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Old 06-26-2018, 09:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Trailer or motor home doesn't matter. It's the AGM batteries that require the blue jumper to be clipped. Airstream has not been very consistent on getting this right. Hopefully Atkinson with help sort this issue.
It's been awhile since we hashed through this blue wire topic, but if I remember correctly, keeping it intact vs. cutting it makes a difference of approx. 0.3v in the operation of the Atkinson. If the wire is intact, the Atkinson will "turn on" (i.e. do something) if the batteries fall below 12.7v. If you cut the wire, that threshold goes down to 12.4v. So....with the wire cut, what you will see is even on bright sunny day, your Atkinson will do nothing until your batteries fall below 12.4v. If your wire is intact, count your blessings and leave it alone. You're better off at the 12.7v "turn on" voltage.

FWIW, according to the PVCM25D install manual, you're only supposed to cut that wire if you have Gel Cell batteries, which we do not (in either the travel trailers or the touring coaches). Unfortunately, many Interstates were delivered with that wire cut (mine being one of them, but it doesn't matter now because my Atkinson is taking up space in the bottom of a drawer under my workbench somewhere ), which allows the batteries to get down to about 75% SOC before it turns on.....
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:29 AM   #22
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My blue wire on it was clipped.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:21 PM   #23
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My blue wire on it was clipped.
In mine as well...
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:24 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
In mine as well...
My guess is they are clipping that wire on the Interstates due to how the BIM works (which the travel trailers don't have). For the BIM to close, it needs to see a voltage level below 12.6v AND a charging source, so if you're driving along on a bright sunny day the Atkinson may be keeping the batteries above the 12.6v BIM threshold if the wire is connected. By clipping the wire, they are making a decision that they would rather have the alternator charge the batteries so they're basically insuring the house batteries drop below the BIM threshold. It's a flawed system and really needs a revamp now that they're making other electrical system changes (multiplex wiring, adding more solar/batteries, etc).....
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:44 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
My guess is they are clipping that wire on the Interstates due to how the BIM works (which the travel trailers don't have). For the BIM to close, it needs to see a voltage level below 12.6v AND a charging source, so if you're driving along on a bright sunny day the Atkinson may be keeping the batteries above the 12.6v BIM threshold if the wire is connected. By clipping the wire, they are making a decision that they would rather have the alternator charge the batteries so they're basically insuring the house batteries drop below the BIM threshold. It's a flawed system and really needs a revamp now that they're making other electrical system changes (multiplex wiring, adding more solar/batteries, etc).....

Sorry - you guessed wrong. The blue wire clipping is for sealed batteries that require different charge voltage profiles.

Details are in this Atkinson manual.
http://atkinsonelectronics.com/manuf...dfs/PVCM25.pdf
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:10 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Sorry - you guessed wrong. The blue wire clipping is for sealed batteries that require different charge voltage profiles.

Details are in this Atkinson manual.
http://atkinsonelectronics.com/manuf...dfs/PVCM25.pdf
Kc-JE says the travel trailer has the 25D, so that's the manual I referenced. It only shows a change in threshold value for Gel Cel with the blue wire clipped.

Guess this is what happens when we mix travel trailers and touring coaches in the same thread....
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:40 AM   #27
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No worries. Both the 25 and 25D have same function regarding the blue wire. GEL, sealed or AGM all means the same thing as far as charging from the Atkinson PVCM25/25D.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:13 AM   #28
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good feedback from Atkinson

I reached out to Atkinson by email and attached the spec sheet for my specific batteries. I greatly appreciate his prompt responses. Here is what he sent:


Hi John,

Clipping the blue wire will cause the controller to come on at 12.4 VDC ( volts direct current) and go off at 13.9 VDC. If you do not clip the blue wire then your controller should come on at 12.7 VDC and go off at 14.2 VDC. So clipping the blue wire shifts the voltages down .3 VDC. All voltages are + or - .1 VDC. If your maximum charge voltage for your batteries is between 13.9 VDC and 14.1 VDC then you should clip the blue wire. You need to check with your battery manufacturer to find out what the maximum charge voltage is.

The other thing worth mentioning is the red wire coming off of the controller provides the maximum charge current when it is hooked directly to the battery, using a minimum 12 AWG wire, through a fuse. I always recommend using this home run configuration for maximum charge efficiency.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me via email or phone.

I replied:


Abner:
Thank you for the quick reply. I don’t understand the details of battery usage. I have attached a product manual for my batteries. Please review. Should I clip the blue wire?
Regarding the “home run”, that sounds like a fairly involved re-wiring. Correct?



Abner replied to me:
On page 19 it says your max charge voltage is 14.3 volts. For that voltage you would NOT clip the blue wire.
As far as running a new wire to the battery, that is actually a fairly easy thing to do. You would cut and remove or cap the existing battery wire. Using a butt splice crimp on a blade fuse holder. Blade style fuse holders are available at auto parts stores. Then on the other side of the fuse holder crimp on a 12 gauge wire. On the battery end of the 12 gauge wire crimp on a ring terminal and screw it down to the battery post. Grease all of your connections with NoAlOx or battery grease. Tape or heat shrink all the connections. Install the fuse and you are done. Your system may already be wired that way but it is worth checking.
Also just FYI, the PVCM25D can handle up to 440 Watts of solar panels. If you feel your batteries are taking to long to charge you could add more panels to increase the wattage. If you feel your batteries are going dead to fast I would recommend adding more batteries.

