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Old 08-31-2005, 03:32 PM   #1
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UPDATE: Sept 2, 2005

I'm going to pat myself on the back - The Xantrex is working great, the auto gen start is all installed and also working great and I just finished cleaning up after myself (what a mess.) My crowning achievement was getting the gen to auto start on a thermostat input. This is a long and complicated story due to the lack of a Xantrex "Shore Sense" option - see my original comments below. My kludge around this was to buy a cheap mechanical thermostat at Lowes and modify it a little (I had to cut out all of the resistors on the little thermostat circuit board). To use this when we are away from the coach in hot weather, I will set this thermostat at about 85 or 90 degrees. When the thermostat signals for cooling, 12V is sent to the proper lead to the auto gen start harness, and the gen cranks up in about 30-45 seconds or so. When cooling is achieved and the thermostat cuts off, 12V is removed from the gen start lead and the gen shuts down about 30 seconds later. WOW - what neat stuff!

-end of update-
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Whoo-hoo!

We are making beautiful, pure sine waves!

Yesterday I finished the swap-out of the stock Dimensions inverter/charger for a Xantrex RS2000 along with the Automatic Generator Start panel. I'll get some pictures up on my web site in a day or two so you can see some of what was invloved.

Allow me to digress a little here: I have spent quite a bit of time under the chassis (more on that later) and inside of compartments, access holes and the like. I must say I am very impressed with what I saw as I poked around where most owners would never venture. All wiring and hoses were neatly supported and in looms. There did not seem to be any opportunity anywhere I saw for chafe problems. When I took out the Dimensions inverter/charger, Winny had a welded "U" channel reinforcement on the side of the compartment for the bolts. Every where I looked, there seemed to be attention to detail and good engineering practices. I am very happy with what I saw under and inside of the coach.

Okay - enough of that...

Unfortunately, Dimensions does NOT use Cat5 ethernet cable which Xantrex needs for the control panel of the RS series. Dimensions uses some kind of eight conductor telephone-type cable. What I thought was going to be a pretty simple change-out of the boxes turned into a bit of a job as I needed to run Cat5 cable from the OnePlace to the electrical compartment. I must have spent an hour just trying to figure out how to run the Cat5. Now I know !

I went under the shower (remember this is a Horizon 40AD)with the wire to the sink area. There is plumbing that goes down to the water/sewage bay from the sink. Ran the wire into the plumbing bay and drilled a 3/4" hole through the backside of that bay so I could run the wire along the chassis to the electrical bay. Now it is just a matter of ty-wrapping the cable to whatever you find to get it back to the electrical bay area. I could find NO WAY to use an existing chase into the electrical bay, so out comes the trusty 3/4" hole saw & drill again. I made a hole in the backside of the electrical bay for the wiring. This all will make more sense when you see the pictures.

Then I had to run the battery temperature sense doohickey from the house batteries to the electrical bay. This went quickly and was not a big deal (unless you think lying on your back under the coach with a few inches of room above your face is a big deal.)

After I got the new Xantrex panel (and the gen start panel) installed and was ready for the swap out, I disconnected the 12V feed from the house batteries to the inverter. Took out the Dimensions inverter/charger and broke off the mounting studs with Vise-Grip pliers.

I made a mounting template of the Xantrex foot-print out of cardboard and positioned it in the bay so that the upper mounting holes were directly in-line with the "U" channel of the old Dimensions mounting studs. I drilled and tapped for three 5/16"-18 bolts. For the lower three mounting holes I used 1/4" bolts and nuts because you can easily access the other side of the panel to start the nuts.

The DW along with a fulcrum of a long board, moved the VERY heavy Xantrex up into position and I started a bolt (it was easy getting it into the compartment). The Xantrex must weigh twice what the Dimensions weighed. I could easily lift the Dimensions, but the Xantrex was a load. Anyway, got the thing bolted into position and made the electrical connections. NOTE: Dimensions uses a set-screw capture of the 12V leads. Xantrex wants terminal lugs. Fortunately I had some large lugs saved from the sailboat days. I also had a compression tool from sailboat days that I could adapt to swedge the large 1/0 gauge cable to the terminals.

