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Old 10-24-2021, 08:22 AM   #1
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Upgrading Solar System

Hello,

We purchased a 2022 Winnebago Minnie 25259RG which is due to be shipped on November 3rd. We are planning to upgrade the solar because of longer trips where we will be boondocking and it will open our options to get non-electric sites when camping at a state park. We have a 12v fridge and want to be able to use a microwave without having to run a generator.

I had asked for and received some good advice under the trailer thread. I originally posted there because I wasn’t sure how the power management system that the trailer comes with may affect how this upgrade is done. I haven’t heard anything that seems like there would be an issue.

From my research into this I decided that I didn’t want to tackle this project by myself but found it to be very expensive $12,000 for an outside company to do this. I have seen many good reviews about the SOK batteries and was looking to purchase the 2 of the 206 ah. I was able to find a local mobile tech who was willing to allow me to purchase the items that I wanted and then he would do the install and supply the wiring and stuff like that. So now I am in the process of buying most of the components that I need in the system.

The trailer comes with a solar panel - 190 w already installed and a 30 amp

In the trailer post creative had a list that is a good starting point.

You will need: (suggestion underlined)
1. Inverter 2,000w or more - I want to go with the converter/inverter auto switch type. I have been seeing a lot about Magnum and Victron. I would like something that has a decent remote display with good information. Does anyone have a suggestion they think would be good? With my solar plans is the 2000w good or should I go a little higher? Our trailer has a convection microwave that we would like to be able to run off batteries for meals.
2. DONE - Batteries - the more amp hours the better - I have ordered the 2 - SOK 206ah batteries. I also ordered the Battery monitor 100v 350amps
3. DC to DC charger from the alternator to the batteries - I have heard the charging from tow vehicle is so minimal is this worth it? If I don’t do anything here will that be a problem for the alternator?
4. Solar panels - as much as will fit - we are planning to add 3 - 200 watt panels to give us a total of 790 watts Not sure of the type yet
5. MPPT Solar Charge Controller - again victron is something I often see. Should this be the same brand as converter/inverter?
6.DONE - Wire, fuses, circuit breakers - mobile tech will supply
7. DONE - Electrical work to connect the inverter to specific circuits in the RV - mobile tech will supply and do
8. GOING WITH INVERTER/CONVERTER COMBO UNIT - Lithium capable Converter/Charger in the RV

Anything we are missing?

I think that the trailer layout may be a challenge because the battery is at the very front of the trailer and I was thinking of installing the new lithium batteries in the passthrough in the front of the trailer. The question I have is that because the electric panel is at the back of the trailer will that be a problem with losing power or having large wires to attempt to run? I had read some about a 24v system and would be interested on feedback about that if you have any knowledge.

Thank you for taking the time to look this over and any information you could supply.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:14 AM   #2
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You have outlined a pretty good plan. The only change I might suggest is to hold off on the DC to DC charger until you measure the alternator current with the batteries down to 50%. You may find that it is not a problem. And BTW if there is a problem it won't be overloading your TV's alternator. It will be blowing the 30 amp TV fuse that protects the circuit to the #4 position on the 7 pin connector.

There is a way to get more current from your TV's alternator though. You would have to run a new heavier gauge wire from the connector fore to the TV's battery and aft to the TT's battery. If you don't trust pin #4 to carry the current, install a separate connector like an SAE or MC4.

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Old 10-24-2021, 11:27 AM   #3
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MrLichty,
It may be wiser to install the batteries and inverter/charger under the bed if there is room. This will leave you an uninterrupted pass thru. Cable routing is not a real problem. You should mount the inverter/charger as close as possible to the batteries using 0 gauge wire. Short wire runs reduce voltage loss, so if they are right next to each other there will be virtually no loss. I also recommend installing a dedicated disconnect switch for the inverter/charger. This allows you to take that device completely out of the circuit when boondocking, saving you the amps used in inverter standby. Wiring on the ac Side is fairly easy. You cut a hole in the floor as near as possible to the chassis frame rail. Then, route the to/from ac cables attached to the inverter under the floor and back along the frame rails, then up and back into the coach under the sink. The under sink entry will be close enough to the breaker panel to complete the wiring. If you scope this out, you may be able to do this without disturbing the duroplast liner. It’s easier to use a 50ft 30amp rv extension cord cut in half than running ac through conduit. And the extension cord is durably insulated and rubber coated. On the dc side, reroute all the cables that are now connected to the tongue battery box back under the trailer and then up and through the wire loom that leads to the pass thru disconnect switch. I don’t know the wiring diagram for your coach, but you’ll also likely need to reroute the wires from the tongue junction box that control the tongue jack and slide out.

