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Old 10-08-2020, 11:40 PM   #21
Winnie-Wise
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Mongobird: Thank you!

I would like to mention that I did try to install LED headlights, but I did NOT find them much better than my OEM headlights.

Then I installed the Sylvania "Ultra" Halogen Headlights and that was 200% better when it comes to lumens and "white light", but apparently take ~7A more amps for 2 bulbs. I thought this might me "recoverable" if if install LED Headlights, but now I think this is a mute point.

...Further, I doubt a 7A saving will extend the life of my alternator.

The alternative is to disconnect my DRL all together, and I do not want to do that for road safety and legal reasons, even though this option is still tempting.

So what's all this banter about? ...Well, my thinking was that if I installed LED lights then my alternator might last longer, and more importantly that would free up more current to flow to my house batteries. ...But now I believe this is definitely "over thinking" things a bit too much.


I mean, if my alternator is only putting out between 1/4 and 1/2 power... and is never running at max 160A output, and more like 45-60A, then saving 7A for two LED Headlight bulbs is mute, since I am never over loading the alternator.

Moreover, I have 400w of solar panels on my roof, and these panels output out an average o f 100A/day (Sun shinning of course)... so this this swamps my concerns about optimizing alternator current to more effectively charge my house batteries.

So you may ask, why am I so concerned? ...And my answer would be: I have a residential refrigerator, so whenever I shut off my engine I would like to think my house batteries are at 100% SOC. ...This is so I can get through the night, in a rest stop, or Walmart parking lot, or other abode, when I run my heater-blower or CPAP, and then continue on my way the next days so I can do it all over again!
Note: I travel 7K-10K miles every year so I have many overnight stays; and battery life if very important to me.


So apparently this experiment is concluded thanks to Mongobird and DavidM's comments.

Muchas gracias! ...And mahalo!
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:39 AM   #22
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In my opinion, certain things are worth the price. Daytime running lights are definitely one of them from my perspective. The life cost of running them in terms of additional fuel, wear and tear on the alternator, and light bulbs it's relatively small compared to their seeming intangible benefit. One accident, even one panic stop, pays for it all.

From the standpoint of assuring a full charge on your house batteries, and your concern about that, I would look first to a smart charger which provides the profile needed for your house batteries and manages their charge. The second order enhancement I would probably make would be in the house batteries.

There are some other things you could do, particularly if you had or electrical experience than you do. For example there are relatively inexpensive power meters which I have seen on eBay, which provide monitoring of voltage, current, power being consumed, and total power being consumed. They're available in an AC and DC configurations, and I have two of the AC ones on each leg off my ground source heat pump at home. That way I can monitor how much energy I am using on my heat pump which is the largest consumer for the house. For nine years I have run my entire house and it's entire heating and cooling load off of solar power. I'm still grid-connected, and have net metering so I use the grid like a battery for the power. Technically I have two service entrances for my system, so I thought it would be easier just to monitor heat pump power consumption.

I understand the problem you want to solve, and rather than one things that you can do solving the problem, I think it would be better for you to understand electricity, the batteries, and how everything works. That is a tall order, and if you work at it casually it may take some time.

The first thing you could do is to start a log showing you're driving conditions, time spent enroute, speed enroute, house loads, etc.

You should also characterized your loads. For example your refrigerator is your big power consumer. What is the peak power draw, what is the average power draw over time given weather conditions, etc.? Keep track of additional loads on the system like running the chassis air conditioner while traveling on the road.

As you start to gather more data, and get better measurements on your current draw, and so on gaba you will get a better feel for things. At some point your concept around the use of different appliances, the amount of charge you got from the sun, and so on will become intuitive.

In my case I was studying this stuff since I was 10 years old, but it is something that someone can acquire casually, but with effort offer a much more reasonable period of time. However by continuously learning, we all enhance our neuroplasticity.
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Old 10-10-2020, 12:19 AM   #23
Winnie-Wise
 
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Actually, like most RV systems, there's not much you can do to improve on the OEM solution.

For example, I tried LED lights and did not like them. Instead I increased the power to 55W so I can see better. This defeated my goal to reduce amp use, I know, but as you implied... safety is more important.

And "no," I will not turn off my DRL... especially now that you and other have helped me understand the true load on my alternator.

And I can live with the concept of "living with what I get..." out of the engine alternator, which again is not limiting for me since I have 400W of solar on the roof. If anything, I'm concerned my house batteries are getting charged too fast.

