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Old 08-25-2014, 12:34 AM   #1
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Battery Disconnect Switch Questions

I could use some clarification on how to use the battery disconnect switch on our 2012 20ft Flying Cloud.

1) When our trailer is sitting in the driveway, plugged into our outside outlet (110v), should I have the battery disconnect switch in the "use" or "store" position?

2) When we are out boondocking, using our Yamaha 2000W generator in the morning to make coffee, and possibly in the evening to charge up electronic devices, should the battery disconnect switch be in "use" or "store" position?

Just trying to get the most out of our battery, especially when out boondocking.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:06 AM   #2
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Battery Disconnect Switch

More threads on this often asked question are found by searching the forum, Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:37 AM   #3
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Usually the converter is wired between the battery bank and battery disconnect switch so that when you're on 120v AC, i.e.when shore power is plugged in or the generator is running, the converter keeps your batteries charged. Therefore, the only items affected when in the "Store" position are those on your 12v DC circuit. It's okay to leave your trailer plugged to shore power or on generator power with the disconnect switch on either "Use" or "Store" because the 12v and 120v items are on separate circuits.

What you don't want to do is leave the switch on "Use" when you're not on either shore or generator power because the converter is 120v and cannot charge the batteries. They will become depleted at a rate dependent upon how much 12v current is being used. Even when the trailer is sitting and not in use, there are parasitic loads which will slowly drain the batteries. So the bottom line is always switch to "Store" when not plugged in to 120v.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:26 AM   #4
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With external power (shore or generator) the converter/charger will be charging the batteries in the "USE" position, the batteries will be isolated from the converter/charger in the "STORE" position and cannot charge.

Trouble is the factory converter/charger is a single stage charger than will put too high continuous voltage on the batteries over long periods, and shorten battery life.

As an interim you may want to get a small portable three stage charger for use at home leaving shore power disconnected. While boon docking and using the generator sparingly you have little choice but to put the battery switch in "USE" so the batteries can recharge.

The longer range answer would be to replace the Airstream converter/charger with a quality three stage charger so it can properly charge your batteries with the switch in "USE" position.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
With external power (shore or generator) the converter/charger will be charging the batteries in the "USE" position, the batteries will be isolated from the converter/charger in the "STORE" position and cannot charge.
I beg to differ with your statement. Maybe your converter/charger is wired after your disconnect switch, but mine, and I believe most are wired before it. I suppose it' could be different with different years and models. So I stand with what I said if the converter/charger is wired before the disconnect switch.

I suppose the OP will need to check to see where in the 12v circuit his is wired.

I agree regarding the advantages of a 3 stage charger, but that's another topic and not what he's asking.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:52 AM   #6
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Maybe best to quote the Owners Manual:

"The disconnect switch is used to separate the batteries from the 12-volt distribution panel and converter charging system.

When the switch is turned "Use" (on) and the trailer is plugged into a 110-volt shoreline, the 12-volt distribution panel will receive power from the converter and the batteries will be charged through the converter charging system.

When the switch is turned to "Store" (off) and the trailer is plugged into a 110-volt shoreline, the 12-volt distribution panel will still receive power from the converter, but the batteries are disconnected from the system. The batteries will not be drained with the switch in the "store" position. The converter will not charge the batteries with the switch in this position.

The charge in the 12-volt batteries is replenished when towing from the tow vehicle alternator through the 7-way cord. This charge will go to the batteries no matter which position the Battery Disconnect Switch is in."
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:19 AM   #7
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Maybe something's been changed over the years. I know that on my 2009 Classic, the converter is wired to the same + and - bus bars as the batteries. In my manual, they call the disconnect switch the "kill" switch. The kill switch, to use their term, is between the + bus bar and the 12v fuse panel. With this arrangement the batteries are maintained whenever on shore power whether the kill switch is on either "Store" or "Use." With this arrangement, the kill switch only "kills" the 12v circuit.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:34 AM   #8
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In "Store" the LP detector is still running on the batteries, but that should be the only load.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:42 AM   #9
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Interesting - When I asked my dealer the question about leaving the switch on
"use" while plugged in (for a long period of time) they told me it really does not make any difference one way or the other.....

It has always been my understanding that you want to have the switch turned to USE when you first plug in to shore power. This will charge the batteries and make sure they are topped up.

Then after a day or so, turn the switch to STORE as that will take the batteries offline as they have been charged. Leaving the switch on USE would only have the system continue to put a charge into batteries that are already holding a full charge. That might not be the best for the batteries.

Is this correct?
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
In "Store" the LP detector is still running on the batteries, but that should be the only load.
That's right. In my electrical system I can see the LP detector wire is attached to the + bus bar which is before the disconnect or "kill" switch
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Interesting - When I asked my dealer the question about leaving the switch on
"use" while plugged in (for a long period of time) they told me it really does not make any difference one way or the other.....
This statement implies that the converter/charger is wired before the disconnect switch and that your batteries will be charged whether the switch is on or off.

Quote:
It has always been my understanding that you want to have the switch turned to USE when you first plug in to shore power. This will charge the batteries and make sure they are topped up.

Then after a day or so, turn the switch to STORE as that will take the batteries offline as they have been charged. Leaving the switch on USE would only have the system continue to put a charge into batteries that are already holding a full charge. That might not be the best for the batteries.
Ideally, you should leave it on shore power as much as possible so the batteries are maintained by the converter/charger at full capacity by a "float" charge. To do this requires a 3-stage charger as Doug stated above. Airstreams usually come with a single stage Parallax converter/charger and this will sulfate your batteries if left on all the time. Thus, the dealer statement to fully charge and then take the batteries "off line."
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
and this will sulfate your batteries if left on all the time
I meant to say will cook your batteries over time as the Parallax charges at a constant 13.6-13.8 which is more than a fully charged battery needs. A float charge is normally about 13.2 volts.
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by acstokes View Post
Maybe something's been changed over the years. I know that on my 2009 Classic, the converter is wired to the same + and - bus bars as the batteries. In my manual, they call the disconnect switch the "kill" switch. The kill switch, to use their term, is between the + bus bar and the 12v fuse panel. With this arrangement the batteries are maintained whenever on shore power whether the kill switch is on either "Store" or "Use." With this arrangement, the kill switch only "kills" the 12v circuit.
Mine operates this way as well.
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by acstokes View Post
I meant to say will cook your batteries over time as the Parallax charges at a constant 13.6-13.8 which is more than a fully charged battery needs. A float charge is normally about 13.2 volts.
If the Converter was wired before the "Kill switch" , then as long as you were plugged in the Parallax single stage converter would cook your batteries assuming you left the shore power connected while stored. The store position would not disconnect your batteries from the converter.

So if you were to store in a cold climate. The only way to do that and not have your batteries freeze would be to regularly connect to shore power to keep a charge but not long enough to cook the batteries.

Is that what you are saying? I guess I don't see why you would ever need to put the switch in "Store" mode if that were the case.
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