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Author Topic: Elec help needed to charge house batteries  (Read 5417 times)
John Z
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« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2007, 06:19:39 AM »

Gary, i apprecitate your advice, and if you do get time to work up a drawing, that would be very helpful to me. Thanks.
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« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2007, 06:55:11 AM »

Thanks David, one of those with a 12v trigger is just what i need. Now i just need to figure out and decide how heavy of wire to use for running between the battery banks. Just to show you how poor i am at electrical theory; until your post, i did not know that a solenoid and relay were the same critter! Thanks again.


I'm going to recommend you use 4/0 welding cable to do your connections. With 12 volt banks, you'll be running higher amperage. 4/0 welding cable ought to be available locally at a welding supply shop. It won't be cheap, though. Have them crimp and solder ends on it,
or see http://www.gumpydog.com/bus/MC9_WIP/Electrical/Batteries/batteries.htm for some home made tips.

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« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2007, 07:07:50 AM »

Thanks David, one of those with a 12v trigger is just what i need. Now i just need to figure out and decide how heavy of wire to use for running between the battery banks. Just to show you how poor i am at electrical theory; until your post, i did not know that a solenoid and relay were the same critter! Thanks again.


I think a relay is for smaller loads, a solenoid is for big DC loads, and a contactor is for large AC loads, but I could be wrong.  One thing I forgot to add is that I also added an Intelletec latching solenoid (called a "Big Boy" 200+ amps continuous, 1200 for something like 30 seconds) to act as my main disconnect.  I can activate it via a momentary DPDT toggle switch also mounted next to the parking brake control.  I kept the original MCI disconnect as in case of some sort of malfunction of the solenoid.  I added one of those small Bosch cube relays to prevent the solenoid switch from being activated and disconnecting the batteries while the bus is running.  Doing this can damage/ burn out the alternator, from what I've been told. 

Here's a link to a 12 volt version:  http://www.partsguy.com/cgi-bin/PartsGuy/586-108111.html.  I'm using 3/0 wiring between the battery side of the Intelletec solenoid and the battery 'bridging' solenoid.  The main cable from the engine compartment to the batteries is 4/0, I believe.  I think that for the few times I'll be jumping from the house battseries to the start batteries, and the fact that it'll be about 3' in total length, I should be fine.  One thing about the White-Rodgers 586 solenoid is that the terminals are 5/16" instead of the 1/2" on my Intelletec, so you'll need to keep that in mind when getting a cable made.

The Intelletec "Big Boy" disconnect is nice because it keeps one from having to open the battery compartment door and disconnect the power.  I didn't like the fact that doing this made it real obvious to anybody watching how to switch the power back on in my bus.  Being that my MCI doesn't have a dead bolt, I felt that a somewhat hidden switch inside would take care of this problem, as well as be MUCH more convenient.  They're kind of expensive, but I got mine on the e-place for less than $75.  There's a 12 volt version listed at the moment.  My 24 volt models works well, so far, and makes a huge "CLUNK" when being activated.  It's huge and makes that White-Rodgers combiner solenoid look wimpy, but I'm sure that will work fine too.  Good luck with it.

David

Edited after reading gumpy's post... on a 12 volt system, 4/0 would probably be better.  I'm just not using it 'cause it's so expensive.  I went to a local alternator/ starter rebuilder that I know somewhat and got him to make up my cables.  Actually, he was busy and showed me how to crimp them with this huge crimper (looks like a big bolt cutter almost) and he inspected my crimps.  Like was mentioned, it's not cheap.  I think I'll have between $175-200 in battery cables, not including what's being run to the distribution panels, converter/ charger, or Vanner equailzer.  As another note, I found the local Boater's World to have very good prices on their big cables.  Their duplex and triplex cables were pricey, but I think they have down to 2 or 0 awg for a very reasonable price.
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« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2007, 09:10:41 AM »

There was a post I did on jumper solenoid, but disappeared when the board was changed.  I used two 150 amp continuous duty solenoids (look like the old Ford starting solenoid) since I have the 300 amp Delco 50DN 12v.  I have them strapped together with a heavy gauge strap so they work to handle the possible 300 amp and for intermittant starting assistance.  It is wired to the dash with a on-off-on toggle.  One position works with the engine side through the ignition switching.  So if the deep cycle batteries are dead can switch it over and have the engine alternator charge them back up.  The other position is wired through the deep cycle batteries so if the starting batteries are dead can use the gen with the inverter/charger to charge them up.  Sort of weird, but if the deep cycles are way down, the inverter/charger will not activate until it gets a boost of 12v.  I have had both sets of batteries down for one reason or another and am glad of both position possibility.  They have been 100% reliable even with me leaving them activated for several weeks a couple of times.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2007, 09:24:47 AM »

John, Heres what I did. I used a Napa ST95 12 v  cont. solinoid, $30.00. I set this on a normally open oil presure contact.  This is to charge my coach bettery only. I used #6 wire with a 50 amp circuit breaker. My batteries are behind the switches, 1 switch to diconnect engine bat. 1 switch to tie engine to coach, and 1 switch to disconnect coach bat. I have a couple 24v solinoids and relays to part with and will put them on the trade section. Goodluck,  Tom Y
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John Z
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« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2007, 06:27:41 PM »

Tom, that looks like a really nice setup, but might be a bit more involved than i am aiming for. Where did you get those switches? Could they be used for battery disconnects? My bus is needing disconnects for both sets of batteries.

