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Old 06-30-2007, 07:03 AM   #1
Winnie-Wise
 
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I am considering installing an engine battery shut off switch on our 2004 Journey 36G. I would like to be able to disconnect the engine batteries when I am not available to periodically plug in the charger.

I have already installed a Trik-L-Start to help keep the engine batteries charged when the house batteries are being charged. The house batteries have a battery disconnect switch built in, dash mounted. What is not yet clear to me is what systems will be affected by shutting down the engine starter batteries. I thought I would inquire here prior to calling Winnebago/Freightliner to get their input. Searching other iRV2 posts, it appears that the engine ECM, the Allison transmission ECU and the brake dryer ECM are the main parasitic loads.

The battery disconnect installation seems to me to be a physical/electrical problem. How to safely fit the switch in a small space filled with a lot of large 12 volt wiring. Freightliner told me they use the Guest Disconnect Switch and locate it either in the rear engine compartment or up near the driver location. I have not yet seen a motor home with the engine battery disconnect factory installed so will need to take a look. For an after market installation, it seems to me the closer to the batteries the safer the installation.

I am looking at switches manufactured by Perko, Blue Seas and Guest. All three are marine products. All three switches provide an alternator field disconnect connection. Blue Seas provided a good explanation of how this feature works: "An alternator field disconnect is used to protect the diodes in an alternator when the battery switch is inadvertently turned to the "OFF" position. Essentially it turns off the alternator output."

The Blue Seas company claims that they are setting a new engine starting standard for switch design capacity. In their words, "The standard under which all reputable manufacturers of battery switches rate their products is UL Standard 1107. This standard rates switches for 5 minute and 1 hour time periods. A problem with these ratings is that marine battery switches are commonly used in the engine starting circuit and neither the Continuous nor the Intermittent Rating represents the conditions a switch endures in the engine starting circuit, typically for 10 seconds or less, but at very high currents. The ABYC Standards have propagated the problem by requiring that a switch in the engine cranking circuit have an Intermittent Rating equal to, or greater than, the highest engine starting current. Peak starting currents can easily spike to 1500 amperes, yet there are almost no marine battery switches rated at this Intermittent Current...Based on this research, Blue Sea Systems established the Engine Starting Standard... As of this writing, Blue Sea Systems is the only battery switch manufacturer using the Engine Starting Standard, however, the Engine Starting Standard is being used as the basis for a revision of the ABYC Standards." I am not trying to promote Blue Seas, but I thought their commentary was interesting.

All three companies are reputable. But Guest and Blue Seas seem to have a stronger switch. The following are the switch ratings I was able to obtain from the companies various web sites.

Blue Seas #3001 rated at 600 amps continuous / 900 amp Intermittent 5 min / 1200 amps Cranking / 2000 amps inrush. With alternator field disconnect. On line: about $54.00 (can't be right!) at Marine Electronics Unlimited ; Marine Power Service $ 76.95
http://bluesea.com/category/1/productline/4

http://www.marine-electronics-unlimited.com/Blue+Sea+30...tery+Switch+AFD.html




Perko # 9703DP rated at 450 amps continuous / 1200 amp Intermittent 15 sec on 5 min off/ ??? amps Cranking / ??? amps inrush. With alternator field disconnect. $149.00 at West Marine
http://www.perko.com/instruct.php





Freightliner: #0644645-000 (Freightliner uses the Guest/Marinco #2304B) 600 amps continuous / 1,000 amps momentary for 5 min. With alternator field disconnect. Freightliner mentioned that they hook up ignition wiring; power sense wire and power ground. About $ 167.00 on the Internet. Freightliner through their local dealer $138.10 + tax.

http://www.marinco.com/scpt/ProdPage...20Recreational





Anyone have any commentary on the switch preference, location, and installation in general? Thanks,
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:03 AM   #2
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I am considering installing an engine battery shut off switch on our 2004 Journey 36G. I would like to be able to disconnect the engine batteries when I am not available to periodically plug in the charger.

I have already installed a Trik-L-Start to help keep the engine batteries charged when the house batteries are being charged. The house batteries have a battery disconnect switch built in, dash mounted. What is not yet clear to me is what systems will be affected by shutting down the engine starter batteries. I thought I would inquire here prior to calling Winnebago/Freightliner to get their input. Searching other iRV2 posts, it appears that the engine ECM, the Allison transmission ECU and the brake dryer ECM are the main parasitic loads.

