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Old 03-05-2016, 12:07 PM   #1
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1996 30' Land Yacht
Benson , Arizona
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 150
Batteries, inverters, isolators, oh my...

Seems our new to us 96LY also has a coach battery draw down problem when parked. Actually, it is not a problem; it does it easily...
I plan to start tracing wiring and measuring current with my Fluke as time permits, but are there any known items that the collective has identified that usually fail or cause these issues with regularity? I.e. who/what are the usual suspects?

A bigger question is: I am thinking of doing a complete overhaul of the electric system. This thing is 20 years old, and some of the wiring and systems I have seen are... less than ideal. I would hate to have to troubleshoot these systems by the side of the road somewhere...

Just thinking out loud, I'd like to:

1. Move the coach batteries from out in front of the front axle - from a handling perspective, this is atrocious. With almost 150 lbs in batteries (coach and chassis) located about 3' in front of the axle, that is about 450 lbs the suspension has to handle on every bump. Heck, 450 lbs is almost enough weight difference to allow a lighter spring. But where to move to without taking up existing storage bays?

2. Replace/upgrade the Coach batteries; I currently have a 12V 1 year old Interstate Group 27, and a maybe 5 year old no-name same size. I have spent a fair amount of time on a cruising sailboat, and in general, your charging system will work better if the batteries are of the same age. Even better, I'm partial to larger batteries with fewer cells as opposed to smaller batteries with more cells. If I could find the room, I'd prefer a deep cycle 12V 4D instead of a pair of deep cycle 12V G27's wired in parallel.

3. Replacing the Converter with a Inverter/Charger. A microwave is so handy in the galley. But having to start the generator to warm up leftovers or a cup of coffee? Yuck.

4. Upgrading the 30A AC Power system to a 50.

5. Updating the 20 yo charging isolator to one a bit more sophisticated.

6. Replacing the 20 year old stock 55 amp alternator with one a bit bigger.

I know there is a bit of work here; but even doing things one at a time, it would be ideal to have a plan... Instead of my typical modus operandi of replace 1 item; then when replacing item #2, go back and mod item #1, etc...

I've perused the Electrical section on this, and a few other RV forums; lots of good info on some of these - especially the 30-50A upgrade. But it appears many of the solutions are driven by the available space in the coach; without the space the solutions don't work so well.

If anybody with a mid 90's 30ish LY has gone down this path, or similar, I'd love to hear your progress.

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Old 03-06-2016, 01:27 PM   #2
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garypk's Avatar
1998 31' Land Yacht
lafayette , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 166
Welcome & good luck! I'm not an expert but have worked on battery operated equip for many years, so i'll defer if others know more. Bigger individual batteries are not better or worse. batteries parelled are as good as the individual cells & cable connections. You can have 2 6volt in series, 1 12v, 2 or more in parallel. I used to repair 24 36 & 48v batteries by cutting out bad cells & replacing the cell jar. I used to take "bad" batteries, flush them out w/baking soda & replace the acid. We were tought to do this by a guy who learned this during WW2 keeping bombers in the air. Bigger batteries are heavier thats all. If you move them do not put them in a closed compartment or anywhere in the MH. Replace weak crusty wires carry spare solenoids. Do you have the original book w/wiring diagrams? If you read thru them a couple of times it gets pretty clear. I had a few things done by PO but now am pretty straight on what goes on. Gary

We call ours "Ship Of Fools"
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:36 AM   #3
1997 33' Land Yacht
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 18
Better late than never ...

I have a 1997 Land Yacht 33 with that good ol' Chevy 454. It also has some changes made by POs that I am still figuring out - only been two years and they has 18 years make things "better". Here is what I have done that might give you some ideas for your projects.

1. Replaced the failing Interstate house batteries with two Trojan deep cycle 12v in parallel. I also replaced the inter battery cables with 2/0 gauge cables that used a nut to hold them in place. There is a correct torque for these cable ends. I still have to replace the chassis ground cable that uses a post clamp, but ...
2. Added a battery watering system to the house batteries. It takes five minutes to top off the batteries. Just keep the water pump in the open until it is completely dry.
3. Replaced the original convert with Progressive Dynamics 60 am unit. The original was hard wired to charge at 13.2 volts and I think that is why the Interstate batteries failed.
4. Installed a third automatic transfer switch (again a progressive dynamics model) to eliminate the need to change to a 50 amp system. The 5KW Onan generator has only a single phase and this was one of the deciding factors for me. The PD switch has a plastic case and I installed a male receptacle that will take a 25 foot 14 gauge outdoors extension. I have the Penguine 600 Series ACs and 14 gauge is more than enough for them.
5. Finally, I went through everything on the DC side. The wiring is good and all of the house fuses are good. So I decided to leave well enough alone. I will get the itch one day and decide that I want to spend hours snaking new wire through the RV, but until then I am happy.

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