I did most of the install myself, pre-cutting ply board and mounting the components to the ply board before installing in pass thru. I’m too old and large to crawl into the pass thru, and work under the coach in Winter, so I had to hire some help for those parts. You can see my complete install on my album pages. If you install under bed, the wire routing will be a bit more difficult. My floor plan didn’t give me that option. You should allow plenty of real estate to also install your mppt solar charge controller (close to the battery), and Bluetooth capable battery negative shunt battery monitor.

The charge controller does not need to be the same brand as the inverter/charger. I have a Victron charge controller, a Victron neg shunt monitor, and a Xantrex inverter/charger. All are Bluetooth, and all work well for my installation. Been using this setup for about a year and no issues so far. Be careful not to exceed the carrying capacity of the wire gauge from the solar mc4 gland on the roof to the inside of coach. Typically, WBGO uses 10awg. This limits the amperage you can send from your panels, but you should be ok if the panels are wired in parallel.

With all that solar, I don’t know why you need a dc/dc charger. Wiring your tow vehicle and trailer for it can be expensive, and you can probably get along just fine without it. Plan on your fridge using 50amp/hrs per day. So for boondocking, you’ll want to replace as much of that as you can.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:52 AM   #4
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You may also want to visit profile and album for Fred 2106ds
Got most of my ideas from him. Mine’s a bit different, but Fred has complete install photos and diagrams, so I kinda followed his lead.

https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...ds-209054.html
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:52 AM   #5
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Sounds like you're on your way.

Inverter
There are a number of good companies. Magnum, Victron, Xantrex, etc. Magnum makes good inverters but only with hard wired displays (they call them monitors) with lots of info but in a small text display that requires a lot of scrolling. Same is mostly true with the other except Victron. One of the strengths of their products is they mostly all have bluetooth built in and they have a great smartphone/tablet app. You can monitor everything from your phone. Also, if you install multiple Victron items they talk to each other and all show up in the same app.

You said you want a "Converter/Inverter" and there is no such thing.

See there is a Converter/Charger built into your TT now. It runs all your 12v appliances AND it charges your battery.

An Inverter is separate and it simply connects to your battery to "invert" 110v power from your battery bank. You may hear from other RV owners that we have an Inverter/Charger and that's because we do not have a Converter in our motorhomes.

You do want an "inverter capable" Converter/Charger and all that means is that the charging part of your system is set up to charge your new LiPo4 batteries. You can probably buy just an upgraded charger for the Converter that comes with your TT. The one you have is probably not setup to charge LiPo4 batteries correctly.

You will most likely find your TTs converter under the Fridge. behind the fuse/circuit breaker box. It's likely a WFCO brand and you can call them with the model number of what you have and they can point you to a Lithium capable replacement upgrade for the charger section.

When you started this conversation you were interested in running the air conditioning off of your batteries and we informed you that this was probably not going to be possible.

Now, you mention running your Convection Microwave off of your new batteries. You should know that your microwave can actually demand MORE watts of power than the A/C does.

The majority of us run the generator for running the A/C and for using the Microwave. (And of course for recharging our batteries.)

Don't get me wrong, with 400+amp hours of LiPo4 batteries and a 2000 w inverter you would likely be capable of running the Microwave for a short while. Maybe up to a few minutes. The problem will be that the draw will be so large that your batteries can sag and drop in voltage and your inverter will strain and likely cut off due to low voltage.

A microwave can easily require up to 1700w of power and a 2000w inverter is nearly maxed out at that level. If ANYTHING else is running off of the inverter then it will simply beep and shut down.

It's good to know what uses a LOT of watts of 110v power - and that's your A/C unit as you already know but also anything the produces heat, especially off of resistance. This means hair dryers, electric coffee makers, space heaters, induction cooktops, instapots, electric griddles and the like. This list also includes the "convection" part of your convention microwave. That is like an electric oven and will be a big user of 110v watts.

Your 2000w inverter will be able to run these things - but not indefinitely and many times not at the same time as another similar item.

