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Old 01-20-2013, 04:36 PM   #1
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Battery Isolation Manager

At the request of someone else w/ a similar problem, I'll post the details of my problem.

I first noticed it shortly after I got it in 2011 when it was sitting in the driveway on shore power. I heard a clicking relay under the rear lounge. It clicked slowly and the frequency varied from time to time down to zero. Mentioned it to dealer rep and he checked w/ Jim P., said it was just the normal action.

It does it on or off shore power and w/ the inverter on or off.

Last fall tho it started to click at what I would consider the maximum rate for a mechanical relay. That's when I noticed it would start as soon as the solar panel started charging and quit when not charging. Jim P. told dealer that it was the relay. Waiting on it to come in.

Another anomaly-The solar panel charges even when batteries above 12.45 VDC which, according to Jim P., it's not supposed to do but when advised of this, he said the current pulse in the BIM could be causing this. We'll see after get new relay in. Must be coming from China as it's been over a month now.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:06 PM   #2
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If it's just a normal battery isolator, they're not very expensive. For example, PPL has one for under $24. I'm guessing yours is special in some way, or I misunderstand what it's used for.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:39 AM   #3
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If it's just a normal battery isolator, they're not very expensive. For example, PPL has one for under $24. I'm guessing yours is special in some way, or I misunderstand what it's used for.
No, I believe the one on the RV is different in that it ensures that the chassis battery won't get drained by the coach loads but can be charged by the genset or solar panel. Also allows the coach batteries to be charged by the alternator.

Dealer called today and the new one is in but the recall for the barrier board isn't, so will wait 'til it's in and get 'em both done at the same time.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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Have you made it in yet? I need to get both of these things (clicking relay associtated with the solar panel and the recall) taken care of as well as a couple of other niggling details (cord coming loose in blinds, weatherstrip on bath fan coming apart for the second time, flickering light in bath) but I was hoping to hear if this took care of your problem before I dive in.

In addition to the clicking relay and alternating charge current on the solar panel readout, I also had another problem I am attributing to this. I accidentally left the shore power unhooked overnight with the tank heater turned on. Found it the next day with both the house and chassis batteries completely flat. Based on your description of the battery isolation manager's function I'm blaming a failed BIM for the fact that the chassis battery was dead as well as the house battery ... I know the house accessories are not supposed to be able to leave you stranded but would not have known that the BIM was responsible for that and the solar panel charging.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:16 PM   #5
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Have you made it in yet? I need to get both of these things (clicking relay associtated with the solar panel and the recall) taken care of as well as a couple of other niggling details (cord coming loose in blinds, weatherstrip on bath fan coming apart for the second time, flickering light in bath) but I was hoping to hear if this took care of your problem before I dive in.
I just had my recall taken care of last month while they were setting up my toad. Took them all of ten minutes, and they didn't have to even remove the bottom seat cushion to install it. Just open the rear doors, slide it in place, secure it with self-tapping screws front and rear, done.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:52 PM   #6
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I accidentally left the shore power unhooked overnight with the tank heater turned on. Found it the next day with both the house and chassis batteries completely flat.
Maybe not a faulty BIM at work here. I just went out to my Interstate to grab something I forgot to unload, and experimented a little. With the house batteries switched off, the lighted switch for the tank heater still lights when you turn it on. Only two possible explanations: (1) Tank heater draws off the house batteries bypassing the battery disconnect; or (2) tank heaters draw off the chassis battery the same way the retractable step and power awning do.

If (2) is true as I suspect, then the BIM is not at fault, as you were independently drawing off of both systems, chassis battery for the tank heater, house batteries for all of your AC current and house DC current requirements.

Side note, with the house batteries switched off and the inverter/charger switched to "invert" I still get power to televisions and microwave (both of which draw some power even when switched off), so the inverter definitely bypasses the house battery disconnect.

