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Old 08-29-2016, 04:53 PM   #1
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Need some help w/ Main Disconnect and solar

So, the Owner's Manual for my '17 Lounge states the following:

The holding tank heat pads, rear lounge motor, solar
panel, and generator are not connected to the 12-volt
distribution panel and are wired direct in through the
thermal breakers. The main disconnect will not disable
these systems.


However, what I'm seeing is if I leave the Main Disconnect off (red LED goes out), when I check the coach the next day, even at high noon the solar controller reads 0 amps, and the house batteries are down to 95%. If I switch the Main Disconnect on (red LED on), after about 30 seconds the solar controller shows 4.5-5.0 amps and about 30 minutes later shows the house batteries are back up to 100%, so I know the solar is doing its job.

So I'm very confused as to what's going on and so far I have no response from my dealer. All I want to do is have the solar panel keep the house and chassis batteries topped up. On paper, it looks like this should happen with the Main Disconnect on or off, but in reality it appears this is only happening if I leave the Main Disconnect on. I don't want to do this because I'm afraid I'm going to leave something on and drain the battery, and I also just don't like the idea of having the coach "on" while I'm away.

Can some kind soul please shed some light on this for me? I realize this may be a '17 thing and other years operate differently, but then again maybe "they all do that"......

Thank you.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:59 PM   #2
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It is connected to a special distribution bar that connects directly to the battery per the manual.

The reason for it charging when you connect the house loads is that current is drawn causing the battery voltage to drop which in turn causes the solar panels to put out power.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:15 PM   #3
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amirm is correct. With the Main House switch off, the CO Detector,LPG Detector,Kenwood memory power, Battery Isolation Manager, PVCM25 Solar Controller & Remote and Magnum Inverter Standby (unless you have SB164) all have 12 volt power connected.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback.

@amirm - by "the battery" I assume you mean the house batteries (vs. the chassis battery)? Since the reading was showing the house batteries were already down to 95%, it seems there was already a parasitic draw on them. Since it obviously wasn't enough to trip the charge controller into action, do you know if there is some magic level that's set somewhere that tells the charge controller to start charging once the house batteries go below that mark, even when the disconnect is off? If so, do you happen to know what that level is and if it can be set (like via the charge controller)? None of this is mentioned in any of the manuals that I've read so far......

@Mcrider - I don't think the '17's get that SB as I thought it was only relevant to previous model years.....???
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcrider View Post
(unless you have SB164) all have 12 volt power connected.
Exactly, and its my understanding that all new models come with SB164. Since your dealer doesn't have a clue, why not call Airstream support to verify. Tel: 937-596-6111 Ext 7408 (I think).
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:19 AM   #6
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Since your dealer doesn't have a clue, why not call Airstream support to verify. Tel: 937-596-6111 Ext 7408 (I think).


Good idea, thanks!
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Old 08-30-2016, 05:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
Thanks for the feedback.



@amirm - by "the battery" I assume you mean the house batteries (vs. the chassis battery)? Since the reading was showing the house batteries were already down to 95%, it seems there was already a parasitic draw on them. Since it obviously wasn't enough to trip the charge controller into action, do you know if there is some magic level that's set somewhere that tells the charge controller to start charging once the house batteries go below that mark, even when the disconnect is off? If so, do you happen to know what that level is and if it can be set (like via the charge controller)? None of this is mentioned in any of the manuals that I've read so far......



@Mcrider - I don't think the '17's get that SB as I thought it was only relevant to previous model years.....???


It can not be adjusted. http://atkinsonelectronics.com/manuf...cts/PVCM25.asp
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:13 AM   #8
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The Atkinson solar controller is far from sophisticated and some have chosen to upgrade it when they upgrade their solar. However, I've noticed the house batteries can drop to as low as 12.4V (80%) before the Atkinson kicks back on. I guess it's an attempt to protect from overcharging the batteries.


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Old 08-30-2016, 10:07 AM   #9
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@Mcrider, thank you for the link!

By the way, what type of Mc do you ride? Do you have a carrier on the back of your rig for your bike? My current "big bike" weighs in at about 550lbs ('16 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally) and I'm trying to figure out the best way to carry it.