So after thinking about the theory of how all these power grids play with one another; and now they you and others have help me sort our a few fundamentals that slipped between the crack in my head; about 1 month ago to did what you recommended... I upgraded my shore power charger to a 17A Victron Bluetooth Charger. And now I use it instead of my Dimensions Charger when I have shore power; and I am also using it as a battery maintainer when my RV is in storage.

Adding a "smarter" charger is not exactly the subject of this thread, but I'm glad it came up, because I think it's also possible you can over charge your house batteries when your alternator and your solar power is working a peak efficiency.

And I think this situation can occur when you hit the road in the late morning or afternoon with a 40% SOC battery; and full sun powering up your solar panels to a full 18A of charge current.

Now... I might be talking out of school here, but this explanation may be the reason why my house batteries appear slightly deformed after 2 years of use? ... But again, this is just a guess.

One battery person to told me: If your batteries have bulges on the sides it's because you are over charging them, but if they are bulged on top it's because they froze during the winter. ...Is this true in your opinion?
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Old 10-10-2020, 04:05 PM   #24
Winnebago Owner
 
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Im running an 05 Winne , Journey .
Frig is run off propane .
Basically just looking to keep house batteries topped off.
From use of lights and radio ect
Ive looked at the Key Line it is rated to be 140 Amp Dual Battery Isolator is IP65 Certified
And priced at near $100
I also cane across this model " SWITCH CLUB "
for only $40 both have the same rating and sealed bottom

https://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-140A-Sm...53.m1438.l2649

I tought id ask if there would be any opinions of which would be the better or the same , mouse trap ?
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Old 10-10-2020, 06:49 PM   #25
Winnie-Wise
 
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Should I Use A Battery Combiner Device or VSR?

The goal of these battery combiners or VRS are to ensure your house batteries are fully charged when you get to your camp spot.

So if you are finding your batteries are not at peak SOC then maybe adding one of these devices will work well with you.

I think it was Mongobird or DavidM who said he would prefer not to use one of these devices, but he did not say why? ...But maybe now that we are addressing this subject directly we can learn more.

In my case, I talked to Keyline 5 years ago when I wanted to know more about their product. And since installed it everything has been working just great.

...But I called Keyline again in June-2020 to ask about the competition in the market and why prices have dropped 40%? ...And Keyline explained their patent expired and they did not renew it.

So that explains why you are seeing are Keyline "knock offs" and lower prices, even from Blue Sea.

I checked the Amazon reviews and there seem to be enough favorable ones to warrant a purchase, but what if these are solicited reviews and not from customer like you and me.

Keyline's VSR price is $85 without the battery cables, but that's still $46 more than the Knockoff price of $39. What you don't know is if the circuit board inside is quality controlled in the same way as the Keyline VSR? It might be and it might not.

In 5 years I have driven over 40,000 miles in my DP with the Keyline VSR with no problems whatsoever. So that's the only testimonial I can give you.

Note: You do know there are tons of so called Cummins OEM parts available on the internet, in Cummin's boxes... that are not approved Cummins supplied parts. I.e., these very same parts that look the same on the outside may not have passed Cummin's QA.

So when you buy direct from Cummins, what you are really buying, besides the part, is the assurance (or insurance) Cummins as qualified their supply chain.

Personally, I think you should stick with either Keyline VSR or get a Blue Sea battery combiner vs. the $46 savings. But I also thing your knock off will work fine, because I don't think this device gets hot. ...Now vibration failure is another concern. To bad you can I can't compare Keyline's circuit board to the knockoff? ...But what you can do is call Keyline yourself and ask them why you should buy their product over the less expensive knockoff?

https://www.keylinechargers.com/collections/all

Keyline Technical Support: (800)435-1072
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Old 10-10-2020, 09:29 PM   #26
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Thanks , I have not heard of the Blue Sea either .
Ive been on the fence if I REALLY , need one though .
AS I do run the Gen set every now & then and have not ran into any other problems with batteries .
Once or twice Ive used a pre made jumper to go from Positive of both banks for a few hours or so while driving . Although , give this some serious thought !
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Old 10-12-2020, 06:15 PM   #27
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Ive been doing some homework on the topic .
Ive read about the Blue Sea and a BIRD
The bird may be a more sophisticated unit
Although it falls , price wise in the middle of the other choices .
That said it's used by the coach builders .
It would be nice to know the house batteries are always charged proper .
Any comments on the BIRD ? Or should I just stick with using a KeyLine unit .
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:17 PM   #28
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IMNPRSD ,
Thank you for the heads up on this devise .
I purchased one . All i have to do now is install it .
I have wanted to do something like this for some time now . Im sure it will make an improvement !
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:52 AM   #29
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You are welcome.

