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Old 06-15-2018, 11:11 PM   #1
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Default Automatic Engine Start Stop Module

I have a custom built van with 2 alternators charging a 600 amp hour lithium battery. I can run the air conditioner for about 4 hours with this setup before I have to turn on the engine to charge the battery. I'd like to be able to sleep 8 hours without having to get up to turn on the engine in the middle of the night to keep the AC running. So I want to add an automatic engine start-stop module which can be actuated by my Victron monitor when the state of charge is low. Unfortunately it seems every aftermarket engine start stop module has a built-in time limitation (15 to 60 minutes) after which it shuts the engine down. Does anyone know of an aftermarket module that will allow the engine to idle until the battery monitor sends a second pulse when the battery is fully charged? Or does anyone know who makes the start-stop modules used by Roadtrek or Winnebago or Advanced RV?
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:58 AM   #2
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The Roadtrek Voltstart has a 35 min limit.

The Winnebago Autostart has a 60 min limit.

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Old 06-16-2018, 01:29 AM   #3
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Unfortunately it seems every aftermarket engine start stop module has a built-in time limitation (15 to 60 minutes) after which it shuts the engine down. Does anyone know of an aftermarket module that will allow the engine to idle until the battery monitor sends a second pulse when the battery is fully charged? Or does anyone know who makes the start-stop modules used by Roadtrek or Winnebago or Advanced RV?
The Roadtrek Voltstart sequence is for 35 minutes but it responds to diminishing bsttery voltage and will restart another three or four times before quitting. So technically, it will provide approximately an additional three hours before you would have to address it manually. But I think you would end up being awakened by the engine starting again and again. IMO, the only way you can expect a full 8 hours without uninterrupted sleep is by increasing battery ah capacity to the whereabouts of 1600 ah. AFAIK, Roadtrek is the only class B builder that offers a 1600ah battery option.

I've lost the name of the company that builds the remote starts but if memory serves it is one company that builds different remote start versions for a number of OEMs. From what you indicate, you already have the trigger part of the system already incorporated in the Victron module. The trick will be to find a remote start module that will respond to Victron commands.
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:27 AM   #4
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The Roadtrek Voltstart has a 35 min limit.

The Winnebago Autostart has a 60 min limit.

Are those the maximum times they let the engine run or the minimum?
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:45 AM   #5
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I'd focus my attention on the A/C unit and setup to see if that power consumption can be greatly reduced.

For example: A 5000 BTU A/C unit would draw maybe 50Ah

That won't cool your van in Texas but could it maintain an already cool van overnight? If not 5000 then maybe 8000 or 11,000 btu ...........

You can additionally run the dash A/C to get temperatures under control.

Some roof top A/C units are way more efficient than others.
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:52 AM   #6
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The Roadtrek Voltstart sequence is for 35 minutes but it responds to diminishing bsttery voltage and will restart another three or four times before quitting. So technically, it will provide approximately an additional three hours before you would have to address it manually. But I think you would end up being awakened by the engine starting again and again.
I wonder why their system runs for such a short time. Maybe there's a Federal regulation that limits the run time for automatic start/stop systems.

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IMO, the only way you can expect a full 8 hours without uninterrupted sleep is by increasing battery ah capacity to the whereabouts of 1600 ah.
That would be wonderful. Unfortunately there's no room in our van for a bigger battery, at least not without major "surgery" involving cabinetry, tankage, and so forth.

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From what you indicate, you already have the trigger part of the system already incorporated in the Victron module. The trick will be to find a remote start module that will respond to Victron commands.
Yes, the Victron is made to integrate with generator start/stops. Will send a pulse based on low and high state of charge levels that are user selected, so it's perfect for the job. If I can't find an automotive aftermarket start/stop that plays nice with the van and allows the run time we need, I'm thinking we may try to wire a generator start/stop into the van's ignition system. Just beginning to think my way through all the issues with that. Preferably we would avoid involving the van's on-board computers altogether but not sure if that's possible.
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:06 PM   #7
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I'd focus my attention on the A/C unit and setup to see if that power consumption can be greatly reduced.

For example: A 5000 BTU A/C unit would draw maybe 50Ah

That won't cool your van in Texas but could it maintain an already cool van overnight? If not 5000 then maybe 8000 or 11,000 btu ...........
You're right about 5000 btu's not being up to the task down here. Except for the fan noise, I doubt if we'd even notice it was on. Ours is 13,000 and that's the minimum that would be effective. We were already hitting the upper 90's in mid-May, and can expect that to continue until October.

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You can additionally run the dash A/C to get temperatures under control.
Of course that would require running the engine all night....

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Some roof top A/C units are way more efficient than others.
Back when I designed the van originally, I couldn't find a good 12v AC system with an independent (non engine driven) compressor. I understand there are a couple of good ones out there now, and if I was starting over I'd look hard at those. At the time though, the Coleman Mach 3PS was the most efficient 120v unit available, so that's what we used. And it is efficient, drawing only 85 to 90 amps to produce 13,000 btuh.
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:40 PM   #8
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The Roadtrek Voltstart has a 35 min limit.

The Winnebago Autostart has a 60 min limit.

Advanced RV is programmable to run up to any time setting up to 1 hour 55 minutes at a time or shuts off when batteries are charged. It is programmable to not start or not start during hours of your choice which is usually campground quiet hours. It is managed through the Silverleaf touch screen.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:57 PM   #9
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I think these time limits have multiple motivations. One of them may be a concern for CO accumulation should a vehicle end up deciding to start itself inside an attached garage. There has apparently been a spike of home CO poisonings since keyless start has become a popular feature on high-end cars. I won't be surprised if CO detectors eventually become mandatory on remote-start vehicles.
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:03 PM   #10
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Advanced RV is programmable to run up to any time setting up to 1 hour 55 minutes at a time or shuts off when batteries are charged. It is programmable to not start or not start during hours of your choice which is usually campground quiet hours. It is managed through the Silverleaf touch screen.
I believe the Silverleaf system is the monitor, but they don't manufacture equipment such as the start/stop module (the device that relays start and stop pulses or current to the engine starter through the Sprinter's on board computer). Is that correct?

And if so, do you know what kind of start/stop module Advanced RV uses?

EDIT: I found a "PM-002 Total Power Controller" on the Silverleaf website that might be what AdvancedRV is using although Silverleaf only mentions a genset start/stop function. Will call Silverleaf on Monday to see if it can be used with a Victron monitor and the main engine, or if it's only compatible with their monitors and a genset.
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