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Old 05-31-2016, 02:22 PM   #15
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Disabling the solar charging would be one approach. On a stock Interstate system you would probably have to pull out a fuse as there is no switch in the circuit. Although I'm not sure if you can disable the solar that easily. I'd have to research that to be sure....
I looked at the Interstate wiring diagrams for the solar today. There are inline fuse(s) and a thermal circuit breaker in the solar system. None of them are easily accessible. I've attached the basic solar wiring from the 2015 Interstate Owner's manual and a snip from the main 12VDC diagram in the same manual. They don't even show the same fuses and connections to the thermal circuit breaker. You would have to verify the wiring in any specific Interstate to know how it is actually wired.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:04 PM   #16
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Mike,

For my '16 GT, the Solar Circuit Breaker is behind the Breaker Panel wall below the DS Jump seat. It came with a 15 amp breaker and I changed to a 20 amp when I went with 300 Watts of solar. There is sufficient room to install a disconnect switch for the Solar if one desires. I see your point on the BIM so I may just install a solar disconnect. I'd rather forget to turn the Solar on than forget to turn the BIM off!!
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:28 PM   #17
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Mike,

For my '16 GT, the Solar Circuit Breaker is behind the Breaker Panel wall below the DS Jump seat. It came with a 15 amp breaker and I changed to a 20 amp when I went with 300 Watts of solar. There is sufficient room to install a disconnect switch for the Solar if one desires. I see your point on the BIM so I may just install a solar disconnect. I'd rather forget to turn the Solar on than forget to turn the BIM off!!
A switch to disconnect the panel energy before the controller is very desirable. Attached is a diagram from AM Solar that I used when installing my solar upgrade. I used one of the BSS 500A switches that Lew Faber recommends. It's also handy if you need to work on the electrical system in daylight because you can stop the solar energy from powering the system.
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Old 05-31-2016, 06:09 PM   #18
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Mike,

It came with a 15 amp breaker and I changed to a 20 amp when I went with 300 Watts of solar.
Is the existing wiring sized for 20 amps.
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Old 05-31-2016, 06:40 PM   #19
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A switch to disconnect the panel energy before the controller is very desirable. Attached is a diagram from AM Solar that I used when installing my solar upgrade. I used one of the BSS 500A switches that Lew Faber recommends. It's also handy if you need to work on the electrical system in daylight because you can stop the solar energy from powering the system.
Mike, I looked at the BIM wiring diagram and it would be easy to wire a relay into the ignition input on the BIM and use a NC relay on the solar input. Then no switches required. Ignition on solar off.
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Old 05-31-2016, 06:42 PM   #20
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Is the existing wiring sized for 20 amps.
According to AS wiring is fit for 300 Watts. It is 10AWG according to the drawings so just fine for 20+ amps with an acceptable voltage drop.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:02 PM   #21
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Mike, I looked at the BIM wiring diagram and it would be easy to wire a relay into the ignition input on the BIM and use a NC relay on the solar input. Then no switches required. Ignition on solar off.

Cleaver - that should work nicely.


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Old 05-31-2016, 07:03 PM   #22
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According to AS wiring is fit for 300 Watts. It is 10AWG according to the drawings so just fine for 20+ amps with an acceptable voltage drop.

... and if I recall correctly the stock wire run from the solar controller to the thermal CB is very short.


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Old 05-31-2016, 07:42 PM   #23
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How do you know your batteries are getting fully charged when you drive?
I don't right now . I was wishing for a proper battery monitoring gauge.

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By the way you can also tell when the batteries are connected by checking the voltage on the tank monitor panel.
On mine, it frequently shows a different voltage than Magnum or the Solar controller. Sometime they are the same. Other times they are not. Have to figure out where the sense voltage is for all of this and source of discrepancy.
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:40 PM   #24
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...... On mine, it frequently shows a different voltage than Magnum or the Solar controller. Sometime they are the same. Other times they are not. Have to figure out where the sense voltage is for all of this and source of discrepancy.
Unless a voltmeter is calibrated they can vary a lot. The Magnum is probably the most accurate. The Atkinson solar controller display voltage is the worst. The tank monitor voltages are just a way to do a quick check on the voltages is the two battery systems. If they are the same the BIM has closed isolation relay and the two battery systems are tied together.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:44 PM   #25
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I don't understand the need to disconnect the solar charger when the vehicle is running. My solar charger will see the elevated voltage from the alternator and either assume the battery is already full or that it is applying too much current. Either way, the charge controller will decrease its output our turn off altogether.
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Old 05-31-2016, 10:59 PM   #26
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The stock Atkinson solar controller is not that 'smart'.


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Old 05-31-2016, 11:00 PM   #27
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I don't understand the need to disconnect the solar charger when the vehicle is running. My solar charger will see the elevated voltage from the alternator and either assume the battery is already full or that it is applying too much current. Either way, the charge controller will decrease its output our turn off altogether.
That is what I observed today too. As soon as I started the engine,the Solar current draw went from 3.2 amps to just 0.2.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:53 AM   #28
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I don't understand the need to disconnect the solar charger when the vehicle is running. My solar charger will see the elevated voltage from the alternator and either assume the battery is already full or that it is applying too much current. Either way, the charge controller will decrease its output our turn off altogether.

I would not recommend disconnecting the solar. My analysis was aimed at a specific Interstate configuration common from 2013-2015. My observations were based on what I see on my 2013 model. The problem I was having centered on the issue of not getting an alternator charge when needed, like batteries down 20-30%. On a typical day the 50-100 watt solar will not recover that much of an energy loss.

The logic in the later model BIM's may have been upgraded to handle this situation better. I noticed that the more recent data sheets on the PCI BIM no longer give specific voltages like my older model. Now they just say relay turns on when coach battery voltage is "low" with engine running.

As Lew pointed out the stock Atkinson solar controller is just not that smart.


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