Other Tips:

* I attached several feet of solar wire (6AWG I think) to each Keyline post, but did not clip the length to fit. (Not yet.)

* I installed the Keyline to the sidewall in the battery bay. The screws poked out the other side, but I saw no problem with that.

* You then pull out your battery tray and cut the wires to their proper length. Note: The excess wire will drape in front of both battery banks, which is just fine.

* Remember to attach to only the (+) terminals, but not just any (+) terminal in the bank. You want the same terminal your alternator connects to on the engine/chassis battery bank; and you want the same terminal your inverter/charger connects to on the house battery bank. Note: There is no negative wire!

== END.


Suggestion For The Road: I carry a 3' long battery cable with me for back-up. Why? Well, one day my alternator failed on the highway, and after my alternator light turned on, and I pulled off the highway... and my engine stalled-out. Why?

Answer: The shorted diodes in the alternator sucked the life out of the chassis batteries, to the point there was not enough voltage for the ECM.

...but when I attached the single 3' long battery cable between my chassis and house battery, it effectively worked like the "Boost Solenoid" that is "on" all the time.

...I started the engine and drove 50 miles to a repair station to get my alternator replaced. So that 3' battery cable saved me from a tow!!!

Note: I think at that time I had 79,000 miles on my coach. (Which is typical useful life for a Leece-Neville/Prestolite alternator from what I hear.)

==> So while I would not suggest everyone carry a spare alternator, I do highly recommend you carry 3' long battery cable ($12 or less at Walmart) to jump your house battery bank to your engine/chassis battery bank in time of need.
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Old 10-21-2020, 07:29 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imnprsd View Post


...but when I attached the single 3' long battery cable between my chassis and house battery, it effectively worked like the "Boost Solenoid" that is "on" all the time.

...

==> So while I would not suggest everyone carry a spare alternator, I do highly recommend you carry 3' long battery cable ($12 or less at Walmart) to jump your house battery bank to your engine/chassis battery bank in time of need.
I had the alternator die on my 2004 Meridian driving it home several hundred miles after buying it. I used the boost switch. Boy was my left arm tired from holding it. A mechanic at Freightliner told me people shove toothpicks into the switch. It was a new rig to me, and I had no tools or anything else. I now have a popsicle stick I could adapt if necessary.

Regarding the 3' jumper...I think it's a good idea to have any kind of jumper, but I would be reticent to drive around with something which could pop off and hit the chassis and ground out the house batteries.

Duct tape might be helpful.
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Old 10-21-2020, 12:09 PM   #31
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I also carry a 3 foot battery cable for just that purpose !
I appreciate your information on installation.
Being me I was thinking , mind you . Of , on my 05 Journey .
With circuit breakers and solenoids up front over the generator.
To install it there as it would offer added protection to the elements ,
BY taping on to the Aux solenoid as both banks terminate there and the wire back to the batteries is - LARGE .
After reading your info I do think Ill do it your way also , which was my original thought . As I wanted to eliminate additional wire in that area .
I just gave it a second look and other than additional wire , there is plenty of room to do a neat install.
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Old 10-25-2020, 08:24 PM   #32
Winnie-Wise
 
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Alternator Video

I found this video posted by CreativePart in another thread about alternators and Lithium Battery charging, but it also answers some general questions realative to this thread.

I particularly like the comments about alternator only being 50% efficient, but the video also went on to say ~50% of the inefficiency is lost to heat.

Consequently, this implies a 160A rated alternator is only good for about 80A. This seams to jive with what other people are saying, but apparently deep cycle lead acid batteries inherently "limit" the charging current, unlike lithium batteries, so the heat loss is less in lead acid batteries.

So, I think this video is saying you can't just flip over to lithium ion batteries without considering what affects that upgrade will have on your alternator. (I hope I said that right?)


Thanks CreativePart!

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Old 10-26-2020, 12:59 AM   #33
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There's a trade-off between efficiency, longevity, and cost.

Most automotive alternators are about 55% efficient. Some are 60. This is using contemporary data for cars in about the last six model years.

It is easy to build alternators there are up to about 90 to 95% efficient, however the windings are much denser, and their reliability and longevity in automotive or RV applications takes a hit.

An alternator is merely a power source. They're not really designed as battery chargers, although they are used as that. AGM and flooded batteries tend to increase their charge impedance, reducing charging current, as they get to a higher charge state. Most lithium battery packages do not, and it is actually a desired attribute for them to have a low impedance all the way up to a full charge.

Solar charging lithium ion batteries presenting a low impedance to the power source, namely the alternator, can lead to overheating as the previously mentioned video shows, when the system it's not designed to match the power source with the power sink.

