Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Class A electrical system setup - no dealer guidance
Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Tech Issues

Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Class A electrical system setup - no dealer guidance

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 3  
Next
obiwancanoli

Napa

Full Member

Joined: 02/13/2018

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 10/12/19 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I bought my first RV, a Class A Diesel MH, I received no guidance or instruction on using, setting up, or understanding the meters and display for setting up the electrical system. While I did receive manuals for various systems, real-life application and understanding just didn't relate well, and I simply had to guess, or ignore things I still did not understand.

I'm speaking of the solar & internal systems set up controls, housed (in my rig) behind a cabinet door at the front of my RV.

A recent power outage forced me to stay the night in my rig, and though it was not plugged in to power, the batteries, charged during the day by 480 watts of solar, generating about 26A, appeared to have enough voltage, at 14.2V, to easily last through the night. They did not.

Sometime in the night, about 4 hours later, the internal power shut down, the only things requiring power being the microwave display, and the clock radio in the bedroom, both of which went black. Checking the display up front, the meter read 11.6V, the red "fault" light was on, and the inverter would not come back on. Fired up the generator, and soon noted the meter showed 12.2-12.4V and rising.

As the manual isn't well written (IMO), I could only surmise the system setup included a setting that automatically shuts down power, to save the batteries, when voltage sinks to a given level. But there are other settings, the nature of which remain foreign to me, which likely also have some bearing on what happens, how, and when. And I'm baffled as to how they relate, and what my needs would require, when it comes to adjusting the settings properly.

A recent suspicion had been that my batteries don't seem to be lasting as long as they ought to, for it seems to me that they should easily provide power throughout the night, with such minimal amperage needs as noted above. Because I had recently neglected monitoring them, the batteries, while not completely dry, were damp, and all cells needed fresh distilled water. A month later, i had them checked, and the service tech noted they are in good shape. I still have suspicions that the batteries are not, as I was informed, in good condition (my rig is a 2017, bought off a dealer at the end of the 2017 calendar year, original batteries).

I remain baffled by the system, ignorant of proper setup, having had much frustration in managing it, and setting it up properly, so that it works as well as it is designed to do. The manual is less than clear to me, and I feel like I need a knowledgeable experienced tech to walk me through each step, setting, and consequence, impractical though that may be.

I'm not sure the help I need can be found here, but needed to vent, with perhaps a small hope someone might offer perspective, if not guidance, on how to proceed.

Thanks!

DutchmenSport

Indiana

Senior Member

Joined: 10/10/2006

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 10/12/19 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You did not say what brand/model/year your camper is, nor what kind of solar system you have. However, YouTube has everything.

A very simple search on YouTube.com for "electrical systems in RVs" returned this: Click here

Refine the search in YouTube use the hourglass by putting in your make-model-year of RV, pertinent info regarding anything you may know about the electric system, solar panels, anything, and you'll get more videos than you can imagine that will walk you through absolutely everything. Weed past the obvious not related videos, and some you watch may not have relevance at all. But, YouTube is your friend.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

Senior Member

Joined: 02/15/2006

View Profile



Posted: 10/12/19 09:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Seems you were running on inverter for your 120v needs and that ran the batteries down enough so the inverter shut down. There would still be enough battery to run the usual 12v things -lights, fans, etc.

When off-grid, you need to "power manage" what the inverter is running so the batteries can keep up. Put the fridge on propane, WH on propane, limit use of 120v appliances. When not watching it, unplug the TV set, don't just turn it "off", which leaves it on. All kinds of tricks to get by longer before you need to recharge the batteries.

At some stage you do need to recharge them, no big deal, but best if they can be done during the day instead of at 3am! [emoticon]


1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
See Profile for House electronics set-up.
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas

obiwancanoli

Napa

Full Member

Joined: 02/13/2018

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 10/12/19 11:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Seems you were running on inverter for your 120v needs and that ran the batteries down enough so the inverter shut down. There would still be enough battery to run the usual 12v things -lights, fans, etc.

When off-grid, you need to "power manage" what the inverter is running so the batteries can keep up. Put the fridge on propane, WH on propane, limit use of 120v appliances. When not watching it, unplug the TV set, don't just turn it "off", which leaves it on. All kinds of tricks to get by longer before you need to recharge the batteries.

At some stage you do need to recharge them, no big deal, but best if they can be done during the day instead of at 3am! [emoticon]


My rig is a 2017 Newmar Ventana LE.

My understanding was that if I needed to run ANYTHING - i.e., my lights, tv, clock radio, microwave display - that the inverter needed to be "on"... the fridge does run on propane when not plugged into shore power, as does the WH.

obiwancanoli

Napa

Full Member

Joined: 02/13/2018

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 10/12/19 12:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DutchmenSport wrote:

You did not say what brand/model/year your camper is, nor what kind of solar system you have. However, YouTube has everything.