Re-connected the 12V lead from the inverter to the batteries and then fired the Xantrex up. Ahhh - life is good - it worked

Forgot to mention that I hooked up the gen start leads to the proper wiring in the OnePlace wiring panel. That worked like a champ - the Xantrex defaults to the Onan diesel and hook-up was simple. The colors I figured out from the wiring diagrams were right-on!

Found out an interesting thing about gen start on thermostat demand. Here is my requirement for auto gen start and a big reason why I bought this entire system: We will be full-timing soon with a couple of cats. My requirement was that the gen would auto-start IF the coach room temp got too high. This would mean that shore power was lost and the AC can't run. (We really don't want toasted critters ) After talking to Xantrex tech support (they are VERY helpful and easy to reach!) he told me that the thermostat sense lead will start the gen set ANYTIME 12/24V is applied to it (unlike Onan Energy Command). So if I wire the Xantrex thermostat sense lead to the yellow wire coming from the Coleman-Mach thermostat, and if I have the Xantrex configured for auto gen start, everytime the thermostat operates, the gen will start! Not a good thing... The tech said I could wire the auto gen start no-run leads to dry contacts of a relay so that if we have shore power, the gen can't start. This is getting a little complicated now. Not impossible, but an extra and unplanned work operation.

What I think I'm going to do is just use the Fantastic thermostat to send 12V to the auto gen start when it gets too hot in the coach. I can set that thermostat to 90 degrees - hopefully with shore power and both compressors running the coach will never see 90 degrees. If we lose shore power and the coach heats up, the fan will open and run and the gen will start.

Thanks for reading down this far. If you have gotten to this point, you need professional help for your problem

--John
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:32 PM   #2
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UPDATE: Sept 2, 2005

I'm going to pat myself on the back - The Xantrex is working great, the auto gen start is all installed and also working great and I just finished cleaning up after myself (what a mess.) My crowning achievement was getting the gen to auto start on a thermostat input. This is a long and complicated story due to the lack of a Xantrex "Shore Sense" option - see my original comments below. My kludge around this was to buy a cheap mechanical thermostat at Lowes and modify it a little (I had to cut out all of the resistors on the little thermostat circuit board). To use this when we are away from the coach in hot weather, I will set this thermostat at about 85 or 90 degrees. When the thermostat signals for cooling, 12V is sent to the proper lead to the auto gen start harness, and the gen cranks up in about 30-45 seconds or so. When cooling is achieved and the thermostat cuts off, 12V is removed from the gen start lead and the gen shuts down about 30 seconds later. WOW - what neat stuff!

-end of update-
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Whoo-hoo!

We are making beautiful, pure sine waves!

Yesterday I finished the swap-out of the stock Dimensions inverter/charger for a Xantrex RS2000 along with the Automatic Generator Start panel. I'll get some pictures up on my web site in a day or two so you can see some of what was invloved.

Allow me to digress a little here: I have spent quite a bit of time under the chassis (more on that later) and inside of compartments, access holes and the like. I must say I am very impressed with what I saw as I poked around where most owners would never venture. All wiring and hoses were neatly supported and in looms. There did not seem to be any opportunity anywhere I saw for chafe problems. When I took out the Dimensions inverter/charger, Winny had a welded "U" channel reinforcement on the side of the compartment for the bolts. Every where I looked, there seemed to be attention to detail and good engineering practices. I am very happy with what I saw under and inside of the coach.

Okay - enough of that...

Unfortunately, Dimensions does NOT use Cat5 ethernet cable which Xantrex needs for the control panel of the RS series. Dimensions uses some kind of eight conductor telephone-type cable. What I thought was going to be a pretty simple change-out of the boxes turned into a bit of a job as I needed to run Cat5 cable from the OnePlace to the electrical compartment. I must have spent an hour just trying to figure out how to run the Cat5. Now I know !