They changing impedance profile of AGM and flooded batteries is also a factor in not getting them fully charged during short run times. The amount of power which they will accept steadily reduces as they get closer to fully charged.

Lithium ion chargers are designed to counteract this and take advantage of the battery chemistry to keep power acceptance at a high rate.

As a side note, the design RPM of an alternator and engine can be modified. Usually this is accomplished with a different sized pulley on the alternator. I have done this on rally cars, and on ag equipment. Usually an alternator spinning at higher RPM will wear out the brushes faster, however there are more expensive brushless designs available. Piston engine aircraft with gasoline engines oh, it is easy to size the pulley because the engine RPMs are relatively constant and the alternator can easily be run in a range to optimize cooling and efficiency. Turbine engines tend to use a different arrangement, normally with a DC starter generator, which is a completely different design. aircraft have the advantage that they power plants typically run in a very narrow range of RPMs while cruising.

Back to RVs. If one wants to optimize charging when using a generator or traveling on the road using the propulsion alternator, it would be highly desirable to use a smart charger which modifies the charge profile optimize power absorbed by the battery, and longevity of the battery. Given different battery types, varying temperatures, and varying engine speed, it is difficult optimize battery charging with conventional alternators.
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:16 PM   #34
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This is all very interesting .
I chose to retain the original style Battery's .Group 31 Wet cells
I find them ample for my needs and pocket as I keep a close eye on maintenance

I took your advise and mounted the KeyLine in the battery compartment . Using marine grade cable I had from boating days . I chose to use two colors , Red going to the Start bank and Green to the House bank . To eliminate future confusion of which goes where .
Its going to take some time to get familiar with its operation though .
I need to mention , I use a Deltran 5 amp tender when coach is not in use .
That being said , It charges when , Engine is running . And both banks were at float level .
So I turned on the inverter , run the microwave oven for a few minutes . Turn on the TV for a few hours also to lower the level of charge on the House bank .
Al is well at this point .As Im getting familiar with its use .
A couple days pass and I decide to use the Tender to on the Start bank only .
Low and behold when House bank reaches cut in level . Red light of KeyLine
came on . Sort of like 2-4-1 charging of the Tender !
IM sure it all well , and do believe KeyLine will be a good item to have on the coach .
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:49 PM   #35
Winnie-Wise
 
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2-4-1 charging

Absolutely!

This is one reason I installed the Victron 17A (not the 25A option) so it can act as a battery maintainer for both house and engine batteries a la Keyline VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) that combined both battery banks together in storage and when I am camped with shore power. ...I just fish the Victron power cord out the bedroom window... and plug the window gap with a towel... and plug the Victron into shore power.

That said, when I'm camping with shore power, I turn "off" my Dimensions Inverter/Charger and plug the Victron 17A charger into my bedroom wall socket. I'm trying this out to see if my house batteries will last longer; and I have since come to understand a 17A charger over 3 days will fully recharge my 430AH of house battery storage bank AND take care of the 120AH/day I am using to power up my fluorescent lights in the galley and living room, and the 12V bathroom lights.

Note: They now sell LED-round bathroom lights for cheap, so that is going to be my next upgrade; and then I will replace my 3ft kitchen fluorescent lights with LEDs.

And when I need 100A of battery charger, for over night charging, then I will turn my Dimension Inverter/Charger on and unplug the Vicron. (Which is almost never for me.) So by NOT using the charger in my Dimensions Inveter, I hope to extend the life of this unit and avoid a $2500 bill to upgrade to a PSW inverter/charger I really don't need. So the Victron is also insurance against premature inverter/charger failure; and I'm pretty sure these Dimension units only fail on the charger side 95% of the time.

As a bonus that Victron also gives me a bluetooth cell phone App I can use to see how many amps my Victron is putting out over time. And this is nice to know too.

My point is that... Yes, my residential refrigerator uses a lot of amps/day, but so does all my 12V lights I did not consider before I installed the Victron for ~$140 on Amazon. So you can think of this Victron as a super-duper battery tender, plus bluetooth! So that's a 2-5-1 deal and so far it's working out great!
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Old 10-27-2020, 08:36 AM   #36
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That Victron is nice unit !
I already have the golf ball sized LED's in the Bath room over the sink .
And have LED's in most all other places also.
Frig is on Propane except when on shore power .
Yup we have to baby that Dimensions unit for sure .
Purchased 5 new Batteries in January . I had a mix of old & new before and want to keep them in the best of shape .
I do watch some TV at night , after my other half goes to sleep . And in the AM I use the inverter to make coffee , ect.
And the KeyLine will take care of the Batteries , as I hit the road !
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