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Old 04-13-2016, 02:47 AM   #1
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Default 1996 Ford E-250 Coachmen M19 - House Battery & Solar Options

Hello Folks,

Recently acquired a 1996 coachmen M19/Ford E-250 Chassis. I have a few general Questions for anyone out there who is familiar with this machine.

1) The previous owner had replace the house battery with a simple small generic battery. Can someone offer me some advice on the the best option for a replacement/upgrade battery for the house unit.

2) When I start the Onan 2.8 - It appears that a relay engages and delivers charging current to the house battery & lights, etc.. Is this a proper assumption? - also if so, is the onan generator also supplying a charge current to the engine battery?

3) my rig has the standard dometic penguin air conditioner and also a fan-tastic power vent. I would like to install a 200W solar array on the rig Is there anyone out there who has done this and could point me to specs on panel sizes & best procedures for attaching the panels.

4) Anyone know of a source for an owners manual for this guy?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!


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Old 04-13-2016, 09:59 AM   #2
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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Welcome to the forum Todd.

Others will likely have some good advice but here are my thoughts to get started:

Re: #1 - there are several good battery brands out there. My suggestion is to decide on the charging system first then select the battery or even better the batteries Not much point putting in a great battery with a substandard charging system.

#2 - the Onan generates 110V AC. An automatic transfer switch kicks in when you start the generator allowing 110V AC to pass through to the coach. The converter/charger in the coach converts 110V AC to 12V (nominal) DC. It is unlikely that your chassis battery gets charged by the converter/charger in the coach unless the setup was modified by a previous owner. Some newer coaches have that feature. My older modified van has that feature.

#3 - there are several excellent solar installation projects with photos and details on this forum. My suggestion here is to size the solar based on the size of the battery bank or anticipated size of the battery bank. 200W solar with a single battery might be too much for example. Maybe somebody here knows of a good ratio of solar wattage to battery amp hours to use as a guide.

Two bikes on sliding cargo box: & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications:
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:21 AM   #3
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Location: Red Deer, Alberta
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My 'Go to' guy for all you ever needed to know about solar is Handy Bob, I did my own solar installs after reading his Blog, it's a long but very informative and often times funny Blog. I even stopped and met the man a few years ago while running my B through Montana, he's 100% off grid living off Solar. I checked every reading he posted and he was bang on with everything.... I'm running 300 watts on my B with 3 x 120 Amp hour batteries and hoping to fit at least 1 more in shortly.
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