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Author Topic: Just a thought on electrics and stuff  (Read 3109 times)
cody
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« on: February 22, 2009, 09:56:04 AM »

I was sitting here thinking, always a dangerous thing to do.  I've got a heart 458 inverter I think it's only a 1000 watt, pretty basic thing.  The inverter feeds a bank of 4 batteries, I've also got a honda 3000 watt inverter generator, my whole set up is fed thru a 30 amp power cord.  On the roof I've got 2 carrier 15K heat pumps set up on different circuits, the back one is on a completely independant circuit and heats and cools like a champ, the front one is tied into another cuicuit that has a couple of other items on it but nothing major and it cools and heats pretty marginally, there you've got a basic idea of what I've got, now what I want is to be able to cool on the road, I feel the battery bank is enough for now and the generator should handle one of the roof airs but I do seem to "run out of power" easily, I realize that what I have is a marginal set up but how can I boost the power the most cost effective way, I'm not entirely convinced the system is wired in properly either so that I get flow thru power when using shore power cause it doesn't really seem to matter,  I'm thinking a larger inverter, maybe a 2500 or a 3000 watt one, I'd rather not get a larger generator tho it is possible that I may have to.  When I bought the bus it had a huge generator with a transfer switch that was removed with the generator, the deal I worked out involved the PO keeping the generator and transfer switch.  I'd like to run one roof air on the road and I'm told that the generator I have should do that but it doesn't so I'm thinking I have to rethink the parts in between, I do know others with the same generator that run the same roof warts tho so I do know it can be done with this generator. Any ideas?
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buswarrior
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 10:17:26 AM »

I am a BIG fan of quiet generators, so you have my support to work with what you have!

I would trouble shoot that front roof air as a place to start. I'd be suspicious that it is under-performing due to its own trouble, not due to the electricity.

And a review of how these items are wired together would determine if you are getting the max out of what you have.

I run a Yamaha 3000ei feeding a Trace 4024 inverter, with a little load management, of course!
A pair of 23 year old roof airs, and an old bar fridge, with a dog's breakfast of old golf cart batteries. Somewhat underpowered for summer desert conditions, but ok for what I have done so far.

When battery charging, the auto throttle and the Trace like to fight, so I just leave the auto throttle turned off and let the Yamaha run.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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Sean
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 10:41:08 AM »

I'm with Buswarrior on this.  Your 3kW genny should run a single Carrier without problems.

One place to look is at the wiring to that problematic Carrier.  It's possible that there is a problem (such as too small a gauge for the run) leading to a voltage drop at the unit, which, in turn, will cause the unit to work harder and draw more current.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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cody
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 10:43:57 AM »

The line going to the carrier is 12/2 romex with the kitchen on it but thats only 2 table lamps and the outlets along the counter that normally don't have much plugged into them.
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 10:52:50 AM »

One of the first places to check on an underperforming AC if it has been mounted for a while is the filters. Then take the outside cover off and clean the coils!!   HTH  Jim
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 10:53:17 AM »

Cody,

Sean beat me tuit.  What he said, but here is how:  Get a analog (not digital) volt meter on the input ac lines to the "good" ac unit.  Turn it on and watch the voltage reaction/dip when it starts and runs OK.  Do the same to the front, under performing, ac unit.  You should see the voltage dip much more and stay depressed during the run cycle.  The bad wiring, if that is the case, might be a 'wire nut" splice that is loose or too light a gauge wire or other stuff.  BUT, whatever the ac source....that should stay up in the satisfactory level like the rear unit.  I agree that it is not likely that the ac unit is bad, given your symptoms, but Gosh Darn Buddy, I'd hate to see you fix you genny when the ac unit was bad after all.  I think 12 gauge wire is the min called for but I would go with 10 gauge considering that the start-up current is something like 24 amps....could be wrong and it depends on the size of your ac but the theory holds regardless.

HTH,

John
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cody
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2009, 11:02:49 AM »

I had hoped that 12/2 romex would be heavy enough, it's what our house is wired with, maybe it isn't
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2009, 11:10:01 AM »

Cody, I have 12/2 for all three of our A/C's, and have had no problems. They are probably older than dirt too. I'd take off the shroud after you have done your sparky thing and check it out, might be just dirty.

~Paul~
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2009, 11:22:10 AM »

The additional items on the circuit might be part of the problem, if they are wired "ahead" of the AC.  Each device represents a splice in the circuit, which can present additional voltage drop.

Rather than speculate, you should go measure it with the unit running.

