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Old 09-20-2018, 11:38 PM   #1
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Default Isolator doesn't isolate?

Maybe someone can point out the flaw in my logic regarding the battery isolator in my 2017 Pleasure Way Lexor.

Not long ago, I noticed that the solenoid in the Eaton/Sure Power 1314-200 unidirectional isolator remained energized after engine shutdown and in consequence the chassis and house batteries remained connected. This condition persisted overnight, and perhaps longer, which doesn't seem right. The batteries should become isolated, right?

I concluded I had a faulty isolator and installed an exact replacement, but the latter behaved exactly the same. So I guess I was wrong.

Delving into the isolator specs revealed that the isolator should energize once the chassis battery voltage reaches 13.2 VDC or higher and de-energize when it falls to 12.8 VDC or lower.

It seems to me that the lithium coach batteries will normally be well above 13 VDC and will therefore always keep the chassis battery at the same voltage, so the voltage can never fall to 12.8 VDC and the batteries can never disconnect from one another.

I must be missing something--surely PW would have problems with hundreds of coaches if the isolator behaves that way in all current (no pun) model coaches.

BTW, I verified all salient connections and established that PW did the wiring correctly.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:57 PM   #2
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I think you have it diagnosed correctly that it is the lithium batteries holding the separator closed all the time. It is a big waste of power as the coil will use about 1.5 amps continously.


A call to Pleasure-way is probably in order and ask them why it it that way, and what they are going to do about it.


If they bail, installing a low power drain separator with an override switch to turn it on and off if needed could be installed.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:25 PM   #3
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It's disappointing that PW missed that during the design phase. It would appear to be an overlooked part leftover from lead acid house systems.

A relay or separator that is triggered (latched) only by the ignition would be a never-have-to-think-about-it solution.

I added a separator to my van and added a switch that interrupts the separator's ground wire to turn it on or off it ever desired. A relay triggered by the ignition could be used in place of the manual switch to automate the manual turning on or off. I don't know if the Eaton/Sure Power separators have a ground wire or if interrupting it would turn it it on or off though.

It is for PW to figure out at this point though - hopefully they don't have too many coaches to fix.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:38 AM   #4
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Thank you Booster, for confirming that I'm not nuts.

Markopolo, great minds think alike. The relay solution popped into my head just a little before you posted your note.

I talked to PW's electrical supervisor and the gist of the conversation was that what I've seen isn't anomalous; it's normal behavior.

I'm likewise disappointed and I intend to write a letter to CEO Dean Rumpel suggesting that they really ought to do something about it. But not before I've implemented my fix, so I can include photos showing how simple it is.

EDIT: The Eaton/Sure Power unit does have a separate ground. The temporary workaround I've been using is manually disconnecting the ground wire upon parking at the end of the day and then reconnecting it prior to reembarking.
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Old 09-22-2018, 05:24 AM   #5
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Whatís wrong with having the house batteries keep the chassis battery charged? Thatís what my AGM system does when I leave it plugged into shore power between trips.
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:25 PM   #6
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Nothing wrong with keeping the chassis battery charged. That's what is done in both my current RV's. It's useful on RV's that are not driven for weeks at a time.

The automatic joining usually only occurs when a charging source is applied to the system. In this example, no charging source is applied yet the separator remains latched.

The issue here is the mismatch of battery chemistries and the voltage disconnect set point at 12.8V on the Sure Power unit. The expensive lithium batteries will continuously discharge into the lead acid chassis battery until the lithium battery is pretty much depleted.

The separator in the the PW RV won't disconnect until below 12.8V.
12.8V is a fully charged or still being charged lead acid battery.
12.8V is a lithium battery that is nearly depleted (maybe 20% SOC).

The setup needlessly deep cycles the lithium battery leading to earlier than expected failure. It also would needlessly stress the alternator as near full alternator output would be accepted by the lithium batteries for an extended period of time because the lithium battery will more often be at a very low SOC.

There's another possible issue with the automatic joining of the lithium and lead acid batteries when plugged into grid power. If PW (note the IF) used one of the single stage "lithium" chargers like the PD9145ALV then that outputs a steady 14.6V ! Too much for the lead acid battery (way too much for a continuous float charge). Lead acid batteries are typically floated at 13.2V.

https://www.progressivedyn.com/wp-co...argers_lit.pdf
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lmittell View Post
Thank you Booster, for confirming that I'm not nuts.

Markopolo, great minds think alike. The relay solution popped into my head just a little before you posted your note.