The battery disconnect installation seems to me to be a physical/electrical problem. How to safely fit the switch in a small space filled with a lot of large 12 volt wiring. Freightliner told me they use the Guest Disconnect Switch and locate it either in the rear engine compartment or up near the driver location. I have not yet seen a motor home with the engine battery disconnect factory installed so will need to take a look. For an after market installation, it seems to me the closer to the batteries the safer the installation.

I am looking at switches manufactured by Perko, Blue Seas and Guest. All three are marine products. All three switches provide an alternator field disconnect connection. Blue Seas provided a good explanation of how this feature works: "An alternator field disconnect is used to protect the diodes in an alternator when the battery switch is inadvertently turned to the "OFF" position. Essentially it turns off the alternator output."

The Blue Seas company claims that they are setting a new engine starting standard for switch design capacity. In their words, "The standard under which all reputable manufacturers of battery switches rate their products is UL Standard 1107. This standard rates switches for 5 minute and 1 hour time periods. A problem with these ratings is that marine battery switches are commonly used in the engine starting circuit and neither the Continuous nor the Intermittent Rating represents the conditions a switch endures in the engine starting circuit, typically for 10 seconds or less, but at very high currents. The ABYC Standards have propagated the problem by requiring that a switch in the engine cranking circuit have an Intermittent Rating equal to, or greater than, the highest engine starting current. Peak starting currents can easily spike to 1500 amperes, yet there are almost no marine battery switches rated at this Intermittent Current...Based on this research, Blue Sea Systems established the Engine Starting Standard... As of this writing, Blue Sea Systems is the only battery switch manufacturer using the Engine Starting Standard, however, the Engine Starting Standard is being used as the basis for a revision of the ABYC Standards." I am not trying to promote Blue Seas, but I thought their commentary was interesting.

All three companies are reputable. But Guest and Blue Seas seem to have a stronger switch. The following are the switch ratings I was able to obtain from the companies various web sites.

Blue Seas #3001 rated at 600 amps continuous / 900 amp Intermittent 5 min / 1200 amps Cranking / 2000 amps inrush. With alternator field disconnect. On line: about $54.00 (can't be right!) at Marine Electronics Unlimited ; Marine Power Service $ 76.95
http://bluesea.com/category/1/productline/4

http://www.marine-electronics-unlimited.com/Blue+Sea+30...tery+Switch+AFD.html




Perko # 9703DP rated at 450 amps continuous / 1200 amp Intermittent 15 sec on 5 min off/ ??? amps Cranking / ??? amps inrush. With alternator field disconnect. $149.00 at West Marine
http://www.perko.com/instruct.php





Freightliner: #0644645-000 (Freightliner uses the Guest/Marinco #2304B) 600 amps continuous / 1,000 amps momentary for 5 min. With alternator field disconnect. Freightliner mentioned that they hook up ignition wiring; power sense wire and power ground. About $ 167.00 on the Internet. Freightliner through their local dealer $138.10 + tax.

http://www.marinco.com/scpt/ProdPage...20Recreational





Anyone have any commentary on the switch preference, location, and installation in general? Thanks,
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'10 Phaeton 36 QSH-
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:22 AM   #3
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I used the Battery terminal disconnect on all three of my Batterys but I have the space to be able to reach them easily the way my old Wini is set up.
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:43 AM   #4
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Steve, when I attended Camp Freightliner I'm pretty sure they told us that not all of the 12V from the engine battery is disconnected thru the GUEST switch. So when you talk to Freightliner ask them the question of what all is disconnected thru the switch and what isn't.

There's probably good reasons why some of the circuits are continuously fed (per some of your concerns regarding ECM's, etc.).
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'07 Winnebago Journey 34H - CAT C7, Koni's, MCU's, SS Bell Crank, Safe-T-Plus
'07 HHR Toad, SMI AFO, Blue OX
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Old 07-01-2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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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 SteveG:
I am considering installing an engine battery shut off switch on our 2004 Journey 36G. I would like to be able to disconnect the engine batteries when I am not available to periodically plug in the charger.

I have already installed a Trik-L-Start to help keep the engine batteries charged when the house batteries are being charged. The house batteries have a battery disconnect switch built in, dash mounted. What is not yet clear to me is what systems will be affected by shutting down the engine starter batteries. I thought I would inquire here prior to calling Winnebago/Freightliner to get their input. Searching other iRV2 posts, it appears that the engine ECM, the Allison transmission ECU and the brake dryer ECM are the main parasitic loads.

The battery disconnect installation seems to me to be a physical/electrical problem. How to safely fit the switch in a small space filled with a lot of large 12 volt wiring. Freightliner told me they use the Guest Disconnect Switch and locate it either in the rear engine compartment or up near the driver location. I have not yet seen a motor home with the engine battery disconnect factory installed so will need to take a look. For an after market installation, it seems to me the closer to the batteries the safer the installation.

