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Old 11-09-2006, 08:03 AM   #1
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Store/use switch and charging

When not using the trailer and stored in the driveway, I normally keep the store/use switch in the store position and keep an external charger hooked directly to the batts. and check the water regularly.

What I discovered recently surprised me though...

I was breaking in the new Honda eu3000is (what a beauty! and quiet, my god!) and thought I'd put a mild load on it for a few hours so I plugged in the trailer. I turned on the A/C fan and both Fantastic Fans figuring that'd put a few watts of load on it. That went along for six hours nicely and the voltage meter in the trailer read a rock-solid 123v all day.

When I shut down the generator and started putting everything away, I went into the trailer and turned on an overhead light and it went dim almost immediately. Now I hadn't switched the store/use switch to use when I plugged into the generator, it had switched over automatically...or so I thought.

First question, does your store/use switch automatically switch to use when plugged into shore/generator power?

I checked the batteries and they were both 10-11v, obviously not feeling well and after "supposedley" being charged via Parallax/generator most of the day. The breaker hadn't tripped. I then turned the store/use switch to store and called it a day, figuring one or both batteries are finally giving up.

Fast forward a couple of weeks...now I have two new batteries, but still the same behavior.

When I plugged the trailer in to shore power, lights are bright, A/C fan turns,~120v on the meter inside...all is well. Except the batteries are now showing 12.8v and apparently no charge volts going to them. The store/use switch has again automatically switched to use so I "should" be getting a charge to the batteries. I checked voltage at the converter/charger (Parallax) and am getting 13+v to the batteries (at terminal C &D) but nothing at the batteries.

Just for grins I cycled the store/use switch off and then back on and voila, 13+ volts at the batteries!

Second question, has anybody had to cycle the store/use switch to get battery charging current to the batteries?

I thought that this, if correct, was leading to some unexpected battery charge levels over the past few years.

Thoughts??
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Old 11-09-2006, 08:29 AM   #2
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store/use switch

I have not experienced your problems, but have been perplexed by some recent behavior of my store/use switch. Just yesterday I tried to use the Fantastic Fan to air out the Airstream. I pushed the store/use switch several times and the red light would not come on. Each time I pressed the button, I could hear a "click" coming from the fuse panel. I figured that a fuse had blown; I checked and all seemed OK. Still no light at the switch. I went back to the fuse panel and checked things again. Still no red light. Then I tried the switch one more time and it came on. I have no idea what had happened nor what I may have done to correct it. I hate it when that happens.

The reason that I mention this is that I suspect malfunction of the store/use switch. This could be a contributor to your problem.
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:19 PM   #3
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so I thought

Moosetags,

I checked the switch as well as the solenoid under the sofa and both are working correctly, I think.

I looked at the wiring schematic for the 12v system and verified that the coach battery is connected on the left side of the solenoid. The 8ga wire coming off the right side of the solenoid goes to the converter. Also, the small guage red wire to the store/use switch connects on the right side of the solenoid.

My thought is that if the solenoid, i.e. the store/use switch, is in the off position and you plug in shore/generator power, the 12v charging current is going to the solenoid (on the right side) and also sends 12v to the little red wire to the switch, thereby illuminating the red light. This "looks" like the solenoid has been closed but it hasn't.

Not until I cycle the switch once to off then back on, am I able to complete the circuit for charge current from the converter to the coach batteries.

I've repeated this test several times with the same results and can clearly hear the solenoid click when I flip the switch.

I think this is working correctly and have figured this was why my batteries never seemed fully charged after plugging into shore/generator power. I managed to nurse 3+ years out of the original Interstates, but attribute that to the 12v charge line from the TV when underway, using shore power when camping (all except once) or charging with a dedicated auto charger prior to boondocking.

I can easily verify the Parallax is working by measuring across the output terminals and comparing to the measurement across the battery posts. Repeatedly, 13+ volts out of the converter, 12.8v on the batteries...cycle the switch and get 13+ volts on the batteries.

Just wondering if anybody else has verified that they're actually charging their batteries when they thought they were...and weren't.

Marc
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:50 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what mine is doing. My swith light stays lit all the time. I can press the "store" side of the togle switch or the "use" side of the switch and the red LED stays lit while on shore power.

If we use the batteries and not the shore power in the driveway, we will kill the batteries in a few hours using three fantastic fans and have to hook up shore power or the umbilical cord to use the tongue jack.

What am I missing?
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:00 PM   #5
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red light

MM,

Mine does that too, when connected to shore power, red light is on regardless of pressing switch.

The question is: is the charge current from the converter/charger making its way to the batteries when you plug in?

I always thought it was, based on the red light glowing.

It just occured to me to check a couple of weeks ago when my batteries were giving their last gasps of energy...even though plugged in and red light on, there was no charge going to (through) the solenoid unless I cycled it once.

Marc
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:03 PM   #6
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My store/use switch light also stays lit at all times while on shore power. I have also noticed that if the red light is off when I plug in shore power, the light automatically comes on. I thought that this is the way it was supposed to work, but I'm not sure about that.