I talked to PW's electrical supervisor and the gist of the conversation was that what I've seen isn't anomalous; it's normal behavior.

I'm likewise disappointed and I intend to write a letter to CEO Dean Rumpel suggesting that they really ought to do something about it. But not before I've implemented my fix, so I can include photos showing how simple it is.

EDIT: The Eaton/Sure Power unit does have a separate ground. The temporary workaround I've been using is manually disconnecting the ground wire upon parking at the end of the day and then reconnecting it prior to reembarking.
When I replaced the AGM batteries in my DIY Promaster conversion with LiFePo batteries my isolator behaved the same way you described.

I did a little research and I believe that no one makes a voltage sensing isolator that works correctly with Li batteries. Apparently the isolator technology hasn't caught up with Li yet.

Using a relay that is trigged by the ignition will solve the problem of 'not isolating' but I think it will still have the problem if over charging the Li batteries while you drive.

Some people, including me, believe Li batteries will last longer if not charged to 100 percent.

I installed a Victron BMV 712S battery monitor that uses a shunt to count amps in and out to determine the state of charge (SOC). It has an internal programmable relay function that I have set to open when the SOC reaches 95 percent and close when it drops below 90 percent.

The ground wire on my isolator goes through a relay triggered by the ignition and then through the relay in the BMV 712.

The batteries are only combined when the ignition is on and the SOC is below 95 percent.


Most versions of the Victron BMV 7xx have the relay function, but the 712S has a latching relay that only draws current when switching and is the one they recommend for use with Li batteries.


I agree, this is something PW should have designed for.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:22 PM   #8
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When I replaced the AGM batteries in my DIY Promaster conversion with LiFePo batteries my isolator behaved the same way you described.

I did a little research and I believe that no one makes a voltage sensing isolator that works correctly with Li batteries. Apparently the isolator technology hasn't caught up with Li yet.

Using a relay that is trigged by the ignition will solve the problem of 'not isolating' but I think it will still have the problem if over charging the Li batteries while you drive.

Some people, including me, believe Li batteries will last longer if not charged to 100 percent.

I installed a Victron BMV 712S battery monitor that uses a shunt to count amps in and out to determine the state of charge (SOC). It has an internal programmable relay function that I have set to open when the SOC reaches 95 percent and close when it drops below 90 percent.

The ground wire on my isolator goes through a relay triggered by the ignition and then through the relay in the BMV 712.

The batteries are only combined when the ignition is on and the SOC is below 95 percent.


Most versions of the Victron BMV 7xx have the relay function, but the 712S has a latching relay that only draws current when switching and is the one they recommend for use with Li batteries.


I agree, this is something PW should have designed for.

When I looked at the Victron monitors a couple of years ago while considering a similar control circuit setup, the thing that gave me pause was the very low current rating of the Victron internal relay contacts. I think it was only one amp at the time. Have they increased the capacity of those contacts, or do you have a very low current separator?
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:27 PM   #9
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An older technology diode type isolator might be an easy and low cost fix for some the problems being discussed here. Lose the separator or have it on a manual or ignition controlled switch.

The diode type isolator would be uni-directional and have approx 0.5V drop.

Both of my RV's (all lead acid batteries) have both diode type isolators (uni-directional, chassis to house charging) and bi-directional separators installed (12.8V+ bi-directional joining).
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:45 PM   #10
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When I looked at the Victron monitors a couple of years ago while considering a similar control circuit setup, the thing that gave me pause was the very low current rating of the Victron internal relay contacts. I think it was only one amp at the time. Have they increased the capacity of those contacts, or do you have a very low current separator?
The think the Victron can handle a max of 1 amp.

My description wasn't as clear as it could have been, but the Victron relay and the ignition signal are triggering a small automotive type relay which is actually switching the control lead of a Yandina 600 amp isolator.

I don't think the draw on the automotive relay coil or the isolator remote is more than a few hundred milliamps.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:28 PM   #11
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The think the Victron can handle a max of 1 amp.

My description wasn't as clear as it could have been, but the Victron relay and the ignition signal are triggering a small automotive type relay which is actually switching the control lead of a Yandina 600 amp isolator.

I don't think the draw on the automotive relay coil or the isolator remote is more than a few hundred milliamps.