I am looking at switches manufactured by Perko, Blue Seas and Guest. All three are marine products. All three switches provide an alternator field disconnect connection. Blue Seas provided a good explanation of how this feature works: "An alternator field disconnect is used to protect the diodes in an alternator when the battery switch is inadvertently turned to the "OFF" position. Essentially it turns off the alternator output."

The Blue Seas company claims that they are setting a new engine starting standard for switch design capacity. In their words, "The standard under which all reputable manufacturers of battery switches rate their products is UL Standard 1107. This standard rates switches for 5 minute and 1 hour time periods. A problem with these ratings is that marine battery switches are commonly used in the engine starting circuit and neither the Continuous nor the Intermittent Rating represents the conditions a switch endures in the engine starting circuit, typically for 10 seconds or less, but at very high currents. The ABYC Standards have propagated the problem by requiring that a switch in the engine cranking circuit have an Intermittent Rating equal to, or greater than, the highest engine starting current. Peak starting currents can easily spike to 1500 amperes, yet there are almost no marine battery switches rated at this Intermittent Current...Based on this research, Blue Sea Systems established the Engine Starting Standard... As of this writing, Blue Sea Systems is the only battery switch manufacturer using the Engine Starting Standard, however, the Engine Starting Standard is being used as the basis for a revision of the ABYC Standards." I am not trying to promote Blue Seas, but I thought their commentary was interesting.

All three companies are reputable. But Guest and Blue Seas seem to have a stronger switch. The following are the switch ratings I was able to obtain from the companies various web sites.

Blue Seas #3001 rated at 600 amps continuous / 900 amp Intermittent 5 min / 1200 amps Cranking / 2000 amps inrush. With alternator field disconnect. On line: about $54.00 (can't be right!) at Marine Electronics Unlimited ; Marine Power Service $ 76.95
http://bluesea.com/category/1/productline/4

http://www.marine-electronics-unlimited.com/Blue+Sea+30...tery+Switch+AFD.html




Perko # 9703DP rated at 450 amps continuous / 1200 amp Intermittent 15 sec on 5 min off/ ??? amps Cranking / ??? amps inrush. With alternator field disconnect. $149.00 at West Marine
http://www.perko.com/instruct.php





Freightliner: #0644645-000 (Freightliner uses the Guest/Marinco #2304B) 600 amps continuous / 1,000 amps momentary for 5 min. With alternator field disconnect. Freightliner mentioned that they hook up ignition wiring; power sense wire and power ground. About $ 167.00 on the Internet. Freightliner through their local dealer $138.10 + tax.

http://www.marinco.com/scpt/ProdPage...20Recreational





Anyone have any commentary on the switch preference, location, and installation in general? Thanks, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Old 07-01-2007, 11:47 AM   #6
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I have a test report on these switches. If you would like it I could email it to you. Its rather large 3 MB.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:54 PM   #7
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Take a look at the disconnect switches available from WWW.Flamingriver,com. We've used this one for the past 6 years.

http://www.flamingriver.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=produc.../mode=prod/prd60.htm

It can handle up to 2,500 amps, is waterproof, lockable, and costs less than half the ones you mentioned.
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:53 AM   #8
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As a follow up to my own post regarding the installation of a battery disconnect switch for our Journey 36G, I have decided not to proceed with the installation. Doing the research has taught me a lot about the electrical system so it was a worthwhile experience. Freightliner had the battery disconnect switch available as an option for our 2004 motor home but it was not included either by the original owner or maybe not offered by Winnebago. At first glance I thought the starter cabling would have to go through the disconnect switch. Studying the Freightliner schematic I saw that they did not attempt to disconnect such high current, the worst case for our Cat C7 engine/starter (excluding lockup of the starter), according to freightliner, would be 890 amps at 7 volts and a minimum of 940 RPM at 20?C. With the switch having a 600 amp limit and the new bulk of doubled up feeder cabling that would be required it became obvious that disconnecting the starter circuit was not a solution.

The disconnect switch does not appear to turn off any significant parasitic loads. The Radio can be switched to the house side; the steps turned off in the out position. According to Caterpillar, power to the engine computer (engine control module -ECM) should be left turned on to support the lithium battery that supports the engine software. So when I sum it up, I do not think, for me, there is enough advantage to warrant the time and money to install the switch. As John Canfield suggested, money might better be spent on a solar panel to help keep the chassis batteries charged.
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