@UKDUDE, 80% before it kicks on when the main disconnect is off, correct? That's actually OK with me provided there is logic in the controller that says it will stay "on" until the batteries get to 100%, even if that takes days, before going back into "hibernate" mode. If it doesn't, I can see a situation where the batteries can never be brought back to 100%. For example, if they get to 80% and then there is a week of rain, allowing the batteries to get to 70% or less. There just wouldn't be enough sunshine during a day to get them back far enough resulting in a new "high" mark of 80% or less. I guess in the grand scheme of things that isn't horrible since AGM's don't develop "memory". As long as the system is able to keep them above 50% they won't be harmed, but being an engineer "less than perfect" bugs me.....
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:39 AM   #10
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I don't have my notes anymore (went to new owner) but IIRC, the jumper wire sticking out of the potting on the controller will change the kick-in point. A call to Atkinson would confirm.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:40 AM   #11
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@Mcrider, thank you for the link!



By the way, what type of Mc do you ride? Do you have a carrier on the back of your rig for your bike? My current "big bike" weighs in at about 550lbs ('16 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally) and I'm trying to figure out the best way to carry it.




Depending on temperature, the solar controller kicks in at different voltages and runs up to 13.6 - 14 +. Airstream sets it to work with AGM batteries. The data sheet link I provided describes the charging cycles and the on/off thresholds.

MCs
Goldwing 800 + lbs
VFR1200 DCT. 600+ lbs
CBR 250
May be adding the Africa Twin to the stable.

Peddle bike: Cannondale SuperSix.

I have a Wells Cargo enclosed single bike trailer and a Kendon stand-up Big Bike Trailer. If going with friends I pull the Kendon. If just me and SO the WC. That way I have more storage space as well.

I use a Yakima folding bike rack if just the peddle bike otherwise I have fork mounts in the WC so j can take motorized and peddle two wheels
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:06 AM   #12
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Need some help w/ Main Disconnect and solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
@UKDUDE, 80% before it kicks on when the main disconnect is off, correct? That's actually OK with me provided there is logic in the controller that says it will stay "on" until the batteries get to 100%, even if that takes days, before going back into "hibernate" mode. If it doesn't, I can see a situation where the batteries can never be brought back to 100%. For example, if they get to 80% and then there is a week of rain, allowing the batteries to get to 70% or less. There just wouldn't be enough sunshine during a day to get them back far enough resulting in a new "high" mark of 80% or less. I guess in the grand scheme of things that isn't horrible since AGM's don't develop "memory". As long as the system is able to keep them above 50% they won't be harmed, but being an engineer "less than perfect" bugs me.....

Before SB164 came along, that is the way it worked, and mine would go up to 100% in good overhead sunlight with no problems before shutting off. You can hear it click on and off. And this would be with the disconnect on or off. After SB164 it's only with the disconnect on, i.e. Coach electrics enabled.
They didn't think this through properly.


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Old 08-30-2016, 11:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKDUDE View Post
Before SB164 came along, that is the way it worked, and mine would go up to 100% in good overhead sunlight with no problems before shutting off. You can hear it click on and off. And this would be with the disconnect on or off. After SB164 it's only with the disconnect on, i.e. Coach electrics enabled.

They didn't think this through properly.

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I looked through SB164 and since my rig is a '17, my VIN doesn't fall in the range where it applies. That begs the question, do they now include this "fix" as standard, or did they redesign it altogether on my coach?

I think the only way to know for sure is to make a call to Airstream tech support and hear what they have to say. I'll report back once I know more so others can benefit from this wumpus hunt (extra points to anyone who gets that reference without looking it up on the web! ).
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcrider View Post

MCs
Goldwing 800 + lbs
VFR1200 DCT. 600+ lbs
CBR 250
May be adding the Africa Twin to the stable.

Peddle bike: Cannondale SuperSix.

I have a Wells Cargo enclosed single bike trailer and a Kendon stand-up Big Bike Trailer. If going with friends I pull the Kendon. If just me and SO the WC. That way I have more storage space as well.

I use a Yakima folding bike rack if just the peddle bike otherwise I have fork mounts in the WC so j can take motorized and peddle two wheels


I see you like Honda's....

I don't like pulling a trailer so I'll keep looking for another solution for my big bike. For my WR250R I have the old Moto Jackrack and it works great, but at 350lbs max load it won't handle the big Ape.....
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