Good information for all. It appears the Victron is originally designed to handle signal level power when used with their central controller systems, so they really can't run much of anything. What automotive relay did you use, it would be interesting to see the amp draw on it. I was pretty much screwed by the amperage because I was going to control 3 charging sources, and the one amp wouldn't run 3 relay coils, so it would have taken another relay to run the 3 relays to run the individual relays to the power sources,
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:53 PM   #12
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This looks like it could be the unit: https://www.yandina.com/c600Info.htm

Quote:
Draws about 150 milliamps when charging is in progress
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Good information for all. It appears the Victron is originally designed to handle signal level power when used with their central controller systems, so they really can't run much of anything. What automotive relay did you use, it would be interesting to see the amp draw on it. I was pretty much screwed by the amperage because I was going to control 3 charging sources, and the one amp wouldn't run 3 relay coils, so it would have taken another relay to run the 3 relays to run the individual relays to the power sources,
Solid-state relays are your friend. They are now readily available for tiny prices (check ebay or Amazon) and work great. "Coil" current is tiny.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:31 PM   #14
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This looks like it could be the unit: https://www.yandina.com/c600Info.htm
That's the isolator I'm using. I've been using a Yandina on various boats and rv's for more than 15 years.

I think that 150 milliamps is the current drawn by the relay combining the batteries.

The current draw on the remote control line is so small they don't mention it in the specs.

The small automotive relay I use in conjunction with the Victron to control the Yandina remote control line is just a generic 12v relay from NAPA.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:52 PM   #15
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The separator may actually pull higher current than the 1500am when it is actuating, either because it is a reduced hold relay or may even bistable.



I will have to look at the relays again, as when I did a few years ago, the ones in the "12v" range seemed to always have rated max voltages that were higher than we would see in the van.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgregg View Post
I installed a Victron BMV 712S battery monitor that uses a shunt to count amps in and out to determine the state of charge (SOC). It has an internal programmable relay function that I have set to open when the SOC reaches 95 percent and close when it drops below 90 percent.

The ground wire on my isolator goes through a relay triggered by the ignition and then through the relay in the BMV 712.

The batteries are only combined when the ignition is on and the SOC is below 95 percent.
Great idea. As it happens, I have the same Victron SOC monitor, so I could do the same.
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:26 PM   #17
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Li and La batteries should NEVER be connected to the same charging system because of the float voltage issue. What makes one technology happy causes big trouble with the other. Using "old technology" diode isolaters will fix the co-connectivity issue but does not address the vehicle's charging alternator output, which is designed for lead acid and VRLA batteries, not Lithium. I find it incomprehensible that any manufacturer would make this kind of mistake. I think I would be inclined to make the dealer replace the lithium set with lead acid and be done with it.
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:29 PM   #18
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Li and La batteries should NEVER be connected to the same charging system because of the float voltage issue. What makes one technology happy causes big trouble with the other. Using "old technology" diode isolaters will fix the co-connectivity issue but does not address the vehicle's charging alternator output, which is designed for lead acid and VRLA batteries, not Lithium. I find it incomprehensible that any manufacturer would make this kind of mistake. I think I would be inclined to make the dealer replace the lithium set with lead acid and be done with it.
I agree Li and La batteries do have different charging characteristics, but that doesn't necessarily mean they can't be charged from the same source if the unique needs of Li batteries are taken into consideration.

Li batteries should NEVER be charged at too high a voltage.

Li batteries should either NEVER be floated or NEVER floated at an inappropriate voltage.

Li batteries should NEVER be charged when the battery temperature is below the Mfg's specified temperature.

I know the alternator in my Promaster charges at 13.9 - 14.3 volts depending on ambient temperature, well below the permissible maximum of 14.6 volts.

I prevent the Li batteries from floating by using the Victron BMV 712 to disconnect the alternator when the SOC reaches 95 percent.

Some people choose to float the batteries at a low 13.8 volts to prevent damage but keep them charged.

During winter months, I use a switch to manually override the alternator connection until the batteries warm up as a result of heating the RV or as a result of powering devices like the lights, furnace, induction cooktop, etc.

The Victron BMV uses a remote temperature sensor to display battery temperature and trigger a low temperature alarm that I have set about 40F.

If the OP's RV mfg didn't address the unique needs of charginging Li batteries, somebody should make the necessary changes or, as you suggest change the battery type.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:21 AM   #19
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Is this issue something you would expect if one was to replace a couple of factory AGMs with drop in Lithium batteries such as the recently discussed Battle Born brand?
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:05 PM   #20
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I'm using a Blue Sea 7622 ML with the remote switch mounted on my dash.
It can be used manually or automatically.
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