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Old 01-03-2022, 03:58 AM   #1
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Default Is it normal that...

Brand-new Thor 18M owner here... trying to find the way. Many different questions, most of them probably pretty

So... with that out of the way... Is it normal that
  • the sound system only operates with the ignition turned on?
  • the AUX port isn't part of the sources that can be chosen on the sound system (Kenwood DMX706 or such)?
  • the main switch has to be *on* for the solar panel to charge the coach battery?
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Old 01-03-2022, 05:46 AM   #2
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I have another make/model


in many cases the master battery switch is on the negative side of the battery.
switch off and the battery is not connected to anything


my small solar panel ( a portable briefcase size) has a fused connection directly to battery when in use


mike
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Old 01-03-2022, 06:22 AM   #3
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I guess if I turn off the (compressor) fridge and lights are off etc there shouldn't be much of a drain. Still, I think it would be cool to maximize recharging by being able to disconnect the battery and still refill it via solar. Maybe it will all become clear once I get on the road.
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Old 01-03-2022, 01:33 PM   #4
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I can only speak to item 3 about the solar.


IMO, best practices connect the solar controller to the batteries all the time, which does create a small drain, all the time.


The question I would have is what the "battery disconnect switch" is in your van. Some have only one switch, like our 07 Roadtrek did new, which is a wall switch controlled bistable relay to turn on and off the coach power, and most B's have one. Some also have the big red manual battery switch that kills all the power at the battery also.


The issue with solar is if it does not have a battery connection (reference voltage) when the panels are in the sun, it can over voltage the controller and the van electronics sometimes. It would be the worst if you drove out the garage into bright noon sun, for instance, as a spike.


It makes for an issue of which risk is more, the constant drain or the possible spike.



IMO the most practical solution, which we and others here have done, is to connect the solar to the batteries all the time with an easy to access and remove fuse and also put a switch on the solar panels to controller wires so you can shut them off. Normal use leave the fuse in and the switch on. In storage, you would shut off the panel switch and pull the fuse. If you want to shut off the solar to prevent overcharging while sitting on shore power float, you shut off the panel switch only.
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Old 01-03-2022, 01:46 PM   #5
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We have a bistable master switch (Bluesea) such as @booster describes. There are exactly two things upstream of it: 1) the solar charger; and 2) a Trik-L-Start. We have a single 140 watt panel and park outside without shore power. All we ever do during storage is flip off the master switch. Everything else takes care of itself. We have run this way since 2014. Works fine.
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Old 01-03-2022, 05:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
I can only speak to item 3 about the solar.


IMO, best practices connect the solar controller to the batteries all the time, which does create a small drain, all the time.
Agreed... but... everyone I have talked to, as well as the manual, tell me solar charges only if that coach power switch is on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
The question I would have is what the "battery disconnect switch" is in your van. Some have only one switch, like our 07 Roadtrek did new, which is a wall switch controlled bistable relay to turn on and off the coach power, and most B's have one. Some also have the big red manual battery switch that kills all the power at the battery also.
Pretty sure it's the former. I can take a pic of it in a little bit. Just one big round dial switch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
The issue with solar is if it does not have a battery connection (reference voltage) when the panels are in the sun, it can over voltage the controller and the van electronics sometimes. It would be the worst if you drove out the garage into bright noon sun, for instance, as a spike.


It makes for an issue of which risk is more, the constant drain or the possible spike.
Hmmm I am a noob, but I thought the solar just tops up the battery, why would it mess with the van electronics? It's not like I am taking the battery out of the equation and run the van on solar only. Hopefully they have thought this through and there won't be any frying, switch on or off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
IMO the most practical solution, which we and others here have done, is to connect the solar to the batteries all the time with an easy to access and remove fuse and also put a switch on the solar panels to controller wires so you can shut them off. Normal use leave the fuse in and the switch on. In storage, you would shut off the panel switch and pull the fuse. If you want to shut off the solar to prevent overcharging while sitting on shore power float, you shut off the panel switch only.
Agreed, that would be best. I am going to monitor this to see if it actually needs the switch turned on to solar charge, I have my doubts about it, that's why the question.

(It's a 190W panel, which seems to be able to keep the fridge running, which has a stated power draw of 45W).
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Old 01-03-2022, 05:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
We have a bistable master switch (Bluesea) such as @booster describes. There are exactly two things upstream of it: 1) the solar charger; and 2) a Trik-L-Start. We have a single 140 watt panel and park outside without shore power. All we ever do during storage is flip off the master switch. Everything else takes care of itself. We have run this way since 2014. Works fine.
Cool! I hope this is how mine is set up as well. I'll drain the battery a bit, then turn off the switch and see if it recharges. The electrical panel which shows the solar stuff seems to be active, switch on or off.
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Old 01-03-2022, 06:21 PM   #8
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you could use a voltmeter to see if the panels are providing a charge or change to battery condition switch on/switch off rather than wait


above I referenced I have a solar connection at my battery,


I also have a voltmeter attached to the battery poles ( fused) so as to monitor battery state of charge






Mike
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Old 01-03-2022, 06:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
you could use a voltmeter to see if the panels are providing a charge or change to battery condition switch on/switch off rather than wait


above I referenced I have a solar connection at my battery,


I also have a voltmeter attached to the battery poles ( fused) so as to monitor battery state of charge

Mike
There is a coach battery voltage on the BMPro Android display (when the switch is set to "on"). Another one on the Solar Charging display. They don't match exactly, I assume the Solar display shows the charging voltage, while the BMPro shows what the batteries are at the moment. Not sure though because the solar thing also shows a voltage when it's dark. I am sure it is in one of the 37 manuals I got.
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Old 01-03-2022, 07:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urlauber View Post
Hmmm I am a noob, but I thought the solar just tops up the battery, why would it mess with the van electronics? It's not like I am taking the battery out of the equation and run the van on solar only. Hopefully they have thought this through and there won't be any frying, switch on or off.