Today i stopped at Grainger, and they do not carry a solenoid heavier than 100 amp that has a 12v trigger. So i am really no closer to having a plan for this problem.

So how does one calculate the draw that the house bank could have? If i put 3 deep charge batteries in there that are each rated at 850 amps, what kind of draw would they have when they are roughly half discharged?

Thanks again for any help.
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« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2007, 07:24:33 PM »

John, The one I bought from Napa is a 200 amp 12 volt.  You may want to try them. The disconnects came from Ebay a MCI part. I have a couple more, will list on this board some day. My bus had one on it when new but it was 24 v.  Tom Y
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« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2007, 07:48:54 PM »

Tom, that looks like a really nice setup, but might be a bit more involved than i am aiming for. Where did you get those switches? Could they be used for battery disconnects? My bus is needing disconnects for both sets of batteries.

Today i stopped at Grainger, and they do not carry a solenoid heavier than 100 amp that has a 12v trigger. So i am really no closer to having a plan for this problem.

So how does one calculate the draw that the house bank could have? If i put 3 deep charge batteries in there that are each rated at 850 amps, what kind of draw would they have when they are roughly half discharged?

Thanks again for any help.



John, you can google white-rodgers 586 12 volt solenoid.  This place http://texasindustrialelectric.com/relays.asp has 'em for not much more than Grainger.  Go to the website I posted and search the page for 586 and you'll see it about half way down.

David
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« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2007, 08:58:08 PM »

You might also check eBay item # 150087398878.  Good luck!
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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2007, 09:09:50 AM »

This thread has morphed into a lot of comments on solenoids so I might as well add mine.

The word solenoid refers to the method used to move the electrical contact. When used for DC switching it is a cheap, brute force method instead of using an ezpensive DC contactor.

There are two ratings on every electrical switch. One is the amount of current the contacts can carry and the other rating is how much it can switch. The switching rating on AC is dependent on whether the load is inductive or resitive as well as voltage. On DC it is dependent on voltage and the ability to break the arc. Expensive DC contactors use magnetic blowouts to break the arc. Solenoid switches use a strong spring and a big gap, which is the reason for using a solenoid instead of an eletromagnet and a flat armature.

The usual current carrying capacity of a switch is three or four times the switching capacity. This is how you can run your starter through a 200 amp solenoid to your house batteries. Just don't try and switch it with the starter cranking.

A word of caution on putting any kind of switches in parallel to carry more current. They will not switch at exactly the same time. If the voltage and current are high enough to cause contact welding, the one that switches first will have stuck contacts.
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John Z
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« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2007, 07:02:19 PM »

OK, i looked at the 6v golf cart batteries at Sam's club. 225 amp hours. So if i buy just 2 of them for now, cable them to make a 12v unit, will that give me about 200 amp hours of use before i would need to charge them?
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« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2007, 11:33:13 PM »

John Z, you will get better results if you think in terms of 1/3 of the rated power being available between recharges when you are boondocking. This will give you some decent service from your batteries.

You can take more out of your batteries, but the more you take, the more disappointed you will be with your system. The batteries you are looking at are rated about 1 1/3 KWH each, so using about 1/2 KWH between recharges would be a good target.

Since they weigh about 65 pounds each, you will have about 4 KWH you can take out of 500 pounds of batteries between recharges, even though they will hold around 11 KWH.

If you were to compare using the power for running an electric heater with using propane to produce heat in a furnace, you would use most of one 14 ounce bottle of propane. Using electricity to heat or cool while boondocking is usually a losing proposition in your RV.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Gary '79 5C
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« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2007, 02:32:47 AM »

I agree with Tom C's comments and there is alot of information within the old Xantrex inverter installation manuals, which are still avail online at their web site. Need to look maybe in the archives but the old unit 2012 again going from my head is there with much more in depth info on cable sizes, batt types, batt recharges, and how much to deplete batteries between charges. Very in dpeth but all there. I found the diagrams numerous and helpful. New manuals all without this info, lawyers doing I guess.
Gatta get to work, I will try to supply the site later.
Only 20 f above with 1-2 " , so I am not complaining.
Gary
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« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2007, 05:29:40 AM »

If you go to www.bluesea.com and do a search for blue seas 9112, you will find an automatic switch that will charge your house bank from the engine while running, charge the coach batteries from the inverter, automaticlly, and you can flip a switch to combine both banks for emergency starting power and a little light on the dash lets you know that it is all working like it is suppose to. If you want one, I have a couple that I will sell.  e-mail me.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007, 05:58:01 AM by Nick Badame Refrig. Co. » Logged
John Z
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« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2007, 10:12:45 PM »

OK, i am getting a 4/0 cable, and i picked up a continous rated 200 amp solenoid. My question is where do i attach the cable? Does it run from the bulkhead terminal that the start batterie's positive cables are bolted to, or should it attach to the positive terminal of one of the start batteries?

And where should it go to on the house batteries? I am planning on leaving Fri night after work, so would really appreciate an answer so i can hook things up before we leave.

TIA
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