Sure would help if the Interstate owner's manual included a wiring schematic, wouldn't it?
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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If they included a wiring schematic it would be easier for customers to beat them up for wiring it wrong.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:31 PM   #8
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Side note, with the house batteries switched off and the inverter/charger switched to "invert" I still get power to televisions and microwave (both of which draw some power even when switched off), so the inverter definitely bypasses the house battery disconnect.
Hmmm .... my microwave does not have any power to it from the inverter. It only works if the generator is running or I am plugged into shore power. Don't suppose you were running off of shore power while you were experimenting?
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:34 PM   #9
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Hmmm .... my microwave does not have any power to it from the inverter. It only works if the generator is running or I am plugged into shore power. Don't suppose you were running off of shore power while you were experimenting?
Nope. No shore power available where I store it. Definitely had power to the microwave from the inverter, since I was able to set the clock display. Don't think it's supposed to be that way, though.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:35 PM   #10
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Nope. No shore power available where I store it. Definitely had power to the microwave from the inverter, since I was able to set the clock display. Don't think it's supposed to be that way, though.
Have you tried turning the microwave on to heat something w/o shore or generator power? I know mine won't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by russ240 View Post
Have you made it in yet? I need to get both of these things (clicking relay associtated with the solar panel and the recall) taken care of as well as a couple of other niggling details (cord coming loose in blinds, weatherstrip on bath fan coming apart for the second time, flickering light in bath) but I was hoping to hear if this took care of your problem before I dive in.

In addition to the clicking relay and alternating charge current on the solar panel readout, I also had another problem I am attributing to this. I accidentally left the shore power unhooked overnight with the tank heater turned on. Found it the next day with both the house and chassis batteries completely flat. Based on your description of the battery isolation manager's function I'm blaming a failed BIM for the fact that the chassis battery was dead as well as the house battery ... I know the house accessories are not supposed to be able to leave you stranded but would not have known that the BIM was responsible for that and the solar panel charging.

Thanks again!
They put the new BIM in and are currently checking it out. Also trying to get them to do something about the plastic close-put panels on the rear doors. They reverberate like a drum head when you hit a bump. If they can't/won't do anything, then I'll fill the cavities w/ fiberglass insulation. Also supposed to retape all of the chrome body side trim as just about every piece is loose on the ends. Suspect poor prep when originally install.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:39 PM   #11
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Have you tried turning the microwave on to heat something w/o shore or generator power? I know mine won't.
Nope. Never tried it. Never will, if I can help it. But that doesn't change the fact that AC-powered appliances like the microwave and television can be a source of parasitic drain on the battery if the inverter is left set on "auto/invert" even when you have the battery disconnect switched off. That clock display on the microwave doesn't draw much power, but it draws some.

The worst offender is actually the refrigerator, if you don't turn it off using the temperature adjustment dial inside the unit. The AC/DC Nova Kool refrigerator defaults to AC mode when there's any source of AC power available, including the inverter, whether there's a DC source available or not. When I get ready for a trip and want the fridge to cool down overnight, I make sure the inverter is off and the battery power is on, to force the fridge into DC mode. More efficient— and less battery drain— to power the fridge by itself than to power both the fridge and the inverter.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:03 PM   #12
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I just thought that if the clock was power w/o the genset or shore power, then it may be connected to the inverter which I don't think could handle the load. But I could be wrong. Just know that I can't run off the inverter.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #13
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I just thought that if the clock was power w/o the genset or shore power, then it may be connected to the inverter which I don't think could handle the load. But I could be wrong. Just know that I can't run off the inverter.
If I understand you correctly, then we're both correct. If the microwave's clock is lit up, then the microwave is receiving AC power. If you're not hooked up to shore power, and you're not running the generator, then it must be getting AC power from the inverter. But if you try to actually cook with the microwave on inverter power, the inverter can't handle the load. Or the house batteries can't. Or both.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:34 PM   #14
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I've followed most of the discussion about generators and thought this might be of benefit to you. I found it online and I'm not affiliated with, nor would I benefit from, anyone getting this item. It's simply for your info and hope it helps you.

Solar power generator - provides emergency electricity for any home appliance....When fully charged the 1250-watt battery powers a refrigerator for up to four days, a television for 35 hours, or a laptop for 30 hours. It comes with two monocrystalline solar panels that charge the generator to full capacity in 20 hours....an LCD shows the wattage coming into and going out of the generator and displays the amount of power left in the generator. It supports up to eight solar panels and also recharges in 16 hours via AC. 103 pounds 16" L X 11" D X 14" H. The cost: $2,000.00
Additional solar panels are : $240.00.

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Hope you have a nice day.
Peggy
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