Also, consider this - running your inverter to power anything that uses a lot of 110v power will draw down your batteries each time you do this. If it's night or cloudy or rainy or you are parked under shade you may be forced to run your generator to recharge your batteries. So, it's best to not think that even with 400 amp hours of Lithium batteries that you can boondock/dry camp to your hearts content because you have 700w of solar panels without running the generator.

I'm not trying to be a buzz kill, just give you a realistic picture of what to expect.
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:03 PM   #6
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Since OP is doing a new install, it will be much easier and less complicated if he gets a hybrid inverter/charger from the start. Then, there will be no need for a separate charger and transfer switch. Modern hybrids are programmable for how much charge amperage you want to deliver to your battery bank, and can power share, which a separate inverter and charger setup cannot do. With 600w of solar feeding a 400ah LiFePo4 bank, I would recommend a 3000w inverter/charger capable of outputting 80-100 12vamps. They’re not that expensive. Good models available from Victron and Xantrex. I think 3000w models come in at about $1,000.
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:11 PM   #7
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Putting your batteries in the forward compartment just behind the A-Frame is a most practical location. I would put the inverter in there too. You'll want very beefy wiring from the batteries to the inverter. So, a short run between the batteries and the inverter is best. The 110v output from the inverter is not a problem just regular romex wiring is all that's needed.

You will want some large gauge (small gauge numbering) between the batteries and the 12v supply connecting to the converter to handle high amperage charging. But that's nothing like the wiring requirement from the batteries to the inverter. So, I wouldn't worry too much about the distance.

A new upgraded lithium capable charger in your converter will probably put out less than 55 amps so the wiring needs to be beefy but reasonable. One calculator I saw said 6ga wire was good for 18 feet at 60amps.

The wiring from your batteries to you inverter will need to handle 100 to 150 amps so that's the really really thick and expensive stuff that needs to be as short as possible.
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Old 10-24-2021, 12:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Since OP is doing a new install, it will be much easier and less complicated if he gets a hybrid inverter/charger from the start.
Jim, normally I'd feel the same way, however, since his focus is boondocking/dry camping the "boosting" properties of the hybrid may not be very helpful.

And up-sizing from 2000w to 3000w means upping wiring by a fair amount in lots of places throughout the RV as there will be bigger draws for all that power.

Ditching the converter/charger for an inverter/charger means a complete change over of his electrical distribution system. A whole new distribution panel, etc. Either that or leave the old converter and distribution in place and make an entirely new one that bypasses the old system.

All expensive and not so easy.
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Old 10-24-2021, 01:36 PM   #9
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Hi Creative,
My install of 2000w hybrid next to 170ah LiFePo4 did not require anything new or different in the distribution panel. You’re simply taking the SP feed to the hybrid via a 30 amp cord. Romex and conduit is an unnecessary expense. On the return leg, you’re just taking the ac 110v output from the hybrid and running it back to the distribution panel where the SP normally would be connected to the OEM charger/converter. With the hybrid, you totally un-wire the old charger/converter. So, after the install 12v charge current goes directly to battery. If OP up-sizes to 3000w hybrid. The ac wiring to distribution panel stays the same (30amp cable). And the dc wiring to battery stays the same (1/0 gauge). There’s really very little difference between 2000w and 3000w, except the 3000w can service a larger ac load. How large? Large enough that if you used it all, plus the inverter’s overload capacity, you may indeed need bigger cable between inverter and distribution panel, but you’d also probably need new breakers. I think most people with a 3000w hybrid have 50amp panel. Not sure though. Also, the hybrid can use all of the charge current from the charge controllers, and is programmable for amperage output. On SP the hybrid can charge LiFePo much faster than a conventional charger.
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Old 10-24-2021, 01:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
There’s really very little difference between 2000w and 3000w, except the 3000w can service a larger ac load. How large? Large enough that if you used it all, plus the inverter’s overload capacity, you may indeed need bigger cable between inverter and distribution panel, but you’d also probably need new breakers. I think most people with a 3000w hybrid have 50amp panel.
That is the difference between 2000w and 3000w inverters and yes, I feel pretty sure that most people with a 3000w hybrid inverter are using 50-amp service.