I plan to run a test and run on battery power only with the fan gowing and see how long it lasts.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:14 PM   #7
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B25guy,

The store use switch needs to be in the use mode when you are connected to a generator or shore power to charge the batteries that way. The power from the generator travels to the converter in the AS, which in turn provides a charge to the batteries.

I think when the store/use switch is in store mode, it also shuts down the converter as well, so no matter how much you think you are charging the batteries, it is not.

I actually had this happen to me a few weeks ago. I brought my generator to my storage place, plugged in AS with store/use switch in store, and noticed that the battery levels were at the same level after an hour or so of charging.

I also noted that the little voltage meter that I have plugged into the outlet by the door to monitor the AC read 0, even with the generator and AS connected.

With the AS still hooked up to the generator, I flipped the switch to Use and the meter showed power (120v.) and the batteries read 13 volts, which showed me that there was power getting to them now.

If you want to charge the batteries independently, then something like a BatteryMinder might work for you, although I use mine when the batteries are in storage in my basement for the winter.

Someone please correct me if I have omitted something or have given incorrect info, as my trailer is 33 miles from me.

Jonathan
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:33 PM   #8
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that darned red light??

Jonathan,

Like Moosetags, my red light comes on when I plug into shore/generator, I don't touch it. Even if I try switching to store (while plugged in) the light stays on (I hear the relay click though). I believe this is correct (afterall, why would you switch to store if you're plugged in??)

The store/use switch does exactly what it is supposed to do; completely sever the connection between the coach batteries and converter (but not breakaway switch and charge line from TV...according to the schematics). I tested/verified this and this is fine too.

I do keep a BatteryMinder on most all the time, but my question is simply, does the store/use switch have to be cycled once to get charge current to the batteries once you plug in? In my case the answer is yes.

I believe now that for the last few years, I thought my coach batteries were being charged via the converter when actually were being "somewhat" charged through the TV, BatterMinder or auto-style charger prior to trips.

I'm curious if anybody else has tested this on their coach.

Marc
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:38 PM   #9
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my question is simply, does the store/use switch have to be cycled once to get charge current to the batteries once you plug in? In my case the answer is yes.


When I did this a couple of weeks ago, the answer here is also yes. Even if you see the red light, the switch has to be tipped toward use for there to be power. Now I want to verify this myself the next ime I'm at the trailer.

Jonathan
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:50 PM   #10
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Jonathan,

Thanks for the verification!

I didn't think anything was wrong, it was just strange that I had never read anything in the manual regarding this issue and mistakenly thought the red light on meant power was going everywhere it needed to go.

BTW, my store/use switch is a momentary on switch in either store or use position so you can't tell by looking what position it is in, red light aside.

Now I know to cycle the switch when I plug in shore/generator to charge the batteries.

Taking this a bit further, I should not have to cycle the switch if I disconnect shore/generator and don't set the switch to store, as in breaking camp in the morning and stopping again that evening and plugging in.

Marc
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:58 PM   #11
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B25guy,
The Dealer told me to make sure the store switch was on befor I hooked up to shore power/ generator. Also to TV. From what I understand the store switch does not come on automatically. You have to turn it on manually.
When I turn the store switch to store. I turn the overhead lights on, and the red light goes out.
We also have a 2003 Safari 28SO.
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:07 PM   #12
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What?

OK guys. I read and reread the string and I am confussed. Since we use our AS as often as we can I just make sure the red light is on. During the winter I remove my single battery (wish I had two) and store it in the basement and throw a trickle charge into it once a month or so. Should I be doing something other than that? Know I have to go home and play around with it and see what happens. If I get the gist of the string, turn it off and it goes off. Plug in the AS to shore, TV or gen and it should automatically turn on.
Hummmm.
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:08 AM   #13
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got it!

Eric 28,

Thanks for the info, my dealer never mentioned that and I naturally assumed the red light on meant all was well...now I now to flip the switch each and every time I interrupt the 12v to the relay (periods of non-use or removing the batteries). This definitely explains poor battery charges since new.

Rick,

I think you're doing the right thing by keeping your battery on a trickle charger in a warmer place. I always keep mine on a BatteryMinder.

The only hint here is that once you put the battery back in, and you're ready to hit the road, you need to press the use switch if you intend to charge the battery from the converter once plugged in.

My mistake was turning the store/use switch to store while in transit and then once I plugged into shore/generator, the red light automatically came on. This gave me the indication that the battery was getting charge current...not so I know now!

You must cycle the switch to use even if the red light is on (again, only if you've interrupted the circuit by manually pressing the store button or removed the battery).

In retrospect, I don't think I'll be switching to store while in transit anymore...just seemed right at the time.

Hope this helps and doesn't leave you more confused.
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:44 AM   #14
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Thanx for the insight on cycling the switch to the "on" position even after the red light come on automatically. I did not know that I needed to do that. We use our Airstream very often, and in our climate, we never remove the batteries. We never put our batteries on an external charger or minder. We could have easily developed a problem without realizing it.
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