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Old 10-12-2016, 11:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by proftjs33 View Post
That's peculiar. My owners manual says the Cat-5 cable is for the remote display, I assume this is the phone-like cable you referred to, and I assumed it had nothing to do with the operation of the controller. Any idea how to test it?

That is true, yet a new Cat-5 cable resolved the problem for me. I suggest you test by bypassing the existing cable with an extra long one.


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Old 10-15-2016, 07:14 PM   #16
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I connected with another cable and you are right, my Cat-5 cable is bad. I also found that the house power must be turned on before the solar charging works. Does anyone know why Airstream wired it that way. Nothing in the controller specs indicates to me that it must be done that way. I also tested connecting directly to the battery, with a 15 amp fuse added. Direct connect (with the house turned off) resulted in recharging my batteries. The way it was originally connected, the drain was more than the solar charge. I was only getting 2 amps at that time. Is there any reason why I can't do the direct connect permanently?

I also got a Renogy controller. Is it worth switching to it? Down side is losing the remote display. Upside is that it has more cycles (besides on and off). Any additions to either of these? It cost about 1/2 the price of the Atkinson.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by proftjs33 View Post
I connected with another cable and you are right, my Cat-5 cable is bad. I also found that the house power must be turned on before the solar charging works. Does anyone know why Airstream wired it that way. Nothing in the controller specs indicates to me that it must be done that way. I also tested connecting directly to the battery, with a 15 amp fuse added. Direct connect (with the house turned off) resulted in recharging my batteries. The way it was originally connected, the drain was more than the solar charge. I was only getting 2 amps at that time. Is there any reason why I can't do the direct connect permanently?

I also got a Renogy controller. Is it worth switching to it? Down side is losing the remote display. Upside is that it has more cycles (besides on and off). Any additions to either of these? It cost about 1/2 the price of the Atkinson.
Glad the cable swap fixed your problem.

Re. the house power needing to be on, I don't think that's correct. I thought the same thing with my system, but with mine, what's really going on is a combination of the battery voltage and how the Atkinson controller works. If the batteries are above 12.6v, the solar won't turn on. This is a hard setting in the Atkinson charge controller (sadly it's not adjustable). When I switch on the house power, I pull the batteries below this level so the Atkinson turns on the juice from the solar panel.

What Renogy controller do you have? Assuming it's the Duo, you can buy their Tracer remote meter and put that in place of the Atkinson panel. Is it worth it? IMO, not for a 50W panel. If you want to upgrade your solar to 100W or more, then yes, definitely upgrade to the Renogy controller.
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Old 11-08-2017, 02:09 PM   #18
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Will I damage anything if I have my Interstate connected to both shore power for the house and with a trickle charger on the truck battery? It is a 2017 Interstate. I live in the cold country and do not have access to elec power at the storage lot. Once a month I drive the Interstate to my driveway to exercise the motor and charge the house battery. I'm thinking I could also put the trickle charger on the truck battery for 24 hours to make sure it is topped off. I presume the house and truck batteries are separate systems and it would work okay....but I felt it prudent to ask the Forum.
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Old 11-08-2017, 03:05 PM   #19
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Will I damage anything if I have my Interstate connected to both shore power for the house and with a trickle charger on the truck battery? It is a 2017 Interstate. I live in the cold country and do not have access to elec power at the storage lot. Once a month I drive the Interstate to my driveway to exercise the motor and charge the house battery. I'm thinking I could also put the trickle charger on the truck battery for 24 hours to make sure it is topped off. I presume the house and truck batteries are separate systems and it would work okay....but I felt it prudent to ask the Forum.
Once a month? I assume the storage lot is outside so the solar panel is keeping the batteries topped up most of the time?

Re. the trickle charger, it should be fine. The BIM will keep the two battery banks separated as long as the voltage on both is above 12.6v, and between the Magnum and the trickle charger, that shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:13 AM   #20
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Once a month? I assume the storage lot is outside so the solar panel is keeping the batteries topped up most of the time?

Re. the trickle charger, it should be fine. The BIM will keep the two battery banks separated as long as the voltage on both is above 12.6v, and between the Magnum and the trickle charger, that shouldn't be a problem.
The AI is stored indoors so there's no solar advantage. Also, I presumed the solar does not charge the truck battery. Am I correct about that assumption?
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:20 PM   #21
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The AI is stored indoors so there's no solar advantage. Also, I presumed the solar does not charge the truck battery. Am I correct about that assumption?
Over the course of a month, with no charging source, your batteries will likely be dangerously low (as in well below 50% DOD and permanently damaged), especially the chassis battery. I would highly recommend that you disconnect it using the quick disconnect down by the accelerator. The house batteries may fare better over that period of time given the new circuitry in the '17's with respect to the Main Disconnect switch.

The solar will indeed charge the chassis battery in addition to the house batteries. The way the BIM works is it will close (which connects both battery banks together) if there is a charging source (> 13.3v) at either bank AND if the other bank is below 12.6v. It will stay closed for up to 2hrs. The problem with the Atkinson solar charge controller is it allows the house batteries to fall to 12.4v before it turns on, so the energy it produces may or may not be enough to keep up with the various parasitic draws. This why a lot of us replace it with a better charge controller.
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Old 11-10-2017, 05:18 PM   #22
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Has anyone installed the the Victron SmartSolar controller with bluetooth?
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:00 PM   #23
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Has anyone installed the the Victron SmartSolar controller with bluetooth?
Quite a few have. Do a search on this forum for Victron and you should find most of the posts.
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