This is why I would be hesitant to suggest it in this situation. But, that's just me. I'm no expert.
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Old 10-24-2021, 02:03 PM   #11
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Also, the 2000w can charge at up to 80amps, the 3000w at 100amp. But 80amps is plenty for OP battery bank of 400ah. I have mine set to.80 amps.
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Old 10-24-2021, 02:08 PM   #12
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Here's one pretty simply WFCO charger upgrade video. It's just charging one battery and is very basic, but it might be helpful to see this process carried out:

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Old 10-24-2021, 06:51 PM   #13
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I wanted to quick thank everyone who has replied.

I have been trying to post the original message for a couple days now but on Thursday our Daughter and Son-in-law had a baby girl (their first). So we are now first time grandparents so we have been spending a lot of time helping them.

I will review posts and get back to you with more questions or replies. I didn't want people to think I posted and left town .

Thanks again for taking the time
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:34 PM   #14
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Major Congratulations!

How special this time is for you.

Enjoy you new grand daughter!
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:43 PM   #15
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Congrats!!!
Grandkids are great because you can spoil them and then give them back to their parents. Payback!
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Old 10-26-2021, 08:35 AM   #16
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Finally got a chance to look through everything and have a couple of questions. Thank you all for the replies.

Most seem to think the DC to DC isn't worth doing so how do I disable in order to prevent a problem with TV?

This is the basic diagram I am planning to use - I copied from youtube (I'm Not Lost I'm RVing)



Not having the trailer yet I am not positive where the solar connection on the roof comes down to the 30a charge controller they have in passthrough. But if I were to add the 600watts more solar to the roof (790 total) do you think the existing wiring will be good for getting the juice to the new charge controller if installed in the front passthrough?

So here is my challenge.. what do I do with the SP which goes to the back panel but if I am installing the batteries and inverter/charger in the front passthrough? I know you have to keep batteries and inverter/charger close to each other.
I had mentioned about a 24v system in original post but didn't see anyone address that. I know very little about overall project and even less about the 24v but did read that if you have a longer run it allows smaller wires. Then it goes into some type of reducer block down to 12v.

Seems to be a lot of discussion about the 2000w or 3000w. Do they have a hybrid converter/charger at 2500w?
The one below seems like a very reasonable price - should I be worried about this brand? I do see a review that you have to turn on and off inverter depending on shore power. I could see myself forget that and drain batteries. I wouldn't mind paying more if this isn't great but there aren't many at 2500w that I saw.
https://www.amazon.com/Aims-PICOGLF2...252168&sr=8-23

Thank you all again for your expertise and time
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:12 AM   #17
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First, I don't know what SP and back panel mean in this sentence: "So here is my challenge.. what do I do with the SP which goes to the back panel but if I am installing the batteries and inverter/charger in the front passthrough?"

But moving on, apparently you have a factory wired solar system with 190 watts of solar and a 30A controller. Is the controller an MPPT type or is it a PWM type. MPPT controllers let you wire you solar panels in series which limits voltage drop as you note but doubles or triples the voltage which won't work with a PWM controller.

Usually factory wired solar systems come with 10 gauge wire from the solar port on the roof to the controller. Do you know what yours has?

You can get by with wiring up to three panels (of the same type and preferably from the same manufacturer) in series and get by with 10 gauge wire and have a reasonable voltage drop. This does have some negatives because shading of one panel reduces the output of all.

Yes you do want to locate your controller near the batteries so that you can minimize voltage drop which is even more important in this circuit. But you can run larger wire to compensate. I believe you should keep the voltage drop in this circuit to 1/4 volt.

Your circuit diagram looks reasonable.

AIMs has been selling RV and boat electrical products on Amazon for a few years. Like Renogy, they have developed a good reputation but are not considered high end like Magnum, Victron, Outback, and MasterVolt. The AIMs inverter has a 55 watt standby load (see the Q&A section) and that is huge and will quickly run your batteries down. The high end inverter/chargers switch to a very low standby current when there is no AC load and test for an AC load every second or so and turn on the inverter when detected. This keeps the standby current low. AIMs obviously doesn't do that. But switching it off manually will deal with the high standby current.

Give us some answers and we can address more of your questions.

David
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlichty View Post
Finally got a chance to look through everything and have a couple of questions. Thank you all for the replies.

Most seem to think the DC to DC isn't worth doing so how do I disable in order to prevent a problem with TV?

