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Old 08-29-2020, 07:07 PM   #1
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How Much Alternator Current Does The Engine & House Batteries Receive When Driving?

My 2004 Itasca "Horizon" 40AD was an early model type that did NOT come with the B.I.R.D. relay that allow your alternator to charge my house batteries.

So I installed a Battery Isolator (aka Voltage Sensitive Relay, VSR) and it has been working great for the last 5 years! And I highly recommend this one if your house batteries are not wired to receive a charge while you are driving:

Keyline VSR ($99): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WTAFR52...ing=UTF8&psc=1

[I]* The KeyLine Automatic 140 Amp Dual Battery Isolator is all you need to charge Two Battery Systems. Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) cuts in at 13.3 volts and cuts out at 12.8 volts to ensure your primary battery is always charged and ready to start your vehicle. It's like having two separate power sources for each battery while only having one alternator! ...And all you do is connect the positive Engine Start Battery terminal to the Keyline VSR and then complete the circuit by connecting the other terminal to the positive House Battery terminal./I]

* I have 2-12V-950CA Engine Start Batteries wired in parallel.

* I have 4-6V-GC2-Golf Cart Batteries (430AH) wired in series and parallel.

* And my new Delco alternator puts out 160A

Questions:

* They also make a 180A Delco Alternator, but I don't know if it's a good idea to increase the alternator Amp output? (Stock on my coach is 160A.) Also, the Delco does NOT use the Remote Sense circuitry the stock Leece Nivell 160A alternator used.

* The Keyline VSR is rated at 140A, but this is the maximum amp rating and not the amount of amps going to the batteries. So I am wondering how many amps are going to the batteries when they are low vs. when they are fully charged?

* If I want to reduce the load on the alternator, does it make sense for me to replace my Halogen headlight bulbs (9007) with LED headlight bulbs?

Note: My 9007 bulbs are the type with high and low beams in one light; and my headlight lens has a reflector. ...I also looked into upgrading to LED lights 3 years ago, but I really did NOT like the quality of the wires and I did not want anything melting down. Plus the LED light output was NOT BETTER than the Sylvenia Ultra bulb upgrade at $55. So I stayed with Halogon and it is far superior than the stock 9007 bulb that came with my coach.

* Has LED headlight technology for 9007 bulb replacement improved over the years? ...And have they come up with better ways to dissipate the heat?

* I don't have much room behind my headlight housing to mount an LED light with a big heat sink. So I would need a dongle setup. Any suggestions?

* I think the principle of the alternator to always "give it all she's got" if the load call for it? I.e., if that VSR opens a circuit to my engine and my house batteries, will all the available alternator amps go to the engine & house batteries; and will my alternator will always be putting-out 160A when I'm driving?

* I know some people like to turn their Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) off for the above reasons, despite the fact that it is less safe and illegal in most states, but they still do it. Why?

MY GOALS:

1) Improve the head light beam strength (lumens) while at the same time reduce the current used to drive them. I think my Halogens use 65W which is 5.4 amps each at 12V.

2) Lower the amp load on the alternator to prolong its useful life, unless you someone can say definitively this is an old wive's tale? ...And is this a mute point since I have installed a VSR (aka Battery Isolator, aka Battery Combiner)? I.e., that makes my alternator always run at 160A?
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:32 PM   #2
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http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_145020.pdf page 1
Trombetta 114-1211-020 DC Contactor
http://www.winnebagoind.com/resource...go_Catalog.pdf page 77
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/mom-...go-322534.html
file:///C:/Users/Rick/AppData/Local/Temp/04-Horizon-bro.pdf
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:21 PM   #3
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Rick, that last file is local to your PC and won't be accessible to anybody else!
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbeierl View Post
Rick, that last file is local to your PC and won't be accessible to anybody else!
Well, that assumes you haven't hacked into his computer!
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Old Yesterday, 09:29 AM   #5
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Well, that assumes you haven't hacked into his computer!
Woops!
Thanks,
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Old Yesterday, 10:05 AM   #6
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I am a bit late to this thread, but I have extensive experience with alternators charging house batteries on boats which have exactly the same issues. And FWIW use of a VSR is very common on boats and an ignition triggered solenoid (the BIRD) is not used ever.

So I think you recognize the charging issue- if the battery demands it, the alternator will supply it- up to a point.

You may see near the 160A rating less any chassis loads which can be significant particularly on newer engines, if you have a large battery bank (you do) and it it is well discharged. Being well discharged means the battery puts a low impedance on the alternator allowing lots of current. But after a while the alternator heats up and doesn't put out its rated current any more. Also the batteries get charged up after a while, the impedance rises and the current drops.

Recognize that RV engines have a fixed output voltage alternator, usually, which limits current unless the impedence is very low. I say usually because "smart alternators" have come along in recent years and I don't really know how they react.

But if you don't have a smart alternator then if you really want to charge fast, consider a high output alternator with an external regulator which will drive the voltage higher, about 14.5 V for faster charging plus it has heavier internal wiring and cooling which lets its output stay high even when it gets hot. Balmar makes these but they aren't cheap, at least $1000 for alternator and regulator.

I know nothing about LED lights but the halogens have long been the gold standard.

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