I hope this helps,
Again, if you have any questions feel free to contact me,

Abner Jenkins, CETa
AbnerJ@AtkinsonEl.com
Atkinson Electronics Inc.
14 West Vine Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
1-800-261-3602 ext. 7914
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:29 AM   #29
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Interesting. In the past I recall Airstream telling owners to clip the blue wire and many are delivered that way. Another reason this is a lousy solar charge controller. Also perhaps another example of Airstream not coordinating well with their supplier.
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:30 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Kc-JE View Post
I reached out to Atkinson by email and attached the spec sheet for my specific batteries. I greatly appreciate his prompt responses. Here is what he sent:
Thanks for posting this. It pretty much confirms what we had deduced previously about the behavior of the magic blue wire.....

Given that, I agree with their summary: Don't clip it.

Why it comes clipped on the Interstate is still a mystery given that those batteries are also AGM, but I'm sticking by my "guess".....
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
Thanks for posting this. It pretty much confirms what we had deduced previously about the behavior of the magic blue wire.....

Given that, I agree with their summary: Don't clip it.

Why it comes clipped on the Interstate is still a mystery given that those batteries are also AGM, but I'm sticking by my "guess".....

Fly - I owe you an apology! After hearing the Atkinson reply your guess does sound plausible. Another bad solution by Airstream to make their kludged system work.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:20 PM   #32
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Fly - I owe you an apology! After hearing the Atkinson reply your guess does sound plausible. Another bad solution by Airstream to make their kludged system work.
No worries Mike.

And yeah, totally agree with the "kludged" comment. I've been woofing for the better part of 2 years now about how Airstream needs to do a better job of engineering a SYSTEM and stop gluing bits and pieces together from the previous 15+ years of van builds. I'm hopeful that now that they've gone with the multiplex wiring approach, they will have more flexibility in their subsystem selection, but I guess we'll have to wait and see how that goes.....
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:02 AM   #33
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Sunexplorer not charging

New, to a used AI Interstate, my SunExploreroer panel indicates fully charges and voltage but no solar charge amps or solar amps used. Where should my trouble shooting start.
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:06 AM   #34
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Sounds simple, how do you identify which wire is to be connected directly to the battery. Is it the only red wire available?
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:31 AM   #35
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I think the proper thing to do is not only clip the blue wire, but ALL the wires to the cheap Atkinson controller, and replace it with a Victron MPPT SmartSolar controller if you are really serious about using the panels to recharge the batteries. Well worth the effort.
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:11 AM   #36
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New, to a used AI Interstate, my SunExploreroer panel indicates fully charges and voltage but no solar charge amps or solar amps used. Where should my trouble shooting start.

It may not indicate a problem. If your panel indicates full charge (assuming it is reading accurately), then the solar is not delivering any charge because none is needed. Mine acts a little inconsistently at times, but when the sun is out and a charge is not needed, I can sometimes hear the solar controller "clicking" as it tries to charge, but cuts off since it is not needed. During these times, the panel will show charging amps fluctuating all over the place, but always returning to zero. Doesn't hurt anything and it's doing what it's supposed to, just seems like a lot of cycling for nothing.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:24 AM   #37
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I have never seen any activity indicating solar charge amps or solar amp hours. I believe neither have ever worked correctely, never recording any amp hours.

It is unfortunate that there are no reliable AI service locations near me. They fumble around trying to figure out the issue while piling on hours or fees.
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Old 11-19-2018, 01:17 PM   #38
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I have never seen any activity indicating solar charge amps or solar amp hours. I believe neither have ever worked correctely, never recording any amp hours.

It is unfortunate that there are no reliable AI service locations near me. They fumble around trying to figure out the issue while piling on hours or fees.
My unit is older, but the same controller number. Charging inconsistency is a problem with my Atkinson unit. The day before yesterday it was charging briefly, then yesterday it quit, despite good sunlight and batteries down to 12.4 volts. So today I plugged in.


I understand the need for a more solar and a different controller as mentioned. I just don't boon dock more than one night at a time, so I probably won't invest in the upgrade. It seems one thing leads to another and the money adds up to more than I'm willing to spend since I don't have the need. Solar controller, panels, inverter, lithium, alternator . . . The list (and cost) goes on and on.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:59 AM   #39
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I think the proper thing to do is not only clip the blue wire, but ALL the wires to the cheap Atkinson controller, and replace it with a Victron MPPT SmartSolar controller if you are really serious about using the panels to recharge the batteries. Well worth the effort.
I thought that at first as well, but then I didn't want to deal with the existing monitor by the sink. It's not where I wanted my new monitor and leaving it dead in the wall wasn't what I wanted either. So I just left the voltage wires to it and now it's just a voltmeter.
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:24 AM   #40
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My unit is older, but the same controller number. Charging inconsistency is a problem with my Atkinson unit. The day before yesterday it was charging briefly, then yesterday it quit, despite good sunlight and batteries down to 12.4 volts. So today I plugged in.


I understand the need for a more solar and a different controller as mentioned. I just don't boon dock more than one night at a time, so I probably won't invest in the upgrade. It seems one thing leads to another and the money adds up to more than I'm willing to spend since I don't have the need. Solar controller, panels, inverter, lithium, alternator . . . The list (and cost) goes on and on.
.
Hi

If you have a "stock" solar setup from 2012, upgrading the controller is not super expensive. The Smart Solar MPPT 75/10 will do the trick, it's $108. The 75/15 is $118 and it's more than you need. Both are the BlueTooth versions so you don't need any dongles or other "stuff" to get them going. Just drop it in and use your phone to check on things.

Bob
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