This is the basic diagram I am planning to use - I copied from youtube (I'm Not Lost I'm RVing)



Not having the trailer yet I am not positive where the solar connection on the roof comes down to the 30a charge controller they have in passthrough. But if I were to add the 600watts more solar to the roof (790 total) do you think the existing wiring will be good for getting the juice to the new charge controller if installed in the front passthrough?

So here is my challenge.. what do I do with the SP which goes to the back panel but if I am installing the batteries and inverter/charger in the front passthrough? I know you have to keep batteries and inverter/charger close to each other.
I had mentioned about a 24v system in original post but didn't see anyone address that. I know very little about overall project and even less about the 24v but did read that if you have a longer run it allows smaller wires. Then it goes into some type of reducer block down to 12v.

Seems to be a lot of discussion about the 2000w or 3000w. Do they have a hybrid converter/charger at 2500w?
The one below seems like a very reasonable price - should I be worried about this brand? I do see a review that you have to turn on and off inverter depending on shore power. I could see myself forget that and drain batteries. I wouldn't mind paying more if this isn't great but there aren't many at 2500w that I saw.
https://www.amazon.com/Aims-PICOGLF2...252168&sr=8-23

Thank you all again for your expertise and time
The SP connection when you mount batteries and inverter/charger in the pass thru goes through the floor of the pass thru as close as possible to the chassis frame rail on the curb side. If you’re close, you don’t have to remove the duroplast liner. Run the cables back down along the frame rail and back up under the sink. From there, you connect to the breaker panel and remove the OEM charger/converter from The circuit. So, the 120v ac cable outbound from the panel is like sending sp to the inverter/charger. On the return leg, the cable services the same 110v breakers that were previously serviced by SP. I just connected to main breaker. But be aware, if you do this, your inverter will try to run the air conditioner if you’re not connected to SP. I just have to remember to make sure the A/C is off when boondocking. For the cable you can either use romex in conduit, or 30amp shielded rv extension cable. I used 50ft extension cable and cut it in half.

For solar, look for a label on the front bulkhead that says solar. Behind it are the wires that come down from the roof. You run these wires across the ceiling of the pass thru and over to your charge controller which should be mounted close to the batteries. On the roof, there is a gland with mc4 connectors located at the very front end. Simply plug your panel(s) into this connector. If you have two panels wired in parallel, you’ll need to buy a parallel combiner connector to plug into the mc4 port up top. The wiring should be sufficient to handle 2 x 200w panels in parallel, and maybe a third 200w panel. You could run into trouble with factory installed wire gauge if you try to wire 3 panels in series.
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Old 10-26-2021, 09:20 AM   #19
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We’re very happy with our Bluetooth Xantrex 2000XC inverter/charger. It provides all the power we need and will even run the microwave. It can charge LiFePo4 at 80 amps which makes for very short charge times. $700 on Amazon + extra for a optional gfci outlet. Don’t know why you’d want 3000w model unless you plan to run your A/C off of it. But if you got a 3000 and wanted to use it’s full overload current, you’d have to install all new wiring and probably a new panel. 3000w more suitable for rvs with 50amp service.

BTW: your wiring diagram is exactly the wiring setup I used. Including bus bars, shunt, and fusing.
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Old 10-26-2021, 11:01 AM   #20
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Hi David and Marine

SP is shore power
breaker panel

Marine
So My understanding of your post is the SP will go from the back kitchen area up to the front inverter along the rail then back to the breaker panel along the same rail - correct?

I also see a review about the inverter/charger you mentioned - is this an accurate issue with this unit? or could you clarify
Is this the correct one? Xantrex Freedom XC 2000 817-2080 Power Inverter

Jon Oliver
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware the 'Ignition Auto On' feature for the charger portion of the inverter/charger
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2021
Verified Purchase
Beware the 'Ignition Auto On' feature for the charger portion of the inverter/charger

Xantrex designed this inverter/charger to have an ‘ignition auto-on’ for the charger - yet if you enable this feature while plugged in to shore power, the inverter charger draws 1.6 amps from the batteries.

In other words plugging in the inverter while using the ‘ignition auto-on’ feature for the charger, drains the batteries until they are dead and destroyed.

This is a design flaw with the unit and was confirmed by Xantrex as 'expected behavior'

Beware, because of this behavior this inverter/charger destroyed my battery bank.

Xantrex offered no remedy or refund.

Thanks again
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