I went under the shower (remember this is a Horizon 40AD)with the wire to the sink area. There is plumbing that goes down to the water/sewage bay from the sink. Ran the wire into the plumbing bay and drilled a 3/4" hole through the backside of that bay so I could run the wire along the chassis to the electrical bay. Now it is just a matter of ty-wrapping the cable to whatever you find to get it back to the electrical bay area. I could find NO WAY to use an existing chase into the electrical bay, so out comes the trusty 3/4" hole saw & drill again. I made a hole in the backside of the electrical bay for the wiring. This all will make more sense when you see the pictures.

Then I had to run the battery temperature sense doohickey from the house batteries to the electrical bay. This went quickly and was not a big deal (unless you think lying on your back under the coach with a few inches of room above your face is a big deal.)

After I got the new Xantrex panel (and the gen start panel) installed and was ready for the swap out, I disconnected the 12V feed from the house batteries to the inverter. Took out the Dimensions inverter/charger and broke off the mounting studs with Vise-Grip pliers.

I made a mounting template of the Xantrex foot-print out of cardboard and positioned it in the bay so that the upper mounting holes were directly in-line with the "U" channel of the old Dimensions mounting studs. I drilled and tapped for three 5/16"-18 bolts. For the lower three mounting holes I used 1/4" bolts and nuts because you can easily access the other side of the panel to start the nuts.

The DW along with a fulcrum of a long board, moved the VERY heavy Xantrex up into position and I started a bolt (it was easy getting it into the compartment). The Xantrex must weigh twice what the Dimensions weighed. I could easily lift the Dimensions, but the Xantrex was a load. Anyway, got the thing bolted into position and made the electrical connections. NOTE: Dimensions uses a set-screw capture of the 12V leads. Xantrex wants terminal lugs. Fortunately I had some large lugs saved from the sailboat days. I also had a compression tool from sailboat days that I could adapt to swedge the large 1/0 gauge cable to the terminals.

Re-connected the 12V lead from the inverter to the batteries and then fired the Xantrex up. Ahhh - life is good - it worked

Forgot to mention that I hooked up the gen start leads to the proper wiring in the OnePlace wiring panel. That worked like a champ - the Xantrex defaults to the Onan diesel and hook-up was simple. The colors I figured out from the wiring diagrams were right-on!

Found out an interesting thing about gen start on thermostat demand. Here is my requirement for auto gen start and a big reason why I bought this entire system: We will be full-timing soon with a couple of cats. My requirement was that the gen would auto-start IF the coach room temp got too high. This would mean that shore power was lost and the AC can't run. (We really don't want toasted critters ) After talking to Xantrex tech support (they are VERY helpful and easy to reach!) he told me that the thermostat sense lead will start the gen set ANYTIME 12/24V is applied to it (unlike Onan Energy Command). So if I wire the Xantrex thermostat sense lead to the yellow wire coming from the Coleman-Mach thermostat, and if I have the Xantrex configured for auto gen start, everytime the thermostat operates, the gen will start! Not a good thing... The tech said I could wire the auto gen start no-run leads to dry contacts of a relay so that if we have shore power, the gen can't start. This is getting a little complicated now. Not impossible, but an extra and unplanned work operation.

What I think I'm going to do is just use the Fantastic thermostat to send 12V to the auto gen start when it gets too hot in the coach. I can set that thermostat to 90 degrees - hopefully with shore power and both compressors running the coach will never see 90 degrees. If we lose shore power and the coach heats up, the fan will open and run and the gen will start.

