unit will charge by itself.

3) It seemed to take a while to charge the house batteries from an indicated 50% so i changed setting on the magnum inverter to charge at 100% instead of charge rate 50% - is this ok??


I only use 100% when connected to shorepower. We (tech and myself) found that if I had it set at 100% and started the generator, it would overload the generator and it stalled. Apparently the Magnum can take more than the genset puts out. Surprised me but they did confirm it.

Thanks All![/QUOTE]
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