A very simple search on YouTube.com for "electrical systems in RVs" returned this: Click here

Refine the search in YouTube use the hourglass by putting in your make-model-year of RV, pertinent info regarding anything you may know about the electric system, solar panels, anything, and you'll get more videos than you can imagine that will walk you through absolutely everything. Weed past the obvious not related videos, and some you watch may not have relevance at all. But, YouTube is your friend.


RV noted in last post. My solar system is 3-160 Watt Zamp Solar panels, generating 8.7 Amps each

PatJ

Eastern WA

Senior Member

Joined: 05/03/2005

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 10/12/19 01:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In my rig, my inverter runs one circuit (a few specific outlets and the TV/blue ray.) One thing I learned the hard way (similar to how you learned it) is that also on that circuit is the fridge 120v outlet outside in the refer compartment. So if I run the inverter while the fridge is in auto, it will silently switch to AC mode which sucks my pair of batteries low enough to sound the inverter alarm before the movie your watching is over.

Might be your issue, worth checking. I now force the fridge to stay in gas anytime we are without hookups so I don't make this mistake again. Would be worth checking the water heater too. Things that take a lot of power but you may not notice are running.


Patrick

BFL13

Victoria, BC

Senior Member

Joined: 02/15/2006

View Profile



Posted: 10/12/19 01:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"My rig is a 2017 Newmar Ventana LE.

My understanding was that if I needed to run ANYTHING - i.e., my lights, tv, clock radio, microwave display - that the inverter needed to be "on"... the fridge does run on propane when not plugged into shore power, as does the WH."

You first need to identify which things are 120v and which are 12v. Also note the fridge and some other things that have temperature controls, need 12v to run the controls even when the appliance is on 120v. The 12v things will work even with no inverter (which is just another 12v thing)

Next identify which 120v things are on inverter. Your microwave and clock are for sure as noted in the OP. The fridge will stay on 120v unless you force it to be on propane if any 120v is available. The WH is on 120v or propane by manually switching.

You have a transfer switch between shore power and generator, but also one in the inverter so it will power things with no shore power or gen supply. Not everything will operate from the inverter (air conditioner won't) but the fridge and WH could well be wired to do so, and that would run the batteries down quickly as described in the OP.

I gather the power has been turned off in parts of your area due to the fires, so you need to learn how your rig works. Hope you are in a safe spot.

Big Katuna

Deland, FL

Senior Member

Joined: 12/27/2003

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 10/12/19 02:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The only way to know if your batteries are good is to check the specific gravity with a hydrometer OR do a load test with a load box so you know the amp draw. Charge them up and measure each battery.

If they have been dry a few times they might be shot. They might be equalized to repair them.


My Kharma ran over my Dogma.

dougrainer

Carrolton, Texas

Senior Member

Joined: 06/11/2007

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 10/12/19 02:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

obiwancanoli wrote:

BFL13 wrote:

Seems you were running on inverter for your 120v needs and that ran the batteries down enough so the inverter shut down. There would still be enough battery to run the usual 12v things -lights, fans, etc.

When off-grid, you need to "power manage" what the inverter is running so the batteries can keep up. Put the fridge on propane, WH on propane, limit use of 120v appliances. When not watching it, unplug the TV set, don't just turn it "off", which leaves it on. All kinds of tricks to get by longer before you need to recharge the batteries.

At some stage you do need to recharge them, no big deal, but best if they can be done during the day instead of at 3am! [emoticon]


My rig is a 2017 Newmar Ventana LE.

My understanding was that if I needed to run ANYTHING - i.e., my lights, tv, clock radio, microwave display - that the inverter needed to be "on"... the fridge does run on propane when not plugged into shore power, as does the WH.


Yes, you really need to go to a NEWMAR dealer and have him explain the system. The Inverter should NEVER--NEVER be ON when on solar power or even boondocking, unless you have a need for the 120 appliances that run THRU the Inverter. You do NOT need to keep the Microwave clock ON. Lights are straight 12 volt and do NOT need the Inverter ON. The clock radio and the TV's do need the Inverter ON when boondocking. When on Genset or Shore Power, you do NOT need the Inverter ON. It has pass thru 120 power so it is not supposed to be ON. Your solar system CANNOT keep up with the 12 volt draw having the Inverter ON draws. Turn the Inverter ON when you need those 120 appliances ON when Boondocking and then once done turn the Inverter OFF. Doug

time2roll

Southern California

Senior Member

Joined: 03/21/2005

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 10/12/19 03:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The 12 Volt Side of Life


2001 F150 SuperCrew
2006 Keystone Springdale 249FWBHLS
675w Solar pictures back up

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 3  
Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Class A electrical system setup - no dealer guidance
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Tech Issues


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2020 CWI, Inc. © 2020 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.