Thanks for reading down this far. If you have gotten to this point, you need professional help for your problem

--John
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:31 PM   #3
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John, thanks for your many "how to" post. I have been copying them to a file so when I get the urge, I will have a blueprint.
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:47 PM   #4
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Hey John,
Been there! We have installed the Onan Energy Command 30 and it works like a champ. It senses if shore power is applied and won't start if it's there. I wired it to the thermostat (to get the right signal, you need to solder a wire to a diode inside the thermostat) and the generator comes on when cooling is required. No longer worry about battery charge. EC30 takes care of that quite nicely. Got a good workout two weeks ago out in Catron County. Spent three days with no connections, put a total of 7.8 hours on the Hobbs, and never had to manually start the generator. Left the inverter on which pulled the coach batteries down to the set point of 12.2 Volts and the generator would start right up. A little unnerving the first time at 5:30 in the morning. But, better that than crispy critters.

Our inverter is the ProSine 2.0 and it must be a light weight compared to your Xantrex. I'm guessing 10 lbs. and charges at 100 Amps. Very easy to install but running new 0000 cables to the batteries was a bear. We will install the Echo~Charge as soon as it gets here. Remote read-out water meters are too cool to have ( http://www.jerman.com or http://www.watermeters.com 2 ea. DLJ SJ50C and LCD Remotes ). One is in-line with the output of the water pump and the other is in-line with the line to the toilet. We always know precisely how much water we have used, and what's in the Gray and Black tanks. Quite a job, but it would be simple for the factory to install on the assembly line. I have also ordered 2 OW-4 Plus water filters as replacements for the ADC water filter that comes with the EverPure water filter under the kitchen sink. It should provide enough extra (read more and better) filtration for us to stop buying bottled water for drinking and the humidifier. Hopefully, no more schlepping 5 gal. jugs from the basement to under the computer desk. Dony was really complaining!

As you can see, we too are fairly intimate with the underside and ˜inner sides' of our 40WD and I totally agree with your assessment of the design and engineering of the coaches.
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Old 09-01-2005, 04:51 AM   #5
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Hi Mark,

Xantrex unfortunately does not do a shore sense for start on thermostat. I am not the only user to complain to Xantrex about the lack of this option. The tech fired off an email to the auto gen start product manager about this feature deficiency while we were talking. There is a chance that Xantrex will code this into a firmware update - fingers crossed! A nice thing about the RS system is that the firmware can be flashed with new code. The tech said I could take the coach to a service center, or they will send out an interface box which I suppose communicates between the Xanabus & laptop.

My plan to use the Fantastic fan thermostat for a signal to start the gen on temperature signal won't work. I assumed that there would be 12V on one side of the thermostat contacts - wrong! they must use very low voltage signaling of some sort to start the fan from the thermostat.

Plan "B" is to buy/install a very simple single contact thermostat that I can put 12V on one side of and connect the cold side to the thermostat input of the gen start wiring. This would be simple and foolproof.

I really like your water meter web site but for another reason - I bought a water softner from CW and it would be very nice to know how many gallons of water have passed through the softner so I can then recharge it.

--John
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Old 09-03-2005, 05:39 AM   #6
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John: I think you need to run another line to the Gen Auto start system. This might be hooked into your battery powered wall clock. Purpose would be to inhibit gen auto start in the event you are away from your rig in very hot conditions during RV park quiet hours.

Thudman
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Old 09-03-2005, 06:28 AM   #7
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John, if you need a little more practice in effecting these upgrades, come to Virginia and you can work on mine...
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Old 09-03-2005, 06:48 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Thudman:
John: I think you need to run another line to the Gen Auto start system. This might be hooked into your battery powered wall clock. Purpose would be to inhibit gen auto start in the event you are away from your rig in very hot conditions during RV park quiet hours.

Thudman </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually, he already has that feature. The AGS has programming parameters to allow for quiet time lockouts. You can also turn on or off the various signal inputs at will and there is a connection that you can wire to your carbon monoxide detector to shut it down if the detector trips. That new networked AGS module is very smart. Actually, if you wired a DC contact/AC coil relay into the transfer panel you could use it to detect shore power (instead of carbon monoxide) and then you wouldn't need the second thermostat.
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