FWIW, the AC manufacturer mandates a dedicated circuit for the unit.  I would not stray from this requirement.

-Sean
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2009, 11:34:02 AM »

Hi Cody,
You say your bedroom heat pump works well and your living room heat pump is marginal. Is it possible that the noticable difference is because the bedroom is much smaller than the living room and there are more windows in the living room? Have you compared the output temperature of both units? That would give you an indication of whether one is truely working better. I am not discounting what others have suggested, just adding more things to check.
Good luck, Sam 4106
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cody
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2009, 11:57:39 AM »

I'm going to add a dedicated circuit to the front unit, the back unit already has that, the filters and coils are clean thats the first thing I checked on them, it's easy to tell the difference in output between the two the front one doesn't throw air that even feels very cool wheen it comes out of the unit or as warm when the heat cycle is used.  One concern is that the back one will kick in and cool but the front one will work on the fan setting but when you put it on low cool it trips and kicks out so it's a probably voltage problem.  One think I'm going to do is wire the front one to a plug and plug it directly into the generator bypassing the inverter, fusebox and everything in between, that should tell me a lot too.  I tested the front one in the past on household power and it kicks in and cools but not as well as the back one, I'm really thinking that the inverter is just too small for it. and I'm doubting that the pass thru feature of the inverter is working properly, I'll have to pick up a tester.
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2009, 07:56:22 PM »

Cody.

The EU3000i generator can handle the 13,500 AC. Although it doesn't sound like much more, the 15K is in a larger category. I made the mistake of "bigger is is better" when I put a Carrier 15K in my popup camper. My EU3000i tries to run it but now I know better. I love the quietness of this generator.

I Googled the following info:

Honda EU3000is Generator
3000 Watt Honda Inverter Generators
Super Quiet! 49-58dB!
Efficient! 20 Hour Runtime at 1/2 load
Electric Start with Recoil Back Up
Inverter Equipped - AC/DC Use
Runs RV and Camper Air conditioners up to 13,500btu

Hope it helps, Jim G. - 1979 RTS-II
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cody
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 05:20:56 AM »

Jim, the little honda starts the rear a/c but i know it's pretty much at it's limits, once the rear a/c is started and running then I normally can fire up the other circuits too like the refrigerator and lights.  I do have an older model Onan 5K rv generator I could put in if needed but I'd rather not if i didn't have to, the honda is just so incredibly quiet I like that.  because of how loud the blowers are on the carriers, what we try to do is run the back a/c when we're in the front and run the front a/c when we're in the back.
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Van
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 05:38:36 AM »

Hi,I have an older CCK5kw(1976) also that runs fine also but have some wiring ?'s.Seems I have no power to the coil and have to use a jumper wire to get power to it,also have to jump the solenoid to activate the starter(start button inactive) ,once that is done it provides plenty of ac/dc.What I have been unable to locate online is the wiring schematic for the panel ,does anyone have a link or a copy?Have tried the onan site ,but it does not seem to go back that far for the CCK 5.5Kw Huh Thanks
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cody
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2009, 05:45:31 AM »

Van, I'm thinking NCBob would probably have the answer for that one, if I'm not mistaken he's an onan guru, rumor has it that he had one of the first onan equipted dinosaurs in rockstone township lol.
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2009, 05:58:02 AM »

Thanks Cody ,sent Bob a PM .Have a good day

  Van Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2009, 09:14:47 AM »

There is just no substitute for size and capacity.  I have three 13,500 Colemans with a 10kw Powertech.  It runs all three with lots of power left over to run the water heater, refrigerator, washer/dryer, etc at the same time.  Yet it loads the generator engine enough so that it doesn't wet stack or smoke.  I use my roof tops as the only air conditioning source, and since alot of my vacationing time is in summer, is used quite a bit.  I have almost as many hours on my generator as my main engine in use time since conversion completion.  It is entirely possible to make a big generator actually quieter then any portable generator.  I have experienced many in buses where the only way you know the generator is running is by the air coming out of the exhaust (with no engine noise except the sound of the air coming out) and putting your ear on the bus to hear a very distant engine sound.  My generator has about 800 hours on it (like 32,000 hours of driving) with no problems.  Then you'll also have the same fuel to use as the bus.  Good Luck, TomC
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cody
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2009, 09:45:37 AM »