The solar doesn't mess with the electronics, it is the voltage spike that the solar can generate if there is no battery in the system to reference for voltage that fries things.



Solar is just a battery charger so it can be a big one or a small one and do anything from full charging to just maintaining depending on the unit and the system.


Many of the 12v solar panels have a max open circuit voltage of about 21 volts and that is what would be sitting on the inlet of the controller. Without a battery to absorb whatever the controller passes through to regulate the voltage, it is possible to get that 21 volts where is doesn't belong.
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Old 01-03-2022, 08:33 PM   #11
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Why wouldn't there be a battery in the system? Sorry, I am not following.
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Old 01-03-2022, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Why wouldn't there be a battery in the system? Sorry, I am not following.

If the battery switch disconnects the solar from the coach batteries and separator is open, there would be no battery in the system as they are all disconnected.
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Old 01-03-2022, 08:43 PM   #13
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I can't remember and can't find the appropriate discussion via search BUT what is the most you can expect from a 100W solar panel? I know it varies with time of year (light hours) and whether or not it's cloudy or sunny. But can someone give an average plus a worst/best scenerio?

Also (bonus question) if you have roof panels and you are driving, are your batteries getting charged by both the panels and the alternator and, if so, how is that managed? I ask because there are a number of dual input B2B chargers on the market and I'm not sure if the solar input is activated only when the engine is off.

thx.glenn
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Old 01-03-2022, 09:14 PM   #14
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I can't remember and can't find the appropriate discussion via search BUT what is the most you can expect from a 100W solar panel? I know it varies with time of year (light hours) and whether or not it's cloudy or sunny. But can someone give an average plus a worst/best scenerio?

Also (bonus question) if you have roof panels and you are driving, are your batteries getting charged by both the panels and the alternator and, if so, how is that managed? I ask because there are a number of dual input B2B chargers on the market and I'm not sure if the solar input is activated only when the engine is off.

thx.glenn

The "standard" rule of thumb is about 30ah per day per 100 watts in good sun. Maybe more in perfect high sun almost nothing in cloudy drizzle.


If the voltages are set to normal charge parameters, whichever one is running at the highest voltage will do most of the charging and the other is just there doing not much of anything, which is perfectly OK and doesn't hurt anything.
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Old 01-03-2022, 10:02 PM   #15
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The standard o 30ah per day per 100 watts may be on June 21 but I found rooftop solar pretty much worthless in the clear sunny day desert in January when the sun is low and time is short. I could idle a second alternator less than 10 minutes to restore 30ah to my batteries and less idling in the winter. Driving without a second alternator can replenish optimum solar panel usage in 45 minutes if 40ah are supplied from the engine alternator.

My previous van with 460 watts solar was practically worthless with an 800ah battery bank and a second alternator that charged at a steady rate of 280ah while driving. I have no solar on my current van which I store inside a garage with shore power so can't take advantage of trickle charging in storage. Solar shines there and usually in less than 200ah battery capacity if you do the percentage contribution.
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:35 PM   #16
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So to gently guide this back to my original questions...

Does anyone know if it is normal that the sound system is connected to the Chassis battery? It's a Kenwood DMX706S. I am pretty sure it should be connected to the House battery so one can entertain without the key in the ignition turned on. Right? Right.

Which leads to the question, is this something that can be fixed without a 8 hour round trip (and 3 month wait) to/at the dealer/repairer?
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urlauber View Post
So to gently guide this back to my original questions...

Does anyone know if it is normal that the sound system is connected to the Chassis battery? It's a Kenwood DMX706S. I am pretty sure it should be connected to the House battery so one can entertain without the key in the ignition turned on. Right? Right.

Which leads to the question, is this something that can be fixed without a 8 hour round trip (and 3 month wait) to/at the dealer/repairer?
This looks like an upgrade in dash replacement for a stock radio that was connected to the chassis battery and other dash functions you have to activate with the key. What makes you think otherwise or is it just wishful thinking? I doubt it is wrong or a mistake as it is normal. This is a question for the upfitter.
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:17 PM   #18
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Can't speak to all makes, but I'd expect a dashboard-mounted sound system to run off the chassis battery. That's how it is in my Chevy Roadtrek. I have to turn the key to the ACC position to listen to the radio when parked. The wiring is all there, including one to signal reverse when a rear-view camera is connected to the display.

If the sound system is mounted in the coach area, I would expect it to be powered off the coach batteries.
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urlauber View Post
Does anyone know if it is normal that the sound system is connected to the Chassis battery? It's a Kenwood DMX706S. I am pretty sure it should be connected to the House battery so one can entertain without the key in the ignition turned on. Right? Right.
On my Coachmen Crossfit/Beyond, the aftermarket in-dash Kenwood is powered from the coach battery, not the chassis battery. It is partially integrated with the chassis electrical though, as it has a parking brake sensor that prevent playing DVD's unless parking brake is set.

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Which leads to the question, is this something that can be fixed without a 8 hour round trip (and 3 month wait) to/at the dealer/repairer?
Are you comfortable pulling the unit out and tracing the wires? If so, yes. Otherwise I'm fairly sure that any competent stereo installer would be able to handle this.
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:26 PM   #20
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At the risk of being snapped at for suggesting it, there is a Scope/Rize FB group that will probably be a better place to ask rig specific questions like this. Others who actually have that model might have answers or solutions that the (very knowledgeable) generalists here can only surmise.
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