Thats also something that I've been thinking tom, one thing I've seen and was wondering about too are the diesel generators in the factory quiet boxes, do those boxes really help all that much?  I see the generators available with or without them and from what I can tell it's a battle either way to quiet them down, does it really pay to buy the factory quiet boxes or would it be better to build my own if I decided to go that route.  I would miss the economy of the honda tho, from what I'm told the diesels use up to 1/2 gallon of fuel an hour, my honda will run all day and most of the night on 3 gallons, about 1/3 of the fuel usage, but that all comes as a tradeoff.  It's just hard for me to justify the cost of the diesel generators at this point when I already have the honda.  I guess my concern right now is not so much the honda but more what the problem is with the front a/c unit and why it doesn't work on the road when the back one will.
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2009, 01:20:34 PM »

Personally- the factory quiet boxes do a half decent job of quieting, but all have noisy fans.  All the really quiet gens are the ones that have been made in place.  About the quietest ones were made where the gen was mounted in a box, then that box was mounted on air bags, with another enclosure built around the box-truly silent running-with double mufflers.  Just talk to some of the studio generator people.  When you can walk past a 150kw generator and have to look at the gauges to see if it is running-then that is truly quiet.  Good Luck, TomC
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cody
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2009, 02:14:39 PM »

I'm kinda thinking I need to get into a bigger inverter, but kinda uncertain on how big to get involved with yet.
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cody
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2009, 04:10:08 PM »

Bontrager says they have a xantrex freedom 458 2000 watt inverter with the 3 stage charger, anyone running that animal? I have the same one but in 1000 watts.  Would 2000 watts be enough to be workable in a conservative bus? any ideas?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 04:21:33 PM by cody » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2009, 04:23:28 PM »

Cody,

The problem may have nothing to do with the AC unit itself.  While running down the road you will have more trouble keeping the front cool.  Lots of glass, a little air moving through the bus.  My overhead will freeze the bedroom, the front does a good job, but not a great job.  Bigger room, more glass.  It's been mention here that in order to cool the driver, the front AC should be way forward on the bus.  I have often thought about adding a third air,,, making two in the living room.

Put a therometer in the vents of the air units.  Turn it on, see what the temp drops to.

My two cents,

Bill
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2009, 04:31:22 PM »

Cody, I use a freedom 458 that is 2500 watt!  The inverter runs the fridge,2 TVs,sat rec,lights etc.  Never any problems.  The microwave does not object,My wife's laptop doesn't complain and so far it has not burned up any chargers plugged in while on the road.  I have a 10kw powertec that rarely gets used.  If it rolls over tomorrow it has served its purpose.  I saw one go on eBay for 450 dollars and was tempted to buy it as a backup.  The one complaint is the documentation , It is not the easiest to follow, but understand I am a retired enlisted man so go figure.  Regards,John
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cody
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« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2009, 04:43:42 PM »

Bill the front one won't even fire up, it'll run on fan but when I set it on low cool it trips out, I wired it direct to the honda and it ran just fine tho, I'm thinking my pass thru feature of my invertor failed.
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2009, 06:36:29 AM »

Hi Cody,
Maybe you could reverse the placement of your A/C units. Since the living area is most likely bigger than the bedroom, you would have better performance where you need it.
Our front A/C gets far more use than the rear one, so, after 18 years, I reversed them. Just a thought.
Good luck, Sam 4106
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cody
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« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2009, 06:50:42 AM »

I've isolated the problem to something in between the a/c and the generator, I hooked the a/c unit to a cord and plugged it directly into the little honda and it fired up just fine, so I'm thinking the pass thru feature of the inverter may have failed. My inverter is only a 1000 watt heart, I've locatred a 2000 watt heart, I'm not sure that one is big enough but I may try it anyway.
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« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2009, 09:04:50 AM »

Cody,

I'm guessing even a 2000 watt inverter is not big enough to run your Carrier.

It's possible that the inverter, in pass-through mode, is adding enough resistance to the circuit to be causing the trip, but unlikely.  I would double-check all the connections from the genny all the way through to the AC unit. Since, presumably, both units share common wiring from the genny through the inverter to the panel, I suspect the problem is downstream of the panel.

As another piece of unsolicited advice, since you have an inverter that is not capable of running all your loads, I recommend a two-panel strategy -- a "main" panel plus an inverter "sub" panel.  Large loads that the inverter can't run, such as your two air conditioners, would then be driven directly from the main panel.  In addition to keeping the inverter (and any problems it may have) out of those circuits entirely, this will also keep your inverter from trying to run those loads in the event of a main power failure such as a campground or generator breaker trip.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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